griffbag

Another week, another Griff Bag — aka Richard Griffin’s latest mail bag from over at the Toronto Star — and… I… uh… here it is? Whatever, you know the drill!

If there’s a question you’d like me to answer, unless it’s about fucking Ricky Romero and J.P. Arencibia, submit it to Griffin here, and maybe he’ll select it for a future mail bag. Fingers crossed!

Q-Richard Stoeten,

This might come as a little bit of a surprise from me, as I have a penchant, need to suggest making trades, but this year I totally feel that the opposite should happen with the Jays.

I really do hope that AA doesn’t make a rash decision and trade away their prospects in the hope of making the playoffs, the last time the Jays truly made runs at the east title it took eight-plus seasons of competitive baseball, the Jays this time around are in Year 2 of their “window”.

If any trades should be made they should be from their current major league roster, much like the 1990 trade of McGriff and Fernandez for RBI man Carter and a little known second base prospect Alomar. The reason I feel this way is that the current group of Jays has enough talent to compete but not the make up to truly take the next step in becoming a perennial contender.

I hope that AA doesn’t make the decision to trade the likes of Stroman, Sanchez, Nolin, etc, just to keep the window open for another season or two. If AA keeps those assets that the rest of the league covet the Jays can stay on top the east for more then a 3-year window.

Do you think that the Jays should make a trade not unlike the 1990 one?

Thank you,

Scott Cochrane, Niagara on the Lake

I hear this kind of talk a lot, but no matter how many times I do, it never actually manages to make any sense. Keeping prospects makes a whole lot of sense in the abstract, but not so much when you actually think about what sort of shape the club is in going forward, and how much — and when — the prospects you’re talking about are going to be able to help them.

I’m not advocating trading everybody, but yes, the Blue Jays should be seizing the opportunity that’s in front of them in 2014 by making trades that help them in the near term. Absolutely.

In addition to having a core of top players already well on the wrong side of 30, the 2015 Jays will either lose potential free agents Colby Rasmus, Melky Cabrera, Casey Janssen, and Brandon Morrow, or will need to use a lot more of their budget than they currently do in order to keep them. Add in a hefty raise to Jose Reyes — his back-loaded deal goes from $16-million to $22-million — and you’re going to have a tough time not downgrading in at least a couple spots, in addition to some natural decline you’d expect from the aging Reyes-Bautista-Encarnacion-Dickey-Buehrle core.

I’d talk here about making a 1990-style trade, but there just really isn’t a comparison. There is no John Olerud waiting in the wings to make an expensive piece like Fred McGriff expendable here. Even if there were, to do a massive deal like that on the fly, in-season, would be extremly tough, if not impossible.

So it’s not difficult to see pretty clearly what they are and where they’re going. And while I’m not saying they’re doomed beyond this year, contrary to whatever it is you’re drinking, the picture really isn’t getting any rosier than it is now — it doesn’t help that the Red Sox already have an outstanding group of prospects in or near the majors, and that the Yankees are the Yankees, with a not-insignificant amount coming off their books — and Aaron Sanchez, Dan Norris, Dalton Pompey, and the guys they have in the lower minors simply aren’t likely to be big enough MLB contributors during the time that the core of this team is under contract and still at their peak to change that. There isn’t a next generation of Blue Jays ready to step fully formed into the lineup over the next couple of years, and while part of that is exactly because Alex Anthopoulos has dealt a number of prospects, it doesn’t mean he needs to be deathly afraid of doing so again, if that’s what the situation warrants.

Again, it doesn’t mean they ought to trade anything and everything, but it would be an awfully bitter pill to swallow if the Jays didn’t do quite enough at this trade deadline because instead they wanted to keep prospects who ultimately most likely will not pan out anyway, and even if they do, won’t be significant contributors until the Jays are a far more ordinary team than the one that now boasts a pair of the top ten hitters in baseball, one of the best bats against RHP, and two dynamic table-setters at the top of the lineup.

I do know how important prospects are, but I don’t think fans making suggestions like this quite appreciate how good what the team has now is — nor do they seem to appreciate how difficult it will be to get back here in the future, no matter how they play it. The idea that by dealing more prospects the Jays would be blowing up the pipeline that will supply them with the MLB-ready talent they need in the next year or so, in other words, is a total fallacy. The fact that the guys they do have won’t likely be contributors so soon doesn’t necessarily mean they have no value to the club, but weighed against what the pieces the club acquires can bring to this year’s run, to next year’s, and to the budget-driving revenue that will be gained by a genuine pennant race and maybe even some playoff gate money? All that, to me, would seem to serve 2015 and 2016 better than do dreams of a couple of big talents producing enough big league value as they’re just getting their feet wet and helping this team when it’s in a much less advantageous position than it is now– especially if the Jays make the right choices on the ones they deal away.

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Q-RG AS-

Love the columns and the mailbag. Have you ever heard any (serious) discussion about the possibility of Jose Reyes moving from SS to 2B? Obviously, this would make the most sense if the Jays could acquire an equal or better SS – like Rangers’ Elvis Andrus, for example. But, would he even consider it? With a few more years left on his contract, would it be less wear and tear on his body (on the turf) playing at 2B? I’m sure he would be more than capable of playing the position – heck, he could end up being the best 2B we’ve seen since a certain HOF’er patrolled the keystone….

Corey Perrin, Fredericton, NB

The politics of such moves seem to be a lot tougher to navigate than they really should be, because yes, Reyes is a liability with the glove. I’m not sure if third isn’t more ideal for him than second — he’s got arm strength, it’s range that is the issue — but a position change should definitely be a consideration (and I say that even though I could argue that, because of the ankle and hamstring issues of the last two seasons, he probably isn’t quite as poor as we’ve seen). But guys — especially superstar guys and paid-like-superstar guys — don’t really take well to that kind of downgrade in status. Partly it’s a legacy thing; you want to be remembered as a great shortstop, not a great hitting shortstop who became so unplayably bad there he had to be moved. Joe Mauer moved out from behind the plate for the good of his health and his career, but there aren’t a tonne of examples of voluntary switches like this — at least not that I can think of off the top of my head. Jeter has never done it. Cal Ripken did it much too late. Michael Young bristled at it. So too did Ian Kinsler. Shit, the Jays had a clear CF upgrade playing in right, Alex Rios, as Vernon Wells’ skills as an outfielder diminished.

I’m not saying it’s right. I’m not saying I wouldn’t kinda think it’s a mark of respect to tell a player he’s changing spots for the good of the team without any fear that he’d sulk over something so trivial. But that just seems to be the way it goes, and with a front office of non-players, you wonder if there might even be more reluctance to step on such a land mine with respect to the relationship with the guys in the clubhouse.

The fact that it hasn’t happened this year, though, despite better defensive shortstops than Reyes — Ryan Goins, in particular — being run out there at second with regularity probably should tell us not to start holding our breath just yet. I hope it happens too, though.

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Q-Hey there, Griff Stoet!

Here’s hopin’ the recent road trip was just a blip and that the Jays are back to their May days and winning ways. I was wondering which pitchers and infielders in particular you think AA should aggressively pursue in the coming weeks.

Starting with the rotation: if AA decides to go “all in” (again) on a frontliner like Price, Hamels, or Samardzija, would the team be better served if he expands the deal – à la Miami – in order to offset (somewhat) the loss of the minor- and major-league rosters? ‘Cause in my opinion, Sanchez, Norris, and Pompey might be too steep a price, even for a year-and-a-half of Price. On the other hand, if AA wants to play it safe with a buy-low mid-rotation starter, which ones should be on his list? I’ve heard names like Hammel, Liriano, and Masterson being tossed around.

As for our depleted infield, do you think the Jays have a realistic shot at trading for someone like Beckham or Utley (despite his no-trade clause) to solidify and strengthen us up the middle? Any other names catch your eye.

Tom D.

Utley I can’t see being a real thing, and Beckham… maybe for nothing? Otherwise you seem to have the names that are more or less out there, as far as I can tell.

A lot of these kind of games I’m reluctant to play, to be honest. It’s like trying to rank your favourite ghosts. In general, I’d give up the most for Price, then Hamels (though maybe not if the Phillies aren’t picking up some money), then Samardzija, then a rental, unless the rental was much, much cheaper, in which case he could jump up to anywhere in the list, depending on who he is and what the price is. There are a lot of variables, in other words, and too much we don’t know about what’s being asked and for whom.

Plus, if I did indulge in a thing like this, I’d totally make it its own post!

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Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

Given Morrow’s history of injuries and age do you think there is any chance that anyone offers him anything more than a one year minor-league deal? Is it possible to consider a player to be “promising” when they’re 30?

Thank you,

Ryan

p.s. Is Romero’s career as a major league player over?

Gee, if only there wasn’t years and years of precedent for us to look at maybe that wouldn’t be a ridiculous question from some lemon-sucking “fan” looking for validation of his shittiest reflexes.

Josh Johnson got $8-million. Grady Sizemore got a fucking big league contract. Teams will be lining up to try to get a bargain out of Morrow. It probably won’t be a multi-year deal, but there is zero chance he doesn’t get some nice money. Not terribly difficult to see a team thinking something like, “If he’s healthy, he should be pretty good, and if not, we try him in the bullpen. Either way, could be big value for little cost if it works.”

It seems highly unlikely, at this point, that Romero will ever pitch in the majors, though, in any meaningful way. But I hope that’s not true.

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Q-Hey Griff Stoet,

Have we seen enough from Melky Cabrera this season to justify an extension/multi-year deal? Tough to judge based on just a 3-month sample size, but with his health issues resolved (and still in his prime at 29) he seems to be the consistent .300 hitter with above-average defense we dearly hoped for when AA gambled on him in 2012.

Jeff P

I’m not sure his defence is “above average,” and it’s putting a little rosy spin on it to talk about him being a .300 hitter, because he has to be, since he doesn’t really walk. But yes, they should definitely be exploring it. I’m not sure both sides will be able to agree on a fair price, but I’m also not sure what the market for Melky will even look like in four months. Will the Jays be happy to make him a qualifying offer, take the draft pick, and try to find a cheaper solution? Will Melky generate enough interest for teams to give up their first pick to sign him, or will he end up in QO limbo? Will he play well enough to earn a much bigger payday than the Jays are willing to offer now?

It’s all pretty hard to say from here. If he’d take three guaranteed years for less than $40-million total, I’d do that. But why would he?

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Q-Good Morning Richard Stoeten,

They Jays are at 45-36 = 81 games (half way through the season) – they had a fantastic May and have fought hard and clawed their way to staying in first place in the American League East no thanks to the G.M. who has made no effort whatsoever to get them the help that they desperately need to carry them the rest of the way. This GM should be fired come the end of the season and his boss as well, when the term “Stand Pat” is used I think of Pat Gillick – a real baseball man, he knew exactly who he needed to put together a winning team and as a result was successful in taking the team to the top and winning it all. The Blue Jays have a great team but with injuries to very important members of the team and the constant coming and going of players from the minors – this gutsy and great team who are human after all, will not be able to continue on all cylinders without a bit of help and I hope that they get it sooner rather than later. I have always enjoyed reading your comments to letters or e-mails written to you by fans – it comes from your long years of experience.

Have a great day.

Regards.

Tony, Toronto

Tony, if you’re going to act like human garbage, at least have the common courtesy to not be wrong as shit. Somewhere, underneath the shroud of fucking insufferable whiny baby nonsense, you posture like you might not actually be completely fucking clueless about baseball. What an utter joke that is.

Exactly how many fucking trades have been made since the season began that have involved players actually useful to a club’s big league roster?

Are the other teams already perfect? Are the other GMs just as inept and worthless as you think no-move Anthopoulos is? Or, maybe, do trades simply not ever start to really happen until a few weeks after the draft, and you need to buy a fucking clue and simmer down? Hmmm?

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Q-Hi Richard Stoeten:

Can AA afford to wait until the trade deadline to make some moves? My sense: no.

Matthew McKean, Ottawa

Not quite as bad as Tony, Matthew, but come the fuck on. This stuff where fans believe that baseball teams making deals is like going to the supermarket and picking a few items off the shelf is so absurdly absurd that it really only takes two seconds of thought to explode the notion to death. If you’ve got something really valuable to sell, do you sell it to the first person who makes you a fair offer, before hearing what other offers might be or how much more anyone might part with when they see what they want about to slip away to someone else? If you’re looking to buy something and only have a finite amount of capital with which to do so, do you use it all up as quickly as possible, just to say you got something, even though more and better options may become available to you if you wait a little bit for other sellers who aren’t yet ready to deal?

The trade market requires a dance — it’s part auction, part bartering — and a dance partner. It’s definitely not something you can do on your own. So the consternation about Anthopoulos not doing anything, when he’s not the only one not doing anything, and he doesn’t control when things get done? It’s a little horseshitty.

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Q-Richard Stoeten,

I’m not a big fan of the new format of the Home Run derby for one simple reason: the captains pick their own teams, but are in direct competition with their teammates until the final round. It makes no sense to have the captains compete against their own team. By picking the best guys, the captains are decreasing their own chances of winning. A smart captain would pick weaker guys to be on their team, so he has a better chance of reaching the final round (where he would finally face a member of the opposing team). What are your thoughts on this format?

Justin

Richmond Hill, ON

Wow. I could not possibly care less about the home run derby.

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Comments (32)

  1. “I am a big crybaby who can’t enjoy nice things. Richard/Stoeten can you please validate my cynicism!?!?”

    • it’s even worse than that

      these people have outsourced their happiness to events and outcomes they cannot control

      instead of enjoying the game for what it is, they choose to act in a negative fashion

      sad really

  2. I don’t like Tony

    • I’m heading to spend a weekend w/ family, and it’s always a constant dose of a light version of ‘Tony-esque’ jays discussion.
      Such emotional, irrational, knee-jerk, ‘argument to fit the conclusion’ bullshit – it gets difficult. A number of people who are fully on board with the ‘FYRE GOBBONS’ bandwagon. It gets tiring after awhile

    • Sounds like a whiny douche that still hasn’t gotten over the 1994 strike.

  3. Tony was sounding positively Selby-esque.

  4. “This stuff where fans believe that baseball teams making deals is like going to the supermarket and picking a few items off the shelf is so absurdly absurd that it really only takes two seconds of thought to explode the notion to death.”

    Not only that, but they want the GM to pick players off a shelf AND tell the cashier how much they’re going to pay for them.

  5. tell me EE isnt playing LF today…………

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bri56HjCQAAMs-j.jpg:large

    • meh big deal. soon as a lefty is brought in for Lind, EE slides over to 1st. What’s really gonna go wrong in 6-7 innings in LF? (knock on wood)

      • Yeah, would could wrong in left field with a leftie on the mound?

        Really, what is Gibby to do? He needs bats.

        Brewers have 3 strong lefties in the pen, Duke pitched yesterday.

  6. I like how the first e-mailer remembers Alomar as “a little known second base prospect” when the trade happened as opposed to the 22-year-old All-Star with 10+ WAR in his first three Major League seasons, as if it was some clever under-the-radar pickup and not the blockbuster it actually was.

    • Glad someone else pointed that out. At that time of the trade, I thought Alomar was by far the bigger piece for us.

  7. “In addition to having a core of top players already well on the wrong side of 30, the 2015 Jays will either lose potential free agents Colby Rasmus, Melky Cabrera, Casey Janssen, and Brandon Morrow, or will need to use a lot more of their budget than they currently do in order to keep them.”

    This is what keeps nudging me toward thinking “all in” this year is a not a bad idea.

    I’m guessing that 2 of those 4 free agents stay: Janssen and 1 of Rasmus/Melky.

    • Both Rasmus and Melky will receive and accept QO’s. Janssen too. Not sure yet about Morrow. Ask me in 3 months.

      • I’d be happy if you are right.

        As for Morrow? meh.

      • Morrow has an option for $10 million next year, so the QO issue is moot there. As for whether or not the Jays pick up the option, I’m with you… it’s impossible to say until we see how the next few months play out for him.

        Do you genuinely believe the Jays will offer Janssen a QO for around $15 million? I don’t think there even the remotest possibility of that happening.

      • Janssen wouldn’t be offered a QO – no way the team spends that on a reliever. Hard to imagine that Melky continues his current ways and accepts a single year at 14 million-ish either. As a young guy with an .800+ OPS, he can get years if he wants them. He’s no longer the question mark he was when the Jays signed him and nobody else was offering him 2 year deals. He’d have to regress to accept a QO.

  8. Hoffman and Pentecost both sign. Slot.

  9. Jay signed both of their first rounders,

    it’s like there’s a draft every year and dealing some of your minor leaguers isn’t the end of the world.

  10. Good news about the draft signings

    But today’s defensive alignment? Should be interesting.

  11. Trade for a pitcher (just don’t trade Norris) and re-sign Melky and Colby, who I believe are both very happy in Toronto and would stay on if offered fair deals, especially because the other core pieces aren’t going anywhere. If Janssen will take a below-market deal for a “closer” I’d be happy to see him stay, too.

  12. Thank fuck Selby Martin didn’t chime in

  13. EE in LF today. Ballsy. Especially with Francisco on 3rd and Reyes at SS (though he’s not as bad as people make him out to be.. maybe).

    Operation try to keep everything middle-right in full effect.

  14. Insulting someone whose opinion has been appropriated, without permission, to fill a blog is … well …. sour to say the least, and the herd instinct to pile on by some who are oh so knowledgeable, or think they are, partially validates Stoeten’s worse tendencies. Tony’s viewpoint might be uninformed and downright wrong but there’s no mistaking his enthusiasm and love for the Blue Jays. So, since we all say stupid things, Stoeten should perhaps cut the Tonies in the fan base some slack and set an example for those too eager to pile on.

    • That’s not how things work here. Try citing batting average in support of an argument.

    • By submitting your opinion to a newspaper, you are placing it in the public realm and shouldn’t be surprised when your asinine negativity is dismantled accordingly.

  15. It amuses me how the assumption AND expectation of ALL trades is that you are automatically better. Unless you are taking on increased payroll, a trade is a 50/50 proposition. “Make a trade” is such a useless statement.

  16. I like Melky and would happily see him sign here. I think his defence is below average though. Looking at his age, his hitting and his defence probably aren’t going to get significantly better. Past 10M a season starts sounding like a potentially bad deal. (IMO)

  17. I have mixed feelings regarding trading prospects because as much as I love this team and watch/listen to every game, I cant get a true grasp of this team’s capability this year (assuming no outside help on way).
    I mean the talent level at the MLB level is unarguable, but I canenvision this team going on another run and I can picture us falling out of first and sinking below 500.

    I think regardless, here we are, this late with hopefully a two- game lead on Balt (down 4-0 to Tex in 4th as I write this) and if we go for it and say get a Price, Shark etc.. Or even a Hammell, it may be enough in the east this yr and I think getting back into postseason almost anyway you can to pick up a understandably cautious and somewhat disinterested fanbase collectively.

    What I like about NY (chickens coming home to roost a bit this yr finally) is the annual commitment, albeit with the most funds, to build a competitive product. They didlast yr with manyJays castoffs and there’s less of a focus on a envisioned dynasty future (that may never materialize) with an impressive farm system.

    I mean, we’re pitching rich on the farm but the last decent hitter we produced helping the big league club is Lind and very few hitters with high ceilings in the system now.

    I reluctantly think we should go for it! Get back in the playoffs and take advantage while we can. Plenty of time and pitching assets to worry about later.

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