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,

With Jeff Francoeur sitting in the minor leagues with the Padres organization and has an opt out clause for a major league contract, why wouldn’t the Jays look at signing him for their 4th outfielder position vs. calling up and down their minor league guys? Francoeur has struggled the past few seasons but thrived in 2011 when Seitzer was his batting coach in KC.

Francoeur would be used to playing every 3-4 days which must be tough for young guys to succeed at doing i.e. Gose, Pillar etc. With the signing of Francoeur it wouldn’t cost prospects just dollars, why wouldn’t they at least give Francour a chance? And by the way he hits lefty’s well. Thanks,

Scott Cochrane, Niagara on the Lake

Because he’s terrible.



Q-Richard Stoeten,

Has Anthony Alford given up football so that he can concentrate solely on baseball? I see he started in Vancouver and has been promoted to Lansing. Looks like he can be a good one.


Mike, Windsor, Ont

He hasn’t yet, but he isn’t a top-end NFL prospect, he’s no longer a quarterback — he redshirted last year and moved to defensive back after a transfer to Ole Miss following a poor 2012 at Southern Miss — and according to Charlie Caskey of the Vancouver Sun, this year was given encouraging words about baseball on the Jays’ behalf from Tim Raines and Fred McGriff. Even if it isn’t his first love, you’re right that it makes too much sense that he’ll give up football for baseball sooner than later — he’s missing so much development time in some very crucial years for a young, raw hitter who just needs reps — and hopefully he makes the right decision soon. I suspect he will — especially since someone was telling me, as I mentioned in a post yesterday, that he quickly tweeted-then-deleted a response to a fan telling him to choose baseball that allegedly suggested he may do so sooner than later. Fingers crossed.



Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

The Jays, at last, have lost their 1st place spot as I was expecting with the lack of depth of position players where I expressed my concerns to you in a mailbag just before the season. AA just lost out on Samarja (however it’s spelled) and Hammels and it seems nobody will trade with AA unless he gives them his pocket Aces. If AA stands pat again and doesn’t make any moves I’ll lose any respect I had for him. That’s my rant and now my question(s).

1-What 2b options are available out there who doesn’t need to spectacular but serviceable, i.e, Rickie Weeks.?

2-A true 4th OF is needed, thanks to AA playing fantasy baseball wire and losing Sierra and who can he get?

3-Pitching pitching and more pitching. Dickey is at best a 4 starter. Stroman and Hutch might hit the wall. Happ is a crapshoot. Even a David Price can’t save this team. Do you foresee/expect AA to get any pitching help?

The Jays are tumbling and tumbling fast. I’m tired of AA sitting back and not having a done thing but make the team worse this year with his waiver wire frenzy acquisitions. Of all the writers/analyst you’re the most logical and sensible one as opposed to post-game radio Jays game show. What do you see happening (see above) by the Allstar break/trade deadline with this team? I appreciate your responses as always.

Kam H, Richmond Hill, Ontario

This utter garbage doesn’t deserve a response, but since we’re here… first off, the idea that you’d lose respect for Anthopoulos if he didn’t make any moves is ignorant nonsense from a dimwit in a lather to find something to be upset about. It takes two teams to make a deal, for one, and for two, you really want him to make some kind of insane over-payment just to say he did something? Really? He’s got to do something no matter what the cost? And you think you’re the one speaking logically? Good lord.

And the fucking horseshit you negative suckhole types pull out about Anthopoulos using the waiver wire — the eye rolling, the insufferable “jokes” about each acquisition being the key to a pennant, the utter fucking ignorance about how often players are moved on waivers and what absolute nothing moves these are at the back end of a roster. Go get a clue about that, and while you’re there picking it up, why don’t you also grab one about just what order of hot garbage Moises Sierra — who I’m sure you wouldn’t have pissed and moaned about still being on the roster had the Jays not put him on waivers — has been this year.

Oh, and by the way, the waiver acquisitions and the small free agent moves that Alex Anthopoulos has made this year have actually been fucking fantastic. Juan Francisco may be getting exposed right now, but he contributed to a lot of wins for this team, and — as someone pointed out on Twitter the other day, as retweeted by (I believe) Brendan Kennedy — despite the struggles, he’s still posted a 125 wRC+ overall, which is killing the contributions so far from other big bats in the division, like Chris Davis (91 wRC+) and Brian McCann (83). Steve Tolleson may not seem like much, but he has a 173 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. And Nolan Reimold showed some promise before going down injured, too.

You don’t have to like what Anthopoulos has done or the way this season is going, but a little understanding of the way things really are, rather than viewing everything through the prism of your inability to handle losing without making asinine statements in the fog of frustration, really shouldn’t be too much to ask.



Q-Richard Stoeten,

I would really appreciate even a short explanation as to why, particularly since today’s game against Oakland further strengthens my case that it is the lack of run scoring and not starting pitching that has caused the fairly rapid decline in winning over the last few weeks.

Hugh Sampson

I remember your question, Hugh, and you sure did say some silly things in the service of it, but yes, your point that run scoring has been the club’s biggest issue is more or less correct. But it’s certainly not a one or the other situation. Since the June 7th home loss to the Cardinals, when the losing really started, the Jays have gone an abysmal 11-23, with 117 runs scored to 151 allowed. Obviously they need to close that gap. But let’s not overlook the fact that over that span the only AL teams to have given up more runs have been the Rangers and the Astros. Not good.



Q-Richard Stoeten,

Bautista is one of my favourite players and is as deserving as any to be an all star, but i’m surprised he was the leading vote-getter considering he plays for a Canadian team that doesn’t get much exposure in the States. How was he able to receive more votes than any other player? Does this speak to the influence of the Canadian fans?

Justin, Richmond Hill, ON

I’d suspect it’s partly to do with a lot of things — Canadian fans, Dominican fans — but mostly to do with his online presence. I have no idea, though. Haven’t really thought for a second about the All-Star Game or the voting or anything like that, to be honest. Nothing against anyone who is into it, but it just doesn’t do it for me.



Q-Richard Stoeten,

Lawrie at 2B, Edwin in LF, Bautista at 1B. This season has seen some of the veteran Jays play some unfamiliar positions. I understand that Gibbons does this in order to keep their bats in the lineup, plus out of necessity due to injuries to other players. Do you agree with what Gibbons is doing, or do you think that it’s not worth it since it creates an overall weaker team defense and possibly a greater chance of injury due to them having to make plays and movements that are unfamiliar to them?

Justin, Richmond Hill, ON

Edwin in left was particularly desperate, but it was understandably short-lived and I guess I can’t blame them for trying. The other moves I have zero issue with — though I suppose there’s a bit of concern for Bautista having to bend and stretch so much at first, but that was a temporary necessity, too. I get it. Lots of real reasons to be upset about the way this team has been going.



Q-The wife and I just got from Cooperstown, and what an awesome time, great restaurants, cool collectable stores, and the Hall of Fame was excellent. The only thing missing was a few more Toronto Blue Jays in the Hall.

On to my question… over the past few seasons the one glaring hole that keeps popping up is the lack of quality prospects at the high levels to step in and help when the unexpected/expected injuries occur. One has to think that to fill those needs is to trade and accumulate those assets by giving up major league talent and in turn filling those higher level prospects.

The one thing the Jays do have is a plethora of prospects in the lower levels. This year we are seeing the likes of Norris, Sanchez and Stroman moving up the line, but what about the position prospects, outside of Pompey, who is still seasons away from contributing who do the Jays have? You can’t say Gose or Pillar because they have had ample time to shine at the MLB level but can’t hit the fastball. So with saying that, why hasn’t AA looked at trading an MLB player or 2, say a pitcher/positional player, to fill in the higher levels? As much as I enjoy watching Bautista play, his return would be a shot in the arm at the higher levels and even the MLB. Even with Bautista in the lineup the Jays haven’t made the playoffs, and make that not even close, so why don’t they look at moving a few MLB talents to make that next step, either this year or next?

I am not saying sell the farm, but a re adjustments of sorts to make that next step, say trading one of Bautista, EE, Rasmus, Buehrle, Dickey or Cabrera, one of those players will fill in the top levels, I know making a hole in the roster, but adding 2-3 pieces in taking the next step. In reality there is no benefit of having a star player on the roster if the Jays can’t make the playoffs, ie. Halladay, Clemens, Delgado, Green, I would think the Fans could have lived with trading one of those if they could have fetched 3-4 impact players in their prime.

Scott Cochrane, Niagara on the Lake

Oh, come the fuck on.

You know how else you get talent to the upper levels of the minors? You draft it, develop it, and then don’t trade it away.

You know how much the fact that the club is a little bereft of upper-minors elite talent actually matters in the way you’re talking about it? Not at fucking all.

This club is built for the big league roster to succeed (y’know, to whatever degree it’s capable). They’re four games back at the All-Star break with only shitty Baltimore ahead of them. The fact that the club hasn’t made the playoffs with Bautista so far means zero about their ability to do so at some point in the future — they weren’t even trying to make the playoffs in the first three seasons of his emergence as a premier slugger, for fuck sakes.

Having good prospects is great, but they don’t hang banners for being Baseball America’s top ranked farm system. I mean… be fucking serious. If the club decides at some point that this roster won’t work at the big league level, there will be plenty of big league assets to try to turn into younger, cheaper, controllable players that, along with the homegrown talent that is coming, could give them a vast assortment of riches at the upper levels. This is not the time to be thinking about that. And no offence, but thinking about it in the way you’re framing it — hey, the big league club has got a shot, but I’m really worried about Buffalo! — is slightly insane.



Q-Hi Richard Stoeten,

I often look at the minor league results after checking the box scores of the Jays and I was curious what you thought the chances of 2 forgotten players (from the starting 25 man roster) would be to contribute to the Jays this year…Ryan Goins and Esmil Rogers. Kawasaki is giving some quality defense and good at bats and the starting rotation has not been a problem of late for the Jays but both seem to be doing well in AAA. Are they an injury away? Another question, it looks like the Jays have some good looking prospects in A ball and now AA with Norris and Pompey. Are there any players you are excited about down the road from the Jays system?


Aaron Hickey, Sydney, Australia

I don’t think Ryan Goins can be a genuine big league contributor for more than anything but a couple of innings as a defensive replacement, and I never did, and didn’t understand at all why the Jays seemed to think so (except that maybe they were just so short on resources that they had no other choice — which, shitty as it is, sadly, is probably the preferable reason), so… not feeling that one. Rogers I have no idea. You’re right that his numbers of late have looked pretty alright (though so do Liam Hendriks’s in that league — but a 3.04 ERA and a .232/.319/.303 line against, with 19 strikeouts and 13 walks in 26.2 innings over five starts isn’t so bad), and his peripherals when he was sent down suggested he wasn’t as bad as his results made him look either. So… yeah, I could see him back on the 40-man and in the big leagues again at some point. At the very least he may be working himself back into being a nice depth option for the rotation. His last three starts have been even more encouraging, in fact: a 2.89 ERA with a .206/.286/.294 line against, and 16 strikeouts to 8 walks over 18.2 innings. Small sample, though.

As for the prospects beyond the big ones in Double-A who are getting closer to being in the conversation to help the big club, yeah, there are a bunch of names to be excited about. They’re all still a ways out, but Roberto Osuna just made his first appearance back after Tommy John, and the one report from Baseball Prospectus was extraordinarily positive. The guys just drafted in the first round — Jeff Hoffman and Max Pentecost — are certainly ones to dream on who could move faster than we’re used to, being college players. Dwight Smith hasn’t quite had the season that Pompey, his fellow 21-year-old at Dunedin, has, but his is a name worth remembering who is closer to advancing to the high minors. And at Lansing though some of the pitchers have been disappointing thus far, there are a number of hitters having good seasons, including “name” guys like Mitch Nay, Matt Dean, and (to a lesser extent) the very young Dawel Lugo. Beyond that, there are many names that intrigue — Franklin Baretto certainly comes to mind, and a number of big ceiling pitchers who are still in the process of figuring it all out, and just maybe not getting the results this year that we’d like to see.



Comments (65)

  1. Stoeten,

    Minor note – Anthony Alford was at Southern Miss, not Mississippi State, prior to transferring to Ole Miss. Here is his bio –

    I enjoyed this ‘Mail Bag’, as always. Thanks.

    • You’re right, thanks.

    • Alford’s #1 accomplishment while at Southern Miss was probably managing to avoid landing in jail for the shenanigans that he/the whole football team were involved in. He’s one of those guys who has a lot of tools but who knows whether he’ll actually develop into a decent player. From what I’ve seen, if he continues to develop physically and as a hitter, his ceiling could be as a Vernon Wells-type player – great speed and range in the OF, good arm, decent hitter with some power. I only mention Vernon Wells because he was also a two sport player (QB/CF) who wasn’t quite good enough at QB to make it at the college level.

  2. Esmil’s peripherals seem awfully Josh Johnson-y to me. I get why defensive independent numbers matter, but at some point those would seem to matter a lot less when everyone simply hits the ball really, really hard against a guy.

  3. I think the worst aspect of the really negative Nellie’s is there “I told you so” demeanour and how proud and quick they are to tell everyone they were “right.” It’s almost like they WANT the team to fail, just so they can say that they saw it coming a mile away, and then collapse back into their beanbag chairs with a look of insufferable smugness on their faces. WHY DO PEOPLE GET ENJOYMENT OUT OF THIS.

    • *their. Fuck. POINT RUINED.

    • Agreed and agreed. They’re the shitstains of humanity.

      • One would think its part of their sub conscious to always be right I guess

        • Well they also believe you can make a trade just because you want to. “Oh Price is available? Why doesn’t AA trade for him?” If only it were that fucking simple

          • “I was playing MLB The Show earlier with force trades enabled and Tampa accepted my offer of Juan Francisco and Liam Hendricks for David Price. If I can get it done, why can’t AA?”

            • Hendriks? How could you deplete the upper farm system!!!

              • Like AA, you two haven’t figured out is what the Jays need is HITTING, not PITCHING. Fire him if he can’t pick up an impact bat!

                He should also be fired if he gives up a major prospect for that impact bat, too.

                C’MON AA!

                • I dont know what you read but I dont think we were talking about the blue jays needs.

                  • Was trying to satirize the Star mailbag writers. Obviously it didn’t take. Sorry.

                    • haha my bad, I caught a hint of that but then it was just so damn convincing.

                    • I guess you just can’t be insane enough to properly take the mick out of Griff readers!

                      You do get the sense that if the Jays actually won the division it would upset some of them because they’d be proven wrong.


                      Seriously though Tulo is apparently available. Too bad the farm would probably not be enough to acquire him.

                  • I agree that those people are idiots. I would also venture to suggest that the sabermetric inclined polyannas posting here about the sheer stupidity of the negative suckholes look back to their expectations and comments and weigh them against the actual outcomes.
                    I think you’ll find that for the most part, you’re all wrong most of the time.
                    Two sides of the same coin if you ask me.
                    Wrc+ is ballshite.
                    Wins are the only important stat to measure, everything else is signal noise.

                    • Where, in this conversation, did anyone mention sabremetrics?

                      But hey, don’t let me get in the way of your thorough smashing of those strawmen.

                    • dumbass

                    • What Strawmen? I’m just saying most of you don’t know what you’re talking about whether sabermetrcally inclined optimists or old school narrative driven negative suckhole shit stains of humanity types.
                      But don’t let that stop you from mindlessly parroting Stoten’s tropes on straw, herrings and shitstains.

                    • Wait, is this also a parody of mailbag morons?

                    • Well, personally I don’t really know a +wRC from a FIP, but I’m certainly open that for a sport that has always been driven by obsessive statistical analysis that it would be the act of a true neanderthal not to believe that there may be new and perhaps better ways of number crunching that could tell us more about our favourite game.

                      But yeah, strawmen…especially your big claim that anyone thinks that wins aren’t the most important thing in baseball. Of course they are. You won’t find anyone who claims otherwise, whether they are slaves to RBI’s or disciples of BABIP of dWAR. It’s all about trying to understand what’s the best way to get those wins to get the team you love in the motherfucking playoffs, isn’t it?

                      As for this place, I find on the whole it’s a nice place to talk Jays, hear different ways of thinking, and have real bloody conversations rather than all the melodramatic stuff you get in, yes, the Griff mailbag or on the comments section. If it’s not your thing, all’s cool, but it’s not like posting here is mandatory.

                      And for someone who obviously is all huffy about those who think they’re superior, you’re certainly doing a pretty fabulous impression of the exact same thinking yourself.

                      But hey…go Jays go, right?

                    • The fatal flaw of statistics; is that most people who cite them as a truthful representation of a real world event, don’t understand fuck all about them and usually have nothing but a figment of a notion of an idea about the events they purport to explain or describe.
                      Wins rule, nerds can’t play baseball.

            • AA needs “force trades” option… so bad.

  4. Doesn’t help when Jerry Howarth is on the radio talking about Ryan Goin’s batting average in AAA.

  5. Stoeten’s responses are fun ‘n’ all, but there’s a bit of me that wishes that the stupid ass questions that Griff has to deal with wouldn’t spread farther than the Star. Don’t let them out!

    Griff’s pretty patient with ‘em, though, so props to him for that. Although it makes you think of the old saw…if those are the BEST of the questions he gets, what are the ones he doesn’t select look like?

  6. I can’t get the horrible image of the idea that Jeff Francoeur is the answer….

    Almost as bad as seeing Rosie O’ Donnell in lingerie in that movie I can’t recall the name of

  7. Is Kam H really Selby Martin in disguise?

  8. Justin from Richmond Hill had back to back questions. Gold star for him.

  9. I wonder if AA will be able to sleep tonight, knowing he has lost the respect of Kam H from Richmond Hill.


  11. The Jays need Drake as GM so the cool players will come to the T Dot.

  12. jun 7 5.5 lead
    jun 14 3.5 lead
    jun 21 1.5 lead
    jun 28 1.5 lead
    jul 7 3 behind
    jul 14 4 behind

    every week the jays have lost ground.

    all it’s going to take is 1 more bad week and the season is over

    • Not quite ” the season is over”
      Still lots of baseball left.
      Jays still have 9 left to play against Baltimore.

    • Were you concluding that the Jays were going to the playoffs for every week that they gained ground on first and that all it would take was one more good week?

  13. Glad to see Wainwright backpedal on his quote about grooving some pitches to Jeter.

    I guess CBSsports deleted the ” Michael Jeter” tweet.
    Fucking idiots.

  14. Dave Cameron’s chat, just a few moments ago:

    Comment From A. Lane
    More overrated as a prospect group, flame throwers with control issues or power hitters who lack strike zone control/very high K%?

    Dave Cameron:
    Flame throwers. Aaron Sanchez strikes me as maybe the most overrated prospect in recent history, for example.

    • I wouldn’t put too much stock in anything Dave Cameron says regarding prospects. He’s great when it comes to analyzing MLB baseball but he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about with prospects. I wish he would leave the prospect stuff to guys like Klaw, Sickels, Parks et al.

  15. And Eric Wedge on Bisons game last week doing color said “Sanchez is the REAL DEAL” and Jays need to leave him in triple a for a little bit yet.
    I’d believe Eric Wedge before Dave Cameron

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