Pride is a fool’s fortress. Now who’s for Denny’s?
Some rumour mongering (read: throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks) this week out of Philadelphia (mostly via the great MLBTR): Earlier in the week, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reported that the Jays might be considering a play for the Phillies’ Kyle Kendrick after a scout from the club watched him recently, even though that totally makes no sense. In a later piece, Salisbury also notes that the Jays (as well as the Yankees) scouted Cliff Lee’s first rehab start, which… yeah, I tend to be on the optimistic side, but I’ll believe Rogers is going to sign off on paying one player $52.5-million for 2015 and ’16 (or $37.5-million for just 2015, including a hefty 2016 buyout) when I fucking see it. Later still, he suggested that both the Yankees and Jays are cool to the idea of a reunion with A.J. Burnett.
Salisbury isn’t necessarily entirely making stuff up, though, as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweeted that the Jays indeed were watching the Phillies this week.
It could be a reliever like Antonio Bastardo or Jonathan Papelbon, as Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Jays are one of many clubs that an executive with a reliever to shop told him had shown interest in that particular market (and Salisbury says they’re one of a number of teams on him in particular). Could be due diligence, of course. And maybe things have changed now that Aaron Sanchez is here (and, fingers crossed, that Steve Delabar might be showing something, too).
Another one via MLBTR is a look at the no-trade clause of John Danks, which — according to a tweet from my ‘Merkin friend MLB.com’s Scott Merkin — the Jays are on. Because of course they are.
Sticking in this realm, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com wrote on Tuesday about what it might take for a club to land Chase Headley, and he was kind of way off! For the Jays he figured something like a package of Sean Nolin and Dawel Lugo, which, with Nolin kind of just being a guy (for some reason I’m real soft on him) and Lugo struggling a bit and having some competition at his position in the system, would certainly be a palatable package to give up for something. Granted, maybe not a rental that hasn’t hit all year, but something.
Interesting thought by way of John Sickels’ report at Minor League Ball on the call-up of Aaron Sanchez, as he notes that “His strikeout rate is nothing special and he will give up some walks. However, he is one of the most extreme ground ball pitchers in the minor leagues, posting a 3.13 GO/AO ratio this year and a 2.34 GO/AO in 2013. His fastball has been clocked as high as 98 MPH, works consistently at 94-95, and has vicious sinking action.” Not something we necessarily didn’t know, but it sure made me think of how a guy like Ryan Goins would be useful behind a pitcher like that.
Speaking of Sanchez, over at FanGraphs, Blake Murphy looks at the Jays’ called-up top prospect and “the Trevor Rosenthal experiment,” looking at why the Jays have taken this path. “The most negative of Jays fans (and ghouls) would tell you that Sanchez is going to end up a reliever in the long run, anyway,” he explains, “given his declining strikeout rates and struggles with command. I don’t at all think that’s in play here, even if it’s not an outlandish suggestion. Sanchez is still just 22 years old. You let a top prospect like this fail as a starter before you think bullpen long-term; this is probably all about 2014.” Agreed.
At Baseball Prospectus this morning, Mark Anderson and Ben Carsley gave an in-depth look at Sanchez from a scouting perspective, profiling him thusly: “All told, Sanchez has two knockout pitches that will allow him to be successful in a major-league rotation, but he lacks the changeup and strike-throwing to profile as a front-line starter. Once established in the big leagues, he should provide very good mid-rotation performance and could have streaks where he dominates teams when his entire arsenal works at peak levels.” Anderson likes the move for the Jays, explaining that “Sanchez should be able to dominate burst outings on the back of his fastball and curve alone, and it should help him learn what it takes to put away big-league hitters as he looks toward a larger role in 2015.”
Speaking of prospects, back on Monday, Chris Mellen in another piece at another piece at BP gave us some insight into what he’s seen from Dan Norris, and comes away reasonably impressed. “This isn’t an arm that is just out there trying to throw the pitch through a wall. There’s an understanding of the craft. While Norris can stray offline and land too open, I see him able to continue polishing his delivery to enhance his command. The 21-year-old is athletic and smooth. The fastball command can reach plus. His 84-86 mph slider showed as far and away his best secondary offering. It’s a future plus offering,” he explains. The other secondary stuff, though, still needs work, and ultimately, he says, “the upside here is a third starter, and I’m confident this is a big-league arm, but there’s polish needed and likely growing pains ahead.”
Mellen comes off slightly more optimistic on Norris in the scouting report filed in an Eyewitness Accounts piece at BP, where he adds these notes: “see some bumps in the road during next season or so while pitcher finds the identity of third offering to complement fastball and slider; competitor on mound–wants the ball; future long-term big-leaguer; high potential to stick as starter for me; believe arm can round into solid mid-rotational starter, with potential to have a season or two above that.”
More from BP, as Doug Thorburn’s Raising Aces column takes a look at, among others, Drew Hutchison, offering a detailed scouting report, including the basic contention that “the walk rate has been merely average at the highest level, but a solid strikeout rate suggests that his stuff might be better than advertised. The ERA fails to impress on the surface, but his minor-league track record and peripheral numbers suggest there is more in the tank.”
Some more interesting prospect stuff, as Charlie Caskey of Your Van C’s takes separate looks at both the pitchers and the hitters who’ve been playing at Nat Bailey Stadium this summer, and where they fit into the Jays’ prospect puzzle.
Colby Rasmus stole another base last night, which the cynical among us — myself included — found a bit funny, as he’d only done so twice prior this season, and now all of three them have been in the past four games. Is a struggling free-agent-to-be possibly trying to pad his value by racking up raw stats? Could Colby Lewis have actually been on to something? Last night’s steal did occur in the bottom of the eighth with his club up 5-1, but most interesting — read: funny (because who the hell cares why he might be doing it if he’s doing it successfully?) — is the fact that in John Lott’s piece at the National Post that recounts the incident with Lewis (in which he stole his first base of the year after bunting against the shift for a two-out hit), Rasmus explains, “My dad’ll be happy about that. Over the all-star break he was asking me to steal some bases.” So is it Tony seeing dollar signs? (Wouldn’t blame him if he was.)
Elsewhere in the Post, last week, before the nominal second half began, the staff created a terrific infographic as a part of their large review of the Jays’ up and down first half, while John Lott’s gives us a game story from last night with an eye to the struggles of Juan Francisco.
Over at Sporstnet, Mike Wilner looks at the weird inconsistency of J.A. Happ this season.
A pair of pieces from MLB.com, as Anthony Castrovince features Jose Bautista, who he tells us is battling adversity as he tries to lead the Jays to the playoffs, while in a notebook post, Gregor Chisholm looks at the return of Ryan Goins, who he says will need to hit in order to maintain his spot in the big leagues, as well as the fact that Mark Buehrle won something called the Heart and Hustle award. OK?
Elsewhere in the Star, Josh Rubin looks at a number of reasons why the Jays could certainly still make the playoffs, and gives a bunch of scenarios that their run could follow.
At Bluebird Banter, Minor Leaguer awesomely gives us the results of an unscientific study of JaysTalk callers. Bang on.
Not Jays-related, or even baseball-related, but great stuff worth reading from Barry Petchesky of Deadspin on the First Takeification of sports and how the embracing of manufactured debate ends up unintentionally lending legitimacy to some of the most abject positions imaginable. Or something like that.
Lastly, great stuff as always from Drew over at theScore, as before the weekend he looked at the improbable downfalls of J.P. Arencibia and the Texas Rangers, while this week he looked at the impossible task of separating reality from fiction at the trade deadline, using the Jays an example of how difficult it is for a front office to reconcile the series of varying stretches a team goes through over the course of a season, and make sense of it as some kind of whole about which they can start strategizeing. Or something like that.