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?

Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun and Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star, each in their own special way, try to dumb down the discourse. If you’re into that sort of thing.

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.

Comments (114)

  1. Someone care to recount what happened with Rasmus and Lewis? I’m dead lost as to what happened and who said what afterward

    • He was chripin rasmus for bunting, in a situation that i felt a bunt was completely fine,

      Lewis just being a baby and whining over nothing


    • Rasmus bunted against the shift, Lewis took exception to him doing that (even though the Jays were only up by two and there was plenty of baseball left to play).

      • That link led to video on MLB dot com. Jesus Christ, if you want him to swing, don’t leave a gaping hole down to the line to drop one down. Love the cold hard stare from Cletus, no words needed.

    • What do you guys think Rasmus is looking at contract-wise this offseason? Last year there was speculation of 5 years $75 million, but that looks pretty unlikely now.

      • Whether that’s unlikely or not depends on the second half.

        • when will you ever give up on Cletus Stoeten?


        • So, do you honestly believe that Rogers would have the payroll to renew both Rasmus and Melky? Because I’d be ecstatic if that were the case.

          What has me feeling a heck of a lot less optimistic is the total lack of in-season trade action, combined with the failure to sign free agents they were in on in the offseason. That suggests to me that AA is already operating near the max of his “payroll parameters.” I mean, he’s nearing the end of his contract and his team is in the hunt, so why wouldn’t he go all out?

        • And what he does in the playoffs!!!!!

      • Who is more valuable?

        C. Rasmus J. Francisco

        AB 220 211

        Hits 48 49

        2B 11 12

        3B 1 1

        HR 13 14

        BB 16 21

        AVG .218 .232

        OBP .274 .308

        SLG .455 .498

        OPS .729 .806

        Source: MLB.com

        • Juan is a way better center fielder

        • wow.

        • Sparky, you just made my Cletus lovin’ blood run cold.

        • Not to mention that Rasmus is not a superstar defender. He is very smart and efficient and makes a lot of medium-herd plays. But his arm is below average and he isn’t that fast for a CF.

          I would rather take Melky and throw Gose out there and spend the money elsewhere.

          OR, get Rasmus on something more like 5/60 or 4/55. To me, Vernon Wells’ contract made more sense than it would to give that same contract to Colby.

          And to be clear: I do like Colby.

          • It’s totally possible to like Colby and also think it’s better for the team to cut ties and move on rather than pay him what he might fetch.

            Depending on his 2nd half performance I would give him a QO. I would also trade him in the next 40 days if something that made sense came up. I just don’t see him as integral to the success of the team. Would rather roll with Melky, Gose and Bautista in the OF + whatever upgrade Colby’s freed-up salary or trade worth brings in return.

        • I’m pretty sure you know this, but you do realize that good-hitting centre fielders are harder to find than good hitting third basemen, right?

          Colby is more valuable than Juan because he fields a more difficult position, and he hits better compared to other CFs than Juan does compared to other 3Bs.

  2. The thought of Papelbon as a Blue Jay is enough to make me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

    God, I HATED that guy when he was a Red Sock.. sox… sock… Red Sox player.

  3. Good duce. Lots of interesting stuff here. Also It is interesting to think the jays are bringig up goins in favour of better infield defense as they give sanchez a shot. I didn’t know about Sanchez’s high groundball rate so maybe that was their thinking indeed.

    • But it’s only going to be for what, 30 innings? Max?

      Maybe he can come in as a defensive replacement, I guess. It’s not like the rest of our staff aren’t groundball pitchers.

  4. That BP Eyewitness piece also features Pompey.

    • And says he’s a 4th OF. Meh.

      • Meh?

        • Meh??!

        • I can’t root for the guy to be an everyday CF/table setter in the lineup and hope scouts back up my as-of-now unreasonable hopes? Lol

          I realize they’re being realistic with what he’s shown right now. Hopefully the raw tools shape up.

          • I see. Just ignore the conclusion; you can fit the rest of the report into your projection. Anyway, he scouted 3 games early into his promotion to NH. Pompey’s stock has got some serious helium to it. The great plate discipline also fits more your projection than Tellen’s in that it should help him keep up with advanced competition

            • He was slumping hard when he first got up to NH and has been heating up lately

            • Scouting baseball players has got to be tough because of the limited viewing opportunities for any given player and the problem of sample sizes. Pompey had a .371 OPS in his first 11 games, which he’s followed up with a 1.018 OPS in his last 11. Obviously there’s a lot more to it than the stats (and that’s what scouts are for), but it makes me wonder if a scouting report would look much different if the same scout had attended three more recent games.

  5. Jays were probably looking at someone that makes the league min.

  6. Good roundup, thanks!

  7. 100% guessing,
    but i would imagine Colby deciding to run more is coming from the bench.
    trying to create runs for a team that’s been struggling to score runs and getting 0 from the bottom of the lineup

    • I heard Buck say that Colby started running more because his dad told him to. Good ‘ol Tony. Which makes me wonder, was Colby holding out on us, or were the Jays coaches telling him not to run? Something is amiss, but it’s good to see he can steal bases. Too bad he only has a .274 OBP. The 80/16 K/walk rate isn’t helping, either.

      • I would imagine Reyes and Gose have a green light, and everyone else waits for signs.
        maybe i’m wrong

      • So there’re 3 possible Cletus scenarios:
        1/ He plays out his contract and gets QO’d, declines (at approx 15MM) and goes FA

        2/ He plays out his contract and doesn’t get QO’d but signs with the Jays for a much lower 5year max deal.

        3/ He gets traded in the next 8 days or in Aug.

        IMHO I can see Cletus, who is a chronic streaky player, and loves his job and TO, upping his numbers slightly but not hugely in the 2nd half and signing with the Jays for a fair amount; definitely nothing in the 15mm/year range.

        • Griffin’s take:

          -The trade value of Colby Rasmus at this point in time is negligible in terms of helpful talent and the Jays don’t need a salary dump, so they might as well hang onto him. Sure there are teams that would take him for the final two months, but the Jays would receive nothing of value in return. He has been injured and he has been ineffective as a hitter. Look at it this way. If you are a contender, is Rasmus going to be better than the centre fielder that you already have out there? Rasmus has not taken advantage of his free-agent year to this point and if the thought in Blue Jays camp, at one time, was to let him finish the year then extend him a qualifying offer in order to at least get a draft pick in return and be able to continue negotiations, that is likely not the case anymore. He will not be offered $15 million (the 2015 qualifying amount) by any team in a multi-year or one-year deal.
          It says here that the Jays at the end of the season, wil just let Rasmus walk without seriously negotiating unless it is at their price. Such is not the case with Melky Cabrera. Melky has played like the man they believed they had signed back in Nov. 2012 and they will at least extend him a qualifying offer and see what his market is before giving him any sort of a long-term deal.

        • Why pay Rasmus 15 mil a year when you can put Gose in the field for 1/10 of the cost?

          • Absolutely, if we believe they’re going to use that money to replace Colby’s production elsewhere (2B/3B, C, SP).

    • Na, it’s his dad. ; )

      • In fact Colby showed up in ST a week early this year so he could get a good start on his contract year. No doubt in my mind his dad has all kinds of input but at this point he’ll be working on an extension with the Jays. If he’s lucky he’ll be looking at 3/30 but it’ll more likely be 3/24 – ish.

  8. ladies and gentlemen. Jay Happ. That is all.
    oh and a bit of Jose Reyes for all the haters.
    now lets see some “ace” Dickey.. go Jays!

    • Happ has impressed but I think he has even surprised himself. He threw a curveball for strike 3 yesterday that made everyones knees buckle. So nice to see for the guy.
      He needs a little more consistency but I’m now a convert.

  9. So far in his Fangraphs chat today, Dave Cameron has called Anthony Gose and Aaron Sanchez terrible.

    • He literally said Sanchez is terrible

      • That’s crazy. The kid has electric stuff.

        • Someone asked why he hates Sanchez..

          Says he doesn’t hate him, but doesn’t think he’s very good because he can’t throw strikes

          “He’s just another example of overrating of hard throwing bad command minor league arms”

        • his AAA numbers did not really warrant a call-up, and he’s the youngest pitcher in baseball, if they needed RHO bullpen help they could have brought back 2013 ALLSTAR Steve Delabar, so one really does have to wonder why the rush up, if not to possibly increase his trade value?

          • Do you not remember how Delabar ended up in Buffalo in the first place?

            The worst case scenario for Sanchez is what Delabar showed earlier this year

            Also the trade value/showcasing stuff is bullshit

          • He can be useful until Delabar has been showing it for a few more weeks, and the big-league time can be instructive for him. What’s the worst that happens? He gets drilled and finds he has more work to do?

          • Taijuan Walker is actually younger than Sanchez. Likewise with Dylan Bundy. Neither of them pitched in the minors this season, however.

        • He has a ~6% K-BB rate in AA/AAA this year which is *fucking* terrible.

          I hope he isn’t, though.

          • He’s walked 5 in his last 5 appearances (3 starts), 21 innings. Throughout his time in Buffalo he has induced almost 3x as many balls on the ground as in the air. It’s fair to cite recency and sample size to pooh pooh this. Anthopoulos says they really believe he’s turned a corner – obviously you can take it or leave it.

  10. Wow. Since June 3rd, Juan Francisco is striking out 52% of his at bats. That’s crazy. It seems like often when you’re watching it night after night but over half is shocking.
    Juan, you might want to shorten your swing or pack your bags man. I’d be fine with singles and doubles…

  11. On a more positive note, I thought Goins hit the ball square every at bat last night. Didn’t really have any bad at bats and as always, looked sharp on defense. He really could have had a couple hits..
    Let’s hope this is a new trend

  12. So based on the report of Dan Norris, he could be a lefty Hutchinson? I could live with that.

  13. One last observation: anyone feel awful for Casey last night? When he got pulled, again, he looked so sad giving the ball up. I really like Casey. I hope this rust is all to do with the illness. Buck said last night he had lost 8 pounds due to it.
    Get well soon!

    • So did McGowan. Take it in strides

      • You mean McGowan lost 8 lbs from that sickness, too? Or that he also struggled to throw strikes?

        • The latter. He was throwing a fit in the dugout after

          • At least in support of Janssen, he did seem to be hitting his spots ok and Boston hit a few seeing eye singles, I thought. In CJ we trust.

    • better he give up some runs without blowing a game tho right?

    • It was probably the first time since becoming a closer that he’d been pulled two outings in a row. Hopefully, this stretch is just a blip because without Casey being Casey, this team is in a world of trouble.

      • Dude, 8 pounds.
        Did you see him the other night?
        He looked like the Walking Dead.
        Casey will be fine.

        • oh yeah and 1 more thing.
          Casey – when he’s healthy – has a little shuffle he does on the mound.
          and he shakes his throwing arm at the same time.

          I guaran – fucking – tee it wasn’t there the last 2 nights.

    • All of the runs he’s given up this month have been in non-save situations… Not that the illness doesn’t have anything to do with it lately

      I know there’s nothing to it really but some closers aren’t as automatic when it’s not close. It’s weird.

      • I’d say it is absolutely natural.

        • You can’t be a dialed in when nothing is on the line. Every facet of life, from blowouts in all sports to even the intensity one studies three days in advance of an exam versus the night before. Intensity definitely increases as more is on the line. I feel like that’s just human nature.

  14. Guys, how many wins do the Jays need to win the division? Does 90 get it done? As shitty as they have played they only need to play a little over .500 to get it done especially if they can figure out the teams they are chasing. It is going to be a wild August September when EE, Lawrie & Lind get back.

    My only question is who are they going to platoon with Lind when they have to face Kershaw and Ryu in the WS!

    • optimism! cant be from Toronto.

      • Nope. From California, living in Oregon but family is from Toronto, so when I started watching baseball I followed the Jays and have been stuck with them since then.

    • All depends on if Baltimore continues to play. 650 ball

      • They are not that good. They will cool. Still have a tough schedule ahead of them with there west coast swing.

    • @SoCalJay, to get to 90 wins, the Jays would have to go 38-23 the rest of the way. That’s a .623 pace.

      Realistically, they need the O’s to come down off their pace and to finish one game better than the Yankees the rest of the way. The AL Least could very well have a 85-win division champ.

      Just playing with numbers…

      Current pace for both Jays and Yankees: 83-79, so a plausible finish that results in a division championship would be Jays at, let’s say, 85-77 (need to finish 33-28, .540), Orioles 84-78 (they’d have to go 29-34, .460), and the Yankees no better than 33-30, .524 to finish at least one game behind. All certainly plausible, particularly if EE. Lawrie and Lind all come back soon and don’t take too long to find their niches again.

      • Looking at the schedule the rest of the way, 9 of the Jays’ final 61 games are against the O’s. Win 7 of these 9, and all they have to do is to win at the same pace as the O’s in the other 52 games.

    • I would say 90 games would probably take it.

      Both WC’s likely going to the West

  15. Of Maice and Morrow

    All good news on Lind, EE and Lawrie but what of Maicier and Morrow.
    Is Maicier definitly done for the year?
    Morrow I last heard was a maybe?

    • Morrow returns for a few weeks then hits the DL again… its pretty much automatic.

      • It’s like the old Nick Nolte joke.

        “Nick Nolte was released from rehab Tuesday. But don’t worry, Nolte fans, he’ll be back there in no time.”

    • why trade away prospects for a SP when you got Morrow coming back in August?

      • Maicer was a torn ACL , no? that’s usually season ending. One report says 4-6 months so the 4th month would be Aug 14th. Big fat doubtful there.

  16. I’ve always wondered why Rasmus doesn’t try stealing bases

  17. Sean Nolin for Rios I would do, but no more and definitely not for Headley. At least Rios has club option, he’s been healthy, has speed and excellent OF depth.

  18. Does anyone know why Roberto Osuna hasn’t pitched since making it back from injury 2 weeks ago?

  19. Not sure why Cameron dislikes Gose so much. Kid’s only 23 years old. I brought this up before but he hasn’t even played in a full season’s worth of games.

    This is his stat line in 159 career games:

    .241/.308/.649 – 54 runs/19 doubles/9 triples/26 SB’s – 1.2 WAR – in 439 at bats

    Great no, good not really, but serviceable IMO for what amounts to his first full season’s worth of games (stretched across 3 calendar years). I’d take a guy like that on my team as a 4th OF’er

    Compare that to Dee Gordon’s age 23-24 seasons where in 436 at bats he put up the following stat line:

    .232/.305/.588 – 47 runs, 10 doubles, 3 triples, 43 SB’s, negative 1.4 WAR

    Consider some of Rajai’s worst seasons and this isnt much different. Except Rajai is old and can’t play D. Gose is only 23 and can play D. Rajai didnt even break into the league until age 25

    Gose has looked better in the games he’s played this year, then he has ever in his life. He still has a very respectable .340 OBP.

  20. Maybin suspeded 25 games for his ADD meds. See, we could Padres fan and then we would really have something to gripe about!

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