Another week another Griff Bag? Not exactly, as there was no Griff Bag to speak of over at the Toronto Star back on Friday. However! In the Griffmeister’s latest Bullpen post for the Star he promises a full one will return this week, and unleashes a mini mail bag on us, and so… y’know… let’s have at it!

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-Hi Rich,

When the Yankees saw that they needed a second baseman, they went out and got one – when they were in need of a third baseman, they spent money and brought one in. In both cases, excellent players. Some teams spend money to build an “A” class team while others, i.e. “Bean Counters” make all sorts of excuses. What a shame. Injuries are also the cause of the Jays inability to play as they did in May – they have had some bad luck in that area. Melky is, in my opinon, undoubtedly the best player that the Jays have and I hope that they bring him back for a few years.


Tony in Toronto.

Is “bean counter” really supposed to pass as an insult around now? Really?? I mean, just parroting such an impotent gibe really takes away the impact of the one thing you said that made the faintest hint of sense. Yeah, the Yankees spend large, and as much as any organization in the game, the on-field product is at the top of their corporate pyramid, while Rogers — probably dumbly — doesn’t see the benefit in assigning special status to the baseball aspect of their business (certainly not the way they have with live hockey rights). The Yankees seem to believe in winning as the prime driver of their bottom line, and spending as a means to that end, while the Jays are locked into a very different corporate structure where that just doesn’t seem possible for them, even though that’s precisely what they did in the most successful, on- and off-field, era of the club’s history. It is what it is, but it totally fucking sucks, yes.

Ah… but then there’s the rest of it. Chase Headley maybe plays excellent defence, but an excellent player? Maybe once, and maybe he can be again one day, but that’s not a label I’m about to slap on a guy whose 92 wRC+ on the season leaves him tied for 117th among 153 qualified big league hitters this season with the likes of Billy Hamilton, Alcides Escobar, and Dioner Navarro. Martin Prado, by the way, ranks 131st on that list, and has been abysmal since moving to the Bronx (while Utley has merely been league average).

Sure, injuries have played a part in the Jays’ inability to repeat their May performance, but it hasn’t been everything: Mark Buehrle and Drew Hutchison haven’t quite been the same, and it doesn’t help that on May 18th Juan Francisco was sporting a wRC+ of 175, and since then he’s put up a mark of 72.

And while you’re right that re-signing Melky is something to be optimistic for — and would be a sign that ownership is at least half-serious about winning — he’s undoubtedly the best player on the club? Uh… look right. (No, no, keep going.)



Q-Dear Mr. Griffin,

In your 8-8-14 Mailbag answer to Al from Toronto, you listed Ryan Goins among “the fresh group on the way to fill the upper farm system void.” Was this a slip of your fingers on the keyboard, or do you really consider Goins to be a prospect? He’s already 26 YO and as I type this has 245 ML PAs over two seasons. His slash line is .227/.247/.309. His OPS is .556. He has 54 Ks and 6 BB. Why should a fan have any optimism that Mr. Goins has a Major League future?


John Thompson, New Westminster, BC

Well, he’s got a hell of a glove, and you can never say never, but honestly? I’m with you. Which isn’t to say he has no value. He could be something like a Munenori Kawasaki with less bat and more glove, I suppose. Mune has batted .279/.328/.320 this season in the Majors, while Goins has put up a .282/.335/.340 in Buffalo, both with BABIPs higher than you’d think would be sustainable. So… yeah, it’s not much. Glove and bat seem to even out to pretty much replacement level, as far as I can tell.



Q-Mr. Griffin,

On Thursday night, August 8, I attended the Jays v. Orioles game at the Rogers Centre. I witnessed the following incident that I believe is indicative of why many fans don’t attend many, if any, games at the stadium. I’ll be thinking twice before I go again.

While the pitching for both teams was great, the game seemed to lack excitement and the crowd (smaller than I had expected for such a matchup) was pretty laid back; I might even say it was dead. I was seated along the third-base line, in section 128. Down a couple of rows, in the section to my left, a fan was standing up from time to time during the game, cheering and trying to rouse others around him to make some noise. I can’t say how much he was standing throughout the game as I was generally watching the field. Apparently, one or more people seated behind him must have complained that he should sit down as he was blocking their view. I can understand that, though if they had stood to cheer it wouldn’t have been a problem. Personally, I find the wave, with hands flapping in front of me blocking my view of the field, pretty annoying. At the beginning of the ninth — NINTH — inning, an usher came by and asked him to sit. He refused. I’ll add here that at no time did I hear him yell anything inappropriate, such as foul language. He also did not appear to be intoxicated.

The usher then went to get security. A couple of security guys came down, with one or two outs at the time, and again asked him to sit. Several (I think four) police arrived on the scene. Now things really became nasty and distracting. They sought to remove him from the stadium. They were intent on throwing him out as the bottom of the ninth inning was starting, for heaven’s sake. He sat, grabbing the sides of his chair, as many of us in the vicinity began chanting “let him stay; let him stay.” In the end, just before the game ended, they were able to pin his arms behind his back, cuff him, and virtually drag him out in obvious pain from the pinning of his arms.

In sum, it seems they want to treat the Rogers Centre like a church. Even if anyone could agree with their actions, why do this as the game appeared to be ending (sure, the Jays could have tied it up and then perhaps a decision might need to be made)? In my view, and I think many around me would agree, they used excessive force to remove a fan who was cheering on his team and trying to get others around him to get more into the game. There is a lot wrong with the Rogers Centre (prices for beverages and food for starters and that awful “turf”), but this treatment of fans who actually get excited strikes me as the greatest reason to stay away.

A Fan of Yours,

Richard Wertheim

I was there the night before, and I must say, I’m surprised you found the crowd laid back. But the other stuff? Sadly I don’t find that terribly surprising at all — from the irritating fan not giving two shits about the people around him, to the absolute overreaction from the stadium staff and police.

While I do particularly despise wave-starters — especially those who won’t take no for an answer — and tend to think that if you’re the only person standing up, you should probably just sit the fuck down. But somebody has got to be the first one to start standing, so even I can accept there’s a little bit of leeway here. And even still, four cops? Come on.

Add this to the stories I heard about people not being allowed to move into vacant seats during the 19-inning game in the following series — even vacant ones in the same pricing tier! — and yeah… more victories for the fun police. (Though, to be fair, my interactions with Rogers Centre staff have always been pretty good, so maybe don’t be too hard on them.)



Comments (67)

  1. damit! I was hoping for more of the earth is shattering and lets all lynch AA and Gibbons Idiocy so I can have a good laugh

  2. Toronto is a city full of uptight pussies. This is not something new.

  3. Maybe what he really meant to say was “Melky Cabrera is undoubtedly the fourth best position player on the Blue Jays”.

    • Word

    • Melky > Reyes tho

      • not by fWAR

        • Ooooooo Fwar!!! Reyes costs 15m more and plays abysmal D

          • I make nothing to play baseball. Ryan Howard makes $25 million. That doesn’t make me a better player than Ryan Howard.

            No one at any point mentioned the value of those players, and that in no way impacts who is the better player. I don’t think it’s ridiculous to think Melky is better, but your reasoning is horrible.

            Also, keep in mind that while Reyes plays bad defence at the most difficult defensive position. Melky plays equally bad defence at one of the easiest defensive positions.

            • If 2 players WAR match up identically I don’t think I’m an idiot to look at who provides better value for their contract and who actually fills the defensive position their slotted into. You, however, compared yourself to Ryan Howard

  4. Stoeten, you characterize the guy standing as an irritating fan who doesn’t care about the people around him. You may be right. Yet, going to ball games as a kid, what I learned was that you do a lot of standing to watch a ball game. We used to stand up when the ball was put in play, when there was a key at bat and/or a big pitch about to fly, not just after home runs or after the odd great play or after a big strike out. As a result, you’d be standing at least half the game.

    For the last several – maybe 10? – years, it seems if you’re standing during a play, you’re the only one. As for me, I’ll mostly stay in my chair rather than obstruct, but there are still a few instances during a game where my upbringing takes over where I’ll stand up even though everyone else around me is glued to their chair.

    • Me too, but that wasn’t quite the description — said he was trying to rouse others, which gets annoying. But partly you’re right that we’re just not used to it, and it’s probably common and better tolerated elsewhere. Like I say, it’s the people who won’t take no for an answer, or just seem to badly want the attention on them that I have more of a problem with. Depends, though — other people might have interpreted this guy’s actions differently.

      • I’ve been to most of the Stadiums in the North East except for NY and BOS and nobody stands for half the game…sure people stand to cheer good plays but thats it. I’ve never seen a baseball game where you stand for that amount.

        • Let’s take this one step further. The Rogers Centre staff were asked to do something about the guy. I’m just going to go ahead and assume the people around him asked him to sit down first. So Now you’ve got pretty much a large piece of work standing continuously who wouldn’t sit down twice when he was asked. I agree 4 cops in the 9th was a little bit silly (ok a LOT silly), but really, he does sound like a bit of a dickwad.

  5. Add to the Rogers Centre mix that in 25 years the fans down the baselines still haven’t been able to figure out that getting a $6 baseball souvenir isn’t more important than interrupting play on he field. Maybe they’re just used to 15 foot high Plexiglass separating them from the players…

    Is the paper airplane thing from the 500s still a thing?

    • First of all , an official mlb baseball now costs upwards of 20 bucks

      But that isn’t the point . The point is, it’s not about the monetary value of the ball but more rather the idea that you were , in your own peripheral small way , part of the action of a major league game. This is not a monetary thing but has more value .

      Having said that, people should not be messing with balls in play but I get that in the moment , a few might lose their heads

  6. I’m not surprised about that story. Every game I’ve been to in the last 10 or so years the crowd sounded like it was attending a funeral. The only time I can recall passion from the crowd was a game this year against the ChiSox when Gibby pulled Stroman too early, and Chops immediately gave up a 3-run homer.

    I’ve just surmised that too many fans have been to Leaf games where they all sit on their hands and golf clap when a goal is scored.

    I just don’t sense any passion from fans anymore. I’ve personally given up on this season and don’t even watch the games anymore, but only because the Blue Jays are a cruel mistress. Every year they promise you they’ve changed and want to make it work, then break your heart all over again. I still am passionate for the team, but Jesus Christ they have to do SOMETHING to bring the energy back to the fanbase. It clearly won’t take one truly passionate fan, and I doubt even 100 would even do anything.

    • Guess what … if you’re not having fun at the game, it isn’t because of the ‘boring’ crowd. It’s because of the boring ‘you’.

  7. Since the trades.

    Headley- .253/.347/.361

    • Thank you for that. Headley is the best of the bunch and that offensive line is still not good.

      • Easy to watch sports highlights and see headley or prado with a big hit or homerun.

        Those trades have not worked out for the yanks so far, and they took a big financial commitment to find that out. jays simply can’t do that.

        • The only significant financial commitment they made was to Prado, but the point stands. They have not been good, but some people don’t care about that.

          One of my favourite moments since the trade was when Headley came off the bench and went 0-3 before delivering a game-winning single and people flipped out about “SEE! Headley already won the Yankees a game!” as if everything that happened before that hit didn’t matter.

          • They are still paying Drew’s remaining salary and part of Headleys are they not?

            • I thought the Padres were covering the majority of what Headley is owed. Either way, Headley and Drew are free agents at the end of the year, so they didn’t have to commit anything down the road. That’s more what I looked at as making a financial commitment.

    • Can someone CC our resident diver on that slash line.

      • Yeah, I see it.

        • What I see mostly is a .347 OBP. From a guy who plays every day, elite defense, at a position that we desperately could have used it.

          Co trash that to Franciscos abysmal line since the trade, and he only plays half the time.

          WAR is a nice Stat here because it’s a cumulative one and takes into account defense as well as playing time. Headley has 1.1 WAR in 23 games since the trade. Francisco has 1.1 WAR this entire season (which includes his blazing start. If you look at it since the trade he’s been negative WAR).

          FFS Headleys 1.1 WAR in 23 games is almost as good as the career 1.2 WAR Francisco put up in 323 games.

          And come on, I though this place was supposed to be progressive. Headleys line looks bad to the ancient dinosaur fan because of a low BA. A .347 OBP in a full time, non platoon player is a really good offensive player, regardless of power or lack of it.

          Sorry, but whatever you may think of my opinions, if you can honestly say that Headley wouldn’t have been a huge upgrade over Francisco thn you just don’t know baseball.

          And you can’t say “hindsight is 20/20 l” or whatever. It was obvious at the time. Headley is just in a different league then Francisco who was having a down half season. It really didn’t take hindsight to imagine that the far better player would likely put up the better production numbers.

          Would Headey havery been enough to change the season? Maybe. Probably not. That’s not the point. The point is its a microcosm of inept management. You were in a pennant race and you had the chance to significantly upgrade your team, for peanuts. And you chose not too.

          You guys certainly wernt to forgiving of JP’s incompetence (regardless of how nice a guy he was). Why so forgiving of AA’s?

          • And don’t talk about “Francisco has 3 years” blah blah.

            If Lawrie did t hurt himself again, Juan would’ve been dfa’d weeks ago.

            He’ll be gone by 2015.

          • Guy postures about being progressive and smart, quotes OBP and WAR in 23 game sample size like it’s conclusive of anything.

            Guy says “it was obvious at the time,” ignores everything that made it not remotely obvious that Chase Headley was about to have a decent (league average wRC+ with very good defence) 23 games, ignores the cost in years of cheap control of an asset, ignores the fact that the deal, according to Bob Elliott, also would have sent two “not big-time prospects” to San Diego, ignores any instinct to contemplate whose definition of “not big-time” that might be and whether it makes sense, and ignores the most major issue: Headley’s injury, the cortisone shot he took for it, and the fact that he’d be asked to play on a surface that exactly exacerbates those kinds of injuries.

            Guy insists, despite proving absolutely nothing — other than the fact that he’s shitty at constructing a coherent argument that will stand up under the faintest of scrutiny — that he’s shown “incompetence” in this “microcosm of inept management.”

            Guy fails again, yet acts like he’s giving a divinely inspired sermon.

            Guy, one hopes, does not wonder why some, like myself, find the whole act so insufferable.

    • What is Juan Francisco putting up since the trade ?

      • garbage is the nicest way to put it.

      • I remain curious as to what the other portions of that trade would have been.

      • how many at bats has juan francisco had since the trade to make that relevant.

        Tolleson Vs LHP, Valencia VS LHP and Kawasaki all have better lines then prado, drew, headley.

        Juan francisco sucking is irrelevant when the option was to replace him with someone who also sucks.

  8. Wait – two reasonable questions in one (mini!) mailbag. Is this the all time record?

  9. Put Utley for Headley in the first response, Stoet.

  10. Stoeten – the mention of ‘bean counter’ makes me think of all the other short form second-hand thought that passes for commentary on the team, and that brings me to something i think you might like in regards to dealing with the mailbags – the introduction to Martin Amis’ ‘The War Against Cliché’.

  11. All of the stories that are absolutely true, that last one was definitely the truist

  12. Fuck, guys. Do you remember the 2014 Blue Jays baseball season?

    Good times. Sucks that it’s over now.

    • we’ll always have May 2014

    • re. Sully Sullivan:

      Just cruised his “blog” — he’s a racist, homophobic, mysogynistic puke. Ban him, Stoets, will ya?

      • LOL.

        That is all.

      • Holy fuck that was the worst tripe I’ve ever read.

        • Fangraphd jays odds to win WC: 5%

          Division: 3.1%

          Guys. Cmon, guys.

          • There are many examples of teams with worse odds closer to the end of the season making the playoffs. The odds mean next to nothing, and someone claiming he’s interested in realism should maybe try to grasp that. But Sully is quite obviously not really interested in realism, he’s interested in being a garbage clown.

            Yes, the chances aren’t good and are evaporating quickly. But anybody saying it’s over is a fucking moron or a troll.

            • There are examples all throughout life of 5 percent shots coming through. As an avid poker player I know this all too well. It’s not definitely over but it is realistically over. A 5 percent or even 10 percent shot coming through is not realistic.

              In any other endeavour holding out hope on a 5 percent shot would be considered pretty ridiculous. I’ll concede that sport is about passion and or whatever else. So you can hold out your unrealistic hope. I don’t care. But why do I have to? Why am I moron to think this season is done?

              All things equal I’m more sane in my belief than you guys are in yours. So don’t fucking attack me for it.

              • You will be attacked (or more likely just blocked) for it because you’re being a shitstain, not for being too deep into your troll act to have noticed how stupid calling 1/20 or 1/10 “unrealistic” is (avoiding the obvious semantic debate you’re trying to drag this into — out of necessity, I might add, due to your troll position on the matter), or treating the playoff odds like the gospel in the first place.

                • I’ve been an active member of this comments section for a long time and you get several page views out of me per week, every week amd have been steadily for ywars now. I can’t blow off some steam and declare this season over without a threat of being blocked?

                  That’s really silly man. Sometimes I honestly don’t get what you’re all about. I’ve seen people come on here before with fantastic views on the way you treat your readership and I know you’ve read them. Maybe one day you’ll take their advice/warnings.

                  • Baiting people into circular arguments about the semantics of what’s “realistic” for the sake of being an obvious shithead is letting off steam? Please.

                    Oh, and let now let’s play the “the way you treat your readership” card, as if the people worried about not having mopes around, unseriously venting “it’s over” like children when the team is 3.5 games out of a playoff spot with 37 games left, are anything but a tiny fraction of the tiny fraction of readership that those who wade into the comments represent. As I tweeted the other day, on September 8th, 2008 the Jays had won 10 straight and were headed to Boston, who they were chasing, and you COULD NOT convince people that it was over. They were seven games back. Nobody is going to miss the garbage you’re trying to be the pied piper of.

    • @sully … you tried this yesterday and barely made garbage clown … today you have confirmed your status as Troll.

      • I’ve actually replied with something similar on various recent posts. I also routinely contribute meaningful comments to this community.

        If you’d like to regurgitate some term Stoeten made up for people who are realistic about things, then fine I guess. Great. Good for you.

        But your right to call me a garbage clown is exactly the same right I have to call this season over.

        • There’s one difference.
          Stating that the season is over is speculative – and could be subject to change.
          Stating that you’re a clown garbage is definitive – and not likely to change at all.

          • Both are opinions. Mine is rooted in probability and on topic. His is rooted in hatred and is just flat out an attack.

            If you disagree with what I’m saying then debate me. Don’t call me a name.

            The way things look now it is way way way way more probable that the Jays miss the playoffs than it is likely that they will make it. If you believe otherwise, prove it.

        • The best sign to confirm that someone is being overly negative about something is when they break out the “I’m not being negative, just realistic.”

          • If you think the jays making the playoffs is realistic then you should see a doctor man.

            • I didn’t say it was realistic. I’m saying it’s a longshot, but it’s possible. You’re saying it’s not a possibility.

              The Jays are 3.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. The last time a team overcame such a massive deficit on August 19 to make the playoffs was way back in 2013, when Cleveland won the Wild Card after being 4.5 back. Before that you have to go even further back to 2012, when Oakland was 5 games behind Texas for the division lead. I know we’re really digging deep into the vaults of baseball history here, but in 2011 Boston had an 8.5 game lead in the Wild Card and Atlanta was up by 7.5 on August 19. You may remember what happened to end the season there, but I’ll fill you in just in case you don’t: they both missed the playoffs.

              • Not to burst your bubble but in each of those seasons there were several teams in the hunt across 6 divisions and 4 wildcard spots so one team overcoming a deficit of that nature in one single year is still a one in 10 shot at best but more likely maybe worse odds. But thanks for positioning your fundamentally wrong response in the snottiest way possible.

                • I wrote that while walking and didn’t word it very well. I’ll boil it down to once sentence…

                  Let’s talk about the 5 to 10 teams that were in similar positions, or better, in those seasons but didn’t make the playoffs.

                • Holy. Shit. You seriously don’t even know what you’re arguing anymore, do you?

                  You claimed the season was over. Everyone else is telling you that you are wrong. Now you’re arguing that the chances are slim. NO ONE is arguing that they have good chances of making the playoffs because of course they don’t. But teams have overcome bigger deficits than this FOUR TIMES in the last three years.

                  The chances of the Jays making the playoffs are higher than zero. That’s it. That’s all anyone is trying to argue.

                  • Have you ever been in a scenario where you or someone you know has proclaimed during a rout “this game is over!” Even tho technically it’s not over.

                    Great example: last year’s super bowl.

                    You must have been in a scenario where this has happened. Did everyone present freak out and call that person a moron or a garbage clown or an idiot or whatever?

                    Here is what I believe: the season is over. I of course understand the jays are not mathematically eliminated. Have you been arguing this whole time under the impression I think the jays are mathatically eliminated?

                    • Well you either made the effort to comment on every post recently with your “Season’s over” shtick because you believe it or because you’re being a shit. I apologize for thinking it was the former.

        • Thought I’d chime in.

          There is a correlation between what Stoeten says and what many of us commenters say. That is because much of what he says makes sense and many of us are sensible people. It’s unfortunate that you interpret that association as us being unwilling to have our own thoughts, or being scared to voice our true opinions.

          If your dander gets up because someone called you a garbage clown on the internet, well, I don’t know what to tell you. And your mention of rights seems disingenuous. But what do us sheep know anyway?

          • The Jays likely won’t make the playoffs. Impossible, no. Unlikely yes. But here’s why I think it will be more likely than the 9% that gives them:

            Schedule: with 37 games left, I think they should go 19-12 with six games against Baltimore. They play 9 against the Rays (6 at home) and should go 5-4 against them. Seven against the Yankees and should go 4-3. 6 against the Red Sox, should go 4-2. Three against the Cubs which they should sweep, and 4 against the Mariners and should split that 2-2. After Milwaukee tomorrow, no more travel out of the time zone. That puts the Jays at 83-73. If they go 4-2 against Baltimore that puts them at the rest of the eason at 23-14 to finish 87-75.

            Is that good enough though to pass all off Kansas/Detroit, Seattle, and the Yankees?

            Probably not. Kansas’ schedule is pretty straight forward with 14 games against Texas, Chicago, Boston, and the Twins with only six games left with the Tigers. I can see KC easily going 10-4 against those teams and 12-12 to finish with 91 wins.

            Detroit has 21 “easy games” and could go 14-7 and then go 9-10 and end up with 89 wins.

            The Mariners have a tough schedule with only 18 easy games (Stros and Twins, Bosox, Phillies) with the rest being pretty difficult. 12-6 against the easy team and 10-10 to finish, puts them at 89 wins too.

            So, no, you would need two of KC, Detroit, and Seattle to hit the shitter, but I think the magic number of wins for the Jays has to be about 90. That means winning some pretty tough games and putting together some sweeps.

            For that to happen, the rotation has to keep it together. Bullpen reinforcements arrive in two weeks with the September callups. I think you can count on the Jays scoring 5 runs a game and that reeks of success but not so if you’re giving up 6 runs in the 1st or 2nd inning.

    • re. Sully Sullivan

      I figured he’d pull the link. Here it is, if you’d like to see for yourself what a piece of shit he is:

      • Dude you can still get the link from my original comment. I’m on my cellphone now. Settle down

  13. The main reason why the odds both overstate and understate true probabilities is the serial correlation of success and failure which is evident in every sport but baseball seems to statistically display this feature more than the other majors. Mark Cuban started, then had to shelve because of NBA outrage, a sports betting hedge fund largely based on this “momentum” factor. Why it exists is less clear. Undisclosed injuries? Human nature, ie. winning “feels” better than losing and you play better when you feel better? There are lots of hypotheses. But…it exists and backward looking quant analysis doesn’t factor in the more likely than calculable “fat tail” outcomes.

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