Here we go again. Scott MacArthur of TSN.ca writes that the Jays should be willing to trade Jose Bautista in the off-season. The club’s positional portion of the roster “is built to win now. You could argue the positional roster is beyond its ability to win, past its prime. Centrefielder Dalton Pompey is the only positional prospect of consequence playing higher than Single-A. He’s currently at Triple-A Buffalo,” he explains. “It’s time for the Jays to supplement the young pitchers with a more youthful positional corps. The way to do that is to take the best asset, Bautista, and use his prodigious productivity and cheap contract to secure a haul.” I might agree if Bautista’s contract wasn’t so good. I might agree if whatever young position players they could get their hands on wouldn’t come with huge question marks that Bautista doesn’t. I might agree if I thought this team was irrevocably broken and not just a few savvy tinkers away from being able to make noise in the AL East again. I might agree that the age gap is such a concern if there hadn’t been 16 playoff games started by pitchers age 23 and under in the last two seasons, and 47 made by pitchers age 24 and under in the last four. I might agree… but I don’t.*

McArthur focused on roster construction as the reason Bautista could be in play this winter, but it’s certainly not like there hasn’t been a bunch of peripheral noise being made around the Jays’ superstar this week — much of his own doing. But even as things may have been getting worse (though not in my eyes) with his shouldn’t-be-shocking reluctance to sing the praises of Rogers, they may have been getting better, too. One example is Bob Elliott’s counterpoint to Scott’s trade talk, writing in the Toronto Sun — in a piece with a big, bold headline — that Bautista isn’t going anywhere. At least not in the player’s view. “I’m not going anywhere until the end of my contract,” he says.

Of course, he doesn’t really have any say in that. Not yet, at least — but it’s damn close. I thought I was super sharp for thinking of this, but it was actually brought up first by a caller on last night’s JaysTalk, as I later discovered: Bautista will end this season having spent six full years on the Jays’ active roster (plus part of 2008, after he was acquired from Pittsburgh), and will have nine years and 165 days of big league service time — just seven days short of ten years of big league service. Seven days short of earning his ten and five rights, and the right to veto any trade. If they don’t trade him this off-season, it will become very difficult to do so. Edwin Encarnacion, by the way, will also hit the milestone by the end of next season.

It’s worth repeating and adding to this, even though I proved a link in last night’s piece: Shi Davidi vindicates Bautista’s contention that he didn’t deserve his ejection on Sunday afternoon. “hey were both down. They were both down. It’s a one-run game,” is what Davidi quotes Bautista as saying in a piece last night at Sportsnet. “You gotta go,” umpire Bill Welke responds. “I’m not cursing you,” Bautista responds, and is then ejected. It wasn’t the first time, Shi reminds us, that Bautista was run by Welke: “On Aug. 26, 2011 in Toronto, Welke was behind the plate for another game between the Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays, and called a second strike in Bautista’s third at-bat that he didn’t like. A few pitches later Bautista struck out for the third time against James Shields, and when he returned to the dugout began smashing the wall with his bat and cursed out, earning an ejection from Welke. Once tossed, Bautista proceeded to throw his bat, helmet, elbow pads and other accoutrements onto the field.” Hmmm.

Ben Lindbergh of Grantland take an excellent, deep look at players who have lost their prospect eligibility this season, and how they have trended in the eyes of scouts, scouting directors, analysts, and other executives, and I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the huge main image at the top of the post is of Marcus Stroman. He leads off the “trending up” portion of the piece, and why the hell shouldn’t he? One person he spoke to says that Stroman has already proven himself a capable mid-rotation starter, but another seems to go farther. ”I was worried about the lack of an out pitch vs. LHHs, although I did think he’d be able to stick as a starter. The development of his cutter and fastball command have essentially molded him into a pitcher with three plus offerings.” Nails much?

Aaron Sanchez, by the way, gets an honourable mention in the “trending up” section after he received multiple up votes himself. However, Sanchez is also mentioned later, as at least one of those surveyed felt he’d trended down.

Here’s something fun: though he is at least reasonable enough to point out that there’s no way to know if it was a grave error for the Jays to have not found more reinforcements at the trade deadline (have you seen this? have you heard about this?) or something else, and to note that both the Tigers and A’s — huge deadline winners, we were told — have suffered as well, but Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs looks at the changes in playoff probabilities across the majors since July 31, and HOLY FUCKING SHIT. The Jays have lost 56 percentage points off their odds as of that date — by far the most in baseball. Detroit’s 30 points and Atlanta’s 20 percentage points lost are second and third highest, so… yeah.

All sorts more from FanGraphs of late: Sullivan looks at where the Orioles are beating the projections, as well as game pace and the Mark Buehrle effect (including a great Twitter exchange between Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy), and also tries to make sense of Adeiny Hechavarria, an elite talent defensively, if not an elite defender. Meanwhile in a FanGROFs alert, Drew looks at the weekend in weird home runs.

Great stuff, as always, from John Lott of the National Post from over the weekend — or, actually probably late last week — as he looks at Dan Norris, who has ascended all the way to Buffalo this season. And in another piece he notes that, curiously, plans to have Norris move to the bullpen, and potentially join the Jays for the stretch drive were recently scrapped — at least temporarily — and that he’ll start tonight in the Bisons’ final home game of the season. Could they have decided already not to risk bringing him up?

Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet speaks to Sergio Santos upon his return to the majors after a “humbling” mid-season demotion.

Jamie Ross of BlueJays.com gave an update on Brandon Morrow over the weekend, telling us that the ailing pitcher was getting set to throw live batting practice in Dunedin on Saturday. You’d think this is where I’d put an update on what happened during the session, but… nope!

Elsewhere at BlueJays.com, Gregor Chisholm answers questions in his latest Inbox piece. Some questions aren’t written by angry octogenarians, even!

Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star talks to Mark Buehrle, who grew up in St. Louis, about the unrest in nearby Ferguson. Interesting stuff.

Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun wonders whether window sex in the SkyDome Hotel makes for a winning day for the Blue Jays, and I wonder… wait, what???

Matt Eddy of Baseball America notes that the Jays have released minor leaguer Mickey Storey,

More great prospect stuff from Charlie Caskey of Your Van C’s, as he charts Jairo “fuckin’ name and a fuckin’ arm” Labourt, and looks at the promotion of Rowdy Tellez… to Lansing.

Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA tweets that the Jays’ 2013 unsigned first-round pick, Phil Bickford, won’t be pitching for Cal State Fullerton again this year, and he adds that Bickford is rumoured to be headed to independent ball so that he can reenter the MLB draft a year early. Probably just as well. Hard to complain about the way the failure to sign Bickford turned into the Jays picking Max Pentecost and feeling confident enough about the high end of their draft to grab Jeff Hoffman, so… good on him, I guess.

Touching on something that I address in this week’s assorted weekend thoughts (only… y’know… a few days before me), Nick Ashbourne of Bluebird Banter looks at the quiet disaster that has been Dioner Navarro’s season. #AnalyticsPlantNorth. Speaking of: Nick also looks at why Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion ought to be broken up in the Jays’ batting order.

Elsewhere at Bluebird Banter, Minor Leaguer introduces us to the slice of defensive wizardry performed by Ryan Goins of the Buffalo Bisons over the weekend.

Great stuff from Chris Sherwin of at Blue Jays Plus, as he goes under the hood looking at Brett Lawrie and his troubling injury trends, especially when it comes to his obliques.

Elsewhere at BJP, Steve McEwen takes an interesting look at batted balls and the Jays’ pitching staff, while Gideon Turk examines whether there has really been a change in the Jays’ philosophy with prospects this season — as some have suggested.

In the Globe and Mail last Friday, Cathal Kelly took a break from penning gruesome, wholly inappropriate similes to make a quick declaration that the Jays season is over. But don’t worry, nobody was cheated on this one! We got what we figured we’d get! Which… actually… that’s probably about right.

Lastly, more of this!: Lately Facebook changed its algorithm with respect to sharing, it’s really become a much more powerful social media tool, and so it’s probably in your best interest to just go right ahead and like DJF on Facebook. That way you can get everything that’s posted here injected straight into your feed-veins.

And while we’re at it, you might as well follow me on Twitter, follow @DrunkJaysFans, and follow the dusty ol’ DJF Instagram too!


* I might have stopped using the device where I repeat the same start of each line by now if you hadn’t told me how annoying you found it, Beau.

Comments (57)

  1. FIrst?

  2. I think, after last night, I moved past aching for a playoff run, and am now back to my default position of just enjoying some baseball.

    I’ll say this though…any fucker who says this team has quit – watch Bautista wave the tying run home in the bottom of the ninth. Look how pissed off Dioner and Sanchez were when the go ahead run was scored. These guys CARE, man. They want it worse than we do.

    It makes me believe even more that this is a team that has the pieces to win, if ownership dedicated more resources and if management took away a lot of their self-imposed restrictions. They’re SO close, man. I really think they’re just missing an impact starter, but heaven knows how they manage to procure one.

    • Assuming Melky is coming back, they need an impact starter
      and an decent every day player who can play 2B or 3B or even SS
      (Lawrie or Reyes could move to 2B.) And Izturis is not that guy.

      Hard to win the division in 2015 with Dickie, Buehrle, Happ
      and the kids. They need that #1 or #2 at the top of the rotation.

      Bench is not bad. Keep Valencia. He can platoon with Lind at DH,
      is a lefty masher and insurance against injuries to Lawrie.
      Izturis is under contract, Thole (or a different backup) and a 4th OF T.B.A.
      Could be worse

    • They’re growing their own. That’s how they get one. They just need a quality infielder, Melky and a backend bullpen arm.

      • I hope you’re right, Pete. But there’s also the chance that the kids don’t pan out. Fingers crossed, and all that, but there’s no guarantee that guys like Norris, Stroman, Sanchez and Osuna turn out to be big time contributors. Fingers crossed…

      • Yeah, Pete, they are. Looks like they could have a kick as
        home grown, cost controlled rotation…but will those
        kids be ready to be that by 2015?
        Would be nice if they could add a proven veteran
        on a 1yr contract to act as a bridge to those kids.
        Then, they’d have a couple of MLB ready arms in the minors,
        ready to call up when crap happened

        • I think they should keep one of Buerhle or Dickey to be that “veteran pressence” in the rotation. But I think signing somebody else is kind of redundant. Hopefully, our rotation has Stroman, Sanchez AND Norris is in it next year. Straight out of spring training.

  3. Article on Fangraphs about roster construction.
    Focus is on the limitations of WAR as the sole method of player evaluation
    and it takes a good look at what the A’s are doing with their platoons.

    • Except the A’s still among the top 5 teams in WAR so I’m not sure I fully buy what the article is trying to say.

      And I think all of the other factors like splits, platooning, park factors are or SHOULD be taken into consideration when adding a player via trade or free agency

  4. Wowsers, that is a lot of reading!

  5. Navarro took that last foul off the mask, I wasn’t sure if he was KO’d or sick of getting hit – recently been taking a lot of fouls. No doubt he needs more down time. Maybe expanded rosters bring up Jimenez?
    Re: Bautista for fielding prospects: In contract year for sure, but I just don’t see how moving Bautista or EE in 2014/2015 will help. Jays will be doing well to replace/resign Melky and Rasmus this off-season. The only logical move would be Buehrle or Dickey for true, quality 2B, but this is a long-shot.

  6. Ugh….I feel like a garbage clown today as I feel like the last two losses have drained all hope out of my body. I will watch, but all hope has now fleeted…sigh

  7. I agree with looking to trade Bautista in the offseason, but not because he isn’t good (he’s great) but because he is on the backside of his career and looking ahead, the Jays might be able to get a very good haul for him and retool. I’m not convinced they are only a player or so away from contending. They need at least 2 more arms, another infielder and another outfielder. That translates into 2 or more years from now, and I’m not convinced Jose will be as effective or healthy at that stage. It’s not fair that he is taking the lion’s share of the blame, but he is their greatest trade asset

    • see Ortiz. beyond old, in baseball terms. still effective.

      bottom line – you can’t know if Bautista will hold the line, but you also can’t know if any of the prospects develop at all. i’d take the known quantity, especially when he’s that good and obviously invested in the success of his teammates.

      • I totally agree. No way they should trade Bautista. His eye at the plate seems to be mitigating his physical decline.

  8. Stoeten – 

    was thinking about shitty ownership, what it means in the long run, and i thought of the Royals. for years Rany Jazayerli has complained about how David Glass can’t spend a penny and their GM doesn’t get much love around baseball. will they make the playoffs this year? who knows. meaningful baseball in September – definitely. fluke? possibly – but they’re there. is this the realistic upside of the Jays’ situation? after all, there’s zero possibility Rogers sells.

    • . . . let me qualify my hysteria – i know we have a higher payroll, possibly better prospects, a more clever GM than the Royals, etc – but are we in a similar position in that we need a season where almost everything goes right because we can’t afford to go the extra mile if and when it might be necessary (i’m not talking trade deadline, but in a more general sense of padding the roster in the winter)? do we have a similarly narrow margin for error?

      • I think you are spot on with your gripe. I’m all in favour of AA being smart with assets and not throwing away money (although technically it is my money – tickets). With the division vulnerable like it was, now would have been the time say fuck it. It’s only money and we need x,y,z. I’m not sure ownership will ever get to that point now.

    • Love how people think 1 year of playoffs, or playoffs in general makes a successful franchise.

      There have really only been tops 8 consistently successful teams in the past 20 years – with 5-6 random winners (usually poorly managed) sprinkled in there. But all of a sudden KC is a great franchise – truth is, it is and has been shit regardless of what they do this post season… But you can think they managed their roster, coaching, players brilliantly…. Same with the moneyball and cheap teams (A’s & Ray’s), who everyone is envious of now, they are built for regular season success.

      It’s been a crazy season… But major trades to make the playoffs this year would had doomed the team for 5 years. Would it had been worth it for a 1 game wildcard? Another 20+year draught in the playoffs (even if we won the 2014 ring). I would rather see our team mold into a system like the Giants/STL.

  9. Two things I find interesting about the Bautista ejection:

    1. I used to be one of those people who would harshly criticize Bautista about his cry-baby ways with umpires. I thought it was a destructive practice, put you in bad with the umps, and just generally low class. I didn’t buy the argument that we should all shut up about it, just because he’s a great player. I think even the great players should be trying to improve in areas they are weak.

    That is why I’ve been defending him since Sunday. Yes, he got kicked out in a critical game and it very well may have cost us a win. But you have to give him credit. He’s a million times better with umpires this year. He’s really reined in his emotions, and I think he should be applauded for that. Not buried the first time he’s relapsed this year.

    2. Quite oppositely, I find it very amusing that this post seems to suggest that it is POSSIBLE that Welke might have had a quick trigger for Bautista, MAYBE related to an outburst from another season.

    Why is this funny? Because those of us that suggested so for years were fucking buried for thinking that. And yes, a professional umpire shouldn’t hold grudges, but they are humans. And sometimes they do.

  10. I don’t think I’ve ever liked Jose Bautista more than I do today.

    It used to be I liked him as the result of being a Jays fan, now I just like him.

    I’m with Teddy Ballgame, time to sit back and enjoy the last month of baseball before it’s gone for 6 months. I’ll worry about the playoffs, ownership support and 2015 roster construction another time. Now it’s all about sweet sweet baseball.

    • looking to limber up? watch “Homer at the Bat”.

      “All right, you ragtag bunch of misfits! You hate me, and I hate you even more. But without my beloved ringers, you’re all I’ve got. So I want you to remember some inspiring words that someone else might have told you over the course of your lives, and go out there and win!”

  11. Bringing Norris up would have been a little crazy given how many arms the Jays have in AAA right now who have BP experience. If they were a game out or in the lead – maybe then you say “ok fuck it – we need the best arms we can possibly have right now” and you turn the kid into a BP peice.. But as things stand now they should be looking to 2015 with a guy like Norris. Maybe he starts the year in AAA and moves up if there is an injury or if there is a deal that happens. He’s already covered a lot of ground. No reason to bring him up when the team is so far from the wild card.

    • Norris is pitching to try to get the Bison’s into the playoffs, and hopefully, he’ll pitch for them IN the playoffs also. I think most of the recent rapid promotions for Jays prospects are about getting their better guys into playoff hunts and into playoff games.

  12. You know, the Jays did ok with WInfield and Molitor in their line-ups. They were no spring chickens. So…..

    Going into next year, the Jays are in the best position they’ve been in for a very, very long time. This team is just getting started. They’re going to be like Tampa with more money. So basically, much better than Tampa.

  13. Personally, I think this team is fucked. If AA can somehow dump Reyes, resign Melky and Jassen,get a catcher, an SS (I think muni can be an everyday 2b) and another OF then I’ll climb back aboard the SS Bluejay.
    Otherwise, fire AA and Gibbons and call me in two years when Reyes and Burhele are gone and the payroll can work again.

    • sure thing, pal! your number still 1-888-DUMBASS?

    • Your a moron, Reyes is clearly the third best player on the team and Buehrle is the most reliable pitcher (debatable, but close call).

    • Leafs fan alert.

    • I love how “Leafs Fan” is a recognized pejorative now. “True Leafs Fan” being the next level burn.

        • Why are you guys so mean? Can’t I express my opinion without the hurtful comments in response?
          Seriously though, fuck Reyes. I don’t care tht he’s our 3rd or 4th best player, the man has no heart, he’s a pussy and he’s too damn expensive for this budget conscious org.
          I like Burhele but again, too expensive.
          Now, if Rogers is willing to break the bank to try and capitalize on the talent the Jays do have (and as the performance has proven, not nearly enough talent to win), then fine; keep that grinning wuss and just add another $50m to payroll.
          And, if you are going to call me; I’ll be at your mother’s house but only after midnight. Don’t leave a message though, that could complicate things.

  14. I pray. I pray AA does the right thing for the future of this team and trades bautista and EE. That’s all I want for Christmas!

  15. So refreshing to hear other fans willing to sit back and enjoy the games … there are so many inner stories to fascinate. I, for one, don’t really want to see Clobby back. I think he has had his JPA year and proven he is uncoachable. Two decent hitting coaches have not been able to move him back in the box to get some advantage. His whine was that the up position made him successful as a young’un, but that was because he was not facing the kind of pitching he does now. He is so obviously at a disadvantage and can be shifted on effectively unless he is willing to bunt on strike 2 – how long would that last?

    The repeated meme here is to get a #1 or #2 starter. We are in a jam because the last time we tried that – JJ – it failed big-time and more than anything else we have had to endure the reverberations of that failure. I still think JPA was more responsible for that than anyone has laid at his feet. He made way too many mound visits to prove his Leader position and I saw many times that it threw JJ off his natural rhythm and game. I know this can’t be proven, but find it one of those fascinating story-lines. If Rogers is willing to ante up and buy Big-Game James or Munificent Max that would be incredibly interesting but even those 2 are not a guaranteed slam dunk. Worth the bums in seats, probably for sure.

    Oakland and Detroit made big moves that have sort of fizzled so far and show the difficulties in paying Huge prices (hahaha) for once in 5 or 6 day players. I find paying attention to those outcomes as intriguing as any other aspect of The Game. The small note made of the composure of #ThisisTeam with regard to having fun and playing loose while winning could be pursued but there is really no script for this in the crusty old chaw-infected back-rooms. The Jays COULD be a team to pull it off, but even here it is an interesting question as to whether Reyes is a spark – plug or a distraction. Most of what I am musing about this morning does not “weigh” anything and pivots on the turn of a thought; only existing in the fresh air of a late summer morning or the flexible mind of a player like Mr. B. Holt.

    One last comment is I hope Mr. B. Lawrie returns a bit more coachable now that he has spent a lot of the last 2 seasons watching his career shimmer and wink out and in … he’s the kind that if he can learn to hold the tension of his high-voltage energy in balance could tend towards a Wade Boggs and we’ve all seen flashes of that.

  16. So, about that Goins highlight. Why is he a no-hit 2B instead of a no-hit SS. He’d have more value as a shortstop, and he seems to have plenty of arm strength.

    • Because Reyes.

      Now, I would be happy to see Goins at SS and Reyes at 2B, but they’re not going to simply move Reyes from SS mid-season, if at all.

      • I get the Reyes thing, but it seems like he’s a 2B in Buffalo as well. If his profile was as a defensive whiz SS with no bat, it seems to me like he’d have more value both within and outside the organization. Not a lot mind you, but maybe the “extra 2%” kinda thing.

    • Two words…Jose Reyes.

  17. I’m no doctor, but this looks like it too could put enormous strain on the oblique.


  18. Two thoughts:

    1) Is Norris being left as SP so that he can get MLB starts down the stretch?
    2) How insane would it be to have Reyes at 3B, Lawrie at 2B and a Brendan Ryan type at SS?

    • The thing about Reyes playing 3rd is that his reaction time seems questionable. Derek Jeter gets a lot of flack about having step and a dive range but watching Jose play SS reminds a ton of Jeter. He seems to be flat footed all the time and with Lawrie out he doesn’t have anybody to cover the 5 6 hole. The strong arm is nice and I think it profiles well for 2B. If he can get to the ball he has the arm to throw anybody out, but I’d say he’s destined to play LF.

  19. #Pillarisfreed

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