Andrew Stoeten

Recent Posts

sanchezscrumkennedy

Welp. Let’s try this again.

I’d say more, but I think I’ve spilled enough words since last night about whatever the fuck is going on, and frankly… I’m not ready to think about what the hell might be about to happen.

Hey, but Aaron Sanchez is here! That’s something!

Scuttlebutt

Mike Wilner tweets that John Gibbons says Ryan Goins is “here to play.” Ugh. Better news, though, as he adds that Brett Lawrie swung a modified bat today. So… he’s progressing, at least, even if the thinking in the Jays’ front office about Goins necessarily isn’t.

Brenan Kennedy tweets that Gibbers says Sanchez will have his innings limited to about 130 this season. He’s at 100.1 so far in the minors. He adds that Gibbons says he’ll look to get Sanchez into games at the start of a clean inning, rather than with runners on, at least at first.

Another tweet from Kennedy tells us that while Steve Tolleson didn’t hit the paternity list today, his wife is due within the next couple of weeks.

John Lott tweets that Erik Kratz lost his spot mostly because the Jays aren’t scheduled to face any left-handed starters until they get to Fenway Park next week.

More from Lott: Gibbons on Francisco playing first base: “He can play it… you hope.” And on Goins: “He’ll play a lot out there.” Ugh.

Francisco is in there tonight over Dan Johnson, according to a tweet from Barry Davis, because of some microsplits. Great.

Ben Wagner tweets that in Buffalo last night, Steve Delabar had his best outing since being sent down: “4K in 2 scoreless. Velo +/- 95mph, nasty split.” Get him back up here if he keeps this up!

Megan Robinson tells us that Aaron Sanchez is the youngest pitcher on an MLB active roster right now. (By the way, he was drafted out of high school — where the Jays have focussed heavily — in Alex Anthopoulos’s first draft as GM. Think about that, maybe, before you complain about how so few of the guys he’s drafted aren’t in the big leagues yet).

Scott MacArthur notices that the Cubs have D’d Darwin Barney FA, calling him the right-handed Ryan Goins. Well, he’s got a .358 OBP against lefties this year, so Eno Sarris retweets a half-serious suggestion: Barney for Sergio Santos? I dunno, could be a thing.

The Blue Jays almost had Jose Bautista receive tonight’s “first pitch” — a serve from Milos Raonic — but thought better of it, according to a tweet from Barry Davis. Milos said that even if he took a lot off his serve, it would still be upwards of 100 mph, so… yeah, probably a good idea (though Buehrle did it, and it’s not like he’s a whole lot less crucial).

“There’ll be other seasons,” tweets a soulless ghoul.

AA Speaks (via some of my own tweets)

“Any time you see us linked to a player daily and it’s not from a Cdn-based media outlet, normally there’s not anything to it,” says AA.

Anthopoulos on Fan 590 says he’s talking trades, and about a specific player that he hasn’t heard out there as yet.

“We’re in a holding pattern for the next five or six days,” AA says he’s been told by another GM. Extra Wild Card changes calculations.

AA laying groundwork for disappointment? Says more may happen in August this year. (Believable, though, to be fair.)

No other plans or thoughts for Hutchison. “He’s going to make his next start,” Anthopoulos says.

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 7:07 PM ET vs. Boston

For those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app.

And now, the lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
C Dioner Navarro (R)
DH Colby Rasmus (L)
1B Juan Francisco (L)
3B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
2B Ryan Goins (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)

LHP J.A. Happ

Boston Red Sox

CF Brock Holt (L)
2B Dustin Pedroia (R)
DH David Ortiz (L)
1B Mike Napoli (R)
LF Jonny Gomes (R)
RF Shane Victorino (R)
SS Stephen Drew (L)
3B Xander Bogaerts (R)
C David Ross (R)

RHP Jake Peavy

 

Image via @BKennedyStar.

headleyswings

MEH.

Cue the insanity brigade. The Jays “missed out” on giving up a couple small pieces and paying about $2-million to replace a league minimum guy with an over-30 rental third baseman sporting an 88 wRC+ who has a herniated disc in his lower back that he’s playing through and received a cortisone shot for last month.

The Jays name has been attached to Chase Headley — formerly of the Padres, now of the Yankees — for a while now, but ultimately this one didn’t pan out. Those who are inclined to hissy fits surely will — or have already started to —  insist it’s either the money or some colossal fuck-up on the part of a bumbling GM that’s caused the team to BLOW ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY.

The sensible, on the other hand, might point to the fact that the Rogers Centre turf has a reputation for aggravating back injuries, the fact that Headley has been so awful, and the fact that the Jays’ ability to add to the payroll — to whatever extent they even have such an ability — is probably too limited to take such an expensive flyer. And that’s probably true even if the assets going the other way amount to nothing (the Yankees gave up once-hot journeyman Yangervis Solarte and High-A right-hander Rafael De Paula, and got $1-million for their troubles to boot!), and even if the flyer is on someone who has been much, much better in the past than this year.

If the Jays balked, I think it’s entirely understandable given the risk of Headley not working out. Shit, with Steve Tolleson going swimmingly against left-handers, Brett Lawrie getting back in a couple of weeks, and Jose Bautista potentially being able to move to third if an outfielder is acquired (or Nolan Reimold gets healthy and shows something), adding a guy like Headley would have been a nice luxury with a lot of potential if he gets healthy enough to start swinging the bat the way he’s shown before, but not really a necessity — certainly not on the level of a more expensive addition that we could feel more confident will actually give the club something at the plate.

The Yankees, on the other hand, are exactly the kind of place where you’d expect this type of player to land. They can afford to blow it. The Jays can’t.

Like everybody else I think there are many reasons why that shouldn’t be the reality under this ownership, given all the value the Jays’ cheap content provides them, but it is the reality. So please, spare us the frothing commentary about Alex Anthopoulos being asleep at the switch and maybe take a moment to contemplate the myriad reasons why it is what it is.

We all want the club to add good players, to save the farm, and show to that they’re willing to spend indiscriminately and unafraid that ownership will alter the deal and create major long-term ramifications for their doing so, and yes, adding a couple million to the 2014 payroll in order to give up so little and take a chance on a guy who put up 7.2 fucking WAR in 2012 really does seem to check off all of those boxes. But that’s simply not where this team is at, and that’s fine.

The Jays sure as fuck will give themselves a much better chance this year if they do something to address their needs, but that doesn’t mean they need to do every single thing that comes along or is rumoured. It’s dumb and frustrating as hell that it’s even believable that they’d be so severely limited in terms of budget that they might not have been able to make this one happen, but just because it’s believable doesn’t mean that’s necessarily what the case was. The Jays have had lots of scouts watching the Padres — possibly for Headley, possibly for Kennedy, or Denorfia, or Huston Street, or any number of players who could move (or already have) — but that doesn’t mean they wanted him at any cost.

Can they figure out something to make happen at a cost they can stomach? Let’s fucking hope so. Let’s fucking hope we’re not forced to watch this season go down the drain wondering where the incremental improvements that could have made it truly special were. Believe it or not, there is still plenty of reason to think it won’t go that way — that they won’t let it slip away without even having fucking tried — but in a couple of weeks that may not still be the case.

sanchezMTL
According to a piece from Shi Davidi at Sportsnet, Aaron Sanchez and Ryan goins are set to join the Jays on Tuesday. Sanchez is obviously the key one there, as the club’s long talked-about top prospect. He’ll be pitching out of the bullpen, where he’s made two appearances of late for Buffalo, and per MLBTR, will accumulate about 70 days of service time if he remains with the club for the rest of the season, which should leave him well short of Super Two status.

Nothing official has been announced, so we have no idea yet of the corresponding moves to make room on the active roster, and on the 40-man, but if I were Brad Mills, I probably wouldn’t be unpacking any more of my stuff right now. (Also, according to a tweet from Jamie Campbell, Tolleson will hit the paternity list, which makes the Goins move wholly more justifiable).

Update

Apparently with the bullpen getting their heads handed to them yesterday, even more changes are coming, as Shi Davidi has added to his piece an update suggesting that Esmil Rogers is on his way back to the Jays’ bullpen, too.

To be fair to Brad Mills he’s not as bad as a lot of people (understandably) think he is based on his career, his previous appearances with the Jays, and last night. After all, he was given four starts by the best team in baseball, and this season in the minors produced the lowest walk rate of any stint anywhere in his pro career, and his first strikeout rate above one-per-inning since 2008. However, now I really think he probably shouldn’t unpack.

Rogers has been working as a starter, and should allow Todd Redmond to stay in the short relief role he seemed to move into just before the break. In Esmil’s last five starts he’s allowed nine runs over 29.2 innings (2.73 ERA), with 20 strikeouts and 13 walks, and has thrown 65% of his pitches for strikes, though… we all know that Triple-A numbers don’t mean a hell of a lot. Still, some of the peripherals on him before he was sent down suggested that he might not have been as bad as he looked. Fingers crossed.

Fingers crossed that they won’t need to even think of ever moving him back into the rotation, too — and maybe we’re closer to preventing that eventuality, as Jeff Blair tweets that the Jays agree with a comment Joe Siddal was making on the radio last night: they think Hutchison was tipping his pitches. So… there’s that.

Update Update

It’s official. Alex Seixeiro of the Fan 590 tweets that Sanchez, Goins, and Esmil Rogers are up, Brad Mills is DFA, and Erik Kratz and Darin Mastroianni have been optioned back to Buffalo. OK? OK.

Yeah… so that wasn’t much fun, was it? And hooooooo fucking boy, did it ever bring out the stupid. All sorts of fun stuff about the Jays’ “dumpster diving” and Brad Mills and their need for a pitcher and Drew Hutchison’s home splits and the struggling hitters and their inability to beat the AL East and and and and and and and…

It sure does get a little bit suffocating to feel that to be a part of the conversation you need to push back against deluge of recency bias, especially when the only arguments you have to push with don’t offer a lot of comfort, doesn’t it?

But that’s really where we’re at right now.

The Jays’ bats should get better as the team returns to health from their recent bad run of key injuries. The starting pitching hasn’t been great, but it’s been decent enough and may yet see a reinforcement. The bullpen they should figure out, and shouldn’t have trouble finding cheap pieces with which to do so.

All of this is absolutely true, yet none of it means the Monsters Of May are going to suddenly return and rocket the club to the top of the AL East standings with no need to look back. Health may not be enough. More key players may get hurt and further test the already thin veneer of depth the club has built (which, to be fair, isn’t any different from the depth other clubs have). Shit, they may stay healthy and still not have the horses. And of course if they keep playing the way they’ve been playing since about the second week of June they aren’t going to have a hope in hell of being within sniffing distance when all is said and done.

But that’s just it — that’s why I say “recency bias”. Why would they? Why would anyone else?

The Rays and the Red Sox and the Orioles and the Yankees have been playing well of late, chipping away at what was once the Blue Jays’ lead, and fans have a tendency to believe that at whichever point they’re looking, that’s where reality is. The true talent, they seem to think, of the Blue Jays is what we’ve recently seen, just as the true talent of those other teams is what we’ve recently seen.

Ignore the fact that the Rays and Red Sox were so bad until just recently that the Jays had jumped massively out in front of them, and pretend they’re not capable of ever going that poorly again. Ignore how well we know this Jays team is capable of playing, and why there’s no honest reason to believe they can’t get close to that level again when healthy, and just start sulking because you think you’ve seen this movie before.

Then vent all these angsty feelings online and piss all over anyone who dares to push back against the reality that’s been constructed on this warped foundation.

It’s easy!

And it’s especially easy because nobody can say that the team hasn’t been playing poorly. Nobody can assure anyone that it’s all going to be OK. As in-fucking-sufferable as it is when folks roll their eyes at the suggestion that it’s early — even when it is unequivocally, inarguably still early (and you’d better believe it fucking well is) — you can almost understand why they do it, because it’s been early so many times before and hasn’t worked worked out in our favour in eons. As dumbfounding as it is to see people nitpicking on the club’s waiver wire acquisitions (seriously, find something significant to piss and moan about maybe), it’s not like we all don’t want to see them get better players than Brad Mills, it’s just these are mole hills being made into mountains (and, frankly, like many of the Jays’ other scrap heap finds the Mills thing made sense enough — Jenkins has options and wasn’t being used for more than four or five outs at most, so wasn’t really a long man replacement for Redmond, who it was reasonably decided should get a chance to work in short relief given how well he’s pitched and how poorly so many others have).

Add in the fact that they’ve been going so badly and yes, it’s frustrating. But it’s frustrating for everyone, and especially, I think, for that great many of us who clearly see a season hanging in the balance — fully capable of going either way as it plays out over an exciting, if often frustrating, next ten weeks — and are constantly being asked to view some tinfoil science project made by a hopelessly negative yahoo who either thinks he’s had some kind of “aha” moment or just wants to be the first jumping off the bandwagon screaming that the team is fucked.

Or maybe everyone like that is cool, and it’s all just me.

Whatever the case, I’m certainly having all kinds difficulty not getting sidetracked, and while I know I should be better at ignoring this stuff, when it’s your business to be immersed in the conversation it’s hard not to feel it all rumbling in your direction like a stupid fucking wave coming at you from three sections over as you’re trying to focus your gaze on a key pitch in a key at-bat in the top of the eighth inning with runners on, two outs, and the Jays clinging to a one-run lead. And like those who just can’t help themselves but join in the wave in a crucial moment, I know that everyone just wants to be part of the experience and have the right to cheer in whatever way they please, it’s just… watch the game! You’re ruining it for everybody else!! Watch what a season actually goes like! Watch how teams have ebbs and flows over the course of a year! Watch how a single game itself is never over in the third inning — watch how it’s never a time to start venting like a spoiled child where it may not end in utter embarrassment.

Just watch the damn game. Maybe even try to enjoy it.

hutchpitch

The Red Sox are charging, and the Jays really ought to do themselves and the rest of baseball a favour over the four game set that begins tonight at Rogers Centre, and put these fucks out of their misery and straight into the “sellers” category. Not that that’s necessarily the best long-term thing for the rest of the AL East, given the excellent collection of prospects that Boston already boasts, but fuck it. Let’s not let these dickholes back into the race — and at just 7.5 games out of it, the folks in Boston could certainly be forgiven for thinking that they just might be able to do it. There’s a fucking world I don’t want to live in, eh? Especially if it comes at the Jays’ expense. And don’t look now, but it’s not exactly like the Sox are playing with a team full of total rotting garbage, either. It’s not going well for them, but there are still a lot of guys playing tonight that won themselves World Series rings last year and that were supposed to be the core of a definite contender this year.

In other words, remember when the Sox got themselves in a deep hole back in the first couple months of the season? Well… it was still early then.

Let’s do this. Go Jays!

Scuttlebutt

When starting on four days rest this season Drew Hutchison’s opponents have OPS’d .798 and he’s posted a 4.81 ERA with a 1.44 WHIP and 1.71 strikeouts for every walk. On five days rest that OPS drops to .720, with a 4.58 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP, and 3.33 strikeouts for every walk. In the two starts he’s made on six or more days of rest the OPS is .375, the ERA 0.00, the WHIP 0.73, and the K/BB up to 3.67. He pitches tonight having had eight full days between starts.

Nails much? John Lott tweets that John Gibbons says Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind are in Florida, and both scheduled to take batting practice tomorrow, with Edwin also set to do some fielding as well. Nails mu– oh, right. Already said that bit.

Brendan Kennedy tweets that despite the strong attendance over the weekend, the Jays are still 198,000 behind last season’s pace in terms of attendance. Just guessing, but I think this might have had something to do with how the club did fuck all this winter.

Lastly, I didn’t bother mentioning it in today’s Assorted Weekend Thoughts post, because it simply goes without saying, but just so we’re clear, Colby Lewis is a dumb.

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 7:07 PM ET vs. Boston

For those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app.

And now, the lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
DH Jose Bautista (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
1B Dan Johnson (L)
C Erik Kratz (R)
3B Juan Francisco (L)
RF Anthony Gose (L)

RHP Drew Hutchison

Boston Red Sox

RF Brock Holt (L)
2B Dustin Pedroia (R)
DH David Ortiz (L)
1B Mike Napoli (R)
LF Daniel Nava (S)
SS Stephen Drew (L)
3B Xander Bogaerts (R)
CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (L)
C Christian Vazquez (R)

RHP John Lackey

santosvsnyy

Well here’s something of a surprise: according to a team release this afternoon, the Jays have designated struggling reliever Sergio Santos for assignment, bringing up Rob Rasmussen in his place, per a team release. Once thought to be the Jays’ closer of the future, and an exciting piece of the club’s bullpen as recently as the second half of last year, when he came back from injury, allowing four earned runs, eight hits, with just three walks and 22 strikeouts over 21.1 innings in the season’s final two months.

Now he’s in limbo, with the Jays possible looking to get off the hook for what remains of the $3.75-million he earns this year (he’s got a $6-million option for 2015, plus two more options for 2016 and ’17, with a $750K buyout on each option), or at the very least to get him to Buffalo, where he can try to fix the command issues that have been plaguing him, and to clear a spot for the eventual promotion of Aaron Sanchez.

Interesting. I don’t actually believe — as some are assuming — that this is about money mostly. It’s not like he’s pitched well enough to get claimed, and as stretched as we may be inclined to believe in our worst moments of dread that the Jays’ budget is, I have a hard time simply assuming that they’d need so badly to free up such a small amount of money. Hopefully it’s a situation where he’ll accept the assignment, go to Buffalo, give Sanchez the chance to help out, and then get himself back in line to contribute down the stretch.

And according to what Alex Anthopoulos has told reporters this afternoon at Rogers Centre, that is indeed exactly what is going on.

“AA says he didn’t explore a trade for Santos and neither did Santos ask to be traded. Hoping he’ll clear waivers and pitch in Buffalo,” tweets Brendan Kennedy of the Star, letting us know that the club has indeed immediately placed him on waivers.

Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi adds that the club will find out Wednesday whether Santos has been claimed or not, but the guess here — and evidently in the Jays’ front office — is that with something like $2.2-million owed him just for the remainder this year and his buyout, given the way he’s been struggling, he’ll get through and go to Buffalo. Davidi also adds that Anthopoulos insists that when healthy, Santos is a dominant reliever, and that the plan is to get him to Buffalo and get him back on track in terms of fastball command.

This year Santos has walked 17 batters in 19.2 innings (to go along with 26 strikeouts), and he’s been homer prone, line drive prone, not as ground ball heavy as in his excellent 2013, with velocity that’s been down a half a tick — though it’s certainly possible he’s been dialling back in order to help with his command.

He’s certainly not helping anybody here, and not helping himself by waiting for a chance here to get some garbage time innings in, so… yep. It actually all kinda makes sense, doesn’t it?

And according to a tweet from Alex Seixeiro of the Fan, Jeff Blair is saying that he thinks Aaron Sanchez will be up with the big club by the weekend, for whatever that’s worth. So that’s a thing.

johnsonhits

The Jays did what was expected of them and what they needed to do over the weekend, losing to Yu Darvish on Friday, but gaining ground on the first place Orioles with a pair of wins against Colby Lewis and Nick Tepesch, winning their first series of the “second half,” and coming through a series for the first time in who-knows-how-long without the spectre of yet some other player landing on the DL.

There was another spectre that hung over the club this weekend, though, and it wasn’t an unfamiliar one.

Bob Elliott tweeted on Friday night that he’d heard from a source that the Jays had been telling other teams that they can’t take any money back in trade.

That itself would be bad enough — though we could at least try to convince ourselves it’s possible the report is wrong, or that the club is only just saying that as some sort of bargaining tactic — but then Alex Anthopoulos had to go and be coy with media about it, issuing a textbook non-denial denial when asked about the money.

Prior to yesterday’s win, Anthopoulos told reporters, like Scott MacArthur of TSN.ca, “We can add players. We have the ability to have that dialogue at any time. I don’t see any reason why we won’t be able to add players and obviously players make money. No one plays for free.”

Not exactly a comforting statement, given that they’ve obviously added a bunch of league-minimum guys so far this year, and that the real question is whether they can add a big ticket item.

Jeff Blair writes about this subject as well, in his latest for Sportsnet, suggesting the Jays will have flexibility next winter, but only because of expensive players like Brandon Morrow, Colby Rasmus, Melky Cabrera, Sergio Santos, J.A. Happ, Adam Lind, and Casey Janssen potentially coming off the books.

I don’t think they’re clever enough to have done so by design, but Rogers and the front office have certainly made it difficult to single one or the other out for blame in this mess. The payroll the Jays are running is very healthy — the 10th best in baseball — and the fact that it appears to be maxed out isn’t really Rogers’ problem, when you think about it. It’s the front office’s job to allocate the payroll dollars, and if ownership has given them a healthy budget, the problem — at least in their eyes and the eyes of those bizarrely sympathetic to them — lies with the front office. The reality is, if course, more complicated than that. One hopes that the front office didn’t max out it’s theoretical budget in the winter prior to 2013 with misguided assuredness that they would be so good on the field that future payroll concerns would be rendered moot. The coronation-like atmosphere that surrounded the club last season certainly doesn’t make one think that they mightn’t have been, though. And as I argued around here at the time of the Ervin Santana embarrassment, it’s not like executives who were part of J.P. Ricciardi’a front office should have been surprised when Rogers refused to keep pushing the spending maximum after their massive outlay of cash yielded so little return on investment.

So, it’s not all cheap Rogers, and it’s not all dumb Anthopoulos, it’s just more embarrassment for an organization that often seems to have a little too comfortable a relationship with embarrassment.

I mean, for fuck sakes, the team is so well positioned for the first time in so long, and this is what we seriously fucking get? Fans left to bicker over which tier of this organization is more short-sighted and inept?

It’s maddening as fuck that Rogers doesn’t see the value in pushing payroll just a few percentage points higher — figuring, then, that the abject failure of their handpicked baseball men is a better option than budging an inch on the budget for a branch of the company that provides such tremendous cheap content to their many TV networks and other other platforms, and that could be a strong, positive pillar of their brand — and also that the front office can’t or won’t convince them otherwise. It makes one understand, just a little bit, the chorus of fucks screaming, “DO SOMETHING, ASSHOLES!!”

I don’t think it’s necessarily that simple, though, either. The club was able to get players to sign off on deferrals this spring in order to free enough 2014 payroll to bring in Ervin Santana, and while it’s as least as much of a cruel fucking sad joke as that scheme (not to mention possibly more difficult to pull off in-season), one would think that option might still be out there. Or… like I said, maybe the original report is simply untrue.

The whole, sorry history of this ownership makes it seem entirely plausible, though, but for the moment we just don’t really know what to believe — and we probably won’t know for six more weeks, until after August’s deadline for trades involving players who have passed through waivers.

What almost especially sucks — “almost” because it all does indeed fucking suck — is that this is the conversation we’re having on a weekend where the Jays gave us signs that they may actually be able to snap out the funk they’ve been in. They scored runs, they looked like the break served its purpose, the schedule ahead is favourable, and they got word that some of their injured players are making better progress than expected. The ultra-cynical can be forgiven for thinking it’s just another serving of false hope, but Edwin Encarnacion is swinging off a tee, Adam Lind is out of his walking boot and swinging off a tee, and Brett Lawrie is out of his splint and taking ground balls, with swinging and gripping a bat his next step.

And frankly, as eye-rollingly frustrating as it would be to once again have the club try to use the fucking “hey, getting those guys back is as good as making a trade” line, at this point I can live with that. Just hold on for another couple weeks, for fuck sakes, and I can live with that.