Andrew Stoeten

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klawchips

Back on Thursday, Keith Law had his weekly chat with readers at ESPN.com, and… uh… for lack of a better preamble, here are the Jays-related tidbits…

James (NYC)
With a few teams in the playoff hunt needing a 2B, what are the chances the Mets could get a top 100 (or top 150) caliber prospect for Daniel Murphy? How much does the fact that Murph is not a Qualifying Offer candidate affect his value (I am assuming a team wouldn’t give him $16 million after 2015)?
Klaw
If someone believes he can play an average 2b, then yes.

The Jays, as we’ve heard, are not one of those teams who think he can play an average second base, so even though he could certainly help them — he has a 116 wRC+ this season, and has already accumulated 2.6 WAR per FanGraphs, after a three win season last year (though the fact that he hits left mitigates just how much “right now” value he might have for the Jays) — I guess we don’t have to worry about it. Assuming those original reports are true, that is.

If not, a top 100 calibre prospect, eh? You’d like to think the Jays could solve their infield issue for less, which… yeah, that probably goes a decent way to explaining the whole stalemate on the trade front, eh?

 

Clay (Hoboken)
How the heck did Jeff Hoffman manage to get full slot from the Jays?
Klaw
I don’t know.

This is one that didn’t really get as much attention as it should. The way the Jays spun it was that they figured they’d already gotten a big discount on Hoffman simply by his sliding due to Tommy John surgery from a likely top three pick down to them at nine, which… is really kind of insane, isn’t it? I mean, I’m glad they got him signed and we didn’t have to go through the whole Phil Bickford/Tyler Beede/James Paxton nonsense again, but it sure seemed like Hoffman didn’t have the kind of leverage to get slot money — he wasn’t going to be back on the mound in time next spring to show enough to improve his stead much, and even if so, as a college senior at that point his option would be to either sign what’s in front of him or go to independent ball for a year.

I don’t know. I’m not saying it isn’t a bit ugly when teams play hardball with players like they’d have had to — look at what’s going on with the Astros and top pick Brady Aiken — but for all their talk in previous years about holding firm to their valuations and not wanting to set bad precedents, this sure seemed a bit off. Good for Hoffman, and good on him, but I wonder what the story is.

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griffbag
Another week, another Griff Bag — aka Richard Griffin’s latest mail bag from over at the Toronto Star — and… I… uh… here it is? Whatever, you know the drill!

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-Richard Stoeten,

With Jeff Francoeur sitting in the minor leagues with the Padres organization and has an opt out clause for a major league contract, why wouldn’t the Jays look at signing him for their 4th outfielder position vs. calling up and down their minor league guys? Francoeur has struggled the past few seasons but thrived in 2011 when Seitzer was his batting coach in KC.

Francoeur would be used to playing every 3-4 days which must be tough for young guys to succeed at doing i.e. Gose, Pillar etc. With the signing of Francoeur it wouldn’t cost prospects just dollars, why wouldn’t they at least give Francour a chance? And by the way he hits lefty’s well. Thanks,

Scott Cochrane, Niagara on the Lake

Because he’s terrible.

 

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Q-Richard Stoeten,

Has Anthony Alford given up football so that he can concentrate solely on baseball? I see he started in Vancouver and has been promoted to Lansing. Looks like he can be a good one.

Thanks

Mike, Windsor, Ont

He hasn’t yet, but he isn’t a top-end NFL prospect, he’s no longer a quarterback — he redshirted last year and moved to defensive back after a transfer to Ole Miss following a poor 2012 at Southern Miss — and according to Charlie Caskey of the Vancouver Sun, this year was given encouraging words about baseball on the Jays’ behalf from Tim Raines and Fred McGriff. Even if it isn’t his first love, you’re right that it makes too much sense that he’ll give up football for baseball sooner than later — he’s missing so much development time in some very crucial years for a young, raw hitter who just needs reps — and hopefully he makes the right decision soon. I suspect he will — especially since someone was telling me, as I mentioned in a post yesterday, that he quickly tweeted-then-deleted a response to a fan telling him to choose baseball that allegedly suggested he may do so sooner than later. Fingers crossed.

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griffbag

Another week, another Griff Bag — aka Richard Griffin’s latest mail bag from over at the Toronto Star — except, that is, when I miss a week, so today we’re going to get two! And… I… uh… here it is? Or, here’s the first one, at least. Stay tuned for another dip into the ol’ Griff Bag after lunch!

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 Richard Stoeten,

Munenori Kawasaki has been playing great baseball since he got called up. He’s playing great defence, his average is up, he’s had some key RBIs, he’s going deep into counts, and drawing walks. Has Kevin Seitzer been working with him to make some adjustments? Given that he’s also a great clubhouse presence and fan favourite, do you think he has a chance of holding on to the starting second base role for the rest of the season?

Isaac (from New York)

I think the chance of Kawasaki holding onto the second base spot for the entirety of the season is something close to zero. Or… actually, it’s literally zero, because he’s not even really the second baseman. He’s got a .596 OPS against left-handed pitching, so as soon as Brett Lawrie is back — provided that none of the infield improvements the Jays desperately need materialize — the club will go back to a platoon featuring someone like Juan Francisco at third against right-handers, and Lawrie at second, then Lawrie at third against left-handers, with Tolleson playing second. And that’s exactly the way it should be.

Whatever silly ideas we’re supposed to have about what a great clubhouse presence Kawasaki is, or whatever magic hand Kevin Seitzer has wielded (if anyone actually really thinks that after the last six weeks), mean about as much to whether he should play or not as the fact that he’s a fan favourite: i.e. not remotely at fucking all. Just as last year, he’s functioning exactly how you want him: as depth. He’s simply not good enough to be a big league regular on a team with playoff aspirations. Nice story and all that, but be serious.

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Podcast 85 – Breaking Bad

thebreaks

Now a little something to kill time on a Monday afternoon: it’s an actual, shit-you-not real edition of the DJF podcast!

And today we’ve got just Drew and I, with @RyanEligh on the ones and twos, but no one filling in for the hopelessly disinterested Wally Pippp as our fourth Horseman of the Anthocalpyse while we discuss where the club is at as they head into the All-Star break, and how it maybe kind of isn’t quite as bad as it sorta feels… a little. Yay?

Or if you’re more inclined to download today’s podcast, hit up the mp3 link.

Soundcloud looks fancy and is awesome, but don’t forget that, if you prefer, the DJF iTunes page remains up and running too. Get on over there and subscribe– or update the subscription you already have to find the latest episode (once it’s up). You can also find it via our podcast RSS feed. Follow DJF on Facebook, too, while you’re at it. And the DJF Instagram!

And because I promised, here’s a link to where you can get your tickets for Drew’s PITCH: Talks event, which takes place this Thursday. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to get the promo code!

Many (most? some?) mintmusical interludes courtesy Toronto’s own Optical Sounds, who recently released Psych Pop 2, their second free-to-download compilation of outstanding tunes from local psych- and garage-influenced artists, plus friends of their great collective. Be sure to check them out online and buy every single fucking thing you hear at their site!

dailyduce2-595

Well, how do you expect me to prepare with you sloughing off fuzz like a new towel?

Shocking that a team that ran out a bottom of the order of Johnson-Kratz-Tolleson-Mastroianni-Francisco-Thole against David Price yesterday has had trouble scoring runs lately, innit?

There’s some good news, though: Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider Olney) ranked teams based on schedule strength for the remainder of the year, and the Orioles don’t look so hot — their first 26 games out of the break are against teams above .500 — while the Jays are doing pretty OK (ranked 13th of 17).

Ho-lee shit. Awesome stuff from Chris King (aka @StatsKing) of Baseball Prospectus this morning, as he tells us about the reappearance of Roberto Osuna after a year in the Tommy John wilderness. You might want to be sitting down. “He threw about 15 pitches, all fastballs, but it was a very encouraging step for him. When a player comes back from this type of surgery, the velocity isn’t always there right away and the same can be said for the control and command. This was not the case for Osuna. His mechanics were sound. He’s still sporting the low-effort, smooth delivery he’s always had, and showed no rust in this department. He was pumping an easy 95-97 with his fastball while locating to both sides of the plate. He was repeating his delivery and attacking hitters from the first pitch of the game. This type of aggressiveness is another positive in his return. He was neither reluctant nor hesitant when going after hitters. Having said all of this, the thing I came away most impressed with was his body. The hard-throwing Osuna has had some concerns about his thick frame in the past, but he looked very fit, strong and comfortable with his current build. It’s obvious he has taken his conditioning seriously during his time off, and to me that speaks volumes about where his head is.” Nails.

Let’s stick with prospect stuff here, because… y’know… who the hell wants to talk about what’s going on with the big league roster right now?

Dalton Pompey and Dan Norris (as well as A.J. Jimenez) were in yesterday’s MLB Futures Game at Target Field in Minnesota, and Ian Browne of MLB.com writes about how they excelled in their opportunity on the big stage. Pompey was 2-for-4 with a couple of singles, and Norris retired all three batters he faced, inducing a strikeout, two groundouts, and throwing seven of his eleven pitches for strikes — a ratio that probably seemed unfathomable when he debuted as a pro two years ago and couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn, despite a very strong amateur pedigree.

Shi Davidi has an excellent, lengthy feature up on the two key prospects at Sportsnet.

Aaron Sanchez isn’t forgotten in all the prospect love, though, as Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star has a nice feature on the club’s top prospect.

And how about this: Marc Hulet of FanGraphs has his mid-season top 25 prospects list up, and not only does Norris make the grade (#22!), but how about this: he’s flip-flopped Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard, ranking Sanchez 13th, just behind Miguel Sano, and ahead of Syndergaard, Bundy, Glasnow, Stephenson, Joc Pederson, and… well… obviously a whole lot more.

Elsewhere from Hulet at FanGraphs, he looks at a somewhat forgotten Jays prospect, Anthony Alford, who he’s been impressed with despite losing a lot of baseball development to football. “Because he’s not a top-of-the-line NFL prospect, Toronto may still be able to sway him to turn his attentions to the diamond on a full-time basis but it will hopefully be sooner rather than later,” we’re told. “Could be sooner than later” is basically what I was told Alford himself tweeted (then deleted) in response to a Jays fan asking him to give up the football dream. Hmmm…

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Weekend Threat: Jays @ Rays

If for nothing else, just win this game so we never have to hear about the damn streak of series losses in Tampa again. I’ll gladly exchange a home loss for it. I mean, ideally, y’know, I wouldn’t have to, but I’d do it! I’d so do it. Fuck.

chart (21)

The Jays looked like they were cruising, then Dustin “playing with fire” McGowan happened, and it looked like we were in for another Tropicana Field nightmare, but the bullpen held after McGowan allowed a game-tying two-out home run to Sean Rodriguez (of the three-run variety, after he came in with none on and two outs then issued two walks), and with Grant Balfour pitching for the Rays in the top of the ninth Dan Johnson worked his fourth walk of the night, Juan Francisco struck out for a third time, then Jose Reyes doubled, Steve Tolleson (in for the injured Munenori Kawasaki — day to day with a hamstring issue, but possible he could play tomorrow) doubled in two runs. A Melky walk later and Jose Bautista singled to bring in a third run of the inning, then Casey Janssen locked it down.

The Jays now have two shots at actually winning a series in Tampa, and after the game we learned it’s maybe not as harrowing a task as it originally seemed: David Price was scratched from tomorrow’s start for the Rays after leaving the ballpark early due to some kind of illness. Jake Odorizzi gets the call Saturday against Drew Hutchison, and while it’s possible Price could start on Sunday instead, this is obviously a break — kind of like the ones the Jays got when the soft singles that cashed the winning runs dropped, and ones they definitely weren’t getting earlier in this road trip.

Less good: Nolan Reimold, who has been hot to start his Jays career, also left the game, and will undergo an MRI on his calf tomorrow. Apparently with the 4 PM start they have enough time to get someone up from Buffalo if he hits the DL. Ugh.