Andrew Stoeten

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Another week, another Griff Bag! Aka Richard Griffin’s latest mail bag from over at the Toronto Star! And this time around, we’ve got one that took me less time to write than any Griff Bag I can remember. Probably means some real probing, thought-provoking, quality questions in here, right? Right???

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 the A’s (Jon Lester) and the Tigers (David Price) pulling off two of the biggest trades at the deadlines, they are also two teams that are underachieving in a big ways since the trade deadline. There’s some talk that the dynamics of these big trades have been changing in terms of the number of teams that are actively engaging/pursuing these kinds of big-names/blockbuster trades.

There is a possibility that GMs will be even more reluctant to pull these kinds of trades in the future. What are you thoughts?

And a quick one – Given what Alvarez has done this year with the Marlins (before he went on DL), would you take him over Buehrle on your staff? Nobody on the Jays staff is even close to a sub-3 ERA with 160 IP…

John, Southern Cali

1) I think teams will continue to make trades that make sense for them on the field, and that the talk about upsetting dynamics is mostly just silliness. Not everything that happens needs to be explained by some ethereal force. The A’s stopped hitting and got poor play from their backups, and in Detroit, J.D. Martinez went in the tank, and injury to pieces in the bullpen made them hilariously woeful back there again. Their poor runs, in terms of wins and losses since the deadline, have had almost nothing to do with the players they added or the ones they gave up.

2) This year, and on talent alone? No. Factoring in the contract and you’d easily to take Alvarez, but his 2.88 ERA in the NL East, where he gets to face a pitcher or a pinch hitter every nine batters, isn’t much better than Buehrle’s 3.34 in the AL East, and their FIPs are about the same. Alvarez has an edge in xFIP, but by fWAR, Buehrle has been more than a full win better than Alvarez — Dickey has been better, too, for what it’s worth.

Baseball Reference’s version of WAR suggests they’ve provided about the same amount of value (with Dickey lagging behind in that case), so… there maybe is no one easy answer. It is definitely not quite so simple as looking at ERA, though. But again, all things considered, Alvarez certainly is the better piece to have.

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I don’t think there is a lot of value in producing a tonne of Assorted Weekennd Thoughts this morning, as I already covered so much as it happened. But definitely check out Friday night’s pieces on the debut of Daniel Norris, the injury to Melky Cabrera, and Saturday’s game threat, in which looked back at John Gibbons’ over-managing on Saturday, and the meaning of Melky’s comments about wanting to stay here in Toronto.

But before we depart, let’s have a quick thought and a look at the road ahead.

One quick thought…

An ERA of 3.51, a 4.24 FIP, and a 3.98 xFIP. Over six-and-one-third innings per start. 139 Ks and 51 walks in 166.2 innings.

No, those aren’t exactly ace-type numbers, but they’re not awful, either. Certainly not in the AL East, and certainly not for a guy who routinely outpitches his FIP.

Those numbers, of course, represent the last 25 starts the Jays have gotten from R.A. Dickey. Again: not what we ever expected, and ultimately disappointing, but you sure can do whole lot worse for $12-million per year, too.

I dunno…

The Road Ahead

The Jays lost two of three to the Boston Red Sox over the weekend, both of which were close, and one of which was positively gut-wrenching, blowing, as they did, a three run lead in the eighth and a two run lead in the tenth. Remarkably, though, the Jays only lost a half game in the race for the Wild Card.

Of course, losing any ground while also having three fewer games left on the schedule is hardly a good thing. It’s a major, major problem for the Jays’ dimly flickering hopes — especially dim as they now are, with Melky Cabrera out for the season. But they’re not licked yet! And they’ve especially got a fighting change with the lowly Cubs — loaded, as they are, with impressive young talent — coming to the Rogers Centre for three, and because the teams ahead of may well beat up on each other.

As we did prior to the weekend’s series, let’s take a look at who we ought to be cheering for this week.,

Cubs @ Jays (Obviously!)
Astros @ Mariners (Not good having to rely on the Astros, eh? At least the Jays have 4 left against Seattle.)
Royals @ Tigers (Could go either way on this, but would love to see KC drive the Tigers out of the race.)
Angels @ Cleveland (A single make-up game. Go Halos!)
Twins @ Cleveland (What’s worse: the unbalanced schedule or Cleveland’s racist logo?)
Orioles @ Red Sox (The Jays are 10 back, but have six games left with Baltimore. Also: fuck ‘em,)
A’s @ White Sox (A’s trying to put the other WC back in play? Do it! Will cheer for them this weekend, though.)

The weekend’s schedule doesn’t look terribly awful for the Jays, either! To wit: Rays @ Jays, A’s @ Mariners, Red Sox @ Tigers, Yankees @ Orioles (x4), Cleveland @ Tigers.

Go Jays!


John Gibbons was certainly guilty of over-managing on Friday night. Taking out Ryan Goins for a pinch runner was an especially odd choice that left the team stuck with Steve Tolleson at second base. Kendall Graveman and Daniel Norris were each thrown into the fire for one batter, despite sitting on the bench with a much more sizeable in Tampa two nights prior, watching Aaron Sanchez pitch enough to make himself unavailable until tonight — and the baserunner Graveman allowed, before he was given a quick hook and Aaron Loup was oddly brought in to face a bunch of right-handers was rather crucial. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that, despite whatever the fuck that all was, the Jays had a three run cushion heading into the bottom of the eighth and a two run lead going into the bottom of the tenth and blew them both. He maybe didn’t help as much as he could have, but last night too many people seemed to want to believe that those six runs are on the manager, which is absolute insanity. Even the decision to go to Casey Janssen — a once ultra-dependable closer who Gibbons has lost faith in enough to have removed him from the role (except when Aaron Sanchez is unavailable, as he was Friday night) — was eminently defensible, despite the groans from the peanut gallery. And it’s not exactly like he’s getting hit all over the yard, either — he seems to have lost just enough since his illness over the All-Star break to have moved him, hopefully temporarily, from being a guy always just barely on the right side of the margins to one falling the wrong way over the edge just often enough for it to matter. Tough to nitpick the decision in my estimation — tougher still to blame the manager when big leaguers, demonstrably worse choices to be in the game than others or not, simply have to get six outs while keeping six runs off the board and can’t fucking do it.

But yes, that fucking sucked. And so did Melky Cabrera’s season-ending injury. But… silver lining?

“I stay in Toronto,” Melky says, speaking about next year, according to a number of reports, including this one from John Lott of the National Post.

A reporter asked: You want to stay?

“Yeah,” he replied with a small smile.

So that’s awesome. However, in a series of tweets, Gregor Chisholm suggests that we maybe shouldn’t be over the moon just yet:

I have no doubt that Cabrera enjoys playing in Toronto. But let’s not get carried away with his comments about wanting to stay.

Qualifying offer will loom large. It’ll impact not only what other teams offer but could impact #BlueJays offer as they leverage situation.

In other words, a lot of things have to play out before there’s any kind of certainty about Cabrera’s future in Toronto or with another team.

Sadly, this is almost certainly true. But holy shit, let’s just figure it out.

Bob Elliott said on Prime Time Sports this week that he thought Cabrera might be in for a Choo-like seven-year deal, but that, of course, is insane. It’ll be shorter than that — a Toronto Star piece earlier in the summer, in which Brendan Kennedy consulted caripus executives and agents on their thoughts, suggested Curtis Granderson’s 4/60 deal with the Mets as a ceiling. That’ll play. Backload it the right way to fit the Jays’ payroll structure and that will definitely play.

Just fucking do it!

Now consider this your Game/Rain Threat. Might be a long one tonight, so buckle up! Or, given the forecast at the time of this writing, there might not be a game at all. Fingers crossed — and for a win, too. Despite yesterday’s disappointment, the Jays ended the night hardly worse off in the playoff race than when they started. Let’s get back to winning, eh?


That fucking thing froze Ortiz and dropped in for a strike. Gold.

I’m in a car on the 401 right now (not driving, obviously), and so this is the best I can do as far as visual evidence of the filthy fucking fucking filth Dan Norris used to strike out David Ortiz to end a tense at-bat, and a seventh inning threat.

On the other hand, it’s kind of amazing that I can even do this at all.

On the other other hand, holy shit, that was awesome and terrifying, as Norris was at one point down 3-1, after missing badly three straight times following a first-pitch curve he dropped in for a strike. Ortiz fouled a 3-1 fastball straight back for strike two, and then it was time for a trip to filth town. Nails!

Check out the GIF via @dshemie8!



Fuck Everything Update

Melky will have surgery next week for a fractured right pinky finger. His season is done. Fuck off.

Original Post:

Melky Cabrera left tonight’s game in Boston in the sixth inning. He fouled off a ball, and speculation was first that the ball had come up and hit him. When replays showed that wasn’t the case, his back was identified as the possible culprit. That doesn’t seem to be the case either, however, as Mike Wilner tweets that trainer George Poulis was looking at Melky’s right hand when he came into the dugout, and Scott MacArthur tweets that NESN showed a replay showing that Melky may have hurt his hand diving back into first on a pick-off attempt in the third.

Official announcement, via the radio broadcast is that he’s going for x-rays on his right pinky finger. “That’s the last thing the Blue Jays need with zero margin for error rest of the season,” tweets Gregor Chisholm. Uh-huh.

Ugh. For fuck sakes.


Time for some Hutch Clutch, one hopes, as the Jays ride into Boston on a hot streak, looking to really give their playoff hopes a hot life injection (?) as they face the lowly — but still dangerous — Red Sox, who are offering us the gift of Allen Webster, a 24-year-old prospect starter who currently sports a 7.58 ERA in 65.1 big league innings spanning the last two seasons. Will the Jays take the gift? They’d fucking better!

Webster, however, didn’t look quite so much like total dog shit until his previous two starts — giving up six earned runs in each, over a combined 8.1 innings — so he’s capable of being a whole lot better than that ERA makes him look. But let’s not think about that. No need to get off this ride yet, eh?

Go Jays!


Even though they would normally platoon Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar in centre (now that Colby is effectively benched, despite last night’s heroics), Gregor Chisholm tweets that, with the Jays going through a long stretch where they’re not expected to face lefty starter, Pillar will still get some starts — as he does tonight — with he and Gose switching spots every couple of games.

Speaking of the Jays using far too small samples to evaluate who they think can play next year: Danny Valencia! Another tweet from Gregor tells us that Alex Anthopoulos “seemed to hint” last week, and not John Gibbons has hinted as well that if Danny Valencia plays well, he could earn himself the club’s starting third base spot next year. Players can change, of course, and Valencia hasn’t looked as godawful against right-handed pitching as his numbers suggest. However, given his 60 wRC+ in the split this season, and his 68 over nearly 900 plate appearances versus righties, this idea sounds pretty fucking stupid.

Because team have to do things like this, the Jays, just in case, released their playoff ticket pricing information today, and if you thought the fine folks at Rogers would gouge the shit out of loyal, beaten-down Jays fans they’ve been fucking over for years by running the franchise they invest so much emotionally in the most dispassionate, crudely cynical, corporate fuckface-y way possible… you’d be right! Get to the World Series and the worst, most regularly-unsellable seats in the 500s will cost $100 each. Which… actually, that’s probably fair.

Lastly… 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!

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 7:10 PM ET @ Boston; Sunday, 1:35 PM ET @ 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)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
DH Adam Lind (L)
C Dionner Navarro (S)
3B Danny Valencia (R)
CF Kevin Pillar (R)
2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)

RHP Drew Hutchison

Boston Red Sox

3B Brock Holt (L)
2B Dustin Pedroia (R)
DH David Ortiz (L)
LF Yoenis Cespedes (R)
1B Mike Napoli (R)
RF Daniel Nava (S)
CF Mookie Betts (R)
SS Xander Bogaerts (R)
C Christian Vasquez (R)

RHP Allen Webster


“My hits are, like pow, suck on that, you know?”

- Colby Rasmus

Damn straight. Video of last night’s awesome, tenth inning blast after the jump.

But first, because there we haven’t quite hit the teams-ahead-of-us-beating-up-on-each-other portion of the schedule yet, let’s have a look at who we’re cheering for this weekend — i.e. who the opponents of the teams the Jays are chasing are:

Jays @ Red Sox (Obviously!)
White Sox @ Cleveland (Jays ahead of Cleveland, but go Sox regardless!)
Royals @ Yankees (Sew up that Central and get these Yankees out of our fucking faces, Royals!)
Giants @ Tigers (Tigers fading away like a post-industrial hellscape ghost town? Ironyyyyyyyy!*)
Mariners @ Rangers (Rangers gotta win sometime, right? Right???)
Astros @ Athletics (A’s trying to put the first Wild Card back in play? I can live with that!)
Orioles @ Rays (Pointless to pay attention here, but fuck the Orioles anyway.)

Cubs in for three early next week, which are not unwinnable games either. Holy shit!

And now, as promised, Colbeh:

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