Archive for the ‘Daily Duce’ Category

dailyduce3

Daily? Also, as the US begins its Thanksgiving ExcessFest today, things are likely going to be mighty quiet on the baseball front. Deadline to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players is Monday, though, so maybe things will heat up a little by the end of the weekend, but don’t hold your breath. Which…uh… is totally why I’ve been sitting on all these links here. Uh… yeah. That’s the ticket. 

Ben Nicholson-Smith explains what’s been holding up the process, suggesting that it looks like things will finally start to happen soon.

Benny Fresh’s colleague, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, talks about the relief market, as Alex Anthopoulos tells him that he thinks the club’s bullpen surplus will only increase as the winter goes on. Anthopoulos, like everyone else, seems like he’s slow-playing this one. (Also from the piece: “While a fresh start somewhere else might do Romero some good, the Blue Jays right now have no incentive to give him one. They owe him $16.1 million through the next two seasons, and there’s no point in buying him out so he can try to rebuild himself with another club.” Ugh.)

Related, we have some great stuff from Blue Jays Plus, as they look at the entirety of the Jays’ bullpen option, with a view to each player’s trade value. The conclusion isn’t entirely surprising, but still an excellent breakdown.

Elsewhere at Blue Jays Plus, Chris Sherwin writes a paean to Marcus Stroman. (Also: title pun!)

Meanwhile, Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus chats with readers, saying that he thinks trading Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez for Jeff Samardzija would be a bit reckless, that trading both and D.J. Davis would be too much for David Price, let alone the Shark, and that he’s higher on Stroman than he is on Sanchez, mostly because of the latter’s “iffy” command. Four years as a pro without reaching Double-A will quite rightly make people start to wonder, though I think part of that has been the Jays’ babying of him, coupled with some injury issues this season that might have hastened his promotion had they been avoided.

Michael Grange writes that the Jays and Alex Anthopoulos must spend if they want to win, which… yeah, I’m down with that. Whoever wrote the headline on that one probably should add another name to that demand: Rogers.

Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider Olney) lists the Jays among a number of dark horse candidates to land Robinson Cano, but he’s not terribly confident that such a thing would ever really happen. “Cano would make them better,” he explains, “and they’re just enough of a wild card, in how they’re operated, to wonder … but still, can’t see it.”

Read the rest of this entry »

dailyduce2

And the villabouts of the wherein Kelly!

Holy nails. Outstanding stuff on Marcus Stroman and his mechanics from Kyle Boddy of Driveline Baseball writing for the Hardball Times, as he tells us that the Jays’ 2012 first rounder, despite his lack of height, had comparable stuff and command on draft day than higher picks like Kevin Gausman and Michael Wacha, but “dropped because of myths he’s about to shatter.” The name Lincecum is evoked, and the suggestion is that Stroman probably starts at Buffalo for service time issues, but probably doesn’t need it. So… how many pitchers does Anthopoulos need to find this winter???

Sticking with Stroman, he finds himself twelfth on MLB.com’s top AFL prospects list, which is no small achievement– he’s ahead of Jorge Soler and Garin Cecchini– and which also sees him being touted as a starter in the big leagues this season. But it’s Aaron Sanchez who really shines, placing fourth (which is no slight– he’s behind only Byron Buxton, Kris Bryant, and Addison Russell), and being called the AFL’s top starter. “He has top-of-the-rotation stuff and is ready for a move to the upper levels of Toronto’s system,” Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo write.

It’s a good news day for another former Jays first round pick… sort of. Today is the deadline for clubs to protect players from the Rule 5 draft, and Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com tells us that Deck McGuire has been added to the club’s 40-man roster in order to do so. Players not placed on the 40-man who risk selection now include Ricky Romero (fat chance), Sean Ochinko, and Kenny Wilson.

Or… actually, Brendan Kennedy tweets that the New Hampshire Fisher Cats have said that Wilson has been protected as well, even though the Jays themselves haven’t made it official.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Derrick Goold tweets (so you know it’s good as Goold) that Chris Carpenter has told the Cardinals he was retiring. Yeah… keeping a Carpenter and a Michael Young together with those mid-2000s Jays clubs might have been a thing. Taking that offer of David Wright for Jose Cruz Jr. (who they then let walk for nothing) would have helped too. Sigh. Great career for Big Carp nonetheless. Sad to see him go.

At Getting Blanked, Drew emerges from vacation jail to raise some giant red flags on Josh Johnson, as he suggests that San Diego is doubling down on risk, and questions belief in the peripherals because of factors demonstrating “an inherent hittability that doesn’t bode well for the future.” Great stuff.

Read the rest of this entry »

dailyduce3

Oh. Now look who’s bossy with counting.

“All those losses are totally on the players. All that heat that’s on Alex and Gibby – they don’t deserve it. We should be getting a lot more heat as players, and that’s why the focus should be on each individual showing up ready to go and playing better than they did last year,” says Jose Bautista in an interesting piece from Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. “What I think is that at times everybody – not only on our team and in our city – tries to look for the one person to carry the team and be the leader and be the one appointed person that’s responsible for everything. When you’re talking about a team sport, that’s pretty unfair assessment to make. I embrace the role of being a leader, I embrace the fact that people look up at me to that way, that I could be that person for the team, but at the same time it’s within each individual player to do whatever it takes and what’s best for themselves as individuals to be the best players they can be, which in turn will make a better team as a whole. Those are just my thoughts.

“He was a truly great manager. How he handled his players to how he handles the game itself,” says Cody Decker, who played most of 2012 under John Gibbons with the San Antonio Missions, speaking to Blue Jays Plus. “He trusts his players to do their job. He was practically an artist when it came to keeping the clubhouse loose. He made the game easier.” Interesting stuff.

“The Jays cannot afford to take a step back in attendance,” writes Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star in an interesting piece explaining what he thinks the Jays need to do. “That means, simply, that another losing season is unacceptable. It suggests the GM can’t wait until the holiday season, or later, to make another impact. Jays fans are not in a forgiving mood. Attendance is the key. Thus the GM’s job hangs in the balance.” Honestly? I can’t say I agree. Not about whether the GM’s job is in peril– clearly it is– but about how important it is to do something splashy and quickly, and how vital it is to see zero drop in overall attendance. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think if the crowds are slow to return at first, but build over the course of the summer because the team is playing well, that’s going to be more than fine. Build a winner on the field first, Alex.

There are always nuggets to be found in Gregor Chisholm’s Inbox posts at BlueJays.com, and his most recent is no exception. For example, he talks about the club rethinking some aspects of their player development strategy, and the fact that Josh Johnson’s agent doesn’t appear to have had any dialogue with the Jays, as he continues to explore the free agent market (as I wrote about last night).

Another from BlueJays.com has Gregor taking a look at how the Jays can get creative about payroll, listing some of the guys that the club could move in order to save some dollars– which is something that I did about a week ago, because obviously this is one of the key questions this offseason. $150-million only gets you so far these days, apparently.

Benny Fresh (i.e. Ben Nicholson-Smith) does some non-Sportsnet work, forecasting the free agent market– which now appears to be in full swing– for USA Today. Nifty!

Read the rest of this entry »

dailyduce1

Snip-snap, indeed!

Shi Davidi tweets that Alex Anthopoulos has called the Bautista-Brown rumour “fabricated,” ridiculous,” and “completely false.”

He adds that, contrary to another Howard Eskin suggestion, the GM says that he has made no offers to any free agent. OK then.

John Gibbons is apparently dismissive of the whole thing as well. Jim Bowden tweets that the Jays’ manager appeared on his SiriusXM show and said that the club is “looking to add pitchers not swapping outfielders.” It’s been a fun several hours, though, hasn’t it?

Bowden adds another item from the Gibbons chat, as the manager also confirmed that Brett Lawrie will play at third base this year. “He grew up a lot this year. Sky is the limit,” ol’ Gibbers said.

Uh… so… what does it say about your decision to fire your hitting coach when he’s almost immediately snapped up as a minor league hitting coordinator for one of the best-run organizations in the game? Because that’s kinda what just happened, as according to a tweet from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Chad Mottola has joined the Rays.

Dave Cameron of FanGraphs has a number of interesting thoughts on the Bautista-Brown rumour, which are less specific about the proposal itself, and more about general trends. Among them, he allays fears about Bautista’s supposedly diminishing skills, explaining that “extrapolating trends into the future is often completely incorrect, because the reality is that performance often regresses back towards the average of a larger sample performance rather than continuing to move further and further away from a peak. Or, put another way, players who are labeled as “trending downwards” often have a very good performance in their recent history which should continue to inform our opinion of what they will do in the future.”

Read the rest of this entry »

dailyduce2

What do you mean this is basically all stuff I could have put into the MLBTR post?

Baseball Prospectus makes Aaron Sanchez their AFL Pitcher of the Day for Friday, after he gave up an unearned run, pitching five hitless innings with eight strikeouts. “When he throws strikes and has his command, Sanchez can make pitching look easy. Sanchez’s velocity was actually down a smidge on Friday, with his fastball sitting just below 95 mph, but reigning things in clearly worked for him,” Jeff Moore explains. Sanchez now sports an ERA of 0.98 in 18.1 AFL innings, with eighteen strikeouts, just five hits, and nine walks. Of course, with the extremely varied quality of competition, those numbers don’t mean a whole lot, but it’s certainly better that he’s dominating than if he weren’t.

Speaking of BP, their Jason Parks had a bit of a Twitter exchange with a fan about Marcus Stroman, saying that while the reports on his changeup are mixed, it’s improved– with some having it as high as “solid average”–  and he thinks he can start. Parks also likes the cutter that Stroman has started throwing– “hard as shit,” he says, hitting as high as 93 on the radar gun. That’ll keep ‘em honest.

The Atlanta Braves are moving to a new stadium, at some crossroads of Interstate highways in Cobb County, well northwest of the city centre, and the Marietta Daily Journal had the scoop! Turner Field, if you’re counting, was used during the 1996 Olympics and became home to the club starting in 1997, or eight years after SkyDome opened.

At Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith is live blogging/Storifying all the events of what has so far been a fairly slow first day of the GM Meetings.

I linked to it earlier, but it’s worth another look at Shi Davidi’s piece in which he speaks to Alex Anthopoulos about his off-season plans. “It seems like with all the different things we’re looking to do, half of the scenarios are in free agency, half of the scenarios are in trade,” he says.

Another one that I’ve linked to earlier but is still worth a look if you didn’t catch it is Davidi’s talk with Brandon Morrow, who says he isn’t quite over the nerve impingement that cut his season short, but he feels much better, and is making great progress. The money quote, though, is about his reputation: “To hear the questions that different people may bring up about your health, or ability to stay healthy without looking at all the numbers, it’s unfair to say those things when it’s been different reasons. Up until this year, I spent a total of (five) weeks on the disabled list for arm troubles and even before that I was labelled injury-prone because I had a sore arm in spring training a couple of times. It’s kind of funny. The fact I had the oblique injury last year and now this, all of a sudden I can’t stay healthy?”

Read the rest of this entry »

dailyduce3

“Cat Party”? Pfft. Welcome to five months ago!

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Jays’ signing of Maicer Izturis, which kicked off their big off-season, and was greeted a little too favourably in these corners. A reminder that things might be quiet right now– and they sure are– but could heat up any moment.

Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated looks at the off-season plans for each of the AL East teams, and naturally suggests that there’s less reason to be optimistic about the 2014 Jays than we ended up becoming last year, but that’s probably OK. He wonders if the club doesn’t already have one of its needed pitching upgrades in Marcus Stroman.

Baseball Prospectus does a similar thing, looking at the one key move each of the AL East clubs needs to make, and Ben Carsley is somewhat optimistic about the club’s ability to give themselves an easy upgrade by buying a third-tier free agent catcher, like Carlos Ruiz, A.J. Pierzynski, Kurt Suzuki or Dionner Navarro. That works.

I’ve sort of been cold to the idea of the Jays giving up a draft pick for Ubaldo Jimenez, given the appearance of “Bad Ubaldo” during the 2012 season and the first half of this one. But… I don’t know, actually. Yeah, at his worst it’s bad, but he’s only had that one year of less-than-3.2 fWAR over the last six seasons, and the last year in which he didn’t make thirty starts? That would be 2006, when he was playing on a shortened Triple-A schedule, and made 26. The last season in which he made fewer than 25 starts? In 2002 an 18-year-old in the short-season Pioneer League. So, is… uh… is he a way less risky, far more durable Josh Johnson with the same five- or six-win probably-never-coming-back upside? Should the Jays be all over this? Did I hear someone say on the radio the other day that Anthopoulos was trying to get him when he was originally traded from Colorado to Cleveland in 2011? The answer to both those questions might actually be yes, right? At any rate, Grant Brisbee looks at his free agent case at Baseball Nation, and sees him returning to Cleveland by taking the qualifying offer. Alex can do him one better than that, eh? Protected pick and all. Do it!

At Bluebird Banter, writer jessief gives us some food for thought by looking back at last year’s Marlins trade in a dollars-per-WAR vacuum, which ignores way more than enough context to make the supposedly damning conclusion pretty worthless, but it’s worth understanding that side of the equation all the same.

Read the rest of this entry »

dailyduce1

“Mr. Crews” will do nicely. Although I can’t say the same for that winged collar.

Be sure to keep an eye on MLBTR, as all kinds of news and rumours regarding qualifying offers and the opening of free agency. At the time of this writing we’ve learned that A.J. Burnett (note: DO IT!), Bronson Arroyo, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and others have not been extended qualifying offers. No offer for Bartolo Colon, either. I mean, yeah, it’s the A’s but… OK, maybe the Johnson decision looks a little more reasonable in this light?

Brian McCann, Kendrys Morales, Shin-Soo Choo, Curtis Granderson, Hiroki Kuroda, and, of course, Robinson Cano, have all been given qualifying offers, it should be noted.

At Sportsnet, Shi Davidi looks at the challenges Alex Anthopoulos faces this winter, as he… well… y’know… tries to do better than this year’s disasterfuck.

Gregor Chisholm writes at BlueJays.com that Anthopoulos is likely to try to fill his club’s needs this winter via trade, and gives us an excellent breakdown of where the club’s roster is at, as the off-season begins in earnest.

Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail writes about the thin free agent crop, which he suggests will test the Jays’ budget– especially with so many other big money players entering the fray this year, thanks to all the TV money that is filling the pockets of formerly small-market clubs.

Elsewhere in the Globe, a Canadian Press piece from Steph Rogers gives us some insight into how Drew Hutchison is doing, both in Fall League and in terms of his recovery from Tommy John. Interestingly, he says he’s also made a small tweak to his delivery, not throwing quite as much across his body as he used to, which worked to great success in the AFL, for whatever that’s worth.

A pair of great free agency breakdowns from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, as he looks at the class of position players in one preview, and the pitching market in another.

Read the rest of this entry »