Archive for the ‘Griff Bag’ Category

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Another week, another Griff Bag! Aka Richard Griffin’s latest mail bag from over at the Toronto Star! On time and everything!

Anywho…

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 Rich Stoet,

The Jays are playing listlessly and ever since the trade deadline came and went without the owners doing anything to improve the team that was performing quite well without some key players like Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie – have given up hope and the grit that they had and it is now a case of “Roger, it’s all over and out” (I should make that plural).

I wish that some group or company with the money and the love for the game purchases the team and the ball-park that the current owners got for a song, from them. All the very best to the Blue Jays team that has shown courage and great performance in so many games – thank you guys.

Have a great weekend Rich Stoet.

Tony in Toronto

Thanks, team, for your courage and spirit for all those games before you packed it in like a bunch of spoiled children with two months to go!

What a load. You want to cry about Rogers? Fine. But don’t make shit up. Whatever listlessness you want to pretend you’re seeing is just coincidence. They’ve played poorly. They’re not sulking and letting it show in their play on the field — or if they’re so unprofessional and collectively out of their minds as to be actually doing so, you sure as fuck aren’t able to divine it through your TV.

Come on.

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griffbag

Another week another Griff Bag? Not exactly, as there was no Griff Bag to speak of over at the Toronto Star back on Friday. However! In the Griffmeister’s latest Bullpen post for the Star he promises a full one will return this week, and unleashes a mini mail bag on us, and so… y’know… let’s have at it!

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 Rich,

When the Yankees saw that they needed a second baseman, they went out and got one – when they were in need of a third baseman, they spent money and brought one in. In both cases, excellent players. Some teams spend money to build an “A” class team while others, i.e. “Bean Counters” make all sorts of excuses. What a shame. Injuries are also the cause of the Jays inability to play as they did in May – they have had some bad luck in that area. Melky is, in my opinon, undoubtedly the best player that the Jays have and I hope that they bring him back for a few years.

Regards.

Tony in Toronto.

Is “bean counter” really supposed to pass as an insult around now? Really?? I mean, just parroting such an impotent gibe really takes away the impact of the one thing you said that made the faintest hint of sense. Yeah, the Yankees spend large, and as much as any organization in the game, the on-field product is at the top of their corporate pyramid, while Rogers — probably dumbly — doesn’t see the benefit in assigning special status to the baseball aspect of their business (certainly not the way they have with live hockey rights). The Yankees seem to believe in winning as the prime driver of their bottom line, and spending as a means to that end, while the Jays are locked into a very different corporate structure where that just doesn’t seem possible for them, even though that’s precisely what they did in the most successful, on- and off-field, era of the club’s history. It is what it is, but it totally fucking sucks, yes.

Ah… but then there’s the rest of it. Chase Headley maybe plays excellent defence, but an excellent player? Maybe once, and maybe he can be again one day, but that’s not a label I’m about to slap on a guy whose 92 wRC+ on the season leaves him tied for 117th among 153 qualified big league hitters this season with the likes of Billy Hamilton, Alcides Escobar, and Dioner Navarro. Martin Prado, by the way, ranks 131st on that list, and has been abysmal since moving to the Bronx (while Utley has merely been league average).

Sure, injuries have played a part in the Jays’ inability to repeat their May performance, but it hasn’t been everything: Mark Buehrle and Drew Hutchison haven’t quite been the same, and it doesn’t help that on May 18th Juan Francisco was sporting a wRC+ of 175, and since then he’s put up a mark of 72.

And while you’re right that re-signing Melky is something to be optimistic for — and would be a sign that ownership is at least half-serious about winning — he’s undoubtedly the best player on the club? Uh… look right. (No, no, keep going.)

 

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Q-Dear Mr. Griffin,

In your 8-8-14 Mailbag answer to Al from Toronto, you listed Ryan Goins among “the fresh group on the way to fill the upper farm system void.” Was this a slip of your fingers on the keyboard, or do you really consider Goins to be a prospect? He’s already 26 YO and as I type this has 245 ML PAs over two seasons. His slash line is .227/.247/.309. His OPS is .556. He has 54 Ks and 6 BB. Why should a fan have any optimism that Mr. Goins has a Major League future?

Thanks,

John Thompson, New Westminster, BC

Well, he’s got a hell of a glove, and you can never say never, but honestly? I’m with you. Which isn’t to say he has no value. He could be something like a Munenori Kawasaki with less bat and more glove, I suppose. Mune has batted .279/.328/.320 this season in the Majors, while Goins has put up a .282/.335/.340 in Buffalo, both with BABIPs higher than you’d think would be sustainable. So… yeah, it’s not much. Glove and bat seem to even out to pretty much replacement level, as far as I can tell.

 

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Q-Mr. Griffin,

On Thursday night, August 8, I attended the Jays v. Orioles game at the Rogers Centre. I witnessed the following incident that I believe is indicative of why many fans don’t attend many, if any, games at the stadium. I’ll be thinking twice before I go again.

While the pitching for both teams was great, the game seemed to lack excitement and the crowd (smaller than I had expected for such a matchup) was pretty laid back; I might even say it was dead. I was seated along the third-base line, in section 128. Down a couple of rows, in the section to my left, a fan was standing up from time to time during the game, cheering and trying to rouse others around him to make some noise. I can’t say how much he was standing throughout the game as I was generally watching the field. Apparently, one or more people seated behind him must have complained that he should sit down as he was blocking their view. I can understand that, though if they had stood to cheer it wouldn’t have been a problem. Personally, I find the wave, with hands flapping in front of me blocking my view of the field, pretty annoying. At the beginning of the ninth — NINTH — inning, an usher came by and asked him to sit. He refused. I’ll add here that at no time did I hear him yell anything inappropriate, such as foul language. He also did not appear to be intoxicated.

The usher then went to get security. A couple of security guys came down, with one or two outs at the time, and again asked him to sit. Several (I think four) police arrived on the scene. Now things really became nasty and distracting. They sought to remove him from the stadium. They were intent on throwing him out as the bottom of the ninth inning was starting, for heaven’s sake. He sat, grabbing the sides of his chair, as many of us in the vicinity began chanting “let him stay; let him stay.” In the end, just before the game ended, they were able to pin his arms behind his back, cuff him, and virtually drag him out in obvious pain from the pinning of his arms.

In sum, it seems they want to treat the Rogers Centre like a church. Even if anyone could agree with their actions, why do this as the game appeared to be ending (sure, the Jays could have tied it up and then perhaps a decision might need to be made)? In my view, and I think many around me would agree, they used excessive force to remove a fan who was cheering on his team and trying to get others around him to get more into the game. There is a lot wrong with the Rogers Centre (prices for beverages and food for starters and that awful “turf”), but this treatment of fans who actually get excited strikes me as the greatest reason to stay away.

A Fan of Yours,

Richard Wertheim

I was there the night before, and I must say, I’m surprised you found the crowd laid back. But the other stuff? Sadly I don’t find that terribly surprising at all — from the irritating fan not giving two shits about the people around him, to the absolute overreaction from the stadium staff and police.

While I do particularly despise wave-starters — especially those who won’t take no for an answer — and tend to think that if you’re the only person standing up, you should probably just sit the fuck down. But somebody has got to be the first one to start standing, so even I can accept there’s a little bit of leeway here. And even still, four cops? Come on.

Add this to the stories I heard about people not being allowed to move into vacant seats during the 19-inning game in the following series — even vacant ones in the same pricing tier! — and yeah… more victories for the fun police. (Though, to be fair, my interactions with Rogers Centre staff have always been pretty good, so maybe don’t be too hard on them.)

 

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griffbag

Another week, another Griff Bag! Aka Richard Griffin’s latest mail bag from over at the Toronto Star! Er… except that I haven’t actually done one of these for a couple of weeks, but why let that spoil a good opening line?

Anywho…

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-With the season in full swing and drawing to the crunch. I have a question regarding this offseason, the Jays have projected payroll of controlled/buyouts of 96 million. With the dominant starter still not there to stop the bleeding on a Jays team, would it be at all possible that the Jays are able to trade Buehrle (20 mill next season), and Dickey (12 mill next season) without including a bunch of cash going the other way? The reason I suggest this is that they could then replace those 2 starters with more proven, reliable starters, 1 of the following of ie Ervin Santana, James Shields, Jon Lester or Max Scherzer? Then sign a Jake Peavy, Brett Anderson, Josh Beckett, Justin Masterson, to be the 3 or 4 starter? I know it is Fantasy baseball talk here but wouldn’t one of those aforementioned pitchers be a better option then Buehrle for the same type of coin and the latter be better then Dickey?

Scott Cochrane, Niagara on the Lake

Uh… why would a team agree to take on Mark Buehrle at the full freight of $22-million for next season when they too could give up nothing and sign one of those guys that you mentioned? Where is the advantage for the other team? Is it that they may not be able to sign one of those guys themselves? Because that makes no sense — they have the money, and pretty much any team is as likely to sign a free agent pitcher as the Jays are if the money is there. So… ?

Dickey you’d have a better time giving away, but not seeing how $12-million on the free agent market gets you 200 virtually guaranteed innings of a former Cy Young pitcher with a sub-4.00 ERA in the AL East and a club option for 2016 at the same rate.

If you have an internal rotation option you believe in, or acquire a pitcher on the cheap, then maybe you take a bath on a portion of the last year of the Buehrle deal and repurpose those dollars into fixing the outfield, for example, but I’m pretty sure it’s a lot harder to make this team better while taking away Buehrle than all the armchair GM’s think.

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griffbag

Another week, another Griff Bag? Aka Richard Griffin’s latest mail bag from over at the Toronto Star? Well, yes and no. Actually I’ve fallen behind on my… er… bags, so this is the one I should have posted last week. As for the one that Griff posted on Friday… we’ll figure that out sooner or later.

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 trade deadline approaching, what would the trade value of Colby Rasmus be at this point? Reason I ask this is that he is a free agent at the end of the season and he might not net a single asset if he walks. If the Jays are not going to sign him why not net some assets? In saying that if they haven’t extended Melky Cabrera at this stage, who is the table setter and is a key piece in the top four of the lineup, wouldn’t you want to have your key pieces signed through your competitive years?

If the Jays are in a salary flux and can’t keep your key pieces why would they let them walk without maximizing their return?

Scott Cochrane, Niagara on the Lake

If he’s one of their “key pieces” in their “competitive years,” uh… in what fucking universe should they be trading him? He hasn’t played particularly well this season, but it’s not like they don’t need him. And it’s not like they should expect him to be as poor as he’s been so far from here out, either. In which case, he may still put himself into a position where he’ll net the club an asset if he ends up leaving.

That’s always going to be dicey, because lately you certainly get the sense that the Jays would be careful making him a qualifying offer if they were afraid he was going to take it and add $15-million to their 2015 payroll — and with the way he’s played this year he’s certainly a candidate to end up in QO limbo, if he somehow pulls it out of the fire enough to be given an offer — but the alternative is what? Trade him for peanuts at a low ebb of his value just to say you got something for him, and not even give him the chance to give your team a massive boost in the second half if he plays anywhere close to his potential?

If this was a go-nowhere year, sure, maybe that’s a reasonable angle — though I’d still think hard about holding on and hoping to squeeze a high pick next year out of the situation (or trying to bring him back on a discount if he declines the QO and finds the market soft) — but in a year where they’re expecting to be in the thick of it in late September and hopefully beyond? It’s crazy.

You keep Rasmus, without question.

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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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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,

This might come as a little bit of a surprise from me, as I have a penchant, need to suggest making trades, but this year I totally feel that the opposite should happen with the Jays.

I really do hope that AA doesn’t make a rash decision and trade away their prospects in the hope of making the playoffs, the last time the Jays truly made runs at the east title it took eight-plus seasons of competitive baseball, the Jays this time around are in Year 2 of their “window”.

If any trades should be made they should be from their current major league roster, much like the 1990 trade of McGriff and Fernandez for RBI man Carter and a little known second base prospect Alomar. The reason I feel this way is that the current group of Jays has enough talent to compete but not the make up to truly take the next step in becoming a perennial contender.

I hope that AA doesn’t make the decision to trade the likes of Stroman, Sanchez, Nolin, etc, just to keep the window open for another season or two. If AA keeps those assets that the rest of the league covet the Jays can stay on top the east for more then a 3-year window.

Do you think that the Jays should make a trade not unlike the 1990 one?

Thank you,

Scott Cochrane, Niagara on the Lake

I hear this kind of talk a lot, but no matter how many times I do, it never actually manages to make any sense. Keeping prospects makes a whole lot of sense in the abstract, but not so much when you actually think about what sort of shape the club is in going forward, and how much — and when — the prospects you’re talking about are going to be able to help them.

I’m not advocating trading everybody, but yes, the Blue Jays should be seizing the opportunity that’s in front of them in 2014 by making trades that help them in the near term. Absolutely.

In addition to having a core of top players already well on the wrong side of 30, the 2015 Jays will either lose potential free agents Colby Rasmus, Melky Cabrera, Casey Janssen, and Brandon Morrow, or will need to use a lot more of their budget than they currently do in order to keep them. Add in a hefty raise to Jose Reyes — his back-loaded deal goes from $16-million to $22-million — and you’re going to have a tough time not downgrading in at least a couple spots, in addition to some natural decline you’d expect from the aging Reyes-Bautista-Encarnacion-Dickey-Buehrle core.

I’d talk here about making a 1990-style trade, but there just really isn’t a comparison. There is no John Olerud waiting in the wings to make an expensive piece like Fred McGriff expendable here. Even if there were, to do a massive deal like that on the fly, in-season, would be extremly tough, if not impossible.

So it’s not difficult to see pretty clearly what they are and where they’re going. And while I’m not saying they’re doomed beyond this year, contrary to whatever it is you’re drinking, the picture really isn’t getting any rosier than it is now — it doesn’t help that the Red Sox already have an outstanding group of prospects in or near the majors, and that the Yankees are the Yankees, with a not-insignificant amount coming off their books — and Aaron Sanchez, Dan Norris, Dalton Pompey, and the guys they have in the lower minors simply aren’t likely to be big enough MLB contributors during the time that the core of this team is under contract and still at their peak to change that. There isn’t a next generation of Blue Jays ready to step fully formed into the lineup over the next couple of years, and while part of that is exactly because Alex Anthopoulos has dealt a number of prospects, it doesn’t mean he needs to be deathly afraid of doing so again, if that’s what the situation warrants.

Again, it doesn’t mean they ought to trade anything and everything, but it would be an awfully bitter pill to swallow if the Jays didn’t do quite enough at this trade deadline because instead they wanted to keep prospects who ultimately most likely will not pan out anyway, and even if they do, won’t be significant contributors until the Jays are a far more ordinary team than the one that now boasts a pair of the top ten hitters in baseball, one of the best bats against RHP, and two dynamic table-setters at the top of the lineup.

I do know how important prospects are, but I don’t think fans making suggestions like this quite appreciate how good what the team has now is — nor do they seem to appreciate how difficult it will be to get back here in the future, no matter how they play it. The idea that by dealing more prospects the Jays would be blowing up the pipeline that will supply them with the MLB-ready talent they need in the next year or so, in other words, is a total fallacy. The fact that the guys they do have won’t likely be contributors so soon doesn’t necessarily mean they have no value to the club, but weighed against what the pieces the club acquires can bring to this year’s run, to next year’s, and to the budget-driving revenue that will be gained by a genuine pennant race and maybe even some playoff gate money? All that, to me, would seem to serve 2015 and 2016 better than do dreams of a couple of big talents producing enough big league value as they’re just getting their feet wet and helping this team when it’s in a much less advantageous position than it is now– especially if the Jays make the right choices on the ones they deal away.

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