Archive for the ‘Keith Law’ Category


So here’s something that we haven’t done for a while: taking a look at all the Jays-related tidbits from a Keith Law chat with readers over at!

It has, in fact, been so long that it’s not just “a Keith Law chat” that we’ll be looking at, but three of them, dating back to August 21st, with the most recent one being back on Friday, September 5th. Nails much? OK, so let’s do it!


Joe (Toronto)
Thoughts on Daniel Norris’ promotion to Triple A?
They’re rushing prospects to AAA for reasons I don’t fully understand (or that I do understand and with which I disagree). Letting a guy go around a league twice has real value. Neither Norris nor Pompey got that in New Hampshire.

Oh, I think we fully understand what they’re doing here. It’s partly the ol’ sell hope for the future ploy, and in Norris’s case it’s partly that he can actually help a struggling bullpen, while in Pompey’s it’s that he can offer speed off the bench down the stretch, that he was going to have to be placed on the 40-man regardless, and that he almost certainly will spend more than a month next year in the minors, mitigating any issues with service time. Which isn’t at all to say that those aren’t things somebody can disagree with — one absolutely can.

Mike (Philly)
What’s a reasonable return for Hamels? Don’t want this to be construed as me thinking this will happen, but would Hamels for Norris, Pompey, and say, Sean Nolin be a “fair” trade? Again, I’m not saying the Jays would ever do it – just if that would be about the right quality/quantity for a return.
If the Phils are paying some of Hamels’ freight, then yes, that’s in the ballpark – or at least more so than the offer Ruben made to LAD.

If the Jays didn’t have a budget — or if they had one that they knew couldn’t be reined in at a moment’s notice on ownership’s cynical whim — I’d make that deal in a heartbeat. Hamels is signed for four years after this one (through his age 34 season) plus an option. It’s expensive as hell — $22.5-million per season — and may not be a great deal on the back end, but he’s a terrific pitcher, and as easy as it is to get enamored with prospects, I think you’re going to get more value out of Hamels over the final two years of the current contracts for Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion that you will Norris.

For a team that has to think as much about their budget as they do, though? And who may well be better off hedging their bets with respect to the present/future? I think holding a young, cheap piece like Norris for another six or seven years has a lot more value to them right now — and keeping the lottery ticket that is Pompey, and the potentially important depth piece that is Nolin, is just gravy.

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Yesterday Keith Law had his weekly chat with readers at, and… uh… for lack of a better preamble, here are your Jays-related tidbits…

Logan (Saskatoon)
Is Dan Norris a viable September bullpen option for the Jays?
He’s clearly coming up. No way they promote him to AAA that quickly (too quickly – what did he learn in AA? A little New England geography?) unless the plan was to get him to the majors.

I tend to agree with all of this stuff — the fact that the Jays do seem to be fast tracking Norris to the big leagues so he can help their bullpen, and that it maybe is a little quicker than you’d like to see. Norris had just eight starts in Double-A, with a walk rate of over four batters per nine innings. He walked four guys each in his second- and third-last starts at the level (eight walks in nine innings), but then spun a gem and got moved up. The Eastern League has just twelve teams, and you’d think that if you were more interested in his development, you’d maybe like to see him handle going through each of them a couple times.

On the other hand, if they’ve basically already decided he’s going to be in Buffalo to start next season anyway — which isn’t entirely unreasonable — I can understand why they might have come to the conclusion not to bother, since there’s less than a month left in the Double-A season.

Plus, as I noted in a Daily Duce earlier this week, according to a recent piece at Baseball Prospectus, he certainly already profiles as a guy who could help a big league bullpen. “Norris has ridden his fastball/slider combination all the way to the upper levels of the minor leagues this season, with Buffalo representing his third stop along the way,” they wrote. “He’s missed bats in droves at every stop and showed no sign of slowing down in his first Triple-A start on Sunday. He’s still got a ways to go to become a complete pitcher, including the development of the changeup he’ll need in the majors, but for now he’s able to get by with two potential plus pitches.”

Steve (Boston)
Keith: can you give us a floor and a ceiling on the two new pitching additions to the Sox system: Edwin Escobar, and Eduardo Rodriguez? Thank you.
Escobar’s probably a reliever, slight chance at a back-end starter, real ordinary stuff without a good third pitch. Rodriguez could be a 2, a well above avg starter – up to 97, sits 92-93, projects to have a plus change and avg breaking ball.

Not necessarily Jays-related, but Rodriguez, you’ll remember, is the pitcher the Orioles dealt to Boston for 20 innings of Andrew Miller. As was said by anybody not preoccupied with whinging at the time, they Jays sure could have used a guy like Miller, but that is one hefty fucking price. Norris-like, in fact, which maybe is all the more reason to say fuck trades and start moving him towards that role.

Chris (Toronto)
Franklin Barreto is doing well in the Northwest League as an 18 year old. He has a shot at top 25~ for 2015 right?
Top 25 Blue Jays prospects, absolutely.

Pro tip – there can only be 25 prospects in the top 25 and only 100 in the top 100. I’m sorry but that’s math.

Yeah… Barreto sure is doing well, and there is lots to be excited about in that bat, but this is kinda nutty.

James (Toronto)
What are your thoughts on Pompey and Jimenez? Is Jimenez more of an org guy now with the elbow issues? Secondly where would you start Pompey next year?
AJ Jimenez? Backup for me. Pompey’s a potential regular/leadoff guy – I’d start him back in AA next year.

After his .276/.327/.394 at New Hampshire last year, this season has definitely been a disappointing one for Jimenez — .223/.275/.340 for the Fisher Cats, and .270/.309/.355 at Buffalo — so it’s hard to quibble with the backup knock. Especially since that’s been a thing we’ve heard on him for a long while now. Pentecost gets the dreaded “Jays Catcher Of The Future” label now, I guess.

Pompey stuff is certainly nails, though.

Alden (Toronto)
Is Dwight Smith Jr. nearly as good a prospect as D. Pompey?
No. LF only, lacks the power for the position. He’s under 5’9″.

I have nothing to offer on Smith, but this does seem like a good opportunity to share this note on him from Baseball Prospectus earlier in the week, after he went 2-for-2 with three runs scored, a stolen base, and three walks for Dunedin:

“Because of his left-field profile and lack of home run power, this is the kind of production that Smith will need to have to be an everyday player. He’s not going to be perfect at the plate too often, but drawing walks, hitting the gaps, and scoring runs will allow him to make up for not having power at a power position. If not, he’ll be a tweener or fourth outfielder, but one who has a spot on a major league roster.”

Seems to line up.


A few small items of note have come down the ol’ information superhighway this afternoon, and while none of them really deserves its own post, they all certainly are worthy of some attention…

Sergio Santos Clears Waivers

Cue the conspiracy theory twits clamming up: according to a tweet from Ben Nicholson-Smith, Sergio Santo has cleared waivers and will go to Triple-A Buffalo in order to work on getting his command back. So if the Jays’ super-secret — *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge* — plan with this move was to save money, I guess they fucked up. Shocking, really, that no team was willing to piss away nearly $4-million (which is what Santos is owed for the remainder of this season plus the $750K buyouts of his three remaining option years) to see if an oft-injured non-closer with 17 walks in 19.2 innings could stave off the injury bug for his longest stretch since 2011 while regaining the form that made him a force at the back of the White Sox bullpen back then.

The Jays, of course, are already on the hook for that money anyway, so obviously they’ll try to get him right and hope that he can be a weapon for them later in the season — just as they’re currently doing with Steve Delabar. It could make for a pretty deadly bullpen if it all works out and everybody stays healthy, especially once rosters expand in September, with options like Janssen, McGowan, Sanchez, Cecil, Loup, Redmond, Delabar, Santos, Wagner, and maybe even Morrow.

One might suppose that they wouldn’t have been crying if somebody took that contract off their hands, but the money is already so spread out that I don’t think it matters too much in the grand scheme. If it meant clearing that almost-$4-million for next year, that would be a different story, but in practical terms they’d be clearing about $1.4-million this year, then only $750K from the budget for each of the next three years. Not helping them that much unless they really want to add another guy at about his salary and really are already stretched to the max — neither of which is impossible, but I just don’t see it when the obvious answer is that they think he can help this year if he gets himself straight, which wasn’t going to happen pitching as sparingly in the majors as his current performance warranted.

Gibbons: The Jays Were “In On” Headley

It’s real fuckin’ easy to say after the fact, but according to a tweet from MLB Network Radio, in an appearance on Power Alley with Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette, John Gibbons said that the club was “in on” Chase Headley. You can listen to Gibbers’ comments on that, as well as on Aaron Sanchez’s workload, and the fact that Ryan Goins is going to be playing a lot (because he really helps the club’s defence — though also, for some reason, they seem optimistic that he’s found a better level at which to hold his hands while at the plate, which according to a piece from Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun, is a little higher than where Kevin Seitzer had lowered them to earlier in the season).

The Headley thing… I honestly don’t know how inside the trade talk stuff John Gibbons would be. I think a lot of people might immediately start thinking that this means that the team was in it down to the wire, our in-over-his-head GM beaten out for Headley’s service by the smooth-talkin’ total pro Yankees, or some such utter fucking horseshit. The way I imagine it is more that Gibbons was aware that they were looking at Headley, was asked how he might be a fit, what plans there might have been to use him, whose playing time would have to be sacrificed, etc. I’m entirely just making that up, but I dunno… I’m sure not going to jump to any bigger conclusions based on Gibbers’ supposed knowledge of high level trade talks. He’s got his own job to do, y’know?

Renewed Focus On Pitching Trades?

An insufferable criticism that is too often levelled at the Jays without the hint of any basis in truth — at least as far as anything on the public record is concerned — is the one that goes that the front office operates without a plan. It’s one of those things that people without anything better to piss and moan about, who are unwilling to take a moment’s thought about  the reality of how the front office works, use just because they have some pathological need to spray piss all about as a means to defend against having to contemplate any other of their own feelings.

But… uh… sometimes you maybe see a little kernel of truth in it.

I mean, I know they didn’t actually do anything yet to address the lineup, and that not remotely every rumour you hear is actually true, but… um… really? Back to pitching? We didn’t entirely see these hitters coming back to full health on the horizon? All of the sudden it’s, “Hey, Hutchison’s been bad, maybe we should get a pitcher”?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that these guys are getting closer to returning — and seem to be doing so on or ahead of schedule — but… really?

Layin’ Down The Law

Lastly, Keith Law had a chat with readers today at, and while there weren’t many Jays-related tidbits, one sure stands out. *COUGH*

Keith (kc) [via mobile]
A few years back you were on record as saying Sanchez> Thor. What changed during development to make them flip flop?
The Jays shortened Sanchez’ stride, claiming it would help him get over his front side more – when the opposite is true – and it has ruined him in several ways. He’s less athletic, his command has gone backwards, he doesn’t finish the breaking ball as consistently, and of course guys with upright finishes and short strides are at greater risk of injury. Meanwhile, Thor just keeps getting better, going from a below-average curveball to a solid-average one in about a year and a half – and the Mets didn’t touch what was already a good delivery.


This is better, at least:

Sagar (NYC)
Jim Bowden suggested that the Mets could get Franklin Barreto for Bartolo Colon. Any thoughts on Barreto? Wouldn’t that be a steal for the Mets?
Zero chance of that happening. Like, zero to the power of ten.


Back on Thursday, Keith Law had his weekly chat with readers at, 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)?
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?
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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Alright, let’s ease our way back into the ol’ content game with something of a much needed distraction — at least for those of you who weren’t World Cup-ing and Pitch Talk-ing and therefore only barely cognizant of much of the “disaster” unfolding at Yankee Stadium this week *COUGH* — by ignoring (for the moment) what the hell is going on with this club right now (hint: baseball, mostly) and dipping into some prospect-y goodness via all the Jays-related tidbits from the two most recent weekly chat sessions Keith Law had with his readers over at

Sound good? We’ll get through this…

From his June 12th chat:

Tom (San Francisco, CA)
Keith, Aaron Sanchez was apparently promoted to AAA. That seems a bit premature, to me. Thoughts?
I don’t think his performance merited it, but I know the Jays have a ton of respect for their AAA pitching coach, Randy St. Claire, and his ability to work with young starters.

This is a part of the Sanchez promotion that I hadn’t really touched on much (though, to be fair, what exactly have I touched on lately? HEYO!), but certainly seems plausible — unlike, say, all the “trade showcase” silliness people like to theorize about — and all the more reason to be OK with the move, I think. Now if only St. Claire could do something for aging former All-Star starters who just had season-ending knee surgery, then the Jays would really have something on their hands!


Craig (Belgium)
Were you surprised to see Reid Foley sign for slot? From what I heard he was going to be a hard sign that’s why he slipped to the 2nd round. Is there maybe some injury concern we don’t know about?
No, he signed for an appropriate dollar figure. Don’t create worries for yourself.

Law has been quite consistent about the fact that if a top pick doesn’t sign, it will be because of some sort of rare and unforeseen circumstance, and not something to worry terribly about. I get why Jays fans are a bit scarred, but relax.


From his June 19th chat:

Joe (Ontario)
Assuming a return to health would you put Hoffman in New Hampshire to start in 2015?
I don’t think he’ll be ready to pitch at all until mid- to late May next year, and then I imagine he’ll start in low-A or so on limited pitch counts.

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Here’s something we haven’t done for a while, mostly because we haven’t had a Keith Law chat at quite as jam packed with Jays-related tidbits as his most recent one: some… uh… Law Layin’. Let’s do this!

Andrew (Toronto)
Hello Keith! Do you see Dalton Pompey and Tom Robson as legit major league prospects? I hear a lot about them, but wonder if they might be overhyped on this side of the border because they’re Canadian.
I think it’s a bit of both. Pompey’s very interesting – an athletic kid who’s put on about 20 pounds since signing and has always had an idea at the plate. Leadoff profile rather than a power/corner bat. Robson was more interesting when he was getting more groundballs.

Canadian prospects getting extra hype from Canadian outlets? Well I never!

Interesting, though, to see Pompey’s name start to break through into the legit, top-end prospect conversation. If you missed it earlier in the week, BP also had a rather glowing write-up of him, as well, calling him a player whose “name was in the running for the Jays top 10 list, and after falling short of that distinction he was in the running (but not chosen) to be named a prospect on the rise in that organization. The omission is our mistake—and a foolish one at that—as the 21-year-old outfielder has blossomed into arguably the top position prospect in the Blue Jays organization, a toolsy dream of a player who is finally healthy and putting the pieces together on the field.”


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Keith Law of has been all over the Jays this week, and not necessarily in a good way. Actually, almost exclusively in a less-than-positive way, though not unfairly so. The thing is, though, he isn’t just exclusively picking at the low-hanging fruit like we’ve sort of been doing around here. He’s really poking a needle around a bunch of inflated hopes that fans have on the good side of this club. So if you’re not ready for bad news, or are just going to scream incoherently about bias, maybe just take this post off, thanks.

For those of you willing to indulge the dark side, though, follow me…

Notes From Dunedin

Back on Sunday afternoon at (Insider only) Law posted his notes from the Jays and Twins game he took in at Dunedin over the weekend, and while much of what he writes is about the Twins and their outstanding collection of up-and-coming talent. But as we all know, up-and-coming talent doesn’t always translate to the big league level — not immediately, and sometimes not ever. This is illustrated by the pair of comments Law zeroes in on after talking in relatively positive terms about Drew Hutchison: Kyle Drabek and Brett Lawrie.

Drabek, he says, was “ showing average to below-average stuff across the board,” and “used mostly cutters and two-seamers rather than the four-seamer, hitting 85-89 mph on the cutter, 87-89 on the two-seamer, commanding neither pitch and not getting enough life on the latter one.”

That’s not even the dagger, as he later adds that Drabek is “approaching two years since the surgery, so more of his stuff would be back by now if it is ever going to come back.” Ugh.

And Brett Lawrie? Double ugh.

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