Archive for the ‘Minor Moves’ Category

goseHR

So here’s the news that a lot of Jays fans weren’t hoping to here, but should probably have been expecting: according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, Anthony Gose is headed to Buffalo for a couple of weeks, in order to make room for Edwin Encarnacion.

This won’t sit well with those who are ready to run Colby Rasmus out of town — or even those who still like the promise Colby holds, and think he can do better than we’ve seen so far, but have also noticed that Gose has been worth nearly a win more to this team in 2014 in over a hundred fewer plate appearances.

And it definitely won’t sit well with those who are ready to stop watching Juan fucking Francisco tumble deeper into the goddamn abyss.

Francisco has been awful basically since the start of June — a .184/.240/.380 and a 67 wRC+ in 171 plate appearances — and somehow even more fucking terrible than that over his last month. His defence isn’t good, which is why he’s mostly been at DH or first base of late. But, unlike Gose, he’s out of options, and hey, at least when the other team needs a key strikeout, Big Juan’s a guy they can totally count on.

Ugh.

Bitterness aside, the decision seems to be based on the fact that the club currently doesn’t have anyone other than Munenori Kawasaki who can hit right-handers at all. Steve Tolleson and Danny Valencia can’t. Problem is, um… Francisco can?

As much as we love a good, old fashioned platoon, they become a bit unwieldy with respect to the finite number of spots on the roster, and the Jays are in a bit of a pickle with this one. But, as is usually the case with these matters, it’s not necessarily as completely fucking stupid as it seems — though that maybe depends on how big a risk to their seasons you think moving Bautista or Encarnacion to third against right-handers until Lawrie is back would be. Francisco has to have a short leash here. Ryan Goins can come back after the mini-series with Milwaukee, and while he gives absolutely nothing with the bat to this offence-starved club either, at least he does fucking something well. And it’s not like Francisco can’t heat up, either — plus, the power is a very nice asset, and given the career turnarounds of Encarnacion and Adam Lind in recent years, you can sort of understand not wanting to expose him to other clubs… sort of — it’s just… are they really so desperate that that’s what they feel they need to hold out hope for at this point?

Maybe they are. Yeesh.

hinterland

Breaking: Brett Lawrie?

Ugh.

In his return to the lineup, something has happened to Brett Lawrie’s back — Gregor Chisholm was the first to tweet that it was “lower back tightness,” officially — and he did not come out to field in the top of the fourth inning. Danny Valencia took his place at third base.

Hey, but you know what’s more important than getting real grass for the Jays to play on? Being super nice to the Argos!

Doubly so after Danny Valencia butchered a high chopper from Delmon Young from an easy, and much needed, out into a run-scoring single.

Anywho, in his first and only at-bat of the night, Lawrie hit what might have been a double down the first base line, but he missed first base and had to quickly put on the brakes and go back — though, in all honesty, that may have had more to do with the arm of Nick Markakis. Before we knew the official explanation, Buck and Tabby thought the issue may have occurred then. I wondered for a time if maybe something happened with his still-sore finger when he slid back into first base. John Gibbons even suggested in a mid-telecast interview that something may have happened with him sitting on the flight from Florida.

Whatever the case, stop me if you’ve heard this before: Brett Lawrie is hurt. We’ll update as more becomes known, unless it’s just “day-to-day,” which it almost certainly is going to be. So… this is probably all you’ll get.

Update: Well, Lawrie is day-to-day, but here’s a little more context for you: Megan Robinson tweets that John Gibbons says Lawrie felt his back tighten up in batting practice, while Barry Davis adds that Lawrie himself says it was “grabbing at” him in BP, and that this is the first time he’s experienced a lower back problem, which… that can’t be right, can it? He’ll have an MRI tomorrow just to be safe, Davis tweets, but the hope is that he’ll only be out a day or two. Fun stuff, ain’t it? One more tweet from Barry tells us that Lawrie had treatment during the game and his back loosened up, but that he’s still going to to be cautious and get the MRI.

Welcome Back Kottaras

The Jays divested themselves of some of their catching depth when they moved Erik Kratz as part of the deal for Danny Valencia last week, and as much as the Valencia is a nice little fit for them, it left the rather thin in the catching department. A.J. Jimenez is the only non-MLB catcher on the roster, with Mike Nickeas the only one with big league experience at either Buffalo or New Hampshire.

In other words, they wouldn’t be in a great spot if Navarro or Thole were injured. Not that any team wouldn’t have a rough go if it lost both of its big league catchers, but Kratz was a nice little insurance policy — a good-receiving backup with a little bit of pop, and thank to his time in the big leagues, with some familiarity with the club’s pitchers, too.

I wasn’t terribly worried about the Jays being able to come up with a guy to take his place, if they ended up needing one in a pinch, and it turns out we didn’t — or at least may not — have to wait until then. To wit:

He’s certainly got the passport that will get people around here to take notice, but he’s actually a nifty little pickup, too.

Ewan Ross made the case for the Jays to pick up Kottaras back in November at Blue Jays Plus, citing his elite walk rate, his good ISO, that he’s a left-handed hitter (A.J. Jimenez hits right, FYI), and the fact that he’s caught a knuckleball before (he was Tim Wakefield’s personal catcher in 2009) as reasons. He hasn’t played much this season, or all that well — at least not in the overall, though he was hot in a very small big league sample of 33 plate appearances split between Cleveland and St. Louis — but the track record is actually pretty decent. He’s been worth over three wins per FanGraphs in less than a couple season’s worth of plate appearances (853 PA), partly based on defence, but partly also because he’s been a league average hitter by wRC+, thanks largely to the great walk rate, which has seen him post a career OBP of .327 — which is only, like, 50 points higher than Kratz’s, with a better SLG and ISO to boot.

That’ll play. Um… in Buffalo, ideally.

sanchezMTL
According to a piece from Shi Davidi at Sportsnet, Aaron Sanchez and Ryan goins are set to join the Jays on Tuesday. Sanchez is obviously the key one there, as the club’s long talked-about top prospect. He’ll be pitching out of the bullpen, where he’s made two appearances of late for Buffalo, and per MLBTR, will accumulate about 70 days of service time if he remains with the club for the rest of the season, which should leave him well short of Super Two status.

Nothing official has been announced, so we have no idea yet of the corresponding moves to make room on the active roster, and on the 40-man, but if I were Brad Mills, I probably wouldn’t be unpacking any more of my stuff right now. (Also, according to a tweet from Jamie Campbell, Tolleson will hit the paternity list, which makes the Goins move wholly more justifiable).

Update

Apparently with the bullpen getting their heads handed to them yesterday, even more changes are coming, as Shi Davidi has added to his piece an update suggesting that Esmil Rogers is on his way back to the Jays’ bullpen, too.

To be fair to Brad Mills he’s not as bad as a lot of people (understandably) think he is based on his career, his previous appearances with the Jays, and last night. After all, he was given four starts by the best team in baseball, and this season in the minors produced the lowest walk rate of any stint anywhere in his pro career, and his first strikeout rate above one-per-inning since 2008. However, now I really think he probably shouldn’t unpack.

Rogers has been working as a starter, and should allow Todd Redmond to stay in the short relief role he seemed to move into just before the break. In Esmil’s last five starts he’s allowed nine runs over 29.2 innings (2.73 ERA), with 20 strikeouts and 13 walks, and has thrown 65% of his pitches for strikes, though… we all know that Triple-A numbers don’t mean a hell of a lot. Still, some of the peripherals on him before he was sent down suggested that he might not have been as bad as he looked. Fingers crossed.

Fingers crossed that they won’t need to even think of ever moving him back into the rotation, too — and maybe we’re closer to preventing that eventuality, as Jeff Blair tweets that the Jays agree with a comment Joe Siddal was making on the radio last night: they think Hutchison was tipping his pitches. So… there’s that.

Update Update

It’s official. Alex Seixeiro of the Fan 590 tweets that Sanchez, Goins, and Esmil Rogers are up, Brad Mills is DFA, and Erik Kratz and Darin Mastroianni have been optioned back to Buffalo. OK? OK.

sanchezMTL

No, obviously it’s not a permanent move. Don’t get your boxer-briefs in a twist, for fuck sakes. But yes, according to a tweet from Bisons play-by-play man Ben Wagner, Aaron Sanchez has been moved to the bullpen, obviously with a view to bringing him up to help the big league club (and limiting his innings in the process so that he doesn’t have to be shut down in mid-September).

This comes on the heels of the Jays making a waiver claim today, acquiring Brad Mills, the former Jay who became expendable when Oakland traded for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, and designating 2010 first round pick Deck McGuire for assignment in the process.

Brad Mills

So… Brad Mills is back, and is going to end up on the 25-man roster of this club. A corresponding move has yet to be announced, but it could be a relatively simple one, despite the news about Aaron Sanchez being moved to the bullpen. The Jays currently have three catchers and five outfielders, so it’s not outlandish to think that Kratz or Gose or Mastroianni could be optioned down, with Mills joining a pitching staff with an eight-man bullpen — or, perhaps, a six-man rotation.

I’m just spitballing here, but the Jays toyed with the idea of a six-man rotation earlier in the season, with what seemed like the intention of preserving some bullets for a guy like Drew Hutchison. Now Marcus Stroman fits that bill as well, as both pitchers will be depended on down the stretch as they head into uncharted waters in terms of the innings they’re being asked to log. Their hitting the wall ought to be a very real fear for any Jays observer even half serious about them making some kind of playoff run — which, at this point… uh… we’ll just be happy if we get to the point where we have to worry about it.

Stroman has been so good, and the Jays have been so bad, that it’s hard to see how they could honestly take him out of the rotation at this point, but the Jays seem to be enamored with how the Cardinals did things with their young arms last year, and surely they noticed that Michael Wacha spent about a month in the bullpen, after originally getting called up as a starter, before rejoining the rotation for the stretch drive. I’m not saying this is really what the Jays are onto, I’m just sayin’…

Anywho, in Mills they have… something? The left-handed former Jay made three starts for Oakland (two of which were on the road, FYI), allowing eight earned runs over 16.1 innings, with 14 strikeouts and seven walks. Not great, but not terrible, either. He can eat some innings for the club, and in Triple-A this season with Nashville, he was pretty spectacular: 77 Ks and only 18 BBs in 75 innings.

He doesn’t have a lot of experience in the bullpen, so… we’ll see how they intend to use him, I guess.

Aaron Sanchez

The Jays having Aaron Sanchez moved to the bullpen is the clearest signal yet that they intend to bring him up to help the big club this year. And I’m OK with that. Seems like reasonably good asset management: sure, you’re giving him some service time and adding him to the 40-man a bit earlier than necessary, but they obviously feel he’s going to be up and contributing in the big leagues sooner than later, so I’m not terribly bothered by that, and in return, instead of giving away talent to bring in some pricier veteran bullpen piece, you just use a guy who seems like he should be able to be successful in the role. We all know he’s had his struggles with command, but it could work — cutting down on the variety of pitches he’s throwing might help, right? Right???

This also, if we’re being honest, makes you wonder a liiiiiitle bit about just how constrained the club is with respect to adding payroll, but I think it’s a reasonable enough idea on its own to not believe that’s the only thinking behind it — especially because it’s not like they’d be asking to add some hugely expensive (in baseball terms) reliever down the stretch, but just the pro-rated salary of a guy making a few million bucks. I mean… they can’t be that stretched, can they?

Whatever the case is on that front, as a baseball move it could work. The way Sergio Santos (who is out of options, FYI) has been going lately, along with the fact that Chad Jenkins exists, suggests that it behooves the Jays to address their bullpen (and that’s to say , and this would be a pretty damn decent way to do it, I think. Shit, if they think Mills can give them enough innings to justify it, how about adding both Sanchez and Stroman to the ‘pen? That’d make for a really impressive relief corps., though they’d obviously be taking a big hit in the rotation to do so. But given the fact that they may need to pull things back for Stroman anyway, if they want to have him continue to be available through September and (hopefully) October, maybe it’s a thing? Hey, and maybe he can even stay there once Brandon Morrow comes bffffffffffffff — hahaha, sorry, couldn’t get through that sentence with a straight face.

I probably shouldn’t be focussing quite so much on that angle, but it certainly intrigues.

Deck McGuire

Ahhhh, Deck McGuire. It sure does hurt to see his name two spots ahead of Chris Sale when you look at the first round of the 2010 draft, but before we lament his D’ing FA too vociferously, let’s remember some context. First off, he may not necessarily be on his way to another organization. He could get through waivers unclaimed, and with the way he’s pitched — 23 walks in 55 innings, with just 38 Ks and a 5.59 ERA since moving up to Triple-A — and the fact that he spent parts of four seasons at Double-A, it wouldn’t be surprising. And that’s just sort of it: the writing has long been on the wall here, unfortunately. You don’t struggle so badly to get out of Double-A for so long and keep your prospect status intact.

And the draft stuff? Let’s not forget that there were actually twelve GMs who passed on Sale (whose violent delivery led a large number of observers to see his future in the bullpen), and that lots of picks from that draft have busted just as badly — Barret Loux (6) is out of baseball, Karsten Whitson (9) didn’t sign and ended up an 11th rounder this year, Christian Colon (4) is in his third season trying to get out of Triple-A, and even Billy Beane and the A’s ended up with something of a disappointment in Michael Choice (10). Sure, McGuire was the “safe” pick, and that sure adds fuel to the ol’ moron fire when it comes to this conversation – he can’t even get a safe pick right! — but the fact that he was safe allowed the Jays to gamble on other picks, which they did in the sandwich round, drafting Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, and Asher Wojciechowski. Say what you will about the guys that they were traded for, but two of those prospects were key pieces that turned into 2/5ths of the Jays’ current rotation, while the third will soon be on the big league roster in the bullpen, as we discussed above. The Jays kinda nailed the 2010 draft — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Prospects bust sometimes. Have you heard??????

edwinhurt

All sorts of news-y stuff going on this fine Sunday afternoon, and — as is the case with everything related to your Toronto Blue Jays of late — not a whole lot of it good. Here’s a brief rundown:

For those of you watching last night, and not basking in the afterglow of a too-narrow victory over an impressively disciplined Costa Rica, you’ll know that Edwin Encarnacion left yet another Jays loss with some kind of a leg injury, needing to be helped off the field by a pair of the club’s trainers. Motherfuck. He is not in today’s lineup, as he’s getting an MRI to determine the extent of the damage, and Shi Davidi writes for Sportsnet that the club is expecting him to hit the DL, and quotes Edwin as saying he felt a “pop” in what we now know was his quadriceps. Jesus.

Barry Davis tweets a picture of Brad Glenn and Jose Bautista taking some reps at first base, so… yeah.

But apparently that was just busywork, because Glenn has been D’d FA in order to clear a spot on the roster, according to a Shi Davidi tweet. I’m sure teams will be lining up to put a waiver claim in any second. Oh, and that was necessary because…

Some small, small measure of help is on the way, as yesterday’s waiver claim, Cole Gillespie, is in the lineup and in right field this afternoon for the Jays. He’s a right-handed hitting outfielder who has been awful in his short big league career against lefties — he sports a putrid .221/.286/.271 line in the split — and hasn’t been any better against them in the minors since 2012. An utterly, utterly pointless move. But hey, at least he’s not Bad Glenn, I guess.

Better move: the Jays have claimed Nolan Reimold on waivers from the Orioles. He’s not a great defensive outfielder, and despite being a right-handed bat, doesn’t have any sort of pronounced platoon split, but shit… he’s a warm body who isn’t Brad Glenn or Cole Gillespie, so that’s definitely something. He has a career .252/.327/.439 overall line in the majors in 1056 plate appearances, alternating between some pretty good stints with the bat and some dogshit ones. Lightning in a bottle? Let’s hope so.

Glenn’s D’ing FA clears a spot for Gillespie on the active roster, and also for Reimold on the 40-man. Edwin probably hits the DL (the 15 days he’d be required to miss also include the All-Star break, so, as Richard Griffin tweets, it probably makes sense just to do it) in the reciprocal move… um… I think. Gregor Chisholm tweets that, when asked if Edwin’s injury was serious, John Gibbons replied, “I would think.” Ugh ugh ugh.

Meanwhile, Alfonso Soriano has been designated for assignment by the Yankees, leading fans who stopped paying attention to Alfonso Soriano years ago to hope that the Jays somehow pick him up. He has a .286 on-base over his last 864 plate appearances (but has been about a league average hitter nonetheless because of his power, and… actually he’s hit .279/.325/.511 against left-handers over that span, so… shit, do it. I take it back.

Cock.

Worse still, Soriano was D’d FA in order to make room for the Yankees newest pitcher: Brandon McCarthy. Don’t tell Marc Carig, but it’s a pretty smart pickup, though it cost them current less-than-good MLB starter Vidal Nuno, who has a lot of team control left, which is why, apparently, he was attractive to the Diamondbacks. Surely the Jays could have offered something comparable, and with Arizona eating half of the $4.1-million still owed McCarthy, I’m not entirely seeing why it wouldn’t have been a nice move for them to push harder on, except… well… their pitching really isn’t the issue at the moment, is it? Gotta save those chips for a bat, maybe? Sheeee-it.

The good news there, at least, is that the Diamondbacks are definitely now open for business, which could hasten the departure of someone like Martin Prado, who we know the Jays have been looking at. Prado and Reimold instead of Glenn and Mastroianni sounds pretty alright to me. And there is other mildly good news on the trade front. To wit…

Jon Heyman writes that the Twins appear set to move a couple of their free-agents-to-be, pitcher Kevin Correia (pass), and RHB Josh Willingham. That’ll play. Fuck, it’s almost like every option out there is better than what the Jays are currently running with.

Kenny Ken Ken mentions the Twins stuff, too (though he says that they’re aiming to hold their chips until after they host the All-Star game — ugh), but also says that the Cubs were eager to deal Jason Hammel, in part because they feared that the market would become saturated with similar pitchers. So… yeah… bring on that saturation already.

And the big one today was a piece from Jon Morosi, who tells us that the Rays are open to trading David Price in the division, and spitballs that the Jays could land him if they were willing to give up two of Sanchez, Norris, and Pompey. Would obviously be a huge add, but again, kinda would like to see some offence, eh? Maybe that’s living a little too much in the moment — the team will definitely hit better, and the pitching staff could certainly use a Price — but… well… either way, I don’t see it happening. COULD SOMETHING MAYBE HAPPEN THOUGH?

I mean, seriously… this is not the week I want to deal with morons insisting the Jays should be sellers.

Oh yeah, and Jose Bautista hates replay. So… there’s at least that.

pillarglovethrow

GOODBYE KEVIN PILLAR!!!!!!1!!!

Brad Glenn, eh?

A 23rd rounder taken by the Jays in 2009 as a college senior, Glenn has taken a slow rise through the Jays system essentially as a non-prospect who was a little old for the levels he was competing at. At Lansing in 2010 Glenn was in his age-23 season, playing with a group of hitters with an average age of 21.4. He was a year older than the average age of his non-pitcher teammates the following year at Dunedin, and was exactly on average at 25 in New Hampshire in 2012, though that average is somewhat misleading, given the lack of real prospects the Jays had at the level — only Jake Marisnick (21) and A.J. Jimenez (22) among that group look like players with the potential to be more than just fringe big leaguers at best. And that year, Glenn didn’t even hit.

Posting a .239/.291/.440 line over 461 plate appearances as a 25-year-old in Double-A is a pretty quick way to become an afterthought. Glenn always did show decent raw power, though, posting ISOs in about the .200 range at each of his minor league stints, and hitting 17, 26, 19, and 22 home runs in the four years from 2010 to 2013. But he always struck out too much, and he never walked enough… until 2013.

After walking just 29 times in those 461 plate appearances at New Hampshire in 2012, he repeated the level at walked 45 times in 477 plate appearances in 2013, earning a brief call-up to Buffalo, where he was even better. He began 2014 back at New Hampshire, though — a fairly clear sign of where he stood in the Jays’ pecking order, one assumed — and upped his walk rate again, though everything else seemed to go south (his strikeout rate jumped to 28.4%, for example).

Still, he was shuffled to Buffalo in mid-May, and rather than looking like the org. guy he pretty plainly seems to be, he went on an absolute tear. In 122 plate appearances over the last six weeks he’s hit .377/.418/.570. The walks have disappeared again, but who needs walks when everything you put in play falls for a hit? Or… well, not everything, just 45.9% of his balls in play have led to him being on base. Is a .459 BABIP remotely sustainable? Hells naw! Can he continue to hit like this over multiple-hundred big league plate appearances? No offence to Brad, but I have precisely zero fucking faith.

But… I dunno. Ride the hot hand, I guess. And as Ken Rosenthal, commenting on a Jays minor move for some reason, tweets, the Jays have eight of twelve upcoming games against left-handed starters, and also notes that Glenn can play a little first base, which could be important with Adam Lind’s foot hurting, and Edwin Encarnacion seemingly being fine — he’s back in the lineup today — but having suffered a scary collision with Mark Teixeira last night.

Oh, and there’s another aspect to all this. Last night, in a key situation in the bottom of the eighth inning, after walking to the plate, assuming, for some reason, he’d face the right-handed Dellin Betances, Kevin Pillar strode to the plate. He was then called back to the dugout, as Anthony Gose was coming in to pinch hit for him — the obvious move, given their lefty-righty splits. But obvious or not, Pillar clearly wasn’t happy. Cameras on the Sportsnet broadcast showed him throwing his bat down the dugout stairs, moving to the bench to briefly take a seat, then walking over to John Gibbons for a brief chat. Gibbons is hidden by the dugout wall in the image above, but in the background you can clearly see Pillar as he tosses a glove — the white blob just above the corner of the wall — to the dugout floor while in conversation with his manager.

Read the rest of this entry »

lineupDLabar

We’ve found out the reciprocal move for last night’s summoning of Munenori Kawasaki, and it turns out that it was neither Brett Cecil nor Adam Lind, as both of them find themselves on the Jays’ lineup card tonight — though neither is starting — as you can see above.

Can you spot whose name is missing? Look harder!

[Hint: Look at the title of this post, maybe.] [Double hint: It's Steve Delabar.]

And here’s something weird: the move isn’t due to Delabar’s poor health — though you’d be forgiven for thinking that it might be, given that he hasn’t been quite himself this season (or in the second half of last season, or… well… let’s just say he was really good at the end of 2012 and the start of 2013) — it’s due to the fact that he has options left.

Nobody has hit the DL, in other words, but the Jays, didn’t want to begin a tough, important series in New York with a short bench while Adam Lind heals. At least, that’s what Delabar said, according to a tweet from John Lott, when he spoke with media before shuffling off to Buffalo. “The move was made because he had options,” Lott adds.

Clearly this is a disappointing move for Delabar — though Barry Davis tweets that he took the news like a pro — but it’s actually probably pretty good news for the Jays. No, bringing up Kawasaki isn’t a like-for-like swap, but it probably makes the best of the situation by moving Juan Francisco to DH, keeping him off third base, and allowing the beloved Muni to platoon with Steve Tolleson at second. It could have been Ryan Goins instead, I suppose, but I can understand bringing in a veteran who won’t miss the regular at-bats as much, I think. And sure, Francisco probably needs to play less right now, not more, but if Lind can’t go, save for scheming to bring up Dan Johnson (and then very possibly losing him on waivers when they need to send him down), there isn’t much better the Jays could have done here.

Delabar had found himself sliding down the bullpen depth chart, with Dustin McGowan having emerged as the club’s best high leverage non-Janssen option since he was removed from the rotation, and while you’re still probably a bit nervous about Sergio Santos, and not thrilled with the idea of Chad Jenkins (who also has options FYI) being the club’s next best right-handed option, it can’t hurt to give Delabar a chance to work on some things in a less intense environment. That’s not what this move is about, reportedly, but earlier this month Lott wrote a piece in the National Post that looked at the mechanical adjustments that Delabar admitted he’s been working for. That piece is referenced in another excellent slice of Delabaria, which came last week from Chris Toman at Gamereax, as he dove deeply into the peripherals, and spoke to the 2013 All-Star about his repertoire and about getting back on track.

The best news is, of course, that neither Lind nor Cecil will be headed to the DL. At least not for now.

Another move will have to come soon, though, with Colby Rasmus now having played five games for Buffalo on a rehab assignment after missing a month with a hamstring issue. He’s quite not hitting the way you’d want him to yet — just three singles and one walk in 19 plate appearances — so maybe they’ll prolong the assignment a little bit longer, but before long the roster cycle will start spinning again. Hold on tight! Especially since, according to one tweet from Shi Davidi, John Gibbons says that Brett Cecil could be available tonight “in a pinch,” but should be good for tomorrow, and in another tweet he says that the hope is for Lind to be ready in the next couple of days.

And if you’re Steve Delabar (or Munenori Kawasaki) maybe don’t pack too much.

 

Image via @lottonbaseball.