melkyshirt

And that’s not the only hot breaking scoop to pass along!

- Heyman: Sky Blue
- Heyman: Water Wet
- Heyman: Women’s Breasts Strangely Alluring

I know, I know, I was stunned too about the water thing.

Of course, what’s Heyman to do here? Not engage in clickbait? Shit, I clicked on it, and I knew there was going to be precisely zero of value to me in his piece. Then again, fans in other markets may be interested to know that the Jays are hypothetically willing to add a $15-million contract to their payroll, or that there is a baseball team in Canada named the Blue Jays — and that they actually play in the major leagues? Naomi Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatts?

Heyman also pulls the trusty old high school trick of pumping up his fluff with a few filler paragraphs like this one:

Word from someone familiar with the Blue Jays’ thinking is that they are so pleased with Cabrera both on and off the field that it is an “easy decision” for them to make him a qualifying offer. Toronto actually hopes it leads to another multi-year arrangement with Cabrera, who should be one of the better hitters on a thin market.

No word on whether he adjusted the margins to make the piece look bigger.

Heyman also says he thinks Melky owes the Jays for believing in him when he was at his lowest point, coming off his P.E.D. suspension. Because that’s totally how this stuff usually works!

Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m all for it if Melky’s hellbent on re-signing here.

Anyway, I’m sure we’ll get an equally valuable piece when Cabrera inevitably declines. Frankly, I’m already breathless in anticipation.

wirefuck

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

Not going to lie: I operated for much of this fine-ish Monday that today was an off-day for the Jays. Guess not! Though it is an off-day for both Anthony Gose and, evidently, common goddamn sense.

That’s the only conclusion I can come to from tonight’s alignment of Jays outfielders, which sees the best centre fielder of the trio, Kevin Pillar, in left; the best right fielder, Jose Bautista, in centre; and John Mayberry in right.

I’m a huge fan of John Gibbons, but I have no idea what the hell that is all about — though it speaks, I think, to the unfortunate political nature of how this sort of stuff is among the guys actually in the clubhouse. Shi Davidi tweeted this afternoon that the alignment looks as it does because John Mayberry Jr. prefers to play in right. In no rational universe should that matter an iota, but a baseball clubhouse is hardly a rational universe — Jose Bautista prefers to hit third out of some bizarre point of pride, for example, which is the same reason a guy like Troy Tulowitzki says he’d rather retire than move off shortstop. On one hand you want to say, “You’re employees! You do what your bosses tell you! So bosses, tell them!!!” But on the other, we know they’re really not, and evidently it simply can’t work that way.

That, of course, is why we’re seeing Jose Reyes at shortstop again tonight as well, despite the fact that Ryan Goins is also on the field. And why we see things like Jeff Blair’s post this morning (was that really this morning???) at Sportsnet about the Jays not yet having broached the idea of a position change with their shortstop — even as he plays through injury, with a superior defender next to him on the field — and supposedly not aiming to in the off-season, either.

Oh, but “you can expect general manager Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons to tell Reyes in exit interviews that they will give him more off days next season – including some turns as a designated hitter, which Reyes has fought this season,” we’re told. And with new turf, and Brett Lawrie (hopefully) and Goins (not so much hopefully) providing cover, they think they’ll be able to hide him enough to be passable.

It’s fucking absurd. But it is what it is.

Still, though, say what you will for advanced defensive metrics, but how’s this for a puke-in-your-mouth comparison? This year by UZR Reyes has been 9.1 runs below average, and his DRS is -16. Guess who sits at a shitty-but-less-shitty -5.5 UZR and -10 DRS?

Yep. It’s Derek Jeter.

To be fair, Reyes has played more innings, over a bigger sample Jeter has been considerably worse, and Reyes is playing through an injury. But on the other hand… JESUS CHRIST!

Oh, hey, but at least the Jays also spent the weekend pissing away crucial games to the Rays, leading their more-improbable-than-ever playoff quest to Baltimore for three games starting tonight, then the Bronx for four.

Guh.

Scuttlebutt

Meh.

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 7:05 PM ET @ Baltimore

For those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app.

And now, the lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
CF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
C Dionner Navarro (S)
1B Danny Valencia (R)
RF John Mayberry Jr. (R)
3B Steve Tolleson (R)
LF Kevin Pillar (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)

RHP Marcus Stroman

Baltimore Orioles

RF Nick Markakis (L)
LF Alejandro De Aza (L)
CF Adam Jones (R)
DH Nelson Cruz (R)
1B Steve Pearce (R)
SS J.J. Hardy (R)
3B Kelly Johnson (L)
2B Ryan Flaherty (L)
C Caleb Joseph (R)

LHP Wei-Yin Chen

 

Image via. (NSFW)

griffbag

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-Richard Stoeten,

I have my doubts on whether Brandon Morrow can ever be healthy for a full season as a starter. However, we only have to look to Dustin McGowan to see how well his body holds up coming out of the bullpen. My question is, with Morrow’s stuff, is he the Jays’ closer of the future?

Dr. Justin

Richmond Hill, ON

Morrow wants to start — and why shouldn’t he? He stands to make a whole lot more money in his career if he’s a starter than if he’s a reliever, and there’s probably going to be a team that will give him an opportunity — something the Jays, seemingly with too many starters for too few spots as it is, given the fact that Dan Norris and Aaron Sanchez ought to both join the rotation in 2015, can’t. Their only way to keep him, it therefore seems, would be to pick up his $10-million club option.

It will cost them $1-million if they don’t pick it up, but still, adding $9-millions to the payroll just for sixty-odd innings? Good as we may think Morrow is, there are very, very few pitchers you’d contemplate paying so much for so little. Add in his injury history. Add in the fact that everyone expects the team will be limited in its ability to add to payroll. And add in the fact that they’ll be searching for multiple bullpen pieces, given the questionable status of Steve Delabar, the loss of Neil Wagner and Sergio Santos, the potential departure of Casey Janssen, and potentially even the loss of Dustin McGowan — who, if we’re being honest, probably hasn’t been good enough to justify picking up his own $4-million option — and spending all that money on Morrow alone looks, frankly, crazy as fuck.

If this was a team with more budget room or looking for one last bullpen piece it might be a worthwhile gamble — Morrow still has a whole lot of talent, to be sure — but it isn’t. That money can be better spent elsewhere.

 

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Q-Mr. Griffin Stoeten,

As much as you do say that the Jays have the money to sign Melky Cabrera (and I do want him to stay in Toronto), and I was a big backer of the man coming here, I do not see that happening.

Reason 1: Weak outfield free agent market. You yourself have said that other outfielders include (Nelson) Cruz, (Torii) Hunter & (Alex) Rios. Cruz has done very well in Baltimore and with what they have built there it would be strange for him to leave as he is having massive success there. Hunter though is going to be 40 during the next season, and while he has played well his .275 average is good but his on base percentage is lower than Cruz and with age creeping in who knows how he will hold up, and as such Melky is ten years younger. Rios has cooled down a little but is hitting a very respectable .280 and has been durable, doesn’t have the power Melky has which isn’t terrible considering you aren’t looking for power from the 2-hole, but would he want to actually come back to the city that chased him away? I don’t think so.

Reason 2: Winning. This team in the two years Melky has been here has not been a winner and it seems like the management group does not know how to construct a team as you have a top 4 of very good to excellent hitters, but after that you lack much in the lineup as proven all year. 163 home runs, but 87 of them have come from EE, Bats, Reyes & Melky. This would mean you would need an overhaul of the bottom 5 (except Navarro, but a better backup catcher would be needed).

Reason 3: Pre-existing Financial Commitments. The Jays have already tied up $94MM in guaranteed money in just 8 players for next year and 1 of those players is Rickey Romero, so you have just 7 roster players out of 26 signed. Considering the team payroll this year is $137MM and between the two years Rogers has spent $250MM for no playoff spots you can’t assume they will increase payroll.

Reason 4: Poor Drafting Record. The Jays while having some of the best young talented arms in all of baseball have at the opposite end of the spectrum failed miserably at drafting position players. Currently the only position players that were in the minors on August 31 who would be considered real prospects were Dalton Pompey, Anthony Gose, A.J. Jimenez. Gose & Jimenez are both 24 and it is time for them to prove that they are major league players or if they are going to be just backups/bench players in baseball. Last year was Yan Gomes breakout year into a starting role and he was 25, if you aren’t a major league every day player by 25, chances are you won’t be (Yan Gomes WAR is 4.1, better than all Jays but JBats). After those 3 players there isn’t anyone below 25 in AAA or AA and that is a failure of Alex A to draft position players and as such when we have an injury you have NOTHING to replace it with. How come people complain the Leafs don’t build through the draft but the Jays are allowed to get away with it.

As such these are 4 excellent reasons why Melky would not necessarily sign back with us as he is valuable to many other teams in baseball, especially ones who have a chance to win soon which he would be more interested in doing as the way this team has been put together shows that it is not a winner.

Ian Serota

I’ll actually answer this, but first a disclaimer: this is a serious fucking load of garbage clown idiocy. To wit:

1) Why are you talking about the weak market as a reason why the Jays won’t re-sign Melky and then seemingly discussing why the Jays may or may not be interested in certain guys? This was one of your two not completely shitty points, and you totally blew it. The fact is, the dearth of other good free agent outfielders is definitely working against the Jays. Plenty of teams will have strong interest in a guy like Melky, though that will be mitigated by his P.E.D. suspension in 2012, and by the fact that the Jays will make him a qualifying offer, meaning the team that signs him will be forced to give up their highest unprotected draft pick to do so. How that has anything to do with crying about Alex Rios not wanting to come back is beyond me.

2) This is utter stupidity and not at all a factor.

3) Most people are assuming that the Jays will be in the $140-million range again, which — after the expected free agent losses and arbitration raises — gives them something close to the $15-million it’s hoped it will take to re-sign Cabrera. Moving Mark Buehrle and getting a team to take on a whole bunch of his salary would add even more to the potential payroll for the club — assuming Rogers allows them to keep the savings — but yes, this is a major factor why he may not return. Coupled with number one, it’s the biggest factor.

4) More stupidity. Yes, the Jays do not have a wealth of position prospects knocking at the door — though Gose, Pillar, and Pompey are certainly not nothing — but before you call that a failure, maybe try understanding in the slightest what the fuck you’re talking about. The reality is, that was by design. Anthopoulos long ago made the decision that it was more important for him to acquire pitching than hitting, under the belief that it is easier to acquire hitters by other means. Quibble with that notion if you want, but don’t be an asshole and scream “poor draft record.” Alex’s first draft as GM was in 2010, and it was at that point that the Jays truly started focussing in on high school players, and pitchers in particular. What you see among the big talents in the Jays’ minor league system, therefore, is exactly what you’d expect: a lot of young players, most of them pitchers. But even if he had been drafting more position players, consider this: a high school draftee from 2010 is now around just 22 years old. Aaron Sanchez is one of them, and he’s just now reaching the big leagues, and one of the youngest pitchers in the majors. To repeat: a prototypical guy from A.A.’s first draft is now an exceptionally young big leaguer. Hey, but let’s whine about where all the other, younger draftees, from even more recent drafts are — because that’s not dumb. Hey, and while we’re at it let’s be garbage clowns and whine about Yan Gomes, too.

And this has what to do with Cabrera coming back? Besides jack shit all, I mean.

That all said, there is definitely a very big chance that the Jays won’t be able to resign Cabrera, and it’s entirely related to money and the market for him. It’s not clear how that will develop. The Jays are surely hoping that the P.E.D. thing and the qualifying offer suppress the market enough that they can make a competitive offer given their budget limitations. But on the pessimistic side, a guy like Shin-Soo Choo, who last winter signed a seven-year, $130-million deal with Texas, is an interesting, if imperfect comp.

Choo declined the qualifying offer given to him by the Reds, so the Rangers gave up a high pick to get him, in addition to the massive contract. He was also a year older last winter than Cabrera is now, and similarly is a poor defensive outfielder, but a terrific bat, even while being a liability against left-handed pitching. There are general similarities between the two players, and so that is the contract Cabrera’s agent is surely looking at as his best case scenario, and one that I don’t think the Jays would come close to matching — and I don’t think anyone would blame them if they didn’t.

There are definitely differences between the two players that suggest it’s fanciful for Cabrera’s agent to be dreaming on a similar deal, though too. Choo had avoided the DL for the two seasons heading into his free agency; he certainly seems to have a body type that screams longevity more than Cabrera’s does *COUGH*; Melky has two significantly below replacement level seasons in the last five years on his resume, one because of a spinal tumour, one in his pre-P.E.D. season in Atlanta where he was reportedly badly out of shape; Choo had always shown an above average ability to get on base, but in his walk year he produced an elite walk rate of over 15%, leading to a .423 on-base (Melky’s walk year OBP is just .351); while the defensive metrics like neither player, the Reds thought Choo was good enough to play centrefield regularly in 2013, which might reflect better on him in the field (even though it was crazy); Choo’s career ISO (.171) is 42 points higher than Cabrera’s (.129); and Choo has been a significantly better player by both versions of WAR.

To expand on that last point, over their five season heading into free agency Choo nearly doubled Cabrera’s rWAR total (20.7 to 11.5). Make if four years — taking away a very good season from Choo and a bad one from Cabrera — and Choo still has the advantage by over three wins (15.2 to 11.9). Fangraphs’ version of the metric tells a similar story: Cabrera has produced 8.5 wins over five seasons, and (removing his awful 2010 in Atlanta) 10 wins over the last four; for Choo, as he headed into free agency, it was 19.6 and 14.8. Change the endpoints and the story stays about the same.

So… add all that to the fact that Melky has the P.E.D. issue looming over him, and that Choo’s contract already looks like a pretty big mistake from Jon Daniels , and I don’t see a team getting anywhere near that level with Cabrera, even if the market for outfielders is weak. Only time will tell, though. And the bigger point is that those market-based things are the sorts of factors that will determine whether the Jays will be able to bring him back, not whatever litany of whiny irrelevant nonsense some garbage clown wants to try to shoehorn into a half-assed argument about why he’d be unwilling to do so.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend Threat: Jays vs. Rays

Welp. The Jays sure could have done better last night than wasting a very good J.A. Happ start — not to mention squandering one of the precious few losses they can afford to give up if they are to maintain any shred of a pretense that they’re still in a playoff race — by failing to muster a single good goddamn thing against Nate fucking Karns. Ugh.

Better do better today, boys.

happsterbackground

It was a tremendous time, as usual, last night at the final Pitch Talks event of the season. And, also as usual, it’s been a less tremendous morning after. And afternoon after. And evening after.

Ugh.

But baseball!

The dumb Clevelands won both ends of their doubleheader against the Twins yesterday, pulling even with the Jays to sit 3.5 games behind the holders of the second Wild Card spot, the Detroit Tigers (and just 4.5 games behind the floundering holders of the first spot, the Oakland A’s — with the Mariners, of course, still to be surmounted). Noted Jays-killer Chris Davis of the Orioles was suspended today, so that’s a spot of good news given the fact that the Jays have six games still remaining with Baltimore. But tonight, and for the next two days, the focus is on the Rays — and with Nate Karns getting the start in place of Drew Smyly, the Jays have a pretty solid chance to get a leg up on the series. So… let’s do that?

I don’t know. I’ve got nothing.

Go Jays!

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 1:07 PM ET vs. Tampa; Sunday, 1:07 PM ET vs. Tampa

For those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app.

And now, the lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
DH Adam Lind (L)
C Dionner Navarro (S)
3B Danny Valencia (R)
LF Kevin Pillar (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)

LHP J.A. Happ

Tampa Bay Rays

CF Ben Zobrist (S)
LF Brandon Guyer (R)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
RF Wil Myers (R)
1B James Loney (L)
SS Yunel Escobar (R)
2B Logan Forsythe (R)
C Ryan Hanigan (R)
DH Sean Rodriguez (R)

RHP Nate Karns

87tickets

“To prove anything can, and will, happen… My unused 1987 #BlueJays playoff tix. 3.5 up with 7 to play. #162games” – @Section524

Jays win! Astros win! Mariners lose!

Last night was a hell of a thing, and now, with seventeen games to play, the Toronto Blue Jays sit just 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card. And honestly, as much as their horrific August looms large over that deficit, their losses in two very winnable games at Fenway against the Red Sox may loom even larger.

The team is indisputably on fire — granted, an easier trick to pull against the Cubs, Red Sox, Rays, and Yankees than against legitimate contenders — and could be looking at an eleven game win streak, were it not for two turds they laid in Boston.

I know, I know, we’ve got to move on. It’s just… to get this close and miss, as great as even being in the conversation at this point is, will be absolutely gutting. And yet, at this stage missing seems almost inevitable.

Almost.

The Jays have today off, and will resume play on Friday against a Rays team that’s close to packing it in.

I say that not as an indictment of their mindset, mind you, but based on simple facts like the one that says they’ve shut Drew Smyly down for the season already and will start Game One of the series with a rookie in his place.

Meanwhile, the floundering A’s play the Mariners in a series that will either see both teams tread water, or — should one of them sweep — one pull away in the Wild Card race as the other drops significantly.

Opportunity is there for a team like the Jays to creep further up on them… as long as they keep winning.

And now, let’s take a look at who we ought to be cheering for this weekend…

Rays @ Jays
Obviously!

Cleveland @ Tigers
Detroit currently holds the second Wild Card spot that the Jays are desperately chasing, but the Clevelands haven’t gone away — they sit just a game behind us right now. It might be tempting to hope for some kind of a split here, but… no. Since all this stuff relies on the Jays taking care of their own business anyway, I think we want to see Cleveland do alright. It sure would help make the decision easier, though, if they knocked themselves farther back by losing today’s doubleheader with the Twins, eh? Either way, gotta hope for the Tigers to lose right now. No choice but. Unless…

Red Sox @ Royals
Go fuckface Farrell! This one’s easy: The Royals currently hold the AL Central by just a game, and are starting fucking Liam Hendriks tonight. Uh… y’think they’re going to have an easy time maintaining their tenuous grasp on a playoff spot? Especially with the Tigers having ten of their sixteen remaining games against the White Sox and Twins, they absolutely won’t. So… yeah… the time is now for the Royals to start sinking like a stone and making the Tigers irrelevant to the Jays’ pursuit. Not that, with a guy like Hendriks in the rotation, they’re necessarily going to have a choice in that anyway.

A’s @ Mariners
It would be tremendous to see the A’s brought back to the pack a little bit, but the problem with that is that the Jays still need to leapfrog the Mariners. They’re currently behind Seattle by three games, and while there are still four home games with them yet remaining, hoping for the Mariners to hurt Oakland here and to let our entire season ride on that series a week-and-a-half from now is almost certainly folly. On the other hand, Seattle has a tough enough schedule that we can maybe not worry about them quite as much it feels. Following these three with the A’s, the Mariners go to Anaheim for four, then three against a Houston team they just lost two straight to, then four at Rogers Centre, before finishing with three home games against the Angels. They’re going to have a tough go no matter what happens, and the Jays are going to need to win their games with them regardless. So is maybe cheering for them to hurt the A’s actually OK? Nah. Five games back of Oakland with seventeen to go, and eleven of Oakland’s remaining seventeen against the White Sox, Rangers, and Phillies? I think the top Wild Card spot is probably too much of a pipe dream. So fuck the Mariners.

Yankees @ Orioles
Like everybody else, I can’t stand that the Orioles have been so good this year. But how can we not cheer for them this weekend? The AL East crown is out of sight for the Jays, and watching the O’s push the Yankees out of the race would be a very good thing. Not only that, but the farther ahead the Orioles get, the more likely it is that they end up fielding weaker teams as they rest guys for their own playoff run — and that, of course, could help the Jays a lot, as six of their final seventeen are against them. Both these teams can entirely fuck right off, though, of course.

hutchthrowshomeblue

The Jays quest for the improbable continues tonight with another game against the Cubs, and with Cleveland and the Yankees not-so-firmly in their rear view. But a lead is a lead, and all the Jays have to do is keep on winning and they won’t have to worry about them again. Meaning that they’ll only need to worry about the Mariners (against whom they still have four games to play), and either the Royals or the Tigers, one of whom is guaranteed to lose tonight — they play each other, with the winner assuming control of the AL Central.

And what that means is that if Seattle loses to the Astros, and the Jays win, the Jays will sit just 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot, with seventeen games to play.

In fact, with the Jays and the AL Central clubs playing in the eastern time zone, it’s virtually guaranteed that, with a win, at some point tonight the Jays will be at 3.5 back — though a Mariners win would make them the holders of the spot, with the Jays four games back.

The thing about all this is, though, that they gotta win. So do it! Go Jays!

Next game(s): Friday, 7:07 PM ET vs. Tampa

For those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app.

And now, the lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
C Dionner Navarro (S)
3B Danny Valencia (R)
LF Kevin Pillar (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)

RHP Drew Hutchison

Chicago Cubs

LF Chris Coghlan (L)
SS Javier Baez (R)
3B Luis Valbuena (L)
RF Jorge Soler (R)
C Wellington Castillo (R)
CF Ryan Kalish (L)
2B Arismendy Alcantara (S)
1B Mike Olt (R)
DH Logan Watkins (L)

RHP Kyle Hendricks