Stuff That Happened

Please forgive the late post this morning. Once one turns off an alarm on one’s phone to sleep in on a holiday Monday, it’s generally a good idea to turn that alarm back on for business as usual on Tuesday.

Anyway, this weekend was one of the long variety and so you can all be forgiven for leaving technology and the lack of a serious pennant race behind, and going to the cottage and forgetting about baseball for a couple of days. And besides, all it’s going to take to catch up on what’s happening is to read through the following list of links.

You’re welcome.

U #MadBum Bro?

The San Francisco Giants lost two of three to the Arizona Diamondbacks, making their mountain to climb in the NL West all the more steep (currently seven games back). However, there is some good news for a team that might otherwise end up regretful over trading Zack Wheeler to the New York Mets for Carlos Beltran. FanGraphs suggests that Madison Bumgarner, despite his 10-12 record, has been the sixth most valuable pitcher in the National League this season.

That value was on display on Monday when the 22 year old southpaw went eight plus innings against the San Diego Padres and struck out thirteen batters. He collected fifteen swinging strikes, including eight from his slider. Bumgarner threw that slider 37 times on Monday with 34 of them counting as strikes.

But Where Was He Born?

Despite playing in only thirty games for the Toronto Blue Jays so far this season, Brett Lawrie has the third highest win probability added on the entire team. Not coincidentally, he hit a walk off home run in the eleventh inning against the Boston Red Sox on Monday.

According to Lawrie:

I wasn’t trying to hit a home run there, I was just trying to get on base and give everyone else in here an opportunity to score me. But I was lucky enough to get a pitch I could handle.

Beckett Bummer

In the same game, Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett injured his ankle. While the initial results suggest that it wasn’t a fracture or even a sprain, the last thing that the Red Sox want, heading into the postseason, is health questions about their starting pitching.

Perfection Isn’t Easy

Former Toronto Blue Jays starter, now with the Chicago White Sox, Zach Stewart somehow took a perfect game into the eighth inning, and ended up finishing with a one hitter. Impressive stuff. Unfortunately, his team is still eight games back of the AL Central division leading Detroit Tigers.

Eleven in 2011

Tampa Bay Rays starter (and finisher) James Shields equaled Randy Johnson’s feat of eleven complete games in a season. He became the first American League pitcher to collect more than ten complete games and 200 strikeouts since The Big Unit in 1993.

And The Rest

It’s About The Money Stupid questions our reliance on WAR as a perfect statistic.

Milwaukee Brewers catcher George Kottaras became the first player this season to hit for the cycle.

Stephen Strasburg is set to make his return to the big leagues tonight.

Settle down Yankees fans, you’re acting as though it’s the second coming.

Tom Tango tackles the most recent case of fan interference with some fancy lawyering.

Joe Posnanski has another take down of pitching wins. You reading, Buck?

Wild pitches that are changing history.

Is Jered Weaver’s work load catching up to him?

Dustin McGowan: back in the big leagues.

Maybe Mark Reynolds is better suited to first base rather than third.

The San Francisco Giants called Jerome Williams, Jeremy Williams for two whole years.

Finally, via Big League Stew, it’s Marvin Miller, Joe Niekro and Nolan Ryan talking shop at a diner:

Comments (20)

  1. Reserved? More like Reserve Claused, AMIRITE MILLER???

  2. I’m surprised you missed Brewers’ catcher George Kottaras hitting for the cycle on Saturday. This was the first cycle of this season and he’s the first Canadian-born player to do so since Tipp O’Neil did it in 1882. That’s right, 1882. Because birth place matters.

  3. Good call. Completely missed it.

  4. Well, Rogers is starting a bank. I can’t wait to read the next article arguing the Jays should only spend on ‘high value’ investments like the draft and forget about the free-agent market. Because, as Jays fans, there’s nothing we want more than a mediocre team with no bad contracts that gets great value for its payroll.

  5. Are you being sarcastic? Why would a company use profits from one sector to pay for the expenses of another?

    • I would say as an investment to create a more profitable product. However, it appears Rogers feels the best way to maximize profits is to be Devil Rays North. Sadly, that’s probably right.
      Imagine the Jays went crazy this offseason and signed Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes. Next season there would be more excitement, bigger crowds, and a better team. Unfortunately, those positives probably wouldn’t outweight the at least $40 million added to the team’s payroll.
      Therefore, to be a fan of the Jays one must also be a fan of greater profits for Rogers. Sounds like fun.

      • Dude, just stop.

        • To anyone I pissed off with the ‘Devil Rays North’ comment:
          I am aware that it is not a flawless analogy. The Rays would not have signed Bautista last offseason. They wouldn’t have spent as much on the draff and international free agents. They would not have sent millions of dollars to get better prospects if they traded their best pitcher.
          Besides, if the Jays actually become as talented as the Rays, I sure as hell won’t be complaining. Especially when even I, can’t fathom Rogers being anywhere close to as cheap as the Rays ownership.
          Finally, I don’t think free agency is in any way. the only strategy needed to become contenders. Unless Rogers wants a $200 million payroll like the Yankees, that is.

          @Tom: The Jays may have made short term deals for those players but they still had the highest payroll in baseball.
          Also, maybe this destroys my Prince point, but I sure as hell would have liked to see the Jays sign Barry Bonds and Greg Maddux to extremely long contracts in the early 90s.

      • JP? Is that you?

  6. Encouraging article on Brandon Morrow over at Fangraphs.

  7. No love for me? That’s ice cold!

  8. @leanardo: Ah, so you are being serious. You do realize that Roger Clemens and Roy Halladay did not bump attendance one iota when they were here right? Frank Thomas? Yep, he brought out tons of people. Troy Glaus, Scott Rolen etc? Oh yeah, we were smashing attendance marks left, right, and centre back in those days of awesomeness.

    The only thing that’s going to bring back fans to the Rogers Centre is winning, and whether you like the method AA has chosen to get the franchise back on a winning track or not, it is the best way to succeed long term. The back half of Fielder and Reyes’ contracts would be spent with two immovable objects on a 25 man roster, and most likely within a starting nine. AA might be able to find someone to dump the Reyes contract on because of his athleticism, but there’s no way in hell anyone would take Fielder’s contract on.

    If you can somehow talk Fielder down to 5 years and Reyes down to 4, by all means go for it, but good luck with that because it ain’t happening. I’m not too concerned about dollars per year, but getting into crazy length long term deals is dumb. More than likely younger (and quite often better) players will get blocked at some point during those potential 7 year deals and then decisions will be made based on contracts instead of what’s best for the team. It’s very important to keep all options open because just as prospects will bust, so will free agents. Or have Barry Zito, Darren Dreifort, Chan Ho Park, Mike Hampton, Bobby Bonilla, and on and on and on taught us nothing? The difference between a prospect busting and a free agent busting is the mess that gets left behind…

    • I see your point but look at the team’s with the top payrolls and see how many of those teams are consistent winners. Additionally, look at how many of those teams have terrible contracts. A.J. Burnett, Ryan Howard, J.D Drew. The Giants won the World Series with Barry freaking Zito’s $126 million contract on the books.
      Obviously, I’m not arguing these terrible contracts helped teams win. But you need to spend money to win, and when you spend money somtimes you make mistakes.
      The Yankees would have won the World Series without Burnett in 2009. The Giants won without Zito last year. I would argue, however, that without the general mindset of ownership to spend money (sometimes poorly) these teams would not have been contenders.
      Money alone does not make a team a winner (ie., the Mets and Cubs) but when high (and usually smart) spending is combined with a strong farm system, a team will contend for a very long time.
      If the Jays sign Reyes or Fielder there is no doubt they would perform below their pay grade in the final years of their deals. Of greater importance, I would argue, is do the Jays have anyone that would be better over the next five years?
      Notice how I said ‘better’ and not ‘give greater value for contract’?

  9. …Does that mean I hate all free agents. No. I just prefer to find free agents that you can limit the term on. That means you have to look at older, but still productive guys looking for one more kick at the can. Pat Gillick was a master at this. He got Winfield, Morris, Molitor, and Stewart to sign 1 year, 2 year plus an option (which was declined), 3 year plus an option (which was declined), and 2 year deals respectively while passing on the bigger fish like Bobby Bonilla, Danny Tartabull, Tom Candiotti, Mike Morgan, Barry Bonds, Greg Maddux who all signed for four years or more, mostly because they were younger players.

    If you think the signings of Bautista and Romero, along with the acquisitions of Lawrie, Morrow, Escobar, Rasmus, and the acquisition and potential re-signing of Kelly Johnson constitutes “Devil Rays North” you’re entitled to your opinion, wrong though it may be. The Jays have a ways to go before they can claim contender status, but they’ve sped up the process with those moves. Big name free agents are nice and all, but they don’t necessarily win baseball games. A solid mix of drafting and development, lucky waiver claims, trades, mixed in with some timely free agent signings probably goes a helluva lot further than going apegoof over one player, but that’s just one man’s opinion. ;)

  10. @leonardo: We shall see. If the Jays sign Johnson, obviously his upside is not as high as Reyes’ is, but I really like a Johnson/Escobar combo through say 2015, and I get a sense AA does too. As for 1B, there is no question that right now it’s a glaring hole, but the Jays’ system is stuffed to the gills with prospects. Surely AA can turn three or four of them into a very good first baseman can’t he? One thing is certain: This offseason is going to be very interesting.

  11. Trolls be trollin’.

    Listening to the FAN last night, their holiday guy was talking about if Lawrie has a chance to be the MLB’s Best Canadian Ever, and he then started listing all of them he knew – Fergie Jenkins, Larry Walker (I was all “Ok…”) Justin Morneau (his current pick, but not for active players, of all time), Joey Votto, then onto Jason Bay and Matt Stairs (ummmm…) then he mentioned a kid in Milwaukee has an outside chance to become really great (I thought, he’s young, but John Axford could turn into something) then said he was talking about Kottaras, so I turned off the radio for the rest of the drive.

    • Smart…Like table.

    • I didn’t know you owned this board.
      Agree, disagree, or abstain. But I see you prefer name calling to debate.
      I’m glad you don’t think Kottaras is the greatest Canadian baseball player of all-time. Thanks.

      • Just to be clear my comment was directed towards whoever was on the FAN last night, not you. ;)

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