Sunday, December 23, 2007

Batista, Frascatore for Plesac trade

June 12, 1999: Tony Batista is traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks with John Frascatore to the Toronto Blue Jays for Dan Plesac.

I don’t know why this is one of my favorite Jays trades, others come to mind (the Carter and Alomar trade) that were more important in the history of this team. But at the time, I was growing into a more passionate and more intelligent baseball fan (notice I did not say I WAS or am an intelligent fan, just that I was becoming and still am, more intelligent). This transaction came at a time where I lived and died by the team’s win/loss record (I had no girlfriend at the time) and in retrospective, I wish I had access to more information at the time as I knew nothing of Batista or Frascatore. Batista arrived and made an immediate impact, batting 2nd in the lineup in his first game and hitting a home run with that unorthodox swing along with batting in 4 during a 13-4 win by the Jays. Just for good measure, Frascatore came in for a perfect 8th inning of mopup duty. That same day, the Jays announced that their usual starting shortstop, Alex Gonzalez would be out for the season. Frascatore ended the season with an ERA+ of 144 in 37 innings and a VORP of 9.9 while Batista hit 26 home runs, with an OPS+ of 122 and a Value Over Replacement Player of 36.1 in is 98 games with the Jays.

This trade was a clear win for the Jays in it’s first season as it provided them with the shortstop they needed to compete in the AL East as well as what became a reliable reliever by giving up a left-handed specialist reliever. Plesac pitched superbly in his role for the Diamondbacks; 21.7 innings, an ERA+ of 139, VORP of 5.4 and holding left-handed batters to an OPS of .505. However, with the Jays, he was an unneeded asset as they already had Graeme Lloyd, who established a similar ERA+ of 136.

The Jays of course failed to make the playoffs (something that broke my heart then, now it’s a yearly occasion…did I mention that I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time?) In 2000 both Batista and Frascatore regressed while Plesac improved statistically. Batista shifted over to third base and hit 41 home runs, but only got on base 30.7% of the time, establishing an OPS+ of 102 while Frascatore threw 73 innings while only establishing an ERA+ of 93 and a value slightly over that of a replacement player. Plesac somehow became more dominant against RHB than LHB and in 40 innings pitched, his ERA+ was of 152 and his VORP of 6. Following this season, Plesac re-signed with Toronto. However, 2001 was not the season for Batista (271 at bats, 13 home runs, OPS+ of 67 before finally being waived) or Frascatore (16.3 innings, 209 ERA+, waived in May and never heard from again). In retrospect, 2001 should be known as the year the ace made his return as Roy Halladay returned to the Majors.

This trade makes for a great story…so much promise in the beginning, and then in an instant it was gone. The 27 year old Batista found some of his form once arriving in Baltimore and was even named to the 2002 All-Star team. Plesac threw well in his second stint with Toronto before being traded to Philadelphia for Cliff Politte, who like Batista and Frascatore before him showed lots of promise in his first half-season with the Jays only to falter in his second. I don’t know what the morale of the story is, perhaps it is that as a sports fan we should never become too excited about a transaction because anything can and will happen, for better or for worse.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stark weighs in, Eckstein signing

Short update before the holidays, if I have any spare time, I'm going to work on correcting the articles and maybe some new articles...whatever the mood strikes me to do.

  •'s Jayson Stark weighs in on the American League, asking J.P. Ricciardi and two other general managers (including one of my personal favs, Mark Shapiro) about what they do to attempt to vault the powers in the AL. Ricciardi says pitching depth could be the answer...

  • I've ignored to mention the fact that David Eckstein has been signed. The scrappy SS should bring a good leadoff bat to the lineup and spare Jays fans from seeing McDonald penciled in every day. Johnny Mac is probably already penciled in for any Halladay start to field those ground balls although Eckstein is not bad defensively as proven by this article. He had an OPS+ of 93 last season, a VORP of 20.7 and stole ten bases while only being caught once. He also brings two World Series rings to the locker room which is never bad thing. Plus an inexpensive one year deal reduces the risk, he'll be playing to get a bigger contract in the next free agent year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ricciardi Project Follow-Up

The Ricciardi Project was meant to be an objective statistical overview of the trades made by Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi in his first five seasons in that position.
Of the 27 trades analyzed in the document, 11 players from 7 of the trades them spent time in the Majors with the Jays or the team they were traded to by Ricciardi in 2007.

Chad Gaudin : Gaudin became a dependable, if not ordinary, starter for Beane and co. in the last season, logging almost 200 innings and going 11-13 with an ERA+ of 95 and a Value Over Replacement Player of 24.3 along with 10 win shares. Gaudin was traded for Dustin Majewski who was a fringe prospect for the Jays and was lost in the AAA portion of the 2007 Rule Five draft to Texas. Gaudin may turn out be a good number 3 starter in the Majors but he would not have had room on the 2007 Jays roster (although he would have been a better option than Towers before the emergence of McGowan and Marcum). Speaking of Towers…here’s an interesting read that over-values him, Towers is not at the same level as Silva…

The Bush/Overbay trade: Obviously when Ricciardi acquired Overbay he wasn’t thinking “I need a first baseman who will hit 10 home runs and get on base only 31.5% of the time”. Big things were expected of Overbay during the 2007 season and as he fought through injuries he could not live up to these expectations, only contributing 6 Win Shares to the team. The regression of Overbay along with Vernon Wells kept the Jays from contending and both will be looked upon to rebound this year. Luckily for J.P.’s public image both Gabe Gross and David Bush regressed during the 2007 season; Gross was able to again throw over 175 innings but was lucky to go 12-10 with an ERA of 5.12 and ERA+ of 88. Gross was again used off the bench by the Brewer but could not manage to get on base as often as in 2006, falling from an OBP of .382 to .329. When looking at VORP, the advantage goes to the Brewers for the second consecutive year as Overbay was -3.6, Gross was 2.9 and Bush was 13 Over Replacement Player and the two contributed 10 total Win Shares. 2008 will be an important season for Overbay to turn it around…

O-Dog and Glaus: The other blockbuster completed by the Jays management staff during December 2005 was to acquire power hitting third baseman Troy Glaus with Sergio Santos from the D-Back for Orlando Hudson and Miguel Batista. This trade has not quite brought upon the results Ricciardi was hoping for…
Hudson outperformed Glaus for the second year in a row while playing, arguably, better defense at a more difficult defensive position. He beat out Glaus in VORP 32.8 to 20.5, Win Shares, 20 to 14 and even RBIs 63 to 62 while earning $7 million less. The O-Dog is a free agent at the end of the year and should be expected to have a good contract year while Glaus was just named in the Mitchell Report…It’s not looking good for Troy to outplay Hudson this season.

Hillenbrand and Chulk for Accardo: Ricciardi hasn’t made many deadline deals since his arrival at the Jays (Stewart, Adams…?) but this one is a trade that needed to be made near the deadline because of clubhouse issues. The trade ended up working out really well for the Jays. When examining the trade with VORP, Hillenbrand actually contributed negatively to the Giants with a -6.3 VORP, however Chulk outpitched Accardo that season according to the stat: 2.1 to 0.6. Hillenbrand left San Francisco as a free agent and in 2007, Accardo became the de facto closer for a team missing B.J. Ryan, notching 30 saves and a VORP of 26.2 and contributing 12 win shares while Chulk was productive for the Giants with a VORP of 12.8 and 5 win shares.

Brian Wolfe: The pitcher received for Corey Koskie, who did not play in 2007, played a part in the Blue Jays bullpen during that season, appearing in HERE games and establishing a VORP of 13.5 while earning minimum salary and contributing 5 win shares. A good acquisition by Jays management for what was in essence a salary dump.

Eric Hinske: Apparently, the Player to be named later had a higher value as Hinske managed to negate the first year gains of 1.4 VORP with a 2007 VORP of -1.5 in limited at bats.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Trades! The week's big trades (Haren, Valverde, Tejada)...

I don't think it's a surprise to anyone that this is one my favorite times of the year because of all the moves being made by different teams. An early Christmas for some teams this week as trades are being made and star players are being gift wrapped for their new General Managers. Let's run it down:

Billy Beane's hard on for prospects continued as he took the decision to trade arguably his top starter Dan Haren along with Connor Robertson for a package of prospects to the Diamondbacks. The fact of the matter is, Beane is an intelligent GM and he knew it would be quite a struggle for his team to make the playoffs this season and he has also previously learnt the value of trading top-flight starters with the Mulder/Hudson trades. He went after left handed pitchers in this deal, acquiring Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland and Greg Smith along with infielder Chris Carter and outfielders Aaron Cunningham and Carlos Gonzalez. The "prospect acquisition" trade is always a difficult one to breakdown when it happens, and would be better judged five years from now. But, none of the prospects acquired are true impact players except for Cunningham.

With the acquisition of Haren, The D-Backs now have an incredible 1-2 punch of Brandon Webb and Dan Haren. This team made the playoffs last season and were able to acquire an all-star starter, signed cheaply without giving up one Major League piece! They were smart to utilize a deep farm system to acquire something they needed, a 27 year old, 15 game winner with the potential to win 20 on this team. ZiPS actually sees Haren regressing a little in IPs and ERA+ and therefore affecting his record (14-11).

The D-Backs were not done however, as they acquired major league depth from the Astros (reliever Chad Qualls, pitcher Juan Gutierrez and utility player Chris Burke) for their closer, and the Major League saves leader for the 2007 season, Jose Valverde.

This trade was "very much connected" to the first one to re-acquire some depth after trading away a lot of young players in the first deal. First off, they lose their closer but acquire one late inning reliever, Qualls (9 win shares, ERA+ of 144), who may take his role and is a candidate along with Brandon Lyon (11 win shares, ERA+ of 176) and Tony Pena (10 win shares, ERA+ of 144). it not strange that Pena and Tony Pena both come from the Dominican Republic, both made their debuts in 2006 and both had great breakout 2007 seasons? Aside from Pena Sr., they are the only "Tony Pena"s listed on BR...when is the last time two players with identical names have had this type of break through in the same year? Why isn't more time devoted to this?

Burke will come off the bench and can play the outfield or the middle infield while the 23 year-old Gutierrez is a young arm who may start or be a reliever for a deep D-Backs pitching staff. The trade is risky, trading a proven closer on a team contending for the playoffs isn't always the easiest proposition but should pay good dividends and was needed in the grand scheme of things, if the D-Backs need a top end reliever at mid-season, they still have pieces to get it done.

The Ed Wade era is in full effect in Houston, he was busy this week picking up closer Jose Valverde and shortstop Miguel Tejada. The team needed fixing after a 73-89 season and Wade has undertaken some changes. Valverde should immediately step into the closer role liberated by the trade of Brad Lidge and should be an upgrade over a closer who the fanbase lost a bit of confidence in the past seasons and only ended up with 19 saves last year. Valverde had an ERA+ of 177 in 64.3 innings last year with 47 saves and he provided 12 win shares as compared to Lidge's 9.

Tejada is declining, however his bat will be a major upgrade over the Everett (56 OPS+ in 220 ABs) and Loretta (89 OPS+ in 460 total ABs) tandem that played SS last season...that's right Mark Loretta played shortstop last year for a major league team...something he hadn't done on a full time basis since 2000. Tejada had only 18 home runs last season bud was an above average batter (109 OPS+), whether he can regain his swing from a few years ago is a big questions, certainly since his name came out in the Mitchell Report. I'm not saying anything, I'm just saying...his name is on the list...and Baltimore traded him the day before it came out...and he regressed last year with stricter drug polices...

The prospects given up by Houston are pretty good too: The number two and three prospects in their system according to Baseball America (starters Troy Patton and Matt Albers) along with 4th oufielder Luke Scott (who has some pop), reliever Dennis Sarfate (who some project as a future closer, this article talks about his 101 mph fastball) & third baseman and masher Mike Costanzo. The Astros definitely have a more dynamic offense with his addition however they gave up a lot of depth in two trades while not solving their issues with starting pitching. Along with the questions stemming from the Mitchell Report, there are questions whether Tejada can still play SS and if not, how well he would make the transition to third base.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A trade revisited...

A year ago today, the Rockies traded starting pitcher Jason Jennings along with Miguel Ascensio for outfielder Willy Taveras and two prospect pitchers Jason Hirsh and Taylor Buchholz. At the time, your truly called Jason Jennings "quite possibly one of the best starters on the trade market", let's see what transpired in the first year after the trade.

The Rockies ended up going on an unbelievable run at the end of the 2007 season to make the playoffs while the Astros were awful and missed the playoffs. Jennings was as worthless as K-Fed was to Britney; taking $5.5 million in salary and only won 2 of his 18 starts. He averaged less than 6 innings per start and had an ERA of 6.45. His VORP for the season was -8.2 while contributing -1 Win Share to the Astors (Seriously, is it 1 loss share when a player is in the minuses?) As useless as Jennings became because of his arm problems, to the point where the Astros declined to offer him arbitration this off-season, Ascensio failed to appear in one game for Houston. The one saving grace for the Astros is that Hunter Pence played beautifully in centre field with an OPS+ of 130 and finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting while playing in the spot liberated by the trade of Tavares.

Willy Taveras showed up in Colorado and immediately became their leadoff hitter, although injuries and lack of performance led him to the bench during their September run. He provided the team with great defense and a high average bat at the top of the lineup at a inexpensive price but could only muster an OPS+ of 89, although he had identical stolen base stats (33 of 42 for 5 stolen base runs) as his previous season while accumulating 12 win shares. Tavares isn’t exactly the most patient hitter (he drew 21 walks in 372 at bats) but neither was their leadoff hitter at the start of the 2006 season, Cory Sullivan (32 walks in 386 at bats).

The two pitchers acquired both played for the Rockies; Hirsh went 5-7 with an ERA+ of 100 in 112.3 innings while Buchholz went 6-5 in a combination of starts and relief appearances (Relief? Hmmm… “maybe best suited for a relief role”) with an ERA+ of 113 in 93.66 innings. However, neither appeared in the playoffs, Hirsh actually didn’t pitch past August. They combined for 9 Win Shares during the season.

All in all, this trade was quite a coup by Dan O’Dowd, acquiring three good pieces for a young team for a pitcher who ended up almost worthless because of arm problems. The Astors are currently looking for a 5th starter and traded two youngsters who could battle for the job. Anytime you can trade a player who doesn’t finish his first season with his new team for three 25 year olds, one at a premium defensive position and two good arms is a good trade. When your team goes to the World Series after finishing ten games under .500 the year before, every move looks great.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Well I debated this weekend about whether I should make the drive down to Toronto for the games or go to a cottage...the races made me decide to skip Toronto and instead I spent two days in the rain without access to watching what I knew would be a great series. This Jays team made a statement throughout the weekend of what they have in them and the run to the playoffs that is not yet impossible. The tone was set in the ninth inning of Game 1 with Reed Johnson's game saving balls-out catch, continued with Johnnie Mac's web gems through the weekend and finished with the gutsy strike out in the 9th inning yesterday.

Watch for some mid-season reviews in the next couple days...we're going to look at things with a Jays eye as well as some of the moves made in the off-season.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

NHL Free Agency

As previously stated, the past four days have been madness in Canada as everyone is following the big moves being made during the first few days of NHL free agency. The money being spent is stupid...and the terms being given are franchise killers. That being said, I've written a short article looking at the teams that have gone and shopped the much in the early going. It can be accessed here.

Jays beat themselves

Well, not a good effort by the Blue Jays last night, as they failed their young starter with defensive mishaps and unearned runs. The fun started with the bench not warning Zaun that Stewart was swiping second, and allowing a steal that should have just not been counted as a steal (of course I don't mind since I have him on my fantasy team). Zaun then threw the ball into CF to allow Stewart to go to third and eventually score. Then in the second inning, Glaus makes an error that leads to another Oakland run.

Glaus had a terrible night, he went 1-4, left 3 runners on base (as did Thomas, which is fantastic on a night where you get 4 hits and one walk) and made miscues that cost the team, such as trying to tag up on a pop out from first to second base. Twice he had Rios in scoring position with less than two outs and was unable to score him or move him over.

Litsch was impressive as he got himself out of trouble early on and seemed to settle down. He allowed 7 hits and walked 3 batters but he managed to not allow an earned run. Not much to be said about this game...oi...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The weekend that was

Canada Day and NHL Free Agent talk took over the weekend in the Ottawa area. Leaf fans are surprised their hapless GM was able to acquire a winger to help Sundin after picking up a goalie, Habs fans are pissed that their GM threw money around but none of it would stick to any free agents until Monday and Sens fans are anxiously awaiting something, anything.

In the end, two of those three teams didn't make the playoffs and didn't do much to improve their chances while the Senators will attempt to take a maturing group back to the Stanley Cup Finals without much fiddling. I'll actually write a report on NHL Free Agency later as I was doing some side work this weekend on the subject.

But, back to why we're here, what happened to the hot Jays? This team hit .500, was slowly going to get three players off of DL and things were looking optimistic...until this weekend. A loss on Thursday against the Twins that split the series was quickly followed by a three game sweep at the hands of Seattle. Vernon Wells helped the team recover last night and allow Towers to win his second straight start. But the bad news came as Burnett was placed back on the DL for what looks like three to four weeks with more arm problems. Halladay just doesn't look like Doc and wouldn't even get my vote for the All-Star game's last AL player at this point. The team needs the three day All-Star break to heal some bumps and bruises, and Roy would be well served not throwing for a couple days.

To get to the All Star game, there are two more games against the Athletics followed by 3 against the Cleveland Indians. The Jays will send Litsch agains Blanton tonight, followed by McGowan vs Kennedy. Halladay is slated to start Friday against the AL Central leading Indians (and Cliff Lee) and would therefore be ready for the series opener vs Boston on next Thursday. The Jays have a couple more weeks to prove they're contenders or some of these veterans could be traded...remember after the 4 game series against the Sox, there are only 6 games left between the current 1st and 2nd places in the AL East.

How good has Marcum been for this team? He now leads the team in VORP and has 7 win shares, good enough to be tied for 5th on the Jays with Doc, tied for first amongst pitchers. He faces Fausto Carmona on Saturday according to the probables at the Rogers Centre.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Most dysfunctional clubhouse: The Padres!

Reports are coming out that San Diego has acquired Milton Bradley. Bradley is extremely talented but known to be emotional and sometimes troublesome and was designated for assignment by the Athletics for unknown reasons although it was said to create room for players such as Travis Buck. Milton "The game" has had 5 consecutive season of an OPS+ over 100, he's not quite a home run threat and not quite a good base stealer but he does a lot of things well. It seems as though the Royals had completed a deal for Bradley but then reneged on the deal.

This comes not long after their acquisition of Michael Barrett, the ex-Cubs catcher who had been in a couple altercations with his own starting pitchers and one with friend AJ Pierzynski last season. Should be interesting to see how Bradley and Barrett co-exist, but it's for sure that they're adding a lot of offense to a team currently tied for first in their division even though they are in the bottom tier of the National League for runs.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

June 28th Live Blog During The Game

End of first inning: Is anything more maddening than AJ Burnett?
-Hit By Pitch
-Ks one of the best young hitters in the game on three pitches
-rbi single
-Ks last year's MVP on four pitches
-Enduces Ground Out.
He doesn't even look dominant for full games anymore, just against a couple batters an inning. Glad he got out of that jam without giving back more than one run though.

And congratulations Frank Thomas, his 500th home run is a 3 run shot that gives us a big first inning lead. Prediction: This guy will be a monster now that is off his mind.

Gotta love Carlos inning, one pitching coach visit.

End of Second Inning:
Nothing to talk about on the Jays end... except why is Jason Phillips starting? After everyone being mad that Clayton made an error in his return to the lineup yesterday, McDonald makes only his third error of the year to make Royce feel better, what a teammate. AJ mows two of them down and has now thrown 75% of pitches for strikes.

End of Third Inning:
Good prediction on the Big Hurt, RBI Double in the third inning. Before the season, had I said that you had Matt Stairs and Howie Clark as the number two and four hitters in the lineup, would you ever think this team would be up 5-1 over the Twins after three innings? Stairs looks like he needs a break, hopefully one of the 1b/LF comes back and puts him back in a more part time situation.

How? HOW does Burnett do it? How do you give up a home run to Jason Bartlett when you're looking so filthy and dominating against better batters? Oh look...makes Mauer ground out, striked out Cuddyer, strikes out Morneau. Maddening...

End of Fourth Inning:
1-2-3...gosh I want to get rid of Phillips....

Another home run given up by AJ, at least it's against a legitimate power threat this time...and Lind gets all the action with three pop outs. What's wrong with Lind right now? Is he simply over-matched, is there now a confidence issue there too? Hopefully he finds himself in AAA when Johnson comes back...

End of Fifth Inning:
It seems like Silva has quite calmed down...another 1-2-3 inning...think Twins fans get as frustrated with him as Jays fans sometimes get with Burnett.

Single-Single...and AJ is done for the day. Must have been a 75-80 pitch count for the comeback. Frasor coming in to try to get him out of this....and this may not be the best game to blog. Frasor blows it open by allowing a Hunter home run and the Twins now lead 7-5. Welcome back AJ...

End of Sixth Inning:
Stairs tries to prove me wrong with a single...followed by a Big Hurt strike out and Aaron Hill double play. Hill now has 15 double plays on the year, matching last season's total...and he's not a slow guy. Might want to start taking bigger swings with guys on base...

And Jordan de Jong makes what could be his last appearence with League looking ready in AAA. Helped by a double play, he only allows one run...joyous day. De Jong came up with so much promise when we struck out the side but he just doesn't seem ready either.

End of Seventh Inning:
Blue Jays fail to manufacture a run, the bottom of the order is 0 for 8 today, at least Lind has drawn a walk...with Cleveland winning and Detroit leading, this may be a tough day for the Jays. Someone asked of me, do you think the Jays should sell now? My answer is heck no, not when the team is looking better, wait until mid July when you'll have added a Johnson, Overbay and Chacin trio then see where things stand. With the injured players coming back it will be like if this team added three players by July trades and that should give them a boost. The Johnson/Lind swap alone should be worth a couple wins to this team.

Jordan De Jong gets the double play to end the inning after a K then BB to the first two batters. At least someone could stop Torri today.

End of Eight Inning:
I know the Jays are down by 3 and not only one but why let Clark have another AB instead of Troy Glaus? Oh gee...1-2-3 inning...if they lose, they lost this one ugly...almost as ugly as these jerseys.

De Jong ends up with three inning and one unearned run with one hit and 2 walks. We'll see if he sticks with team with league coming off the DL.

End of Game:
Well the Jays finally showed some more first in the ninth...Gibby and the Big Hurt got ejected. 2 more errors today for the defense, and I'm hoping...hoping that Stairs doesn't have to play the field for too many games anymore, this game was painful but at least it wasn't long...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

And they're a game over .500

Unfortunately, I could not catch the game last night but I did get a chance to watch it in about half an hour this morning. The team is a game above five hundred and actually has a 4 game winning streak! Marcum goes tonight against Scott Baker, who is fighting for his job in the rotation.

  • Wells really seems to be getting comfortable in the lead off spot, he'll get less RBI opps but he's bringing it. A home run, a double and a single last night plus 3 RBIs, maybe he's getting out of that slump!
  • Rios continues his claim as the offensive MVP with a 3-4 night, 7 TBs and a SF along with 2 runs and 2 RBIs. Stairs is challenging with less at bats but a big go ahead shot last night!
  • Doc just isn't Doc right now but the team is playing well behind him, he gave them 7 good innings yesterday but gave up 5 earned runs with only 9 base runners even though he did not give up a home run.
  • Jays cast-away John Thomson pitched a good game in his first start this season with the Royals. He gave up 2 earned runs on 6 hits and no walks to get the W. Interestingly, he did not strike out one batter.

Monday, June 25, 2007

From Goat to Hero?

  • Frank Thomas had a fabulous weekend and it showed when looking at VORP, his Value went up 3.6 from Friday morning to Monday morning. One away from 500, let's see if he can get that and get on a roll, came close tonight against Minnesota
  • Biggest VORP gain this weekend? Matt Stairs jumped 7.2 to go up to 15.7 value. Is anyone (non-arbitration) a better bargain in MLB than this guy? If so, I'd like to see him! This from a guy that was penciled in as a be a bench player!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Why the Jays aren't in first...the offensive part

Welcome back...after a busy NHL playoff season working sales for a Stanley Cup finalist followed by relaxing over at Lynx Stadium and actually catching Jays, and so many other teams', games on TV. Great game to catch on Sunday, I actually turned to my friend during the 2nd or 3rd inning and stated "McGowan looks filthy today"...good call...too bad my opponent in the pool had him.

So as of Thursday, these stats were compiled in trying to see why the Jays aren't better than they should have been. In taking a look at the offense (the problem spot as per expectations, it doesn't take long to figure out why). There are four positions where the Jays vastly under performing as per the expectations and even last season's performances.

  • Catcher: With the injury to Zaun, the Jays have sent Jason Phillips ( -4.8 VORP) for the bulk of at bats. When Zaun has played, his numbers have been disappointing as he has only managed a VORP of -2.4. Last season both Molina and Zaun had VORPs over 15, hopefully Zaun regains his form as he comes back from the injury but the lack of a capable backup has hurt the team offensively.
  • Left Field: The Jays lost half of their platoon in LF this off-season and the injury to Reed Johnson has not helped things. While they managed a combined VORP over 20 in LF last season, this season it is under 0! Adam Lind has had the majority of at bats and is a -4.1, in his limited ABs Johnson provided 1.1 VORP and Matt Stairs has over performed offensively in his at bats at LF and 1B. When is Reed back? The spark he brings to the top of the lineup is missed and Lind just needs more seasoning in AAA.
  • Centre Field: Vernon Wells has been a bust since receiving his big contract, last season he had a VORP of 58.5, this season it's a VORP of 5...meaning by the end of the year he'll be approximately 45 VORP lower than he was last year...he needs to pick up his game, let's hope a move to the leadoff spot will help.
  • Designated Hitter: Frank Thomas was expected to bring a spark to the lineup but has instead managed to get a VORP of only 5...not quite the improvement the team was looking for. Here's the good news, at this time last year the Big Hurt was not playing and his numbers were .239/.356/.522. His numbers after June 21st? .228/.375/.395, obviously he needs to start slugging (which he has with 2 home runs in his last 3 games) but he's still drawing a lot of walks and at least getting on base.

What's interesting will be to see how much their stats improved after a great weekend that pushed the team into second place in the division, can they get a 4 game winning streak tonight?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Big update SOON!

BVTN is coming back...big update coming up, you'll notice the stats are already updated!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The New Style of the Draft

Major League Baseball took a huge step in the growth of the popularity of the draft and in the exposure to top prospects. The first ever televised draft was a big deal for MLB and it should lead to positive growth for baseball as a whole. The lead-up to the draft had more mock drafts than I have ever seen available on the internet, and the draft itself provided a good look into the different prospects being drafted by each team along with organizational needs.

The impact this will have on baseball as a whole cannot yet be measured but there are several ways that it will positively impact the world of baseball:

First of all, the draft being broadcast brings attention to baseball in a fashion that the other sports do for their drafts. Fans tune in to see what players their teams draft, receive instant analysis on these players and this allows fans to formulate opinions about low level prospects they would otherwise not have. It also allows baseball fans to follow every team’s moves and see the different draft strategies.

This also boosts interest from fans to both high school and college baseball along with minor league baseball. The College World Series is immediately after the draft and being able to recognize which team a new drafted player is on allows fans to follow new prospects before they even reach the minor leagues. Once they are playing in the Minors, there is more name recognition with players and therefore more interest in Minor League games.

Having said this, there is some work to be done. Not allowing draft picks to be traded (or prospects to be traded until a year after they are signed) is a big step to keeping competitive balance and restricting teams from trading away their future. However, to make the draft more exciting, MLB should allow the trading of draft picks for other draft picks. Per example, if a team really wants a player, allow them to trade a later pick to move up in the first round or to bundle picks for a higher pick. This would bring more excitement to the draft, everyone loves a trade, and would also allow fans to truly recognize how wanted some player were.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Draft Day One

Day one of the MLB draft is complete and the Blue Jays organization added 10 new players in the first five rounds. The players were varied in both positional and their level of experience. Here's the top 5 picks from the first round and supplemental:

  • 16th pick: High School Shortstop Kevin Ahrens: 6'2, 180 pound Texan switch hitter who played shortstop while in high school but will probably end up as a third baseman. Has a great accurate arm and has added power from his right side.
  • 21st pick: College Catcher JP Arencibia: 6'1, 195 pounds from Tennesse U who may not stay as a catcher but has great power although he was slowed down by a back injury.
  • 38th pick: College LHP Brett Cecil: 6'2, 225 pound University of Maryland product was mostly a reliever but may start in the majors with a repertoire of four pitches. His slider is a big plus and some believe he will quickly be in the Majors as a set-up man and later closer.
  • 45th pick: High School shortstop Justin Jackson: North Carolina product who stands at 6'2, 175 pounds who is a great defensive shortstop but may lack the bat.
  • 56th pick: College RHP Trystan Magnuson: 6'7 giant from the University of Louisville used a slider and fastball to mow down the opposition coming out of the bullpen. Another one of these picks who may be on the fast track to the majors as a reliever.

    The Jays then followed this up by choosing a 2bman who is purely a hitter but lacks a defensive position, an incredibly athletic outfielder who dropped because of a football commitment along with two lefties and one righty. The draft was very much oriented towards the difficult fielding positions and mixing up players who could help quickly along with players who will need a lot of work to be rounded players. More analysis later on!

Heartbreak...and movin on

Well...after two long months of working 12 hour days and having your emotions fully invested into something, I shall have some spare time to get back to working on this great site after last night's dissapointing loss. We will be back on board A.S.A.P. and with a lot of content so stay tuned! A great day to be back on board also as the draft is on at 2pm, stay tuned...lots of different names being projected to the Jays in the first round.

Both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America have JP and co. locking into catcher J.P. Arencibia from Tennessee in the first round. Matt Dominguez is still a top priority to the team but may not fall to them, although both BA and MLB.Com have him going to Toronto with their first pick.

Stay tuned...oh and a word from our friend Nicholas Burton is doing a study for his thesis right now and needs your help.

I am inviting you to participate in a research study I am currently conducting for the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre, of the University of London.I am researching the strength and importance of David Beckham as a brand; in order to accomplish this, I have created an online survey that I would invite you to complete.
The survey can be found HERE

Monday, April 16, 2007


Well first the Good news...

It will be a tough few weeks for the Jays and they don't get to take a breath as they host the Red Sox and Dice-K tomorrow night at the Rogers Centre.

Injuries, Injuries, Injuries

So I didn't want to post when I hadn't had a chance to watch a full game except Friday night...things are a little crazy as the Senators make their way through the playoffs. But what a horrible week it was for the Jays aside from the standings where they are currently tied for first...

So...still excited for this season, this team is too good to be held down even with injuries, but there's going to have be some depth additions if those three injuries are in any way serious...What does everyone think?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

McGowan Watch '07

Dusty had his second start of the season with Syracuse and impressed again last night. He allowed his first ER of the season with a home run by Ryan Sweeney (2 spots behind Travis Snyder on the Baseball America Top Prospects list at 55). In ten innings this year, McGowan has struck out 17 batters and walked only 3. With Towers so-so performance, as previously discussed with no help from the defense, last night is McGowan far away from the MLB rotation. Will they need to keep stretching his arm out? Or is one of their current bullpen men looking at a rotation spot? It looks like McGowan may finally be comfortable in a set position, this time as a starter...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

April 10th, 2007...questioning the manager

Sometimes you don’t even have to look deeper into the boxscore. You just look at who is listed in the boxscore and it makes you realize all you need to know about the game. Matt Stairs in left field is something meant to make you cringe, certainly with the knowledge that the starting pitcher needs all the confidence he can get after a horrible season last year. Having Jason Smith at SS and Jason Phillips at C on the same night also raises the eyebrow, why bench three starters when the man on the mound could benefit from all the help he can get? This was a badly played game by the team on the field, led by two miscues by Matt Stairs and 4 errors by the defense including Gold Glover Vernon Wells. Did Towers deserve better? Probably…but it was a decent outing for a man who greatly struggled last season, allowing 10 hits, but no walks and striking out six. Two of those hits could be erased by Stairs miscues…Downs’ arm was finally stretched to more than one batter and he mowed through his 1.1 innings, only allowing one hit and striking out two. Marcum outdid him, throwing 2 innings with 1 hit and the two strike outs.

Offensively, the star was the pinch hitter Gregg Zaun who came on in the 7th inning and hit a 2 run shot to bring the Jays closer. But there were no bright lights on this night, only head shakes and raised eyebrows…

Monday, April 09, 2007

Inside the Box Score - April 9th 2007

What a long...long game it was tonight. First thing to look at on that boxscore is the time of play: 3 hours and 8 minutes, although it seemed much longer at times.
As I write this, Orlando Hudson just caused his team a run with his 'great defense' as we sometimes saw with the Blue Jays, check the box score for a sacrifice fly to the hitter by Cody Ross. Hudson backed up to right field to make a routine right fielder's catch, Griffey was on third and saw that Hudson could not cock a throw to home plate in time to get him tagging up.

Back to the Jays game:

  • Troy Glaus made his comeback and was fantastic: 2 for 3, with one run and walk.
  • Royce Clayton finds ways to impress every game. His second inning walk was a great at-bat totalling 9 pitches including 5 foul balls, he never let a strike go by him, nor did he swing through one. The pitch tracker also shows that all 5 pitches fouled off were in the strike zone. Oh yeh, he also had a basehit and a run.
  • Aaron Hill is finding his stroke much faster than last year, his 3 for 3 night gives him a .348 AVG and he also walked. At this time last year he had a .273 AVG but he quickly plumetted and would stay under .200 from April 26th to May 18th. He already has a home run, soemthing he didn't do until May 24 last year. Let's hope for him that he keeps it up
  • A. J. Burnett threw 102 pitches, 60 for strikes and found his stride after the first few innings where he could not find the plate. Doing so lowered his ERA under 8 and gave him a 100 pitch game 3 months quicker than last season, although that only covers 3 less starts. He wasn't dominating (5 strikeouts), he wasn't always accurate (40% balls, 3 walks) but he found a way to get things done, somehow it really seems like he allowed more than 3 walks and 3 hits.
  • There are still four Blue Jays reliever who have yet to allow a run with Casey Janssen leading the way, not having done so during 5.2 innings. Jeremy Accardo and Scott Downs have 3 innings and 2 thirds of an inning respectively after appearing in this game.

So today's Top Performer Award goes to Aaron Hill for his great performance with the bat and no errors today. The team is a game ahead of the Red Sox for first place in the division. More to come...any thoughts on tonight's game? How different were the anthems? How nice is A.J.'s hair?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Inside the Boxscore 04/02

This is a new thing that I've always wanted to do because sometimes, a boxscore can tell a great story...hopefully this will become a recurring thing. But first of all, check out the official boxscore on MLB.COM.

-Reed Johnson had an 0 for 4 day at the plate but he did draw 20 pitches and walked once. He stole second after this walk and scored. Even with his speed, last season he only had 8 stolen bases
-Vernon Wells had a great at bat in the tenth, wearing down Rodney with a nine pitch sequence including 5 foul balls until Rodney relented and walked him. The reliever had to throw 31 pitches during that inning and Wells at-bat was a big part of that.
-He also stole a base, of which he only had 17 last year...The Jays as a team only had 65, not sure if this a new aggressive approach or just being able to read the pitcher/catcher combo. But Pudge is not an easy catcher to steal from, last season, he had an 0.21 Stolen Bases Allowed per 9 innings and caught 51% of all would-be base stealers.
-Gibbons showed that he would utilize his bench this season, using a pinch runner and pinch hitter and then making 2 defensive changes to make up for this and in effect used every player.
-As well as Doc pitched, the bullpen was fantastic, throwing 4 shut out innings including a great performance by Casey Janssen. The youngster did not allow a hit or walk in his 2.1 innings and threw 18 of 25 pitches for strikes. Ryan made the fans nervous in the ninth but two strikeouts helped him get the save.

What did you think, what were the stories that needed to be told? 1:05 start today, A.J. takes the mound.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Still kicking...

Well I'm back...not better than ever, actually much different than I was. I want to apologize to all the readers for being gone, I was literally spending almost every waking minute working and then when I got some time off, I had some big family issues that are still on-going. But I want to keep this site going, I will figure out how, but first I'll need some help. So if there's anyone out there that wants to help out, e-mail me, let me know. I'm happy about Opening Day, it's a great distraction and I missed the sport. Huge win by the team...alright so there you have it, this site will make a slow comeback...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

TNT: Thursday Night

Apparently, money won't be an issue if the Jays want to make a run at it. This is fantastic news for Jays fans but when did this all come about, where is this money coming from? They must be selling a lot of season tickets in Toronto. I don't mind, at all, but I hope it's not a two year run at it and then ten years of mediocrity. It's an incredibly difficult division but at some point, this team needs to be an almost annual contender. I hope the money will also be spent in draft bonuses and player development for the Minor Leaguers. Building from within is the answer, not for this season, but for long term success.

A great article about MW/MP from baseball prospectus. Exploring it deeper and finding that almost every team in MLB would probably be better off fielding a team of minimum wage players for revenue's sakes. But then wouldn't these minimum wage players cost more as the other better players would be unattractive. And then wouldn't someone take a flyer on a now cheaper better player, and then another, and another...until payrolls escalated? Yeh It's a nice thought but it doesn't work...

Sports Illustrated profiles the creater of I could not live without this site, so bless him!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Updated update

Wanted to add to this post a little bit. Not much going on in baseball land, one week away from pitchers and catchers reporting.

First of all, if you haven't read Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, go read it, seriously it's $15 for the paperback... Second of all, here's a great article using a concept from the book. Analyzing the best lineups constructed by stats, intuition and ahem blind intuition. I love this kind of analysis, I know it doesn't add anything to the analysis of the game itself but it does research a theory utilized in a non-sport context to see if it applies in sport. I can't wait to see the result of this at the end of the season. Somehow I don't think Aria will do well. This is what research is all about, testing research by building upong it in different situations.

And here's an interview with super-agent Boras. I find it interesting that he has 30, 40 people and a million dollar computer system just to track statistics and information, this guy doesn't just negotiate well, he knows the facts that maybe some teams don't even know. The information he has since 1871 is absolutely incredible...He comes off as a bit egotistical but you can't argue with results. Of course this could have easily been the beginning of a good book about Scott Boras...There isn't as much money for him but you have to wonder how useful he would be as consultant/GM for a Major League with all that information his company has at it's fingertips. Being a general manager is knowing the value of a commodity in a market, and no one has done that better than Boras in the past few years.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Pecota, ZiPs and the Jays...

So Pecota is out for the Jays…and the hitters are an interesting bunch…There’s some variance from the ZiPs numbers but some are very close such as Wells (.845 OPS to .846 OPS) and Clayton (.666 to .663). After struggling with Blogger and their stupidity when trying to insert HTML code with tables, I finally just posted everything HERE.

I'll do the pitchers tonight most probably, and then there are other places coming out with previews that should be discussed. A few links here and there:

Saturday morning update

I'm working on the update...Blogger could not suck more for tables, even when I write them out in HTML, they never work in here...

First of all, Mr. Gammons comes back with an article about starters and their importance. It's INSider so I'll sum up the parts affecting the Jays...

But while much of the baseball universe sees the AL East only in terms of that American phenomenon known as the Yankees and Red Sox, Toronto can get into the tournament, as J.P. Ricciardi and Bill Parcells like to say. To do so, the Blue Jays have one essential requirement: They need Roy Halladay and A.J. Burnett to start 60-70 games between them. If they are healthy and starting two out of every five days, the Jays have two of the division's most dominant starters.

I think that says it all about the Blue Jays season...they can't afford an injury to either of these guys. And they need one of their signings to step up whether it be Thomson, Ohka or Zambrano. In other news, the Jays will once again avoid arbitration, signing Johnson, Rios and Downs yesterday. I like only paying the corner outfielders $5 million combined dollars, that's the importance of home grown talent, to help the Jays afford bringing in expensive free agents like the Big Hurt.

Phil Rogers speaks of the Indians loading up for contention. Obviously I stated here that I loved the book Dealing about Mark Shapiro and I really like this team right now. They've got a good young team and have brought in Barfield for second base and 4 new bullpen arms without really losing much off their roster.

More updates throughout the day, I just know that blogger is going down at 11am for a bit so I don't want to lose any work

Friday, February 02, 2007


Alright, the first post of what should be a bunch hopefully. I'm hoping to do something real nice with a post tomorrow because I'll be in the office for about 8 hours with two games being played at ScotiaBank Place. If anyone is in the Ottawa region, head to the Civic Centre tonight to honour a legend, when Brian Kilrea coaches his 2000th game. I'll be there for the ceremonies before I go catch some shut eye.

On to baseball, the Jays kept stockpiling arms by signing Victor Zambrano to a minor league deal. He's a very average guy coming off Tommy John surgery and a guy who walks a lot of batters. Surprisingly, Zambrano agreed to have a team option for 2008 which could be huge if ever he pitches well this year. If not, it's only a minor deal so not much investment. I like what J.P. has done, he wasn't able to sign or trade for a great SS or SP so he stockpiled as many options as possible to bring a competition to the positions. His pitching signings look great when Tony Armas signs for $3.5 million...

I can't wait for Spring Training at this point, have there ever been this many positions up for grabs? I'm going to one game in late March and I'm hoping to see a lot of these starters give it their all in one final stretch. Zambrano should not be ready until mid-season but by that time either Thomson or Ohka could be injured so it will be great to have him around...stay tuned for more.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Rising from the ashes

I hate doing these posts that don't say too much but I'm just updating everyone. I've had a really weird last week that pretty much ended with a hospital stay yesterday. I apologize for the lack of updates but I will get back on the horse with talk about Pecota, Zambrano and more..again my apologies for the lack of updates, I hope it doesn't happen again.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday: my status, Ohka, Further updates

Hi everyone, well sorry for the lack of updates, I fell sick the last couple days and it just added to everything else going on that has made me extremely busy. I have a short news update for now and later on I'll finally take a look at the PECOTA numbers and possibly the GM rankings.

Olney has a quote on the Ohka signing from one "Toronto decision maker":

"We're just hoping he's healthy enough so he can give us some innings. Maybe between he and [John] Thomson, we'll get the 15 wins and 180 innings that we lost with [Ted] Lilly leaving. We've got more depth now than we've ever had, and the way the sport is being played today, you probably need nine or 10 starters to get through a season, anyway."

The Jays actully have more than 10 so let's hope something works out. A lot of depth is never a bad thing..

The Reds made two moves, first trading for Kirk Saarloos and then signing Mark Bellhorn to a minor league deal. I'm guessing Beane really likes the young guns involved in this deal because Saarloos is one of those rare guys who can give you good(if not average) innings as both a reliever and a starter. Bellhorn is a guy worth taking a risk on but he has not played well in recent years.

Thanks to Nick for both making me notice that I said that Ohka might struggle in his move to the NL(being sick affects my brain) and pointing out this article. At least one reporter believes that the Jays' spending will pay off.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ohka, Ohka, Ohka, OHKA, Ohhka!

It looks like the Jays will add Tomo Ohka to their candidates for the starter's job. Ohka, a 29 year old Japanese pitcher, is ocming off an injury riddled season. Allegedly, his agent states that Tomo took less money to play for Toronto, win and prove he was healthy. His contract is for $1.5 million and another $1.5 million in incentives. Interestingly, even if the Jays have 11 startets for five spots...

Ricciardi might not be done his tinkering, saying that another move or two to further deepen the pitching staff remained possible.

''If there's one thing this game teaches you it's that you can never have enough pitching, enough depth,'' said Ricciardi. ''We know we're going to need more than five starters.''

Ohka will have to battle back from his worse MLB season and get accustomed to the National League to fight off the likes of Thompson, Marcum, Janssen, Towers, Taubenheim, McGowan, Banks for the last two spots in the rotation. The Jays weren't able to find a great starting SS nor a great #3 pitcher this off-season so instead, Ricciardi is accumulating as much talent as possible at the positions to create a competition that may find a diamond in the rough. Think of it as the MLB version of American Idol...At the very least, injuries won't affect the Jays AS much and there's gonna be a good flock of players in AAA this season.

More updates coming with PECOTA and those GM rankings we saw...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tuesday lunch...Pirates, Rays Payroll, Soriano

Quick update...A lot of stuff going on with the life so I'll have a better update later tonight or tomorrow...

Trying to figure out the Pirates lineup With a lack of hitters, would it be better to put them all at the top?

Rays payroll at $24 million: What a division, what are they $60 million away from the nearest payroll in the AL East? If they finish anything but last it would be incredible...

The Bonds and Drew deals still aren’t done This is surprising...when will they be finalized?

Soriano fantasy position Good article about Soriano's fantasy value now that he can no longer be used at second base. Also has some other notables that may interest you fantasy players.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Monday: Jays middle infield, Ohka, Soriano, Utley,

Today we look at the Jays continually changing middle infield, a rumoured pitcher for the Jays, a former slugging second baseman becoming a centre fielder and possibly the best hitting second baseman getting an extension and Bud Selig's replacement...

Not sure how much baseball matters today after that incredible football game last night, good for Manning and the Colts to finally make that Super Bowl. There's a lot of stories going into this one and it will be interesting to see Offense vs. Defense.

The Jays middle infield gets murkier as Ryan Roberts gets designated for assignment and the Jays pick up another slick glove, no bat player from the Reds: Ray Olmedo. It seems that there's mutual interest between the Indians and John McDonald, will there be a trade? The Jays had too problem spots they could not address during the off-season with a big signing or trade but they are doing the next best thing...that's accumulate as many players as possible to compete for the spot. The competition will hopefully make one player stand out! Olmedo might be the worse offensive player of the bunch but he's also the youngest. It looks like they may add a starter to compete for the spots...Tomo Ohka.

Pinella says all the right things with his lack of centre field help by saying that Soriano may play there. AtHomePlate attempts to put some sense into the Soriano signing but doesn't really come up with one answer. Oh and the Cubs want to sign Cliff Floyd who really regressed last season..lots of money spent...but i'm not sure they're a playoff team. Hopefully with all the signings that former Red Sox prospect Matt Murton still has a starting job.

Chase Utley signs an extension for 7 years, $85 million...not a bad deal for one of the better hitters in the league at a position where there is not much offense. His home run total has consistently climbed, and had a VORP over 60 last season (better than any Jay last season).

Crasnick talks about who could replace Bud Selig when he retires in 2009. Oh and finally, I have a deal with the ScoreBoards forum to be a discussion board for the posts...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Lunchtime update

May as well make an update...there's a couple things going on this morning:

Trot Nixon is officially no longer a Red Sox player. He has signed with the Indians for one year, $3 million. They don't come much more consistent than Trot, usually an above average hitter every season, one small injury a season, good right field defense. I'm not sure where he plays because that Indians outfield seemed locked in with Choo, Sizemore and the left field platoon. Does he learn to play 1B and spell Casey Blake from time to time? There must be a trade in the works because it seems the Indians just have too many players for the OF/DH/1B and that's without including the rumours of Victor Martinez playing 1B. Olney reports that the Pirates wanted him to help build up their new offense.

Speaking of the new offense...Joe Starkey loves the move. Unfortunately, Littlefield gave up prized SS prospect Brent Lillibridge. This is a kid whose projected WARP for 2007 is the ninth best among shortstops in the Major Leagues. Sickels says that Brent has more power than the average shortstop and has plenty of speed. In that same Sickels link he analyzes Adam Lind, and says that he should be a Rookie of the Year candidate this season. His projections for him are off the charts: .824 OPS with 15 home runs, although he has him slotted for too many at-bats. I don't think Lind makes the team out of Spring Training...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Finally Friday

Well I've been incredi-busy at my new job...for those who don't know, I sell ticket packages and advertising at the Ottawa Senators now. Let me know if you want access to this year's playoffs.

Not much going on in the world, so enjoy quick news:

Pete: "Hey Mac, we gotta do something about Barry, we'll never get in with his support"
Mac: "Pete, please never call me again...bad enough Bonds is supporting me, I don't want to have my name associated to yours"
Pete: "Betcha 20 bucks you never make the Hall of Fame"
Updates throughout the day on Comments..

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

FINALLY! Gonzalez for Laroche! And more...

The much rumoured, denied, speculated trade of closer Mike Gonzalez + a piece for Adam Laroche seems to finally have happened! As of yet, the piece going to Atlanta with Gonzalez has not been identified, and both teams are not confirming it as of yet. The Braves now have Bob Wickman, trade pick-up Rafael Soriano and Gonzalez in a re-built bullpen after leading the league last year with 29 blown saves. The Pirates finally acquired the lefty power bat they have coveted all off-season to compliment outfielder Jason Bay. I think this is one of those deals that helps both sides and fills a need for both. This clears a spot at first base with the Braves for canadian Scott Thorman..I don't think much of a stat evaluation needs to be done on this...but check back later :)

J.P. denies the Wells rumours, they're only "kicking the tires". The Jays have also signed catcher Sal Fasano to a minor league deal. Should give some competition to Phillips but I don't think he'll make the team. He doesn't have much of a bat left...
Ken Rosenthal (Again) talks about many teams lacking a starter, including the Jays. I don't think the Jays could have gotten Billingsley...and if! Last season, in 90 innings he had an ERA+ of 121 last season at the age of 21!

Neyer examines D-Mat while
Sean McAdam examines the Boston closer situation

An interview with Twins GM Terry Ryan

Finally, Harball Times looks at rotations...again..check comments for updates throughout the day

The hump: Overbay's new number, Neyer, and more

Apparently, changing his number to 17 was a priority to him re-signing. He will wear it to honour Grace and Todd Helton. And the Wells signing helped him make the decision.

Continuing with Jays news: Arbitration figures were exchanged and it's not too bad. Vernon Wells may need to start wearing a V in front of his name on his jersey. Wouldn't be bad for the Jays to take a flyer on Boomer, depending on cost.

A couple tidbits from the Rob Neyer chat yesterday:

About the Orioles: "They'll compete again when Angelos is not the owner and DePodesta is the general manager. "
I'm surprised to see DePo get some support, after doing the DePo's Reign I think he was fired too fast and deserves a second chance. I'm not sure Baltimore will be the place though...
About Josh Beckett: "My theory -- which I drove into the ground in this space last summer -- is that Beckett changed his style to avoid getting the blisters. And he did solve the blister problem. I'm just not sure he can avoid blisters *and* consistently pitch well. "

Well that's good news for Toronto fans, but bad news for a good young pitcher. It just goes to show that even a small injury can screw up the entire mechanics of an athlete.
About Gil Meche: "It's actually worse than it looks. Yes, I know there's talk about Meche's tools . . . but are the Royals' scouts really smarter than those of the other 29 teams, all of which were looking for starting pitching this winter? I kind of don't think so. "
Well, looks like J.P. "dodged a bullet". Meche has to thank his lucky stars he became a free agent when he did

Buster Olney wonders where Pena can get some playing time...what a wasted trade by Boston...Arroyo looks to be a good pitcher and they took a flyer on an over-valued player.

Keith Law talks about Alex Gordon's greatness and other good prospects. How excited should Royals fans be? What's that? Still no core around Gordon? It will be a long few years...

And our good friend Elijah Dukes was busted...I bet that you can't guess for what...Finally, some huge arbitration figures are being asked for by some key players...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Slow Tuesday...let's do some reading.

Nothing much going on...let's just do some reading today...

Apparently, the Blue Jays offered Ryan Franklin more money than the Cardinals did but he chose them. The Jays probably moved fast to pick up Thomson after that news.

Hardball Times examines whether Clemens' late arrival in Houston cost them a playoff spot.

The Rangers have worked out Sammy know you're desperate when...It's ridiculous that in a year where Mark McGwire is not voted into the HHOF because of alleged steroid use that someone would even consider bringing Sammy Sosa back. But if he helps win ball games than he's worth it to someone unfortunately.

The Marlins have re-signed Dontrelle Willis to a one year deal...what I really like about this news is that Willis has kept his agent Matt Sosnick. If anyone read License to Deal, a fantastic book, there were questions whether Willis could afford to keep his young inexperienced agent when arbitration came around but he did.

ESPN continues their serious of baseball articles by looking at who could be THE impact rookie...bad news for the Jays is, he's in Tampa...

Over at the Sporting News, they check out the best dumps of the off-season by means of addition by substraction. The Yankees are listed twice...groannnnn

Weekend review

The biggest news of the weekend for the Jays is the Overbay signing. Something I didn't mention yesterday but in 2010, 4 major contracts would come off the Jays' books: Roy Halladay, B.J. Ryan, Lyle Overbay and A.J. Burnett. Along with this, it could be J.P.'s last year because his contract expires that season. So with or without a new GM, the Jays could rebuild and receive 8 possible 1st round pick + sandwich picks but lose a big chunk of their team. It would also give an incoming GM a lot of decisions to make about his top two starters, one closer and their starting first baseman. Just some thoughts to ponder...there was also other news for the Jays: Roberto Alomar is about to join the Leavel of Excellence!

The Blue Jays will invite Alomar to Toronto this summer to herald his induction onto the team's Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre. The club wanted to do it this past season when the Philadelphia Phillies were in town for an interleague series between June 30-July 2 — Phillies general manager Pat Gillick and former president Paul Beeston were to be part of the ceremony — but couldn't get all the ducks lined up.
It's great news, Alomar is one of the greatest Blue Jays of all time. USA Today has a Jays organizational perspective up. It's a week old so it doesn't include John Thomson...There's also news around the league...
It looks like the Orioles are getting ready to trade Rodrigo Lopez...he has struggled the past two seasons and they have a pretty set rotation. No comments on who they could acquire for him...

It looks like the long rumoured Mike Gonzalez/Adam Laroche trade is dead, although
it got VERY close. The Pirates are now examining many options to bring in a new hitter...

D-Rays fans have a trade proposition for the Jays...troubled prospect OF Elijah Dukes for Marcum and Josh Sowers...not going to happen, why would the Jays want to take on a low character outfielder when they already have plenty of outfield talent.

A good article about the Scott Schoeneweis signing here...The final tally? That it's apparently a bad signing...high walk totals are no good!