Wednesday, 4 December 2013
I saw you, MLB Trade Rumors. I saw you trying to sneak that little tidbit in there, knowing that I'd go ahead and make a big deal of it. Clever.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm not terribly surprised. Pittsburgh is apparently looking at James Loney to be their first baseman, as if he's actually good and didn't have an excellent season last year by accident. Of course, the Tampa Bay turning-shit-in-to-strawberry-shortcake thing applies at least a bit here.
Anyway, Jayson Stark was mentioning that the Pirates have also reached out to the Rangers about Mitch Moreland's availability-- which, when you think about the whole Prince Fielder thing, makes a lot of sense-- and to the BLUE JAYS ABOUT ADAM LIND.
Sorry. Things got out of hand there for a second. Too excited.
The Jays don't necessarily have to trade Lind this offseason-- it would create a small, easy fillable hole in the lineup at 1B/DH, but it's not like there isn't an upgrade or forty available out there. Lind is very serviceable against RHP, but doesn't really offer a whole lot else. He's also making $7MM this year, and at least has $1.5MM more coming to him in the way of option buyouts. There's no Mark DeRosa anymore, and there's probably no Rajai Davis around either to take his spot in the order when lefty pitchers are around.
Now watch how I spin this in the right direction.
James Loney is projected for 1 WAR in 2014, and is apparently seeking a three year deal. Given that Justin Morneau signed yesterday for 2 years and $13MM, I think three years for Loney is looking like nothing less than $18MM. Lind? A practically free $7MM, with two options! May as well be three 1-year deals!
Lind is one of those big cocksuckers who can hit the ball out of the ballpark. Loney? Walks. Reasonable defense. That's about it. When's the last time you saw someone score a run by catching the ball?
Lind has been bad in the past, but it's not like Loney wasn't worth -0.4 WAR in 2012 himself, and never better than 2 WAR over a single season in his entire career. At least Lind has a 3.4 WAR season under his belt, which is driven down thanks to a -22.4 run defensive tally, though he was playing LF then, and is a 1B now.
Loney just isn't all that good, and three years there would be shockingly bad, especially when Adam Lind is available for probably less than that on a 1-year deal with options. The scary thing is that I'm kind of talking myself out of hating Adam Lind.
But really. If James Loney is worth whatever he's going to be worth, three options of Adam Lind has to be at least somewhat attractive if you're Pittsburgh. The only real benefit to Loney over Lind is health.and maybe relative defense. I wouldn't classify Loney as "good" defensively, but he's practically a full win better than Lind is with the glove. Lind obviously makes that up with the bat, and is coming off a bit of a comeback year himself.
Mitch Moreland is still probably a better fit for Pittsburgh if Texas chooses to move him, but holy crap... the pieces fit. Maybe we can get Snider back.
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Holy shit. This day.
First off, Alex Anthopoulos was on the Fan 590 with Elliotte Friedman and some other guy, having a minor chat. The most interesting part, to me at least, was his answer to the question regarding whether or not he had a chance to match Washington's offer for Doug Fister, which, surprisingly, didn't even entertain the notion that Dave Dombrowski is on all the drugs.
Basically, some GM's like to have auctions for their players, while other like to keep things quiet. Some like to make certain that the player that they're trading gets out of the division at least, and preferably out of the league, so as to not improve the competition (which he also touched on when Friedman's mystery partner asked about acquiring David Price). He finally mentioned that sometimes you just don't match up well with the other team in terms of areas of strength and weakness, and that the Jays asked about, but never really had a fighting chance at acquiring Fister.
AA also mentioned that there was a small deal in the works-- one so small that we might not even notice it-- and boy howdy, he was not kidding. Brad Lincoln to the Phillies for a guy that I've never heard of, and a guy that I've only heard of, but have never seen in action. Eric Kratz is apparently a pretty good defensive catcher, but definitely can't hit (career .220/.281/.407 slash line, and 2013 .213/.280/.386 isn't terribly dissimilar to what JP Arencibia did, though Kratz only had 218 PA's). He's listed at 6'4'', 255lbs. Rob Rasmussen is 24 and seems destined to fail as a starter, but is left-handed, so we'll test him out in the bullpen and see what happens.
He also mentioned that the report that surfaced about the Jays being infatuated by Brett Anderson isn't necessarily true, since he doesn't tend to go around and tell people from other clubs that he's emotionally or sexually interested in other players (my words, not his). That particular snippet stemmed from a report suggesting that Anderson will definitely be traded at some point this week or at the winter meetings. Of course, the Jays are looking to bolster their rotation, so naturally... I dunno, I'm not really all that stoked about Anderson. He was a good enough pitcher in 2009 and 2010, but he's thrown about 160 innings since then, many of which not terribly inspiring. I have no idea how healthy he is at the moment, but I'm not sure it matters either, given his history. He doesn't seem to walk many guys, so that's a plus, I guess.
And he said that Brandon Morrow is throwing at full intensity and feels great. OK!
Oh, and everybody lost their fucking minds today. MLBTR links.
Red Sox signed AJ Pierzynski, the most not very Red Sox player there is (other than being a giant douche, I guess) for $8.25MM. That makes the Dioner deal look a lot better, to me, but it's 1-year and not a whole lot can go so wrong to make a 1-year deal look overly bad.
Rockies traded Dexter Fowler for not very much to the Astros. Fowler was really good two years ago, and totally reasonable this past year. Astros' GM Jeff Luhnow is probably just going to trade Fowler for more youth at the deadline, and it will almost certainly be a better return than Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes. Seems like a huge win for Houston, even if Fowler is now way the highest-paid player on the team, since the odds of him re-breaking out is probably better than the odds of Lyles or Barnes being worth anything for the Rockies, even if Fowler's 2 years from free agency.
The Marlins signed Jarrod Saltalamacchia for three years and $21MM. I'd guess that Rob Brantly is going to be traded now, but he was really bad this year, so maybe they fancy him as a backup or would like to send him down to the minors for a while to figure some stuff out. I can't help but think that Saltalamacchia is going to be traded somewhere at some point over the course of this contract too-- signing guys that aren't going to help them immensely and then trading them early in the contract just seems like the way the Marlins do their business and stock up the farm. Not that that isn't a viable strategy.
Jacoby Ellsbury signed in New York for 7/$153MM. Pretty reasonable, as far as I can tell, though there are obviously some health concerns. I figured like 6/$120MM would get it done so I'm not too terrible.
Oakland is still playing MLB The Show, trading everyone for everyone. Craig Gentry is the newest A, edging out Luke Gregerson in that particular contest. Gentry and Josh Lindblom came from Texas for some minor leaguers, while Gregerson was swapped for Seth Smith. Add that to the Jim Johnson deal from last night, and the forthcoming Brett Anderson trade, and the A's are going to have a pretty new look this year, though they're only really replacing some minor parts. Gentry is a pretty underrated piece, in that he steals, runs, gets on base, and plays defense pretty well. He was worth 3.6 rWAR over 106 games with the Rangers in '13, playing mostly in CF.
Finally, I guess, the Tigers signed Joe Nathan for two years and $20MM, which is probably more than what Doug Fister is going to make in his last two years of arbitration. Chuckle at Dave Dombrowski all you want, but PROVEN CLOSERS DAMMIT.
Marc Hulet of Fangraphs has just released his Toronto Blue Jays version of his 2014 Top-10 Prospects list. No huge surprises, but let's have a glimpse. He starts the list off with a quick jab to the organization and their trades from this past offseason:
This Top 10 (+5) list is the weakest collection of prospects that Toronto has had in the minors for quite a while now. Most of the talent is in A-ball or Rookie ball with a noticeable lack of depth at the upper levels, thanks to the 2012-13 trades that were supposed to turn the Jays into a winning club.
Numbers 1 and 2 are of little shock; Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman. Some familiar stuff here; Sanchez has #1 stuff, but his delivery is cause for concern, while Stroman looks amazing out there, dummies minor league batters, and could probably have been in the majors this past season, but he's short. Sounds about right.
Mitch Nay popping up at #3 was probably the biggest shocker for me, though it seems as though, based on his rankings that he would clump Nay in to a tier with Roberto Osuna and Daniel Norris. Though he doesn't come right out and say it, it sounds like Nay isn't going to be able to stick at 3B, which is probably a minor issue, given Brett Lawrie's existence, but that problem won't likely arise for a few years.
Speaking of Norris and Osuna, things are starting to get a bit depressing-- Osuna is going to miss this season after having a delayed Tommy John surgery, and Norris is a bit of a wild card, given that he's only had one good half of a season over his 2 years as a pro.
AJ Jimenez at #7 is the last person with any real upside that is close to the bigs, at 23 years old and a likely AAA appearance. Alberto Tirado, DJ Davis, and Matt Smoral are all in the top-10, and are all coming off seasons of rookie-ball, so are pretty far away. Tirado is a possible reliever, due to Stroman-like size issues, but he crushed the Appalachian League this year in a small sample. Davis is kind of like an Anthony Gose guy, with a bunch of tools and nothing really to do with them to this point. Smoral is 6'8'' and left-handed, and is going to get an awful lot of chances to succeed, given his stuff that just hasn't come together yet.
The list rounds out with Sean Nolin, who, Hulet notes, was pointlessly added to the 40-man roster and had an option year burned for the sake of 1.1 IP. Hulet calls Nolin a future No. 4 innings-eater, which has value.
Hulet calls Jairo Labourt and Franklin Baretto the wild cards that should move up in to next year's list.
Monday, 2 December 2013
Dioner Navarro looks like he is a big boy, despite being listed as 5'9'', 205.
But he's our big boy now, isn't he? It's been pointed out around the internet pretty well all day that Navarro, by virtue of being not JP Arencibia, is a pretty huge upgrade for the Jays. He was pretty damn awesome this past year for the Cubs in a backup role, putting up 1.7 fWAR over a fairly small sample of 266 plate appearances. It seems a bit aggressive to give him 2 years, given that he hasn't been average ever, save for a nice season in 2008 with Tampa, and even then, 470 plate appearances that year remains a career high. I'm not sure if I'm ready to anoint him as the everyday-ish (non-Dickey day) starter, given his apparent inability to stay healthy for a whole season, but I'm sure this is going to be refreshing, even if he does fall completely on his face. Speaking of which, the contract calls for $3MM this year, and $5MM next year, which is really quite close to what JPA would have been paid had he gone through arbitration twice with Toronto. Even if he does fall on his face, this money is better spent with Navarro, someone who has shown signs of being good, rather than JPA.
We're about to see a whole lot more Josh Thole than what we're used to, which, again, isn't JP Arencibia whiffing through pitch after pitch. Between Thole and Navarro, we're bound to see a pretty significant uptick in walks, and thus, on-base percentage from catcher, all the while losing out on some power. Navarro will help a bit in that regard, but making fewer outs and swinging through fewer pitches is truly excellent. After all, Thole has a 9% walk-rate to this point in his career-- you could do worse, especially out of the guy that's going to be handling the knuckleballer.
We're still waiting to see what exactly happens with JPA; either a trade or a non-tender is looming any minute now, and might even end up being edited in to this very post if it's not finished by the time the result comes through. Still, I'm pretty sure I can see in to the future on this one. AA gets asked some inane question about Arencibia and stays pretty non-committal about the decision, hitting mostly at the fact that JP's a great person and is more than welcome to stay within the organization on a minor league deal. JPA then gets his turn with the media somehow and lambastes the organization/media/city about something or other as if it comes down to anything other than putting up results on the field. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but this is a business.
Obviously it's going to suck if this whole situation goes all Aaron Hill on us again, and it's certainly a possibility, albeit a pretty remote one. The book is out on JPA, as far as hitting is concerned. but there was some prospect shine there at one point, and there's some pretty legit power going on there when he can actually hit the ball. Someone's going to take a flyer on him, and it will likely be one of those poor teams that need to find ways to win where others just don't care. If someone can ever get through to him to not hack at everything, and to, you know, swing at strikes and not at balls... there can certainly be something there. I mean he hit 21 HR's this year, imagine what he could do if he weren't always striking out.
Finally, I'd love to be a fly on the wall in Dave Dombrowski's office today, when he decided to trade an elite starter for not that much. I just have so many questions. Most of them are just slack-jawed gawking and some kind of awkward hybrid of the words "what" and "why", but I'd also really like to know whether anybody else had a chance at matching that with, say, anybody from the Jays' bullpen and anybody else from within the system. There has been a lot of talk going around about Jeff Samadzija lately, and how a prospect haul centered around Stroman/Sanchez just aren't worth two years of him. Now, I'm okay with saying that the Jays may have overpaid for Dickey, but I'd definitely be cool with giving up the same package for Fister. We're talking about a top-15-or-so pitcher in the game, still with two years of cost-reduced control left. If that means dealing one of Sanchez/Stroman and, say, a bullpen arm for him, then I'm for it. If it means beating the package Washington sent? Christ, I'm depressed just thinking about how easy that would have been.
If anybody is talking to AA in the next few weeks, I'd like you to go ahead and ask him about Doug Fister, and let him know that I'm heartbroken.
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
So everyone's believing all they read now, huh? Are you guys for real? I came home from work today, and, like I do most days, checked bluejaysaggr and MLBTR to see if anything was up, only to see post after post and link after link suggesting that the Jays are going to trade Bautista?!
Come on, guys. Let's use our brains on this one, yeah?
Obviously it wasn't going to be straight up, but the rumored deal was Bautista for Dom Brown, because we're apparently in the business of conveniencing the Phillies. Bautista is infinitely better than Brown, is coming off a year that he missed a pile of games with injuries (i.e. selling low), and still has three years of team control. Brown is quite a bit cheaper, is worse than Bautista, and comes with only one more year of control. This one would be sort of dependent on what the Phillies would be throwing in.
The Jays are in need of-- in no particular order-- a catcher, starter, and second baseman. The Phillies "don't have" a catcher at the moment (Carlos Ruiz is a free agent) so we can omit that one. They have a recently extended Chase Utley at 2B, which doesn't preclude them from trading him per se, but obviously they want Utley around or they wouldn't have extended him, right? Probably. I also doubt the Phillies go Utley-and-Brown for Bautista if the situation even arose, though the more I think about it, it might make a bit of sense if you throw in a bullpen piece here and a prospect or bench player there. But that's not the point.
Starters in Philly include Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, and then a few dudes that the Jays couldn't possibly have any interest in trading Jose Bautista for. I doubt the Phillies are overly interested in moving Hamels or Lee, given their strategy the last few years.
So yeah-- it's a Bautista-for-Utley type of thing, or it's nothing.
Don't believe everything you read.
Saturday, 9 November 2013
Ryan Hanigan appears to be available, given that the Reds have signed Brayan Pena to a two-year deal, and have Devin Mesoraco kicking around as well. Some juice on Hanigan.
- Ryan Hanigan is a career .262/.359/.343 hitter, with a walkrate of 12% and a strikeout rate of 10.1%. He hits for very little power (.081 ISO career), but gets on base and makes contact at a pretty good rate.
- Ryan Hanigan is pretty good defensively, and has some nice insights on pitch framing.
- Ryan Hanigan is set to make $2.3MM through arbitration, which is actually less than JP Arencibia.
- Ryan Hanigan is not JP Arencibia.
- Ryan Hanigan is not a free agent-- a team interested in his services would need to come to an agreement with the Cincinatti Reds on a cost, which is probably easier than coming to an agreement with a player/agent on how much money it would take to bring him in.
That stuff all seems pretty good. If you can't get Brian McCann, you could certainly do worse than Ryan Hanigan on a 1-year deal (i.e. JP Arencibia).
I guess the main issue here is that Hanigan is 33 years old, and is coming off a season where he hit .198/.306/.261 over 275 plate appearances. The Reds will certainly be selling low on Hanigan, which makes taking a flyer on him an attractive option. He still walked more than he struck out, he still put up some pretty good defensive numbers, and he had a babip that was about 65 points lower than his career mark without any significant change in his batted ball profile-- his IFFB% rose by 4%, which is certainly a bad sign, but his 2013 LD%, GB% and FB% are all within a percentage point of his career norms.
For a team in need of catching help, Hanigan and Thole could certainly split time for a relatively inexpensive price. If there is any kind of payroll restrictions in Toronto this year, acquiring Hanigan for a prospect or bullpen arm will allow the Jays to allocate money elsewhere, such as 2B or the rotation. Acquiring Hanigan, in and of itself, would probably be a sort of half-measure, but as part of the big picture, Hanigan is a cheap alternative that would plug a hole and allow AA to go focus on the bigger parts of the offseason.
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
I used to be a beat cop a long time ago, and I'd get called out on domestic disputes all the time, hundreds probably, over the years. But there was this one piece of shit that I remember, Gordie, looked like Bo Svensen, remember him? Walking Tall? You don't remember him? No? Anyway, big boy-- 270-280. But his wife... whatever-she-was lady... she was small. Like a bird. Brisk like little branches. Anyway, my partner and I would get called out there every weekend, and one of us would pull her aside and say 'Come on, tonight's the night we press charges." And this wasn't one of those 'deep down, he really loves me' setups, she was scared; she wasn't going to cross him, no way no how. Nothing we could do but pass her off to the EMT's, put him in the car, drive him downtown, throw him in the drunk tank, he sleeps it off; next morning, out he goes, back home.
But one night, my partner's out sick; just me. Call comes in and it's the usual crap: broke her nose in the shower kind of thing. So I cuff him, I put him in the car and away we go. Only that night, we're driving in to town, and this sideways asshole is in my car in the backseat, humming "Danny Boy". Hurmph. Yeah, and it just rubbed me wrong. So instead of left, I go right in to nowhere. And I kneel him down, and I put my revolver in his mouth and I said "This is it. This is how it ends." And he's cryin', going to the bathroom all over himself, swearing to God he's gonna leave her alone, and he's screaming-- as much you can with a gun in your mouth.
I told him to be quiet, I had to think of what I was going to do here-- and of course he got quiet. Goes still. And real quiet. Like a dog waiting for dinner scraps. We just stood there for a while. Me, acting like I'm thinking things over, and Prince Charming sitting there in the dirt with shit in his pants.
After a few minutes, I took the gun out of his mouth. And I said "So help me, if you ever touch her again I will" such and such and such and such and blah blah blah blah blah.
[Just a warning?]
Of course. Just trying to do the right thing.
Two weeks later, he killed her. Of course. Caved her head in with the base of a wearing blender. We got there... there was so much blood, you could taste the metal.
Moral of the story is: I chose a half-measure, when I should have gone all the way. I'll never make that mistake again.
No more half-measures, Walter.If you've not watched every second of Breaking Bad, you're seriously missing out, and should stop whatever you're doing right now in order to remedy that, but I'm sure you've already been told by dozens of people. The above quote is from this scene, and this isn't a spoiler at all-- just one of the more epic lines of the entire series, delivered by arguably the best character of arguably the best show ever.
Gregor Chisolm and Scott Merkin of MLB.com are reporting that the Jays are interested in Gordon Beckham, for some reason. Beckham isn't really an upgrade over what we've got already, whether it's Maicer Izturis or Ryan Goins or Munenori Kawasaki or Mark Derosa.
I mean, he's probably slightly better than any of those guys-- I'm not entirely convinced that Izturis is actually as bad as we saw last year, but that's probably a different post for a different day-- but "slightly better" isn't anything to be overly thrilled about. Goins probably stinks equally offensively in the future, regardless of how good he is defensively, but as of right now, he is probably the best choice to start 2014 as the main 2B of those currently in the organization.
There are plenty of guys in the league who can put up value somewhere in the area of what Beckham can do, and like three of them are already Blue Jays. Beckham will make about $3.5MM through arbitration-- Izturis, Goins, Kawasaki and DeRosa combined will make slightly more than that. Take in to account that the Jays would probably have to give something up to acquire Beckham, and yeah, this doesn't make any sense.
If Beckham is an upgrade over whatever's kicking around the organization-- if!-- he certainly isn't a big one, and is therefore not a respectable allocation of assets. Gordon Beckham would be a half-measure. No more half-measures, Walter.