Monday 2 December 2013

My Triumphant Return: A Giant "Stuff" Post

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.

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