Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Breakdown: Best Ever

I messed around for about half an hour trying to get this thing on to my computer and then to youtube or dailymotion or something, but whatever.

I'll spoil this one for you: Barry Bonds is, and always was, a total fucking freakshow, as evidenced multiple times in the above video.  It really is some kind of bullshit that this at-bat predates pitchF/X data, because I'd love some confirmation about the velocity and location of pretty much all of these pitches.

The video in question happened in April of 2004-- the height of the steroid era.  Barry Bonds, in the three seasons preceding this video, hit 73, 45 and 45 HR's respectively.  His worst season of those three was 8.9 rWAR, and he walked a paltry 148 times.  He won the MVP, naturally.  You get where I'm going here; the dude was playing better than practically anybody ever, and was doing so at the age of 39.

Bonds' adversary in this case is a good ole Canadian boy, Eric Gagne.  Gagne had just come off a pretty astonishing season himself, in 2003.  A 1.20 ERA, 55 saves, 15 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9.  4.0 H/9!!!!!  I talked quite a bit about how ridiculous Craig Kimbrel was this year, and Eric Gagne was arguably better (depending on how much you care about the extra 20 IP).

Any way you slice it, this is NL MVP vs. NL Cy Young, head to head.

Pitch 1: Bonds gets around a 96MPH fastball to foul it off.  Pretty impressive.  0-1.

Pitch 2: 98MPH (99 on the stadium) 2-seamer, right on the inside corner.  The fuck are you going to do with that?  0-2.

Pitch 3: Knee-buckling curve that juuuuuust misses the outside corner.  Bonds somehow lays off doesn't even come close to budging. 1-2

Pitch 4: 98 MPH fastball up and in.  Probably a purpose pitch.  2-2

Pitch 5: 98 MPH fastball up that Bonds take a mighty, mighty hack at and fouls off.  2-2

Pitch 6: 99 MPH fastball (that apparently came up as 101MPH on the stadium gun) that Bonds is early on.  Early.  On 101 MPH.  And he crushed it.  Early on a 101MPH fastball, and he hit it 500 feet. 2-2

Pitch 7: 99 MPH (100MPH on stadium gun) fastball taken out for a homer to the deepest part of a big ballpark that suppresses offense.  For #662 of his career.

I'm very grateful to have seen this video.  Hat tip to KyleB of drivelinebaseball for this one.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Being Sort of Polite to Adam Lind

I'd be pretty dumbfounded if I were the only one still bothered by this, or if I were the first person to write about it, but here we go anyway.

I was thinking, for some reason, about the Alex Anthopoulos live-chat from Thursday morning.  I had submitted a few questions without really thinking of how filtered the questions would be, and what he would and would not answer, so I didn't really worry about the phrasing of most of them.  In hindsight, I could have been less aggressive with some of what I asked, which is really confirmed by one of his answers, when he said something like "I can't talk about specific players..."

I don't remember word-for-word what I had submitted, but it was something along the lines of "Adam Lind can't hit major league pitching well enough to justify having his bat in the order everyday (in the middle of the lineup, no less). He has a career .607 OPS against lefty pitching, and he has exactly one season in which he was an average-or-better offensive player.  Typically a player with that offensive skillset can run really fast, or at least make up for their below-average offense with some very solid defensive value at a premium position, but Adam doesn't do run or field well at the easiest defensive position on the field.  Why does he continue to get chance after chance to fail?"

So that's really what we're looking at here.  Yeah, the guy had a really nice season four years ago, and he can occasionally still run in to a belt-high accident fastball.  What have you done for us lately though? What is Adam Lind still doing on this team?  There are obviously multiple people in the front office who believe that there's something there. Is there just something that we're all missing?

Every time that I've asked myself these questions over the last four years, it's been rhetorical.  I didn't need a reason to examine the guy or look deeper to assess his performance.  I didn't really need anything beyond the eye-test to realize that he probably shouldn't be any everyday player.  But I feel as though I've gotten lazy in my hatred of Lind over the last year or so, and I'm just kind of set in my ways.  As such, I will be updating everything I know about him to reflect the 2012 season, removing the preconceived notions I have about why he should be used sparingly, if at all, this season, instead of slotting him in the 5-hole and taking at-bats away from otherwise useful players.  I'm honestly not sure how this is going to turn out, but I'm kind of hoping that it's full of vitriol and disdain.

Lind was rightfully sent down to AAA after the May 16 game, after hitting .186/.273/.314 over the team's first 38 games.  That isn't very good.  He ended the season with a .255/.314/.414 line, which is better, but still isn't very good for a 1B/DH. Still, we need to give credit where it's due; that's a .316 wOBA for the season, and is a pretty nice accomplishment, given his stat-line when he was sent down, and the fact that he only had like 58 games to turn things around.  The OBP aspect is actually an improvement over what we've seen in the two years prior, where he had OBP's under .300.

As for the batting average, and again, I'd be dumbfounded if I were the first to have written about this, if my  baseball-reference's calculations are correct, Lind hit .296/.339/.473 from call-up to end of season. It's only a sample of 60 or so games, and there was a stretch of about a month where he didn't play, thanks to a back issue that apparently won't ever go away, but still.

I assume this is to be expected, but he had a .209 babip pre-demotion, and a .322 babip after.  Surprise.  He regressed towards the mean.  He ended up with a .282 babip on the season, which isn't all that far from his career .293 mark, and is actually almost exactly his expected babip (scroll down to the bottom to find Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus, btw).  So he regressed to being an almost average player.

What's weird is that he walked less and struck out more (on a rate basis) after returning to the bigs, despite swinging at fewer pitches this past season.  I'd actually expect him to walk more this coming season, assuming he can maintain those plate discipline numbers.  The most encouraging thing I can think of here?  His plate discipline numbers from 2012 are really, really similar to his 2009 (i.e. "breakout") season.

Lind handles righties just fine, to the tune of a career .282/.335/.502 line.  That's great.  Lefties are obviously another story-- he had a .202/.250/.303 line vs LHP this past season, and a .220/.264/.343 line vs LHP for his career.   Seems pretty obvious that his plate appearances vs. lefties need to be curtailed.  Except Cito and Farrell pretty much gave him free reign over lefties over the course of Lind's career.  In 2012, 27% of Lind's PA's were against lefties, same in 2011, 23% in 2010, and 27% in 2009.  Gibby has said that Lind will probably play mostly everyday to start the year here too.

Obviously it's sort of easy to exploit an extreme platoon like that, as an opposing manager.  Benches aren't infinite, and at some point, the madness has to stop-- Gibby can't just go to Rajai Davis off the bench every time there's a lefty on the mound, since Davis can only hit lefties, which is also really exploitable.  When the opposing boss brings in a righty to counteract Davis pinch-hitting for Lind, we then have to deal with the possibility of Davis' .278 career wOBA vs. RHP coming in to play.  Davis needs to be shielded from righties just as bad as Lind needs to be shielded from lefties.  Lind is going to face lefty pitching regardless of how terrible he is, because at some point, you have to decide if you want Davis vs. RHP or Lind vs. LHP.  We just need to trust that neither is going to play everyday and that they won't be afraid to use the bench when it's strategically viable.  It's just something that we're going to have to deal with until the trade deadline or something.  Emilio Bonifacio certainly becomes a lot more valuable as a switch-hitter off the bench, especially with Edwin and Bautista being able to fill in at 1B.

But I still come back to the question; What do they see in Lind that keeps them from letting go?  I decided to do some digging.

  • Lind's nadir in 2009 was June 2, where he ended the day with a .287/.363/.485 line.  That's pretty good.  His 2009 in total was very good, with .305/.370/.562 being his final line.
  • In 2010, he hit .286/.359/.484 in April, to start the season.  That's a .362 wOBA, which is just about what Paul Goldschmidt or Albert Pujols did this year (.228/.273/.414 afterward).  His 2009 rightfully kept him in the lineup through 2010.
  • In 2011, from April 26 to July 20 (52 games), Lind batted .327/.378/.599 with 17 HR's.  Rumor has it that he was playing injured for a big part of the second half, but excuses excuses.
  • In 2012, from June 29 through to the end of the season, Lind batted .297/.335/.482 (56 games).
Yes, small samples, and yes arbitrary endpoints, but these aren't just week-long blips-- these are some halfway significant stretches of a couple of months.  I understand that as good as he is in these mentioned streaks, he's equally terrible in the other periods of time in those seasons.  If you're in to arbitrary endpoints and looking at things with a positive light, which I typically am not, there's definitely something there with Lind.  I doubt it's something as simple as not letting him hit against lefties, and I'll be god damned if I can figure out how to fix the guy in any other way.

I used to think that Adam Lind was one of the absolute worst players in baseball.  Just spending the last hour or so looking at some numbers and making this post, I'm no longer entirely convinced that Adam Lind is as terrible at baseball as I once thought.

That's as polite as I can say it.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

AA Live Chat

AA did a live chat this morning/afternoon, depending on where you are in the country, for the Toronto Sun.  Tidbits:

  • Ticket sales have been "outstanding", according to AA, and they "haven't seen anything like this in years."  Not bad.
  • Not shopping for a 1B/DH.  Bad.
  • The Henry Blanco deal isn't guaranteed money, so Thole isn't necessarily heading to the minors.
  • Bautista is expected to be ready to go to start the spring.
  • Casey Janssen is the closer, at least for now.  Santos needs to prove that he can return to form and be healthy, but Janssen performed very well last year in the role and they are very comfortable.
  • AA checks MLBTR all the time.  That makes two of us.
  • If a prospect needs to come up to fill a starting pitching need, Sean Nolin is probably the guy that will get the first look.  They've signed a few minor league free agents, and JA Happ is probably the 6th starter for now, but speaking strictly in terms of young guys, Nolin is probably at the top, in terms of skills and readiness for the bigs.
  • Maicer Izturis is the frontrunner for the starting 2B role, and not Emilio Bonifacio.  Let's put that to bed once and for all, no?
  • Beeston has said that there probably won't be grass for five years minimum.
  • One of the perks of being the GM of the Toronto Blue Jays: $0 phone bills.
  • Santos 100%.
  • They use "pretty much everything" as far as advanced metrics and WAR-style stuff.  This was my question.
  • AA is a Zeppelin fan.
  • Marcus Stroman will be stretched out in the spring.  He can always be sent back to the bullpen, but the plan for the spring is to have him start, and head back to the minors.
He kind of trails off with a rapid-fire of stuff that I don't care about, so yeah.  Fun though, hope he does this again.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Mike McCoy, We Hardly Knew Ye

That's a picture of Mark DeRosa.  He looks kind of dumbfounded.  Which is kind of fitting, since the Jays just signed him to a guaranteed contract worth $750k.  It's not so much the contract or the value that is befuddling-- it's the fact that the Jays had themselves a full 40-man, and, as result, have DFA'ed Sam Dyson to make room.

Yep, that Sam Dyson.  John Farrell said, last year, that Dyson may have the "best stuff in the organization.  Alrighty.

For his own part, DeRosa hasn't been respectable for like four years now, let alone good.  He had a nice little stretch from 2006-2008, where he totalled 10.2 WAR, but since then, he's been worth 1.2 over four seasons, getting nice and hurt during each of the last three.

Taking a shot on the guy doesn't bother me at all.  Yeah, he's 37, but he can play all over the diamond at replacement level-ish and take a walk, and $750k is sort of a drop in the bucket at this stage. It's just that DFA'ing a 24-year old with upside to make room for it seems sort of silly to me.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Stuff: Happ, Boni, Presser

Jose Reyes was introduced to the Toronto media yesterday, if you missed that.  Gregor has that over at bluejays.com.

Conspicuous in its' absence from that video is the little tidbit AA gave out about having some other blockbuster fall through before moving on to the eventual Marlins deal.  Stoeten tries to tackle that at DJF, though I'm not sure he even convinced himself of anything, let alone anyone else.  There just doesn't seem to be any trade that makes sense, given the way AA worded his response.

I find the only one that makes sense is Cleveland, depending on their willingness to include a guy like Carlos Santana.  Obviously we don't know what the Jays would have been giving up in the other direction, but a deal for a guy like Asdrubal Cabrera makes sense, given that he could play 2B if Yunel Escobar wasn't moving in the other direction.  That's just me spitballing, as I haven't looked closely at anything in terms of contracts and prospect depth on Cots, but I might do that later on today, depending on how today shapes up and what time I start drinking.  I need groceries, after all.

Beyond that, JA Happ and Emilio Bonifacio have both agreed to 1-year deals, avoiding arbitration.  Boni will make $2.6MM this year, while Happ settled for $3.7MM.  Hefty price for a 6th starter/swingman.  Happ made $2.35MM last year in his first arbitration year, and looks like he could be a non-tender candidate next year if he's going to be coming out of the bullpen.  Bonifacio made $2.2MM last year, also in his first arb year.  He and the Marlins actually went to a hearing, unable to find a middle ground between $2.2MM and $1.95MM.

The Jays have a policy of either going to trial, or working out a multi-year deal with any players that file their arbitration numbers.  That deadline is in about an hour (1:00 ET), and Josh Thole is now the only remaining arbitration eligible player without a deal set.  MLBTR's Matt Swartz projects Thole to make $1.2MM through arbitration.

[Update] The Jays have signed Thole to a two-year deal with a club option for a third.  Even if they don't pick up that club option, he'll be arbitration eligible, as a super-2.  The deal pays Thole $1.25MM in both 2013 and 2014.  The Jays will avoid going to arbitration for the 14th straight year or something ridiculous.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Darren Oliver Accepts his Fate

You want a pay raise?  Go make the fucking playoffs.

This is sweet.  Way sweeter than giving Happ and Cecil (or Loup or Crawford) the lefty jobs out of the bullpen.  Even if he's only going to throw 50 or 60 innings, this is a massive improvement.  It's not just the 1.0 WAR or so that he brings to the table, but it's what he isn't that helps so much more.

The bullpen now has an inexploitable strength.  Oliver obviously handles lefties without much fanfare (.291 wOBA against LHB in 2012, .319 career), but actually handles right-handed batters better (.233 in '12, .314 career).  Do your worst, Joe Girardi.

Compare that with JA Happ's career .302/.339 splits (okay) and Brett Cecil's .289/.368 (eesh).  Basically what I'm saying here is that in those situations where Gibbons goes to the lefty, and the other team counters with a righty bat off the bench, Oliver is a much, much better option that Happ, let alone Cecil.

In fact, I think barring the Oliver signing, we'd be seeing a lot of situations that would typically call for a pitching change pass by for fear of setting up a Cecil vs. righty scenario.  I mean, in 2012 alone, Cecil had a .400 wOBA-against vs. righty batters.  .400!  For reference, Edwin Encarnacion in 2012 had a .396 wOBA.  The guy is like the bizarro Adam Lind, in that he should never face a right batter, as opposed to a lefty pitcher.

I think it's a foregone conclusion that the Jays will be relying less on the bullpen this year, with innings eaters like Dickey and Buehrle in the mix, so the bullpen is probably a little bit less important than it was a year ago, but still.  This is a pretty important development.  It should allow Happ to stay stretched out as the team's swingman, and not their lefty specialist.  Oliver is probably good for something in the range of 1WAR, but I think it's just as important that he'll be around to shield Cecil and Happ from righties.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Stuff: AA, Loewen, Minors

Alex Anthopoulos took a drive over the Peterman's Bridge, and there were three videos of it.

The roster for Team Canada at the World Baseball Classic was released yesterday.  Joey Votto is missing, but they can still add up to five more players to the roster.  BBB has a look.  The US outfield, by the way, looks like it's going to be Stanton-Heyward-Jones.

The Jays have recently signed a few minor leaguers, including former Jay Adam Loewen.

Rotographs looks at Edwin Encarnacion and his breakout season, and what to expect going forward given age and regression.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Los Blancos Amor Homeland

Yo delibaramente no puso el enlace al vídeo, ya que NBC es un montón de vergas, y ponen todas sus cosas SNL en Hulu, que también resultan ser un montón de vergas, pero de cualquier manera, aquí está. Se trataba de una parodia excelente, y te sugiero que encontrar un servidor proxy para verlo, es verdad, los blancos realmente amor "Homeland". También sugiero que mires "Homeland", si no lo hace.

Hablando de Los Blancos, los arrendajos azul han firmado un Blanco de los suyos - Henry, de hecho. Es un acuerdo de 1 año para el 41-años de edad, por valor de $750k y un lugar del 40-hombre. Como resultado, los Azuelos se han DFA la recientemente adquirida Tommy Hottovy.

Blanco no es bueno-- 21 juevos de ano 2012 para 188/.224/.281.  Yo no se cual es el punto, pero lo que sea.  Josh Thole y JP Arencibia van a compartir los deberes de coger.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Stuff: Hottovy, Beck, etc.

The Jays have claimed Tommy Hottovy off waivers from the Rangers, who had DFA'ed him a couple days ago to make room for Lance Berkman on their 40-man roster.  To make room on their own 40-man, the Jays have re-DFA'ed Chad Beck.

The Jays had already DFA'ed and lost Beck this winter, when the Pirates picked him up.  The Pirates then traded Joel Hanrahan to Boston for two players, and suddenly needed an extra spot on their own 40-man, so they DFA'ed Beck.

Revolving doors.

Hottovy was acquired by Texas for cash in November from Kansas City (I believe this was a DFA-related trade).  Upon doing a little bit of research, I have learned a bit about Hottovy; he's 31 years old, and has thrown 13 innings in his major league career.  I suddenly feel embarrassed for making a post out of this.

For his part, Beck appeared in 14 games last season for the Jays, thanks to the myriad of pitching injuries suffered by the big league staff.  Guys like Sergio Santos and Dustin McGowan needed to be removed from the 60-day DL, which caused Beck's DFA.  He got in to 15 rough innings this year, and probably won't be missed terribly.

Elsewhere, Jack Morris has apparently been offered Alan Ashby's old job, now that Ash has gone and joined the Astros booth staff.  I've heard very little of his work in Minnesota's booth, but what I've heard is very old-people-ey.  A lot of cliches and things that scouts say in Moneyball.  I pine for Dirk Hayhurst.

And finally, I ordered a hookah last week and it just showed up!  EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Blue Jays 2013 ZiPS Projections

Now that I'm done being mad for today, let's get down to the real junk.  Dan Szymborski released his 2013 ZiPS projections for the Blue Jays this morning-- an event that I have been waiting for for what seems like days.  It's actually been about 8 days.  Because that's when the first one was released.  K.

These are released on Fangraphs this year, as opposed to most years, where they are put on Baseball Think Factory, and you can also get a hold of Dan on twitter @DSzymborski.  I suggest any questions you have, you relay towards him.

I will begin (and end, really) my preamble by saying that a lot of these projections, especially WAR, are based on playing time, and playing time hardly ever goes as planned-- injuries and gaping performance dropoffs/explosions are really, really hard to predict.  Salt grains, people.

Let's not forget that a guy like Vlad Guerrero is listed on this ZiPS, when, in reality, he is not here at all.  Same with Omar Vizquel, same with Darren (note: Buzz?!?!?!) Oliver, same with Kelly Johnson.  Ryan Langerhans and Jack Cust aren't both getting 350+ PA's, and... wait, are they actually in the organization?  That's a real question regarding Cust, actually.  So yeah, that's kind of what I mean here-- let's just look at the guys that we know are going to be around and leave it at that, huh?  Be careful if you're just adding up WAR.


  • Jose Bautista: .266/.391/.557 over 491 PA's, 4.6 WAR.  Let's hope we get more PA's than that, but those numbers are right in line with the guy we've come to know and love.  His PA number is down since he missed about a third of last season due to injury, but he's been fairly durable over the previous two years so there shouldn't be too much to worry about.
  • Jose Reyes: .293/.343/.450 over 613 PA's, 4.3 WAR, 34 SB's.
  • Brett Lawrie: .275/.332/.461 over 573 PA's, 4.3 WAR
  • Edwin: .273/.357/.508 over 529 PA's, 3.3 WAR, 28 HR's.  Dan has EE listed as a DH, and not as a 1B, which should alter the WAR total a bit.  Assuming slightly below average defense at 1B, the WAR total should rise a little.
  • Melky Cabrera: .294/.339/.455, 2.5 WAR.  He has Melky with .320 babip projection, which is I dunno.  Maybe he's just one of those guys who hits/runs well enough to be a high babip guy?
  • Colby Rasmus: .242/.311/.438, 588 PA's, 2.2 WAR, 23 HR's.  Could be worse from a CF.
  • JP Arencibia: .233/.282/.457, 464 PA's, 2.0 WAR.
    • Josh Thole also has 400+ PA's on his projection, with another 1.1 WAR.  I really don't hate a very, very loose platoonsmanship of catcher this year, to be quite honest.
  • Adam Lind: .263/.315/.451, 556 PA's, 1.4 WAR.  He'll get fewer PA's because he's incompetent vs. LHP, but this seems reasonable if he gets platooned correctly.
  • Maicer Izturis: .270/.331/.373, 365 PA's, 1.1 WAR.  Should see 500 PA's, if not more, assuming health.  His comp is Wally Backman, which is fucking awesome.
Rajai Davis and Emilio Bonifacio make up another WAR or so with their backup+baserunner skills, and we've still got to figure out what we're going to get as far as backup infielders, unless they just have Boni play literally everywhere.  Not sure if Cooper is going to be in the mix or not, but a lefty off the bench can't hurt.  ZiPS gives Anthony Gose 662 PA's and 2.0 WAR, which he just isn't going to come close to getting unless an outfielder goes down in the first week of the season and opposing teams counter with RHP after RHP.

That ballparks offensive WAR at 28 wins.

I'll put the starters in, and then toss in some interesting ones beyond that.  Samples are tiny, and we're not even all that sure of the roles people will be playing.  JA Happ and Brett Cecil certainly aren't going to find a ton of innings unless there's an injury, as they'll be coming out of the bullpen (hopefully), and I think Brad Lincoln's SP days are behind him as well.  Numbers are there for Drabek, Perez and Hutch if you want to look, but TJ.
  • RA Dickey: 3.89 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 194 IP, 4.0 WAR.  I'm pretty sure the system regresses him as a 38 year old, so I wouldn't expect such a sharp decrease in production, especially with the innings pitched.
  • Josh Johnson: 3.68/3.55, 149 IP, 3.4 WAR.
  • Brandon Morrow: 3.97/3.78, 154 IP, 23.7% K-rate!  3 WAR
  • Ricky Romero: 4.42/4.50, 187 IP, 4BB/9IP. 2.6 WAR
  • Mark Buehrle: 4.38/4.40, 168 IP, 2.5 WAR.
  • Casey Janssen: 3.28/3.21, 60 IP.
  • Esmil Rogers: 4.28/3.86, 8.89 K/9IP
We're looking at about 17 WAR out of the pitchers with Oliver's departure, barring any changes.  Conservatively, this club projects as a 45 WAR team, which, based on FG's WAR system, puts the Jays at around 88 wins.

I Don't Care: A Very Slightly Different HOF Rant

I don't care that Barry Bonds was on steroids.  Like, at all.  He still hit baseballs like nobody's business, and even before the juice (or, before he overdid it?), he was well on his way to becoming one of the greatest baseball players in history.  We don't really have any way of quantifying what the 'roids do to a player's performance, if it does anything at all.  Half of the guys that were listed in that Mitchell Report or whatever the fuck it was called were terrible anyway.  That's not to say that they wouldn't have been worse than they were or anything, because what the fuck do I know?

But that's not really what I'm writing about anyway.  I don't care about the Hall of Fame now.  It's become such a horrific joke, growing in to more and more of a spectacle over the last three years.  BBWAA members are all on their high-horses about protecting the sanctity of the HOF as if they're the moral compass that is shouldering the burden of denying people that they've never met entry in to the hall, and people on the internet are sitting there pissing on those very BBWAA members and their high-horsedness.  I agree with the internet here, but that's not really the point.

The HOF probably won't ever be the same, at least not until the Tom Verducci's of the world are dead and gone.  We're going to be at a standstill for many years regarding Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, Sosa, and so on, until the HOF ballots are made up of so many guys from the current era, and the BBWAA is made up solely of Fangraphs staffers.  The issue is that guys like Tim Raines are going to be left in the periphery, since only about 60% of the voters are smart enough to realize that he belongs.  Best case scenario, this is going to push back a guy like, say, Craig Biggio until three or four years from now, which makes sense, since he really shouldn't be a first-ball HOF'er.  Worst case, we have Bonds, Clemens and Sosa on the outside looking in, for 13 years, which really doesn't make this a hall of fame now, does it?

The worst part of this whole thing, though, is that there are pretty well four specific formulas for baseball writers to choose from between mid-December and mid-January so that we can whore up pageviews:

  • Why [insert steroider who deserves HOF entry] deserves HOF entry.
  • Why my ["my" being short for "baseball writers stuck in the past"] ballot is being left blank.
  • Why [BBWAA member] who don't vote in [insert steroider who deserves HOF entry] is an idiot
  • Why the HOF sucks now.
That's it.  Find something about baseball on the internet from the past month that isn't about one of those four topics.  Everything at least skirts it, and it all makes me want to rip my eyeballs out.

This is a happy time, folks.  Justified is back on the air.  Just in time too, because there's nothing readable on the goddamn internet for the first time in about 8 fucking years.

I'm almost glad hockey's back.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Stuff: Oliver, Bullpen, Fielder

If anyone out there follows me on twitter, you may have noticed a little tidbit that I had posted last night.  On this day, twenty years ago, Cecil Fielder signed a deal with the Yankees, making him the highest paid player in the game-- 5 years, $36MM.  It's pretty amazing to see numbers like that, especially when we consider that the only players who get those contracts (i.e. similar combinations of years/dollars) are guys who are signing away the rest of their arbitration years along with a year or two of free agency.  Not that it's a comp or anything, but Ricky Romero signed a 5 year, $30.1MM deal with the Jays after his second full season, taking him through his 7th season of service, buying out his first free agency season.  How far we've come.

Jays Journal has a look at what the bullpen looks like right now, assuming Oliver retires and AA doesn't add anybody else.  Jeeze.  It's not that I agree entirely with the piece (Esmil Rogers isn't fighting with anyone, in my view,-- he was traded for Mike Aviles because he's going to be part of the opening day bullpen-- especially not Jeremy Jeffress), but for the most part, uh... the Jays have a good rotation and lineup.

And that's really where my stance on the Oliver thing is lightening.  There is literally 0 other situations in which I'd allow anyone, especially a relief pitcher, to refuse to honor his contract as a holdout.  Don't like the contract?  Retire.  But damn, would Oliver look good in that bullpen.

It stinks that there doesn't appear to be any money left, and it's not like the two sides could just re-up with extra option years tacked on, because the dude is ancient and is sure to retire anyway, and I don't know how significant the raise would have to be to get him to stick around, but I'm inclined to believe AA when he says that there's no money left and that he isn't about to re-open negotiations on a $3MM club option for a 43-year old reliever.

Finally, Edwin Encarnacion turns 30 today. Enjoy.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

No Money, Mo' Problems

Some news on the Darren Oliver front.

Not sure on how you could get a source for this (Oliver himself? Would he really say something this scummy to these guys?), but both Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal are reporting, via MLBTR, that the guy wants more money to come back to the Jays, despite signing a deal last year that came with a club option for $3MM.  As in "if you wanted more than $3MM, you shouldn't have signed a deal that had a club option on it for $3MM".  It's an interesting strategy, especially for a 42-year old who doesn't have a leg to stand on as far as negotiating goes.

I mean, he signed the deal, right?  Yeah, whatever, he had a really good season, and probably could have found more than $3MM on the free agent market, but isn't that what club options are for?  He's certainly within his rights to just tell the Jays to fuck off and go ride off in to the sunset on his giant bed of money, since he's got a family that doesn't exactly live in Canada, and he's 42-- he doesn't need to play baseball anymore if he doesn't feel like it.  That arm could fall off whenever.

But uh... well, I'm certainly not a lawyer, but it seems like it's going to have to be $3MM or $0, no?

The Jays have said repeatedly that they're way, way beyond their payroll parameters, so it's not even all that easy to just say "give him another million bucks and shut him up".

Fun little situation.

So Long, Again

Do you guys remember when Jason Frasor was first traded from Toronto to Chicago as part of the Colby Rasmus deal?  The interview that he gave to Sportsnet (Barry Davis?) was the most awkward thing I had seen in a long time.  He appeared to really enjoy Toronto, and didn't seem overly thrilled about changing addresses, even though he was going to his hometown.  He looked like a man who was about to weep for several hours, almost as if his dog had just been struck by a bus.

He answered that by putting up some pretty bad numbers over the remaining half of a season, only to have his contract option exercised and be moved back to Toronto in a trade for two nothing minor leaguers.

Not really related to anything, Frasor finished the year with the Jays, and once again, became a free agent, since he's Jason Frasor.  He just signed for $1.5MM in Texas.  Brandon League got 3 years and $22.5MM. in the same offseason.  Draw whatever conclusions you need from that.  Baseball is nothing if it's not unpredictable.

Thanks to the full 40-man roster, Texas needed to designate someone for assignment.  Enter Eli Whiteside.  Whiteside has seen three different teams already this offseason, because he's Eli Whiteside.  He had signed with the Yankees before being DFA'ed.  He was claimed by the Jays, DFA'ed, and then claimed by the Rangers.  The revolving door of catchers seems rather likely to continue revolving, and I suspect the Jays will claim Eli, since he's a catcher, before again DFA'ing him again, since he's Eli Whiteside.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Today in Blue Jays History: Fireworks

Photo credit: Blue Jay Hunter
I wouldn't typically snipe someone else's photoshop, but this one is just too perfect.  I'm also stealing someone else's idea for this post, so we may as well just get it all done in one shot and call it a day, huh?  Basically, MLBTR routinely does a "This day in transactions" post, pointing out a fun trade or free agent signing or whatever that happened, and it usually leads me to checking baseball-reference's bullpen section so that I can have a look myself.

Which brought us here.  Three years ago today (which makes it January 2 2010-- no 2009!), Edwin Encarnacion was released from a Dominican hospital, after receiving treatment for facial burns, thanks to an exploding firecracker.

Whether it was a coincidence or not is anybody's guess, but Edwin had a pretty terrible 2010 season after his little incident, culminating in a couple of DFA's and a demotion to the minors.  He was mercifully given chance after chance, mostly because AA was busy trading guys away for prospects and the MLB-team wasn't all that good.

Today is also the birthday of former Jays David Cone (50) and Royce Clayton (43).