Friday, September 18, 2009

ZOMG Megan Fox Nudez!!!1!

Yessir, it is official rosterbation time! Thanks in no small part to Brunt, Blair, & McCowan offering up enough hope in baseless speculation form to break out the rare "in-season rosterbation." Stoeten did a good job of a) recapping the conversation that stopped just short of throwing hard numbers into play but provided enough fodder to stoke the fires and b) offering up a few potential big names that could fit with the team thanks to their new found, wait for it, financial flexibility.

Before I drop names like Marco Scutaro drops routine grounders in high-leverage situations (zing! low hanging fruit!), understand a couple things. No matter how much perceived cash the Jays may or may not have to spend, they will still be strictly budgeted. If they aren't, they should be. Spending money just because you have it gets you into terrible situations, like the 2009 Mets or any mid-level NBA team at any time. The fear of not spending and turning potential customers off with your inactivity prompts very, very bad decisions. Like handing second starter money to Oliver Perez because shit, you've got to give it to SOMEBODY. This is the kind of thinking that buries medium sized spenders like the Jays.

This leads to point two: never sign a player coming off a career year. This would eliminate Chone Figgans and Jason Bay from consideration. Figgans is a damn fine ballplayer who even turned himself into a good fielding third baseman. He's also a 31 year old speed player who's missed considerable time to injury two of the last three years. Thanks but no thanks.

Jason Bay is also coming off a better than average year. The temptation to sign the Canuck is very high, but the Jays must relent. As was said elsewhere, if you're going to make a run at Bay, why not just go for Matt Holliday? This baseball team needs another awful defensive outfielder like it needs another entitled, arrogant prick starting a condescending blog about it. So who should they acquire, smart guy? Why not start with two guys coming off bad years like Adrian Beltre and J.J. Hardy.

Adrian Beltre is coming off an awful year. Only 6 home runs, one full negative offensive win overall. His walk rate is half his career mark, his slugging and ISO are both way down, too. Bear in mind Beltre is a victim of Safeco Field. 114 extra points of OPS on the road this year &mdash which is even less than usual. Beyond that he's an incredible defensive third baseman that won't command a tremendous price on the market because of his poor traditional counting numbers. He's also a glorious corollary against signing players after huge years. The Jays wouldn't ask him to anchor the middle of their lineup (where have we heard that before?) Beltre at his best is a free-swinging guy with power to all fields. This year he's a free swinging guy with much lower contact numbers and power to no fields. He still spreads the ball around but to no avail. His contact rates are down nearly 4% and he appears to be incapable of hitting a fastball.

J.J. Hardy will not be a Milwaukee Brewer next year. Mostly because of this and I can't say that I blame them. The tweaking of his service time only cements his status on the block (side note: isn't screwing with his service time a clear-cut signal that you're trying to move him, thereby lowering his value? I digress...) Hardy is also coming off a terrible 2009 who he can surely attribute to some bad luck. No matter how hard I try, I can't explain away all his troubles in 2009 to a criminally low BABIP. But criminally low it is, a whooping .257! Compare that to his xBABIP of .306 and you have the recipe for a terrible slump. But you know this, I've gone on and on about Hardy before. I can't see his price being more than one big league-ready pitching prospect. David Purcey? Brad Mills? The kid with all the z's in his name? Go ahead Melvin, take your pick.

These are two players that represent excellent run prevention (which rarely slumps) and it-can-only-go-up-from-here offensive potential. Are they the keys to success? Not on their own. They should come cheap enough to resign Halladay no questions asked and make a run at the biggest prize the Jays could ask for: Carl Crawford.

Unfortunately, it will take more than money to acquire Carl Crawford. It will take players to get him here and money to extend him. And I don't think they have the young players. The gulf between those that will be the future and those that are the future right now is wide, and the stuff in between isn't worth considering. I'm not comfortable trading Ricky Romero in the division or Brett Cecil at all so what does that leave? Pretty much nothing, which sucks. With Crawford, Beltre, and Hardy in place, the Jays would have the best defensive team around with plenty of money to spend on a free agent starter should a worthy arm emerge from the wilderness.

But one thing the decision makers must recall this time around (if there is a this time around) is spending money now cannot cripple you later. It isn't about squirreling money away until The Perfect Ballplayer enters stage left, it is about getting value at the beginning and end of a deal. 35 year old Jason Bay and 35 year old Chone Figgans don't offer value and they create just as many problems as they fix.


  1. A 31 year old Bay, and a 32 year old Figgins, along with a Roy Halladay, a 34 year old Marco Scutaro, an improving Travis Snider, an on-the-rebound Vernon Wells, and perhaps a Hidek Matsui at DH, can, I believe, put the Jays in the playoffs.

  2. I like the idea of bringing Matsui in. He would be a good fit for Toronto, much like Hedo Turkoglu will be for the Raptors.

    Do you really think a guy like Beltre will come to Toronto? I think he is going to go back to the NL where he has had success.

    JJ Hardy would be a good pickup especially if we are going to lose Marco.

    Nice title.

  3. Unless I'm remembering incorrectly, isn't Beltre the one who's recently spent a month on the DL after losing a testicle because he was too stupid to wear a cup? As much as the Jays could use some more players who are willing to go b*lls out, they definitely don't need more players who make dumb mental errors. They already have a full quota of those at third base...

  4. I'd take Adrian Beltre and his exploding testes any day of the week over Edwin Encarnaci-whateverthefuckhisname is.

  5. Just throwing this out there, but what about Mike Cameron? Vernon Wells could be shifted over to RF/LF, and Cameron can bat leadoff? Could be signed for a 1 year deal with an option for a second, or maybe a 2 year deal if the money's reasonable.

  6. Here's my (somewhat weak) argument for making the big splashy signing, such as Bay or Chone:

    To hang in the AL East, you can't just have a good team and hope that everything plays out right. You've got to have a GREAT team, and still hope for good fortune and auspicious circumstance to shine on you.

    Part of what the large payrolls of the Yanks and Sox allow them to do is to give a contract that is too long and for too much money to a player who might only help for a year or two. They can eat the back-half of that contract if they need to in order to get the couple of good years that they need out of a player.

    That's why the Jays, if they are moving into that realm of $120-$130 million payrolls need to have the latitude to carry some lousy contracts down the road in order to put together a super team for one year.

    If they have to overpay to bring in Rich Harden and pray that he doesn't spontaneously combust in order to have one great rotation in 2010 or 2011, then that's what they've got to do.

    You can't compete with the Yanks and Sox if you're not willing to throw caution to the wind and sacrifice the long term stability in favour of the right-here-right-now opportunity.

  7. Good comments fellas, good to see some new faces too.

    1) On Matsui: I really don't think he'll want to play, even as a DH, on the Fieldturf. His body is balky enough as is, trotting out those doubles will still take its toll.

    2) Secondly on the Porn King of Kobe: signing Matsui means your outfield is Lind/Wells/Snider going forward. That is ugly and unable to sustain the pitching staff that clearly needs the help.

    3) Cameron isn't a bad idea, he's an underrated guy because of his incredible defense but I don't think leadoff is the place of him, unless Cito is still around calling him "Devo" all year long.

    4) I agree with mlaffs, Beltre's injuries are more of the freakish nature (busted nut) and while comical, doesn't prevent him from being productive going forward. He had some work done on his shoulder but seems to be okay in the aftermath.

    5) Tao: this was the exact thing I thought as I finished this piece. Do these guys make the Jays better, or good enough to compete. I don't know that the answer is yes, but I know for sure it puts them on solid footing for the future.

    The game changed and the quality of the free agents over the next two years leaves much to be desired. A Longoria or Tulowitzki isn't going to fall out of the sky and land on their heads, they need to draft him. As I said, spending money just because you have it will end in tears and more of the same for this team. The contributors they need will be homegrown from this day forward, short of stealing a Ryan Braun away from someone. I guess I'm a little hesitant to take the one big shot without ensuring the safety net is tight.

  8. Let's say the Jays were going to make a splash and sign either/both of Bay and Figgins. Even if they do get both, they'll still some luck to compete, no?

    To me, that's all the more reason to make a splash. Sign the big names and, if luck doesn't go their way, trade them at the deadline for a big crop of prospects.

  9. I posted this on BBB a while back. You can plug in different players or contract prices.

    Pos – Player – WAR – Salary ($M)
    C – Doumit – 3.0 – 3
    1B – Overbay/Encarnacion – 3.7 – 12
    2B – Hill – 3.2 – 4
    3B – Branyan – 3.5 – 8?
    SS – Scutaro – 4.8 – 6?
    DH – Lind – 2.3 – 0.4
    LF – Abreu – 3.0 – 8?
    CF – Wells – 0 – 21
    RF – Snider – 1.5 – 0.4
    SP – Halladay – 7 – 15
    SP – Marcum – 3 – 0.4
    SP – Romero – 2 – 0.4
    SP – Cecil – 1 – 0.4
    SP – Scrabble – 1 – 0.4
    RP – Downs – 1.5 – 4
    RP – Frasor – 1.5 – 2
    RP – Ryan – 0 – 10 (remainder owed—not on roster)
    __ – Total – 42 – ~95

    Replacement level is 48.6 wins, so 42 wins above replacement is 90.6 wins, which is at least in the playoff conversation, and that team wouldn't even cost $100MM including the rest of Ryan's contract, although you'd have to trade something for Doumit. If you think Wells will be better than replacement level that just gets added on top.

  10. Interesting stuff Torgen. A couple thoughts:

    Russell the muscle is nobody's thirdbaseman. I assume that's why you've kept Cecil & Romero's WAR so low. Bad, bad defense.

    I don't think Abreu signs for $8. He got, what, 5 last year and put up a monster season.

    If you think Scutaro will be worth nearly 5 wins next year, you're a braver man than I. Wells will be better than replacement next year because he's an every other year dude.

    Doumit is intriguing.

  11. Beltre/Hardy would be a huge step in the right direction, but a few other guys we should/could be gay for:

    Chris Snyder: essentially a much younger Rod who actually walks, Deebax probably wouldn't ask for much w/ Montero in the wings

    Harden/Bedard: the presumption being that the rest of the market is scared away by injuries and they can be had cheap, signed with the expectation that you're unlikely to get more than 200 IP out of the both of them combined

    Milton Bradley: yep, him, as DH, get the Cubbies to eat a bunch of salary and give them a shit return just to make that headache go away, make Cito earn his money in 2010

    Ichiro II: some unknown crazy-talented wild card Asian player we've never heard of and can invest all of our hopes and dreams in...

  12. Synder is a fine idea, if he comes cheaper than Rod than consider me in.

    I worry about Harden and have no interest in Bedard. Rich Harden is one of the best pitchers I have ever seen, his stuff is absolutely insane. But him and Arnsberg the Widowmaker in the same room? I think Harden would get sicklecell or something else implausible.

    Ichiro II?? I'm already there.

  13. Arnsberg would destroy Bedard and Harden. On one year deals, which of course won't happen, it would be fun to watch.

  14. Why would Branyan reduce anyone's WAR besides his own? Pitchers' WAR comes from tRA, and WAR includes UZR.

  15. Encarnacion has 4400 innings at 3B in his career and has a -11.5 UZR/150. Branyan has 2400 innings at 3B in his career and has a -6.9 UZR/150.

  16. Oh, and some of the numbers are wonky because I originally calculated this a month or so ago, when Scutaro was on pace for 6WAR (so 4.8 included regression). Romero might have been at a low point at the time. Cecil was only worth a half win above replacement this year and Scrabble is at 1.1.

  17. My thoughts have been:

    1. Get a SS. I think trading for J.J. Hardy is the way to go. He could probably be had for E5 and a Richmond type.

    2. Get Figgins. The Jays haven't had a guy like Figgins since Otis Nixon was past his prime. Figgins alone can give the Jays a new look. I wouldn't mind seeing the Jays overpay for him.

    3. Get a high OBP catcher. I like signing Zaun or trading kids (maybe Pitts will take underachievers like Jackson/Ahrens/Tolisano/Jeroloman) away for Doumit (I am officially stealing that idea, bu the way. I love it).

    4. Get a lefty masher to platoon with Overbay. Trade for Jake Fox? Maybe Ruiz or Dopirak are options here. Ryan Garko could be a good choice.

    5. Get a DH. I want Vlad Guerrero or a righty power hitter to hit behind Lind.

    6. Get some bench guys who are actually good. Jerry Hairston Jr. and Marlon Byrd are my top 2 choices here.

    Also, I honestly think that the pitching doesn't need to be touched. But, if Rogers is willing to spend like power houses, than sign Harden or Lackey. A legit number 2 would be better than hoping on Marcum's full recovery.

  18. Lind is the DH. Get a good defensive outfielder who can hit, like Mike Cameron.

  19. And I don't think the Brewers want to pay E5 $5M next year any more than we d.

  20. How did I miss this discussion? Drew you need to post more dude. Good points all around.

    On one hand, like Drew, I love me some defense, so I'm totally aboard the Hardy and Beltre trains. They are low cost, somewhat risky, but probably high reward guys.

    On the other hand, I agree with Tao that we need a GREAT team to compete in the AL East. He nailed it regarding high payrolls; the point of having a high payroll is to take risks and get some great years out of the players. This is something Rogers did not and still does not understand. JP Ricciardi took risks with Thomas, Ryan, Burnett, and somewhat with Rios. Some of them backfired but that's the cost of competing. Epstein and Cashman get to cut their losses and move on to sign other, bigger name FAs. JP has to fix his mistakes, gets a payroll cut, and a shitstorm of public hate. You can't possibly have a more shitty strategy than the Jays have had for a team competing in the AL East.

    Anyway, I guess I'm saying go for it. Blow Doc away with such a great winter that he decides to stay. Aggressively pursue Crawford, Holliday, Abreu, and Bay, so you get at least one, preferably one of the first three. Get Figgins to play 3rd, take a risk with Bedard or Hudson. Just do something that is a definitive sign that you're serious about contending.

    Then again, I was saying all of this last offseason too. If there was ever a time to go for it, that was it. Doc had two years left. Other big contracts were expiring around the same time as Doc. After that it was a bunch of young, cheap talent for 4-6 years + Wells/Hill/Rios. So they could've signed Manny for 2 years, Abreu, Dunn, kept Burnett or signed Lowe, Pettitte, whatever. If they had the option of spending 120M all along like they claim, then last year was the time to do it. Now they've put themselves in the position of having to trade Doc, they already traded Rolen and Rios, and they wasted a prime year from each of Hill and Lind.

  21. Meant to say "take a risk with Bedard or Harden*. Although Tim Hudson might be available too, who knows.

  22. By the way, my favorite "you've got to give it to SOMEBODY" story is from the NBA. Michael Heisley walked into Jerry West's office in the summer asking why he hadn't spent the MLE yet. Jerry West got pissed, picked up the phone and called Brian Cardinal's agent to sign him to a 7 year, $45M contract. I don't know if it's 100% true but I hope so, because it explains a lot about the Grizzlies.

  23. I think first and foremost, we need a defensive outfielder. I could bear another year of Vernon in centre, but not if the corners are being manned by Snider/Lind or Snider/Bay, etc. I like the Cameron idea at 2 years, if possible.

    I still think that Encarnacion's best years are ahead of him, but if we were to trade him and Mills (eg) for Hardy, I wouldn't complain. I just hate to sell low on players.

    I'd like the picks for Scutaro, but a one-year arb contract or 2-$12m deal would be good value I think. While he's had a career year, I still think he's a good bet to get on base 36-37% of the time in 2010 - which is something we desperately needed in this lineup.


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