Toronto Blue Jays

add news feed

tweet a story

J.P. Arencibia finished the 2013 season with a .227 on-base percentage, which is not the worst OBP by a qualified hitter since 1900. It’s not the second-worst. It’s not the third-worst. It’s not the fourth-, fifth-, six...
J.P. Arencibia finished the 2013 season with a .227 on-base percentage, which is not the worst OBP by a qualified hitter since 1900. It’s not the second-worst. It’s not the third-worst. It’s not the fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, seventh-, or eighth-worst on-base by a qualified hitter since 1900. It’s not an on-base percentage of a qualified hitter at all. Yes, Arencibia, at the end of the season, dropped just below the threshold needed in order to qualify for the batting title. To do so a player needs to have 3.1 plate appearances for every originally scheduled game that his team played, which means that, playing a 162 game schedule, a player needs 502 PA. Arencibia finished the year with 497. He was five plate appearances shy of posting the second-worst qualified OBP since 1900, and the worst since Hal Lanier in 1968. The fact that he wasn’t qualified doesn’t change how bad he was, and so this conspiracy theory is maybe a bit silly, but something interesting did happen on the final weekend of season that could have impacted his qualifed status: Josh Thole caught a day game after a night game in order to give Arencibia the day off. Thole caught as R.A. Dickey pitched– with the dome closed, you may remember– on September 28th, and then was back out there the next afternoon, catching J.A. Happ. Say what you will about how staggeringly terrible Arencibia’s production has been all season, doesn’t it seem a little odd, maybe, that one of the club’s ostensible regulars– while the Jays are playing a team fighting for a playoff spot, and paying lip service to the integrity of the game– would be held out in favour of Josh Thole catching a day game after a night game, in a lineup that already featured Moises Sierra hitting cleanup, and Gose, Goins, Langerhans, and Pillar as well? Yeah, OK, Arencibia has long been dealing with a knee issue, and the only players to have played in more games behind the plate this year were Salvador Perez and Matt Wieters. And sure, it seems like a hell of a leap to think that the Jays may have held him out for dubious reasons, just so we all can no longer technically say “second-worst qualified on-base since 1900.” But… I dunno, maybe? Or maybe I’m just looking to rage out at someone because of how annoying it’s now going to be to have to always write that he had “the second-worst on-base since 1900 of anyone with at least 450 plate appearances.” Or “the fifth-worst on-base since 1900 of anyone with at least 400 plate appearances.” Or “the eighth-worst on-base since 1900 of anyone with at least 350 plate appearances.” Or “the twentieth-worst on-base since 1900 of anyone with at least 300 plate appearances.” Or… well… you get the idea. That last one may even be the most impressive of all, actually. If the number of entries shown on the database at FanGraphs can be trusted (and having worked with these giant leaderboards a bunch, I’m not entirely confident in saying they can– they seemed to move around a little) there have been 20,574 seasons since 1900 in which a player has amassed over 300 plate appearances. Twenty thousand! And all but nineteen of those were worse, in terms of on-base, than Arencibia’s 2013! In other words, we witnessed something truly more magical and rare than any other fan base in the Majors this year, you guys. I mean… by the end there I had been trying to qualify Arencibia’s atrociousness by pointing out that so much of what made his season truly abysmal was the fact that he was run out there so many times– that it was made to look a little more remarkable than it was because of the high cutoff in terms of plate appearances. Surely more guys have had seasons as bad, their teams have just had the good sense not to play them so often, I assumed. And… it’s true. Technically. If
about 4 hours ago
Alex Anthopoulos talked on Prime Time Sports yesterday. As always, Alex is a master of speaking a lot but managing not to tell us very much. It is a handy skill to have, you keep the number of questions that you are asked down, by filli...
Alex Anthopoulos talked on Prime Time Sports yesterday. As always, Alex is a master of speaking a lot but managing not to tell us very much. It is a handy skill to have, you keep the number of questions that you are asked down, by filling all the time with your answers. He talked about letting Mottola being let go. Alex said they viewed Dwayne Murphy and Mottola as a team, that Murphy worked with 'his guys', like Edwin Encarnacion and Chad worked with other guys. Alex said that when Dwayne Murphy decided to retire (and he said that Dwayne came to them to say he wanted to retire, Bob Elliot, in the Sun, said that Murphy was fired. I wonder which is the truth), they decided to go a whole different way. He said he talked with John Gibbons and Gibbons had people that he had worked with before and he would like to work with again. I really don't understand firing Mottola. A year ago, he was the guy. the one who had saved the career of several of our players. It seems like we are giving up on him too quickly. A year ago he was great, now he's fired. I've always thought that us fans can be impatient, can be allowed to make snap decisions, but the team front office has to be patient, take the long view on things. Mottola seemed like an asset to the organization, I don't like just throwing away assets. Alex said that they told Mottola that 'the door was open' to him staying in the organization, but I really doubt he would. I do get that Gibbons is the manager and he should work with people he is comfortable with, and he's, of course, closer to it all than we are, he knows how Mottola and the players got along, how their relationships were, but it really seems like Mottola is a guy we should have been looking to keep. He seemed to do a great job with Colby Rasmus, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie. Yeah, J.P. Arencibia was lousy, but I don't think I'd pin that to Chad. Things like this tend to shake my faith in Alex and the team. I'd like better from them. I had thought the Jays might look to move Pete Walker, with Pat Hentgen there to fill his job. I thought Luis Rivera might be let go, being as third base coaches tend to be lightning rods for fans of bad team, but I figured Mottola was safe for at least a year. Alex said a couple of other interesting things: They talked about moving Brett Cecil back into the rotation, when things starting going bad this season. They are going to try to stretch out Dustin McGowan. They'll get him up to 3 innings, early in spring, and, if there are no issues, no soreness, they will continue to stretch him out to 5-6 innings.
about 5 hours ago
Alex Anthopoulos joined Bob McCown and Damien Cox yesterday evening on Prime Time Sports on the Fan 590 (audio here), to speak about the state of his club, the firing of his hitting coach, and– apparently– to spread the gospe...
Alex Anthopoulos joined Bob McCown and Damien Cox yesterday evening on Prime Time Sports on the Fan 590 (audio here), to speak about the state of his club, the firing of his hitting coach, and– apparently– to spread the gospel of OPS, pitcher wins, batting average, and All-Star appearances. Not that there’s anything wrong with a team or players excelling at those things, it’s just… elevate the conversation, Alex. Or, at the very least, if you have a bunch of proprietary analytics that you’re using, go ahead and mention that! Please! We’re starting to worry! Anywho… obviously the topic du jour was the topic of the day, and on Tuesday that was the changes to the coaching staff, with Dwayne Murphy retiring and Chad Mottola being shown the door– or at least the door to the big league club’s dressing room. Anthopoulos didn’t shy away from answering questions about it, though he was typically short on specifics: Once Gibby and I talked about it, we just said, ‘You know what? We viewed them as a tandem, and this is a chance to change it up and go in some other direction.’ And Gibby has some guys that he’s worked with in the past, that he has good and strong relationships with. So, it was as much that. But, you know, I’ve talked to Chad, and I’ve told him that the door’s open to stay in the organization, and we can talk, and for him to take a few days and decide what he wants to do. I expect him to get a lot of phone calls; a lot of job offers. He’s well regarded– there’s not going to be an issue with him finding a job– and whether one of another 29 clubs has a big league opportunity, that remains to be seen. But there’s still a scenario that he’ll be back with us, and we’ll just give him as much time as he needs to work it out. Mottola, of course, was an internal candidate who may have moved up to the big league seat last winter, in part, because the Jays were so late in selecting a coaching staff after it took them so long to name a manager. Yes, he had a glowing reputation for his work in Las Vegas, but, as Drew wrote here at the time, that, “if we’re being frank, is akin to being named ‘Miss Fort McMurray’ three years running.” But it does sound like, if Anthopoulos is being honest, they would return him to some minor league post, if he was amenable to it. Speaking of demotions, Murphy agreed to take what appeared to be one when elected to return to the staff last winter. The fact of the matter may have simply been that these two guys weren’t exactly ideal fits in the first place– or simply not Gibbers’ guys who got the job because the guys Gibbons did want had already been hired elsewhere. Then again, to hear Anthopoulos speak about it, there may have been something philosophical to the dismissals, as well. We were eighth in runs scored in the American League, which is about the middle of the pack, and ninth in OPS, which is about the same things. And some guys had some nice years– some nice turnaround years. Obviously we had a bunch a guys who missed time, which didn’t help– whether it was Reyes or Lawrie– overall, but there’s no question we can certainly improve. We can improve our at-bats, we can try to be more selective, do some of those things. Some of it falls on me, obviously, to change some of the players and get some more production there. But I don’t think it’s fair to blame Murph, or Chad, or anybody like that. I think it’s a combination of the players, and all of us as a staff. Asked if he felt the players maybe weren’t respecting or listening to Mottola, the GM continued: I never got the sense that they didn’t– I… I’ll say this: I think the players had the respect of both Murph and Chad. I don’t think there was ever a problem. There are players that d
about 6 hours ago
Not terribly surprisingly, but the second baseman poll wasn't close. Roberto Alomar won big, getting 91% of the vote. The surprise is that it was only 91%. Moving on to SS....some of my favorite Blue Jays are shortstops. There is the gu...
Not terribly surprisingly, but the second baseman poll wasn't close. Roberto Alomar won big, getting 91% of the vote. The surprise is that it was only 91%. Moving on to SS....some of my favorite Blue Jays are shortstops. There is the guy that cuts my hair, the one that designs my house. Anyway, without campaigning for any of them, here is your poll. Just to let you know, the Alex Gonzalez on the list is the one that played with the Jays from 1994 to 2001, not the one that played for us for half a season and was traded to the Braves for Yunel. Poll Who was the Jays best shortstop? Alfredo Griffin Tony Fernandez Manny Lee Alex S. Gonzalez John McDonald Marco Scutaro Yunel Escobar Jose Reyes Someone Else? 9 votes | Results
about 9 hours ago
Rookie right-hander Shelby Miller won’t be the only Cardinals starter ready for bullpen duty in Game 5 of their NL division series against Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – T...
Rookie right-hander Shelby Miller won’t be the only Cardinals starter ready for bullpen duty in Game 5 of their NL division series against Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Toronto Blue Jays News
about 13 hours ago
COMMENTARY | Gerrit Cole is being given the biggest responsibility a Pittsburgh Pirates rookie has had in more than 20 years. View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Toronto Blue Jays News
COMMENTARY | Gerrit Cole is being given the biggest responsibility a Pittsburgh Pirates rookie has had in more than 20 years. View full post on Yahoo Sports – MLB – Toronto Blue Jays News
1 day ago
We have two games today, the days of the four games in one day are over, with the Dodgers winning last night. 5:00 Eastern: A's at Tigers Starting pitchers: W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP 2013 - ...
We have two games today, the days of the four games in one day are over, with the Dodgers winning last night. 5:00 Eastern: A's at Tigers Starting pitchers: W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP 2013 - Dan Straily 10-8 27 27 0 0 0 0 152.1 132 74 67 16 57 124 3.96 1.24 W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP 2013 - Doug Fister 14-9 33 32 1 0 0 0 208.2 229 91 85 14 44 159 3.67 1.31 8:30 Eastern (seems like a very late start): Red Sox at Rays W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP 2013 - Jake Peavy 4-1 10 10 1 0 0 0 64.2 56 29 29 6 19 45 4.04 1.16 W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP 2013 - Jeremy Hellickson 12-10 32 31 0 0 0 0 174.0 185 103 100 24 50 135 5.17 1.35
ER
1 day ago
Here’s an idea I’m instantly regretting: instead of empty open thread posts for playoff games, as we’ve done around here in years past, each day I’m going to attempt to have a hopefully-quick look around at some splits and stats and what...
Here’s an idea I’m instantly regretting: instead of empty open thread posts for playoff games, as we’ve done around here in years past, each day I’m going to attempt to have a hopefully-quick look around at some splits and stats and whatever else stands out on a Jays player’s 2013 season, because… what the hell else is there to do for the next month? Or the next week. Or just today– or however long I actually continue to follow through on this exercise. Today: 5:30 PM ET – Oakland (2) vs. Detroit (1)– Dan Straily (1.2 rWAR) vs. Doug Fister (4.1 rWAR) 8:00 PM ET – Boston (2) vs. Tampa Bay (1) – Jake Peavy (1.5 rWAR) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (-0.8 rWAR) Get news updates on the game as they happen, and whatever else fun comes along the way, by downloading theScore app for free on your moblie device! When the Jays signed Maicer Izturis eleven months ago nobody jumped for joy, except maybe for his agent, who’d somehow managed to land him a contract three years. Yes, the term was a little longer than you’d like to see on a utility player who had posted an on-base over .334 just once in five seasons, while what little power he’d exhibited faded to almost nothing. But he had positional versatility, had for years been generally well-liked by both DRS and UZR at second- and third-base, wasn’t budget-busting, was about league-average in terms of his walk rate, struck out less than average (something the Jays felt their OBP-averse lineup needed), was an actual damn switch hitter(!), and seemed a reasonable enough upgrade over Omar Vizquel as an infield backup. In other words, it wasn’t crazy. I mean… shit, in our post when the signing was made official, I passed along a comment from a reader– *COUGH* Brad Fullmer Fan *COUGH*– that compared his career numbers favourably, or at least evenly, to those of Marco Scutaro. And when it was first being reported that the two sides were close to a deal, I also opined, somewhat tepidly, that “he’s not nothing. And while in an ideal world he’d be a versatile guy to have on the bench, it’s not even such a horrible thought to consider a guy like that as a fall-back regular for second base– someone you could plant there to give Hechavarria more time in Buffalo, but who can still be pushed aside if Adeiny absolutely forces your hand, or if Izturis fails to maintain his average-ish bat against right-handers or doesn’t return to his career norms against lefties.” Yes, tough as it is to remember sometimes, Izturis was brought in to play alongside a guy like Hechavarria. Funny enough, they did end up next to each other… at the bottom of FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard for position players! HEYO! By that metric, Hechavarria’s -1.9 wins just edged out Maicer’s -2.1. That it was a disaster of a first season in Toronto for Izturis, then, is beyond obvious. His defence, by both advanced metrics and the eye test, was below sub-par, and the hope for a rebound at the plate was unfounded, as his wOBA slumped to .269, eighteen points down from 2012, and forty-nine points below his 2011. There’s not much sense in dissecting the particulars. Izturis, at least through our TV screens and from the stands, appeared professional and affable enough, despite the disaster that continued unfolding around him until an ankle injury ended his season in late August, but that’s a pretty sad positive to be taking from a season put in by a player still owed a bunch of money over two years. He was bad enough that it’s probably worth paying him the $6-million just to free up the roster space. In that sense, he may end up something of a canary in the mine shaft that is the Jays’ budget– if they keep trying to hump the dream of getting value out of that contract, it might not portend well for the club’s payroll flexibility over the rest of the winter. But what I think is possibly the most troubling thing about the Izturis deal is
1 day ago
Continuing my review of the roster decisions facing the Blue Jays this off-season, I will look at the four players who have a team option for 2014, and discuss what Jays face with each of them. Historically Alex has been creative in his...
Continuing my review of the roster decisions facing the Blue Jays this off-season, I will look at the four players who have a team option for 2014, and discuss what Jays face with each of them. Historically Alex has been creative in his contracts, allowing him flexibility with players and it has served him well. All four players had decent seasons in 2013, and none are in an obvious decline. However at this point I believe only one is a no-discussion-to-be-had exercise the option case. Casey Janssen ($4 million team option) W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP 2013 - Casey Janssen 4-1 56 0 0 0 34 2 52.2 39 17 15 3 13 50 2.56 .99 Casey had his fourth solid season in a row for the Jays, as a reliever providing 1.3 fWAR in a role of "Proven Closer". Considering the contract Brandon League received last year--$22.5 million over three years--with worse stats, Casey is a bargain in market place at this price and would do much better on the open market. Even if the Jays had no spot for him on the roster, exercising the option would be an easy decision as he would be worth more on the trade market. Adam Lind ($7 million team option, $2 million buy-out) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG 2013 - Adam Lind 143 465 67 134 26 1 23 67 51 103 1 0 .288 .357 .497 Adam Lind is a righty-masher, and his 151 wRC+ versus right-handed pitcher this year just confirmed it. When used appropriately he is a valuable asset, and he did provide some plus value with an fWAR of 1.8 this year. On the other side, he brings little on the defensive side, and is awful hitting against lefties, which means he requires a platoon partner. So we have a slow platoon DH at this point, this creates roster issues, which were apparent when the Jays had a short bench this year. This is magnified when taking into consideration the question marks surrounding Melky Cabrera's ability to play the OF and the potential departure of Rajai Davis, a good platoon option, to free agency. However, the option ultimately costs the Jays $6 million (cost of option, less buy-out, plus the $1 million buy-out next year), which makes it, from an asset management standpoint, "in the money". This is a recurring theme: from an asset standpoint it makes sense, but the roster has to be considered. Munenori Kasawaki ($1 million team option) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG 2013 - Munenori Kawasaki 96 240 27 55 6 5 1 24 32 41 7 1 .229 .326 .308 Kawasaki is one of the feel-good stories from 2013. After being released by the Mariners with just one year in the majors as a Japanese import (for those who didn't know, Mune is Japaneeeeeeeeeeeeeeese), the Jays signed him to a minor league contract and needed him early in Toronto. The contract included an option for the second year. The discovery of the option was actually news to most of us, and little is known about it except the dollar amount. Kawasaki presents good value as a bench player and when called into action has produced well, with defense and baserunning, and at the plate still did OK (78 wRC+) mainly due to his ability to take a walk. He is a fan favorite, and has options left so offers flexibility. However Ryan Goins has also shown he could compete for the same role, playing superior defense. Kawasaki does provide depth in the system, and the Jays still do not have a starting 2B. (note: I have not included the possibility of declining, and signing him on a different contract, like was done with Rajai last year) Mark DeRosa ($750,000 team option) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG 2013 - Mark DeRosa 88 204 23 48 12 1 7 36 28 49 0 0 .235 .326 .407 DeRosa actually performed well for the Jays in 2013. He is a replacement player,
1 day ago
With the news breaking last night that hitting coach Chad Mottola had been fired and first base coach Dwayne Murphy would be retiring (a nicer way to say fired?) Blue Jays fans began to wonder why the coach that oversaw one of the most s...
With the news breaking last night that hitting coach Chad Mottola had been fired and first base coach Dwayne Murphy would be retiring (a nicer way to say fired?) Blue Jays fans began to wonder why the coach that oversaw one of the most successful facets of the 2013 team was being removed, while all the other staff was being retained for 2014. It's definitely a good question and one that I think everyone would like an answer to from general manager Alex Anthopoulos. Did the front office feel someone needed to be made a scapegoat and Mottola drew the short straw or did he do a fundamentally bad job in his first year coaching in the big leagues. The consensus seems to be that the least likely coaches to be fired were in fact the ones that were. If Dwayne Murphy really did want to retire then that's understandable, but without further information regarding Mottola it's impossible to support the team's decision. Mottola was credited with helping Anthony Gose and Colby Rasmus make positive adjustments in their swing this year and if you wondered what Colby Rasmus' Dad thought of the move now you know: @gregorMLB yea this move is perplexing to say the least.— Tony_Rasmus_IV (@FlorenceFalcon0) October 8, 2013 There's been talk that Mottola and Gose had planned to meet this offseason to work on his swing before going into Spring Training next year, which makes the firing even more difficult to understand. Although the moves that were made may not be understood for quite some time, was there a better move that could have been made? When a season like the Blue Jays had this year happens, a scapegoat is usually chosen to give the fans peace of mind that the organization is making moves to make sure the disaster never happens again. In the Blue Jays case, a scapegoat could have been chosen from a group that includes Demario Hale, Luis Rivera, Pete Walker, or even John Gibbons and Alex Anthopoulos. It's doubtful that Hale had much to do with the failings of the season, but there's a case to be made against both Rivera and Walker. Third base and infield coach Luis Rivera gave numerous questionable green lights to baserunners rounding third this season along with being in charge of a horrific infield that could hardly make routine outs earlier in the season. Firing Rivera wouldn't make a huge change going into next year, but it would at least send the message that the team was working to fix it's shortcomings from the 2013 season. Pete Walker was the coach I expected to be fired in the offseason as the starting rotation this year performed so far below expectations that it seemed someone would have to pay for it. How much Walker had to do with the implosion of Josh Johnson and even his effect on Ricky Romero after working with him in Spring Training is anybody's guess, but generally the pitching coach is the one that's forced to bear the responsibility of a bad rotation. Some fans seem to argue that Walker is somehow also to blame for the ridiculous number of injuries to Blue Jays pitchers this season, but that can't be proven very easily and shouldn't be held against Pete. The more significant staff that could have been made scapegoats would have been either John Gibbons or Alex Anthopoulos and I think most people are pleased that the Blue Jays didn't go to this far of an extreme. Gibbons didn't do anything awful during the first year of his second stint with the team and he seemed to be well liked by the majority of the team meaning firing him would be a step backwards for the organization. It's clear Anthopoulos shouldn't be fired, as the majority of the moves he made in the past few years have been smart decisions with unlucky injuries wreaking havoc on his well laid plans for the 2013 Blue Jays. If I was running the ship in Toronto, I would have probably considered firing Pete Walker or Luis Rivera to try and right the wrongs made in 2013, but it would be just as defendable if no moves were made and the Blue Jays took ano
1 day ago