Thursday, December 13, 2007

This Hurts, But I'm Ready to Cheer for That Scrappy Little Gamer

I've already exhausted everything I had to say about the David Eckstein signing in a spirited email exchange with my fellow MOEers and a couple of other dudes, but in summary, there's a majority here who support the signing. At first, it might be tough to stomach having one of the most annoying players in the game starting at short, but even a cursory look at the #s shows that this is a huge offensive upgrade for the team. So, for a one-year deal, well done J.P.

Last season the scrapper hit .309/.356./382, a slight upgrade on his career line of
.286/.351/.362. McDonald hit .251/.279/.333 on the season and .240/.279/.316 on his career. McDonald ranked 973 out of 1078 players in MLB last year with a -7.8 VORP. Eckstein was 127th with a 20.7 VORP (slightly higher than Glaus). Put differently, Eckstein was much closer to Rios (38.9 VORP) in offensive performance last season than he was to McDonald. It's as if we traded last year's Frank Thomas for last season's Vlad.

J-Mac was much better in the field last season, but for their careers the two are apparently almost identical. It's likely that McDonald will regress next season (at 33), while I'm hoping (without much reason) that Eckstein will recover somewhat with the glove.

So why do we have Scutaro? Good question. He's actually a worse hitter than Eckstein, and has never played short for a full season. I'd take him or McDonald on the bench, but not both. And J.P. giving McDonald a guaranteed two-year deal looks even worse from this distance.

But that's J.P., isn't it? He drives you crazy, then does something defensible.

I'll give Razzer the final word: this makes us better, but it isn't enough. Give me something else, J.P.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Loonie or looney?

CNBC had an interview with the great Paul Godfrey today, discussing the Canadian dollar and the effect on the team. Godfrey says that a $0.01 move upwards in the Canadian dollar equates to $730,000 improvement on the bottom line. Godfrey also states how much the payroll budget has gone up since the dollar has moved from the lows of $0.65 a few years back.

The question is: will they increase payroll next year? I hope they are hedging it at these levels, my spidey sense says the Canadian dollar is going below par again soon.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bonds took steroids, who knew?

For me this is a non story. I never doubted that he took steroids. I never questioned that he deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. And I still believe he is the best player I have ever seen. I am glad it took the Mitchell report 4 years to finish the investigation and Bonds was able to break a record he deserved. Everyone seems to ignore Bonds' numbers before steroid consumption, everyone also seems to ignore that steroids were not illegal in baseball during the time frame Bonds used. The big victim in all of this is Bonds, who hurt his body and long term health because he wanted to be recognized for what he was, the best player in the game. I am not saying steroid use is good, but I am saying Bonds has been treated unfairly. Everyone in the media chose to turn a blind eye at Sosa and McGwire's steroid use during the chase to 61. And it was this chase that apparently drove the vastly superior skilled Bonds to juice up. However, it wasn't until Bonds broke McGwire's record that people started to question steroid use in baseball. Why did the media let McGwire and Sosa get away with it and not Bonds? Because Bonds is a jerk. Because the media doesn't like Bonds. "Tit for tat, clarice, tit for tat." It became a personal Vendetta, much like the similar petty bullshit we see coming from the Toronto media towards JP.

At the end of the day, Bonds career is probably done. He probably doesn't make the Hall of Fame, and at worst his achievements are are belittled. That is the real shame in all this.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tigers Deal for Renteria - Why Didn't We?

I'd been avoiding today, because I didn't want to read about the Red Sox, or the Yankees' fascinating search for a new manager. But at 5 p.m., after I've already gone for my third coffee of the afternoon, what the fuck else am I going to do? So I log on, see this headline, and slam my head against the desk.

Renteria hit .332/.390/.470 last season for the Braves. Those are ludicrous numbers and he's unlikely to repeat them next year at age 33, but he's not going to put up a J-Mac .251/.279/.333 either. Renteria's expensive at $10MM (with the Braves apparently paying some of that), but all it took was a 21 year-old pitching prospect with the improbable name of Jair Jurrjens and a single-A OF to make the deal.

If J.P. had made that trade (with an equivalent pitching prospect and low-minors hitter), Canate probably would have called him an idiot, but I'd have been all set for Spring Training '08. Renteria was one of the few available solutions to our gaping lineup hole. Now that he's gone, the odds that McDonald's going to go out there another 125 times just got a little shorter. Crap.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Leo Mazzone fired, sweet!

The O's fired Leo Mazzone. I guess his work with Eric Bedard and Jeremy Guthrie just wasn't up to whoever the fuck their actually GM is standards. He probably goes back to Atlanta but who knows, he could end up with the Yanks or Sox. They do have a lot of young stud pitchers that could benefit from being turned into Cy Young candidates. As for the Jays, don't expect him to come here, you can't really mess with a good thing (or you can; see Mike (mr. video) Barnett and Mickey Brantley). Regardless, you wouldn't want to mess with Arnsberg and his results.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

JP Ricciardi, you are on the clock

If the Jays do not make the playoffs next year, the should do everything in their power to sign John Schuerholz, who stepped down today as GM of the Braves. Fuck the head hunting firm, fuck Terry Ryan, fuck everyone else. This guys record is amazing. Spend whatever money it takes to hire this guy. By next off season he should be in full Pat-Gillick-ready-for-a-new-challenge mode. Entice him with competing in the east, pay him in Canadian funds (been saving that one for a while), Leo Rautins his marriage with the hottest stripper in town, whatever it takes, do it Paul Godfrey.

Of course, knowing the luck of the Jays, we'll probably make the playoffs next year and Schuerholz will sign with the Orioles.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Jays Hire Gary Dumbo (sorry I mean Denbo) as New Hitting Coach

The Blue Jays hired Gary Denbo as their new batting coach.

Denbo hit .208 in his minor league career of 206 games over 4 seasons. His only major league experience was as the Yankees hitting coach in 2001. The Yankees BA in 2001 was 0.267 with an OBP of 0.334. The Yankees scored 804 runs in 2001, vs. 871 in 2000 and 897 in 2002 (you can argue that adding Jason Giambi and Soriano in 2002 definitely helped). His numbers and his team's numbers (in 2001) are hardly things to write home about.

Maybe Jordan Bastian can enlighten us about this signing, in another puff piece. Is Gary Denbo just another dumbo?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A bit more on small ball and hindsight, which I have heard is 20-20

I'm happy to let our Brattainologist-in-residence, Razzer, lead the way here, but I wanted to add my two cents to the debate.

First of all, thanks John for your kind words about our blog and for the opportunity to engage with you. As you know, we love this sort of shit.

Stripped of all nuance, I think it's fair to say that the essence of John's argument goes something like this: the Jays have a particular offensive philosophy; the Jays have sucked offensively in 2007; the Jays should occasionally have deviated from their rigid philosophy in the hopes of reducing their suckitude. (If that's not a fair summary, I hope and expect that JB will defend himself in the comments)

Part of our problem with John's articles, both on MSN and in the Hardball Times, is that one gets the sense that the data have been selectively plucked to prove a point. As Razzer points out, for every time the Jays failed to advance a runner and failed to squeeze a run from an inning, there may well be a counter-point waiting to be brought to light in which their willingness to eschew the bunt led to a big inning.

The Jays, who are obviously well aware of the Brattain-MOE argument and who apparently like us better than they like John, were nice enough to weigh in on the debate by doing the following in the top of the second tonight:

F Thomas singled to center. 00
A Hill singled to right, F Thomas to second. 00
G Zaun doubled to left, F Thomas scored, A Hill to third. 10
C Thigpen singled to left center, A Hill scored, G Zaun to third. 20
A Lind grounded into double play, first to catcher to third to first, G Zaun out at home, C Thigpen to second. 20
J McDonald doubled to deep right center, C Thigpen scored. 30
R Johnson lined out to right. 30

Now, if Gibby - properly chastened by the season's offensive failings and a recent convert to Brattainology - had decided to go all Ozzie Guillen on our asses (sorry John, I know that throwing you and Ozzie in the same camp is the unkindest cut of all, but if it looks like a crazed Venezuelan and sounds like a crazed Venezuelan...), the inning may well have looked like this:

Thomas single to centre.
Hill single to right (I don't think even JB would suggest they should bunt with Hurt at first).
Zaun bunts, runners advance to second and third.
(focusing on doing the "little things" to bring in the runner) flies out, Thomas scores.
Lind grounds out to first, inning over.

Two hits, one run, small-ball advocates explode with delight.

In the big scheme of things, we'd obviously have won tonight's game anyway. But I'd argue that playing small ball in that situation would have cost us two runs and, under different circumstances, the game. And of course, you'd never know it, because the doubles you don't hit when you decide to bunt never show up in the boxscore. In fact, I dare say that the Guillenites would call my hypothetical second inning a success ("the shitty bottom part of the order did the little things and brought the runner home - great success!") without ever knowing of the counterfactual 3-run inning that their philosophy rendered an impossibility.

Our point, I think, is that the Jays' offensive philosophy is the right one, even though in hindsight using a different approach in a number of games may have led them to score a few more runs in those particular games (and again, you don't know which games those are until after the fact, nor do you ever know when that different approach might have kept the team from putting together a big inning that would have been the difference between a win and a loss).

Stick with the philosophy, hopefully avoid the crippling injuries, remember that the season starts in April, not in July, and just get on base more often, and the glory wil be ours. Blue Jays and Gore in 2008.

John "small sample size" Brattain is back and we still disagree

See, way back when this blog was trying to find an identity (still searching), John’s rather silly article at MSN sports was the perfect excuse to beat up and verbally abuse a guy none of us had ever met. Even though John turned out to be a solid dude, the MSN article was still pretty poorly though out. So bad in fact, that (with our help, we believe) it spawned this new article over at THT. I have to admit; this argument is much more thought out, balanced, and aggressive than the previous one. Overall, Brattain made a case for his point (Although we are wondering where the editor was on it, a little long and repetitive, or as Portnoy likes to say, “tautological”).

In the end, Brattain states the same thing he did in the MSN article, “that Gibbons should have been more flexible and creative in his approach and realize what the talent on hand could or could not do.” There it is. The same argument as the previous article, that Gibbons is not doing enough. And like last time, I must disagree.

I am not going to disagree with Brattain’s reasoning but rather the argument. The THT article has flaws, but nothing I can’t look past. There is still the problem of selectively small sample sizes. I don’t think you can pull out a handful of games (less than 10% of a season) to prove a point. Not in baseball anyway. The 50$ bill example is so rudimentary it makes us question the intelligence of his readership (which makes us question us, which makes us question Brattain for making us question ourselves).

Looking back and picking 15 games where the Jays scored 4 or fewer runs is fine although not ideal. The only reason we are talking about these games is because the Jays lost these games and by the time the games were over the score indicates the games were close. Every team in baseball has a handful of these games. And for every close game the Jays have lost there is the same number of close games they have won. Aside from that, just like all runs are not created equal, all one run games are not created equal. We still don’t know what point in the game the Jays should have figured out one run would be the difference? If the Jays are down 5 nothing in the 1st what approach do they take with a lead off walk in the second? Even if the final score was 5-4 there is no way to know that you should have tried to manufacture that second inning lead off walk instead of playing for a rally or a series of runs. Playing for one run is a selective thing. A baseball game can go in a thousand different directions after almost every pitch. Because a base runner gets thrown out stealing and the next pitch is a homerun, it doesn’t mean the same pitch in the same location would have been made with the same result had he been safe or even not attempted to steal. The game, and potential outcomes of the game change with every pitch. It is folly to point out 15 games and say if things were done different the Jays would be in the wild card race.

To be fair there is more to Brattains article than this. The point is the Jays need to score more runs to win games. So the question is what could the Jays have done to score more runs? And an extension of that is what can John Gibbons have done to help the team score more runs? Well the Jays do not have the speed and power of the Yankees. Nor the pitching and patience of the Red Sox. They don’t have the slugging of the Indians they can not play “small ball’ like the Angels. All these teams win games with what they have and in different ways. However, there is something these four teams do have in common and it is something the Jays are well aware of.

The top four AL teams in OBP are New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Cleveland. Yes, the four teams that are going to the playoffs. (In case you were wondering the Tigers were 5th in OBP) As far as I know, this is the Jays philosophy. Get runners on base, work the pitcher, wait for your pitch to hit, get into the bullpen early, etc. The Jays are just not doing this. In fact they have a horrid .325 OBP this year, good for 12th in the AL. But it is their plan, and it seems like a good plan.

Now Brittain’s explanation of the reason why this plan is not working is “Having a sabermetric outlook will not turn Jason Phillips into Jason Giambi nor will a "small ball" approach turn Alex Rios into Alex Gonzalez. They will play to their expected levels regardless of the club’s philosophy.” (I know I am picking out 35 words out of 10,000 but it is important) Actually, Brattain is wrong here. Players won’t always play to their expected levels regardless of the clubs philosophy.

Here is a table, which in my mind shows as much.
Position Name 2006 OBP 2007 OBP
C Gregg Zaun .363 .336
1B Lyle Overbay .372 .316
2B Aaron Hill .349 .328
SS John McDonald .271.272
3B Troy Glaus .355 .366
OF Reed Johnson .390 .298
OF Vernon Wells .357 .304
OF Alex Rios .349 .353
OF Matt Stairs.373
OF Frank Catalanotto .376
DH Frank Thomas .381.376

Last year their team OBP was .348, good for 4th in the AL. In 2005 they were 4th in the AL as well. In 2003 they were 3rd. The only year in the past 4 that the Jays were not in the top 4 in OBP was the disastrous 2004 season in which they were 12th and won 64 games. Well at least this year they will win a considerably larger amount than that.

A bunt here, a SB there, even Joey Gathright not playing LF will not change the 2007 problem. The team’s hitters (if you believe in last years numbers) are grossly underachieving. Their philosophy is right; it’s just not being followed. Who is to blame? I don’t blame John Gibbons, although I guess we could. We could also blame the players, the batting coach, the general manager, the fans, or the local media? Brattain blames the manager for basically believing that his philosophy is right and he has the players to make it work. Many want to blame the GM for believing the same thing. However, the success this collection had last year leads me to first blame the players, then bad luck (injuries), and finally the batting coach. I think the best course of action is the one being taken. Come back next year with the same group, hope that the hitters regain their ’06 form, the bullpen remains as strong with the addition of BJ Ryan, and hope the starting pitching doesn’t slip too far.

The philosophy is right, the personnel has shown it can do the job, now all we need is for it to come together and give us all something to cheer for. And if it does come together, John Gibbons is more than capable of managing this team to it’s ultimate goal.

Razzer's back, Poll closes, Jays a .500 team

I apologizes for being in Cuba the last week and leaving the site in the hands of my fellow hacks. One fucking week gone and the site becomes a soccer/cricket blog. Anyway Cuba was fun, especially because I never heard "La atención, el presidente es muerta." And, believe it or not, I had access to ESPN so I didn’t have to wait until I got home to see the Jays blow a 4 run lead in the 9th against the Yanks. How many times has Roy Halladay, who should demand a trade, been screwed out of a win this year?
I was without internet so I didn’t get to live the drama of Mobey Dick’s late charge to displace Dick Cheney in MOE’s first ever Poll. The end result, Cheney is the Biggest Dick and has now been moved onto our Waste of DNA list. As a result, our good friend Dick Griffin must be taken off the list. But it was impossible to just have him off altogether, so it inspired us to make a new list. Dick Griffin is our first member of “The Potential Misuse of Sperm” list.

Jays spilt a four gamer with the Yankees, might finish above .500.











BRETT MYERS (seen here in court after beating his wife)

Pakistunned / Young Blood in a Billion Hearts

......the headlines from the Hindustan Times and the Indian Express, as India beat Pakistan by 5 runs to win the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup.

I know this is a blog about the Blue Jays, and that no-one cares about cricket, but I don't give a shit. I'm pumped.

And then there was this, from earlier in the tourney, against those English gits.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hey Gibby, Why don't we pitch Halladay 11 innings. He looks good through 7.

Boomhauer, you F-ing idiot. I used to like you. I used to think behind your hee-haw mumbling you had an understanding of baseball beyond the machismo. Yes, Halladay happens to be a workhorse, but are we helping anyone by trying to get complete games out of him? Next year when Halladay misses 3-10 starts due to an irritated something or other, let's remember the 10 starts this year where Gibby needlessly tacked on 10 or more pitches.

Pitching Leroy late into games, especially with a September call up bullpen, is just stupid, stupid, stupid. And it's not like Gibby's strategy of over pitching Doc is helping our cause to [insert clubhouse reasoning why these games matter at all this year.] Halladay pitched 8 innings or more in 7 of the last 8 games. In 5 of those 7 games Halladay's given up a run or two in his last inning worked. This is not a slam against Halladay, but anecdotal evidence that there is no worthwhile advantage to Gibby's quest to pitch Doc every inning of every game. Just cause he's a work horse doesn't mean that we have to beat him to death.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Random TFC aside

I was looking over a couple of old posts, and I saw that I wrote this
on August 28:

[I]f you think the Jays' offence is on your last nerve, try attending game after game down at BMO Field, wearing your stupid fucking scarf despite the temperature being 30 degrees with 100 % humidity, without so much as the satisfaction of one single fucking goal in over a month.

Guess what - we still haven't scored a goddamn goal! I wonder if Russ Adams is available to line up at striker tomorrow afternoon...

Thursday, September 20, 2007


(Title of this post is in honour of the Boss)

The last two nights have been pure magic, and have served as a reminder that no matter how bad things get and how much we suffer, sometimes we get rewarded for all those wasted hours.

Seriously, is there anything better than seeing a much-maligned minor league middle infielder take this obnoxious mouth-breathing asshole deep?

Let's be honest: this has been a long, draining season, pretty much from day 2 onwards (remember day 1, though? That was awesome. 162-0 comin' up!). Untimely injuries, untimely hitting, and a general season-long malaise reflected in our endless two-step with the .500 mark. The fatigue from another season without meaningful September ball was apparent in our failure to post anything for over a week (although we weren't helped by Razzer and Portnoy taking simultaneous vacations while yours truly has been viciously trial prepping. What's your excuse, Canate, you useless Rule V bastard?).

But last night sure felt good, watching the boys sweep my most hated opponent by roughing up my most hated player. It'll provide a happy memory through those fall and winter months when the shitty team I support has a gentle aquatic mammal on its uniform instead of a pissed-off bird.

And for Razzer's sake, in case he missed it on his travels, I should point out that Jesse "not as ugly or fat as Gus, but equally awkward and just as troublesome from a sabermetric perspective" Litsch (I'm open to suggestions for a shorter nickname) looked pretty decent last night. He may well have a shot at that #5 spot next year.

And finally, as proof that hope springs eternal in the Toronto baseball fan, this is the complete text of the first email I received this morning when I got to work:

Is Russ Adams for real?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


This is a disaster. That loss to the Tigers was the hardest one of the season. That is followed by the signing of Johnny Mac. It is way to much money for a back-up which probably means he's going to start. Ouch. The news kept getting better as the Jays came home to get pounded by the Yankees. To top it off, today is Dick in a bag day. I am not sure my weak mental state is ready to take on the challenge. However, you will probably be able to get your fill of the anti-dick movement from the guys that did it first, the guys that do it best, and the guys that are most dedicated to doing it.

If you need cheering up like I did, this Mike Pagliarulo attack from FJM will certainly do the trick.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Serenity Now, Insanity Later.

The pair of potentially heartbreaking losses over the weekend would have crushed me if the Jays were really in contention. Saturday was brutal. Sunday just sucked. Actually my entire Sunday sucked. I spent the whole day watching tv. I watched mostly football (topped off by Romo killing my fantasy team) all day, which is making me feel like I should be a member of this list. Speaking of the list, we might have a controversy brewing. If Dick Cheney
wins our poll he will be a bigger dick than Griffin. This action would call for Cheney’s immediate addition to this list. And in turn would probably remove Griffin from the list. Things could get interesting. For the time being the other two names appear safe.

Safe for now.

Watched the Brian Mulroney special last night. At one point it was revealed he has a potty mouth. In the special Mulroney said his mother scorned him for his use of coarse language. I believe the quote was "Using coarse language only shows you don't have a vocabulary." Bitch. To distance ourselves from Mulroney, we are going to do our best to take MOE PG.

OT: Check out this Charlie Rose interview with Steve Nash. What a solid guy.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


So far, I have been exposed as the hack that I am. Three different papers, three similar articles, all saying the same thing- exactly the opposite of what I predicted. It seems that for the time being, Mike Rutsey of The Sun, Dick Griffin at The Star, and Jeff Blair at The Globe and Mail are all taking the same approach. They are all waiting to let this Glaus story unfold before they offer their judgement. I commend them for that.

Nate Silver at BP has an interesting perspective on the Glaus and Ankiel stories. In his article, Silver links to this Jayson Stark piece that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Jays won last night and the box score looks good. I didn't get to see much of last nights game but I was watching at a bar when I saw Aaron Hill hit a home run. An umpire conference call later, Hill was back at the plate, home run now a long strike. This is the fifth time this year (that I recollect) that Hill looked like he hit a run that was not. There was two in San Francisco the were caught at the wall after getting killed by the wind, there was the two Joey Gathright plays, and this. Hill, who is among the league leaders in doubles this year, is 25 and entering what should be the prime years of his career. It would not surprise me at all if he is regularly between 20 and 25 HR's for the next few years. This is good news for the Jays and for the Fantasy geek in all of us.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Glaus took steroids, Griffin still a douche.

I really want to tell Gearge Mitchell to go fuck himself, but we have a policy here of laying off people with potential terminal illness. Instead, I'm going to tell George Mitchell to go fuck Dick Griffin. I really don't give a shit about steroids in baseball. I never have. Just like I never cared about steroids in Football, Hockey or Basketball. Steroids in baseball is the most ridiculously overblown story of the past years. Yes, everyone knows Clemens juiced, Bonds juiced, Papi juiced, Brett Boone juiced, fuck, Shawn Green probably juiced. Even Frank Catalanotto juiced. But really, does anyone know someone who stopped watching baseball (Besides Hank Aaron) because a player or players took PED's? Me neither. Just like the Olympics, the only thing that matters is your guy winning. So I say a big "whatever" to all these new stories of players taking PED's. If the players want to win and improve so badly that they are willing to risk there health then so be it. I'm going to watch and cheer regardless. That is why I don't give a shit about the recent story about Troy Glaus taking roids in 03. I know Dick will have a field day with this and other members of the media will jump on their high horse and preach about fair play, role models, etc. This is exactly the type of story that can be spun by our local media who, once and for all, might be able to apply that external pressure they have been so desperately trying to for years and finally influence a baseball decision. I really, really hope that our Used Car Salesman GM can withstand the backlash, sell us on his own feel good story, and not feel pressed to trade Troy. Because an '08 Jays team with out Glaus is a worse team.

JP's draft success... so far

Interesting article over at Batters Box about JP's success at the rule 4 draft.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Despite taking one on the chin, Jays pull out the win

Jays won 6-4. Shaun Marcum is looking shakier and shakier with every outing, but he got the job done tonight. Brian "chinny" Wolfe gave up a two run pesky in relief that gave up the lead and put the Jays down a run. Chinny's done so much for us this year that he gets a pass on that one. Jaime Campbell (who is really starting to grow on me) sang sweet caroline along with the crowd. Rulliniks was on fire tonight. First, his "I couldn't call a hog to a trough" line when Gingerbread tried to get him to sing along was pure gold. Then he called Vernon's two run deep center seconds before it happened. He also has found his niche by continuing to let the audience in on the thinking and guessing games that pitchers and batters go through when facing each other. In something that would make my new best bud John Brattain smile, Johnny Mac laid down a sac bunt in the ninth (right guy, right scenario John). Casey Janssen left with an injury after taking a liner off the foot. Brandon League walked a guy on four pitches. Accardo got the last five outs for the win. Good game all around so razzer has less venom to spew. (Officially doing the third person now, sweet!)

After the game on WWJP the GM let us in on these nuggets.
-Aaron Hill feels comfortable at second and will stay there.
-The Jays will try to resign Stairs and if successful it most likely means Lind goes to AAA (because he can)
-The Yankees payroll is 100% more than the Jays, the Red Sox 50% more, and that doesn't include posting fees, and money spent on international signings and the draft.
-Casey Janssen and Brian Wolfe will be stretched out in Spring Training to see if they can start. If League is back to full strength there is a greater chance Janssen starts.
-The team plays hard for Gibby as evident in their comebacks the last three games in Boston, and the last one in Oakland.
- There is no excuse for the line-up gaff. "We screwed up" said the GM He didn't say "they" or "he", what a soldier.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's a dick in a bag

I can't comment on it because I'm just playing into the fuckers hands but if you're into reading about how JP sucks ass, Dave Dombrowski's awesomeness, how players have ego's, how pie in the face is a problem for the team, and how the Blue Jays don't have a plan A, B, C, D, E, F or G. Did someone say Orgy?

Yeah, if you want pain of Bauer in China proportions read the latest dick in a bag.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Why do we even bother?

Blue Jays lost again. They are done. And for some stupid reason Halladay was allowed to throw 120 pitches for the 3rd time in his last 4 starts. Gibby, the blogging world knows I have a man crush on you (and by man I mean managerial), but come on, you're making me look like a douche. Halladay pitched well tonight, although there was no excuse for him not throwing a heater up and in to Jacoby Eyebrows Ellsbury the at bat following his 2 run jack. Jaime Campbell (who is no longer a gingerfuckwad in my books) even pointed it out. And after taking a minute to get the words out, we found out Rance agreed.


Some people might not think this stuff matters, but it does. And I know from first hand, eye witness, experience. The meteoric downfall of Josh Phelps is the great unknown. Whether he is a cancer in the clubhouse, whether he has a drinking or drug problem, whether he banged another players wife or another player is all speculation. What's not speculation is that on August 29-2002 Phelps took Roger Clemens deep twice, including a 500 level shot that gave the Jays the lead. I was there that day, imagining a bright future for the player and the club.

Phelps played out the season and was widely lauded to be the next great power threat. The sky was the limit for Phelps. He was going to be a Blue Jays cornerstone player for years to come. The Jays opened the next season at home against Roger Clemens and the Yankees. I was looking forward to Phelps taking Big Head deep again.

Clemens Hat Size-Now and Then

As Phelps dug into the batters box in the first inning, he was accordingly hit between the shoulder blades by an HGH induced fast ball. Phelps was 25 and should have been entering the prime of his career- we all know how that went. Yes that's right, I am crediting the the great downfall of Josh Phelps to Roger Clemens exploiting his weak mental state.

So not only did Halladay miss out on sending Jacoby Eyebrows Ellsbury a message, Jays fans are now going to suffer years of Eyebrows taking it to us. Another fucking young Red Sox player who you just want to beat the shit out of, piss on, and tear their rotator cuff from their shoulder. Eyebrows is almost as annoying as everyones favorite dickwad Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia -who's previous work included playing the Watto in the Men Without Hats hit video You Can Dance with a Watto, Clay, ugh-huh, ugh-huh, Buchholz, and John Lester (who like Mike Lowell I am barred from wishing instant career ending injury to due to their noble battles against cancer).

Clay, ugh-huh, ugh-huh, Buchholz

Anyway, the point is the Jays are done, their main competition have more money to spend and better prospects coming up, and we are one of three teams in all of baseball (along with the Orioles and D'Rays) who have no chance at making the playoffs until they expand the playoffs or go through with radical realignment. All I have left are the small pleasures of Jays pitchers hitting opposing players and ruining careers, but apparently this team doesn't have the heart to accomplish that simple task.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's a dick in a bag

I’m sorry Dick; I can’t let you get away with this one. In something I don’t want to make a reoccurring gig, I have to point out a few concerns I have with your latest mailbag. To go through the whole thing would be too time consuming and painful but there are a few things I absolutely have to point out.

My comments in bold.

(sort of)

Picture taken from Drunk Jays Fan.

Q: Given the Jays continuing mediocrity, you are probably right that Gibby will be sacrificed this winter to exculpate J.P. Ricciardi and give season ticket holders a reason to believe next year will be better. I'm interested in who you have on your top-five list as replacements, and why. Thanks.
Donald Bruce Wright, Los Gatos, CA

A: This has never been a call for John Gibbons' head on a Blue Jays platter, but merely a statement of what seems to be the obvious progression of this team.

Hold on a second. That is a bold face lie! You lied Dick, you lied.

For general manager J.P. Ricciardi, you can't fire a whole team, especially when it is handpicked by you. In fact, it seems an exercise in futility to start picking a top-five of potential managers without knowing who will become available from among the current crop of guys still with jobs. Just look at the situation in Houston. I would not hesitate to consider a guy like Phil Garner, with intensity, heart and a track record of success that even includes a World Series appearance.

Phil Garner!!!! Jesus Christ Dick, you could do better than him. His moves have been so puzzling it’s amazing he wasn’t fired years ago. Actually the reason he wasn’t fired years ago was because they play in a shit division and Beltran and Clemens got super hot for two months. In 15 seasons as a manager he has never won a division and has a career .483 winning percentage. If this question was asked in July you would have said Sam Perlozzo, in June, Mike Hargrove.

I was impressed by the job Ernie Whitt did as manager of Team Canada at the World Baseball Classic.

Not to take anything away from Ernie but a four game fucking sample size? Come on.

He deserves a chance to manage in the big leagues, but his profile doesn't seem to fit what Ricciardi would be looking for as a replacement for Gibbons.

Read; Ernie Whitt = Gibbons lite.

My No. 1 choice for the job, if the decision needed to be made today, would be Cito Gaston. The man has won two World Series and has become more and more of a legend in Toronto sports with each passing year. The team that Ricciardi has put together includes the type of veteran players that respond well to Cito's belief that his players are all grown men and deserve the right to be treated as such. Gaston still has a desire to manage, but is too proud and has been burned too often – most recently by the White Sox when they hired Ozzie Guillen – to apply for the post. They would have to ask him and that won't happen as long as J.P. is there. But Gaston would be a good choice.

I’m not going to slack Cito but have some fucking imagination Dick. The guy asks you for 5 potential managers and you give those fucking three names. Did you research that shit. I mean, where in hell did you find these candidates? It’s that kind of not thought out shit that made Buck Martinez manager.

Alex Rios Question from some guy in Chicago deleted because it was a waste of time to read.

Q: Hi Richard,
I'm just wondering who on the Blue Jays roster is a free agent at the end of this year. Who do you think the Jays will re-sign and who should they go after on the free agent market.
Binh Ha, Cornwall, Ont.

(Some shit on Matt Stairs’ price tag deleted)

What the Jays could do, though, is sign a veteran free-agent second baseman like Mark Loretta, a man they tried to get several years ago. Then they could move the versatile Aaron Hill over to shortstop and have a solid double-play combo for the three years of a Loretta deal.

Mark Loretta for three years, hmm. I need to check out a pecota player profile for this one. Let’s see, below average defender at 2B and a 20% chance at being a regular by 09. Sweet!

Q: Hi Richard, love your column!
I'm sure this question has been asked before, but I have never seen the answer here. What is Scott Downs' ritual when he arrives on the mound from the bullpen? It looks like he writes something on the mound with his finger. Any idea what he's doing?
Kevin Smith, Toronto

Okay, Kevin Smith; Genius (to get your question answered by throwing out the complement) or Douche Bag (by loving Dick’s column). Based on the fucking dumb ass deduction that your lame ass question was asked before I must go with Douche Bag.

A: I believe he is paying tribute to his two children by scrawling in the dirt with his left index finger just before he attacks his first hitter. Downs is a man of ritual.

Thanks for the answer Dick. Solid answer. I’m actually surprised you took the time to do a little research and find out the answer. There isn’t a hidden agenda behind you picking this question, is there? Oh, wait. Yup, there it is.

He has taken to not speaking with the media, seemingly as a good luck charm, and has a daily routine at home games where, just prior to the team stretch, he brings a sign in from just down the left field foul line that says, "No media or photographers beyond this point" and places it in on the edge of the warning track in front of the dugout. It seems to be working.

Glad you got that in.

Shitty Frank Thomas question skipped, Dick points out the horrible signing and says no one in their right mind would trade for him.

Q: Richard,
I wish the Toronto media would lay off of A.J. Burnett a bit. It seems that any time he's mentioned, it's 'he's not performing to his contract.' It seems like all the Jays' problems are being pinned on him. In reality, he pitched six solid innings (vs. Oakland Wednesday, Aug. 22), got into a bit of trouble in the seventh and his defence let him down big time. Everyone suddenly forgets his previous two starts in which he was stellar. Not to mention only having a one-run cushion to work with.
I wonder what the media would say if it were Doc Halladay on the mound. Anyway, I realize that with a contract comes expectations, but it seems that the media is expecting him to fail and making it seem that a lot of the Jays problems will be solved with him being traded. What are your thoughts on this matter?
Rob J., Markham

Right now I am fucking freaking out he is answering this question!

A: A.J. Burnett has little respect for media, fans, or anyone not in uniform. It's hard to offer any back.

This says it all, right here. I know we’ve known it all along but the fucker god damn admits that this shit is personal. Thanks for all the skilled analysis and discussion over the years dickwad. Marty York’s job at the Metro might be available soon, get your application in pronto.

The lack of respect is clear by the way he interrupts the TV networks in their attempt to provide insight to their viewers in post-game interviews with his shaving cream pie-to-the-face of guests. It's also clear by the way that whenever he's injured and on the DL, he brushes off media requests for an update on his situation, saying "Later", then rushing out to shag fly balls in the outfield.

Nobody gives a shit what you say anymore.

And, by the way, he's not performing to his contract. At the end of this season, he will have earned $22 million of Ted Rogers' money. Thus far, with six starts left this season, he has chipped in with 17 total wins.

Actually the contract is slightly back loaded so if he does opt out the Jays have him for 3/30. You got me with the wins though. That’s what separated Storm Davis and Bob Welch from Jimmy Key and Dave Stieb.

Next part of answer is boring and contradicting but the last line is another blatant Zinger.

Besides, trading Burnett would just free up more money for J.P. to make another mistake somewhere else. Better, the overpaid underachiever that you know...

You lost me at Richard Griffin; BASEBALL COLUMNIST.

Q: Should Ted Rogers do a Raptors with the Jays; i.e. hire a proven GM – someone who has consistently kept his team in the playoffs or in the playoff hunt until the last week in September – and make him the President/GM? The Jays need a sound baseball guy with credibility in MLB at the top. I don't think the Godfrey/JP combo is working.
Chirantan Basu, Ottawa

A: Somebody like Dave Dombrowski of the Tigers.
Mr. Rogers had that opportunity to hire a proven GM back in '01 with Dombrowski, but at the time the Jays didn't need a president and they wanted a GM who would cut payroll and make the Jays competitive on a $50 million (U.S.) budget. Dombrowski got his start with the Expos in the late '80s, making them competitive on an even tighter budget than that. He was interviewed by the Jays and was one of their final candidates for the GM job in '01 but the Tigers offer included the role of president and, eventually, GM (after he fired Randy Smith) and gave him the chance to spend more money. It was infinitely more appealing.
Double-D bailed on his final interview with Paul Godfrey and headed to Motown, guiding them to the World Series within five years. Hey, that sounds like a five-year plan. But, yes, at this stage of the Jays' history, a GM of vision and charm would help. It would have to be someone with a track record in baseball and not an unknown like the just-fired Tim Purpura of the Astros.

Hmm, Dick it is funny you say that. Dave Dombrowski, you think the Jays should've hired Dave Dombrowski? I actually remember you wrote an article stating as much around the time JP called Toronto journalist morons (way to prove him wrong) and you took up that personal vendetta. As they say hindsight is 20/20. But wait, after that first article you wrote a follow up article. That’s right, it was an article you wrote for the Star on July 1, 20003. The tittle; “Ricciardi was the right choice for Jays”
I believe the article stated what the title suggests. Here is an excerpt from that article.

“Last night's meeting between the Jays and Tigers was a tale of two cities going in opposite directions. Since the last time the Jays visited Motown, May 31, 2002, the Tigers have had a record of 53-136. The Jays since that date are a solid 107-87.

[Ricciardi] is far in front. The last time the Jays came to drab Comerica Park, it was two months into both GMs' first seasons. The Jays featured a losing manager on the hot seat, Buck Martinez.

The following day, during the Subway Series in New York, it was revealed that [David Dombrowski] was to become president of the Tigers. Nine days after the Tigers announcement, the Jays settled on Ricciardi.”

Unfortunately the story is archived but if you want to pay for the article you can read about Dick’s take on how Dombrowski would have been the wrong choice for the Jays. How he done a shit job with the Tigers who are on their way to 100 losses. How, in retrospect, JP was the better hire. Interesting read.

Skipped Q and A on how the Jays are not the worst, but pretty bad defensively.

Q: Hi Richard,
I love your columns and your mailbag. I read them religiously. My question is, when I read about other teams and their players having Tommy John surgery, I always hear that the recovery time is a minimum of 12 months and from what I've seen, it's typically is closer to 15 months before the pitcher is back to form. Why do the Blue Jays continue with their 10-12 month when they talk about B.J. Ryan?
Thanks much,
Robert Hodges, Bangor, ME

Robert Hodges; Genius or Douche Bag?

A: The Jays insist on going with the old exchange rate, in which 10-12 months Canadian equalled 15 months U.S. (rim-shot).


But seriously…

(Rest of answer skipped, Dick’s point, don’t rush a BJ. I concur )

To wrap, in this edition of the mailbag Dick stated he has never called out for John Gibbon’s head. That he slag’s AJ Burnett because he doesn’t like him. Cito Gaston (who hasn’t managed in 10 years) should take over. That JP is an idiot and that Dave Dombrowski would have been a better choice even though he wrote that he wasn’t a better choice after he first wrote that he would be better.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Scratch that Litsch

I was caught in that fucking awkward position of kinda cheering against the Jays last night. Not to lose the game, but just for maybe Jeremy Accardo to give up a couple of runs on his way to the save. It’s crunch time in Fantasy Baseball and Accardo’s blip helped my chances. When the game got dicey I was hard on myself for letting it get to that point. Was I a fucking traitor? I didn’t want them to lose but you know, you waste so many valuable hours on Fantasy Sports that a maybe asking for a Jays pitcher to give up a few when the team is comfortably ahead is no big deal. But it was a big deal, and I was doomed. How was I to sleep with this guilt on my head? Thank god I checked my email and found this gem passed along. After watching it a few times and literally laughing out loud my spirits rose and I quickly forgave myself. Instead I focused on what the Jays did right to win this game.

The answer, like it has been all year, is pitching. Jesse Litsch pitched another fucking gem. Litsch’s story is as follows; He is a pitcher in his early 20’s who came out of nowhere, was promoted from AA and has become a pleasant surprise in the rotation this year. In fact, he has been so impressive that gingerfuckwad Jamie Campbell and (“the if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all”) Rance Mulliniks were calling him a main stay in the Jays rotation for years to come. Fucking hell! Remember Gus Chacin? He followed a similar career path as Litsch. He was praised the same way by many of you idiot fans. Now Gus never fooled me, and unfortunately his recent injury will never allow us to know how bad (or good as Dr. K might suggest) he really is. But trust me, he’s shit. Winning games is not a skill. There is no such thing as a winner, there is just lucky (Jack Morris) and unlucky(Dave Steib).
Anyway, to get an idea what to expect from Litsch in the future let’s compare him to Gus’s first (and only) full season.

Litsch/Chacin first year comparison
Player Year W GS IP H R ER HR BB SO
Litsch 2007 5 14 79.3 84 39 30 8 26 33
Chacin 2005 13 34 203.0 213 93 84 20 70 121
Player G/A K/BB BB/9 K/9 BAbip ERA *lgERA *ERA+ WHIP
Litsch 1.63 1.27 2.95 3.74 .293 3.40 4.63 136 1.387
Chacin 0.99 1.73 3.10 5.37 .299 3.72 4.45 119 1.394

They look scarily similar. Despite Litsch being superior in one category, which is the huge edge in GB%, their HR’s look pretty even when averaged out over a full season. Chacin’s weak K/9 is vastly superior to Litsch’s. I would have expected for Litsch to have a better BB/9 but is almost equal. K/BB goes to Chacin by a good margin. You also have to be wary of the 9 unearned runs Litsch has allowed. It is very similar to the 05 Josh Towers year when he allowed 24 unearned runs and scratched more than .5 of a run of his ERA. Remember, not all unearned runs are created equal.
BAbip looks close but there is a bigger discrepancy than it appears. This years league average BAbip is .302, so Litsch is .09 under. (Read marginally fortunate). In 2005 the league average was .293 so Chacin was actually .06 over. (Marginally unfortunate). Overall, I would have to give the edge in “numbers” to Chacin.

So, what happened to Chacin the following year?

Well in Chacin’s 2006 year his stats were almost the same except his high fly ball ratio caught up to him and he allowed 19 HR’s in 17 GS, rising his ERA from a very good 3.72 in 05 to a more reasonable 5.05 in 06. This is the one things that people who were not fooled by Chacin (myself, Canate, BP) were pointing out. Others (Dr. K, JP Ricciardi, maybe John Brattain- it wouldn’t surprise me) chose to ignore it.

So what’s in store for Litsch next year? Unlike Chacin, his high ground ball ratio should ensure there is no dramatic spike in HR’s. He should manage to stick around but his other indicating stats are pretty horrible, making the best-case scenario Litsch becoming a serviceable fifth starter. I think if he could pitch 170+ innings with an ERA between 4.50-.5.00 the Jays would have to be happy with that.

Otherwise it may be smart to “sell high” on him and see if you can get a SS with Litsch as a part of the package.

To finish, I don’t want to be a Dick (Griffin) so I will give you the other side of the coin. Unlike Chacin, who was pegged as the number three starter coming into this season,the Jays are not going to be depending on Litsch to be more than a fifth starter next season. So even if he does stink it up they are not hurting as much as they otherwise would have been (without the emergence of Marcum and McGowan). A Rotation of Halladay, Burnett, McGowan, Marcum and Litsch/other is still very solid.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The list revisited

There is a new member to the list. And no it is not Mickey Brantley. (Don't worry Mickey, your time will come). After this recent blow up Brett Myers has joined the Maldonado Over Everything's official Waste of DNA list. By doing so he has also raised the bar for future inductees.


Newest Addition

Brett Myers (seen here in court after beating his wife)

Back to bunting

Last week ol' Razzer rained down insults upon some poor guy whom he'd never met, who committed the cardinal sin of opining that the Jays should consider bunting more frequently. Turns out that said poor guy is a very decent fellow. Might he also have been, um, correct?

The situation last night: 8th inning, Jays suffering through another TFC-esque night on offence, leading 2-1 (as an aside: if you think the Jays' offence is on your last nerve, try attending game after game down at BMO Field, wearing your stupid fucking scarf despite the temperature being 30 degrees with 100 % humidity, without so much as the satisfaction of one single fucking goal in over a month). Olmedo and Stairs reach base (Olmedo for the third time in three at-bats, the little rascal), so we have first and second with none out and Lyle, Alex, and VW coming up. Would it have been so crazy in this situation for Lyle to drop one down?

I felt at the time that one run would pretty much wrap things up, so I thought the goal should have been ensuring one run rather than playing for the mythical big inning. If I recall correctly, the odds of scoring one run are pretty similar whether you have 1st and 2nd with none out, and 2nd and 3rd with one out - but with the way things have been going this year, I prefer our chances in the situation that contemplates not requiring an actual hit to score a run. So, for probably the first time all season, I was actively pleading for Gibby to call for a bunt. He didn't, Lyle promptly hit into a DP, we didn't score, the A's got one in the bottom of the 8th to tie it, and as far as I know the game is still ongoing.

Now by no means am I on the bunt-all-the-time bandwagon, but for eff's sake, must it be completely taken off the table? (Warning: crappy mock sportswriter analogy/attempt at erudition ahead:) Is the bunt to our offence as nuclear weapons are to the Obama foreign policy?

Thoughts, boys? Should Lyle have laid it down?

The future is no better.

Before the season began Pecota predicted the Jays to finish below .500%. I take the Pecota projections serious, and so does my fat bankroll over at Bet365. For the last three years I have been using the Pecota preseason standings prognostications to win a nice little sum of money betting on baseball season win totals. By only picking teams with a 4+ win/loss discrepancy, I have been just above 80% since I started doing this sort of thing. There were some sweet choices this season including the ChiSox under (line at 89 wins), Yankees under (97.5 wins) and D’backs over (78.5 wins). The one bet I refused to make was on the Jays, who Pecota predicted to go 78-84, which is way off the Vegas line of 87.5. Although I refused to bet against my Jays it appears Pecota is going to be closer to the actual record than Vegas will be. 130 games into the 2007 season, the Blue Jays record stands at .500, with 65 wins and the same number of losses. (Not including tonight’s game vs. the A’s). Of the 32 games left, 17 are against teams above .500, 15 are against teams below. 15 are at Home, 17 on the road. Coming down the stretch, for the Jays to finish at .500 is no guarantee. But I’m going to predict that anyway, an 81-81 finish, which are three games better than the infallible Pecota guesses.

Once taking a closer look at the numbers it is apparent that the process Pecota took to get to their totals was a lot different than how the Jays got there. Pecota predicted the Jays to score 804 runs this year, 74 runs more than the 730 the Jays are on pace to score. What is really surprising is that Pecota pegged the Jays to allow 830 runs this year, which is 146 more than the 684 the Jays are on pace to surrender (despite the loss of BJ Ryan).

Knowing this shit, I want to look at a couple of hypothetical situations. (Because hypothetical is all we got at this point, since BP gives us a 0.3% chance of making the playoffs- and I’m rounding up on that number). Hypothetical number one; What if the Jays performed to Pecota’s projection on offense this year while at the same time accomplished the same numbers defensively they have in actuality. Well, at this point in the year the Jays would have scored 645 runs to go along with the 549 they've allowed for a run differential of +95. You would think that a number like that would put us at the top of the AL and into the playoffs. Well yes and no. We would be at the top of the AL but no closer to the playoffs. At this time the BoSox have a staggering run differential of +183 to lead the AL (which would have been 35 runs less if I wrote this last Thursday). The Yankees sit second in the AL with a +157 differential. The next best team in baseball is the Angels at +75. So, the Jays would slide in right ahead of the Angels if the dream scenario took place. Yet because of the division we play in, it would mean no post season. In fact, according to BP’s Prospectus Hit list, which is some convoluted formula to figure out the best teams in MLB, the Jays finished 6th overall last year, behind the 4 AL playoff teams and the Mets. As recently as last week the Jays were 8th on the list for 2007.

Getting back to run differential, it is important to not be a Dick (Griffin) and to point out both sides of the coin. The team with the second best record in all of baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks, have accumulated their 74-57 record on the backs of a -32 run differential (Yes, the “-“ signifies “negative). As well, the 30 runs Texas scored against Baltimore last week was impressive but it was only one win, although it skewed the +/- differential for the season.

Regardless, whether run differential has any bearing on actual ability or not, one thing is clear. In order for the Jays to make it to the post season they need for one of Boston or New York to be out of it for 162 games (and not 100, like the Yankees were this year). Then they need to be as dominant with their pitching as they have been this year (I fully expect regressions for Marcum and Litsch next year due abnormally positive BABIP) and they need their offensive players to have, in the very, very least, seasons that match their career averages. It is then and –it hurts me to say- only then that the Jays can win a playoff birth. I fully expect this to happen in my lifetime and hope they win the World Series when it does, because getting back to the playoffs repeatedly will be a tough task. That is not to say the Jays are a poorly run team, add 40 million in payroll and they have the All-Star Shortstop, Catcher and SP they need to be on par with the Yanks and Sox. The truth is the deck is stacked against the Jays. It was last year, is this year, and probably always will be.

If that’s not negative enough for you, I will explain hypothetical number two I mentioned 700 words earlier. What if the Jays offense played like it has so far but their pitching played down to Pecota’s projections? Well, to this point, they would have scored 586 runs and given up 666 (oh it’s true, it’s damn you all to hell true) for a run differential of -80. That compares to Florida, Houston and Pittsburgh, which averages 57 wins and 73 losses. It’s 2004 all over again (hopefully with out the payoff being Ricky Romero).

Yes, there is that much of a fine line in baseball. I would think that the Jays are closer to the strong AL team than the bottom feeding team. Although the picture I have painted of the Jays is closer to a Patrick Bateman than a Robert, there is some hope for the future. Here is my weak list called “Why the Future is Bright”.

Why the Future is Bright list:

1. BP’s 3rd order wins this year places the Jays with the same record as the Angels, behind only the BoSox and Yankees in the AL.
2. Ted Rogers might have a little Steinbrenner “win before I die” in him. (Hello A-rod!)
3. Papelbon is shoulder surgery waiting to happen; Rivera’s a Free Agent.
4. 2005 =79 wins. 2006 = 87 wins. 2007 =81 wins??. 2008 = 90 wins? (I’m reaching here)
5. Why the fuck not?

Well that list sucked. But remember, I might be down in August but come December I’ll have you convinced how the recently signed Tad Iguchi is going to bring the Jays to the Promised Land.

I’m too drunk to post links and probably should spell check before I post, but what the fuck, it’s not like anyone reads this blog anyway. (And I’m not calling you a nobody John Brattain- well, maybe I am)

Monday, August 27, 2007

And Then We Came to the End (Pt. II)

The Jays did not hit a double off Escobar yesterday, failing to get a two-bagger for the first time in 33 games. It was an amazing run, not so much for the doubles themselves, as for the fact that we managed to set an offensive record during a stretch (and a season) when the offense was putrid. For the year we've managed to hit almost 100 doubles more than our opponents (284-192). I don't know what to make of this, other than to hope that our offense isn't quite as bad as it's looked, and that some of those gappers leave the park in 2008. If you'd told me before the season that Wells would be on pace to hit 45 doubles, yet put up a .742 OPS, I'd have called you Willie Canate.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It's That Damn Pitching

So, another painful defeat in which our offence, which is fast approaching Rumsfeldian levels of incompetence, put up an anemic line of 4H, 2BB, 1R. Yeah, that didn't quite do the trick.

Now that you know that, you won't be at all surprised to hear that Dick Griffin assigned blame for the loss to none other than A.J. Burnett, who put up his own line of 7IP, 4H, 3BB, 9K, 1ER. A.J.'s inability to get five outs in an inning without conceding a run, coupled with his penchant for Three Stoogery, apparently makes him "a microcosm of Jays' season".

Of course, yesterday's game was a microcosm of the Jays' season only in the sense that another outstanding pitching effort went for naught. If the lesson you take away from yesterday's game is that the pitcher let the team down by unravelling in the seventh inning, well, you must really hate A.J. Burnett.

Also note that when it comes to the post-victory pie in the face that has become something of an A.J. trademark: "Not everyone sees the humour. Act like you've won a game before, gentlemen." Oh, and while you're at it, kids, get off my lawn. If I ever become this much of a humourless waste of DNA, somebody please shoot me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

And Then We Came To The End

Last night's game was the first since July 20 where a Jay reliever had to enter before the sixth inning. That's a span of 28 games. And to think that some douches were claiming that J.P. made a mistake by cutting Rosario loose instead of sending Marcum down to start the season (I may have been one of those douches; I can't remember now). Anyway, I haven't been this optimistic about our pitching since Chris Carpenter was lighting it up six years ago. I've gone back on forth on J.P. over the years, but he has a chance this off-season to redeem himself forever.

From me to you, J.P.: we can do this. We have the pitching. Now you need to do something great before spring-training. Trade for Bill Hall, or Orlando Cabrera, or Edgar Renteria, or some other hotshot middle infielder. Do something to make me love you again.

Billy Beane, genius

More evidence of Billy Beane's brilliance.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Who reads MSN sports anyway?

For those of you who do not read John Brattain, consider yourself lucky. Here is the best bio of the man who has some how managed to make a career in writing on baseball.

{Bloggers Correction-08/21/07: John seems like a stand-up guy. He just happened to write an article that I took issue with.}

In Fire Joe Morgan style, I am going to give my best shot at deconstructing a silly fucking article that Brattain wrote for MSN sports.

(My comments are in bold.)

How John Gibbons is hurting the Blue Jays
Poor lineup management is costing the team wins.

By John Brattain

They could’ve been a contender.

An On the Waterfront/Raging Bull reference, this has potential!

Instead they’ve been royally plucked.

Oh, I get it, a pun.

Plucked, rolled in (very) light batter, deep-fried, and served with enough to feed 13 American League teams. It’s a recipe called “Rolled Smoked Jay”, prepared to keep contending teams feeling high… in the standings. As we shall soon see, the master chef of this dish of ornithological delight even prevents runs.

You’re losing me on this one but I think you are trying to say the other 13 AL teams feast on the Jays this year (despite the Jays being over .500 against the AL this season).


Tell me about it

Since the All Star break the Jays are 18-13. The fact that the Jays have had the best pitching in the AL post-break this really shouldn’t be surprising.

They have the best pitching post break! That’s awesome! That John Gibbons sure know how to run a pitching staff.

Of course, they could be much better than that; the Jays are last in the AL East in runs, home runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average: Toronto is averaging about 4.5 runs per game—barely over three (runs on the road) since the All Star Game.

Clearly they have dropped offensively in the second half. Their team OPS is at .750 in the second half, all the way down from .752 in the first half.

The bottom line is this: The Jays offence had held Toronto back from contending in 2007.

Significant injuries to the teams closer, set-up man, #1 starter, #2 starter, 5th Starter, Catcher, 1st Basement, 3rd Baseman, and Left Fielder has nothing to do with why their record isn’t better.

However, it should be noted, it’s not just poor situational hitting, it has been a lack of a coherent plan by skipper John Gibbons.

Hmm, so their .219 AVG with two out and RISP is not the reason they’re struggling. Just like the Red Sox’s .817 OPS with 2 out and RISP is not the reason the Sox lead the division.

The Jays limp lumber became obvious to most sentient people save Gibbons. Yes, the line-up has suffered notable injuries this year with Reed Johnson, Lyle Overbay, Gregg Zaun enjoying some quality shelf time with a slow start by Frank Thomas and a non-start by Vernon Wells adding to a bad case of offensive constipation. It’s only very recently that Troy Glaus came out of a horrific slump.


Sadly, it has been the Jays philosophy that has hurt them as much as the poor hitting in clutch situations.

How exactly? Are you going to tell us?

GM J.P. Ricciardi once famously stated: “Give up outs to score runs? We don’t do that here.”

He did say that. I wonder if it’s because a runner at first with no outs scores .783% of the time. Where as a runner at second with one out scores .699% of the time. And a runner at third with two out scores .382% of the time.

This mindset has cost the Blue Jays a good many wins this year.

Now that’s a statement! Please explain.

Often in the National League, runners on first and second—nobody out, or man on second (nobody out) requires a bunt to move base runner(s) over. This is the oft maligned “productive out.”

You are right! In the National league where the #9 hitter (usually the pitcher) has a batting average of .186 this year, they often get him to bunt.

The Jays eschew the productive out for the unproductive out. The Jays had 47 unique opportunities with men in scoring position and nobody out. They break down thusly:

Only 47 "unique" opportunities, that seems low to me.

• Leadoff double: 19 times
• First and second-nobody out: 20 times
• Man on 2B, 3B or 2B and 3B with nobody out: 8 times

In all of these 47 instances Gibbons let the batter swing away. 47 times the Jays came away empty.

That is unique. It's almost unbelievable.

On another 56 different occasions the Jays had runners in scoring position with nobody out and came away with a single run.

What! I thought it was 47, where did these extra 56 opportunities come from? Are there any more you aren’t telling us about?

That’s 103 chances with men on base with at least one in scoring position and nobody out and the Jays scored a grand total of 56 runs—all because ‘They don’t do that (give away outs to score runs) here.’

Wait a second, they do give away outs to score runs. The Jays are second in the AL in sac flies. What they don’t do is give away outs to move someone up a base.

On a club where it is blindingly obvious that they’re struggling to put runs on the board—the Jays have scored three runs or less 51 times, four or fewer 66 times in 116 games—you have to treat every run as precious. Of the Jays 57 losses, 28 of them were by two runs or less.

And out of their 62 wins, 29 of them were by two runs or less.

This is John Gibbons fault.

It actually seems pretty consistent.

His job is to manage the personnel for maximum advantage. Yes, the Jays have been miserable in clutch situations (a batting, on base, slugging average of .226/.325/.356 in runners in scoring position and two out) but Gibbons has refused to face facts and try to manufacture runs.

Manage the personal to “maximum advantage” you say. Well Lyle Overbay, Frank Thomas, Troy Glaus, Alex Rios, Vernon Wells and Matt Stairs’ “maximum advantage” does not lie with bunting, it’s hitting for extra bases.

The Jays bat .215/.283/.299 with men on first and second (regardless of number of outs) and he still insists of letting hitters hack away rather than moving runners up 90 feet.

Are you suggesting that every single Jay should bunt a runner up regardless of the inning or score.

In the 20 aforementioned at bats where the Jays were first and second nobody out, the Jays grounded into 10 double plays.

Those 20 at bats you mentioned earlier are taken from a pool of 329 PA were the Jays have had runners on first and second. In other news in 760 at bats in Barry Bond’s career he has hit 760 home runs.

So instead of giving up a productive out and having runners and second and third with one out (and a team that hits .267/.337/.414 in that situation), instead Gibbons gives the opposition two unproductive outs at no cost. The Jays end up with a man on third/two out—a situation where the Jays bat a “Royce-tastic” .226/.325/.356.

If John Gibbons had Alex Rios bunt with runners on first and second when the Jays are down by 4 runs he should be fired.

This is on Gibbons.

Should Vernon Wells bunt in the first while facing Kei Igawa?

His managing the line up has cost the Jays runs, and in turn, games.

What about big Frank laying down a bunt in the third when they are leading 8-0?

This information is freely available to Gibbons (heck, I found it and I’m just a sportswriter) and he either ignores it, or simply hasn’t bothered to check it.

Troy Glaus bunts with one down, runner at second, and Jays trailing 4-2 in the sixth.

His lack of understanding what is going on with his team’s offence and refusing to rectify it has turned a potential playoff team into (barring a miracle) an also-ran.

It’s hard to see if he doesn’t understand because you haven’t given any specific situations where it would have been wise to bunt

Had the Jays managed to manufacture a couple of extra runs in five of the 28 games where they were beaten by two or fewer runs they’d be tied with Cleveland…1.5 games back of the wild card lead.

And if the Jays had missed out on home runs because they were bunting in just 5 of the 29 games they won by 2 or less runs this year, they could be tied with Baltimore, 12.5 games behind the Yankees for the wild card.

That’s how costly the Gibbons-Ricciardi approach has been in 2007.

Or the Earl Weaver approach, or the Joe Torre approach, or the Terry Francona approach, or the any manager in the AL not named Ozzie Guillen and Buddy Bell approach.

If the manager won’t change a losing approach, then it’s time to change the manager. If the general manager refuses to tell his manager that his in-game tactics are losing games, then it’s time to lose the general manager.

Can you clarify how many games over .500 a team needs to be for you to consider them a loser. Because if the Jays are a losing team at 3 games over .500, last years Cardinals had to be a losing team at 5 games over .500. Oh wait, they won the World Series.

The talent and personnel are clearly there.

But they have suffered serious injuries, right? That’s what is missing?

What is missing is someone who can utilize the talent on hand for maximum production.

“Talent on hand”- good choice of words to prove your point. Run Frank run! Drag that bunt Troy! Lyle, make sure you get it past the pitcher! Vernon, we’re not paying you 18 million to hit home runs! Alex, one of the 5 tools is speed, use it god damn it!

That’s the job description of any manager in any industry – including major league baseball.

Punchy ending. You almost won me over with that one.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

What a Waste

Jesse Barfield was in the broadcast booth for half an inning this past flashback Friday. Although Jesse had a lot to say and was very interesting to listen to, one comment stuck out beyond others. By watching one Vernon Wells at bat, Jesse concluded that Vernon’s front elbow was coming out, thus disrupting his whole swing and limiting the power in his swing. It took one at bat for Jesse to notice this. One at bat. Vernon Wells has not hit a homerun in 22 games!

Earlier in the season, Lyle Overbay pointed out to Vernon that his front foot was coming down closed when he swung the bat. Vernon made the proper adjustment and then proceeded to play one of the better stretches of ball he had all year. A teammate noticed this. A teammate.

This begs the question, and although “begs the question” is cliché, this really begs the question, “what the fuck is Mickey Brantley doing?” Seriously, he is fucking useless. A tit on a bull has more use. An ashtray on a motorcycle has more use. Air conditioning in the arctic has more use. You get the point. Mickey Brantley is useless, so useless that he is close to making a very special list. Mickey is days away joining the likes of Shea Hillenbrand, Erik Hanson, Richard Griffin, Steve Simmons and Joey Hamilton on the Maldonado Over Everything’s official “Waste of DNA” list. Watch out Mick, you have about forty games to change our minds. And it doesn’t look good.








Friday, August 17, 2007

Gibbons should be here to stay

Not too long ago a friend and I were discussing the days of yesterJay. He welcomed a return to the days of ignorance. A time when Joe Carter's career .770 OPS was disguised by that fact he "had a knack for driving in runs." A time when Jack Morris' 102 ERA+ in 1992 wasn't average because he won 21 games, something the Dave Stieb had never done. My friend was pissed those days had passed. It had made being a baseball fan so much fucking easier. I argued that those days haven’t passed. I logged on to the daily newspaper and pointed out a douche bag columnists weekly mailbag in the Toronto Star, reading aloud the venomous diatribes directed at our team. Things had not changed. People are as ignorant and obstinate as ever. But something is different, as much as there is a broader knowledge amongst a certain fan base (lets call them hardcore) there is also a sense of entitled disillusionment by the majority of spectators.

After going back and forth for some time we realized one thing. Joe Carter and Jack Morris were viewed with rose tinted glasses because the Jays were winning. We agreed a team is easy to evaluate when they are winning. However, this brought forth a new argument. When a team is losing, how do you evaluate them? We are both satisfied with the use of statistics to evaluate player performance for offense. Although defense is a little trickier, the naked eye and BP’s Rate2 will suffice for now. When it comes to managers however, a problem ensued. How do you successfully rate the potential of a manager?

There are a lot of people calling for the head of John Gibbons. Is this justified? Is he a bad manager, a good manager, or something in between? What makes a good manager? It’s easy to point out success as a standard for quality, and futility as a standard for ineptness. But even that simple conclusion has flaws. Joe Torre won a division exactly once in his first 12 years as a manager. The next 11 years saw him win 10 division titles. Of course this streak coincided with his arrival to the powerhouse Yankees. Bobby Cox’s record reads similar. It took him 8 years to win his first division; he then went on to win 14 in a row. They are now considered two of the greatest managers of our time, if not all time. Could Bobby Cox or Joe Torre lead this Blue Jay team to a better record? Who knows? What are they doing different than John Gibbons? It is a comparison that is impossible to answer. What needs to be asked is what has John Gibbons done to be deemed a poor manager?

People point to the Shea Hillenbrand incident from a year ago as reason for his dismissal. If it was any other player than Shea Hillenbrand it might have gotten Gibby canned. But Shea is a fuckwad who has been DFA'd again this year. He called Theo Epstein a “fag” to force his way out of Boston. Complained about playing time in Arizona prior to becoming a Jay. I have to believe the players were behind Gibby on that one.

The Ted Lilly fiasco is a little different. Although both have seemed to put it behind them, it is still a strike against the manager, and the biggest one.

As for this year, Gibby has been criticized for player performance (which he has no control over) but not praised for pitcher performance (which he has no control over) He runs a clubhouse with tremendous player camaraderie. The team record has definitely been hurt by injuries but he does not use that as an excuse. Besides, the team ranks third in the AL in third order wins. Regardless, articles like this one by douche bag extraordinaire Richard Griffin insist he should be gone, even though Griffin writes that Gibbons performance so far “has not really been a bad stint as skipper”.

It’s hard to pinpoint why exactly Gibbons should be fired. His managerial record is slightly above 500, while playing in the hardest division in baseball. He handles the bullpen extremely well. He keeps his bench players fresh and is willing to ride the hot bat. You can argue that the batting order is poorly constructed this year, although that was never an issue in the past. I think that issue has more to do with the offensive struggles of the club this season. There are countless batting order permutations that fans can offer up and argue for or against, but in reality there is no one solution that he is obviously missing.

Even though these faux fans dedicate a blog to firing the man, it is really hard to find a solid criticism of Gibby.
One criticism, that in my opinion is both asinine and egregious, is that Gibbons doesn't do anything special to win games. First off, in the last 10 years give me 20 “special” things any or all managers have done to win games. Baseball is not a sport with a playbook. You don’t come up with a new scheme or ploy. It is not like football, basketball and hockey, from a managing perspective. The things being done today, like the defensive shift, the double switch, and the stolen base, have been happening for years.

Another argument is that Gibbons doesn’t do the “little things” to win a game. No he doesn’t sacrifice bunt. And as this study shows, it’s not outrageous to value outs over bases. He doesn’t steal bases (see argument against bunting). But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t do the little things to win. Because last night Gibbons did a “little thing” that went unnoticed in the print media and from the inept ginger fuckface announcer Jaime Campbell. (Credit for term goes to Jays blog Drunk Jays Fans) I’m sure it was also missed by all you assholes calling for Gibby’s head.

In last nights game Gibbons brought in Matt Stairs to pinch hit for light hitting Ray Olmedo in the 8th inning. Stairs promptly got himself out. So too did the next batter Reed Johnson. Instead of sending Johnny Mac out to replace Stairs in the line-up, Gibbons pulled off a double switch (something unheard of in the AL). He replaced Reed Johnson with Johnny Mac and then had the inferior defender Stairs play left field in the top of the 9th. Trailing 4-1, Scott Downs managed to retire the side in order and the Jays started the bottom of the 9th down three runs. After scoring 2 runs and advancing runners to 1st and 3rd it was time for the ninth spot in the order to bat. Instead of having light hitting, right handed Johnny Mac up to face the right-handed K-Rod, the left-handed, superior bat of Matt Stairs was up. Although Stairs flew out to center to end the game, Gibbons managing foresight gave them the best chance to win the game.

Besides John Gibbons being a personable and capable manager, he also has two particular coaches that are invaluable to the team. Their infield/3rd base coach Brian Butterfield is arguably the best in the game and the highly successful pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, who’s “pound down” pitching philosophy is centered around inducing groundballs and limiting walks, has worked wonders for the staff. Admittedly Mickey Brantley has not done anything to improve the hitting and most likely will be let go at season’s end. It is important to remember that if the Jays were to fire Gibbons they could not replace him with another rookie manager. The Jays would have to bring in a retread that in turn would bring in an entirely new coaching staff. The way the Jays are playing, the abilities of their coaches and the prospect of the exact same team returning next year is reason enough to stick with Gibbons. Because if he somehow makes the turn in his career that Cox and Torre have made, hopefully, unlike the two greats, Gibbons won’t have to go to another team to do it.