Friday, January 18, 2008

10 million of shit.

Blue Jay’s blogs are like Loogy’s, everybody has them and they all suck. Okay, they don’t all suck, but the principle remains the same. They are not something you should pay for or commit to long term. The Jays have done real fine picking up loogy’s off the scrap heap, as evident by current lefties Lou Diamond Philips and Wolverine. When you find free money that can help you in the short term, and be invested into long term legitimate returns (two high draft picks), you don’t screw it up. But for some inexplicable reason JP has done just that. If you look what he did last year when he turned found money “Just Inspire” and F-cat into Kevin Ahrens, Brett Cecil, Justin Jackson and Eric Eiland (4 of our top 10 prospects) you would think that JP would understand the way to go with Lou Diamond Phillips. Instead, he turns around and does exactly what a team in the Jays position cannot afford to do- pay average money for average talent. Normally the Jays don’t do that unless they are left with no other choice (Eckstein and Zaun). So why did they do it this time around? Because JP is desperate- and rightfully so.

While the LDP signing is not as shitty as the stupid fuckwad decision of a year ago to pay Vernon Wells a shit load of money, it is similarly short sighted. But when you’re year seven into your tenure with nothing to show for it I guess shortsighted is what you have to be. For some stupid reason I have defended JP from the get go. I have always known he is nothing more than a used car salesman, it’s just his pitch is pretty fucking convincing. I’ll admit, he fooled me too. It also doesn’t help that Richard Griffin hates him so much, something Dick probably doesn’t realize deflects criticism from JP among the knowledgeable fans. But Dick might have been on to something, even if he got there ass backwards. Criticism needs to be placed towards JP. Yes he has built a really good team coming into next year. I think they are a platoon catcher (Michael Barret?) away from being as good as the Yankees, Sox, Indians, Tigers, and Angels. I say this with a straight face and void of my Blue Jay colored Kool-Aid. I think that statement is 100% accurate. They have awesome defense, an awesome bullpen, very good starting pitching and above average hitting. But what JP has done while building this playoff caliber team, and I wouldn’t put it past him from doing it intentionally, is loaded it with excuses for failure. The Jays, as they stand can make the playoffs if, and only if, everyone stays healthy. What is the possibility of that happening? Almost zero.

Scott Rolen, Vernon Wells, and Reed Johnson all have chronic problems. Frank Thomas is on a surgically repaired ankle that can snap under his 260 pounds at any time. Roy Halladay hasn’t had an injury free season since winning the Cy Young. AJ Burnett? Please. BJ Ryan’s violent delivery finally caught up with him. Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan and Jesse Litsch are going to have to throw more innings than ever before (which incorporates the potential for fatigue and injury). Brandon League has a small tear in his rotator cuff. Gregg Zaun has been finding ways to get injured the past few years. Is there any reason to think the Jays will stay healthy this year? No, of course not.

What I expect to happen is the jays winning anywhere from 85-90 games this year, finish second or third in the wild card and hear about how if only “insert player(s)” were healthy they could have made the playoffs. That would be followed by how the biggest place the payroll discrepancy hurts them is in the depth department. It might be true, but then don’t sign a guy with a bum shoulder to a 7 year/126M$ contract. Don’t target AJ Burnett to be your number 2 starter. And don’t trade 1 year of Troy Glaus for 3 injury-plagued years of Scott Rolen. And don’t sign a Loogy for three years when you could get one year and 2 potential first round picks out of him instead.

I will be cheering just as hard as always for the Jays to stay healthy and make the playoffs, but I won’t bet on it. And I’ll be richer for it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pitching and Defense.

With the new acquisition of Scott Rolen the Blue Jays are considered to be one of the best defensive teams in baseball. Just how good are they? Well looking at every position and using BP’s Rate2 system let's find out. Rate, as defined by BP is: "A way to look at the fielder's rate of production, equal to 100 plus the number of runs above or below average this fielder is per 100 games. A player with a rate of 110 is 10 runs above average per 100 games, a player with an 87 is 13 runs below average per 100 games, etc. Rate2 incorporates adjustments for league difficulty and normalizes defensive statistics over time."

Blue Jays Career Rate2 Numbers and Career High
PositionPlayerCareer Rate2Career High* Year
CGregg Zaun93972005
1BLyle Overbay1041082005
2BAaron Hill1121262006
3BScott Rolen1121202007
SSDavid Eckstein991122006
LF**Reed Johnson1051122005
LF**Matt Stairs991002007***
CFVernon Wells951032004
RFAlex Rios1041092006

*I only included full seasons for career highs
**LF was averaged between Stairs and Reed for totals
***43 game season in Left was a career high at that position for Matt Stairs

When looking at the numbers the Jays defense as a whole can be expected to prevent an extra 22 runs per 100 games this year. If everyone plays to career highs (all of which were accomplished within the last 4 years) the Jays defense could prevent a staggering 81 runs per 100 games this year.

Of course all of this comes with a major caveat, Rate2 is just one of many different defensive rating systems and its efficiency has to be questioned. Nonetheless, the Jays defense looks very good, and a major contributor to the ’08 playoff push.