Friday, September 26, 2008

J.P. Ricciardi to come back

The big news is that Cito signed a 2-year extension, but apparently J.P. is also, according to Godfrey to return.

I’m fine with that - J.P. hasn’t improved, but he hasn’t gotten worse. The key is that Paul Godfrey must be fired or kicked somewhere else within Rogers so that a real baseball man can accede to the President’s chair. The way keeps dangling Ricciardi from the helicopter as a live target for the press is ridiculous, and he doesn’t accomplish anything from the President’s chair. The rumours that Pat Gillick might be brought back as team President had me dancing in my office the other day. Gillick would provide fantastic cover for JP and prevent him from his worst excesses.

Dick Scott definitely needs to be retained and given more power if necessary; perhaps an Assistant GM title. I fear Tony LaCava might be on his way soon; if he doesn’t get a GM job this offseason in one of the few open spots, he might want to make a lateral move as a #2. This would be unfortunate, as I suspect Tony might make a better GM than Ricciardi has been though it’s hard to tell.

But Jon Lalonde, I’m sorry because he’s a smart guy and a young guy and a sweet guy who’s been good to a lot of people I know, he just has to go. He needs to go as of yesterday, actually; the scouting system is a disaster and while Dick’s done a nice job with what he has been given, I don’t have confidence that the scouting department knows a talented from a lugnut. Or a future Lugnut, as the case may be.

And J.P. needs to stop interfering in the scouting department’s evaluations. I don’t have any particular problem with him exercising executive authority over decisions like draft and signings, that’s fine, but he gets too involved in the decisionmaking process and he’s letting his personal peccadilloes overwhelm scouting judgment, and that’s bad; he doesn’t see the same way a cross-checker sees.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gone But Not Forgotten : David Eckstein

Traded, rightly and graciously, to the Diamondbacks for a young reliever (welcome Chad Beck).

I have always found it immensely pleasurable to watch David Eckstein play baseball. There probably isn't a ballplayer alive who couldn't benefit from adapting something Eckstein does to his own game. (The last guys I remember who were like this were Ozzie Smith and Tony Fernandez). I hope Aaron Hill absorbed a lot of the lessons visible in Eckstein's play while he was able to play with him this year - noted the furious commitment (to the moment and to the cause of winning) that carries ordinary players and ordinary teams to the top of the heap.

That said, Eckstein is not a major league shortstop anymore and since he still delivers value with the bat he really should be playing second base (presumably with the D-Backs he will). It's been difficult to watch Eckstein struggle to make his body respond to the demands of a position it can no longer handle. I imagine Eckstein could still play a very fine second base... his feet are definitely not too slow, his footwork is still very fine and his arm, now a total liability at short, is plenty good enough for second.

Much like Mike Bordick before him, David Eckstein was an utter class act and the great thing about his time here is that he's undoubtedly made tens of thousands of more fans for life. Players like David Eckstein actually deserve the hero worship that people give to athletes. I say that without knowing a thing about his personal life (he could bite the heads of baby rabbits for all I care); I mean he plays baseball like a religious mystic in the throes of a frenzied ecstasy.

When I say I believe in the Church of Baseball, that's one of the flavours I am thinking of.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hall(aday) of Names: Bloody your hands on a cactus tree

These players provide a strange mix between those we kinda miss and those whose dresses we wouldn't want sent to us, wet or dry. Cat, Cerutti, Clark, Coats, and Chulk fall into the first category. You know who's in the second.

Team C's a little short on infielders: Cairo's the only one playing at a familiar position unless you count Catalanotto. I kept Jose Canseco out of the lineup for obvious reasons but he could replace Carty. The rotation's excellent and the bullpen is decent. A 24-man team, too.

1B Frank Catalanotto
LF Jose Canseco
RF Joe Carter
CF Jose Cruz
3B Felipe Crespo
2B Miguel Cairo
C Kevin Cash
SS Howie Clark

C Alberto Castillo
OF Willie Canate
OF Sil Campusano
OF Rico Carty
UT Buck Coats

RHSP Jim Clancy
RHSP Roger Clemens
RHSP David Cone
RHSP Chris Carpenter

RHRP Tim Crabtree
LHRP Tony Castillo
RHRP Danny Cox
RHRP Vinnie Chulk
LHRP John Cerutti
LHRP Jesse Carlson

Friday, July 11, 2008

What's Czech for "disappointment?"

Tangentially related to the Blue Jays (Arencibia was the MVP of this thing last time)...

The 2008 World University Baseball Championship features the following teams:
Chinese Taipei
Czech Republic (hosts)

Or, if you prefer:

Tacoma Sidewinders
Lansing Lugnuts
Kitchener Panthers
Vermont Expos
Sultanes de Monterrey
Frisco RoughRiders
Frederick Banting Memorial High School
Boston Red Sox

How can you have a world baseball championship without even one Latin American team?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A damn Jones!

The guy Burnett struck out twice before sunset just destroyed a ball into the bullpen, completing the 19-run inning. Shades of Lilly sidearming the game away vs. Oakland, and if you didn't already know this season was over, the top of the 6th confirmed it with a bullet. An 8-1 lead against the Baltimore Orioles should last longer than a Wells at-bat.

Good game so far, though. Rod Black's more than tolerable when he talks about charity and kids collecting baseball cards and sixty year olds whose lust isn't going going Zaun anytime soon. Not so much baseball.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hall(aday) of Names: People of the silent movies, kiss of the twilight cry

The B-Squad is a little better than the As (it has a bench!). Bullpen sucks, starters are okay, but I like the lineup. It was tempting to continue The Hives' lyrics, but this song's title should be an update on "Spahn and Sain" given the state of the pitching staff.

1B Jeff Burroughs
2B Homer Bush
RF Jesse Barfield
LF George Bell
SS Mike Bordick
3B Tony Batista
C Pat Borders
CF Bob Bailor

C Rod Barajas
C Kevin L. Brown
IF Casey Blake
OF Rob Butler
OF Rick Bosetti
UT Dave Berg

RHSP David Bush
RHSP A.J. Burnett
LHSP Bud Black

RHRP Tom Buskey
RHRP Brian Bowles
LHRP Denis Boucher
RHRP Miguel Batista, far away from high-leverage situations

Monday, June 23, 2008

Then again, nobody will be watching the Jays in September anyway

Lost in the Cito madness was the news that Welcome Back Veterans, a charity whose purpose is not meant to be denigrated by anything following this dependent clause, has an awareness-raising event or something during MLB games on the July 4 weekend and September 11. As far as I can tell, the American flag will be morphed to fit each team's cap logo and blue will feature prominently in the uniform.

Hat tip, so to speak, to Uni Watch, where Paul Lukas points out that the Blue Jays are included in this. Sort of.

Their "honouring" of an American charity consists of combining the Canadian flag (an excellent, simplistic symbol of our country that everyone not descended from Diefenbaker can be proud of) and the Fighting Jay (none of those things). Ugly evidence here. I'm sorry for linking to that. The Jays have worn the stars and stripes in the past, most of the team is American, these games will be in Chicago and Anaheim, and WBV is MLB-connected, so American flags would have been more appropriate than bringing in the maple leaf for an event partially tied to Iraq. But at the very least MLB recognizes that they have a team playing in another country. Nobody needs to be reminded what song preceded OK Blue Jays on March 31, 2003.

That recognition would be enough progress to declare "the slope is positive" and move on, except that Lukas--who comes across as a sharp guy and really should know better--openly wondered if Canadian soldiers were even in Afghanistan. In a post about an event honouring veterans. So many wars, hard to keep track...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hall(aday) of Names: Exhibit A, on the tray, what you say?

It's an off-day, so we'll start the Alpha Jays series. Aside from Robbie, this defence will certainly throw the ball in your face, or at least nowhere near your glove.


2B Roberto Alomar
C Alan Ashby
1B Willie Aikens
RF Doug Ault
LF Butch Alberts
CF Russ Adams
3B Gary Allenson
SS Edgardo Alfonzo

RHSP Doyle Alexander
RHSP Luis Andujar
LHSP Clayton Andrews

RHRP Jeremy Accardo
RHRP Juan Acevedo
RHRP Jim Acker
RHRP Terry Adams
RHRP Carlos Almanzar

Yeah, so that defence is awful, but it's the best option. Could Alberts could play the outfield? Let's hope every single batted ball is hit quickly enough to second base so that Alomar can run it over to first himself (or he has time to give a really soft toss to Aikens). Alfonzo might deserve to be higher, but not after 2006.

This team helpfully introduces the extreme case of the defensive positioning rules. A player is first used at his regular Toronto position (e.g., Alomar), then irregular Toronto position (Aikens), then any other positions with other teams (Alfonzo), then wherever the hell we need him (Thrillhouse). There's no bench, just these nine guys.

And the rotation! Sure, there's Doyle, but the Game 3 starter is Private Andrews. And if anyone can't go on short rest, Terry "Bridgekeeper" / "Patch" / "Back End" / "Whatever Else We Came Up With Back When Signing Him Sounded Like A Good Idea" Adams gets the ball.

The A-Team this ain't. Any ways to improve?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

That Hurts, Part 5

"I don’t know if we have the luxury of waiting two to three months for someone to kick in because we can’t let this league or this division get away from us." -J.P. Riccardi

Days since Frank Thomas was released : 56

Blue Jays' record since Frank Thomas last appeared in their lineup : 27-25

Number of times Blue Jays have scored more than 5 runs : 11 in 51 games

Frank Thomas's batting line since his release : .319/.417/.516 (OPS+ 164), same as it was last update. Right quadriceps tendinitis has kept him out since May 28 and for at least a few more weeks.

Shannon Stewart's batting line since Thomas's release : .241/321/.305

Stew's on a 2-for-27 kick after his three hits in the 12-0 game. Wilkerson's OPS+ of 83 is the highest among himself, Mench, and Stewart. The Jays scored six runs in three games against the league's worst team.

Hall(aday) of Names: Initial Reactions

It's easier to put these together than it was for Mick to do them for all of baseball because it takes less time. It's harder, however, because there are some letters that just wouldn't cooperate. We'll start our journey through the all-time Alpha Jays teams with the incomplete squads, as a teaser for what's to come:


C Bobby Estalella
3B Tom Evans
SS David Eckstein
LF Jim Eppard
RF Sam Ewing

RHSP Kelvim Escobar
RHSP Nino Espinosa

RHRP Mark Eichhorn
LHRP Scott Eyre
RHRP Leo Estrella
RHRP Butch Edge

The alphabetically-first of our incomplete squads.


1B Garth Iorg
2B Alexis Infante
SS Cesar Izturis
3B Joe Inglett

We have infielders, but nothing else. Good fit for the I team.

Team N

C Steve Nicosia
SS Tim Nordbrook
LF Wayne Nordhagen
CF Otis Nixon
LHSP Phil Niekro
RHRP Jose Nunez
RHRP Mike Nakamura

If Niekro's knuckler is really, never mind.

Team O

C Charlie O'Brien
1B Lyle Overbay, John Olerud
SS Rey Olmedo
3B Willie Otanez
CF Al Oliver

If it mattered, we could conceivably move one of L'Overbay and Olderdude to the outfield, but it doesn't so we won't.


C Guillermo Quiroz
RHRP Paul Quantrill

Paging Eddie Feigner...


1B Willie Upshaw
LHSP Tom Underwood

At least the pickoffs will work.


C Ozzie Virgil
2B Jorge Velandia
RF Otto Velez
LHSP Frank Viola
RHSP Pete Vukovich
LHRP Ben Van Ryn



C Gregg Zaun
SS Eddie Zosky

No comment needed.


That leaves us with 14 letters that can field a short series roster: A, B, C, D, F, G, H, K, L, M, P, R, S, W. I suspect the lineup will be quite good for the B team...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

There's gotta be a better pun than "DePo Depot"

It comes as no surprise to anyone who read Moneyball (or T.J. Simers) to know that Paul DePodesta comes across as "big on process, small on outcome" but let me be the 1432nd guy who lives in his parents' basement one of a select few living in an expensive apartment in Paris on the St. Lawrence to praise his blog. Very few front office personnel publicly talk about concepts like that and even as a non-fan of the Padres, it's just plain cool to see, especially when most of what you read about FO personnel can be summarized by USS Mariner as "why we hate Bavasi."

Monday, June 9, 2008

Reasons, visible tonight, that the Mariners are not very good

In no particular order.
  1. Forget the poor arms of most first basemen. Sexson three-hopped it from 100 feet away; didn't think that was possible for a big-leaguer.
  2. Ibanez showing us why he should be considered the worst outfielder in the game: no range, no hands.
  3. Reed, making (1) possible on his cutoff throw to Lop--er, Sexson.
  4. Sexson's drop of the foul ball into the green seats (didn't cost them anything, but geez).
  5. Reed again! I have never seen, in fifteen years of baseball-watching, a runner on second get thrown out after the batter fails to get the bunt down.
  6. If you're going to make a defensive replacement, why leave Ibanez in the game?
  7. Bringing in Miguel Batista, who has not entered a game with men on base this year, with the go-ahead run on second.
  8. A starter pitching high-leverage relief two days after he was completely bombed.
  9. The likely reality of a pinch-runner playing first in extra innings. (I wrote that one in the 8th.)
  10. A lineup that allows the other team to intentionally walk the leadoff man.
  11. Batista again, just because.
  12. Johjima not bumping Inglett on his follow-through and missing the cheap but easy interference call.
Tonight's reasons the Jays suck are, of course: Jason Frasor, all the popups, those awfully lame BORN TO PLAY commercials (first time I've seen them), an even more useless way to waste McGlovin for the night, Jason Frasor, and losing to the Mariners.

God I hate Rod Black.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

On the other hand, it gave Ernie Whitt something to do

"No doubt he injured himself"
- Rance Mulliniks

"He looks in considerable discomfort."
- Jim Hughson

Is this the wrong time to point out that I actually liked the decision to turf Reed for Stew?

"But there's, like, no way I'm rooting for Marco Scutaro"

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Finally, a game on TSN

When you don't get Sportsnet, that adverb is appropriate. Random thoughts:
  • Rod Black Moment of the Night: "Catching is Rod Barajas--there's A-Rod, but HOW ABOUT B-ROD?!?!"
  • Only Shannon Stewart lets a Molina go first-to-third on a single to left.
  • Pat Tabler, who barely played the field or threw a ball, is asked how misty rain affected his gameplay.
  • Moose not happy with CB Bucknor. Moose's bad mood is justified for once.
  • The first time Jesse Litsch retired the leadoff batter, three two-out runs scored.
  • Rod Black Moment #2: "Derek Jeter: third-time [sic] all-time!"
  • Felt bad turning off the game after Thigpen came in, because he'll probably never get to play again.
  • Rod Black Moment #3: "Number two gets number three to pass number seven!"
  • Pat Tabler, who only does like 128 Yankee games every year, says he can't think of anyone else who bends quite like Mussina does from the stretch, then after a pregnant pause says "except Ian Kennedy."
  • Rios looks fine to me. Hooray for two plate appearances instead of 262!
There was also a game last night on whatever they call TBS now and it made me wonder what exactly a burke badenhop is. Still not sure.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Beware the Curse of the Titties

I still can't believe that poor Brant Colamarino's career may be over, only a few months after this blog was created. I am seriously considering renaming this place after Stewart now.

That Hurts, Part 4

A day early today.

“I don’t know if we have the luxury of waiting two to three months for someone to kick in because we can’t let this league or this division get away from us." -J.P. Riccardi

Days since Frank Thomas was released : 39

Blue Jays' record since Frank Thomas last appeared in their lineup : 19-17

Number of times Blue Jays have scored more than 5 runs : 7 in 36 games

Frank Thomas's batting line since his release : .319/.417/.516 (OPS+ 164)

Shannon Stewart's batting line since Thomas's release : .264/.331/.321

Stew was on a very impressive 11-game hitting streak until last night during which he hit .359, but with no power. Mench and Wilkerson are hitting a combined .183. The offense is beginning to pick things up but in their last 12 losses the Jays have scored 18 runs - 1.5 per game. 8 of those 12 losses have been by 1 or 2 runs, or in extras.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Inappropriate Names on the All-Star Ballot

(Otherwise known as "who I voted for")

1B Richie Sexson, SEA
2B Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE
SS Luis Hernandez, BAL
3B Melvin Mora, BAL
OF Jacque Jones, DET; Brad Wilkerson, SEA; Adam Jones, BAL
C Kenji Johjima (only if Washburn gets the start), SEA
DH Frank Thomas, TOR

1B Dan Ortmeier, SF
2B Kazuo Matsui, HOU
SS Cristian Guzman, WAS
3B Pedro Feliz, PHI
C Ronny Paulino, PIT
OF Andruw Jones, LA; Jim Edmonds, SD; Michael Bourn, HOU

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

But I know there'll be some way

When I can swing everything back my way
Like skyscrapers rising up
Floor by floor--I'm not giving up!

Colamarino out for the year. Didn't appear in a game.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Colamarino Has Trivia

Today's first question comes from Steve Paikin's Remembering David Steinhart post:

Yankees’ pitcher Ron Guidry went 25-3 in 1978 in one of the all-time great seasons for a pitcher. Name the three pitchers who defeated him.

The late Steinhart could not come up with it, but I'll give you two hints: these three men have the same first name and one of them was a Blue Jay.

Honour system in effect as always.

Monday, May 19, 2008

That Hurts - Part 3

“I don’t know if we have the luxury of waiting two to three months for someone to kick in because we can’t let this league or this division get away from us." -J.P. Riccardi

Days since Frank Thomas was released : 30

Blue Jays' record since Frank Thomas last appeared in their lineup : 15-14

Number of times Blue Jays have scored more than 5 runs : 4 in 29 games

Frank Thomas's batting line since his release : .269/.390/.343

Shannon Stewart's batting line since Thomas's release : .253/.321/.333

Stew's picked it up a bit lately, but not by much. Both players basically sat all weekend during that despicable sideshow of interleague play. Mench and Wilkerson haven't done much yet.

Urge to kill updated

Tybalt complained about the MLB schedule last summer. Specifically, the August 2007 long weekend was "the first time since 2002 that the Jays have played three home games on a summer long weekend." I don't think the many people who complain about the MLB schedule realize how incredibly difficult it is--go ahead, try scheduling something like the Intercounty Baseball League and see how far you get--but that won't stop me from taking a look at the 2008 long weekends.

Since, you know, today is the first one.

Everything except the 2008 line below is from his original post. This year, the Jays were out of town entirely for the May weekend, at home on Sat/Sun but not Mon/Tue of the Canada Day weekend, at home only on the August holiday Monday and not the weekend, and not even playing on Labour Day. What's with playing Canada Day out in Seattle?

Year  5/24  7/01  8/01  9/01

2008 road half half road
2007 road road home half
2006 half half road half
2005 half* road half* half
2004 half road half half*
2003 half half road half
2002 half half home home

(* : played at home on the weekend and had an off-day on the holiday.)
("half" means some games on the weekend but not all three days.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

The GM Family

Following on from Magpie's brilliant research at Da Box... I hereby present version 0.01 (alpha) of the General Managers' Family Tree. Click to enlarge...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Brad Wilkerson : Then and Now

THEN: Rios for Wilkerson would be an excellent deal. Wilkerson would give the Jays a nice bat in RF, while Rios might just be "toolsy" enough to interest Bowden.

THEN: Last year it was Wilkerson for Wells, pretty sure it hasn't gone down by *that* much.

THEN: Batista for Wilkerson is quite palatable, but why not add Rios, Hinske and a couple of exciting young arms to the offer and get Nick the Stick too?

THEN: If I'm Washington, I don't like Reed Johnson plus Batista for Wilkerson - I think I would hold out for Alex Rios (which I think is still doable)

THEN (my favourite): I'd do Batista for Wilkerson in half-a-second. Would JP? How about about Chacin and Rios for Wilkerson? I'd do that one even quicker. But what do I know? Nothing, that's what -- except that JP ain't done and I ain't gonna bitch and moan about who he trades and whoever the hitters are that he comes up with until I see how the '06 season plays out.

NOW: Wilkerson was signed off the scrap heap.

NOW: Wilkerson has not done much for over 2 years against all types of pitchers. I would much rather have a Lind/Stewart platoon.

NOW: As for Wilkerson, I'm not so fond of that acquisition.

Bonus Miguel Negron sighting! Furthermore, and I have only circumstantial evidence to back this up, but I would bet that Wells will be in a different uniform in 2008. If that's the case, who's going to play CF if Rios is traded? Negron?