News Doesn't Stop For Lunch

So I was sitting out on the patio of a restaurant in Tampa this afternoon, finishing up my lunch, when none other than Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi walks by. His greeting was a little more than the usual "Hello."

"Hey Jordan, we traded Schoeneweis to the Reds," he says to me.

Well, at least he waited until I was DONE eating to fill me in on the news. Lord knows it would’ve made for a quick lunch otherwise. So it was back to my hotel to write up short news story and then off to the ballpark to follow it up.

I’ve got to tell you that I have mixed feelings about the deal. Not from a baseball standpoint so much, though. Schoeneweis was one of those good guys to talk to in the clubhouse and — no matter how rough an outing he might’ve had that night — he was always willing to talk. As a reporter, you couldn’t ask for anything more. He’s a guy that’ll definitely be missed in that respect.

As far as his production this year, well, it’s not hard to see that Schoeneweis was having a down year. He was the first to admit that and no one was more frustrated with that than he was. As if his numbers weren’t getting him down enough, then he suffered that fluke running injury in Oakland — an issue that I don’t think he’s entirely over, yet.

You can’t fault Toronto for dealing him, though. They weren’t going to re-sign him next season and there are a number of young pitchers in the bullpen who have done a good job this year against left-handed batters — Schoeneweis’ specialty. Jeremy Accardo has been especially tough on lefties this year.

The Blue Jays haven’t officially announced who will get called up to replace Schoeneweis in the bullpen, but the rumblings have been tabbing Minor League left-hander Davis Romero as a potential call up. He moved up from Double-A to Triple-A this year and has had good numbers at both levels. The Jays will probably announce the move after the game tonight.

So after all my speculation about the 13-pitcher staff getting reduced to 12, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Toronto is giving Gustavo Chacin a fifth rehab start and Scott Downs will start on Friday, with Shaun Marcum going on Saturday. Ricciardi said a pitcher definitely would be added with Schoeneweis out. When I asked him if the Jays would return to a 12-man staff when Chacin returned a week from now, Ricciardi didn’t have an answer, saying only, "I don’t know. I don’t know."

CONGRATS TO: Reed Johnson. He’s finally on the American League batting chart — ranked third behind Joe Mauer and Derek Jeter. Entering Wednesday, Johnson needed 368.9 plate appearances and he finally gathered 370. Now, we’ll see if he can keep up the pace and contend for the batting title.

PROPS TO: All you readers. I was happy to see the discussion board working a little more after my last post. The comment total was only at eight the last time I checked, but it was good to see a lively discussion going. Let’s keep it up. I’ll try to interject comments in the posts from time to time, but that’s more of a place for all you fans to interact. Keep getting the word out that this is the place for Jays fans to chat it up, stir it up, and voice their opinions.

5 Comments

It’s easy to get down on the Jays for failing to gain a game on the Yankees when both teams were playing low ranked teams and the Yanks lost, but let’s do a little back of the envelope math and figure out where the Jays would be if Josh Towers had been a .500 pitcher like he was last year, and like the Jays were expecting him to be when they gave him $5M for two years. (Let’s assume there would be the same number of no decisions for simplicity, since presumably some of the losses turn into no decisions and some of the no decisions turn into wins, rather than losses turning into wins directly.)
From April 5th through May 24th, Towers was 1-8. If he had been 4-5, he probably wouldn’t have been sent down. Taubenheim was 0-3 from May 28-June 16th, so if we give Towers those starts and keep him at .500, he goes to 6-6. He keeps his loss from his two starts on the 20th and 25th, but being 6-7 he still doesn’t get sent down. Now Burnett comes off the DL, and Janssen, who had started struggling by this point, gets sent back down to the minors. (He was only in at this point to replace Chacin, after all.) His 5 decisions from June 30th to July 29th were 1-4, so assuming Towers would get them and keep at .500, he goes to 9-9. Marcum has two losses from Augsut 3rd to 13th where Towers would be pitching at this point, so make that .500 and you have Towers with a 10-10 record. That’s 8 games better than the 2-18 record that slot in the rotation actually recorded, which puts the Jays 0.5 games up of the Yankees and 2.5 up on Boston. But wait, this span includes an 0-2 record against the Yankees and 0-3 against Boston. If you make those 1-1 and 1-2 respectively, that puts the Jays 1.5 up on New York and 3.5 up on Boston, and we’d be relieved that the Jays lost to the 2nd worst team in the AL and didn’t give up a game of their lead.

Hmm… On second thought Marcum would probably still have made those starts in Chacin’s place, with Towers replacing the spot starts from Downs, Tallet, and Rosario, so the win total might be one lower. On the other hand, my total didn’t take into account wins that the Jays would have had if the bullpen hadn’t had to fill in so many innings in games where Towers struggled early. That’s probably at least one more win.

name one season in major league history where a team has won every single game that was expected of them.

So are the last couple of days the proof that the Jays have given up on the season? Between Schoeneweis and Hinske leaving (and getting no one back right away the way it looks right now) and Chacin taking his time getting back, it certainly gives that impression. Or is it just a coincidence that Chacin’s having a rough time just as Riccardi found his chance to make a couple of deals?

How is that kind of decision made? Does a team GM decide to start selling guys in favour of next year, or does he get together with the manager and they decide together? Is it the kind of thing the owner get involved in (outside of Yankees Stadium)?

robthegood: Since Baseball is a Zero Sum game, there must be teams every year who win at least as many games as were expected of them.

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