Game #70: Dodgers at Jays pregame

Los Angeles (40-30) at Toronto (33-36)
at 7:07 p.m. ET at Rogers Centre

Today’s lineups:

DODGERS
Rafael Furcal, SS
Juan Pierre, CF
Nomar Garciaparra, 1B
Jeff Kent, 2B
Luis Gonzalez, LF
Russell Martin, C
Olmedo Saenez, DH
Wilson Betemit, 3B
Andre Ethier, RF

PITCHING: LHP Hong-Chih Kuo

BLUE JAYS
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Troy Glaus, 3B
Frank Thomas, DH
Aaron Hill, 2B
Gregg Zaun, C
Matt Stairs, LF
Curtis Thigpen, 1B
John McDonald, SS

PITCHING: RHP Roy Halladay

NOTES: According to manager John Gibbons, RHP A.J. Burnett (shoulder strain) is expected to come off the DL on schedule for a start Thursday, June 28 in Minnesota. … Toronto officially parted ways with RHP John Thomson, giving the pitcher his unconditional release. … RHP Ty Taubenheim, who is starting for Burnett on Saturday, was in attendance with the Jays. … According to GM J.P. Ricciardi, LHP Gustavo Chacin (shoulder) might begin a Minor League rehab in roughly two weeks and could be back with the Jays by mid-July. … Ricciardi also said he believed LF Reed Johnson (back) could be beack around the All-Star break in July. … As far as RHP Brandon League goes, Ricciardi didn’t sound too optimistic that the reliever would be back in Toronto’s bullpen before the All-Star break. Gibbons had stated recently that League could be back before the end of the month. … The Jays optioned RHP Lee Gronkiewicz to Triple-A and recalled RHP Brian Wolfe.

That enough notes for you all today?

What’re your thoughts on the January trio of signings of Thomson, RHP Tomo Ohka and RHP Victor Zambrano? Thomson and Ohka are officially out of the picture (Ohka was released on Monday) and Zambrano is in the Minors trying to convince the Jays to bring him back to the bigs. Obviously, young pitchers like Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan (minus last night’s debacle) have made the ineffectiveness of the winter signings practically a moot point, but things definitely haven’t gone according to the original plan (do they ever?). Have Marcum and McGowan made the Thomson/Ohka ordeal a non issue? Or are you as Jays fans still disappointed that adding those veterans to the mix didn’t work out. Sound off…

12 Comments

pitching wins ball games. Pitching should have been the top priority during the 06 off-season. It’s nice to have a big name like Frank Thomas, but signing the Big Hurt wasn’t necessary. With all the money given to Thomas, JP could have used that money and picked up a solid starter (and they were available). Instead, he picked up three guys, who clearly were all falling apart. The only reason why Okha made the team was b/c of a good spring training. He fooled a lot of people. Regardless, the Thomson/Okha ordeal is still an issue. It’s another reason why JP should be fired at the end of this season.

Far as I’m concerned the best possible scenario has been realized with the emergence of Marcum/McGowan.

From what I read when Zambrano signed, it’s a deal with a $3 million?? option for next year which if healthy (it was dumb to think he was ready less than a year after his 2nd TJ surjury) could be worth it if you’re sure he’s healthy. Isn’t Towers making 3 mil this year?

Next years rotation:

Halladay

Burnett

Marcum

McGowan

Janssen, or Chacin if you leave Janssen in the pen.

The problem was, there were no good FA pitchers to sign. People keep saying Riccardi made a bad move by getting Thomas instead of a pitcher. But when two of the best pitchers on the free agent market were Ted Lilly and Gil Meche, do you really want to give them the 5 year overpaid contracts they got?

JP signed Okha, Tomson and Zambrano to small incentive based contracts. It was insurance. Basically, having 5-6 potential pitchers for the 4-5 spots was better than having 2-3 potential pitchers.

As it turns out, Mcgowan and Marcum ended up getting the spots. But had they been even worse than the three in question, then Zambrano or Okha would have a spot.

I’d rather see them lose that 5-6 million and have that money free next year than sign someone like Meche or Lilly for a big 5-6 million a year 5-6 year contract.

I agree with the Thomas thing. We overpaid for him, as for Ohka, Thomson, and Zambrano, they didn’t work out. JP figured that, otherwise they woulda made alot more money and wouldn’t have incentive driven contracts. Got a question for all you JP and Gibby haters out there. When you make a mistake at work, how many people jump all over you and threaten to have your head on a platter??

After all this time why do people still think that there’s a chance JP is ever fired?

He’s got the job for as long as he wants it.

I didn’t mind the signings at the time and I understood what J.P. was trying to do.

J.P. DID try and go after some of the bigger names (i.e. Lilly and Meche) but they simply didn’t want to sign in Toronto. Even if they did I didn’t think signing them to a long term contract for that kind of money was a good idea anyway.

J.P. instead signed 3 lesser pitchers to short and cheap contracts and hoped that one of them (at best 2) would have a good year. It didn’t work out that way and so what? at least now they don’t have the longer term contracts of a meche or Lilly and can instead use that money to get a better pitcher for ’08. From what i’ve read the potential free-agent crop will be better to choose from, and the way the younger guys are pitching the jays probably wont feel as big a need to overpay as they otherwise might have.

It’s not as if we didn’t go after Lily and Meche, it’s mainly that they chose to sign with other clubs. And they are both getting around 10 mil/yr, and for a #3 starter, that’s outrageous. Thompson, Oka et al were signed to help us hold our breath until our young arms were ready, and the pleasant surprise has been that we had these guys step up sooner than expected, probably because of the experience they got last year filling in for Haliday, Burnet, Chacin, and Towers. So, it didn’t cost much money, it covered the bases at the time when we didn’t know what our young guys were going to do, and, who knows, the added competition may have pushed our guys along faster.
As for Frank Thomas, I still say that at the end of the season, he will have 30-40 dingers, with a batting average around .300. If that’s not worth 9 mil, how can you justify 10 mil or more for a #3 starter?

To set the record straight, Thompson and Zambrano were signed for $500k each, Okha was $1.5 mill. These signings were insurance signings with a hope 1 of 3 would work out. I think JP bet that either Marcum or Janssen would make it as a starter, and if he got lucky they both would. The insurance policy was in case he got 1 only.

Remember, at the time, JP felt the bullpen was set, with Ryan as closer, League as setup, and the rest filling the roles. All he wanted out of one of these three signings was a couple of months until McGowan was ready. Remember McGowan is out of options this year, so he either had to make it or loose him. What he needed was more innings as a starter and that was at AAA.

Then the roof caved in and Ryan, Romero and League were gone, the bullpen looked like it was going to be a disaster. To be fair, I don’t think JP or anyone else could have forecasted how good Janssen was going to be as a reliever. Accardo was a known quantity and they knew he would be good. By the way anyone remember JP traded Hillebrand and Chulk for Accardo-what a steal that was.

So in the final analysis, what we have is a bullpen with the 2nd best era in the AL, and that’s without Ryan and League. The starting rotation of Halliday, Burnett, Marcum, McGowan and Chacin rivals anyone in the AL and 3 of those guys are low cost-how good is that?

Hey guys, this is smart management-you should praise JP for this not attack him.

My only concern would have been if they hadn’t started Marcum and McGowan. Doing so has given us one of the best starting rotations in the American League.

The Thomas signing, by year end will look like a bargain-just like Ryan and Burnett’s signings from last year look like a bargain now.How’s 2 HR’s in 2 nights with a slam tonight-the big hurt is about to put the big hurt on a lot of pitchers.Frank gets hot and the team gets hot.He absolutely terrorizes pitchers. The option of pitching to Glaus or Wells isn’t a picnic either.

Hey, I don’t like how Gibby handles the pitchers, but JP is one of the best-we’re lucky to have him.

Remember, this past off-season was sort of thin on quality pitching and the Blue Jays HAD to get something in an attempt to save their young guns. Unfortunately, 2 out of 3 didn’t work out so far. Tick…tick…tick Zambrano. There’s no doubt they need another starter. But look on the bright side, I think the young bullpen has done a **** of a job. They need to wake up their bats. Oh yeah, and get healthy.

Thank you gsumner, my thoughts exactly. The thing I like about Riccardi is that he’s locked up his key players long term, he hasn’t traded away any prospects, and he’s built a club that is going to play good baseball for years to come. You can’t predict injuries, but you can put guys in a position to succeed, and Riccardi has done that very well. If we ever get our guys healthy, I don’t think 10-12 games back is an insurmountable obstacle for this team. If we fall short this year, we can bring the same crew back next year and they will be that much better.

I can’t agree with Gibby not managing his pitchers. Look at how early he’s been pulling Marcum even when he’s throwing well – he protects the young guys. Burnett is a seasoned player who should know his own limitations – if fatigue was even the problem. You can’t ask a manager to pull a veteran pitcher who has been throwing ace stuff day in day out for the last month (with unfortunately little run support) – which is why AJ has so many pitches anyways. If you want to criticize for that, you criticize Arnsberg – he’s the guy working with the pitchers on the off days, the bullpens and so forth and can monitor that better – 100 pitches every five days won’t hurt a guy at this level, it’s if he wasn’t managed properly in between that there may be an issue. Besides, Burnett has a history of issues…he’s never been healthy a whole year, so if all it is is a fatigue injury and we get him back right away, let’s just be thankful.

gibby

You are right that 100 pitches every five days shouldnt bother a guy at this level. That is my whole point. Burnett threw 375 or close to that number the previous 3 outings. Burnett does have a history of arm trouble and has been one of the aces of the staff.

So knowing all that-why leave him out there for an average of 125 pitches per game-3 games in a row. Pitches get injured when they get tired.

The decision on whether he stays or goes is Gibby’s, not Burnett or Arnsberg.

That is where I have the problem with Gibby. Don’t be so sure he’ll be back when stated, I say he’ll be back when he steps on the mound. Remember Ryan only had a back problem, then a sore arm then tommy john

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