Burnett returns, League departs

The names on the transaction line weren’t surprising, but there was an unexpected element to the move. A.J. Burnett was activated as scheduled, and Brandon League was cleared from the roster to make room. But, instead of being optioned, which was the expectation, League was placed back on the 15-day disabled list.

According to the Jays, League, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 4, has been bothered recently by a pulled oblique. League spent the the better part of the first four months of the season on the DL with an "overdeveloped lat muscle" or a "shoulder injury" — the explanation has never been completely clear. League has said the shoulder and the lat issues were related, and they played a role in his diminished velocity when he showed up to spring. So, after a .419 batting average against and a 6.75 ERA in seven outings, League is back on the DL.

I, for one, was glad to see Frasor didn’t get demoted. Outside of a few rough outings, he hasn’t pitched too poorly for the Jays. He hasn’t been as sharp in his past few trips to the mound either, but can you expect much else when the guy is going a week between appearances? It’s been hard for Frasor to find the innings with how well Toronto’s starters have been pitching. Now, we’ll just have to wait and see if League will see any more big-league innings this season.

This leads to an interesting question:

League was supposed to be the setup man this year — a job that has fallen to Casey Janssen. If B.J. Ryan comes back as expected next year, the thinking seems to be that fill-in closer Jeremy Accardo slips back into the right-handed setup role with Scott Downs as the left-handed option in the eighth inning.

So, what happens to Janssen? Should the Jays keep him in the ‘pen, where he’s excelled? Or, should he be an option for the rotation, which has been the long-term plan from the beginning? And, what should happen with League? Should he still be given a shot at the setup role, or has his season dropped him to the middle-relief realm for the future?

No matter how you slice it, the Jays appear to have a solid pitching staff for 2008.

AL EAST STANDINGS
entering Sunday’s game
1. Boston 70-47 (–)
2. New York 66-51 (4)
3. Toronto 58-57 (11)
4. Baltimore 54-62 (15.5)
5. Tampa Bay 45-71 (24.5)

AL WILD CARD RACE
entering Sunday’s game
1. Seattle 65-50 (–)
2. New York 66-51 (–)
3. Cleveland 65-53 (1.5)
4. Toronto 58-57 (7)
5. Minnesota 58-59 (8)

69 Comments

Wells is killing this team this year. He comes up in the first tonight, runners on first and second with one out, and he pops out to short AGAIN.

Get it together, buddy!

Looks like Shea Hillebrand is wearing out his welcome in AAA teams.

He was signed by The Portland Beavers (Padres affiliate) on July 28th. Batted .148 over 9 games and was dumped to the Los Vegas 51’s a Dodger affiliate-where he’s hitting .255.

Nice win by The Jays; great outing by Burnett.

hem.gold

Ya, Santos is off to a poor start at AAA. Hope he picks it up.

I’d personally like to see the rotation set up as Halladay, Burnett, Marcum, Dustin, and Janssen with Janssen being on a relatively short leash. If Casey struggles as a starter he goes back to the pen and Litch can be called up from triple A. In the bullpen League can be used as the 7th inning guy if needed. If he shows he can duplicate last years season then the jays can use him or Jeremy as trade bait, with the one who stays being the set-up man. Don’t want to trade either of them ? then the jays can just have a rock solid bullpen, which is obviously a good luxary to have.
If Gustavo Chacin is still on the team then I would leave him as a long reliever/spot starter, untill a team is willing to trade for him, if no team is then he’s simply some pretty good depth to have in case someone gets injured.

I think the starters next year-barring injury is exactly what we see now.

Personally, I love the idea of having Accardo, Janssen and League as the 7th + 8th inning guys. It gives us the luxury of having one fresh each day. All we need from starters is 6 innings and then lights out.

Romero will be back and take the place of Tallet. The balance of the pen includes BJ Ryan, Frasor and Chacin. Wolfe starts off in AAA and gives us a quality replacement in case of injury. Chacin, hopefully gives us a starter replacement, and so does Janssen.

Nice to have options, and it’s going to be a very strong pitching staff.

I see Tony LaRussa’s contract is up with St. Louis at the end of this year.

Now he would definately be the finishing piece.

Wells had been 6 for 13 in August with RISP coming into this game.

so gsumner, is scott downs in the plans for the pen? I think Frasor might get the hook, or maybe Chacin.
This is how I see the Jays next year:

5 sps are Doc, aj, marcum, mcgowan, chacin.

bullpen 7: bj, accardo, janssen, league, frasor, downs, romero. (its tough to demote Wolfe at this point, but we’ll see how the season goes.

AAA- Litsch starting, Wolfe Tallet in pen.

Off team- Josh Towers and maybe Tallet.

Torgen:

6 for 13 in August doesn’t make up for a season’s worth of pop-ups, especially now that these games are becoming more and more meaningless….

As far as the bullpen goes, I’ve got a feeling Frasor might be the odd man out next year. The thing with bullpens, however, is that you never know what might happen. During Spring Training, after all, Accardo was pretty much being written off. Fast forward to August, and everyone’s singing a different tune about the guy.

I dunno…I often feel like a relief pitcher has the hardest job in baseball. They’re often forgotten when they perform well and when they screw up, they’re ripped into, demoted, and thrown into trades for virtually nothing.

And did anyone else see Gathright rob Hill of a second home run in as many games?

Unbelievable!

My point is May was the only month Wells hit worse than .300 with RISP, and that was when he had the flu. There are better targets if you want to complain about lack of clutchness.

Torgen:

I dunno….Wells has been pretty disappointing all round this season. With a runner just on second he’s 9 for 52 (.214), with a runner just on third he’s 4 for 17 (.235), and with runners on first and second he’s 6 for 30 (.200). Those are hardly impressive.

Granted, with the bases loaded or runners on second and third, he’s a combined 10 for 18. Now that’s something!

What gets me is the amount of times he pops out or grounds out without even advancing the runner. I mean, come on, 9 for frickin’ 52 with a man on second? Your clean-up/fifth guy in the order’s got to do better than that….

Not to mention, too, that 9 of his 14 home runs have been solo shots….

Wells has so many solo shots because he went on a hot streak when put in the leadoff spot. Aren’t 15 of Rios’s 20 homeruns solo shots, too?

Sure, Rios has a lot of solo shots, but he spent a much longer amount of time at the lead-off spot than Wells.

And I realize that Wells went on his “hot” streak when he was leading off, but that still doesn’t make up for the fact that aside from that streak, he hasn’t been hitting the long ball (or even hitting consistently). It’s looking like it’ll be a struggle for him to even top 20 HRs on the season. For a guy being paid that much money to hit in the 3, 4, or 5 spot in the order, that’s really not acceptable.

When it comes right down to it, I’m not arguing that Wells isn’t a good player. He is, but he’s having a brutal season and without him producing, the Jays’ lineup is too slow and too reliant on the long ball. The Jays need this guy to hit .300 with 30 HRs or else they’re too easy to pitch to.

And, come on, can you really defend that 9 for 52 with a runner on second?

It’s 9 for 42 with a single runner on second. Plus, if he moves the runner up to third with a swinging bunt, it counts for the 42 but not the 9. The 52 is games, not at-bats.

And he was 0 for 11 with a man on second in May, the Flu month. The 9 for 31 the rest of the time looks a lot better.

I would like to see Roy, AJ, McGowan, Marcum, Janssen. Then have Downs and Accardo in setup with BJ closing. League will get his shot at mid relief. Chacin if he is healthy can be long relief. Either way, I think AJ will opt out after 2008 so Jays will need another starter again.

Oh forgot about Litsch. If he is the real deal, then he can be a starter too.

I’d bet the shirt collars are starting to get tight in Boston, with the Yanks only 4 back.

Who’d have ever thought Gagne would pitch as bad as he has for them.

khoenig

Ya, how could I forget Downs. So we have BJ, Janssen, Accardo, League, Downs, Fraser and then either Wolfe or Chacin.

I think Tallet still has options so he could start at AAA, along with Wolfe.

Talk about depth!

Torgen:

Thanks for catching the 52/42 thing. I was getting a little cross-eyed there!

But I’m still not that impressed even with May taken out. 9 for 31 is decent, but not that great for your franchise player. Look at these other players’ averages with a man on second:

Derek Jeter: 17 for 42, .405

Magglio Ordonez: 15 for 40, .375

David Ortiz: 13 for 38, .342

Vladimir Guerrero: 12 for 35, .343

Now those are numbers! And I’m only harping on the runner on second business because I think a high average in that situation shows not only the ability to hit in the clutch, but also the mindset to keep an inning going and keep the lineup moving. There are other Jays’ players who are doing worse than Wells (re: Glaus at 5 for 35, .143 with a runner on second), but after signing that contract in the offseason, Wells is a lightning rod for criticism. Sure, you take out May and he’s had a “decent” season. But decent, my friend, doesn’t really cut it….

Does anyone remember how Carlos Beltran played the year after he signed his big contract with the Mets? .266, 16 HR, 78 RBI. What is he now? A perenial all-star who you can count on for a gold glove and 30+ HR, 100+ RBI every year. Give Wells a chance before you jump off his bandwagon. We have him 7 more years so you better get used to him. He will come around, if not this year, then next year

But Jeter’s only 5 for 24 with runners on first and second. Does that single-handedly make him non-clutch?

ukgocats:

Don’t get me wrong — I’m still a big fan of Wells and I’m pretty sure he’ll bounce back next year. My point is simply that his all round dysfunction this year is one of the major reasons the offense is scuffling along. Without him hitting for average AND power, the meat of the order is simply an invisible Wells and two guys who are slow, strikeout prone, and reliant on the home run (Thomas and Glaus).

But, yeah, like Beltran, I’m expecting the guy to bounce back next year with much better numbers. He’s hit too well in the past for this to continue….

Torgen: So you’re telling me that, defensive position and past numbers aside, you’d rather have this year’s Wells in your lineup over Jeter?

Rotation 08:
Halladay

Burnett

Marcum

Magowan

Jansen

Pen:

Ryan

Accardo

Downs

League

Frasor

Chacin

Glaus should be traded while his stock is relatively high and is a free agent after 08. How about signing Lowell or Branyan or wait for 08 and sign Crede or Blalock or better yet Chipper for Glaus’ replacement. Johnny Mac is now your full time everyday SS next year. He is a wiz at SS and his bat is much improved with his increased playing time. Trade Johnson so Lind can play. Wells leads off.

Lineup 08:

Wells

Hill

Rios

Thomas

Overbay

Glaus (assuming he isn’t traded)

Lind

Thigpen/Zaun

Mcdonald

Keep Stairs for the bench!

And although it’s just a rumour, this is on the FoxSports website:

“The Rockies couldn’t acquire a starter in time to avoid pitching right-hander Tim Harikkala against the Cubs Sunday, but they’re considering trading for Blue Jays righty Josh Towers or Orioles righty Steve Trachsel, both of whom have cleared waivers. They also inquired about A’s righty Chad Gaudin, who is 0-5 with an 8.54 ERA in his last six starts, but determined the price to be too high. Towers, also drawing interest from other clubs, could be moved in the next several days . . .”

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7116724?CMP=OTC-K9B140813162&ATT=49

(scroll down to the bottom of the page)

Hem

well let’s hope they get the deal done.

gsumner:

Yeah, there’s definitely no point in having Towers rusting away in the bullpen. I also read DeJong’s doing pretty well at AAA, so he could possibly take Towers’ spot in the ‘pen….

I hope for Towers sake they make the trade. He certainly has no future with us; but he might do OK in the NL.

gsumner:

Although I’d really hate to see the guy in Colorado. He’s already prone to giving up the long ball without pitching half the year in Colorado’s thin air!

hem.gold

ya we might see a 600 footer.

I’m saying it’s easy to take splits too far. Ever seen the movie Little Big League? The announcers in that movie epitomize this.

torgen:

It’s definitely easy to take splits too far, but I’m not really taking any of this too seriously. I just like talking ball and stats with someone else who enjoys the game.

All nit-picking and obscure stats aside, I just think we’d be seeing a different Jay ballclub this year if Wells was playing up to par. I think this lineup is built around Wells and when he’s not hitting for average and slugging the ball like he did last year, the whole lineup suffers. Of all the slumps and injuries the Jays have had this year, I think Wells’ has effected them the most.

But that is just my opinion….

And, no, I haven’t seen Little Big League. I’ll have to check it out….

But you know what’s funny, I just turned on the game and guess who’s up to bat with a runner on second? Our man Vernon Wells. And what does he do? Grounds out to short, but I will grant you, he did move Rios over to third….

pathethic at bat from Wells and Thomas. Did these guys come to play tonight or not

Nice to see Litsch and Thigpen catch a runner stealing after five in a row against the combo of Burnett/McGowan and Zaun.

But what’s up with the fielding tonight? I didn’t actually see the errors, but three of them can’t all be hard luck balls….

Or was it actually six in a row against Zaun?

It looks like they’re all suffering from hang-overs. no energy, no effort just pathetic.

Thigpen has a good throwing arm. Zaun should try to throw left handed-maybe he’d be better. I don’t understand why we don’t play Thigpen more often. He should catch McGowan, Marcum and Litsch.

I agree that Zaun’s arm isn’t looking too good these days, but I think he deserves a little bit of slack — McGowan and Burnett can’t hold a runner on to save their life. They’ve got huge leg kicks and in general they’re just slow to the plate.

But I agree about Thigpen — I think he deserves more time behind the plate. I love Zaun’s attitude, but he’s definitely not getting any younger.

And, gsumner, did you see any of those errors? How’s Luna looking at third?

Hem.gold

Luna made one of the errors and has gone 0-3. I never saw it or Hill’s. I saw Overbea’s. He took his eye off the ball and simply missed it.

I like Zaun’s attitude as well and you’re right McGowan and Burnett are partially to blame.

But overall,to me it looks like they’re mailing it in tonight.

Litsch delivered another quality start-only 1 earned run-3 unearned which tells you everything about the game

Yeah, I gotta say — looks like the Jays offense and defense left Kansas City before this game even started….

They play like this often on the road-seldom at home, but a lot of times on the road.

Makes you wonder whether they’re all out partying the night before doesn’t it

Hem.gold

Did you see the Braves waived Julio Franco to AAA? 48 years old and still playing is remarkable.

Sometimes I do wonder what these guys do on the road. To tell you the truth, I can’t picture a lot of these guys being big party guys. This is all speculation, but can you really picture Brian Tallet, Roy Halladay, and Lyle Overbay getting tanked together?

Nice game, though, by Litsch tonight. He battled and looked confident in the few innings that I saw him pitch….

Hem.gold

Looks like the Jays are snake bit tonight. This should be in Ripley’s. Believe it or not, Syracuse have had 5 errors, New Hampshire-4,Dunedin-3,Lansing-2 and Auburn 1. The only clean game was from the Gulf Coast Blue Jays.

Can you believe that?

Julio Franco is pretty incredible. But I’m wondering if this might be his last year — after all, how many 48 year olds want to be riding the bus in AAA?

Apparently, Atlanta promised to recall him September 1st. The guy must just love the game.

Ouch. Tallet just got rocked.

And, yeah, that’s a whole lot of errors for one organization in one night. I’m thinking Santos had at least one of those errors in Syracuse?

lol, no he didn’t-but he’s already got his share. Griffin had 1, Hattig had 1 and Barker had 3. Barker’s a pretty weak first baseman, which might explain why all the infielders are getting so many errors. I saw 3 of Santos and they were all throwing errors-which might or might not have been caught by a better quality 1st bagger.

Ya, another great Tallet outing.

I don’t understand that move-subbing Zaun for Thigpen, when we’re down 6-2 in the top of the 8th.

Thigpen’s played well-why yank him.

I was about to say the same thing about the Zaun sub. The game’s looking like it’s out of hand, so why not give Zaun the entire day off and let Thigpen work with some of the relief pitchers?

well at least he finally put in Fraser-nice outing-I do not understand why they don’t use him more instead of Tallet.

I’m still not sure what to think of Tallet. His overall numbers aren’t too bad, although he hasn’t pitched really well since May (2.12 ERA in 11 games).

He seems to give up a lot of walks and his ERA with runners in scoring position is 11.77.

That’s pretty brutal….

In the long run, I think Tallet simply gets more innings because the Jays don’t have any other lefties in the ‘pen other than Downs. And as much of a workhorse as Downs is, he can’t pitch every single day.

As for Frasor, he just happened to pitch himself into the doghouse. His numbers aren’t bad, but he fell apart in a couple of key situations and now Gibbons seems to have no confidence in him.

Man oh man — that’s the ballgame. The Jays really needed more than a split in KC…

He always seems to come in with a runner on, gives up a hit, the runner score and then settles in. The problem is it generally costs us the game. And the pitcher he replaces can’t be too happy either cause he takes the era hit.

We have better in Syracuse-including De Jong who went 3 tonight and gave up no hits.

Hey did you check out Diaz at Syracuse-still hitting .362

Diaz is looking good and I heard he’s got a decent arm. Apparently what he needs to work on is the catching basics — blocking pitches in the dirt, calling games, and that sort of thing.

DeJong is doing well. The trouble, though, is that he’s right-handed. The Jays really need another lefty option other than Downs….

Every reliever falls apart from time to time-look at Gagne.

To me, it seems like every time Tallet goes out there-its like tonight. Anyone’s better than that-left or right.

well-maybe he’s called Chacin

All righty — I’ve got to get back to work. Good talking to you and have a good night!

Venafro has been pretty good against lefties in AAA (.192 average and 2 walks in 13.1). At this point I’d rather have him in the pen than Tallet, although with the rumours that Towers could be headed to Colorado, maybe we can have both.

The Jays released Venafro. At 34 years old, his prospects probably weren’t too good:

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?n=Mike%20Venafro&pos=P&sid=t552&t=p_pbp&pid=150291

As far as Chacin goes, he’d need to strengthen his arm a lot before he could start coming out of the bullpen. He had enough problems coming out every 5 days, let alone at an inconsistent rate out of the bullpen. I’m wondering if Chacin even has a future with the Jays any more….

hem.gold

I wonder the same about Chacin, but if they are going to trade him, they need to showcase him-up here for a couple of starts one way of the other.

We have great left handers in the lower minors; some of the draftees are doing very well-just doesn’t seem like we have anyone capable or ready to come up this year.

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