That's all she wrote

BALTIMORE — So, this is it. The fat lady is warming up, while the Blue Jays get ready to play out Game No. 162 to complete this 2008 campaign. It’s been an interesting season — stellar pitching, subpar hitting, a managerial change and a fourth place finish for Toronto.

There were some silver linings: Doc Halladay doing what he does best, A.J. Burnett having a career year, B.J. Ryan coming back from Tommy John, the bullpen performing as baseball’s best, the promotion of Travis Snider, the emergence of Joe Inglett and Jesse Carlson, the versatility of Marco Scutaro and the return of Cito Gaston.

There were some forgettable items: Aaron Hill being knocked out for the year with a concussion, Alex Rios struggling to clear the fence, Vernon Wells landing on the shelf twice due to freak injuries, Scott Rolen battling a shoulder injury — again, the losses of Dustin McGowan until next year, the loss of Shaun Marcum until 2010, the canning of John Gibbons, and that mild war of words between J.P. Ricciardi and Adam Dunn.

Now comes the offseason: Jays trying to convince Burnett to stay, maybe going after a designated hitter or a shortstop, the possible resignation of president and CEO Paul Godfrey, and Toronto trying to avoid a bleak forecast for its rotation.

As for me, I’ll be following the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round of the playoffs and then running the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12. I’ll be blogging throughout the winter and will be back at it again in 2009. Coming this week, I’ll dish out the 2008 Bastian Awards, providing my picks for the annual season-end awards.

And, one last time this year, here are:

Today’s lineups:

TORONTO (85-76) at BALTIMORE (68-92)
at 1:35 p.m. ET at Camden Yards

BLUE JAYS
Joe Inglett, 2B
Marco Scutaro, SS
Alex Rios, RF
Vernon Wells, CF
Adam Lind, DH
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Scott Rolen, 3B
Gregg Zaun, C
Travis Snider, LF

PITCHING: RHP Jesse Litsch (12-9, 3.67)

ORIOLES
Brian Roberts, 2B
Nick Markakis, RF
Melvin Mora, 3B
Aubrey Huff, DH
Adam Jones, CF
Luke Scott, LF
Ramon Hernandez, C
Kevin Millar, 1B
Brandon Fahey, SS

PITCHING: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (10-11, 3.57)

32 Comments

It’s been a pleasure to read your work throughout the season Jordan. I’ll continue to read it during the offseason and look forward to your thoughts on what the Jays should, will or wont do.

I think the offer to Burnett is fair. I wouldn’t offer him much more. It probably wont get him signed but as much as I like him, i’d have a hard time giving him what he could get in the free agent market. There are other options and while most aren’t as good as A.J. they really only need someone to hold the fort down untill McGowan can return and the Jays can rely on Accardo to return to form so that they can move one of: Downs, Wolfe or Janssen into the rotation.

I think after pitching the priority should be a shortstop or a great DH.

Too bad Wells, doesn’t bring this focus to every singel game he plays.

Frankly, I’d pass on Giambi or any other designated dh for a number of reasons. First, Giambi turns 38 next January. Second and more importantly his hitting with risp has steadily declined over the last 3-4 years to the point it’s .225 this year.
The last thing the Jays need is another Frank Thomas situation with a guy who isn’t a clutch hitter at the end of his career. I’d expect Giambi would ask for a minimum of 2-3 years at 10-15 mill per year. We would get hung with another dead end contract and frankly we’ve had our share.

In addition, with the limited resources we have as a result of existing contracts, I don’t think we should sign a designated DH, but rather use the money to do something else with. I expect both Snider and Lind will hit close to .300, knock in 20 Hr’s and 75-100 rbi’s next year and between the two of them probably not cost us more than 1 million-What’s wrong with that?

Let’s go do a deal with Florida and take over Haney Ramirez’s contract instead. He fills the role of pop, ss, lead off hitter and speed all in one package and will cost less than Giambi. If we want or need another big bat go sign Tiexeria and trade Overbay.

Lets be realistic gsjays we can’t have our cake and eat it. If we were to somehow trade for Hanley Ramirez we would most assuredly have to give up Snider and lots more. Florida isn’t gonna just let a team take Hanley’s contract off their books, it will take several top prospects. Just look at when Boston took Beckett off Florida’s books, they had to give up Hanley Ramirez and another young pitcher who is now in the marlins starting rotation (I can’t remember which one and I’m too lazy to look). I can’t see any realistic way that the jays land Hanley Ramirez, if he were to somehow be on the market there are several teams with deeper farms that could outbid us.

I also disagree about Giambi, I think the jays should attempt to sign a dh like him, if only to allow Snider more time in the minors. I think the jays need to wait on free agency a little bit, it is almost guaranteed that at least one of the dh’s slips through the cracks and we can pick him up later on for a 1 year deal. While Snider has looked good in his brief callup, I am really doubting whether he is ready. Rather than start him on the path towards free agency I think the jays need to keep him down at AAA for at least another half season of seasoning. If he sticks with the jays I don’t think he hits any better than .250, with 20 hr’s, and between 60-80 rbi’s, and that is best case scenario if you ask me. Give him time in a low stress environment of triple A to work on his play in the field and the challenge of smarter pitchers over a longer period of time. MLB pitchers will figure out his weaknesses and exploit him, and no 21 year old needs to have his confidence shot this early.

Pipes.
I think your wrong about Snider,Snider is one of the rare players that will be an allstar player all of his career, Toronto lucked out when they chose him. The team does not need another DH that is at the end of his career,they need a player that can hit at least 40 HR next year.
One player that may hit 35 to 40 HR is Wells if he can stay off the DL next year.
The Jays can trade some prospects for Hanley,I’m sure they can make a deal without trading Snider, and I don’t think they would trade him anyway, but if they traded Lind for him I would be okay with that, also throw Cecil in the mix.

pipes
We have not been very successful with dedicated DH’s in case you haven’t noticed. Signing Giambi would be a rerun on the Frank Thomas horror movie-the one with the brutal ending..
Of course MLB pitchers will find Snider’s weakness, then he adjusts and on and on it goes with him like every other MLB hitter. Its a continual game of cat and mouse. To keep him in AAA so it doesn’t start his timeclock is ridiculous. If that’s the case then keep him and every other prospect in AAA and bring none up.
In terms of Ramirez, it is rumored Florida will have another fire sale and with Ramirez having the biggest contract he will be the first to go. Of course he’s not going to be cheap,but his contract will prohibit numerous teams from going after him so it might not be as huge as one thinks.

And frankly, your “250, with 20 hr’s, and between 60-80 rbi’s” is about all we’d get out of Giambi and he’ll cost 10 million more.

you guys are all so mechanical:-) personally, I am always sad on the last day of regular play – the last day my beloved blue jays are on tv until the spring. its always kind of a shock for a while, and unlike the rest of you, I gave up on the leafs years ago.

i really hope we keep AJ – not because of all the salary stuff you guys talking about but because I met him on the street in Seattle, and he was a great guy. it was the day JP said he wanted to trade him, and despite that, he told us where to meet him for autographs after the game and came up to our crowd outside the stadium to talk. i was very impressed, and so beyond all the salary stuff, I say lets keep him. and ps, have i said jp is an idiot.

jorden, does the blog remain throughout the year, and is there anyway we can get an RSS feed so that we can see when it is updated. if you don’t update for a month or two, i may just forget.

tanand.
I’m just as unhappy as you are that the season has come to an end.Don’t worry Burnett will be back.

There’s a link on the right side of the blog that has a “subscribe to this blog” section. The blog will go all offseason and I’ll update as news dictates.

~JB

Jordan the Cubs will win the world serries,mark my words.

Sometimes those rental players work out

Milwaukee paid dearly for CC Sabathia but it paid off today when he went 9 innings, gave up one run to the Cubbies, won the game and put the Brewers in the playoffs for the first time since 1982.

Sabathia went a remarkable 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and seven complete games in his short stay with Milwaukee. Talk about performance under pressure.

Gary
I think the Cubbies will win the NL and I’d like to see TB win the AL, but the Angels will be tough. Talk about a world series if it’s LA and the Cubbies. Both strong teams and deep. I’d like to see the Cubbies win, but if they play LA, it’s going 7 and I think I give the edge to LA, albeit it a small one

Gsj.I have always loved the Cubs,I think the reason was they always played in the afternoon and I used to live in Ottawa and I used to get them on the tube as I drove truck at night and could watch the games.go Cubs.

I don’t think the Marlins will trade away their superstar player right after they signed him to a long-term contract. Instead, they will try to keep their payroll down by trading away some of their arbitration-eligible players this season Dan Uggla, Josh Willingham, Cody Ross, Mike Jacobs, and so on. But if only they would, right?

I would like to see the Jays acquire Matt Holliday from the Rockies. In him they would get an extremely motivated (free agent after 2009) and talented player at a relatively cheap rate. It wouldn’t take too much to get him since he is a one-year rental type.

caleb
As much as I like Matt Holliday, he’s a left fielder and we already have two of those in Lind and Snider. In addition, Holliday is scheduled to make $13.5 million in 2009 which is 12 million+ more than we’ll pay a combo of Snider and Lind. He would be hugely expensive to trade for and frankly, we wouldn’t get a lot output from Snider/Lind and still have huge gaping unfilled holes.

Ramirez, if the Marlins trade hims, could add power, speed, and a .400 obp as lead off hitter. In past fire sales the Marlins focused in on their most expensive guy and they are committed to pay him 70 mill. from 2009 to 2014 or an average of almost 12 mill per year. Considering their entire payroll for 2008 was below 22 million, I think they’ll be quite motivated to trade him, particulary for pitching prospects of which we have lots of.

No matter what happens in the off season, we can be sure of one thing, and that is JP will do what is best for JP’s future, not the club. This probably means that he will do what he always does — overpay for over-aged, over-rated players in attempt to give the impression that he is fielding a competitive team next year. What is different this time, though, is that we do have a (very) few tier-1 prospects that he is going to be asked to part with in any trade. Much like the leafs, he will probably keep trading the future until there is no more future. For the sake of the team long-term, I wish AJ would stick around. If we loose him (and we will), JP is going to have to trade for more pitching. There is no way that he will convince free-agents to come to Toronto after his act this year.

Have a good winter boys (and girl), and let’s hope the leafs can give us a number 1 or 2 overall draft-pick.

With Godfrey gone JPs future with the Jays may be in doubt,It all depends on who they bring in to be the next President.

Kate you must be a very busy girl.By the time I get your answer I might be dead.LOL.

The interesting offseason just got more so.
I like garry, would think that J.P’s future will be in doubt. I do really hope that whomever comes in just doesn’t decide to blow the whole thing up. There are good pieces around (specifically pitching) hopefully the next g.m, if there is a new one, will realize that.

I was lucky enough to be at yesterdays game in Baltimore – brought my grand daughter to her very first MLB game, wearing a toddler size Jay’s cap, with a pink ribbon sewn on top, of course. It was a good game to see… my Jays doing so well :) made me very happy. Got Kevin Mensch, Cito Gaston and Gregg Zaun to autograph my white Jay’s cap. Had really great seats in section 46, about 8 rows off the field, so an excellent view! With it being the last game of the season, you’d think the guys might be a bit more willing to sign things. At the end of the game Wells tossed his cap to a kid, then a few of the others did as well. They may not have been home, but the fans who were there for the Jays, were excited to see them play so well! I think Cito Gaston is one of the nicest, most soft spoken men in MLB. Any chance I get, I’m glad to be able to see them play in person. Thanks Jays.

In case anyone is interested…..http://fan590.com/media.jsp?content=20080929_160623_15312
an interview with Paul Godfrey about his resignition.

It absolutely blows my mind why the first round is a best of 5 series!!! You play 162 flipping games during the regular season and then you FINALLY get to the playoffs to lose 3 games and you are done!!! It’s ridiculous considering baseball is a game of attrition and depth. Considering how many more games baseball plays over other sports (hockey, basketball) you would think they would have longer series then those sports, not shorter ones.

i think there might be more than one girl on this blog.

rmatty, I think the short series allows the managers to truely earn their money. Do they risk a starting pitcher going on 3 days rest to finish off a series, or do you leave him in the ‘pen and call upon him when it’s crunch time ? stuff like that makes it intriguing to me, the strategy involved and pros and cons of each move.
You do make a better point though. I don’t see why the first round is only a best of 5 and the rest is 7.

Yah, if all the series were best of 5 then It would still be dumb but it would atleast make some sense… Is the 2nd round more important than the 1st round? I’d say no, considering you have to win the first to play in the second they are equally as important.

I realize that the 1st round only came when the wildcard was implemented but baseball should have learnt by now that 1) Baseball is a game of averages thus the best team will win in the long run, so why have a short series to start and 2) Hey, they make more money the more games they play.

Although I was not a fan of Paul Godfrey in his position of President in recent years, I do think Blue Jay fans owe him a standing ovation for what he did for this team.
First and foremost, if it hadn’t been for Godfrey’s efforts, there probably wouldn’t be a Blue Jays franchise and for that I’d like to say thank you.
But I think the biggest thank you we owe him is for the purchase of Skydome and what it’s meant for the Blue Jay franchise. Under the revenue sharing plan of MLB, teams that own their own facilities could write off all their expenses of the buildings as part of the revenue share formula. As soon as the Blue Jays aquired Skydome, they qualified for significantly more money under the revenue share plan ( I believe up to $25 million per year), and then Paul did the right thing and convinced Rogers to add those dollars to players salaries-which is what partially offset some of the huge increase in salary budget. Brilliant move.

Unfortuantely as skilled of an administrator as Godfrey is and as big of a fan as he is, he isn’t a baseball guy, and in my view got sold down the river by JP’s mistakes in player selections and contracts. For that, he is making the right decision and leaving the team, to hopefully a real baseball guy like Pat Gillick.

Rogers management OR someone had better keep a close eye on JP and approve each move he makes. In an interview today, he stated if he didn’t get Burnett, he’d likely have to trade away a number of our minor league prospects in order to get the pieces he feels he needs.

That could hamper this team for one hell of a long time, and although our minor league system is no hell, we do have some prospects coming. Imgaine if this idiot JP traded away Snider, Lind, Cecil, Romero and Arrencibia, to aquire some 35 year old has beens, just to save his a..s..s.. next season.

In my view, the new president ( and I hope that’s Gillick) is signed immediately after the series and puts some handcuffs on this idiot before its too late. In the mean time, please Rogers, put a piece ofr tape accross Riccardi’s mouth and take away his phone or send him on a holliday for the next 3 weeks.

The Man leaves the Wimp stays,Doomsday will arive.

Hanley Ramirez is a superstar, quite possibly one of the 10 best position players in the leauge and still very young with room to grow as a player. Look at the marlins history of trading players of this caliber, they will demand at least one very high ceiling prospect in return, the only such prospect for the jays is Travis Snider. And I would not trade Travis Snider and more for Hanley Ramirez, it totally goes against the grain of trying to build your farm system and develop depth in the system. If JP could somehow pull it off without involving Snider that would be a massive coup, but I don’t even think Hanley will be on the market so its a null subject to me.

re: Jason Giambi. He is just one name out there among several potential dh candidates, his name just happens to get mentioned because of the link with JP (and we all know how JP likes to get guys he likes who are no longer the player they once were). I don’t suggest the jays act quickly in trying to improve this area, I think if they are smart they sit back and let the market play out, and if any dh squeaks through the cracks I suggest they try and sign them to a 1 year deal, if for nothing more than an insurance policy for the youngsters. Of course if the jays instead go out and spend their money on re-upping AJ and perhaps bringing in another bigger named free agent than this dh talk is irrelevant anyways. They can’t possibly feel comfortable heading into camp next year fielding the same batting order though, that simply won’t be enough to get it done barring some miraculous comeback from nearly every player.

Although I love Travis Snider, I would trade him for Hanley Ramirez, because as you said Hanley is the best offensive ss in the league, which is real hard to replace. Travis has huge potential but Hanley at 25 is already there. I do tend to agree the deal won’t happen, not because Florida won’t trade him, but because JP won’t make the call. The issue on Hanley is what are we going to try to do next year. If we sign AJ for huge sums of money and not do other deals, like Hanley then signing AJ is a waste of money, just like trading Snider for Hanley is.

Signing someone at dh as a backup is also a waste of money, just like signing someone for a dedicated dh is, regardless of next years direction. All we’d get is another has been we pay $5 million or more to.
One more bat-along with AJ doesn’t put this team any higher in the standings than it is now. In addition, assuming Hill does come back, if we sign a dedicated DH we can kiss either Scutaro, Macdonald or Inglett goodbye.

Other than pitching, we need a lead off hitter, a clean up hitter, and a real solution at ss. We also need far more prodution from both 1st and 3rd base. Without those changes we will finish 4th and possibly 5th next year. I don’t like it any more than you do, but it is reality.

In my view there is a decision to be made by Rogers. It’s useless to re-sign AJ, without making other major investments and REALLY fill the holes. If they’re not prepared to do that, then forget about signing AJ, explode this team via trading for prospects and aim to compete again in 2010-2011.

Here are my choices for AL awards.

Rookie of the year: Evan Longoria
CY Young: Cliff Lee
MVP: Josh Hamilton
Manager of the year: Joe Maddon

Great work covering the Jays this season Mr. Bastian. My friends have all wondered how I get the news before they do.

With a team slightly above average, you are going to get slightly above average results. There have been highs and lows this season, but because of our great second half we’ve had slightly more highs. With the foreseeable loss of Burnett, and now looking more likely to the Yankees, that balance may shift for the worst.

‘We must rage against the dying of the light’. To quote Bob Dylan, oh i mean Dylan Thomas. (family guy)
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

Agreed, Jorden, thanks for keeping us the most knowledgeable jays fans in town.

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