Game 102: Toronto at Seattle

Today’s lineups:

Thumbnail image for BlueJays.jpgTORONTO BLUE JAYS (49-52)
Fourth place AL East, 12.5 GB

1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, DH
4. Scott Rolen, 3B
5. Alex Rios, RF
6. Vernon Wells, CF
7. Kevin Millar, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Jose Bautista, LF

Starter: RHP Roy Halladay (11-3, 2.62)

mariners.gifSEATTLE MARINERS (52-48)
Third place AL West, 7.5 GB

1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
2. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
3. Jose Lopez, 2B
4. Ken Griffey Jr., DH
5. Chris Shelton, 1B
6. Kenji Johjima, C
7. Jack Hannahan, 3B
8. Chris Woodward, SS
9. Michael Saunders, LF

Starter: LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (0-1, 3.48)

Don’t forget, you can follow me on Twitter: @MLBastian

~JB

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35 Comments

Well, let’s hope that the dust settles, the Jays don’t get “wowed” in the next 2 days, and we can all get back to some baseball.

Congrats to Brian Dopirak for his performance last night. I hope he gets a September callup so we can have a look at him.

Dopirak’s performance last night (a grand slam and a 3 run homer) of driving in 7 runs shows he can put up the same numbers in AAA as he did in AA an d A+ in the last two years.

Dopirak, is hitting .340/.357/.509 in 13 games. The two homers last night end a drought he’s had since his promotion in AAA and show he’s not only settled in to AAA but eating the pitchers up like he did in lower levels..

This puts The Jays in a position to trade Overbay now, and increase hitting and power at the 1st base position, something we’ve sorely missed. It also drops Overbay’s salary giving us more flexibility in other positions. Hopefully, this gets done sooner than later.

You won’t see Dopirak airlifted in to replace Overbay any time soon, gsjays. For one thing, he has yet to prove himself in the bigs. Hopefully, he will be a September call up, so he can hit against major league pitching for a while, but come Spring training, he will have to show really well to win a spot on the roster.
Depending on what happens to Halladay over the next day and a half, we likely have Overbay in 2010, barring injury.

With it looking like Halladay is not going to be traded I think some dominoes are waiting to fall based on if a trade for Rolen or Overbay happens.
The Reds have some interest in Rolen. If Rolen gets traded there I can see a guy like Downs+ going to Colorado for a guy like Eric Young Jr.+ (even though he is a second baseman I could see some infield movement with Hill and Scutaro) and the team trying to re-tool more through trades now.
If Overbay is traded I think more action occurs in the offseason.

Why hang on to Overbay, it’s not like we’re going to contend in 2010 whether Halladay is here or not? Overbay is scheduled to make $7 million next year and is currently ranked 23rd amongst major league 1st baseman.
We need to replace him with someone who is a lot cheaper who provides more power and rbi production-Dopirak can do that. He’s raked A, AA, and AAA pitching and played against an umber of guys already pitching in the majors. He can hit here, of course it might take him some time to adjust which is why this change should be made sooner than later regardless of Halladay.

I did not mean that Rolen and Overbay trades were mutually exclusive. I think the dominoes fall behind whichever gets traded first, if at all.

Although Overbay isn’t great it is not like he is a total CHUD either. He is pretty much an average player. You can’t exclusively look at Overbay at first because he is basically platooning (even though Miillars numbers aren’t that good either).
By valuing Overbay by homeruns (which is where I assume you got the ranked 23rd) he is below Chris Davis (who I believe recently got demoted and was hitting in mendoza territory) which is pretty misleading especially considering by that criteria Overbay is 2 HRs from being ranked 17th. By such criteria, James Loney is worse than Overbay (and others) even though his line is a pretty respectable 7/63/293; I would say Loney is a better player than half the players ranked above him by homeruns.

There is some rumours of Rolen being traded for Yonder Alonso. I wonder if Rios is a part of that trade; the Reds are rumoured to have interest in Rios. I don’t think anyone would trade Alonso for Rolen straight up from the Reds perspective.

peemicee

You can see the rankings here: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/playerrankings/regularseason/1B . You will note they take a lot of things into consideration on the ranking-not just hr.’s.

I’d rank Overbay below average for a first baseman offensively and average defensively. It’s a power/rbi position and Overbay doesn’t hit for power/ high average or drive in a lot of runs. Probably why they rank him in the bottom 3rd. You’ll note Chris Davis is ranked 28th.

Trading Scuturo, Rolen, or Overbay will not bring us back anything of quality. The whole reason for moving them is to save money. The only position player that could potentially bring back something of value would be Rios. However, his value is probably quite low in today’s market. We have a reliever here or there that could go, but again, we will not obtain anything of quality in return. Our only valuable commodity (that’s right, commodity) is DOC. At this point, if we can get a good starting pitcher and a premiere prospect (e.g., like what Boston is offering) we should make the deal. Nothing bewilders me more than Toronto fans. I used to think that the problems with Toronto sports teams was due to the management. I have come to realize that it is the fans. Why are Jays’ fans lamenting the potential loss of DOC? The man himself has said that he plans to leave, take a risk, try and get on a perennial winner. Yet, Toronto fans and some media, like cry-baby Griffin, continue to bemoan the fact the organization could trade DOC. He wants to go and is going to go, one way or another. So, you can have a love-in for 1.5 more years with DOC, sing camp fire songs, dream of one day voting for Barak Hussein Obama, and then say good by to him for 2 picks (1 sandwich) or you can get something for him today. Is it not time to be realistic? Was Beckett not traded? Was Harren not traded? Good grief Toronto fans, get over it, this is not the sound of music! Let’s move the DOC while he can still out-duel hitters reasonably well. Add 1.5 more seasons to that arm, and it may be DOC who is visiting the DOC (Andrews)! Let’s go Beeston. Let’s go JP. Get something done!

I would still say Overbay is an average player. I don’t really rank players by position. Yes, a first baseman is generally a power hitting position however, usually a second baseman isn’t. To me it is irrelevant where a player ranks in his position it is more important the package he brings and how it fits on his respective team. For instance, 3B is generally thought of as a power position however the Angels have done pretty well with Figgins playing there. Overbay is nothing more than a number 6 hitter… I don’t expect anymore from him.

Hill and Lind are in the top 20 in the ML in power and RBI. I don’t think power neccessarily correlates directly to success. The Dodgers are ranked 26th in the ML in HRs this year and they have a pretty good record.

The ‘failure’ with the Jays offence has less to do with power and more to do with the failure to move runners productively.

If the Jays were to pick up a guy like EYJr. like I said previously and changed their offensive philosophy from trying to score 43598743580932485 runs an inning and just played for 1 run particularly in close games the team would win more games in my opinion. I think of an order with a true 1 hitter (SPEED) followed by 2. MS, 3. AH, 4. AL would be pretty dangerous particularly if Wells and Rios can atleast fill a 5-6 hole somewhat effectively; we are esstially stuck with them.

Burt
I agree trading Overbay, Rolen and Scutaro will bring little in return-except saving about $20 mill in 2010 in salary which could be used better elsewhere-like our minor league development.
The reason we should trade them is we will not contend in 2010 with or without Halladay and Rolen and Overbay are free agents in 2011 while Scutaro is this year. So why not trade them now.

peewee
I don’t think its an offensive philosophy which has cost us so many close games, it’s our bullpen who have now lost over 20 games. We’ve blown a ton of games late, unlike previous years.
I think Rios will come around, but I have private thoughts as to why Wells never will, I think what we see with Wells is what we get for the next 5 years and 100 million.

I think you misunderstood what I said with offensive philosophy. I am talking more on a personal level not a team level. Take a guy like Rios. It seems as if somehow Rios was expected to be a homerun type guy and it totally changed him and you could say the same for Wells to a certain extent. Rios is nothing more than a 15-20 homerun player but he is out there trying to be Bonds. He just needs to be Alex Rios and play within himself. He could be a #3 hitter (not the Albert Pujols type more the Tony Gwynn type, just not that good) who hits for a high average with some power.
The problem with the ‘pen all relates to BJ Ryan and Brian Tallet. When BJ crapped out everyone got moved up a position. To me Carlson isn’t a setup type guy he is more a middle reliever but with Downs moving to closer he got bumped up. Tallet left that long lefty role in the bullpen which left Camp as the only player that could pitch multiple innings consistently. To me, if the team got a good closer (for example) and sent Downs back to setup lefty everyone would fall back into place into roles more suited to them.

gsjays: Don’t get me wrong, I am all for trading those players. It is not likely to happen, but I believe they should go so, like you say, we can put the cash into our minor league system. On a more worrisome note, have we signed our first over all pick or our second? I hope that we do not loose these two high-end pitching prospects, something that we can ill afford to do.

On a different note, I agree that we will not contend with or without Halladay next year. I find it quite offensive, though, that JP and most of the DOC-loving media are only too happy to put forth this made-up idea that we are going to keep DOC and go for it next year.

No doubt, it is clear to both the Yanks and the Sox that they can have DOC for free after next season. Good on them! This will mean that we got nothing for Burnett and will get nothing for Leroy, either. Then, all those fans who said, don’t trade DOC (and two years ago said, don’t trade Vernon but give him a 120 million dollar contract) will be the first to complain that we got nothing for DOC. As you can see, I really believe that the media and the fans kept JP from trading Halladay for anything but an unrealistic package. I don’t know if we will pass through Cleveland again this year, but if we do, I hope that we face the Carasco kid. It will be fun to watch him strike out 10 blue Jays! There is no way that two draft picks for Leroy can compare with the package that Cleveland obtained for Lee.
Finally, then I will stop my rant, I heard that the president of the Nationals is going to become the president of the Jays. Is this true? If so, why him? Is he going to teach the organization how to finish last several years in a row and then draft players you cannot afford to sign? Strange!

I understand what you meant, but I don’t think it’s the offensive philosophy which has cost us so many close games, it’s the pen.
Our relievers combined have only 15 saves this year. We are tied with Washington for the lowest number of saves in baseball. The leader in saves is New York with 32.
Our bullpen has blown over 20 saves of 102 games played. These were games we were ahead in that we lost and a whole pile of them by 1 run.
Fact is if our pen had performed better we might have won 10 or more of those games and be sitting at 59-43 or 1/2 game back of Boston.

burt
My concern is with the way JP has handled this trade season, we’ll be lucky to get anything done and languish in 4th or 5th place for the next few years.
Trading these guys now, is our best hope of contending in two to three years, I have no idea why the media and fans don’t understand that. Maybe it’s Leaf’s mentality.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Dopirak given a shot at replacing Overbay, say as a full time 1B during a September call up. If he shows signs that he is ready, trade Overbay in the offseason – even if you have to pay a small portion of his salary.

I like Overbay. He’s a good hitter, with a high OBP, and an excellent fielder. But, if the Jays are going to win next year, they’re going to have to get lightning in a bottle somewhere. If Dopirak does what Lind is doing this year, and if Snider hits like we know he can for a full season, and of course Rios and Wells hit like they’re supposed to, there’s no reason why they can’t win next year with the starting pitching they’ll have (if they keep Doc). And if not, 2011 and 2012 look not too shabby either, assuming they pick up the right pieces. I know it’s a lot of ifs, but 2010 was supposed to be the “year” anyway, wasn’t it?

Just wanted to clarify.
I think Cito has a great hitting philosophy and Arnie a great pitching philosophy both of whom have helped this team immensely (the rest of the coaching gang deserves respect too). I just think each player needs to have a team first philosophy individually instead of worrying about stats and hitting homeruns. Looking at the team now they have homerun power but spread over many players instead 1 or 2 big homerun guy(s). A great example of a guy who plays within himself is Rolen. He can’t hit 25 homeruns anymore (because of injury) so he changed to continue success and still has power but is more of a line drive double type power now.
I agree that the ‘pen hasn’t been as good as it could have but we have also failed in some situations to get those add-on runs which are big; no excuses though. I think if they had 1 more late inning reliever the ‘pen would right itself. Tallet going back to the ‘pen will help to reduce fatigue with some of the shorter relievers. Think about how many games we have used 4-5 relievers because we didn’t have another guy who could go or mop up 3 innings instead of burning 3 seperate pitchers and seeing the efect the next day.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Dopirak. He might be one of those type of guys that is going to succeed no matter where he is. I don’t think it is as big of a risk taking a leap with a guy like Dopirak as opposed to a younger guy simply becuase Dopirak is older (and I assume more mature). I would make a comparison with another guy who was older in Richmond. Maturity can be a big factor.

I agree with the maturity factor with Dopirak. I think he grew one hell of a lot with the injury he had. Previous to that, it was all to easy for him, hitting 39 home runs, driving in 120 rbi’s in 137 games in A ball when he was 20 years old.

The injury blew him out for the best part of 18 months, and he went from the Cubs top hitting prospect to being released. That had to be a serious wake up call for him, and I think he grew up a lot at that point.

Any idea what happened to R Gonzalez in his last start? He only went 0.2.
Also, have you read any scouting reports on Stidfole? Has pretty good numbers but walks are a little high.

Only thing I found on Stidfole was in a 2006 scout report on Lansing, he was rated to be their best strike out pitcher. Not surprising there’s little information since he was drafted in the 14th round. He’s always had a bit of problem with control by looking at his record. I’d say he’s probably as high as he goes.
Gonzalez is on the 7-day dl, and I’ve never been able to get information on any minor league players who are injured..

Of the current starters in the minors who do makes the best ‘penners? I’ve read scouting that Castro might be a ‘penner. The pitchers I wonder about are Rodriguez and Gonzalez. A lot of ‘penners are starters in the minors just to get innings. Know nothing about Rodriguez’s stuff but I know that Gonzalez is a sinker-slider type (he has an awesome GB ratio).

The reliever who looks really good to me is Daniel Farquhar, the New Hampshire closer. A lot of guys at the batters box were all excited when we got Edward Buzachero back from Cleveland and he looks like he’s performing well in Vegas. Gonzalez throws a sinker which can touch 94, which sounds good, not sure what else he’s got. Thing that looks good with him is the improvement at each level he’s been at.
Not much if anything available on Rodriguez. His first starts after we signed him were lights out, and he was promoted to AA too soon and failed.
Hopefully this time he progresses, but he certainly isn’t there yet.

I wonder if the Jays would get any action through waivers from guys like Overbay and Rolen. Just to get them off the books for next year.

Rolen is traded to the Reds.

The Blue Jays will be receiving third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, and it is believed that pitchers Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart were included in the deal by Cincinnati. Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi was not immediately available for comment.

Stewart showed plus, plus velocity, throwing his fastball in the 95-97 mph range. It had plus life as well. Two plus power pitches and command of both of them. He has the right demeanor to be a closer.

With fastballs able to reach 97-98 mph on the radar gun, Roenicke has the reputation of being the hardest thrower in the Reds organization. But in his last outing, Wednesday’s career-long 2 1/3 innings vs. the Blue Jays, he worked against type.

Entering for Bronson Arroyo with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth inning, Roenicke threw four straight sliders to Alex Rios and struck him out. A large chunk of the 32 pitches he threw in the outing were also sliders and the right-hander gave up no runs.

Looks like J.P. looked at this deal, and saw a chance acquire good young bullpen depth, a guy who could possibly close and get a 3rd base replacement with a slight dropoff in production from Rolen.

Our bullpen has been struggling, and these guys should be good for the years to come. Stewart has notched two saves this year in AAA Louisville, and has been solid in their pen. He started some games this season in AA ?? … Anyway, he looks to have a very good upside as a reliever, succeeding at every level in the minors in his young career.

Encarncion hit 26 homers last season, but is he really going to do that in the A.L. East?? I don’t think so. Yes this trade improved our bullpen. No doubt. I guess the Jays are going to evaluate 3rd base for 2010? I’m not too sure how Encarnacion will fair at that spot in the forseeable futrure?

I’m just glad we were able to make some kind of deal at the dealine! We will see how this works out. If Encarncion gives us anywhere near what Rolen gave us, then we made a very good trade. I don’t absolutely hate this deal though.

http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

Apparently, Rolen asked for a trade. The two relievers both look good, but Encarncion is a defensive down grade at 3rd base. He brings more power than Rolen and hits well with risp, but hits for lower average; so it looks like Butterfield and Cito have a new student.
Encarncion is a lot younger and also lower cost at $3.8 mill per year versus $11 mill per year, but it hasn’t been reported yet how much of Rolen’s salary the Jays pick up.

At least JP did something before leaving the organization.

Well, I don’t think we got screwed. I like the power at third, and the fact that he is only 26, and he is controllable for a few years. Granted, he is a defensive downgrade over Rolen, but, then, almost anybody would be. Lower average or not, his OBP is a bit higher than Hill’s.
Roenicke looks pretty good from the little I have seen of him, and Stewart is an up and comer, so good deal all round, I think.

I suspect a good deal as well. We certainly need the extra power, but Rolen’s D and average will be missed. Rolen made a good impression while he was here overall.

A few of you have mentioned the increase in power at third base. However, his power numbers are not what they used to be. True, he has not played as much as he has in the past, but why? Every time I see power numbers drop off I tend to think of steroids (right or wrong) — same thing with Wells.

Burt:
Encarnacion got off to a slow start and then broke his wrist in late April so he never played again till July 3rd. He is coming back quite strong, with a .276/.375/.526 in July with 5 doubles and 4 home runs for the month of July.

Did anyone else read Jamie Campbell’s blog today? An interesting thought on Wells in there from a former teammate.
Looks like one of those nights for Rios. Looks totally disinterested.

Yes, Rio’s error just cost us two runs. He should go back to bed.

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