The Blue Jays were busy Friday morning ahead of the 1 pm deadline to exchange arbitration figures signing six players.
The Blue Jays came to terms on one-year deals with Brett Cecil ($3.8million), Steve Delebar ($850,000), Drew Storen ($8.375 million), Aaron Loup ($1.05 million), Drew Hutchison ($2.2 million) and Michael Saunders ($2.9 million).
The Blue Jays were unable to come to terms with Jesse Chavez and American League MVP Josh Donaldson. The Blue Jays offered Chavez $3.6 million while he asked for $4 million. Donaldson asked for $11.8 million while the Blue Jays offered $11.375 million.
In Donaldson’s case, I know it is part of the process of the arbitration system, but to the fans that have endured a disappointing off-season going to arbitration over $450, 000 to the American League MVP just reeks of pettiness from an ownership that have been accused of being cheap. Realistically Donaldson should win his arbitration case so in the end he will most likely will get his $11.8 million dollars.
The Blue Jays are still a File and trial team so there won’t be any deals announced with Donaldson or Chavez before their arbitration cases.
This is the last year of arbitration for Cecil, Storen, Saunders and Chavez who will all be Free Agents at the end of the 2016 season.
Another day, Another Free Agent pitcher off the market as Scott Kazmir signed a three-year 48 million dollar deal with the Dodgers. The deal includes an opt out after one year. These opt outs have become to contracts today what no trade clauses were to contracts of the past.
Thing is, unlike Commissioner Rob Manfred, I think these opt out clauses are great for both the player and the ball club that signs said player. In Kazmir’s case if he has a great year with the Dodgers, which he probably will, he can opt out and gain even more money in signing a deal next winter because of the lack of depth and names in next years Free Agent class. Quite honestly with the type of money that has been thrown around on pitching this year how could you blame Kazmir or any other pitcher for asking for a opt out clause after a year or two, It’s not like the money tree that surrounds Major League Baseball teams is about to dry up any time soon.
It also is a sign of change in how front offices across baseball will have to do business with potential Free Agent signings. I said many times on twitter after the David Price trade that if the Blue Jays wanted to be competitively in on the Price market this winter, which they weren’t, that they would have to be willing to offer seven years at 210 million and offer an opt out after three or four years. Chances are that a player will opt out when the clause in the contract kicks in, and in Price’s case, it would allow the team to get out of having to pay him in his declining years.
Having said all that, it’s a fact that in the future if the Blue Jays want to be competitive with Free Agent starting pitchers down the road then they will have to include the reality of having to offer up opt out clauses in the negotiations. In fact in any long-term negotiations with an elite pitcher in his prime if I was the one in the negotiating room I would insist on an opt out clause after three to four years for the very reason I pointed out about not being stuck paying big money during a pitchers declining years. I’m sure though that Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have that all figured out seeing that they are intelligent guys, despite what some fans would have you believe.
With the list of available arms, both starters and relievers, dwindling as we enter January it is becoming more apparent to me that the Blue Jays will leave both Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna in the bullpen for 2016. There isn’t room in the Starting rotation like there was last season, and with an open competition for the fifth spot between Drew Hutchison, Jesse Chavez and
Fausto Carmona Roberto Hernandez up coming this spring, and the lack of depth in the pen, it’s safe to say the pen is where the pair will be in 2016. The current bullpen for the Blue Jays is Osuna, Sanchez, Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, Ryan Tepera, Bo Shultz and one of either Chavez, Hutchison or an arm off whats left of the free agent scrap heap. Out of those names there are only three pitchers that I would consider trusting in a high leverage spot, Osuna, Sanchez and Cecil. I would have included Tepera and his good numbers against lefties but with Cecil being dominant against lefties it cancels out any advantage that you would get with Tepera.
It also brings up another discussion. An idea I saw on a Facebook group through a tweet that may really seem at first like a ridiculous idea but the more I think about it the more I think it’s a move the Blue Jays may have to think about if they want to improve their pitching. Trading Devon Travis for pitching help. I know it seems crazy but with the emergence of Ryan Goins showing that he can handle the rigors of playing every day at second base and making big improvements at the plate, it really is an idea that I can get behind. Of course the one problem with the idea that wasn’t brought up is the fact that Travis is coming off of exploratory shoulder surgery and there is no guarantee they were able to fix what was ailing him in the first place, there is also the thought that he could now be tagged as injury prone which would drop his trade value. Lastly Travis isn’t expected to be ready until late April or early May and I’m going to be real curious to see if he is able to carry over this year’s numbers before the injury into next season. Here’s hoping that he can. Of course they could always hang onto Travis in case, and there is a really good chance it happens, Troy Tulowitzki goes down with an injury during the season. As they say, you can never have enough depth. Right?!?
I suppose there is always that hope that the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona can find himself this spring and be a contributor to the big club. Heck, maybe Drew Hutchison will find his old form from a year ago and show that this years form was a blip on the radar screen.
Either way, watching the pitching battles this Spring should be awfully interesting.
Well, that felt like a kick in the gut.
These emotions go along with the time of year, it’s what happens in a pennant race. You win some, you lose some. It’s all apart of the process, enjoy it for what it is because for the last 22 years you weren’t able to say that the Blue Jays were in a pennant race.
The biggest thing is how does a team and more importantly Roberto Osuna and Aaron Sanchez bounce back from this. Sanchez who suffered the loss in Tuesday nights game pitched a scoreless inning in last nights game, so take from it what you will. Osuna, who bounced back nicely from blowing a save at the end of August, and had looked really good his last few outings should be fine as well. Remember, he has pitched in many big spots and has come up big. It’s one game, better they have a game like this now instead of against the Yankees or in a playoff game.
The other thing to take away from the loss was the fight to the end that the Blue Jays put up. It would have been easy to throw in the towel but thanks to a Jose Bautista two run homer and a Matt Hague pinch hit double hit to the deepest part of the ball park the Blue Jays had the tying run in scoring position at the end of the game.
Really like the way John Gibbons managed the game today, yeah it didn’t work out but sometimes that is going to happen. Although maybe next time he brings Sanchez in to a game maybe the bases should be empty, Sanchez hasn’t done a great job of stranding inherited runners. Some of the comments I read after the game about Gibby from the so called Bandwagon fans were annoying, some calling for Gibby’s head.
I suppose a game like this points out the lack of another left handed pitcher that can be used in a high leverage spot. It would have been nice if Gibby could have gone to a left hander to face David Ortiz in the ninth inning instead of using Sanchez there. But when your only left handed options are Aaron Loup and Jeff Francis in that spot then you stick with Sanchez. Remember Sanchez is a young pitcher and as he gains experience he will only get better. I still think he is better served being used out of the bullpen than in the rotation, I said it last winter and I’m still sticking to that statement now.
Lastly, to all the fans that were overreacting to the loss today, relax, it’s one game. It’s late in September and the Jays are up 3.5 in the AL East and have a magic number of six! And this team is a ton of fun to watch as well.
The Blue Jays snapped their two game losing slide with a big win in Atlanta on Wednesday night. The Blue Jays lead in the AL East remains at three games and the Blue Jays will have a chance to extend that lead to three and a half games tonight as the Blue Jays close out a ten game road trip in Atlanta. Marco Estrada will take the ball for the Blue Jays as the Braves counter with Matt Wisler.
The offence looked much better on Wednesday night as Edwin Encarnacion made his successful return to the lineup by going 3 for 3 with a pair of walks. Russ Martin was 2 for 5 on the night and drove in four runs one of the hits was Martin’s 20th homer of the season. Ben Revere was 2 for 4 with a pair of runs batted it, Kevin Pillar also had a pair of hits on the evening. David Price was great once again as he allowed one run on six hits in seven innings work while allowing three walks and striking out nine picking up his 16th win of the season. Ryan Goins was 1 for 2 on the night but once again his defence stood out as he made a couple of great plays in the field. The first play was a play he made on a ball that was deep in the hole and he did his best Derek Jeter impression by making a strong throw to get the runner at first. The second play was a heads up throw to third on a play where Cliff Pennington missed making the catch on a ball hit to shallow right, Pennington made a heads up throw to Goins at second to get the runner going into second and then Goins made a great throw to third where Josh Donaldson made the tag on the runner, it was one of the more strange double plays one will see.
Pennington and Price were the only Blue Jays starters not to record a hit on the night. Aaron Loup walked the only batter he faced in the bottom of the eighth inning, it’s probably not the best thing in the world to do for a pitcher trying to play himself onto a potential playoff roster to be walking guys with a six run lead.
It’s surprising to me that in the year 2015 that the Braves still play their “Chop” chant during their games. There was a lot of people on twitter surprised that they would continually play it during the game and quite frankly I was surprised that it got as much play as it did.
The Blue Jays opened up their 10 game road trip in losing fashion getting hammered 11-4 in Boston. The Jays lead is now down to a half game over the Yankees. The Blue Jays send R.A Dickey to the mound tomorrow night to face Boston rookie Henry Owens.
Josh Donaldson had three hit day, including his 37th home run of the season which opened the scoring. Jose Bautista had a two hit day including a two run double in the eighth. Justin Smoak was 1 for 2 with a pair of walks and hit his 14th home run of the year in the fifth inning. John Gibbons for not burning through the bullpen and only using his low leverage middle relievers leaving his top relievers rested for the tomorrow. Marcus Stroman made it through his rehab start today proclaiming himself healthy and ready to go.
Troy Tulowitzki’s struggles at the plate continued with a 0 for 4 day. Russell Martin also had a 0 for 4 day which included him grounding into his 19th double play of the season. Ryan Goins was 0 for 3 on the day as well. Ryan Tepera allowed three runs in two innings of work and Jeff Francis was touched up for a Travis Shaw two run homer in the eighth inning.
Mark Buehrle didn’t have it from the start giving up five runs on nine hits through three and a third innings. It does seem like it’ll make for an interesting discussion on just what the Blue Jays will do this weekend when it comes to bumping Buehrle back a start to get a Marcus Stroman start against the Yankees this weekend. Aaron Loup only threw two pitches on the day and neither accomplished what it’s intended purpose was, he allowed a single to Mookie Betts and then hit Pablo Sandoval in the wrist with a pitch, but the bigger question should be why was he in a game that was still within reach?
The Blue Jays announced the minor-leaguers that they were calling up to their Major League Roster expanded on Tuesday.
Ryan Tepera, Aaron Loup, Jeff Francis, Dalton Pompey and Munenori Kawasaki are being added to the roster ahead of tonight’s game against Cleveland. Josh Thole is expected to be called up ahead of Tomorrow nights game and Marcus Stroman should be up if all goes well with his rehab start in the next few weeks.
All of the above named players have spent time with the Blue Jays this season with Loup having appeared in the most games this season with 48 appearances before he pitched himself out of a big league job. Jeff Francis has appeared in eight games pitching 12 innings allowing nine earned runs on 16 hits. Ryan Tapera was a victim of the numbers game after the Blue Jays acquired LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe. Tapera did look good though when he was up earlier in the year pitching 25 innings with a WHIP of 0.803.
Pompey made the team out of Spring Training but it soon became apparent that his bat wasn’t ready for the big time and was sent to the minors in early May when Kevin Pillar became the every day centerfielder.
It wasn’t the prettiest of outings for Mark Buehrle but in the end he exited the game with a 5-2 lead and what should have been 11th win of the season. Unfortunately Dustin McGowan couldn’t make the lead stick as he came on with two out in the bottom of the seventh and promptly walked the first two batters he faced before serving up a three run homer to Sean Rodriguez. McGowan would walk one more batter before being replaced by Aaron Loup who got the Jays out of the inning. Loup would work a scoreless eighth before the Jays could score three runs in the top of the ninth, the big blow was Steve Tolleson’s two run single off Grant Balfour. Casey Janssen would come in and work a three-up three-down ninth for his 14th save of the season.
Speaking of the Jays’ bullpen, Ken Rosenthal tweeted out Friday that the Blue Jays are interested in the Rangers Joakim Soria, but are also looking internally at the possibility of bringing up Aaron Sanchez and letting him work out of the pen. Rosenthal also tweeted later that Daniel Norris could also be a bullpen option for the Blue Jays. Regardless of which way they decide, the Blue Jays could really use some bullpen help. Dustin McGowan hasn’t been really spot on lately and as Kyle Matte at Drunk Jays Fans pointed out last week were the Jays playing with fire when it came to McGowan. Matte goes on to explain that even though McGowan’s numbers looked good, if you looked deeper into his numbers you would see that his strikeout rate was way down and his strand rate and BABIP numbers were totally unsustainable. The more time goes on I think Matte was onto something even if he was looking at a rather small sample size at the time.
The Blue Jays injuries also piled up Friday night as they lost both Nolan Reimold and Munenori Kawasaki to injuries, Kawasaki to right hamstring tightness and Reimold to a left calf strain. Both were listed as day-to-day.
On the bright side, Alex Anthopoulos, who is in Tampa Bay this weekend, said after the game Friday night that Adam Lind could be back to baseball activities in two to three weeks, so that’s good news for the Blue Jays as they try to stay afloat in the AL East till they get some of their players back and healthy again. AA also commented on the whole storm caused by Lind’s comment about his mom telling him to get a MRI, calling it a non-story. So I suppose Jeff Blair’s supposed sources within the team being pissed at Lind were just a way to give him something to talk about. It also seems like the bridge burning comment was also based on falsities.
The Blue Jays announced Friday night that they are skipping J.A Happ in the rotation on Sunday and starting R.A Dickey on regular rest on Sunday. I guess when things have been as dire as they have been lately you do what ever you can to try to help yourself as a team.
The Blue Jays might also not have to face David Price this weekend after all. Price was sent home sick on Friday and scratched from his Saturday start and may not start on Sunday, advantage Blue Jays now.
With AA in Tampa let the conspiracy theorists begin with Price being scratched from his start. Personally if Price is moved I believe it will be closer to the deadline and not at the All-Star break.
The Blue Jays send Drew Hutchison to the mound Saturday afternoon against the Rays Jake Odorizzi. First pitch goes at 4:10 pm.