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.
Marcus Stroman made his highly anticipated home debut tonight and didn’t disappoint as he allowed a run on six hits in seven innings of work he walked a batter while striking out three. In the inning that the Red Sox did score their run they had two bloop hits and infield single and a sac-fly so it’s not like they had hard hit balls that led to their lone run. The defense behind Stroman tonight was once again top notch as they turned 2 double plays to get out of innings and the only blip on the night defensively was a Justin Smoak error on a ground ball.
The crowd tonight was electric and was just as loud as they were for David Price’s debut start with the Jays last month. Honestly though the crowds have been amazing the last month and a half and with the Blue Jays magic number to clinch a playoff spot down to seven I can only imagine what the crowd reaction will be when they do clinch a playoff spot during the homestand.
The Blue Jay bats didn’t hit a home run tonight which is hasn’t happened much this season, they did however pounce on Red Sox mistakes. With a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, Edwin Encarnacion hit what should have been a double play to third baseman Brock Holt. Holt had the ball go off his glove and go into left field. The next batter Justin Smoak would hit a two run double and Ryan Goins would bring Smaok in when he hit a triple making it a 4-0 game.
Perhaps one of Alex Anthopoulos most important acquisitions wasn’t made at the deadline. Cliff Pennington was picked up during the Blue Jays early August series in New York and ever since he’s been a Blue Jay he has come up with great defence and some timely clutch hitting and more importantly professional at bats. Pennington in his first plate appearance had a sac bunt up the third baseline allowing Kevin Pillar to advance to third base, and in his at bat in the sixth inning he hit a sac-fly to score Ryan Goins with the Blue Jays sixth run. What’s been even more impressive is how he has contributed to the line-up playing everyday while Troy Tulowitzki is out.
John Gibbons used Aaron Sanchez in the ninth inning with a five run lead, it did seem like an odd move to use your set up man in that spot but I do kind of see the reasoning behind the move. Much like using Roberto Osuna in the ninth last night in Atlanta, Gibby probably wanted to get Sanchez some work since he hadn’t pitched since Tuesday’s loss in Atlanta. And if they need to go to someone in then pen tomorrow to set-up they could again use Sanchez or use Mark Lowe, who has been seeing more outings in higher leverage spots in which he has passed with flying colours.
The Blue Jays finished off their 10 game road trip with a 5-0 win in Atlanta, with the win the Jays extend their lead to three and a half over the Yankees. The Blue Jays start their final homestand of the regular season tomorrow night as they host the Boston Red Sox. Marcus Stroman will make his Rogers Centre debut while the Red Sox will send Rick Porcello to the mound.
Marco Estrada was brilliant tonight throwing eight shutout innings allowing three hits walking two while striking out four. Roberto Osuna finished it up with a scoreless ninth inning, it was his first appearance since the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader in the Bronx. Cliff Pennington had himself a night with a 2 for 4 night which included a three run home run in the Blue Jays four run fourth inning. Edwin Encarnacion joined the Blue Jays 30-100 club with a solo homer in the fourth inning, it was his 33rd home run of the season and it gave him 100 RBI on the year. Dioner Navarro and Ryan Goins had a pair of hits on the evening, Navarro’s one hit was a double that would have been a home run in most parks. Josh Donaldson, who had been struggling at the plate, hit home run number 39 on the season in the ninth inning.
The top of the Blue Jays line-up went 1 for 12 on the night, Jose Bautista had a pair of walks and Ben Revere led the game off with a walk. Kevin Pillar was the only other Blue Jay not to join the hit club.
I got nothing. It was one of those games. Although I suppose the mostly empty stands created for one helluva quiet listless ballpark. I can’t wait to see the Blue Jays back at the Rogers Centre in front of a sold out stadium.
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 finished off their three game series with the Indians by taking the rubber match 5-1. The Blue Jays who hold a game and a half lead on the Yankees, will enjoy an off day on Thursday before opening a three game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.
R.A Dickey who won his seventh straight decision was brilliant going the distance allowing a run on four hits and striking out six. Dickey worked a 1-2-3 inning in seven of the nine innings he pitched tonight and could be argued that it was one of his best starts in his time as a Blue Jay. Ben Revere kick started the offence tonight with a single, stole second and then scored on Josh Donaldson’s single in the first inning. Revere would end up going 2 for 4 on the night scoring twice. Donaldson also had a big night at the plate going 3 for 4 driving in three runs and scoring twice. Troy Tulowitzki also had himself a good night at the plate going 2 for 3 driving in a pair of runs and had a sac-fly. Ryan Goins extended his career high hitting streak to 12 games going 1 for 4. In a non game related note, Marcus Stroman had his first rehab start in Lansing tonight and by all accounts Stroman looked impressive as he tossed four and a third hitless innings walking one and striking out seven.
Justin Smoak was 0 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts, Kevin Pillar was also 0 for 4 tonight with a strikeout. Jose Bautista was held hitless although he did walk twice which is a good sign. Edwin Encarnacion was also held hitless in three at bats, he also had a walk. The Jays offence was stagnant after the second inning once Trevor Bauer got chased from the game but with an early five run lead and with the way Dickey was dealing it didn’t really matter.
The rain showers that kept the roof closed in the early going of the game tonight…….yeah, I got nothing.
Of all the possible Blue Jays to play hero, perhaps the least likeliest would be Ryan Goins. Goins hit a walk-off two run homerun in the bottom of the tenth inning to give the Blue Jays a 5-3 victory keeping them a game and a half ahead of the Yankees. The Blue Jays will finish off their three game series with the Indians Wednesday night sending R.A Dickey to the mound to face the Tribe’s Trevor Bauer.
What more can be said about the second half that Ryan Goins has had? If you had told me in April that he would be hitting a walk-off bomb to win a big game in a pennant race in September I would have told you that you’re crazy. Yes it’s been that type of run for this team in the second half of the season. Goins did extend his career high hitting streak to 11 games. Goins also made a Roberto Alomar type play making a tremendous diving grab in foul territory in the second inning. Dalton Pompey who made his return to the big club was the main reason the Jays got their third run in the bottom of the seventh, pinch running for Justin Smoak, he didn’t waste any time stealing second, and then stealing third and scoring on Kevin Pillar’s sac-fly. Marco Estrada was great again, going seven strong innings allowing two runs which were both home runs. Brett Cecil had another scoreless outing, which was his 23rd straight which is two of the franchise record which is held by Cecil.
Despite a walk and a sac-fly Edwin Encarnacion’s hit streak came to an end at 26 games which falls two games short of the franchise record held by Shawn Green. Roberto Osuna blew only his second save of the year allowing a home run to ex Jay Yan Gomes. Dioner Navarro who finally got a hit in the tenth inning, but he had some ugly at bats earlier in the game, in the seventh inning after Smoak had walked Navarro flew out on the first pitch of the at bat. it wouldn’t have killed him to take a pitch or two in that at bat.
Josh Donaldson bunting in the third inning, he’s a power hitter he should be trying to drive the ball not bunting. Fans at the Dome doing the Wave, it’s seriously time to kill the wave. The Dome is the only ball park that I’ve seen it at and there really is no reason for it. We’re in a pennant race pay attention to the game not do the wave.
The Blue Jays had their three game win streak snapped dropping a 4-2 decision to the Indians. The Blue Jays are still a game and a half ahead of the Yankees for first place in the East. The Blue Jays continue their three game series with the Indians Tuesday night sending Marco Estrada to the mound, while the Indians send Cody Anderson to the mound.
Edwin Encarnacion extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a pair of hits. Josh Donaldson had a two run triple in the fifth inning giving him 35 RBI in the month of August tying him with Encarnacion. Ryan Goins had a pair of hits, including a great at bat in the bottom of the ninth which extended his career high hitting streak to ten games. Ben Revere had a pair of hits but his inability to come through in the ninth may reignite the debate over whether Revere or Troy Tulowitzki should be in the leadoff spot. David Price had another strong outing despite being on the losing end, he went seven innings while striking out nine. Brett Cecil’s defensive play in the eighth inning flipping a ground ball with his glove to Justin Smoak to record the second out of the inning was nothing short of a webgem.
Chris Collabello went 0 for 3 at the plate with a pair of strikeouts. Kevin Pillar who got a hit in the ninth, looked awful in his previous three at bats. Russell Martin was 0 for 4, Justin Smoak struck out in the bottom of the eighth inning with the tying and go ahead runs on second and third in the bottom of the eighth.
For all the wonderful defence the Blue Jays have enjoyed this year there were a few plays that were better if they hadn’t been made. In the first inning Ryan Goins had a ground ball hit too him and instead of going for the sure out at first he tried to gun down the lead runner, unfortunately he made a bad throw that Donaldson couldn’t come up with. In the ninth Donaldson threw a ball into the Jays Dugout that he would have been better served if he had just held onto the ball. Oh well, go get em tomorrow night.