9:35 PM Eastern

I apologize in advance for this post being more pop culture-y than most, but I just watched a month-old episode of “Don’t Forget The Lyrics” with my six year-old (guilty pleasure, I admit, though I tend to kick its a** and that Wayne Brady is really dreamy) and then read her The Lorax before she went to sleep.

I can’t believe the idiot woman went for the Million Dollar Song! I don’t know how many of you are familiar with DFTL, and if you don’t care, skip down a paragraph or six, but they give you categories, and a choice of two songs per category, and you can walk away at any time and keep the entirety of the whole big whackload of money that you’ve won, unless you’re stupid enough to try for a million dollars. In order to get there, you have to already have won half a million (and on “have a celebration all across the world in every nation” – you have GOT to be kidding me), but to go for the big prize, you have to walk in blind, with no outs, and unable to walk away, though you still get a hundred grand if you blow it. So the fine folks at FOX are relying on nothing but unabashed greed to save them $400,000, and this time it worked.

Poor woman, she had done so well to that point, but they threw Milli Vanilli at her. She didn’t have a clue. I don’t know of which I’m more ashamed, by the way, that I got it wrong or that I actually really thought I had gotten it right. I’m thinking the latter. I thought the lyric was “you let her walk away, but you just can’t ease the pain.” I was close, but still would have lost. But I wouldn’t have been dumb enough to risk $400,000 blind.

As for the Lorax, I had never read it before. I know a lot of Dr. Seuss’ stuff, and I knew about that story, but I didn’t realize it carried such an anti-big-business message. I wonder what the good doctor would have thought about all these big box stores coming in and tearing apart all the proverbial Truffula trees that once thrived in their neighbourhoods. It brings a tear. You would think, too, that since it was written near the end of the hippie, earth-lovin’ era (1971 – right after the Beatles broke up, oddly enough), more people of my generation would have grown up to be tree-huggers. I guess more did than of the generation previous, but we have a long way to go to catch up to the mud-covered Woodstockites. Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! And you don’t need a Thneed!

Right – baseball! I knew there was a reason we were here. A.J. Burnett was simply brilliant today, and didn’t have a huge lead to work with like last time, so the haters can’t use that excuse. It was also his second brilliant start in a row, so you can throw that one out the window, too. Look, at some point you’re going to have to face it – the guy can pitch. He’s incredibly frustrating, because he can’t pitch this way all the time, but not even Bob Gibson could pitch this way all the time.

It’s funny, because a commenter yesterday asked if I caught Chad Billingsley’s tour de force against the Angels Saturday night, because he’s awesome. I didn’t see the game, but Billingsley pitched seven shutout innings, allowing three hits, walking three and striking out seven in a 1-0 win in which his team didn’t get a hit. Burnett pitched seven shutout innings, allowing three hits, walking four (one intentional) and striking out 11 in a 1-0 win in which his team didn’t get a hit (with a runner in scoring position). Pretty awesome. Yeah, but Billingsley does that all the time, right? Right. He’s 7-7.

Burnett even saved his best for last, striking out Greg Norton looking to end the 6th with two on after the intentional walk to Mark Teixeira, and then after throwing a wild pitch to put a runner at 3rd with one out in the 7th, striking out Brandon Jones and Brent Lillibridge. All with no margin for error, since the offense was brutal.

That’s two terrific starts in a row for Burnett – 15 innings, one run on seven hits, seven walks (one intentional) and 18 strikeouts. Can he keep this up all year? Of course not. Is he a very good pitcher? Without question. Should they trade him right now? Well, maybe if they can get Phil Hughes or Matt LaPorta straight up – but they can’t.

The Blue Jays were up to their same old tricks, offensively, though. Actually, they lowered the bar, going an incredible 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position. They stranded a pair of leadoff doubles and got out of a first and second, none out without scoring. It was the low-water mark for the season, but they got the win because of a well-timed double by Alex Rios – who is now 15/40 (.375) since Cito Gaston took over. Eight of those 15 hits have gone for extra bases (seven doubles and a homer).

John McDonald made two incredible plays on defense, which we’re used to but still took my breath away. First, Scott Rolen tried to make the one-knee-slide-spin-and-throw that he usually does so well on a grounder by Lillibridge in the 3rd, but the ball went off his glove. McDonald was right behind him, though, picked it up and fired to first for the out. The other web gem came in the 4th, when Burnett walked the first two hitters of the inning. Norton hit a comebacker, and Burnett’s throw was sailing towards right-centre. McDonald leapt, snared it, kept a toe on the bag to get one out and threw to first for the then-easy double play. Wow.

Best play of the day might have been by Rolen, though. With a runner on first and one out in the 8th, Kelly Johnson hit a slow chopper right down the third-base line. Rolen had only one play – a do-or-die backhand short-hop-and-throw as all his momentum was carrying him towards the Jays’ dugout. He pulled it off, and it was beautiful to watch.

For the second straight game, Cito Gaston showed plenty of (too much?) faith in his pitcher by not having a reliever up and warming at what may have been a crucial time. Burnett was sent back out for the 7th having thrown 99 pitches, and no one was up. He gave up a leadoff double, that runner got to third with one out, and still no one was up. I have always been of the “better safe than sorry” school of bullpen usage. I don’t want my pitcher to think I think he can’t get out of whatever situation he’s in, but I also want to be covered just in case he can’t. By not having a reliever up in that situation, Gaston is telling A.J. Burnett two things: 1 – you’re my guy; and b – you’re EXPECTED to throw seven innings. I haven’t decided whether or not I think that’s a good thing. I kind of like it, but it still scares me.

I mentioned yesterday that in Saturday’s 8th inning I would have pinch-run for Rod Barajas when he led off with a double in a game the Jays led 6-5. John McDonald would have been my choice to run, and Gregg Zaun would then have pinch-hit for David Eckstein, and the game would have finished with Mac at short and Zaun behind the plate. I asked Cito about his choice to not run for The Captain, and he said that he doesn’t like divesting his bench of the back-up catcher if he doesn’t need to. Had the Jays been down a run, he would have had a pinch-runner in there. Fair enough.

Here’s today’s edition of The JaysTalk:

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The Jays are off to the west coast, so that means The Late Night JaysTalk for five nights. Those tend to be a barrel of laughs, so make sure you tune in!

Before I go, I want to let you all know that you really have to behave yourself in the comments section. I know that it’s the internet, and that anonymity emboldens people (especially a certain type of person), but stay away from personal stuff. Be as knee-jerky and reactionary as you like, though I have to say that I enjoy a well thought-out, intelligent comment far more (and we get plenty of those, both that agree and disagree with me), but don’t use this forum just to spew hate, please. And don’t threaten me. On that note, the once-unbanned Anton will never return to the comments section.

124 Responses to “Two Good Starts In A Row? That’s Unpossible!”
  1. 1.

    Mike
    How does Downs rank among set up men in the league. 1.19 ERA is unbelievable given how much he plays. Do you see him getting a big contract next year?

    MW: Downs ranks among the best set-up men in the game, he’s having another terrific year. He already got his big contract last winter.

    - Howard
  2. 2.

    Are there any decent SS prospects in the Jays minor league system? I’m not asking rhetorically, I actually just don’t know.

    If not, is it possible we could see Aaron Hill at SS next year, he certainly seems to have the range to play the position quite well.

    MW: Justin Jackson is a terrific shortstop prospect, but he’s a ways away yet. Hill could move, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    - Jason
  3. 3.

    Can you help me with my math homework?

    MW: You’re still in school? I think that might be the first problem.

    - Jerry
  4. 4.

    Mike, I never mentioned in my comment yesterday as to you being an “optimist” as to the Jays making the post season – I am the one who said I still believe they have a great opportunity to do it based on the 2nd half being more geared towards hitters Vs pitchers – and the bats starting to come around.

    I never mentioned anything either about you being an “apologist” or making apologies as to your mention of the same. Hey, it’s your show and blog – I offered up only my own opinion with respect to a call to your show the other night. Good job on both by the way!

    As to your question “why all the quotes” – can’t use italics to make a point so I use quotation marks – well I guess you could go to word or something to do it up then cut and paste – but why bother.

    Nice story as to sitting up with your six year old to watch a show – nice to read you do have time with them instead of all work.

    Thanks.

    MW: The lack of italics works both way, I guess. When I said that people call me an optimist/apologist, I was referring to the fact that your glasses seem very rose-coloured!

    - Bob
  5. 5.

    oops my bad mike didn’t realize downs was signed.

    MW: S’ok

    - Howard
  6. 6.

    So, Eckstein at DH? Do you think they’ll do that again? Even though they won I just cannot see that being a good plan under any circumstances…..

    MW: I certainly don’t like it, though if you see him as the club’s 3rd-best defensive shortstop, then throwing him in there against a lefty (with the teams as currently constituted) isn’t a horrible idea. I’d rather have it be Barajas, with Zaun catching, but Cito doesn’t want to use both his catchers in that manner.

    - Mike M
  7. 7.

    Hi Mike,

    Caught part of your pre-game show interview with Joe West. It was great – is the whole thing posted somewhere so we can hear the whole thing?

    Next, there’s a story on the the MLB site about Eckstein trying 2nd. Whaddya think? Better than Scutaro? I assume not as good as Aaron…

    Finally, do you feel JP/Cito will keep Lind when Stewart gets back? What’s his ETA anyway?

    Thanks!

    MW: We should put the whole thing up on the website, I’ll see what I can do. Maybe I’ll replay it tonight on the pre-pre-game show. If you think Scutaro is a better shortstop than Eckstein, then Eckstein trying second is a good idea. Of course, Eck came here rather than sign elsewhere because the Jays were willing to let him play short, and those other teams weren’t. Lind will stay when Stewart comes back – I wouldn’t expect to see him for another few weeks, though.

    - Charles
  8. 8.

    Mike, I thought you liked Anton commenting on the blog, but now you seem to hate him. Did he threaten you? Also, do you think A.J Burnett on the trading block and who might be interested in him and what might we get back if we traded him?

    MW: I don’t hate Anton, but I’m tired of his ridiculous assertion that the Jays can’t win without a Canadian in the line-up. He also has said some pretty horrible, personal things about John Gibbons. I don’t think Burnett is on the trading block yet, if he was traded ,the Jays might be able to get an upper-tier prospect.

    - sam
  9. 9.

    Wilster,

    Good to see everybodys favourite Blue Jay pitch a couple great games in a row. Also, poor schedule making not having a home game on the Canada Day holiday, but thems is the breaks I guess.

    MW: You’d think MLB would try a little harder to avoid that particular break, though.

    - B.Viddy
  10. 10.

    AJ was lights out again – 2 in a row – yikes! I was stunned hearing Jerry mention AJ still throwing heat at 94 mph after 117 pitches – wow!

    I think Cito knows very well the disposition of AJ and his immature behaviour at times. Hence him (Cito) possibly delaying the bull pen activity. For some guys, like AJ, it is taken personal seeing that activity and he begins to over-throw like crazy when he starts to fume internaly.

    Rolen and Mac what a combo to have on defence eh! No wonder Mike Schmidt said he believes Rolen has a better glove and arm than he ever had! Just wish we could see more of “Mac The Glove”.

    Funny game this baseball – you mention Mike the pitching was awesome but the bats were non-existent again especially with risp – which is a fair observation based on this season so far. However, I bet they are saying the same thing in Atlanta with regard to the Braves outing with no mention of the Jays pitching.

    On to the west coast – you can bet to a man the Jays are thinking and saying – we owe the Mariners, big time.

    Thanks.

    - Bob
  11. 11.

    Hey Mike,
    Can you believe it? A one run game and the Jays came out on top!

    Even though they didn’t get a hit with RISP rolen, rios, and wells are starting to look more comfortable at the plate and that is hopefully a sign of good things to come.

    I am really surprised not to see league yet…any word from Cito why he hasn’t used him?
    Parrish looked pretty good out there on saturday do you think he is in the pen for the remainder of the season? or is he going to have to clear waivers?

    Thats all for now,
    Thanks

    p.s. one more thing. Did you see Carlos Quinten hit that opposite field dinger on saturday afternoon?? it looked like he just flicked his wrists and parked it…that guy is a beast.

    MW: Cito says that he’s waiting for the right opportunity to use League, and there have been three such opportunites, but he hasn’t been used. I don’t know what to think with Parrish – does he have more value staying here as a long man than keeping a different reliever who could be used more? Right now, I don’t think so, but then they’ll have to expose him to waivers.

    - Pat
  12. 12.

    Mike – Horton Hatches an Egg is my favourite but to baseball – AJ Burnett was awesome and he is finally getting some defense behind him. I read his BABIP was a above average so perhaps some sloppy defense was at least partly responsible for his hard luck. This afternoon on the writer’s round table one of the newspaper guys called Burnett a 500 pitcher and I was surprised you didn’t bite his head off – figuaratively speaking ofcourse. As you have said many times win and losses are no way to judge a pitcher. I can’t believe you let that comment go by unchallenged.

    MW: I didn’t have the time, but I know you all know how I feel.

    - Daniel
  13. 13.

    I’m gonna suggest a bunch of moves and want you to comment on them

    1- Trade for McPherson. I was listening to the Jays talk and heard you say that a young power bat at 1st will be nice so how about this guy. I dont think the Marlins will ask for much in return.

    2. Trade Burnett to Texas for prospects. SS Andrus and OF Chris Davis come to mind.

    3. Trade for Fielder or Holliday who are both rumored to be moved this summer.

    MW: Why wouldn’t the Marlins ask for much for McPherson? The guy is tearing it up. I don’t think Texas will be in on Burnett, they’re barely a .500 team, but we’ll see how July progresses. Why is Fielder rumoured to be moved? I haven’t heard that.

    - anonymous
  14. 14.

    The Jays are doing a complete reversal of last year by not hitting lefties at all.
    Somehow I think that the Reed Johnson + Lind + J-Mac combo would have worked out better than the Shannon Stewart + Eckstein combo … the last time the Jays had their offense going was when they had the Catalanotto/Johnson combo in left field.

    I don’t know why callers on the postgame show rag on JP for not getting that hitting catcher/shortshop gold glove-type payer. Those guys are rare, and other GM’s have scouts, too. McCann’s a top 3 guy in the 2002 draft if it was redone today. The only issue I have with the Romero pick is that it’s a bit high for a pitcher … it seems like half those guys flame out even before they hit the majors. I would generically avoid pitchers in the first 15 picks or so, unless they’ve got really, really, really good stuff.

    Btw, what you do think of picking up Khalil Greene ? He seems to hit outside of Petco, although I’m always wary of these NL guys.

    MW: Generically? Anyway, the fact that Glaus, Thomas and Johnson are no longer here is the biggest reason they’re not pounding lefties this year. As for Khalil Greene, I’m troubled by just how bad he’s been this year.

    - Alex Huang
  15. 15.

    Many of us don’t hate A.J. Burnett, and he’s darn good when he’s on his game. But you came awfully close to insulting Bob Gibson…

    MW: I beg to differ.

    - Shmuel
  16. 16.

    Hi Mike,
    I had to change the name to Dave J as there are too many Daves and it gets confusing.

    I have to admit that I am a fan of what Cito did with AJ today. By sending the message that AJ is expected to go seven innings and he has the faith in his manager, perhaps AJ will finally find some consistency this year since it is likely the mental side of his game that holds him back from being a top starter (especially since his stuff makes scouts drool). It kinds of reminds me of the way Cito handled Todd Stottlemyer in his early years.

    Also, I am huge fan of putting McDonald back in the lineup. Usually I am 100% against starting a player who has a career .278 onbase but his glove is the second best I have ever seen, only ranking behind the great Ozzie Smith. His defense is truly game changing.

    My question today is, how would you rank these all time great Jays starting pitchers:
    Dave Stieb
    Jimmy Key
    Roy Halladay
    Pat Hentgen

    Thanks as always!!!!

    MW: Stieb/Halladay/Key/Hentgen. For now.

    - Dave J
  17. 17.

    I was at the game today and it was a treat! The fans were into it right from the beginning and for the most part seemed to know what was going on. AJ was brilliant, MacDonald and Rolen fabulous. It’s a +2hr drive for us to the Rogers Centre, and today was worth every second of it. Gas and parking prices be damned! Go Jays!

    MW: Good thing there’s a roof, huh?

    - jayjay
  18. 18.

    I think the people that claim AJ doesn’t care about winning need to watch that McCann at-bat that ended with the ‘clutch’ strikeout. That pitching performance was intense.

    All the fans that were upset about his mocking cap tip earlier in the year were treated to a sincere acknowledgement by him today as well.

    Anyhow, well done AJ.

    Mike, you’re supposed to watch hoping the contestants fail. That’s the new game show reality. Or the new reality game show as the case may be. There is no greater feeling than watching someone self-destruct on deal or no deal; but i’ll take Jeopardy any day.

    MW: Yeah, but Jeopardy involves skill and intelligence.

    - Beau
  19. 19.

    So Eckstein will probably play a little second base, and Cito says he will play anywhere, but didn’t he specifically not sign with the Mets because they wanted him to play second? I think they offered him a multi-year deal also if i’m not mistaken. I guess he figures playing second now is better than riding pine for the foreseeable future.

    MW: Yep.

    - Brett
  20. 20.

    There is a new article in USA Today about Bonds being willing to play for free. That he would donate his salary for children’s tickets, and that his agent was only asking for league minimum of $390,000. I know that you have always thought that Bonds should be hired, but would you please do all us fans a favour and ask JP on Wednesday, if this would make any difference to the Jays and their attitude about hiring him.

    MW: The phone lines are open, you should call and ask him!

    - sandy
  21. 21.

    You wrote that you had Parrish pencilled in for game 3 vs. NYY, so I looked over it again, and I still ended up with him in game 2. Halladay/Litsch/McGowan @ Seattle, Burnett/Halladay/Litsch @ LAA, McGowan/Burnett/Halladay vs. Baltimore, then Litsch/???/McGowan. Where am I erring?

    MW: My bad. You’re right, Saturday’s the day they’re going to need a 5th starter.

    - Ari
  22. 22.

    Is Scott Downs the best non-closing reliever in baseball?

    MW: He’s definitely in the conversation.

    - Terry
  23. 23.

    I’m personally rather glad Eckstein has fallen back to the bench role. After watching him for a while I realize that he’s playing at the ragged edge of his ability, it’s always maximum effort for routine plays. I’m more comfortable with Scutaro playing shortstop and actually have been rather pleased with the Scutaro/Inglett combination up the middle.
    People have also noticed Halladay’s K numbers being up this year. I felt that it was a bit of a no confidence vote on his part regarding the shortstop situation.

    MW: You may be right. I think that Eckstein should be playing shortstop ahead of Scutaro, though. He’s a better hitter, and just as good a defender.

    - Iain Sutherland
  24. 24.

    Mike,

    I don’t think the Jays need to get Hughes/LaPorta back for him. Just more than two draft picks. I’d think JP a genius if he could get Jason Donald (from the PHI a AA SS OPSing in the high .800s). With the kid blocked by a pretty good SS in PHI, he’d probably not be impossible to get. I’m certainly not a hater of AJ as he’s probably my favorite pitcher to watch (Docs too predicable good, gets dull sometimes… I’m kidding, yes, but not totally). This team will still be good enough to contend next year (barring TJ surgery for Marcum and no comeback for Janssen – speaking of which any word on his rehab lately?) and if AJ can be deal for something that will address a team need for 2009; a SS, a starting C (unlikely, my hope is a one year deal for Zaun/Barajas and one of the young catchers stepping up to the majors) or a back end of the rotation starter, with enough upside to have a break-out season and replace Burnett. I don’t think you’ll agree, I just don’t think whatever the Jays do or don’t do this season hinges on Burnett. The team will probably be better with him, but it is the offense that will determine whether the Jays can step up and put the run they need to contend, Parrish/Purcey are probably good enough to put up sub 5.00 ERAs to be a 5th starter with Burnett gone and if they’re needed to fill Marcum’s spot, I don’t have much confidence in this team making a run (I know this seems somewhat contradictory, that the team needs Marcum but not Burnett, but I’ve become convinced that Marcum is the better pitcher over the last year).

    Anyway, I just had to say this to point out that there are some of us who don’t hate Burnett and who still think trading him might be a good idea, even if the team climbs closer to a playoff spot over the next month.

    MW: I believe there are people who don’t hate Burnett and wouldn’t mind seeing him traded. I don’t think the Jays can get back in the race without him and Marcum.

    - Christopher Taylor
  25. 25.

    I just want you to know that tide to go sticks truly work! I was right by your booth on Sat and dropped some mustard right on my shorts and my 11 year old suggested grabbing a free sample….it did the trick. Also I am a good luck charm for home games… they are 8-1 in my last nine dating back to last season..the only loss was the Burnett 13 so’s against Tampa.

    MW: You should let the Jays know.

    - Dave
  26. 26.

    I agree with Cito’s logic regarding the use of his backup catcher. One of my pet peeves with Gibbons’ lineups is that he often had two, and sometimes all three of his catchers in the lineup at the same time. Occasionally he was forced into this due to injuries at other positions, but most of the time it was just seemingly Gibby’s whim. I remember one game back in 2006 when a late-game injury forced either Molina or Zaun from DH to C, so the pitcher would’ve had to hit in the ninth (fortunately the Jays held on for the win so it wasn’t a problem).

    As bad as the Jays were with the bats on Sunday, they found the key to victory over Atlanta — play them in a one-run game. The Braves a really horrific record in close games, something like 5-20.

    MW: I don’t mind having both catchers in, the odds of an injury are low, and if you must lose your DH, well, there are eight pitchers in the bullpen so you don’t have to worry about pinch-hitting for the pitcher.

    - Alex P
  27. 27.

    hey Mike a few things…One Rios is back!!!(I hope)…Two who ever’s threatening you just send them to me.I’m middle eastern I’ll know what to do with them…Three I love J.P. unlike most of the journalist,radio personalities,and angry jays/leafs fans because of these simply reasons 1.He doesn’t avoid talking to the media and the fans 2.He’s never made a deal I didn’t like at first.Some of them didn’t come out the way we hoped but he’s never made terrible moves 3.I’ve been exited every start of the season for the last three years.Simply because I knew we didn’t have bad teams and there was a chance for us to succeed.Couple years ago we diidn’t have the pitching but things looked optimistic.Last year the pitching came threw but we got screwed with injuries.This year we have great pitching and good hitters but the devil himself has cursed every batter to stink it up when runners are in scoring position.So to all the J.P. haters just be happy we have him and not the people who run the Pirates.Because at least with J.P. here we know what a wiining season looks like…and one last thing. Mike I heard a rumour once that the Twins wanted Corey Koskie back from us so bad that they were willing to give us Justin Morneau(before he lite it up).Please ask J.P. if it’s true cause if it is THAN FORGET EVERYTHING GOOD I HAD TO SAY ABOUT HIM!!!!!!Thanks a lot Mike and keep up the good work.

    MW: It’s not true.

    - stewy
  28. 28.

    Mike..did you notice how much they pitched around Tex today? Including intentionally walking him as the WINNING run one time? Seems like when you mocked my comments two nights ago about not letting him beat you (your reply was “so you want them to fire cito?”) that Cito himself probably felt that they did not use proper strategy two nights ago. Just cause i didnt like the strategy on friday doesnt mean i want the manager fired..geez..cant u disagree about an approach without wanting someone’s head on a platter? it was a salient point and legit question that deserved a legit response.

    at any rate, 0-14 with RISP. so had the jays lost this game 2-1 instead of 2-0 people would be on hear saying “same old jays” but since they WON 1-0, people are falling overthemselves about the NEW approach and the great hitting strategy being inculcated into the “new Jays” fact is..the team scored 0 on friday and 1 today, including 0-14 RISP. sure the bats have come around somewhat, but its just because they couldnt continue to suck that bad, not because of any revelations from the new regime. at least thats my opinion. and stop comparing overbey to olerud. olerud was a CAREER 298 hitter and a career obp of around 400. he had over 2300 hits. he had mnay years of over 20 homeruns AND he was a good fielder and an all american pitcher. i know john olerud…lyle…is no john olerud.

    MW: I never said Overbay was John Olerud, I said they’re comparable, and they are. Every time I say it, though, I make sure to say that Overbay has a long way to go to catch Olerud. Olerud had five seasons of 20+ homers, but only one with more than 22.

    - sammy jalalzai
  29. 29.

    Mike,

    I never thought in a million years that I would be writing you about The Lorax, but since you mentioned it, I thought I should tell you that there is an excellent animated version. It is on DVD and I am sure you and your child would enjoy it. They used to show it non stop on HBO in the 80′s. I think it is the best adaptation of a Seuss story (yes, even better than the classic animated Grinch). If you see it, mention in your blog if you liked it.

    MW: We’ve actually got it, on a Cat In The Hat DVD. Haven’t seen it yet, but the girls have.

    - Mark
  30. 30.

    Hi Mike,

    I’ve been waiting all year to see Rolen and McDonald play defence together, and wow they were awesome!! This is how i thought our left side would look more often than not after the Rolen trade….(you could argue we had the lack of offence to go along with it)

    But hey who needs much offence when you can Pitch and play defence the way this team is capable of doing. I just can’t believe Mac has only had 9 starts all year. If only we had the bats to carry him.

    A couple of quickies for you, How long is Brad Arnsberg under contract for?
    Given what you have been saying about coaches recently, how much credit do you afford Arnsberg for the way this staff has performed?

    MW: I think that Arnsberg, Bruce Walton and Brian Butterfield are all under contract for the rest of this year only. I think Arnsberg is very good at what he does.

    - ukJay
  31. 31.

    I must have somehow missed most of Antons comments, what on earth was he saying?

    MW: Not worth repeating.

    - ukJay
  32. 32.

    Mike,

    Couldn’t Anton just type in a different name and a different email address and continue to post here without you ever knowing? It’s not like you know his IP address to block him.

    Food for thought.

    MW: In fact, I do know his IP address.

    - Keith
  33. 33.

    Hey Mike… ok Neal vs Anton. Who do you want to win in a fight? by the way I would hate to see what you would come up with if one of your daughters managed to drag you into a Backstreet Boys concert!… oh yeah baseball! I’m going to the game on canada day and the day after and I was just wondering if you think it would be cool for me to run up the stairs one time waving the canadian flag? A manager at my work said its not a good way to express canadian pride but I disagree. BTW AJ was showing flashes of Nolan Ryan and I hope he stays with the Jays after this year but its most likely not going to happen.

    MW: I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with running up and down the stairs waving a Canadian flag. A.J’s not staying.

    - Matt from BC
  34. 34.

    Hey Mike,

    Baseball writer Jon Hayman brought up a good point about the JP/Dunn situation. He said that if Dunn does not get big enough offers when he becomes a free agent, he could file a lawsuit against JP because his comments could have damaged his market value in the eyes of other teams. Hayman said that JP could be brought up on tampering charges depennding on how the Dunn free agency plays out.

    What do you think about this?

    MW: I think that’s a mighty big stretch.

    - Evan
  35. 35.

    MW “The Rays are NOT for real. They will NOT be there in the end.”

    49-32

    Nope, they’re not for real, not at all.

    Mike, some advice… Don’t play the stockmarket.

    MW: How many games are there in a season again? Does 50 wins get you in the playoffs?

    - Geoff
  36. 36.

    Hey Mike,

    Yesterday on JaysTalk you mentioned two things at different times that I called in to ask about but couldn’t get through, so I will ask here.

    1 – You mentioned how you would love to have a power 1B guy like Prince Fielder at 3 everyday.
    2 – You said you’d take mediocre defense for a guy who can mash the ball.

    One thing I’ve noticed about the Jays this year is their D, which must be in direct correlation with the great pitching. Rolen and Overbay at the corners are as good or better defensively as any team I can think of. Having Johnny Mac and Hill up the middle is, bar none, the best defensive middle infield in the majors.

    I’m not saying I wouldn’t love having a guy like Prince, but the Jays defense is so good. You must agree with me that the Jays best plan in the off season would be to sign a guy to DH (Prince is an upcoming free agent, and I think we could get him for 3/$30M-ish), and keep the D intact, especially if Overbay can get back to hitting all those doubles. I just can’t see where you can expect to sign power except for at the DH position… what are your thoughts on this? (long post sorry, I could have explained it easier on the phone, I am sure…)

    MW: If by “upcoming” you mean after the 2011 season then yes, Prince Fielder is an upcoming free agent. If he were on the market now, 3 years and $30 million would get you hung up on in a hurry. I agree with you to an extent on the defense, but the offense needs a lot of help.

    - Luke
  37. 37.

    From a few days ago (in answer to a question on cricket/baseball) you wrote :
    “hey not give a cricketer a baseball bat and see what he can do? You never know what you might find.”

    I’m an English Blue Jays baseball fan, anyone else overhere might be interested to know that this is gonna be happening on Oct 4th in a charity match down in Somerset. A baseball match made up of x-English international cricketer v the current British baseball squad (sponsored by MLB and Subway)

    http://www.squareleg.com/baseball/index.php

    could be an interesting day out, but I wouldn’t be wanting to score fielding errors on the day…

    MW: Sounds like fun!

    - James
  38. 38.

    Mike

    I haven’t followed other baseball teams other than the blue jays, so, I don’t know how other teams manage their pitchers, more specifically, their relievers. Gibby is gone now but I have noticed he tended to have his favourites and used them quite often. I know, I know…. the reason he favoured them is because they get the job done, but I have also noticed that these same pitchers would suffer injuries the next season. Case in point – BJ Ryan, missing all of last year. This year, Casey Jansen (spelling?)and Accardo and for a short term, just recently, Wolfe.

    My question to you is – is it common for managers to have their favourite pitchers day in and day out and the second part of my question – (if the answer is yes), have those pitchers survived the heavy workload i.e. no injuries. I know in TO, they tend to go to the red cross bin when they are used too often (with the exception of Scottie Downs).

    I marvel your patience. I enjoy the way you handle overzealous fans by the way, especially when they argue without having the facts in their hands. Great show, love listening to your talk after the game – Keep it up…..

    MW: Thanks. Yes, other managers do tend to have their favourites and no, they don’t always get hurt. I’m of the belief that most pitchers who are going to get hurt are going to get hurt almost regardless of how they’re used. Guys don’t throw 300 innings anymore, and the four-man rotation is extinct, but pitchers still get hurt all the time.

    - francis
  39. 39.

    M-Dub,
    Tongue is to remain out of cheek, at all times, when typing about my boy Chad!!
    Billingsley’s ERA of 3.37 pees all over AJ’s and thats after a horrible April.
    Also, Chad is 7 years younger, drafted 7 rounds higher, is 10.5M dollars cheaper, can throw 4 pitches (during a game), and doesnt make a face like something stinks after every pitch.
    ..thats it M-Dub, next time i see you sitting in your fan 590, tent by gate 6, Im sending the drummer over to deal with you.

    - slobberface
  40. 40.

    oh snap, M-Dub…sorry if that was a threat, pretty sure you know the diff between jokes and idiocy.

    MW: I ain’t ‘fraid of no drummer.

    - slobberface
  41. 41.

    Wow! Great game by Burnett, and Downs and Ryan, too. Bravo.

    Given all the recent talk about the Jays’ hitting, deserved talk, this game was a timely illustration of the fact that games are won with both offense and defense. They are of equal value. Every run that you can prevent the visitors from scoring is as valuable as a run for the home side. Which is why McDonald is my starting shortstop. He takes away runs. You don’t see all those runs, because they are might-have-beens. Who knows what might have happened if he mishandles the high throw from Burnett, instead of taking it to turn a double play? Or if he lets through the ball off Rolen’s glove?

    MW: Runs taken away do equal runs allowed, of course. But it’s timeliness that’s the biggest factor in both. And again, the Jays aren’t losing games this year because of their defense.

    - roy hughes
  42. 42.

    Hey Mike

    Very nice start for Burnett yesterday. When he is on, he is as nasty as anyone in the game.

    As a critic of the Jays farm system, i decided to have a closer look at the Jays drafts since 2002 to see if all the criticism directed towards JP is valid. As you point out, it is difficult to assess the most recent drafts, but lets examine the Jays selections since 2002. I’ll list the 1st round Toronto selection, then follow it with a few guys selected after this pick within the next round.

    In 2002, we selected Russ Adams. Over the next round, Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, Cole Hamels, James Loney, Jeff Francouer, Matt Cain, Joey Votto, Jonathan Broxton and Brian McCann were selected.

    In 2003, we went with Aaron Hill. Shortly after, Jonathan Papelbon, Chad Billingsley, Carlos Quentin and Conor Jackson were selected.

    2004, David Purcey is selected. Dustin Pedroia, Hunter Pence, Yovani Gallardo and Phillip Hughes follow.

    2005, Ricky Romero is drafted 6th overall. Troy Tulowitski, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jay Bruce follow.

    From 2006 to 2008, most of the guys drafted have not reached the Majors, so its tough to evaluate at this point.

    Now lets have a look at the current leaders in the AL east, Tampa Bay. Since 2002, They have added BJ Upton, Delmon Young, Evan Longoria, Scott Kazmir, Rocco Baldelli and Andy Sonnanstine, not to mention their minor league system is loaded and ranked #1 overall.

    Now, you might say Tampa has selected early in every draft, so they should amass loads of talent. OK, lets look at another successful team from the AL east, who selects near the bottom of ever draft, the Boston Redsox.

    Since 2002, the Bosox have added Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson, Craig Hansen, Jon Lester and Kevin Youkilis. During the same time period, the Jays major league talent is Marcum, Hill and Litsch.

    The Jays minor league system is ranked near the bottom by nearly every scout in the business. The Jays have just one rookie that ranks in the top 100 overall, Travis Snider.

    When you examine these facts, how would you assess the job JP has done at the draft table since 2002?

    Thanks Mike,

    MW: Given the fact that the Blue Jays will not draft out of slot and the Red Sox will, and the fact that you can throw the Rays’ selections out because they’ve had such great picks since they’ve been so bad, I think J.P.’s draft record is fine. See an earlier answer to a comment about all the major-league things that J.P. has turned his draft picks into.

    - rick
  43. 43.

    Mike! Two 1-0 scores yesterday. Not only did our beloved Jays win but so did a little nation called Spain. Some small soccer tourney was happening in Europe.

    I don’t often get to listen to Jays Talk but I was amused the other day when one caller listed off the “5 things JP has not done so let’s fire him.” First he asks for a power hitting 1st baseman, then he mentions a 1st baseman who hits for average and not power as his personal choice. You were so patient! Please, tell us how you keep your cool?

    With the next few Jays Talk being of the left coast variety, I understand the lateness causes people to say “funny” things. Was wondering if there was anything weird that you’ve said online that just made you shake your hear or burst out laughing later?

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

    KK
    President of the yet to be started Mike Wilner Appreciation Club.

    MW: There are tons of things that have made me shake my head. Ernie Whitt for GM being the most recent.

    - karim kanji
  44. 44.

    In terms of luring free agents, yes, our money is as green as everyone else’s. But even without front-office antics we are starting with a disadvantage. A Toronto player won’t get the Stateside exposure that he would playing for a US team unless his version of the Jays is successful enough to get noticed, which for the past 15 years has not happened. Add to that the fact that any top tier FA bopper is going to command a lot of money, and that we don’t have pockets nearly as deep as a number of other teams. We have to be able to put together as attractive a package as possible to get the hitter we want, and that does not include a loose-cannon GM who shoots his mouth off in public.

    In order to move forward, we need to put together a version of the 89-93 Jays but, sadly, without the big time payroll. It wasn’t just the money in those days. That was recognized everywhere as a classy organization. So I think we rebuild from the top down. Once we have appropriate leadership, the rest will follow.

    MW: The key words are “sadly, without the big time payroll.” You can say all you want about the class and reputation of the Blue Jays back then, but the fact is they had the biggest payroll in the game.

    - reyes
  45. 45.

    Hey Mike,

    Love the show, keep up the good work!

    A couple of bloggers on this site were raving about Francouer and Glaus and citing their RBI totals as proof that they were better than Overbay and Rolen. Sure Glaus and Francoeur each have 40+ RBI’s but so would Overbay and Rolen if they were hitting behind on-base machines like Chipper Jones, Teixeria, and Pujols respectively. RBI’s come as a product of the guys that get on in front of you and have little (not nothing!) to do with how good you can hit.

    Question for you Mike: I was at the game on Saturday and one thing really disturbed me. On the Braves first run when McCann doubled up the middle, Wells grabbed it and promptly threw it to the cutoff man. The problem was that the cutoff man was David Eckstein. Eckstein threw it home to Barajas and the play was very close at the plate where Teixeira narrowly scored. Why is Eckstein the cutoff man in this situation and not Inglett? I think that Inglett would have thrown out Teixeira if he had of been the cutoff man. Instead, Inglett was covering second just behind Eckstein. Is it just assumed in MLB that the shortstop is the cutoff man and the second baseman is always on second? I think this is something that Cito needs to change if possible.

    MW: I think so, too. Eckstein should never be the cut-off man on a play like that.

    - Marc
  46. 46.

    Mike,
    Boy that Overbay sure came through in the clutch yesterday, picking up that runner on 3rd with two outs. Maybe he needs to find himself a Wunderbat or maybe a prosthetic leg. But I’ll know the Jays are in really trouble when Cito pinch hits for a guy with 6hr day to “play the odds”. By the way Mike, have you been drinking brain and nerve tonic? Your shots at fans that agree with J.P.’s managerial change speaks to a slightly swollen head.

    Dropping the sarcasim, Burnet was amazing. The first batter set the tone for A.J.- Strike (looking), Strike (foul), Foul, Strike (looking), G Blanco struck out looking(although he started the 2nd batter with three straight balls). My biggest problem was with Barajas batting 5th. He might be hot, but I’d much rather see Rolen in there.

    MW: Seriously – taking a shot at Overbay yesterday when the team went 0-for-14 with RISP?

    - JW
  47. 47.

    Mike, first off, Thanks again for a great show, and this fun blog…I have to take you to task on noting the 23 year old Billingsley’s value vis-a-vis his W/L record. I get the point, but that’s a bit of a lazy reference for comparison (but, L.A. is scoring runs at a 2008 Jaysian pace, so they do have that in common)…would I take Billingsley over Burnett? Yes, but if I’m a GM looking to load up for the stretch run, I’d grab the Glad Bag Boy (funny commercial, btw) in a heartbeat…I do like that JP has said he’d only deal him if (a) the Jays were out of it, and (2) for a substantial package in return – he’d rather get the draft pick(s) if/when AJ opts out at years end…I think fans should really pay attention to those kinds of comments/actions from JP…he’s hasn’t made deals out of desperation which hurt the organization in the future – unlike some former Jay’s GM’s…criticizing his drafting is one thing, and like you’ve said many times Mike, MLB drafting is the biggest crapshoot in all of pro sports (and hence, the value in all of one’s draft picks)…and it’s great to hear that he won’t necessarily trade pitching for hitting – our sticks just have to keep coming around, and if they don’t, a bat is easier to find/develop in the offseason, than a solid Pitcher…Thanks for listening/reading Mike, keep up the great work,

    Tim
    Guelph

    MW: You can’t listen to or read me that much if you thought my referencing Billingsley’s 7-7 record was sincere.

    - Tim C
  48. 48.

    MW: so Brian Cashman is a awful GM.

    Did Brian Cashman ever use David Eckstein as a DH?

    MW: No, Brian Cashman has never had Eckstein, and GM’s don’t make out the line-up card, regardless of what a lot of Jays’ fans might think. But Cashman has had a payroll more than twice that of the Blue Jays’, and he’s running out guys like Wilson Betemit, Andy Phillips and Doug Mientikiewicz at first base! Not to mention the bullpen – geesh.

    - Dan M
  49. 49.

    Mike,

    To me it looks like AJ lives or dies with the curveball. I have made it to 3 of his outings this season and in each of those his successes or struggles were the result of his curveball. I was at the game yesterday and as soon as the first batter was 0-2 after 2 straight fastballs I was saying to myself “come on AJ get that curveball going.” And then he threw a beauty….mind you it was fouled off. But it was great that he was throwing it for strikes right from the get go. We all know he will establish his fastball each game but if he can consitantly throw the curveball for strikes or at least be around the plate we will see more outings like this last one. While on the topic of AJ… I think the thing that gets people so upset with AJ is that he has the potential to go out there and be a lights out type of picture and people just get frustrated when we see the other AJ because we know what that arm can do.

    MW: But people expect him to be lights-out every time.

    - Ian
  50. 50.

    Mike, if the Jays fall out of contention (I’m not saying they will, but the team is facing a fairly steep uphill battle), are there any young players you think JP should target in return for AJ?

    I think the priorities (at present) for 2009 look something like this:

    - Front of the rotation starter to replace AJ

    - Starting shortstop (ideally, one who can play defense *and* leadoff or otherwise contribute offensively)

    - Starting catcher (this could be Zaun, or more likely Barajas, and the organization has some catching depth, so this position is a lower priority. But in the AL, you want a C who can hit. Right now Barajas (OPS 839) is playing well over his head (career OPS 708). And Arencibia is probably 1-2 years away

    - Slugging OF/DH-type (obviously the team needs offense, but I think the starting OF next year will be Lind/Wells/Rios, so the team mainly needs a power-hitting DH).

    My own view is that JP should go after the best young player he can find (preferably a starting pitcher or SS, but any of the above positions would be fine), then continue to address the remaining needs in the off-season.

    On another note: do you think Frasor, Stairs or Parrish have any trade value?

    MW: No, I don’t. At least not much. I don’t think that a starting pitcher is a priority, because Marcum and McGowan should be able to slot into the 2-3 and you can pick up a 4 in the off-season. Shortstop and banger are my two biggest holes to fill.

    - Geoff
  51. 51.

    Mike, when Scutaro scored on Rios’ double, and the ump called him safe on the close play at the plate, what’s the meaning behind him putting his arms out for ‘safe’, and then immediately after, pointing at the plate? At first I thought he was reversing his call (!), and was calling him out, but obviously that wasn’t the case. So was the ump just emphatic in pointing to the plate to say that Scutaro touched it? Or was it something else…?

    PS: travelled to TO from Montreal to catch the 6-5 loss to Cinc. last week, first time I’ve been to a live ball game since the Expos left town.

    Stan from Montreal

    MW: Welcome back! Yeah, the point was to tell the catcher, who was arguing, where Scutaro touched the plate. I thought it was strange, too.

    - Stan
  52. 52.

    Hey Mike,

    Glad to see your comments about the hate stuff. This is baseball and people can have opinions but this isn’t life or death for any of us.

    On that note my wife and I went to the ball game yesterday and had an awesome time even though its the 2nd game i have been too with no homeruns hit by either team. On the drive home I listened to your show and heard you telling the caller that the Jays had three awesome prospects at catcher in the minors. Now are these really good prospects like Kevin Cash was???….lol.

    Sorry Mike couldn’t resist and as much as I think your opinions on most things are wrong you do put on a entertaing show…keep up the good work.

    MW: Way better than Kevin Cash!

    - Corey
  53. 53.

    Mike, It’d be great if you could block the ip addresses of all these troublemakers and impostors. I can’t believe people use this blog for anything other than having a “good time” and talk baseball.
    I’ll talk about the Torontonians and attendances. In early 90s almost every game was a sold out and you don’t have to be a genius to figure out why. But on the other side, Raptors have had great attendances right off the bat. So it could only mean the majority of the Jays fans here are Fairweather fans and that baseball is a distant third behind hockey and basketball. Jays have definitely matched the Raptors in terms of performance over the years and 26,000 fans per game is a joke in Rogers centre.

    MW: The Raptors have not had great attendances right off the bat, and there was legitimate concern a few years back about how long they would survive in Toronto. Also, baseball’s TV ratings beat the living heck out of the Raptors’. Basketball, I fear, is a distant fifth in this city (I know I’m going to get in trouble for that) behind the Leafs, Jays, Argos and (gulp) Toronto Football Club.

    - Beburg aka The relief pitcher
  54. 54.

    On Wednesday night when the Jays were playing the Reds, Marco Scutaro dove into first base to beat out an infield hit. He wasn’t avoiding the tag because the throw was accurate. Is it faster to dive into the base rather than run through?

    MW: Nope.

    - Logan
  55. 55.

    Mike,

    Let’s assume the Jays win tonight, going 6-4 with Cito and crew at the helm. What would the Jays record be if the Jays play .600 ball the rest of the way? Will that be enough for the wildcard (your calling between 88 – 92 wins)?

    Where do you think the Jays will need to be in the standings at the end of July to not consider trading Burnett with the anticipation of him walking after the season?

    So far Cito’s expectations of his pitchers has worked out, but let’s see if the Jays are able to turn in a comparable July to the May they had which put them in the thick of the race.

    MW: The Jays would get 88 wins if they played .600 ball from here on out, which will be awfully close. But it’s silly to get caught up in that, because one five-game win streak or one five-game losing streak changes everything. I think that if the Jays were still where they are now, standings-wise, at the end of July, they’d look hard at trading Burnett.

    - Aaron Ker
  56. 56.

    I don’t know why many people who phone you deem it necessary to yell at you when you disagree with their point of view. I find that very frustrating when they do this. I know they believe they are right and you are wrong, but they still don’t need to yell at you. I have learned so much from you about the players and the game and most of what you say seems to make sense to me. Anyways thanks for the calm one. Love the show and blog. Keep up the good work. I like a good argument. but the callers don’t need to yell at you or take cheap shots at you either.

    MW: Thank you!

    - Judy Smith
  57. 57.

    Mike,

    I was thinking of this yesterday while doing some yardwork.

    Scott Downs has now run his scoreless inning streak to 26. Does he get any Cy Young consideration if he happens to extend this streak into the high 30s – low 40s? What if he breaks Herisher’s record? Or, will there be no chance because of his role in the bullpen as a setup guy. If he was wearing a Yankees uniform Steinbrenner would want him in the starting rotation of course!!!

    MW: No chance Scott Downs win the Cy Young, and I’ll be stunned if he even gets a single vote.

    - Aaron Ker
  58. 58.

    Mike if somebody puts 500 grand in my pocket, I’m already out the door before they make me a million dollar offer to wager. Not on your life! That’s an offer I could most definately refuse. Half a yard and I’m on the first plane to Coco Beach, end of story!

    To the person or persons who threatened our venerable Mike Wilner, shame on you for hitting rock bottom. A person does not give greatly of his time to educate – good luck,(hacks like me) – only to receive abuse in return.

    Quite possibly he should charge a members fee to read and post quality and enlightened comments – unlike mine, for instance.

    I should be paying him a direct fee to wade through all my postings submitted in complete ignorance.

    But, I wouldn’t want you to get any big ideas, Mike. Noooooo!

    MW: Not a bad idea. Nobody threatened me, though.

    - Vito From Hamilton
  59. 59.

    Hey Mike.

    I was listening to Jays Talk after the game yesterday and my wife got upset and asked me to turn the radio off because “he is so rude to the callers.” When I refused she made me put it on the front speakers only and turn it down (she was in the back with the kids).

    MW: Apologize to her on my behalf. But I’m sorry that she wasn’t upset that the callers were being so rude to me.

    - Chris Jones
  60. 60.

    Hey Mike,

    Anton was like the ‘lil’ mountain climber on the Price is Right (being the theme is game shows). He kept pushing and pushing and finally he went off the edge. Good on you for banning him. Some people just take things WAY to seriously.

    Just had a quick baseball question – what is the extent of the injury sustained by Robinson Diaz? Any word when he might be back swinging the bat in Syracuse?

    MW: I don’t know how bad Diaz’ injury is – it’s a high ankle sprain, which can be problematic, but he’s been out a long time.

    - Cameron
  61. 61.

    Mike, just curious. who’s idea was it back then to do “Wednesdays with J.P.”? Was it the station or J.P.?

    any chance of a similar program with Cito?

    MW: I’m pretty sure it was Nelson Millman’s idea. I don’t think we’ll do the same with Cito, but Gibby used to come on to take calls with Rumack, so maybe Cito could do likewise.

    - tony
  62. 62.

    Something I’ve really noticed lately, and it was especially apparent at the game yesterday, is that the upper deck is always pretty empty. Weekend games last year always saw the 500 level with more people in it. Should the jays lower the price of 500 level tickets, even though they are only $9 to begin with?

    MW: Nope.

    - Andrew
  63. 63.

    Mike,

    I havn’t really been able to watch much of the games over the last 2 weeks due to extreme business and a bit of a letdown in their awful June, but I noticed that Cito will go out to the mound to calm give the pitcher a boost of confidence rather than yank him. Do many manager do this sort of thing?

    It always seemed like the pitching coach did this. I kind of like it though. I feel as if it would develop a positive relationship between manager and pitcher, even if there may already be one.

    MW: I don’t know if I’ve seen Cito do that. He came out yesterday to discuss intentionally walking Teixeira, and he came out with Halladay on the mound and left him in, but I’m pretty sure every other trip he’s made has been to make a change.

    - Mark
  64. 64.

    Mike,

    Would you agree that AJ Burnett has been the fourth best pitcher on the Blue Jays staff this year (perhaps tied with Dustin McGowan behind Halladay, Marcum, and Litsch)? I know you have a lot of trouble with AJ haters and like to point out (especially based on his last two starts) that this guy can really pitch, but if he is such a great pitcher, why is he just a 500 pitcher over his career? It’s great that he has “electric stuff” and can really dominate a game every now and then, but it seems to me that the Blue Jays would be much better off paying a lot less money to someone who doesn’t have his great stuff but can achieve similar results in terms of wins and losses. Here’s hoping he opts out of his contract at the end of the year.

    MW: You didn’t really ask me why he has been a .500 pitcher over the course of his career, did you? Go back and read about 100 comments explaining why that doesn’t mean anything, and some posts, too. But yes, he’s been the Jays’ worst starter in the overall this season.

    - James
  65. 65.

    Hey Mike,
    I was reading the yahoo sports recap of the Jays game and in the Notes section it said that Eckstein was taking groundballs at Second base.
    so that leads to 2 questions/comments
    1. That doesn’t sound good for Aaron Hill does it? I guess his head injury has no real date for his return….
    2. how do you like Eckstein fielding second?
    (Sorry if you’ve already addressed this, trying to catch up on all the bloggage, as work is pretty slow today))

    MW: Definitely no real date for Hill’s return, and I haven’t been able to see enough of Eck taking grounders to get a read on the defense. I’m sure it’s fine.

    - Randy
  66. 66.

    Mike before you tell anyone that they are in ignorance of the english language, maybe you should try to teach yourself more concepts, other than the, I love J.P and I will defend him to the end of the earth concept.

    Mike I wonder If all the people that call in and try to tell you that you are a baseball God consider that you are full of convienant truths. Examine the following

    1.Mike’s Truth

    The Jays are 5.5 game behind the Yankees

    The Whole Truth

    The Jays are 10.0 games back of division leading Rays and 9.5 behind wild card leading Red Sox

    2.Mike’s Truth

    JP has Drafted Well,

    The overall Truth

    JP only has Litsh,Marcum and Hill in the biggs everyday, to show for seven years of drafting. Jp has produced no major bat from the farm, all we’ve been hearing is names.

    3.Mike’s Truth

    Gord Ash made a mess of the team before his termination

    The Whole Truth

    Gord Ash drafted the three main peices of this team, Not to mention that alot of the current players on this team were aquired for Gord Ash drafted players.

    4.Mike’s Truth

    JP has made a blockbuster trade, he traded Glaus for Roland.

    The Overall Truth

    The Roland for Glaus trade was nothing but two teams making a trade for players who were no longer happy with their teams. It turns out now that the cards have obtained the power hitting side of that trade, something we desperatly need. Glaus had 20 home runs in fewer @ bats last year in contrast to Rolens 8.

    5.Mike’s Truth

    J.P has never made a bad Trade

    The Whole Truth
    You can’t make bad trades if you trade mediocrity for mediocrity. I don’t believe you can make a bad trade when your aquiring guys like B list guys like Tallet,frasor,Accardo etc
    The greater the player in the trade the higher the risk is of making a bad trade, Jp has made safe trades involving b and C list players. He probably won’t trade Burnett, he’ll probably settle for the picks which is an easier way out.

    Mike’s Truth

    Jays will finish ahead of Tampa Bay

    The Whole Truth
    The Jays can’t hit left handed pitching,They hit into a load of double plays, the jays are 10.0 games behind the Rays who are one win away from 50 wins thus far, Right now on the field Tampa is showing what they are going to be for years to come. I guess for years to come the Jays will look to Stairs. Scuduro, Overbay, Zaun
    Stewart, Wilkerson and Mcdonald to bring them back to the promise land.

    Mike’s Truth

    Eric Hinske of the Rays is hitting out of his mind

    The Whole Truth
    Erick Hinke is having the year the Jays once projected that he would have. Unfortunetly it’s not with them. I guess your trying to say Hinske ran into some luck, As did the Jays with Barajas, who is also hitting out of his mind.

    Mike and JP

    over the years have cried about payroll, Espn quoted JP this year as saying “All I am asking for is an equal chance”

    The Whole truth,

    The Marlins and the Rays are right in the thick of things this year (unlike the jays and their 98 million dollar payroll) while being at the bottom of the league payrolls and sitting in a division amoung the higest payrolls in the league. A good GM is a GM that has the ability to keep a team competetive on a limited payroll(Oakland,Minnesota,Florida)
    Jp in his tenure has more than once come out a made it clear that he cannot compete with a payroll under 75 million.

    Mike’s Truth

    Jp’s comments about Dunn will not affect our ability to sign free agents. Green is Green

    The Whole Truth

    According to Rich Griffen a reputable reporter of Blue Jays Baseball. Adam Dunn’s agent represents many other players in the league, Jp may have burned his bridges with Dunn’s agent because of the comments made on the post game show, Comments as such may potentially Devalue Dunn’s stock around the league. What agent would advise a player to take that crap from Toronto who has struggled to attract Top list free agents. Neither Green (Turf or money) will be attractive enough for free agents.

    Wilner, What’s the good ol line from the movie “Ä FEW GOOD MEN”
    “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH”

    MW: Is there even a point?

    - Neil
  67. 67.

    Hey Mike,

    I must say I liked the fact that Cito kept the bullpen empty in the 7th. While AJ has world a class arm, I wonder if he is as mentaly tuff as some of the best pitchers in the game. If AJ saw someone warming up his mind might haved started to wander then he might have lost focus. With Cito not warming up anyone it told AJ that he was trusted to get out of the inning, thus allowing him to concentrate on the hitter. I could be way off but mental tuffness is the only reason I can think of why Burnette doesn’t have better numbers. The guy is just WAY TOO GOOD to have a 4.75 era.

    - Andy
  68. 68.

    to Mike Wilner:

    You member incorrectly… I, wheeler-josh aka Josh from Camebridge, did win the cheesy 80′s trivia. I got the free dinner for 4 at Mandarin.

    You were kind of right about something. I had no idea what the answer was. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you now, or the question, or the hint.

    But, when you asked the question Barb remarked “oh, I know this” So, I knew I had to get her help on it. She was right. My name went in the hat. And, I won.

    Kind of a ‘cheesy’ way to win to cheesy 80′s trivia, but hell, I had fund.

    Also, I’m taking 2 friends and my sister to a Jays game and to dinner at Mandarin on July 12. So don’t feel too bad. Plus, I’m in a wheelchair. I deserve it. :-)

    MW: So the other guy got it right and you lucked into it? Oops.

    - wheeler-josh (from Camebridge)
  69. 69.

    Hi Mike,

    So far so good for the newly Cito’d Jays. It really seems like he’s having a positive effect on our guys. Especially the younger players. I know it sounds wierd, but I actually think I have more respect for Cito as a manager the second time around. I know that a popular knock on Gaston the first time around as Jays manager was that he was merely supervising an extremely talented team. I’m not saying I thought this about the guy but now I think I am seeing the teacher in Cito. Perhaps it’s the shots of Gaston pulling players aside for one on one chats, or just the fact that they’re winning lately but I’m starting to get really excited about what this team might do.

    As far as AJ goes it has been a long time coming for this guy to have two brilliant starts in a row. Lets go for 3 now!

    Keep up the good work Mike.

    - Matt from Waterloo
  70. 70.

    I know you don’t think Tampa is for real, but what exactly do you think is going to happen to them?

    Are they going to completely fall off the map in the 2nd half? .500 the rest of the way? Just miss the playoffs with 88 wins?

    MW: I think they’ll hit a big skid at some point, drop 8 of 10 or something like that, and probably hang around .500 or slightly under the rest of the way.

    - John
  71. 71.

    Hi Mike
    Great pitching duel.Reyes pitched pritty good although I think the jays could’ve easily added a couple of more runsbut A.J. was spectacular.It goes to show you why someone will always take a chance on him.He can be unhittable at times like he showed yesterday.Got to hand it to Rios it looked as if he was going into the rut he was in earlier swinging at balls in the dirt looking as if he had no clue at the plate.The commentators said that Cito had a talk with him after he made his first out.If it’s true good on both of them ,one for giving and the other for taking the advice.I am like you I believe in being prepared with a pitcher ready to come in,but Cito goes with his gut and gives the player all the rope he wants.Honestly I don’t have the balls to manage that way but as a player it is the only thing I want my managers confidence.Good on Cito.I think the next two weeks are very important.We don’t have to sweep but if we win 2 of 3 from now until the all-star break it will give us the confidence we need to make a run for the play-offs.
    mario
    Go Jays!!!

    - mario
  72. 72.

    Hi Mike…

    Could you possibly include your pick of the “Best play of the day” (from Jays games,with your commentary on it)in each and every post?

    I think that would be really cool and fun to follow, and would also give you some excellent play-by-play practice (in the written form). Your post above did a great job of this, and more of it would be great!

    Thanks.

    MW: There’s no such thing as written play-by-play. I tend to go over the things that jumped out to me in the game, but I don’t know if I would do a “play of the day” thing – maybe if someone wants to sponsor it!

    - andrew - KW
  73. 73.

    Hi Mike,

    While I agree with about 80 – 90% of what you say on Jays talk and don’t want to flog a dead horse (Dembo). This issue is stickin in my craw. As you probably remember I’ve expressed my concern/dislike about Dembo’s approach to hitting since the early part of June.

    First let me address yesterday’s (Sunday) discussion on the post game show. You accused me of saying something “that had nothing to do with what I just said” while refuting your point about the need to treat all players the same. I said “Cito says you need to kick some in the butt while others need a pat on the back”
    I think my comment was on point and had a lot to do with what you said. In fact your guilty of doing what you accused me of (thanks for the audio). I called to make the point that JP agreed with my contention that players who don’t follow the coaches INSTRUCTION will get punished through playing time. Your answer had nothing to do with what I said! You completely changed the topic by saying players weren’t benched for poor PRODUCTION… You even used Rios as the “shining example” of someone who didn’t get benched because of PRODUCTION along with Wells + Overbay. You actually helped make my point, They and Rios didn’t get benched in spite of their poor production precisely because they WERE following Dembo’s INSTRUCTION. Frankly I believe Dembo got Gibby fired!

    Do you think for a second that Cito + Gene are going to let players tune them out, have poor results and continue playing them?

    Also why minimize my comment about the fact they had the 2nd best offence in MLB the last week by saying they had 14, 9 and 7 run games. Isn’t that a great thing? Something to build upon? A harbinger of things to come perhaps?

    While it’s only been 9 games (and you can throw out the first two games….how much can you change things when you arrive an hour or 2 before game time or even 26 hours) most of us unstubborn folks can see the dramatic improvement in the new hitting approach under Cito + Gene! I predict it will even get better with time. I look forward to being able to say I TOLD YOU SO!

    MW: First of all, it’s Denbo. You’ve confused me by talking about what I said, then asking if I think Gaston and Tenace won’t continue playing guys who tune them out and have poor results. Would you rather they listen and have poor results, which is was you imply was happening under Denbo? And if the players tune them out and have good results, of course they would continue to play. Sure the big games were something to build upon, but don’t forget that the Jays also put up a 0 and 1 in those first seven games under Cito that we’re allowed to count, and in two of the three most recent games. You’re welcome to say “I told you so” all you like, but my answer will be “I told you so, too.”

    - Dave from Oakville
  74. 74.

    Hi Mike,

    As always, keep up the good work with JaysTalk and the blog.

    I don’t have a question but rather a comment.

    I don’t think JP gets enough credit sometimes, For all of things this guy has done, both good and bad. The fact that he is on your show every single week simply amazes me. The fact that he takes time out of his day to talk to fans really impresses me.

    Also, I know hindsight is 20/20 but how smart does the Scutaro and Inglett pickup look now? I am not saying they will turn into everyday players because I don’t think they will, but for the amount of work Scutaro and now Inglett has put in this year they have turned into incredibly smart signings. Over the past 2-3 years the Jays bench has not been very deep at all as you could tell by the injuries and the consequences of those injuries last year, but at least when both SS and Hill got hurt this year they had people who were able to step in.

    Nothing really else to say, really just wanted to point out that not everything JP has done has resulted in the world ending like some people make it out to be.

    P.S: More Softball updates!

    MW: I didn’t play last week, hence no update.

    - Johnny G
  75. 75.

    As you’re probably aware, but I’ll point out for anyone who isn’t, MLB changed the Free Agency rules a couple years ago. There are now no “C” Type free agents, only A’s and B’s. And fewer of them. It doesn’t work the way it did the last time AJ hit free agency. We can expect the top 17 AL pitchers to receive A level, maybe 18 if we’re lucky. Elias(who do the rankings) don’t publicly reveal the formula, but research has shown that it’s mostly comprised of ERA, wins, and innings, probably in that order.

    My projection has the cutoff for Type A landing at production around 350+ innings, a 4.00 ERA, and about 25+ wins at the very least. Depending on how a few guys perform, it could go to a level of about 380+ innings with a 3.90 ERA with 25+ wins. Anyways, looking at the list of guys, I don’t think it’s a very good assumption to say that AJ is going to finish in the top 17. I have 10 spots pretty much sealed up as higher than AJ, with 12 or so others I feel are strongly ahead of him even when factoring in expected performance the rest of the year. Now, he could pass some of those, but he really needs to step it up.(ie: post an ERA around 3.5, as well as staying healthy and winning at least 7 more games from this point). I don’t believe he will do it, but I hope he does.

    To be honest, after his last 2 outings and taking a closer look at my data, I feel a lot better about it than I did when I previously made the comments, but it’s still what I would consider a long-shot.
    I could list all the players I have ahead of him if you want, but I’m not going to post their stats and you’d have to actually look at them to decide whether you agreed with my projections or not.

    MW: I appreciate the work and the research, but it’s pointless to try to project something when we only have a “best guess” as to what the formula is.

    - Dan W
  76. 76.

    About AJ’s perception around the league, I found it funny how in the blog you said teams worried about the injuries AND the mental side, but then ripped into the caller who suggested that while only admitting the injury thing and not the mental side, when that could’ve been interpreted as the callers main point. Look, I don’t have access to any front office types, but I do read a lot about baseball however I can, and IMO AJ’s image is very similar across the league as it is here. He’s viewed as a guy with tremendous stuff that most teams WOULD love to have on the mound, but I’ve also read a lot from outside Toronto sources that he’s viewed as a malcontent, a hot-head, and wildly inconsistent. Most teams would love to have him, but funny how the two teams that would probably want him the least next season are the two teams that have had him, Toronto and Florida.

    Oh, and I thought you never talked bad about people when they didn’t have a chance to respond, and that you never took jabs at people once they were off the air? Because I’m pretty sure I heard you do that to 3 callers on Fridays show I think it was?

    Oh, also from Fridays, you said Vernon was not having a bad year. At the time, he had missed 1/3 of the season, and posted an OPS+ of 99. Now, you’re technically right, that’s not exactly terrible. But I don’t have any problem with the caller saying Vernon was having a bad year, because in context I think he was right.

    One more to go to get mostly caught up from the weekend. Sorry for triple posting but it helps break it up at this length. Feel free to not post any of these if you feel it’s out of place or undeserving.

    - Dan W
  77. 77.

    As for the “I hope you get fired too” comment, you’re right, sometimes people do lose sight of some things and on the family issues. But that doesn’t make it right, or clever, or useful to say what you said, and you’re still ignoring the fact that you took that attack on an entirely different premise than the poster did(which I explained in the post.) Anyways, like I’ve said before, people normally don’t respond to attacks, they normally respond to reason and respect. I’ve learnt that, though it doesn’t necessarily help me to follow it all the time.

    People get fired Mike, and they deal with it. Guaranteed contract or no guaranteed contract, they deal with it. Does a single mother working at Tim Hortons to try to raise 3 kids have a guaranteed contract? Nope. But if she regularly spits in customers faces and dumps coffee on them for no good reason, she’s doing a pretty s**** job and should probably be fired. Having a family doesn’t absolve you of responsibility and accountability. Now, I realize this is an extreme example and you’re not exactly screaming obscenities at callers, but the principle is the same: if I don’t feel you’re doing your job well, and I’m a consumer of what you provide, I have every right to say I think you should be fired. It doesn’t make anyone feel good, but it’s the way things work because it’s the way they need to work.

    MW: You’re right, but I have the right to say I think you should lose your job, too.

    - Dan W
  78. 78.

    Nice to see the pitching win one. I love watching AJ when he’s dialed in, he may be a little up and down but It’s still gonna suck loosing him, having a pitcher that can do that is a blessing. I love seeing Cito show some faith in his pitchers, but your right I hope it doesn’t come back to bite him one night. So….yeah I realy hope Tex becomes a free agent and JP pushes hard for him, he seems like just the type of hitter we need. Who do you think the Jays should push real hard for free agency wise?

    MW: I think Teixeira is the right guy.

    - Nick
  79. 79.

    Is now a good time to shop Burnett around? Or are we still in belief that we are competing this year? Laporta we cant get for sure but I think we can probably get one of the Texas bats (Ramirez or Davis ) for Burnett. They cant play both of them and they will need pitching to compete this year. Regardless of how well he pitches this year I think we need to get something for Burnett and maybe this is the best time to do it.

    MW: Now isn’t the best time to do it.

    - PW
  80. 80.

    I don’t know why you’re such a staunch defender of AJ. We understand that he is capable of pitching gems, but he doesn’t do so consistently. That is an undisputable fact. Meanwhile, it is acknowledged that the Jays lack a bona fide power hitter. If they want to come back and compete in 2008, then it does make sense to try and trade AJ if they can get a power hitter in return (the Jays may have to throw other pieces into the trade) and hope that, say, John Parrish can adequately fill the void. Or, they can be satisfied with a top flight rotation and finish near the bottom of the AL East.

    MW: They can’t get a bona fide power hitter in return for Burnett.

    - Lorne Cohen
  81. 81.

    Mike,
    What do these guys have in common?
    Ellsbury, Suzuki, Roberts, Victorino, Kinsler, Sizemore, Rollins, Damon, Luis Castillo, Hanley Ramirez, and Chone Figgins.

    They all are pretty good leadoff hitters.

    MW: Off the top of my head, Victorino and Rollins don’t get on base enough, and Kinsler, Sizemore and Ramirez would be far better suited hitting lower in the line-up.

    - JW
  82. 82.

    Hey Mike,
    So, I was at the Dome for two of the three games against the Braves. A few points:

    1. Is it super costly to open and close the roof or something? I understand that there was the potential for rain on the weekend, but from what I understand, it never did during either game. I couldn’t say with 100% confidence though, cuz I was trapped inside that sweltering blast furnace of a stadium with no view of the sky. Man, it was hot in there. I felt like Cool Hand Luke spending an afternoon in the box. Why the reluctance to open it up? Sky, fresh air, and baseball. That would be a nice combination.

    2. Wilkerson, MacDonald, Eckstein and Scutaro hitting 8th, 9th, 1st, 2nd. Awesome. At least that chunk of the batting order gave us time to leave our seats to seek intravenous hydration treatment for our heat stroke.

    3. It was great to see Burnett kick so much a**. Likewise for Parrish and his win. But if Parrish makes the rotation next year, I’ll sing Milli Vanilli songs in front of gate 6 for an hour (or until the crowd turns ugly). Burnett rules, and Parrish…does not rule.

    MW: I don’t think it’s terribly costly to open and shut the roof, but with weather forecasting being a rather inexact science, they don’t want to get caught with their pants down, I’m guessing. It was raining at 12:30 when I was outside for the pre-game. Burnett’s not going to be here next year, so the choice isn’t exactly him or Parrish.

    - Kipps Thompson
  83. 83.

    Hey Mike
    Why can’t the Rays make the playoffs? Because it says “Rays” on the front of their shirts? The fact is, I think this team could even play BETTER in the second half. Carlos Pena hasn’t hit yet and just came off the DL. Carl Crawford is 20 points under his career average. BJ Upton only has four homers. They have the prospects and the motivation to make a big deal or two. So why not? That’s my question.

    MW: Asked and answered. Many times, though most recently yesterday or the day before.

    - ben
  84. 84.

    Hi Mike,

    I know JP has mentioned Tim Collins at least once while on Jays talk. There was a nice article on him yesterday: http://www.telegram.com/article/20080629/COLUMN51/274730233/1009/SPORTS

    Obviously it’s too soon to know if he’ll make it but it’s still a great story about a non-drafted player.

    Do you think he should spend the whole year at Lansing or should he be promoted to Dunedin?

    MW: Having never seen him play, I have no clue.

    - Peter
  85. 85.

    Hey Mike, can you clear this up? It looks like last night Rod Barajas was talking about one of the Jays pitchers and said something like “the last ten feet, his fastball was picking up speed.”

    But two different reporters have this quote referring to two different pitchers. In Blair’s story [url="http://www.globesports.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080629.blair30-web/GSStory/GlobeSportsBaseball/home"] here [/url] it’s referring to Burnett, and in the MLB story [url="http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080629&content_id=3031583&vkey=news_tor&fext=.jsp&c_id=tor"] here [/url] it’s referring to BJ Ryan.

    Can you tell us which one is right?

    MW: Nope, I wasn’t down there after the game. I’ll talk to Blair and Bastian, though.

    - Trevor
  86. 86.

    Mike,

    Can’t wait for the Late Night Jays Talk tonight…I can actually stay up and listen and not have to worry about getting up for work tomorrow morning….hopefully it’s EXTRA entertaining!!!

    P.S. Those shaved beef sandwiches at the Rogers Centre (100 level) are amazing…well worth the $8.99. That was my saving grace for an otherwise disappointing experience on Friday night when the Braves blanked us 4-0.

    - Bernard
  87. 87.

    Whoa! Did you just compare AJ to Bob Gibson? You usually don’t present anything as flimsy as that. But I suppose you have an out with the mound being shorter and all.

    MW: Mentioning two people in the same sentence isn’t the same as comparing the two.

    - Chris
  88. 88.

    Sorry for pseudo-stalking you on here today, but I just listened to the Jays Talk and the soon-to-be-famous 4-point-caller brought up something else I wanted to comment on. Troy Tulowitzki. Why does everyone get their skivvies in a bunch over him? He was a key player in the Rockies winning 21 0f 22 or whatever it was, but I don’t think T squared is worth getting all worked up over. He’s far from a proven major leaguer. I don’t think not drafting him was an egregious error.

    MW: He’s the best shortstop the Jays never drafted. Or something.

    - Chris
  89. 89.

    “By not having a reliever up in that situation, Gaston is telling A.J. Burnett two things: 1 – you’re my guy; and b – you’re EXPECTED to throw seven innings. I haven’t decided whether or not I think that’s a good thing. I kind of like it, but it still scares me.”

    I have a question about how Cito manages pitching staffs because I wasn’t really paying attention to pitch count as much in 1997 and before. What scares me about (b) in your two options is that, if true, it perhaps indicates that Cito could routinely go above 100-105 pitches in an outing.

    It seems to me that the danger of running a pitcher out there to get to an inning leads to additional arm stress and what the BP guys call “Pitcher Abuse Points”. I am especially concerned about this when it comes to younger arms.

    I am not saying that this is what Cito *is* doing. I just wonder if you had some sense on how much Cito believes in pitch count as a primary tool in judging when a starter has had enough. This is especially key on a team with as good a bullpen as the Jays.

    Anyhow, I love listening to your show and reading the ol’ blog.

    MW: That’s a valid concern, seeing how pitch counts didn’t seem to be as big a deal during Cito’s last go-round as a manager. But tonight on the pre-game show, Jerry asked that very question, and Cito answered by saying that he won’t let a guy go over 120 pitches.

    - Paul
  90. 90.

    Burnett’s been fun to watch the last 2 games. At the least if he doesn’t help the team get back into it he can increase his trade value.

    Is it reasonable to say that the Jays should sweep Seattle ? Halladay’s going tonight and I hear that Seattle will use the bullpen tomorrow to try and get through that game.

    I don’t think anyone’s asked this lately and I apologize if anyone has but what’s the status on Accardo and Stewart ? (I find myself forgetting that the latter is still on the team.)

    MW: It isn’t unreasonable to say that the Jays should sweep Seattle. It’s a series that they should win. Accardo had a setback and will miss a while yet, and Stewart is going to be a while, too.

    - Dilson
  91. 91.

    Ok it’s stupid suggestion time.

    In 3 weeks time if we aren’t making up any ground, Detroit needs to replace Bonderman (who i believe could be done for the season) So how about A.J. Burnett for Curtis Granderson?

    Granderson bats lead off for us and moves to left field.

    Either Burnett agrees to sign a contract extension, or we give up a prospect or a reliever as well?

    I know i know stupid.

    MW: Not a snowball’s chance. But at least you know it’s a stupid suggestion.

    - ukJay
  92. 92.

    In the bottom of the 7th with runners on 1st and 2nd with one out, J-Mac’s up and he doesn’t bunt. Why? He of course promptly and predictably got out. Eckstein followed with his usual infield groundout and the inning is over. I would never bunt in that situation with anyone else, but with J-Mac you gotta move them over right? By the way, why were they batting back to back?? That should NEVER happen. This only happened twice under Gibbons (in April) but that was necessary because McDonald HAD to be in the lineup due to Rolen’s absence. Two guys in a row with infield power is just asking for outs.

    Also, is Cito going to wear out Downs and Tallet before August? He’s got Downs on the 2 inning program it seems which is fine but preferably with more rest in between. And Tallet is pitching every other day which is unnecessary with Carlson also available. And he hasn’t even used League yet which is a head-scratcher.

    MW: The League thing is definitely a head-scratcher, but I don’t agree with Downs and Tallet. How much rest do you think Downs needs after pitching two innings? One day should be enough. I don’t have a problem with McDonald and Eckstein hitting 9-1, so long as Eckstein continues to hit as well as he is now. As far as the bunt goes, why do you bunt to get Eckstein to the plate with two out?

    - Shawn
  93. 93.

    Mike are there no circumstances inwhich we could offer redemption to Anton? How about if he agreed to change his screen name to HeHateMe?

    MW: Nope.

    - Vito From Hamilton
  94. 94.

    Mike, do you think the Jays will have enough money in the offseason to go after guys like Adam Dunn, C.C Sabathia, Pat Burrell, etc?

    MW: Yep.

    - andrew
  95. 95.

    Mike,

    Two things: 1) Have you heard anything about Janssen’s rehab lately?

    2) You just predicted in the comments above that the Rays would win 85 or 86 games. (Losing 8/10 and going .500 the rest of the way from this point on). While I was never sure how many wins a real/non-real team should have, you just agreed with the Baseball Prospectus PECOTA projection from before the season began… I’d say that you’re now closer to thinking that they’re “for real” than not, as I think the Jays will have a tough time getting 86 wins.

    MW: I didn’t say that, I said .500 or slightly under, so that could be 81-84 wins. Dig me agreeing with Pecota. The Jays won 87 in 2006 – were they a “real” team then?

    - Christopher Taylor
  96. 96.

    Mike do you know if the Jays will have any Canada day wear on their uniforms tonight or tomorrow?

    MW: Hopefully a flag tomorrow, at least.

    - Howard
  97. 97.

    Mike,
    Isn’t it hypocritical to get on me for taking a shot at you for your praise of Overbay after you took a shot at people who critised Denbo when the team was shutout after scored 34 runs in 4 games?

    MW: Nope.

    - JW
  98. 98.

    Mike on your pre game show yesterday one of your guests called A.J. a .500 pitcher, and you let it go. You wimp! But I guess we should all be used to you changing your tune based on who you’re talking to (Ashby on Marcum).

    MW: It was Rob MacLeod who called A.J. a .500 pitcher, and I think you’re missing a basic concept. People who call my show call my show, people who I ask to come on my show are there because they graciously agreed to give of their time to join me. Very different. Also, I answered your baseless accusation about the Marcum/Ashby thing when you made it.

    - Steve
  99. 99.

    Mike I think that hanging with JP has clouded your competance in understanding a pretty clear point in my previous blog.

    YOU TELL HALF TRUTHS. YOU NEVER GIVE THE FULL SCOOP. THAT”S MY POINT. IT”S NOT DEEP. I MENTION THINGS THAT CONVIENANTLY DEFENDS JP AND THE JAYS.

    THAT”S MY POINT

    - Neil
  100. 100.

    Correction: YOU MENTION THINGS THAT CONVIENANTLY DEFENDS JP AND THE JAYS.

    MW: I tell the truth. You make stuff up. And any good points you do make (which you sometimes do) are often lost because of it (and because of the way you write).

    - Neil
  101. 101.

    Mike,

    Season is ALMOST over for The Jays, most likely a another .500 year. J.P. has been here long enough and has made mistakes that could cost his job. I’ve been one that feels that we should move in a different direction. However, if he can trade some veterens for high level prospects in positions we need (SS for one). It would certainly help him gain back some J.P. haters. Hate is a strong word, I mean the thousands of fans who want him fired.

    - bruno
  102. 102.

    Hey Mike,

    Can you post last nights version of TBJTW? I missed it last night.

    Thanks,

    Ryan

    MW: Most of it is up in the hot audio section.

    - Ryan
  103. 103.

    Hi Mike…a quick thought: if Gary Denbo did so much apparent damage to the psyche the major league hitters, why risk having him screw up the minor leaguers by offering him the chance to stay on as a minor league hitting instructor? Does he still have credibility within the organization?

    And just think what the uncensored Lorax would have said about the subpar Indians this year: “I hear things are just as bad up at Lake Erie…”

    MW: The uncensored Lorax?

    - Zack
  104. 104.

    mike, guess which jay has the lowest avg with risp BOTH this year and last year. this is the player that must be traded this offseason.

    MW: Lyle Overbay?

    - rocco
  105. 105.

    mike, tbay has the best record in baseball. is this the first time in history? yet you think they will not win 90 games. they may very well win the world series. so much for your theory that noboby but the yanks and sox can win in the east.

    MW: It’s July 1st. The season is over at the end of September. It continues to stun me just how many people are not aware of this.

    - rocco
  106. 106.

    I think the reason why most of us get worked up over Tulowitzki is because the Jays haven’t had a legit, starting SS (who can both field and hit) in oh…8 years.

    MW: 8 years? Alex Gonzalez? Seriously?

    - John
  107. 107.

    Mike,

    Most fans would agree with Niel’s points. Most are fact.

    MW: So far it’s just you and him, Bruno. And you two have disagreed with everything, regardless.

    - bruno
  108. 108.

    I love the Lorax.
    Also, I decided to watch a minor league game recently, and I was surprised to see one of our main catching prospects at second base. I was wondering why Curtis Thigpen/Robinzon Diaz (I forget which one) might have been there for if Aaron Hill has such a promising future at second?

    MW: It must have been Thigpen, because Diaz is hurt. Thigpen isn’t one of the Jays’ main catching prospects, they’re going to turn him into a super-utility guy.

    - Jason
  109. 109.

    What up wit Eckstein, Mike? Mike, if Eckstein doesn’t do something huge in a crucial situation with the bat, something really significant, from now till the end of the season, albeit whatever scenerio might crop up, I’ll be more than delighted if you called me a money’s uncle.

    MW: Eckstein drove in a huge insurance run with two out in the 8th on Saturday. He also had a two-out double tonight and scored the Jays’ first run. You can’t complain about his bat, he’s hit .329/.440/.411 since coming back from the disabled list.

    - Vito From Hamilton
  110. 110.

    Also Mike, what do you think about this trade to the Rockies:

    To Toronto: Matt Holliday
    To Colorado: A.J. Burnett, Jason Frasor, David Eckstein.

    Maybe throw in Ryan Houston, if it deems necessary.

    MW: Why would the Rockies do that? Jason Frasor is the only player who is under contract for next year.

    - Jason
  111. 111.

    Adam Dunn isn’t coming here no matter how much green we flash in his direction.

    And I’ve just watched Rios and Wells, a combined $$$$$$$$$ out of our payroll strike out in succession with Eckstein at 3rd. And watching them mess up with a runner in scoring position isn’t exactly a new experience for me. Those big contracts are beginning to look really stupid. Talk about overpaid and over here!

    Just as well Halladay pitched another complete gem to get us the win regardless. Great pitching, great defense, lousy hitting. Just another day at the ballpark for this season’s Jays :(

    - reyes
  112. 112.

    Happy Canada Day Mike and may God bestow only the richest of blessings on you and your family.

    - Andy
  113. 113.

    Wow!!! Doc was soooo filthy tonight he makes Pig-Pen look clean!!

    Take care Mike.

    - Troy
  114. 114.

    Mike,

    Your prediction on Tampa Bay is a joke. Like most of your predictions.

    MW: Is the season over? Someone is playing a huge joke on you.

    - bruno
  115. 115.

    re: your question, “The Jays won 87 in 2006 – were they a “real” team then?”

    Sure, maybe, I don’t know – they were a good team that despite a July-August swoon could have made the playoffs… but all I was getting at in putting a number on the number of wins on your Rays prediction (yes, you did say .500 or slightly under, sorry…) is while I’m not sure what a “real” team is, you have to admit with your current prediction you seem to have (reasonably) changed your position on the Rays from this April (when Pecota made its prediction of 85 wins).

    So to sum up, I have no idea what a real team is, but I’ll say this: of the 2006 Jays and 2008 Rays, the 2008 Rays are the better team. Agree or disagree?

    …anyway, as always, I enjoy the blog and the show.

    MW: I think you’re getting caught up on “real”. When I say whether a team is “for real”, to me that means – are they as good (or as bad) as they appear to be. The Rays are not this good. Of the 2006 Jays and 2008 Rays, who’s better? I’ll let you know when the season is over, not at the halfway point.

    - Christopher Taylor
  116. 116.

    I donno Mike…seems to me like it’s becoming more and more all about Cito. The abstract. The intangible. Under Gibbons many close frustrating losses..under Cito? Why aren’t we losing these tight ones, Mike?

    MW: When your pitchers don’t give up any runs, you tend not to lose.

    - Vito From Hamilton
  117. 117.

    Sorry Mike (post #106) that was just kind of a shot in the dark. I really started watching this team in 2003, and these are the SS that I’ve had to live with:

    Chris Woodward, Mike Bordick, Chris Gomez, Russ Adams, Aaron Hill (I still believe he should be there now, but that’s another issue), John McDonald, Royce Clayton, David Eckstein and Marco Scutaro.

    I guess what I want is a little stability Mike.

    MW: So you’d rather have had Chris Woodward as the starting shortstop for the last six years?

    - John
  118. 118.

    MW: You’re right, but I have the right to say I think you should lose your job, too.

    - Dan W

    thats ur response to post 77, but you didn’t say that, you said that you hoped he lost his job AND couldn’t feed his family. I think you crossedthe line on that one.

    MW: So I should lose my job, but miraculously somehow I’ll still be able to feed my family?

    - josh
  119. 119.

    I’m not complaining about Eckstein, Mike. I just believe in him alittle more than most. I don’t know why. I think maybe there’s abit of a sleeper aspect to him. That is until he does something unexpectedly awesome on offence. Mark my words Mike, Eckstein will turn some heads before all is said and done.

    - Vito From Hamilton
  120. 120.

    Uhhhh no. Where did I say I wanted Chris Woodward to be the starting SS for the last 6 years?

    What I did mention is that I believe that Hill should be the SS. Before the 2006 season, I was part of the contingent that wanted Hill and Adams to switch positions, which they eventually ended up doing anyway. Yes, Hill is outstanding at 2B, but he can be at least average at SS and its much easier to find a second baseman who can both hit and field than it is a SS.

    One more thing if you don’t mind. I’ve heard you say that you would love to see John McDonald get a shot at being the starting SS. He got that shot. In the second half of 2006. He was absolutely horrible. As Halladay’s personal SS and a late inning replacement? I love him. But as the starter on a team that wants to contend? Not a chance.

    MW: You said you wanted stability. If Woodward had held onto the job once he got it, the Jays would have had stability, but below-mediocre production, at shortstop. Be careful what you wish for. McDonald also got that shot last year, and earned a two-year contract and a shot at a starting job. On a team that has enough offense to carry him, I have no problem with McDonald as a starter. He wasn’t absolutely horrible in 2006, though he certainly wasn’t good enough.

    - John
  121. 121.

    Thanks for the response Mike. I do appreciate the effort you put into this blog.

    But in 2006, John McDonald had an OPS of .579. An OPS+ of 50. I’d say that’s the very definition of absolutely horrible. In fact, I’ll argue that a .271 OBP and a .308 SLG is so bad that it negates his defence.

    So you have no problem with McDonald starting on a team with enough offence? Okay, I might agree with you on that. After all, the Red Sox won the World Series last year with Lugo posting a .628 OPS. But the Jays aren’t even close to the Red Sox offensively. Even if the Jays’ hitters were around their career norms, I still don’t believe they could afford to carry McDonald everyday. Seeing as how JP felt the need to sign Royce Clayton last year and David Eckstein this year, I think he agrees with me.

    MW: I’m sure he agrees with you. And when I said he wasn’t “absolutely horrible” I was referring to the whole package, not just the bat.

    - John
  122. 122.

    Why is Fielder rumoured to be moved? I haven’t heard that.

    Him and the Brewers aren’t very close in contract negotiations, so there’s been talk. He’s a Boras guy and Boras won’t let any of his clients do any of those long deals that will keep them away from being an UFA for longer than necessary. I think eventually they’ll find a way to keep him there though, even if it takes a year of arbitration before they do a long-term deal.

    #27’s 3rd sentence was hilarious.

    Olerud and Overbay aren’t really very comparable. Olerud hit lefties much, much better. Actually, he was much, much better in almost every regard. Olerud had 7 seasons with an OPS+ better than Overbays career high. I mean, I guess you have a point in that they’re both good fielding 1st basemen who are known as walk/double guys, but from a production standpoint they’re not similar at all.

    “Seriously – taking a shot at Overbay yesterday when the team went 0-for-14 with RISP?”

    When you start bringing up single game examples to combat others who do it first, it only leads to people doing this right back at you.

    #53: When I first read the ratings of Jays in comparison to Raptors I was shocked. It really seems like the Raps have a better following, but I guess not. That being said, I don’t remember there ever being legitimate concern about their future in Toronto, care to explain? Even in the first couple post-Carter years the attendance was pretty solid compared to other losing teams around the league.

    #75: Really? It’s pointless to analyze something when we only have a best guess? If I find 17 pitchers who I project will have a lower ERA, more innings, and more wins, it’s no longer a best guess thing, it’s a factual thing. I realize it’s not set in stone if we don’t have the formula, but to not analyze it at all? Does the Jays front-office have the formula? And if they don’t, are you saying they shouldn’t bother trying to project what type of Free Agent AJ will end up as? I’m pretty sure that’s the type of thing that might be important in trade talks.
    If we stopped analyzing everything we only had a 95% idea of the criteria on, we’d end up not analyzing tons of things that were pretty important.

    “You’re right, but I have the right to say I think you should lose your job, too.”

    Remember that whole “I’ve actually seen what you do” argument I made before? How do you have the right when you: a) Have no idea what my job is. and b) Have no idea what my level of production is.
    Are you even sure that you consume anything I’m involved with?

    “So I should lose my job, but miraculously somehow I’ll still be able to feed my family?”

    I’m not sure how “miraculous” finding a new job or having great financial planning is.

    MW: I really enjoy these summaries/opinion pieces about the comments sections!

    - Dan W
  123. 123.

    I’m guessing #122 is sarcasm, but I really can’t tell.

    MW: Actually, it wasn’t.

    - Dan W
  124. 124.

    Oh, thanks a lot then. That’ll teach me to always assume the worst lol. I’ll try to keep it up but the Jays are having a tough time beating out work right now. Honestly, as absurd as it is because I know there is a chance they get back into it, I’m pretty much throwing in the towel on this season. Hopefully they’ll have a good stretch and I can jump back on the bandwagon, but we’ll see. I’ll make it to a couple this weekend against the Yankees so maybe that’ll spark my interest again.

    Congrats on #10,000. I know you work hard at this, so you certainly deserve it.

    - Dan W
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