12:30 PM Eastern

Well, obviously a two-game losing streak doesn’t sit well with the higher-ups in Blue Jay land.  Unwilling to waste the fine offense that has led them to a 15-9 start, they turned over fully one-quarter of the pitching staff this morning with six roster moves.

Gone are David Purcey, Bryan Bullington and Brian Burres, coming up are Brett Cecil, Robert Ray and Brian Wolfe.

The big question, of course, is why Wolfe and not Accardo?  OK, maybe that’s not the big question, but I know that’s the question I’m  going to get on The JaysTalk probably about 8-12 times tonight.  The answer is a big, fat I don’t know.  At least until I talk to J.P. Ricciardi when I get to the park.  Wolfe isn’t pitching better than Accardo in Vegas, nor has he had more extended outings than Accardo.  Right now, let’s just say that the answer is that the Jays like Wolfe better.

As for Cecil and Ray, the hope is that they’re going to come up here and  throw strikes, which is something that neither Purcey nor Burres seemed able to do to great effect.

Cecil – a sandwich pick in ’07 – fired through three levels of the minors at the ages of 21 and 22 last season (his birthday is the day after Canada Day).  He tore up A-ball, held his own at AA, and got beat up a bit at AAA.  His return visit to AAA this season didn’t start off well, but his last start was a good one – he allowed four hits and a walk over six innings at Sacramento, striking out five.  He’ll start Tuesday against the Orioles, on a week’s rest.

Ray – a 7th rounder in ’05 and former Aggie – pitched himself onto the radar last year by going 8-6, 3.18 at AA after starting three straight years in Dunedin.  The 10.1 hits per nine innings there don’t look good, but he doesn’t walk people, having averaged 2.7 walks per nine through his minor league career.  That’s what the Jays are looking for right now, I think.  Cito hates pitchers who can’t throw strikes, and well he should.  Ray will be on the mound tomorrow, making his major-league debut in Purcey’s spot in the rotation.  He’ll be throwing on five days’ rest.

Will either one of these guys be here long term? It depends on how well they pitch.  When Casey Janssen and Ricky Romero come back in a couple of weeks, they’ll either take their places or replace one of them, with Brian Tallet going back to the bullpen – assuming everyone else stays healthy.

If they were going to bring up Cecil now, why not do it a week ago and save us from having to watch two starts from Burres?  I think the answer to that was that they wanted Cecil to have at least one good start this season before bringing him up.  Both to get him on a high note and to send the message that the kids do have to earn their way up here.  Still, it’s going to be very tough for the Jays to control his innings from here on out, especially if he pitches well enough to stay.  Both for that reason, and for service time reasons, I think we’ll see Cecil make a month-long trip back to Vegas at some point this season.

As for the guys who went down, Burres remains just a guy.  An emergency airlift in case you need an 11th starter, which the Jays did.  Bullington showed a nice slider and a good arm – there may be some there there, and hopefully they’ll let him start in Vegas, ahead of Burres or maybe Chris Michalak.

Purcey is the one the Jays want to bring back.  For whatever reason, Purcey just couldn’t put it together this year. A 7.01 ERA and 1.792 WHIP tells you that, despite the 26 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings.  He only had one good start out of five, and it was the first one – second game of the season against the Tigers.  He’s going down to Vegas to turn things around.  To get back to being the guy who walked 2.6 batters per nine innings in Syracuse last year, and 2.3 per nine at AA the year before.  Purcey has a big-league arm, and if he can figure out his control, a big-league future, and is still very much a part of things going forward.

I’ll get to the comments during the ballgame, and if you’re coming down, you might just get to see me on the field when it’s over doing a post-game interview for the in-stadium crowd!

58 Responses to “Ship ‘Em Out!”
  1. 1.

    CAN YOU answer this big question, its kind of intriguing and surprising? accardo is statistically doing well and he can pitch for long innings?

    MW: No, he can’t, which is why he’s not here.

    - nick
  2. 2.

    Wasn’t Cecil compared to BJ Ryan originally and slated to be the Jays’ future closer?

    And is his Slider REALLY good? and how fast can he throw? Can he get righties out?

    Wow. I’m freakin’ excited to see this kid pitch on Tuesday. Maybe he’ll be the next Barry Zito (pre-suck/Giants)!

    MW: Cecil doesn’t remind me of Zito, who has that big, breaking curve (or at least he did). Cecil has a chance to be really, really good – but don’t expect it all on Tuesday. Still, he’s going to be fun to watch.

    - Jake
  3. 3.

    hey Mike;
    Any chance of mills or accardo coming back up to the roster soon? Another querstion, is russ adams playing in aaa las vagas? To bad matt clement retired, thanks mike keep up the good work.

    MW: Accardo will be up when the need for a short reliever arises. Mills won’t be here for a while, unless Ray or Cecil blows up and Litsch/Janssen/Romero aren’t back for a while. Yes, Adams is playing in Vegas.

    - robert.s
  4. 4.

    Purcey’s demotion to AAA is very good for both the ball club and Purcey. I’m positive that he is going to turn things around.
    Ray.. I don’t know much but I’ll know lot more by tomorrow. I saw Cecil at spring training.
    Both Mills and Cecil seem to have right attitude for the game.
    I most certainly pray that he is as good as his minor league years.

    - Tapan Chatterjee
  5. 5.

    Mike:

    I love the blog and the show.

    I’ve been thinking about the pitching roster moves made so far this season. I know this may be counter-intuitive, but then, as you have pointed out, the call-ups have not made a lot of sense to you, and I’ve had problems understanding the selections they’ve made as well. I wonder if they’ve been bringing up guys like Burres, Murphy and Bullington that are not expected to be here long-term that are easier to send down if they don’t work out. If they bring up guys like Castro, Mills, Gonzolez, Perez or Accardo and they pitch well, they face the prospect of having to demote a player or two doing well when Romero, Litsch and Jansen return. They can simply say to Burres, Murphy or Bullington, “Hey, it didn’t work out, go back to Vegas and straighten things out and we’ll see you in the future.”

    Cito, and possibly JP, have been working the psyches of these guys and are thinking long-term, trying to build confidence. It’s one thing to say to a guy like Purcey, “Go down to Vegas and work on your control, and we’ll see you later,” and saying to a demotee that’s pitched well, “You’ve pitched well enough to be here, but you’re not high enough on the depth chart to stay here.”

    If that’s the case, then they’d rather keep them in Vega or NH until they’ve established themselves well-enough that the transition would be a permanent one when they finally do get called up.

    MW: There’s no question that when they call up their top prospects, they want them here to stay.

    - Alan the stat geek
  6. 6.

    1. Can’t wait to see the young lads!

    2. Now for something completely different, who else alludes to Gertrude Stein in a baseball blog? Here’s to hoping that there is a there there…..

    3. I always hear commentator guys referring to their “commentation”. Thank you for not being one of them.

    4. I really hate the sports expression mental toughness (RANCE!). There are sooooo many words that say exactly that so much betterly.

    MW: 1 – Me neither! 2 – I hate to say this, but I didn’t even know I was quoting her. 3 – I have never heard that word, thankfully.

    - pete
  7. 7.

    If these call ups can hold it together through the next month the rotation will look pretty good. In response to your comment a few days ago about Rios. He slid in the wet grass but you won’t catch many balls if you are looking to the right when the ball is coming at you. Watch the replay closely the next few times you see him miss a makeable catch. I’m not a Rios basher. I love his speed, arm and bat I am just in awe that someone in the majors turns away on a catch so often. If it’s pointed out to him maybe he’ll stop before he costs them a game doing it.

    - Chad
  8. 8.

    M-Dub,
    Im going to heckle you.
    2 Words.
    Youll know then when you hear them.

    - slobberface
  9. 9.

    Mike as you know, we are already having fun. I now realize there are TWO reasons this is the case this year. As I explained, GM’s withdrawal from sponsorship is one reason, since this would have been a great year to be all over the broadcasts….
    But also contributing is JP’s decision not to do your show. Again, it’s a marketing thing – he may well be a better GM than people gave him credit for but his PR skills are so lacking that he made himself into a lightning rod. Undoubtedly, that both irritated the fans and (if my guess is right) it made him dig in and not listened to the facts in front of him. By constantly defending his actions he put himself in a corner and worse yet, he maybe believed what he was saying and convinced himself he had made the right decisions.

    His open approach to fan relations was a good idea in principle, but it was dangerous in practice. At first, perhaps, the fans’ comments rolled off him and he viewed it as a way to throw crumbs to the masses. But as it became clear that things were getting worse and worse, you can bet he began to question his decisions and ponder whether the fans might have some insight. Once doubt begins, you’re cooked. On top of everything else, maybe he began to feel that the effects of the boos…
    So now, in his ivory castle he can do as he sees fit and only account to knowlegeable baseball people, some of whom he may respect. I bet he’s happier and so are we.
    xo
    John

    MW: I’m sure he’s happier, but I’m equally sure that the fans’ criticism never once led to Ricciardi doubting himself and wondering if his critics might be right.

    - John Morris
  10. 10.

    hey mike,

    i feel so much better after reading your blog. i cannot wait to see cecil pitch in the majors. if cecil and ray can hold it down then the jays should have depth once litsch and romero return.

    MW: Happy to help!

    - jonathan
  11. 11.

    the three that were sent down needed to go, no question; they weren’t helping the team win. hopefully Purcey can return to the form he showed toward the end of last season. as for the three called up, i think promoting Wolfe is a good move. when healthy, he’s lights out – just look at his career stats. as for why it was Wolfe and not Accardo, Wolfe’s more of a long reliever/mop-up guy, which is what the pen needs. granted, if Accardo had been stellar down in the minors, i think he would have gotten the call instead. as for Cecil’s promotion, i think it may be too soon; we’ll see how he responds though, u never know. and i don’t even know who this kid Ray is! if he does indeed throw strikes though, and doesn’t walk anyone, then this isn’t a bad move; the Twins have built their pitching staff around these types of pitchers, with success. question: how come Castro wasn’t called up? he’s been pitching great as a starter. maybe it has something to do with days of rest?

    MW: Castro pitched last night in Vegas, and not especially well. Both Ray and Cecil are coming up off strong outings.

    - nick5
  12. 12.

    Jays play the Indians on Tuesday, not the O’s

    btw mike, thanks for keeping the blog and the podcast ad free!

    MW: Thanks, and you’re welcome, though I’d be happy to have ads on it.

    - dugoutdog
  13. 13.

    I figured Accardo would be the next one called up so I am puzzled too.The only thing I can figure is that Wolfe was very effective last year with the Jays then if I remember correctly he had some arm trouble this spring.Accardo did little last year and neither guy was effective in the spring and Avccardo has been better in Vegas.It beats me.

    MW: Wolfe is better prepared to pitch more innings, they say.

    - Paul
  14. 14.

    Why, out of all the prospects, Robert Ray? I would’ve preferred Marc Rzepczynski…outside of one bad outing, his numbers are pretty impressive so far this year.

    MW: Except for the 17 walks in 24 innings.

    - CynicalGuy
  15. 15.

    Holy pitching shuffle, Batman! I’ve always liked the follicly challenged Wolfe, but I can’t wait to see Cecil pitch. Awesome.

    But now what do I do with the draft version of my “Ode to Burres”???

    Mike, do you think that the Jays are going to keep Cecil to the 5-inning limit still? Or will it be more of a 100 pitch, 170 innings type of limit?

    MW: They can’t possibly keep Cecil to a five-inning limit up here. As for the Ode, why not send it to Vegas? Maybe you could get Wayne Newton to sing it.

    - Jamie
  16. 16.

    Robert Ray,mmm, is he the guy who played for the leafs this season. It’s good to have a job that keeps you busy in the spring if you play for the leafs!

    - Dan from Elmvale
  17. 17.

    michael,
    we’re hearing alot of updates on the injuries & current status of all these pitchers… romero, litsch, janssen. mcgown, marcum but haven’t heard any talk of what’s up with ryan these days. resting? rehabbing? possible surgery? throwing on the side?
    what’s up with our closer?
    regardless of the opinion of most need could this guy this yr.

    MW: Ryan is going to go down to Florida after this homestand and start a throwing program, but there’s no word on when he’s expected back.

    - darrell bishop
  18. 18.

    hey mike,

    just a correction… cecil will start against the indians on tuesday, not the O’s. love the blog, man.

    MW: Yep, someone beat you to that.

    - nik stojic
  19. 19.

    Mike,
    Lots of praise to JP for making these moves.These guys
    are just not yet ready for the the “bigs”.
    Keep up the good work JP!!

    MW: Huh?

    - Mark
  20. 20.

    Hey Mike:

    Wasn’t it just yesterday on the Fan that you said there is “no way” the Jays will be recalling Cecil? I’m interested to see how he does but perhaps he would benefit from more time in the minors (as will Purcey). I’m a huge fan of your show – keep up the great work!

    MW: It’s true, I didn’t think that the Jays would call Cecil up for at least another three weeks. I figured if they hadn’t called him up a week ago, why would they do it now? But I was wrong. Or they got desperate. Probably a mixture of both.

    - Jeff
  21. 21.

    Mike….Do you like the new Red Sox road jerseys? Not much of a change, but now black lettering (in lieu of red) with a different font, but the pair of red socks on the shoulder really sets off the shirt to me..I think they look sharp.

    MW: The black lettering looks weird to me, but I dig the socks, too.

    - chris m.
  22. 22.

    hello Mike

    you are true to your words. You updated us as soon as you found out who would be up to replace the demoted pitchers.

    As opposed to dreading the game tomorrow (which I will attend), I am now excited to see how they do.

    My answer to Wolfe as opposed to Acardo is perhaps when Alex K went to Vegas to scout the pitchers the last two days, he probably saw Wolfe but not Acardo and liked what he saw.

    Francis

    MW: Alex K?

    - Francis
  23. 23.

    Hello Mike,

    I’m looking forward to seeing what these young pitchers have (Wolfe excluded). What sort of arsenal does Ray possess? Is he a hard thrower, or more of a finesse guy? I’m not sure if you’ve had a chance to see him pitch in the spring, but it never hurts to ask. Thanks as always.

    MW: I have never seen him pitch, but he says he’s a sinker-slider guy who throws strikes.

    - Tommy
  24. 24.

    Hello Mike,

    EXCELLENT NEWS! Man it was hard to take watching Burres and Pucey struggle out there Mike.

    Imagine I am actually upset watching the Jays loose a few games by blow out. I guess I was getting used to the quality pitching Mr Riccardi has amassed. I guess I had a Towers/Ohka/some other over the hill starter flashback there… Forgive me.

    I have to agree with you that Purcey is the real deal just needs some seasoning and will be up.

    Question I have is what are they going to do next year in your opinion if all or most these starters pan out?
    Seeing they have not many needs other with Scutaro playing so well and the upcoming catcher they have coming up as well even if they do a trade what would you say they may trade for?

    Love your Jays talk and I gotta say you have the patiences of Job. The questions you get would make most mortals shake and be most unkind to the so called armchair experts of the baseball hinterland…

    Cheers from Fredericton NB

    MW: Thanks! But there is only one “O” in LOSE!!!!!!!! I think you’re getting way ahead of yourself imagining that all the pitchers will pan out. As has been painfully illustrated even in this season’s first month, you can never have enough arms.

    - David Somerville
  25. 25.

    Let me get this straight.
    1) The Jays send down Purcey pitching in the majors with an 0-2, 7.01 ERA record for Cecil who’s pitching in AAA and is 0-3 with a higher ERA 8.31.
    2) Doesn’t this eat into Cecil’s service time with the Jays?
    3) Couldn’t they have brought up Brad Mills, at least his ERA is below 5 and he was candidate in Spring Training.

    I am baffled Mike.

    MW: 1 – Right. Cecil was pitching in the Pacific Coast League, where (they say) an ERA of 7.00 might as well be a 4.00. 2 – Of course. 3 – Cecil was just as much of a candidate in spring training.

    - James R.
  26. 26.

    Hey Mike,

    You mentioned a couple times on JaysTalk that the reason Accardo wasn’t with the team was because Cito went with the bullpen he had last year. Was Wolfe part of the bullpen during Cito’s time last season? Sould that be a reason why he was called up instead of Accardo?

    MW: Wolfe was more a part of Cito’s pen than Accardo was, yes, but that’s not why he got the call.

    - Dan
  27. 27.

    Hi Mike
    Mike why not bring Tim Collins up from the FSL this kids amazing 1.29 era 26stike outs in 24innings, If the jays are in the gambling mood on pithcers I am bringing up this kid instead of ray for saturdays game. Just my thought.

    MW: 1 – Ray is a starter, Collins isn’t. B – Collins is 19 years old and pitching in A-ball.

    - craig moore
  28. 28.

    I’m glad the Jays came to their senses sending down Burres, he hasn’t had major league stuff for years. I also can’t believe Purcey walked only 2.6 batters per 9 last year. What do you think the reason is for his loss of control?

    MW: Could be nerves, lack of confidence, major-league hitters. Lots of possibilities.

    - Eric
  29. 29.

    Wow! Three up three down. Is management impatient or holding players accountable? It’s amazing how much expectations have risen since last season. Last season Brad Wilkerson, John McDonald, Shannon Stewart, and Kevin Mench had a combined 755 plate appearances and hit .225 with 6 HR’s, 65 RBI and on base percentage of .298. Also, Overbay is not going up against as many lefties. His 158 games last season was way too much. I don’t think that will be allowed to happen this season as it appears that J.P. or Cito or both of them are holding there players accountable. If Jose Bautista struggles, he won’t get 200 atbats as Joe Inglett would get the call up. Traditionally Cito is very loyal and patient. He allowed Lloyd Moseby to post .221/.306 in 628 plate appearances in 1989. Mike, Am I reading too much into this or is there more of a sense of urgency this season to not waste their hot offensive start? They sure wasted there great pitching last season and did not do much at all to fix there offense.

    MW: THEIR. I don’t know if it’s a sense of urgency or just a matter of not having guys here who aren’t getting the job done, since there are better options.

    - Domenick
  30. 30.

    Mike,

    Listening to the game, I started wondering:

    When Gregg Zaun comes to town and hits against Roy Halladay, whom he has caught many times, does he have any kind of advantage?

    And When Vernon Wells stands on second base thinking about stealing 3rd, does he, who has spent many games in center field watching Zaun set up for pitches, have any kind of advantage?

    I’ve always wondered how it plays out when a catcher faces his former team.

    Thanks Mike.

    MW: I would think Zaun would have an advantage in knowing Halladay’s patterns and what kind of pitch to expect, but I don’t know if that would help him hit it. I would think that the advantage might be a lot greater for a runner on second, who knows Zaun’s patterns and what he likes to do.

    - Scrim
  31. 31.

    Yes, a 3-4 road trip IS nothing to sneeze at……

    Unless 3 of those loses come at the hands of the perennially awful Royals. This team is waaay below .500 every year and hasn’t been a factor since 1985 (longer than the Jays, go figure). Did you get a load of that KC batting order? WHO ARE ALL OF THOSE GUYS??!!

    MW: Some of them are pretty good, and so are their pitchers. The Royals weren’t way below .500 last year, nor will they be this year.

    - Nick
  32. 32.

    Nice to hear Paul Molitor with Jerry and Allan tonight. He just always carried himself like a classy individual who really enoyed the game. Hill has a similar swing and aproach to the game. What a major advantage it has been for this team to have Marco with his obp and Hill with his average stroking everything back up the middle. i am also extremely impressed at Scutaro’s ability to take an extra base whenever possible. He looks like a different player this year on both sides of the ball. I wonder if it’s just because he knows he is going to play every day.

    MW: That definitely has something to do with it.

    - Dan from Elmvale
  33. 33.

    not to rush the issue but so far (and not forgetting last) year barajas is doing well, do you think the jays will re-sign him and arencebia being the backup, how will the situation unfold in your opinion next year? and why do pitchers sometimes hit batters intentionally is there a baseball tactic behind it?

    MW: The baseball tactic is that the pitchers are angry, either at that specific hitter, at themselves, or at hitters in general. There’s no baseball tactic, unless it’s payback. Arencibia won’t be here to be a back-up. If they re-sign Barajas, he’s the one who will be the back-up, which makes it unlikely that he’d re-sign.

    - nick
  34. 34.

    Yes, a 3-4 road trip IS nothing to sneeze at……

    Unless 3 of those loses come at the hands of the perennially awful Royals. This team is waaay below .500 every year and hasn’t been a factor since 1985 (longer than the Jays, go figure). Did you get a load of that KC batting order? WHO ARE ALL OF THOSE GUYS??!!

    MW: Some of them are pretty good, and so are their pitchers. The Royals weren’t way below .500 last year, nor will they be this year.
    - Nick

    The Royals are my pick to win the Central.

    MW: Congrats.

    - Alan the stat geek
  35. 35.

    Mike:

    Has anybody ever asked if Shawn Marcum is related to Johnny “Footsie” Marcum pitcher who played for the A’s, Red Sox, Browns and White Sox in the 1930s?

    MW: Not as far as I know.

    - Alan the stat geek
  36. 36.

    mike,
    is it just a coincidence that burnett pitched considerably better in his pre free agent year then he did in all his years before with the jays?

    MW: It might have been if it were true. He actually didn’t pitch considerably better in ’08, he was just healthier.

    - oliver
  37. 37.

    Hey mike

    Good game tonight….good effort by Doc! Happy to see the Jays still doing good. I think they’re for real even thoe there’s a long way to go, We should get a better judgement this coming month. Glad to see some more kids get a chance, it could only help them even if they dont do well right away. GO JAYS GO!!!!

    - Hardeep
  38. 38.

    does ty taubenhiem (sp?) still play baseball?

    MW: Close, it’s Taubenheim. And yes, he’s in AAA in the Pirates’ system.

    - Andrew
  39. 39.

    Mike excellent job on the field with Millar post game. I’m looking forward to more. There was wicked feedback (buzz) on the broadcast though. You’ll have to get pat schmoddy the intern to pounce on that.

    I have Yankees tickets and was trying to figure the matchups. Can you please verify. It looks like AJ will miss the series. I make it Pettitte vs Halliday on the 12th; CC vs some guy on the 13th, and Hughes vs Richmond on 14th.

    MW: There’s no way to verify what either rotation will look like by then. All we know for sure (barring the unforeseen) is that it will be Halladay on the 12th.

    - Rez
  40. 40.

    youre lucky you were set up at 3B. My ticks were 1B.

    CHHHHHAD BILLINGSSLEEYYY!!!

    good game
    cool interview
    go jays!

    - slobberface
  41. 41.

    Hi Mike, just started reading your blog last week and love it. We’re back on top in the East! (Can’t stop myself from obsessing over the standings, even though there are still 137 games left to be played.)

    Just wondering what the rules are for when a player’s first year of major league service kicks in? Is it the same as the rule for a player maintaining rookie status (50 innings or 45 days on the active roster in a season)?

    In other words, how long can the Jays take a look at Cecil in the bigs before they have to decide if they want him to stick around? I have to think (and hope) the Jays are still more concerned with the long term plan, regardless of how desperate their pitching situation gets.

    Obviously if he either struggles or excels the decision will be easy, but it’s a much tougher call if it’s something in between.

    MW: I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking, but service time is measured in days. There’s no point at which you get “a year”. If Cecil stays up for two months, he’ll get 61 days of service time to his credit. Glad you’re enjoying the blog – what took you so long?

    - Eric
  42. 42.

    Hi Mike,

    I commented earlier on how I thought it was weird that Kinsler stole third in a 2 run game in the 9th inning. His teammate Michael Young was recently thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple – also in the ninth in a multi-run deficit. Maybe the Rangers should do some more baserunning exercises?

    I find this love that fans have of Cito to be a sort of funny. But it seems to me to be a misrepresentation of the real population’s feelings. Would you be of positive regard of the callers if everyone called in agreeing with you that managers have little effect on the game? I would feel dumb calling in and wasting your time by telling you how much I think you are right on the issue. Or maybe it is true that almost every Blue Jays fan believes that having Cito in the building raises everyone’s average by .100 with RISP.

    MW: Most of them seem to.

    - Pierre from Blois
  43. 43.

    Gotta like that Dunedin pen –

    Collins and Bobby Bell

    Last year and this year combined stats:

    125IP, 64Hits, 38BB, 189K

    Bobby Bell is 4 yrs older then Collins but he’s now walked 2 and struck out 65 in 42.67 over the last year and a month. Yes, that right, walked 2 and struck out 65.

    MW: Those two guys are insane.

    - Jim Maron
  44. 44.

    A couple of more thoughts on the minor league guys:

    Justin Jackson and Kevin Ahrens are not prospects in my mind. You simply can’t teach someone to hit – they can develop power but if they can’t make contact they won’t hit.

    Jackson 691AB’s – 231K, 635ops
    Ahrens 679AB’s – 197K, 667ops

    MW: I have to ask – have you ever seen either one of them play?

    - Jim Maron
  45. 45.

    Run Differential -

    If the season ended May 1 – and you rated teams by run diff the AL would have:

    Tor, KC, Sea, Bos heading to the playoffs.

    I looked back through 2002 to see how run differential teams fared (both leagues) – out of the 56 teams over 8 years that would have been “playoff teams” as of May 1 – 27 made the playoffs.

    Tor leads the AL at +34. Over the past 7 yrs 4 of 7 teams leading the AL in differential on May 1 went on to the playoffs:

    02 Bos +65 – 93w, missed
    03 – NYY +80 – 101w, won East
    04 – Tex +29 – 87w, 3rd West
    05 – CWS +33 – 98w, won Cent
    06 – Det +51, 95w, WC
    07 – Bos +40, 96w, won East
    08 – Oak +40, 75w, 3rd West

    All told I would think that pretty promising. Good news potentially in better arms coming back (Litsch, Janssen, Romero). Good performance last year – less likely a 30 game fluke. Bad news – beating up on the Central, Tex and one game vs Balt – still have to contend with Bos, TB, and NYY.

    My guess is Toronto ends up in a fight with TB for the WC. The Central and West look pretty weak – I would be surprised if more than one team from those two divisions is above 90 wins.

    MW: It could happen, but if the Jays wind up in a fight for the wild card, I don’t think it’ll be with Tampa.

    - Jim Maron
  46. 46.

    Mike – no I haven’t and if I did I wouldn’t trust my eyes (even if I was qualified to judge such things). Show me a 20 year old with those kind of batting stats that ends up being a good major league player?

    Maybe there is a few – but I suspect they exception to the rule.

    Rob Neyer wrote an interesting article on this.

    MW: I have no idea to what you’re referring. I didn’t post the link because it’s from the Insider.

    - Jim Maron
  47. 47.

    Hi Mike, just started reading your blog last week and love it. We’re back on top in the East! (Can’t stop myself from obsessing over the standings, even though there are still 137 games left to be played.)

    Just wondering what the rules are for when a player’s first year of major league service kicks in? Is it the same as the rule for a player maintaining rookie status (50 innings or 45 days on the active roster in a season)?

    In other words, how long can the Jays take a look at Cecil in the bigs before they have to decide if they want him to stick around? I have to think (and hope) the Jays are still more concerned with the long term plan, regardless of how desperate their pitching situation gets.

    Obviously if he either struggles or excels the decision will be easy, but it’s a much tougher call if it’s something in between.

    MW: I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking, but service time is measured in days. There’s no point at which you get “a year”. If Cecil stays up for two months, he’ll get 61 days of service time to his credit. Glad you’re enjoying the blog – what took you so long?

    I meant with regards salary arbitration eligibility after 3 years and free agency after 6. Essentially I’m asking when a player is considered to have 3 years major league service time if they are up and down from the minors for a few years before they stay with the team permanently.

    I thought there was a threshold where a player gets credit for a full year, could be wrong though.

    MW: There is a threshold, actually, but it’s 172 days – so basically a full season.

    - Eric
  48. 48.

    My last post for the night – little bleary eyed – the Jays have a really intriguing situation with Jeroloman and Arencibia. From what I’ve read Jeroloman is the superior defender and Arencibia is considered the better offensive player. They are 6 months apart in age so that’s a bit of a wash. Arencibia hits for average and hr’s but almost never walks. Jeroloman has very little power but walks a ton and as a result has a career .392 ob.

    I’ll take the guy with the .392 ob pct over the .313 ob pct any day regardless of the other offensive stats. My gut tells me the Jays like Arencibia better. If their defensive abilities were equal I’d still be more interested in Jeroloman. If Jeroloman is indeed a superior defensive catcher then to me it’s no contest.

    MW: The question is, does the eye translate to the big league level. Jeroloman seems to be a guy who refuses to swing at pitches that aren’t strikes, but he’s not that good a hitter. The thing is, when he’s facing pitchers with much better control, do his walks take a big hit? It would be interested to see what happens to guys with big “isolated OBP”, for lack of a better term, when they get to the big leagues. Personally, I’d take ‘em both.

    - Jim Maron
  49. 49.

    I could be wrong like you were Mike. I think bringing up Cecil now means J.P. is going for it. Make the playoffs this year, pick up recession priced free agents in the off season and go for a World series in 2010. I think he’s more willing to sacrifice post 2010 to make a run this year. If Cecil sticks, which given the depleted starters situation might not be that hard, the Jays are potentially having to spend millions more down the road to keep Cecil or lose him a year earlier than planned. That’s a very un-J.P. like decision. I think it’s the right call. When you’re leading the league in offense, defense and relief pitching, it’s foolish to throw away the chance to win by putting your 11th & 12th best starting pitchers on the mound 4 times in 10 days.

    I expect to see the best available Jays starting pitcher every game now. No learning on the job. No rehab starts. No finding the strike zone. No building confidence for the future. We are going to have to go to Vegas to see that. If the Jays are still in first come trade deadline time, I even think some of those young starting pitchers could be shipped out for a veteran starter.

    MW: If Cecil is here to stay, the Jays won’t lose him a year early – he still won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season. I think your second paragraph takes things a little too far, though.

    - Tim
  50. 50.

    So far, having Cito as manager has been beneficial to the team. They are a much better team, and they started to be much better when he and Gene Tenace relieved Gibbons and Denbo. Coincidence? I think not. I haven’t forgotten all those games I watched the Jays give up unnecessary runs, fail to hit with runners in scoring position, sleepwalk round the bases. At one point those of us around where I sit had a pool on how the batter would make the out with men on base. I remember posting about it here. That basically stopped when Cito took over.

    As for Purcey, I’m not a huge fan of his but he had more than one good game. I was there for the start that went into extra innings because Ryan gave up the home run. I think it was Oakland. Millar got the crucial hit in the bottom of the 11th. Purcey struck out at least 6 and I think he only gave up 1 walk. He pitched very well in my opinion, and would have won if it hadn’t been for the blown save.

    MW: Yeah, Gibbons and Denbo would always tell the players to try to find interesting and creative ways to screw up with runners on base. That was their undoing. As for Purcey, you’re misremembering. The Millar game was against Texas, but you’re right Purcey would have won it without the blown save. He still didn’t pitch well, though – three runs on seven hits with two walks in just 5 1/3 innings.

    - isabella reyes
  51. 51.

    Hey Mike do you think if Honda signs a deal with the Jays and you start a show called Fridays with Cito, the injuries will stop?

    MW: They used to win with Honda, someone should call them!

    - Andrew
  52. 52.

    “MW: I have no idea to what you’re referring. I didn’t post the link because it’s from the Insider.”

    I was referring to Justin Jackson and Ahrens – and the fact I don’t think you’ll find 20 year olds hitting that poorly ever amounting to a decent major league player.

    MW: Oh, OK. You just have to tell me to what comments you’re referring, it’s not as though I remember what every commenter says. Having been reminded, I’ll answer by saying that I”m sure you can find plenty of high-school draft picks who struggled at A-ball at 20 years old and who wound up being very good major leaguers.

    - Jim Maron
  53. 53.

    “MW: I’ll answer by saying that I”m sure you can find plenty of high-school draft picks who struggled at A-ball at 20 years old and who wound up being very good major leaguers.”

    Perhaps as they are only 20 years old. But the odds are certainly a lot longer given their very weak stats to date.

    Oxford defines a prospect as:

    a person likely to be successful.

    I don’t think either of these guys have compiled stats that suggest they are likely to succeed. That doesn’t mean they won’t but I think the evidence suggests the it’s unlikely.

    I would love to see these guys packaged off to some organization that believes in “tools” type prospects.

    MW: Again, I’ll trust the people who are actually out watching them play. It’s amazing that you can seriously write off a 20 year-old kid.

    - Jim Maron
  54. 54.

    “MW: Again, I’ll trust the people who are actually out watching them play. It’s amazing that you can seriously write off a 20 year-old kid.”

    OK – you take Jackson, and Ahrens – I’ll take Jeroloman, Campbell. I would suspect the “guys who watch them play” would rate Jackson and Ahrens as having much higher upsides.
    We’ll talk in 5 or 10 years and see how the careers are progressing.

    MW: What were Jeroloman and Campbell doing when they’d just turned 20?

    - Jim Maron
  55. 55.

    “MW: What were Jeroloman and Campbell doing when they’d just turned 20?”

    both were in College at 20. They had their first professional experience at 21.

    Campbell – hit .292 and had a .392 ob in the NYP league. When he was 20 he had a .462 ob% in the NCAA.

    Jeroloman at 21 only hit .242 in the NYP but had a .363 ob. When he was 20 he had a .432 ob% in the NCAA.

    Bill James wrote much about the fact that hitting can’t be taught. Putting the bat to the ball is an innate skill.

    I’m probably being overly negative about these two players – Jackson at least had a good walk rate. But I think their real value is far beneath their perceived value (4th and 6th on the Jays according to BA). For the reasons I’ve listed I think the Jays would be wise to move them while their value is still high.

    For that argument we only have to wait two years or so. If they aren’t hitting by then they will no longer be considered prospects and will likely have little trade value.

    MW: You’re being INCREDIBLY negative. Look at Jeroloman and Campbell – they were still in college. Doesn’t that fact alone tell you something about Ahrens and Jackson?

    - Jim Maron
  56. 56.

    Does INCREDIBLY mean you’re shouting? I read that once.

    The fact that a player is taken as a high school prospect as opposed to a kid staying in college doesn’t mean anything necessarily. Many a superstar was in college at 20 and many a high school star was drafted in the first round only to be a bust. What it likely means is that Jackson and Ahrens are great athletes, but often that doesn’t translate to batting skills.

    But I take your point that I might be a tad negative about the two. Heck, Yohermyn Chavez is tearing it up for the Lansing as a 20 year old this year after posting worse stats than Jackson or Ahrens last year.

    If the Jays are in it they may well be trading off some minor league talent. If it was my choice these two are the guys I would be moving because I think their real value exceeds their perceived value.

    MW: Lansing is a lower level than Dunedin. If Jackson and Ahrens were still at Lansing, they’d be tearing it up, too.

    - Jim Maron
  57. 57.

    MW: Lansing is a lower level than Dunedin. If Jackson and Ahrens were still at Lansing, they’d be tearing it up, too.

    Don’t know if I agree with your on that point but who cares – Cecil goes 6 walks none and K’s 6. Jays rally with 7 in the 7th. Gotta love this team.

    - Jim Maron
  58. 58.

    Hi Mike, I see you have gotton so big that it takes more than seconds to hook-on to your blog. This is Larry Murr, remember me, the village idiot from Hamilton? Anyways I have it down to a science, as soon as the final out of the game is made, thats when you can turn on Mike by – passing all the commercials, another Jerrys “there she goes” (wish he was really talking about a SHE), anyways Saturday I turned on your program, and you let that god-awful toronto f c take your place? I wrote to the SUN about this, but I doubt if they will publish it. THIS IS CANADA RIGHT?!!!!!! I think the government should teach us “horseshoes” (the game) first, then enforce soccor on us. THE MIKE WILNER SHOW is the last bastion of radio program on the radio. I mean, if I want music, I will either download it or buy it, I will not wait 45 minutes for some radio station to play my kind of music. I guess what I’m saying is if not for your show, I’d throw my radio away, watch in the TENS (Jan 1, 2010 – 2019 for the stupid readers) as people throw out their radios like their old fashion computer monitors. But keep the “dummies for baseball” coming in, it’s FUN entertainment. Sorry for being rude to you in the past, but I’m just an __ hole sometimes. Take care! BTW, I had a feeling the Jays would do well this year, but WATCH OUT FOR THE MID JUNE SWOON!!!! My Indians used to tease me like this when I was a kid in April and May and into 1/3 of june, then drop like a stone.
    Larry Murr

    - Yogi
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