12:30 AM Eastern

For the first time in his career, Roy Halladay gave up three home runs in a span of four batters – his teammates, having not supported him to that point in the game, almost came back against Mariano Rivera but fell short in their efforts.

After the game, a caller or two had the audacity to suggest that something must be wrong with Roy Halladay, since he has only recorded one win since June 7th.

Halladay to June 7th:  10-1, 2.52, 1.020 WHIP, 8.1 hits/9IP, 1.1 BB/9IP, 7.9 K/9 IP, 0.54 HR/9 IP

Halladay since June 7th:  1-4, 3.16, 1.175 WHIP, 9.3 hits/9 IP, 1.3 BB/9IP, 7.3 K/9 IP, 1.3 HR/9 IP

There you go – he’s giving up more home runs (obviously skewed by tonight’s three) but his peripherals are still phenomenal.  Sheesh.

Here’s tonight’s edition of The JaysTalk, for your listening pleasure (I was almost struck dumb by the first caller):

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I’m still at the ballpark, since I wasn’t able to get to all the comments during the game, I stuck around an extra hour and a half to finish them up.  Make sure you tune in to Baseball Today tomorrow at noon Eastern on the Fan 590 and this very website – Adam Lind will be our live, in-studio guest, and he’ll be taking your phone calls and answering e-mail at baseballtoday@fan590.com.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome – I apologize to those who are offended by that notion.

61 Responses to “Never Seen That Before”
  1. 1.

    Mike, thanks for staying late to answer our comments. At any rate, im not sure i want to even bother with this since i know your reaction will be…but i just cant in good conscience not say something

    WHY DOES HE KEEP BATTING MILLAR FOURTH! WHY DOES HE HAVE A GUY SLUGGING 512 WITH AN OPS OF 913 AGAINST RIGHTIES DYING ON THE BENCH with a righty reliever on the mound and lets Kevin Milla’ strike out? Managers are supposed to put their players in the best position to succeed. Cito doesnt do this. He puts his players in the positions that he put them in and then keeps putting them there until JP takes them away.

    MW: Cito explained to me today that he didn’t use Overbay because of his recent struggles (.207/.324/.337 over his last 30 games) and his lack of success as a pinch-hitter (0-for-3 with three strikeouts). He also noted Overbay’s 1-for-10 lifetime mark against Phil Hughes. He didn’t appear moved by my argument that Millar is hitting .169/.266/.301 against righties, and I didn’t have at my disposal that Millar has hit .177/.285/.283 since Victoria Day. Millar, to his credit, was 3-for-8 against Hughes – but eight at-bats don’t mean anything.

    - General Zod
  2. 2.

    I also find it hilarious that the fans were lambasting JP for saying he would field offers for Doc before the trade deadline…..and then those fans were lambasting JP for not trading him after the deadline!!!!

    Early July: “No dont trade Doc..he is the face of the franchise! No!!!! This is terrible!!!

    August 1st: “JP is an impotent GM because he couldn’t trade Doc! Fire JP now!”

    Im glad Doc wasnt traded but for this reason..I think Jp’s asking price was off..not because it was too high..but because he was targeting at least one major league ready pitcher for his return. I think when you trade a guy like doc, you dont trade him for a fourth starter who is pretty giving you the security of being successful thus far in the bigs (i.e Happ). You trade him for multiple players with HUUGE upside and hope that one or two come up big for you.

    - General Zod
  3. 3.

    That first guy is a complete moron. How can you possibly question the results of the best pitcher in baseball? Its called NO RUN SUPPORT doorknob! Simple as that! And Millar in cleanup is a friggin joke.

    - dave brantford
  4. 4.

    Michael of the Ballyard:

    Jeff Blair recently wrote that Halladay’s off-season value will actually be higher than it now is (or at least equal) because more teams will be in play (say, the Mets, who were out of contention this year but may want to acquire him in the off-season) and suitors can be given a window to negotiate an extension. Do you generally agree?

    Do you have any thoughts on Wells right now? To be more specific, someone recently asked in the comments section if you thought he could be playing hurt, since his numbers are nearly identical to ’07. Your only response was that he had a cortisone shot in March. Do you think him being seriously injured right now is a reasonable possibility?

    I mean, you’ve said all year (and I agreed with you) that he’d come around eventually, but he really hasn’t, and if he did at this point it would almost be token rather than substantive.

    MW: I agree with Blair. My thoughts on Wells are that he might be hurt – he certainly wouldn’t admit it the last time. As much as many would like to believe otherwise, he’s a much better hitter than this.

    - Kevin D
  5. 5.

    Hey Mike,
    if you were a betting man, what would be the odds that Vernon Wells used PEDS during his monster years with the Blue Jays?

    MW: I’m suspicious of everyone. But to the (illegal) PED question, I always come back to the same thing – why would he have stopped after last season?

    - Nitin
  6. 6.

    Hey mike i came across this articule on JP tenure here and compares with other Gms in that same time frame. Just wondering if you give it a quick look over (its short) and let me know what you think.

    http://mlbinsights.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/jp-ricciardi-is-an-excellent-gm-and-i-have-numbers-to-back-it-up/

    MW: You’re the third to link to this. It’s interesting, for sure. Doesn’t really prove anything, but an interesting way to look at things.

    - Mark
  7. 7.

    Hey Mike,
    On Rios’s contract. People keep mentioning the “bad Rios and Wells contracts”. The Rios contract is not that bad (only $6M this year), especially if he: a) hits at his career numbers and b) replaces Wells in CF.
    Any chance of b) for next year? Can JP force this on Cito? JP or an AGM must have looked at the Fielding Bible +/- on Wells!
    One last comment on contracts. JP (or Alex Anthopoulos) could have inked the contract of the decade with Hill if he has seasons anything like this one in the future. No one ever mentions the Hill contract.

    MW: No one mentions the Hill contract because it’s a point in J.P.’s favour. There’s no move afoot to move Rios to centre, unfortunately.

    - Mark
  8. 8.

    Hey Mike. I just want to say that sometimes I read the comments section and I am completely on your side as far as calling people out on their crap! It seems as though some people just want to complain about your opinions and it seems to have gotten more ridiculous as the season has been going down the toilet. I don’t always agree with everything you say, but I’m not going to question your integrity just because you’re sticking up for JP. That’s your business and if I decide to challenge your opinion about it, then I’ll make it a constructive argument!

    MW: Thanks, but I’m not sticking up for J.P., just pointing out the facts.

    - Matt from BC
  9. 9.

    Hey Mike,

    I don’t know about “bad luck”, but certainly it was a lack of decisionmaking by Cito to use Millar in the clutch late in the game.

    You said to me that the players are not a bunch of school children. And you are right. So collectively then, why is Toronto 4th in hitting, yet is hitting an abysmal .193 / .272 / .257 in the the 9th inning (the league average is .241 / .319 / .378). Certainly this contributes to their inability to come back. Weirdly enough, they are 1st in batting in the 8th inning with a BA at .291. How do you explain that???

    I guess the individual players are to blame but it is up to the manager to recognize strengths and weaknesses in those players and to use them at the right time. Maybe not using pinch hitting (such as leaving in Millar last night) is what contributes to the low 9th inning BA. Maybe the BA is low because they are losing alot of games by less than three runs and are facing closers far more often than other teams.

    Team confidence is a function, I think, not only of the individual players, but the management as well. Last year, I got mad at Gibbons for pulling players out a bit too early. This year, I am upset now because Cito is not using his best players in a situation.

    - Tim
  10. 10.

    Wow Mike… listening to the JaysTalk and I don’t know how you do it… People are way too negative and seem to focus it on the dumbest things…

    Oh, and Roy Halladay needs BJ Ryan because Ryan SAVES the games… we all know SAVES are the most important stat in baseball. Right up there with quality starts and wins! Ha ha ha! Hope the blog isn’t as hard on you, Mike!

    - Luke (Halifax)
  11. 11.

    Hey Mike,

    I’ve been impressed and generally enjoy your blog.

    While I understand your frustration with idiots, I feel after yesterday’s that I have to comment.

    Give “Sheesh” a little rest – it’s been showing up far too often, or at least grab the thesaurus. Surely a decent writer like yourself can better express your aggravation, annoyance, besetment, botheration, exacerbation, fury, ire, irritation, nuisance, passion, pest, pique, rage, resentment, vexation or wrath in a more creative way.

    Thanks!

    MW: Jeesh.

    - Walt
  12. 12.

    MW: And to say that the Rays sucked for 10 years as a worthwhile long-term strategy is simply not true.

    Really? That may not have been their intention but it worked like a charm. Refresh my memory please. How many times have we been even close to the post-season in the last 10 years? None, you say?

    So I guess the Rays lucked into a winning strategy in this division.

    There’s no question that the AL East is the Sox ‘n’ Yankees show. But I’d remind you that over and over again we had teams that were capable of doing much better than they did do. However somehow, when they got close to the Big Time, they choked. I’ve noticed it over and over, and I’ve commented on it here. This, for a change, isn’t Ricciardi’s fault. Because this choking has happened during changes of ownership, 2 GMs, 6 managers and a constant turnover of players. It happens every time and just don’t get it. I suspect it’s down to chemistry. Whichever mix has been put together of the past 15 years just hasn’t gelled. Perhaps it’s the wrong ratio of farm-reared players to free agents. Whatever it is, I’d love to get rid of it!

    MW: It certainly worked well for the Rays, but that wasn’t their intention at all. They tried all sorts of different ways to win through a lot of those 10 years.

    - isabella reyes
  13. 13.

    Hello, Mike.
    This season with no doubt has been the most frustrating to watch in a long time. With several players having great years (Lind, Hill, Rolen, Fraser) and surprising achievements by some of the rookies when it wasn’t expected (Romero, Cecil,Rzepczynski)you would think the on-field results would be better. Last I checked the team was near the top of the league in defense and pitching and the hitting started great but has since plummeted. By looking at those kind of stats you would expect the team to be comfortably over .500 but for whatever reason (and no it’s not all Wells and Rios’ fault) they just seem to play well enough to be close and not be able to finish teams off. I’m not sure what the answer is but if it can be figured out I’d like to bottle it and sell it.

    I’ve been following a couple of players in the minors and Brian Dopirak has been absolutely ripping the cover off the ball this year. I was wondering if you know much about his defensive skill set and perhaps pushing Overbay out the door.

    Thanks, all for now.

    Frank

    MW: I’d like to see more than 20 AAA games out of Dopirak before I push Overbay out the door. I haven’t seen him play much, if at all.

    - Frank from North Bay eh
  14. 14.

    Mike, you know me, I am a frequent critic of Vernon Wells’ RISP stats. Last night, however, Vernon Wells made my night. He was the only player who showed some heart in that game. You know, we are all on this together, fans don’t want players to suck. However, we don’t want them to display a careless approach to the game either. Last night Vernon was the man! I just wish I can see that kind of clutch hitting more often than not.

    MW: Getting a two-run double off Mariano Rivera shows heart?

    - ALT
  15. 15.

    Seeing that there would seem to be a reasonable chance that Scott Richmond will not be in the starting rotation next year (Halladay, Marcum, Romero, Cecil all seem like locks, barring injury.. and the 5th spot could go to Janssen, Rzep, Castro, Purcey or any number of others), do you think they would put him in the bullpen as a righty specialist?

    He’s so strong against righties this seems like the obvious choice to me.

    MW: The thing is, and I’m not sure why, you don’t see many relievers (if any) used as righty specialists. I think that if Richmond isn’t in the rotation, he’s a long man in the bullpen.

    - Ryan Hall
  16. 16.

    Hi Mike,

    I am sure that you are tired of hearing complaints about Millar in the clean-up spot. Who do you think now that Rolen is gone would be the Jays best option batting 4th?

    Thanks,

    MW: Lind, but he’s also their best option to hit third.

    - Colin
  17. 17.

    Mike,

    Watched bits and pieces of the game, had to get the kiddies to bed. Interesting stat that Hill and Lind are #2 and #3 in the AL in total bases. Imagine the difference in the record if the person that hit behind them was able to cash them in on a consistent basis.

    I think these 2 will not have a significant drop off next year, although Hill’s HR production may tail a bit. Who on the current roster would be the ideal #4 behind these 2? With Millar hitting 4th, I don’t know why the Yanks would even consider throwing anything for strikes to Lind except to nibble the corners and get him to chase.

    Keep up the good work. Are there going to be any reasonably priced FA bats this offseason, or is there a thought of Snider filling the #4 role next year?

    MW: I don’t think they’d throw Snider into the fourth spot next year – it might actually be Encarnacion. Of course, if Wells comes around, it’s him.

    - Aaron Ker
  18. 18.

    The Jay’s have scored what,10 runs in Doc’s last 4 starts?

    The only thing wrong with Roy Halladay is that his teammates aren’t scoring any runs for him.

    MW: Eleven runs, but you’re exactly right.

    - Scott Shepherd
  19. 19.

    Great show Mike! I feel I need to defend Alex Rios somewhat. So many callers are grouping him together with Vernon Wells this year. Granted Wells is having a terrible year and Rios’ potential coming into the year had his expectations much higher than his performance to date. However, if you look at the numbers, other than AVG, Rios is on par or better than his numbers over the past 3 years. When a player signs a contract extension you are trying to get one of two things from him. Consistent, continued production or potential improved production. We can all agree that we expect improved production out of Rios as his contract plays out but let’s not torch the guy for having an average year based on his stats over the past 3 seasons. I’m sure that a lot of this negativity gets back to the players in one form or another and although it is the right of the fan to voice his displeasure, how can that same fan how expect to retain all-star caliber talent if we do not support them when they deserve it.

    I have a comment regarding salary as well. Can all the people who keep saying we are spending a ton on Alex Rios and Vernon Wells this year please take a look at their salaries this year? Rios is making around 6 mil and Wells is making around 10 mil I think with his signing bonus figured in. These 2 do not start costing us a lot of money until next season so lets just give them a chance to rebound next season and start to earn those big pay checks before we run them out of town.

    Just as an FYI, here are Rios projected numbers for the remainder of the year vs. the average over the past 3 seasons.

    2009: AB:644 Runs:76 Hits:166 HR:18 RBI:87 BB:45 SB:29 AVG: .258

    2006-2008: AB:576 Runs:91 Hits:171 HR:19 RBI:82 BB:45 SB:21 AVG0.297

    - Gee
  20. 20.

    Hey Mike,

    I love Cito Gaston and all for his historic accomplishments with the Jays. However outside of 92/93, he has been a terrible manager. What I am seeing this year explains why other clubs didn’t hire Cito before the Jays did it this year.

    Honestly, he’s great at helping hitters develop, picking up pitches and being a calming influence and all. But holy smokes, he makes a line up and then just sits there in the dug out and acts like a glorified cheer leader. It’s upsetting to see other managers making decisions during the game, and then looking into our dug out and seeing Cito do nothing. I know his decisions cannot effect a lot of games, but honestly the mistakes like (not pinch hitting in any situation, or putting Kevin Millar in clean up, or taking too long to move Wells out of the 3 hole), have probably cost us a few games, approaching double digit loses due to mismanagement. All those games where he sat Lind, or Rolen, and to some extent Snider when he was up, instead of using them as key options for pinch hitting, those games are where Cito’s decision to “trust his hitters” has failed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s no guarantee that a pinch hitter will deliver, but when you got the options USE them. I know it’s redundant, he trusts his hitters, he gives guys a full day off, but HONESTLY, its laziness.

    MW: I don’t think it’s laziness at all.

    - paolo
  21. 21.

    michael,
    was down at the game last night and happend to be sitting beside 2 yankee fans. while watching the tilt i was quite interested in their conversations re: the game last night, baseball in general and particularly their views on the blue jays (which they shared amongst themselves quite a bit)
    i will tell you, the fans of that team sure do love & know their baseball (these 2 at least did in my opinion) and i was amazed just how much they knew about the jays. true baesball fans no doubt.
    this one observation i found very compelling to share. the one guy basically says, “you gotta feel for this blue jay team don’t you. the first 2 months of the yr. they have the best record in baseball, hefty lead in our division almost twice as many wins as losses playing the likes of detroit, chicago, minnesota, texas, anaheim…. what do they all have in common? on cue, the other says “yup, division & wild card contenders not playing in the a.l. east.” i look over to them (wearing my blue jay hat) and the guy says to me, ‘hang in there, there’s going to be a yr. at some point when absolutely everything goes wrong for us.” and then the other guy blurts out, “ya & hopefully everything goes completely wrong for the sox that yr. too.” and then they both start to chuckle to themselves.
    my stomach turns a bit by the truth of it all and i get up to go get a beer. and as i’m walking up the stairs texeira proceeds to hit one about 450 ft. out of the park.
    nice……..

    - darrell bishop
  22. 22.

    Mike, why is it that Cito always seems to get a free pass from the media for whenever he makes a move, or doesn’t make a move in game. Putting Millar in the clean up spot is inexcusable…this guy has been awful since April. Plus not pinch hitting for him against Hughes…I mean puh-LEASE!

    It seemed that when Gibbons was here, he would get torn into on a regular basis when he’d do something illogical, but Cito gets a free pass. Now I know that Cito has 2 world series rings, but a bad move is a bad move regardless of who’s managing.

    Lastly, Snider should be up with the big club now. If 2009 was supposed to be a year to let the young guys play, it only makes sense that he gets called up and gets the chance to play everyday rather than the combo of Bautista/Inglett right now.

    MW: I believe I pointed out the pinch-hitting for Millar thing last night. I don’t think the media used to tear into Gibbons about strategy on a regular basis, though. Snider should be up, it’s true.

    - Pramit
  23. 23.

    Mike,

    Maybe I missed it but was it ever revealed why Rolen wanted to leave Toronto?

    MW: Family reasons was all we got.

    - Raj
  24. 24.

    I don’t think that the craziest thing about the first caller was bringing up Halladay’s lack of wins (although he has pitched well, and individual win totals are heavily dependent on run support and bullpen help), it was that he had the audacity to suggest that the loss of BJ Ryan’s clubhouse presence is actually having an impact on Halladay, or anyone for that matter. BJ Ryan’s irreplaceable clubhouse presence translated into a 6.53 ERA, a 1.89 WHIP and more walks than strikeouts this year. I think it’s wonderful that all of our young pitchers had the opportunity to look up to someone who had that kind of production…and he has great mechanics too!

    - Matt
  25. 25.

    Mike,
    I am at an impass. I love your show, I love your blog and I understand why you get frustrated with people, like the caller last night who thought that Beejee was some how the missing link between Doc and winning. Or maybe it Russ Adams. Russ was released on July 3rd and the next day Doc gave up 5 runs! ***SPOOKY****
    Ok, back on track. Anyway,when I listen to your show I am entertained by you shuting down idiots and but I find myself trying to find points where I can prove you wrong. This seems to not be an easy task because you either are able to A) to not let emotion cloud your judgement when you watch one of the highly paid underperforming jays come up empty and B) you seem to be able to effectively sit-on-the-fence.

    What does this all mean? I really don’t know. But if you really want to raise the discourse of baseball talk in this country you might want to be more selective in what threads you pick-up and run with. Giving people free rein to call into your show makes for good radio but you are better able to control a blog and maybe you should.

    As for baseball, it has been a LONG time since I have made a comment on the Jays and baseball in general. I have to say that the pitching and the defense has me convienced more than ever that the Jays are (maybe were with the departure of Rolen) 1 dominate bat away from being a very good team. Snider was/is suppose to be that bat but we will see. When I say dominate bat, i mean a .900 plus OPS. (Lind .918OPS)

    Can you imagine how that would transform the line-up from few weeks ago? Rolen pushed pushed 5th, Overbay hitting 6th and VW and Rios as 7 and 8 hitters? The jays having roughly 60-70 hrs in the 2-4 hitters and ending up with 100-120 hrs from those slots? How many of those close games would have the Jays won with a top 20 MLB bat would the line-up?

    A lot of heat has been put on the bullpen because it has not been as good as last year. It would have been tough for it to have repeated 2008. To my thinking, two things have hurt the bullpen. 1) Not having an effective B.J. has caused the pen to be reshuffled a bit and guys have just not be as effective in their new roles. Carleson facing righties, League going two innings, Frasor has been effective but he was one of the best 6-7 inning guys in the MLB last year. And B) the injuries to the starters and Downs. The pen lost Tallet to the rotation, causing more reshuffling, and young guys who might have been moved into the pen had the starters stayed healthy were instead forced to start. Maybe this wouldn’t have happen, but you do see a lot of young pitcher get their feet wet in the major in the pen first.

    Anyways, I am questioning the future now because I do not see E5 as a long term solution at 3rd and there seems to be no youngsters to take over at 3rd, 1st and SS. I can’t imagine winning without some real talent at those positions.

    Anyway, my two cents.

    MW: Dopirak seems to have a shot at being the future at first, and there’s still a chance that guys like Ahrens, Jackson and Emaus might work out for the left side of the infield (though not terribly soon). Encarnacion is a legit big-league hitter, and if he’s the only defensive hole on the team, that’s not so bad.

    - JW
  26. 26.

    Hey Mike,

    Hill is not in the running, but remember Pedroia won the MVP, and he was an overrated MVP. He was like the, Oh Crap, we have no other choice so lets make Pedo-pedroia MVP.

    However, no doubt, Hill is winning the comeback player of the year award, hands down.

    MW: He definitely should – but I think that’s now a fan vote.

    - paolo
  27. 27.

    Mike,
    You are doing an incredible job. Your outreach and effort to the fans is unbelievable and something to be admired. I think you should get into the broadcast both too though. I really loved your calls during the WBC.
    Now I am wondering if you think the Jays will call up some of their young guns earlier this year and maybe release some of their current roster players. I know that most fans would rather see some glimpses of promise for the future than watch this inadequate hitting club continue to struggle with RISP.
    Also, what is the status on Arencibia (I know he’s had a tough year) and Purcey. Are they MLB ready in the forseeable future (2010?)
    Thanks

    MW: I don’t think we’ll see any kids called up prior to September, other than Snider. Arencibia is really struggling in Vegas. In a hitters’ league, he’s at .228/.279/.413. He’s slugging relatively well, though, with 27 doubles and 11 homers, and 18 walks in 84 games is a nice improvement for him. Purcey continues to have trouble finding the plate. He’s 5-4, 4.31 in Vegas, which is nice, but he’s walked 57 in 100 1/3 innings (including 28 in his last 39 2/3). They both should be in the big leagues next year, but likely not to start the season.

    - Eric B
  28. 28.

    Hi Mike. Where can I go to find information on Baseball and ancient tributaries all on one show?

    MW: Only one place!

    - Andrew
  29. 29.

    Hi Mike. A couple questions/comments.
    1. Didn’t Scott Rolen also ask to be traded from St. Louis? It seems like he always gets what he wants.
    2. Did you ever find out or ask why Overbay didn’t pitch hit in the 8th?
    3. I think the first caller blaming Halladay’s “ineffectiveness” on Ryan was being sarcastic.

    MW: 1 – It was more a mutual thing with the Cardinals. 2 – Yep, see above. 3 – That’s what I thought, too. That’s why I asked him SO many times if he was serious.

    - Shmuel Yitzchok
  30. 30.

    Can you explain how a player can be traded now after the waiver deadline.

    MW: Sure. If a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team. If he’s claimed on waivers, he can be recalled from those waivers or a trade can be worked out with the team that claimed him.

    - Shmuel Yitzchok
  31. 31.

    michael,
    btw and the beer concession was closed when i got there.
    forgot it was the 8th inning. very fitting conclusion to my story previously…..

    MW: Sorry about that.

    - darrell bishop
  32. 32.

    Mike,

    A couple unrelated questions:

    i) What is it about the PCL that causes the inflation of batting stats? I’ve heard you say to beware many a-time, but what’s the explanation?

    ii) This one’s a tad late – I meant to ask you this last week during the Seattle series, but nevertheless: What’s your overall take on Ichiro? Are you a supporter or a detractor (or a bit of both)? Just wondering, given his unique playing style.

    MW: i – Mostly the altitude at several of the ballparks. ii – I think he’s fantastic. He has detractors?

    - matt
  33. 33.

    It pains me to watch the doc pitch , i can see the frustration in his face
    congrats JP you broke the best pitcher in baseball
    scott rolen had the right idea get the heck out of dodge

    MW: The frustration is caused by the fact that his teammates can’t provide him any support.

    - Alan Peranson
  34. 34.

    I love what Roy Halladay does, but with this offense, it doesn’t matter what he does. I really hope that this organization moves Halladay in the off season for quality position players despite the wishes of bleeding heart fans and reporters. A really good 1st baseman and an exceptional right or centre fielder would be an accomplishment. I see nothing wrong with a rotation of Marcum, Romero and Cecil to begin with, complemented by a couple more young arms with upside. With a young core including Snider,Lind and Hill they could contend for several years to come. Just think, we wouldn’t have to hear from the media, “well next year, if everybody performs like they are supposed to, we might be competitive.”

    Re: Scutaro

    Keep him. He does 6 or 7 things well offensively (hits for average, hits deep in counts, walks, hits the ball to all fields, hits with RISP, bunts well and runs the bases exceptionally well). It’s unlikely all these skills will evaporate next year. Whereas with Wells and Rios, it comes down to either they are hitting the ball or not. And the way they go about adjustments, I see no reason why their current stats won’t continue. Dump one or both.

    MW: With Scutaro, though, it’s the first time he’s done most of those things, and he’s 33 and in a contract year.

    - Will, Oshawa
  35. 35.

    Hi Mike

    I was looking into some of the numbers of the Jays and one thing that I find amazing is that the starters are a combined 41-35 yet the team is what 4 games under .500. Crazyiness!

    I also have a question for you. Do you personally believe that with one more big bat next year, and snider playing a full season in LF like a solid rookie(nothing crazy just .275 maybe 20 hrs next year) Do you think they jays can be in the race until the end fo the season?

    MW: It depends on how the rest of the team shakes down. Wells has to hit, and people have to play short and catch.

    - Scotty O
  36. 36.

    Michael,

    Two things:

    Is there any manager who utilizes his clean up spot any worse than Cito? With all these close games just moving Wells earlier or NEVER putting Kevin Millar in the no.4 spot could have made the difference in a game or two. If only Cito had a young LH hitter who hits for power and average to hit in that spot. :)

    The other thing is, I hear Rios lumped in with Wells a lot and I think there is a distinction to be made. Rios does have trade value, especially since he could play CF for a lot of teams. His struggles haven’t been as great as Wells and his contract not as bad.

    MW: There’s definitely a distinction to be made, and people are starting to make it. Do you mean Lind or Snider? Because Lind is doing great where he is, and he should be the three-hitter.

    - Uncle Ben
  37. 37.

    Hey Mike,

    I was at the game last night and despite the lost was enthused by the events that transpired; Particularly the rally after the back to back jacks. Which brings me to posture you the question..” Did that clutch 2-run double off rivera do enough for Wells’ psyche in front of 40k cheering for him to gain his long-lost confidence at the Dome back? Hopefully he has shrugged some of the hometowners off his back for a bit.(You know shades of the walk-off HR off Rivera at a sold out house 4 years back were running through his mind!![I was there that night also--and along with canada/Usa at WBC 09' was my fav. live moment at a baseball game ever])

    2ndly, Just a comment,

    I couldn’t help but notice how close bautista and wells(the double) came to being HR’s, which lead to me to believe that had the Dome been open, the wind would have carried those balls the last 2 or 3 feet,(though coulda-woulda-shoulda’s don’t mean much..I get it..Just saying!)

    Anyhow keep it up Mike. Love the blog and radio shows!

    MW: If the Dome had been open, we would have been in a rain delay, no? As for Wells, I don’t think he lacks confidence to hit at home.

    - Anthony L
  38. 38.

    Mike if this team expects to compete for the division title they must show the rest of the division that they are capable of beating (or playing 500) against the top 3 teams. Only then will they be in a position where they can honestly say they can compete. Their motivation should be to treat each game as if it really means something in terms of the ultimate final standings for those teams and anyone else who is in a playoff race. If they can’t compete then they have to make some changes especially in the offensive make up although,that may be difficult to do given some of contracts that are in place. I would cut them a little bit of slack on the pitching side as they have dealt with some pretty serious injuries and quite frankly the future looks pretty bright if all their pitching or at least parts of it comes back sound.

    MW: They did fine against the top 3 teams in the division last year, though.

    - mike glatt
  39. 39.

    mike

    We talk about the jays surplus of arms to possibly trade for bat(s) but what kind of arms that will attract offers can they actually expend? Also, what teams do you think may be candidates?

    MW: Every team wants good young pitching, and the Jays have plenty who would bring back something. And they have enough of them that they can bunch a few up if need be – or should I say, if they want to.

    - Simon
  40. 40.

    Hey Mike,

    If J.P. Ricciardi did put together “the fifth-best team in baseball” in 2008, according to sabermetric stats reviewed after that season . . .

    When was the last time the fifth-best team in baseball was a seller at the waiver deadline (Eckstein and Stairs dealt away)?

    If they were baseball’s fifth-best team, how could they be playing through a meaningless September?

    In the real world (not the sabermetric world), J.P. Ricciardi’s Blue Jays have yet to play a meaningful game in September . . . although they would have in 2008 if the proper moves were made to put together the team.

    MW: In the real world, four of the five best teams in baseball were in the same division last season.

    - Ken Pagan
  41. 41.

    There is a lot of talk about statistics with regards to the Jays and their productiveness at the plate in different situations. i.e. hitting with runners in scoring position, late inning hits, etc.
    Here is my theory: I think that the biggest thing being overlooked is confidence and the mental side of things. (didn’t Yogi Berra say baseball is 90% mental and the other half physical?).

    To me you can analyze the stats all you want but when it comes down to it, I just don’t think the Jays hitters have had much confidence over the past few years. I believe hitting is contagious and it is easier to get a hit if people around you are performing. They proved this at the start of the year and I really thought things were going to be different this season.

    However, for some reason it didn’t work out that way. Maybe it was because deep down they still doubted themselves and each other. Maybe it was because Cito blew some opportunities to keep the momentum going by not pinch hitting in certain situations. (He did that to build up players confidence which may of had the reverse effect and hurt the team’s confidence). Maybe since Vernon and Rios weren’t really producing they started putting too much pressure on players who were considered the secondary run producers which had the effect of draining their confidence. The hitting also ends up affecting the pitcher’s confidence as they start not to believe in their teammates and maybe put to much pressure on themselves to be perfect.

    Anyways, do you believe in the mental side of things? Do you think that a hitter might perform better then his career stats indicated if he went to a team with better hitters around him because he was able to relax and had less pressure to perform? Or is a stat a stat and there is no mental aspect to the team whatsoever?

    Vernon seems to have lost all of his confidence. This is why I suggest he try to change his stance just to get his mind worrying about something else. I think he is trying too hard to live up to his contract and is putting too much pressure on him. Maybe even putting him back in the lead-off spot would be a good idea, just to change his thinking and make him feel like he doesn’t need to hit the longball.

    Also, help me out with my grammar. I used effect/affect, but not sure what is right. Please teach!
    Thanks again for all the work you do!

    MW: A affects B, B feels the effect of A. I don’t know about your confidence theory. The fact is, strangely enough, the Blue Jays are one of the best-hitting teams in the league until there are runners in scoring position.

    - Gary W
  42. 42.

    Hey Mike,

    I was gonna complain about Cito Gaston today but when i heard this edition of Jays talk and hearing your first caller(David from Wellsely) telling you that Doc Halladay has lost his touch because of the loss of B.J. Ryan it justmade my stomach turn. Is thisguy for real, is he watching the same pitcher I am?? WOW!

    You handled the caller well but i just have to say that Halladay has probably forgotten more about pitching than B.J. will ever know. If Halladay would have retired after 6 years from the start of his career he would’ve retired a better pitcher than Ryan could ever dream of being. HOLY COW, how do you deal with the lunacy?!!!!

    I now understand your frustration with having to deal with some of these ridiculous callers and comments. I feel for you Mike.

    More on Cito and his “ridiculousness” at another time.

    Thanks Mike,

    - Quinner
  43. 43.

    Hey Mike,

    I noticed you’re comparing Vernon Wells to Joe Carter a lot when people bash Vernon and clearly, you’re not a huge fan of Carter. Either way, the point I want to make is that whatever the batting average or obp, you could count on Joe to hit around 30 HRs, 100 RBIs, 30 2B and a decent ops year after year. With Vernon, you don’t get that type of consistency and it probably makes matters worst for some fans when Vernon is paid the amount he is but not contributing like the salary and expectation would suggest. What probably also frustrates fans is the amount of weak grounders and double plays that Vernon hits into with men on base (as compared with Joe). If Vernon would hit 30 HRs and get 100 RBIs every season (even with a low batting average and obp), you’d probably have less fans complaining.

    MW: There’s no question of that. And it’s not that I wasn’t a big fan of Joe Carter’s, it’s just that he was basically the same kind of hitter as Vernon is.

    - Joachim Tsui
  44. 44.

    Mike I felt sorry for you after listening to that first caller and every other sane baseball fan. It’s just a case of fans being narrow-minded, or they just have ADD, I can’t tell. Do people not even filter their thoughts through the “reality” part of their brain? Anyone who uses facts, logic, and context could see that Doc simply went from unhittable to merely dominant. Also, in 6 of his last 7 starts, he has faced the Boston, Tampa, or New York. Let’s see another pitcher face a schedule like that and come out with a stat line like you showed above.

    MW: It wouldn’t really happen. What does ADD have to do with it, though?

    - SP
  45. 45.

    Hey Mike. I’m wondering what you think of this idea. The Jays should sign John Lackey to a three or four year deal this offseason. In doing so, they secure a veteran presence on their rotation and they free up the opportunity to trade one of their better young pitchers in the future. On Dugout Central there is an article talking about the package the red sox were offering for Felix Hernandez ( http://www.dugoutcentral.com/blog/?p=2630 Five prospects for him). If the Jays lose Halladay this year, but still have Lackey, it would be affordable to trade Marcum, Cecil or (hopefully) Mcgowan, and still have a very good top three. In my opinion Romero is untouchable.

    Also, given the high number and quality of arms this off season, Lackey may be able to be had for relatively cheap. He’s a little bit older (born in 78) and had his first injury at the beginning of the year. Add in the fact that he is on the record about how he admires Doc, and i think he would be likely to be willing to sign, just to pitch beside Doc for one year, with the possibility of more.

    I think a veteran like Lackey would really solidify the rotation next year. It would take some pressure off of Cecil, Romero and Marcum as well as adding depth (this time at the top) to the pitching staff. Imagine a rotation of:

    Doc
    Romero
    Lackey
    Cecil
    Marcum

    Alternating hands, styles and experience. I really think it would be a fantastic addition.
    your thoughts?

    MW: I really can’t see the Jays spending money on starting pitching this off-season.

    - Dave J
  46. 46.

    Using the stats that you provided in your blog, here is the percentage change in Doc’s stats since June 2nd.

    ERA – up by 25%

    WHIP – up by 15%

    hits allowed – up by 15%

    walks allowed – up by 18%

    strikeouts – down by 8%

    homeruns – up by 241%

    It’s worth noting that June 2nd was the day that Doc threw 133 pitches. So for those who are looking for a reason for Doc’s decline this is one possibility. Of course it could also be one of the negative repercussions resulting from the departure of BJ Ryan.

    MW: It could, of course. But even with the drop-off in all those stats, to paraphrase the commenter above, he’s gone from ridiculous to merely dominant. And yes, he threw 133 pitches on June 2nd, but only 97 the start after that, and then just 41 pitches over the next 22 days, so he got plenty of rest.

    - the stat lady
  47. 47.

    Hey Mike,

    Two quick things…
    First, I noticed Marcum hasn’t thrown since July 26th when he only threw 2 innings for Las Vegas. Is there any news on a setback in the rehab?
    Second, the Millar situation is obviously getting ridiculous, the Blue Jays blogosphere is full of complaints today. But I don’t know who to blame. Cito for wasting so many at-bats using Millar and Overbay in situations they are not usually successful in? Or do I blame JP for believing that Ruiz or Dopirak couldn’t improve on
    .225/.360/.660? So who do you think is more to blame?
    Thanks

    MW: Marcum had a little tweak in his back, it’s nothing about which they’re concerned. I would say Millar is to blame for not coming through, but he can’t reasonably be expected to do so. Cito is the one who keeps running him out there in high-leverage spots.

    - Jeff (from Germany)
  48. 48.

    What’s wrong with this picture.

    The Jays draft Randy Wells in the Rule 5 draft. He posts 108 IP with a 2.59 ERA (ummmm…very nice)……as a member of the Chicago Cubs.

    MW: Why weren’t you complaining about this last April? Wait – it’s not because you don’t have a crystal ball either, is it?

    - kit
  49. 49.

    hello mike

    just to comment on some of the Halladay remarks….I heard how taken aback you were with that caller’s suggestion of Halladay being different since Ryan left….yes, that is ridiculous. But perhaps, and don’t bite my head off, some folks are referring to the fact that he has faltered lately in some situations (the homers last night, losing the 2-1 lead in the late going in the start before) where we are not used to seeing him falter. I understand the uselessness of the “wins” stat, but I do feel that there seems to be something a little “off” with him (not to suggest its not justified with all the trade talk, etc. having gone on the last while)…..do you agree at all with that? do you see anything different or am I imagining it?

    MW: You’re not imagining it, he hasn’t pitched as well as he did before he went on the DL. He’s still been really, really good, though.

    - sam
  50. 50.

    Mike, any idea what a similar package the Jays could have put together to get Victor Martinez?

    Griffin’s views on WHIP versus win/loss was amazing today.

    MW: Not really. It’d have to be three great young pitchers, one of whom was here. I liked that Griff answer, too – but he only said it to get people like us angry.

    - Wil
  51. 51.

    MW: There’s definitely a distinction to be made, and people are starting to make it. Do you mean Lind or Snider? Because Lind is doing great where he is, and he should be the three-hitter.

    I meant Lind, but I would have no opposition to Snider in the 4 hole for no other reason than his name is not Kevin Millar. Snider was hitting .333 with RISP. Rios is hitting .277 with RISP which is not unrespectable, so that’d be a possibility. But Lind slugs .526(!) with RISP which is why I’d put him in the 4 hole.

    - Uncle Ben
  52. 52.

    Two questions for you Mike.

    1) A lot of people have been asking about Snider getting recalled because he is absolutely mashing in AAA over the past month or so. I understand that the Jays are not recalling him because they don’t want him to accumulate a year of service this year, therefore having him not be eligable for arbitration until after the 2012 season. What are the qualifications for a year of service? Is it a min. number of AB’s or days of Major Leauge service. When can he be recalled to ensure he doesn’t earn a year of service for this year?

    2) Randy Ruiz is having a second good year in AAA. I have heard reports in the past couple of weeks that the story on Ruiz is that he doesn’t hit against the top pitchers in AAA, that he just feeds on the average guys. Either way, he’s 32 years old, his bat isn’t getting faster, he isn’t going to mature or get stronger, so why not give him some AB’s right now. We know what Millar can do. Why not see what Ruiz can do in the majors over the next 8 weeks and then either release him, trade him, or include him in the 2010 plans?

    MW: 1 – It’s not about a year of service, it’s about him being eligible for arbitration a year early. All players with at least three and less than six years of service time are eligible for arbitration, plus the top 17% of players (in service time) of players with more than two but less than three years of service time. I give him another week or so in Vegas. 2 – Sounds good to me.

    - Kevin
  53. 53.

    MW: I don’t know why Millar is still here.

    Cito drives the bus, and Cito wants him on the bus. It’s nothing more than that.

    ______________________________

    MW – Encarnacion is a legit big-league hitter, and if he’s the only defensive hole on the team, that’s not so bad.

    Wells isn’t going anywhere, so CF will be a very weak position for the Jays. And I don’t see Snider being anywhere near an average major league LF. So that’s three weak positions.

    MW: Have you seen Snider play?

    - kit
  54. 54.

    Mike, what do you think Ricciardi’s weaknesses are? Do you think he has any? Where do you think he made mistakes and how could he improve his performance as GM?

    MW: I think he sticks with veterans who clearly don’t have it for too long and I think he’s far too reluctant to be a seller at the trade deadline (though I don’t know how much of that comes from upstairs).

    - isabella reyes
  55. 55.

    MW: Why weren’t you complaining about this last April? Wait – it’s not because you don’t have a crystal ball either, is it?

    I didn’t know Randy Wells from David Wells last April. I’m not the one who drafted him and then decided to send him back. Great draft pick by the way…..sending him back, not so much.

    MW: You’re right – not so much a good choice to send him back. But the point stands – the Jays weren’t sure enough that he’d become this good that they were willing to keep him on the active roster all season.

    - kit
  56. 56.

    “And I don’t see Snider being anywhere near an average major league LF.”

    Snider made a great throw to get Johnny Damon at 2nd base when he was here in the spring, I’d say that he is at least average.

    MW: He’ll wind up being better than average.

    - Terry Bradley
  57. 57.

    isabella reyes:

    “Really? That may not have been their intention but it worked like a charm.”

    Rays fans got to watch their team win a baseball game a total of 742 times from 1998 through 2008.

    Jays fans witness a win 902 times in the same period.

    Maybe some fans consider watching their team lose 160 times more over 11 years as a reasonable trade-off for ONE playoff run.

    Certainly opinions might vary on the wisdom of that deal though.

    MW: You mean 1600, right?

    - WillRain
  58. 58.

    Joachim Tsui:

    “I noticed you’re comparing Vernon Wells to Joe Carter a lot when people bash Vernon and clearly, you’re not a huge fan of Carter. Either way, the point I want to make is that whatever the batting average or obp, you could count on Joe to hit around 30 HRs, 100 RBIs, 30 2B and a decent ops year after year.”

    The key point in the comparison is what you are missing though. Watch what happens when you compare the two men’s careers:

    Wells is in his age 30 season.

    Before this season Wells OPS on his career was .812, his OPS+ was 109 and his averages per 162 games, according to Baseball Reference were as follows:

    39 doubles
    27 homers
    99 RBI
    10 SB
    306 TB

    Before his age 30 season, Carter’s OPS was .776 and his OPS+ was 110

    his 162 games averages were-

    31 doubles
    28 homers
    100 RBI
    24 SB
    291 TB

    doesn’t that look kind of similar to you? Outside the speed they produced at almost EXACTLY the same rate in every major counting stat.

    So, you might say, why does that matter – Wells has fallen apart in his age 30 season.

    Well, let’s compare:

    this year, coming into tonight’s game, Wells has an OPS of .705, and an OPS+ of 85
    His counting stats project to

    41 doubles
    15 homers
    62 RBI
    21 SB
    252 total bases

    In Carter’s age 30 season:

    .681 OPS, 85 OPS+
    27
    24
    115
    22
    248

    Give him props for the RBI, but otherwise, he was a train wreck at 30 too.

    Now, clearly these two guys, both in style of play and actual results, are virtually the exact same guy to this point in their lives, but here’s the key part –

    Wells is signed for 5 more years and many fans seem convinced that this year’s results have set a new, lower, level of expectation for those years, but witness Carter’s next 4 years after his age 30 season:

    .819 OPS, 117 OPS+
    36 doubles
    35 homers
    124 RBI
    14 SB
    319 TB

    See the point? Carter got BETTER by 43 points of OPS in the four years AFTER he looked like his skills were in decline than in the years of his “prime” (as age defines prime)

    Does this PROVE Wells will be a similar force over the next 4 years?

    obviously not.

    Does it prove that it’s certainly a realistic possibility?

    Darn straight it does.

    THAT, my friend, is why the Carter comparison is so compelling – not just because they have a similar style of hitting, but because their careers to this point are virtually identical – yes, even in those HR and RBI stats you pointed to – and Carter GOT BETTER.

    MW: You have crystallized my thoughts beautifully.

    - WillRain
  59. 59.

    Mike, in all the discussion about the Jays’ “good hitting except with RISP”, it seems that one key factor is being somewhat overlooked. The fact is the Jays lead the Majors in doubles! A double automatically results in a RISP opportunity, but it is still just “one hit”. If it happens to be a leadoff double, it results in 3 RISP chances; if the next three batters fail to get a hit, they are 0/3 with RISP, but the team has still batted .250 for that inning.

    I’m not sure where I’m trying to go with this — just pointing out that, in sort of a wierd “reverse” way, the Jays’ proficiency in hitting doubles may in fact be hurting their RISP percentages.

    MW: I get the point that they hit a lot of doubles, but I don’t see how that could negatively affect their RISP numbers.

    - Norm
  60. 60.

    No offense to your blog but at this point I think most have lost interest in the Jays for this year.

    MW: I agree with you. It’s a shame there aren’t more baseball fans around these parts.

    - dave_12
  61. 61.

    Mike, re Post #59 (RISP)

    As I said, I’m not sure where I wanted to go with that, but maybe it ties back to the idea that “hitting is contagious”. Perhaps an RISP opportunity resulting from two singles is closer to an “epidemic of hits” than the same opportunity generated by an isolated double?

    On the other hand, of course, one could argue that it is easier to get two hits in an inning (double/single) than it is to get three (single/single/???).

    Oh well, it was just a thought!

    - Norm
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