11:40 PM Eastern

In celebration of a pretty “meh” game by the Jays in Tampa Bay tonight, I put forth the following idea of how to drastically improve the ballclub for the 2010 season.  Warning – it takes money.

1 – Trade Edwin Encarnacion to the Brewers for J.J. Hardy.   The Brew Crew has seemingly given up on Hardy, and they will be looking to deal him in the off-season.  They’ve dumped Bill Hall, Mat Gamel can’t handle third base defensively and Craig Counsell’s not the long-term solution.  Hardy stubbed his toe pretty badly on offense this season, but the defensive metrics are strong and if the bat doesn’t come back then at least you keep a strong glove at shortstop who bats 9th, likely recoup a couple of first-round picks for Marco Scutaro and it doesn’t cost any money.

2 – Sign Chone Figgins and Orlando Hudson.  Figgins is a perfect replacement for Scutaro in the leadoff spot, and he and Hudson give the Jays the advantage of having a pair of speedy switch-hitters batting in the top two spots in the order.  Figgins also gives the Jays the versatility of being a capable defensive fill-in pretty much anywhere on the field in case of injury, though he’d be brought in to play left.  Of course, if Hudson is signed, Aaron Hill would have to move to third base.

Those three moves alone improve the Jays’ offense a great deal, but word is the Jays are sweet on Jason Bay, and if they bring him in, then you’d have to scratch one of Hudson or Figgins, unless Hill gets moved to shortstop, where I don’t think he’ll be a plus defensively.

In the first scenario, the Jays could run out an everyday line-up of Figgins/Hudson/Lind/Hill/Overbay/Wells/Snider/Hardy/catcher (with Snider and Overbay eventually switching spots as the season progresses).  In the second scenario, it’d be Figgins/Hill/Lind/Bay/Overbay/Wells/Snider/Hardy/catcher.  Those are both solid line-ups, especially in combination with the strong pitching, which you wouldn’t really have to touch.

The moves would drop the Jays down to just two players who absolutely refuse to take a walk, in Hill and Wells (and those two aren’t going anywhere), with power up from the third spot on down.  Of course, they’d need a catcher as well.  As Casey Stengel said, if you don’t have a catcher, you’re going to have a lot of passed balls.  Or something like that.

All of this hinges on payroll being bumped up to at least the $100 million mark.  Why believe that might happen?  Because Bob McCown says so, and I’m inclined to believe that given his history with Paul Beeston he might actually have some info that the rest of us don’t.

Just stuff that’s been swirling about my cranium the last couple of days.

For your listening pleasure, here are The JaysTalks from the past two nights.

First Friday’s:

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And tonight’s:

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Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome.

105 Responses to “Here’s An Idea”
  1. 1.

    Dear Mike,

    Please be the Jays’ GM immediately.

    Sincerely,

    Everyone

    P.S. Seriously though.

    - Branden
  2. 2.

    Hi Mike…

    I know this has been beaten to death but I’m really getting frustrated with Cito’s “stubborness” regarding Kevin Millar and sitting Lyle Overbay against left handed pitching.

    Lyle Overbay is the hottest Blue Jay hitter right now and sitting him, even against a lefty, is just plain stupid. Yes stupid.

    Sorry about the harshness of that statement but Cito seems to have the mindset of the stubborn grandfather “In my day we wouldn’t let left handed hitters hit against left handed pitchers and we liked it like that”.

    Besides, who cares if Overbay goes 0/4, it’s not like you’re in the playoff race anyway. But no, you have to trot Millar out there and hit him cleanup no less.

    Sorry for the venting Mike but I’m really tired of this sad old story night after night when we see a left handed pitcher. I’ll also wager that he will do the same thing with Snider again when he gets here.

    I really believe the modern game has passed Cito by and I’m sorry to say that because I believe he was once a good manager.

    I won’t be sorry to seem him go in 2011.

    MW: Stupid is pretty harsh, and I’d certainly have had Randy Ruiz hitting fourth as opposed to Millar, but as hot as he is, Overbay just isn’t a good bat against lefties. He’s hitting .193/.270/.316 against them this year. When Snider comes up, I’m confident he’ll be in there every day.

    - Brent
  3. 3.

    Not sure if you heard this or not, but the most encouraging thing I’ve heard Bob say is that Beeston told him that Rogers offered to spend more on the payroll but Beeston declined because he felt they wouldn’t contend this year. But every time Beeston has been on PTS he has been saying he thinks they have a legitimate chance to contend next year. I’d like to think that means an increase in payroll is pretty likely, what do you make of that?

    MW: I think, as well, that an increase in payroll is pretty likely.

    - Hulk Hogan
  4. 4.

    Hill at 3rd, hudson at 2nd and keeping Scut at SS – I love it!!

    I have a question, generally, what is the age when a pitcher’s fast ball reaches max velocity??

    late teens, early 20s, mid 20s ???

    MW: I would think it’s probably early 20s, if not earlier.

    - eddy
  5. 5.

    Michael of the Ballyard:

    I didn’t actually hear what Jerry said about Rios the other night (just the caller who asked if you were surprised by it after the game), but I’m going to go ahead and guess that it was along the same lines about his weak work ethic that has been expressed by unnamed players in the SI (or whatever it was) article.

    Anyways, provided that this is the case, I view this as a very, very, very big problem.

    How is anyone supposed to believe anything Jerry ever has or ever will say, now that we know his willingess to state the truth is severely qualified by whether or not a player is still with the team? I mean, it’s just absurd. To what extent are listeners being misled if Jerry doesn’t say truthful things about players that are with the team? Obviously, he wasn’t thorough in his assessment of Rios from day one.

    By the way, I’m blogging about the rest of the IBL playoffs, if you have any interest in checking it out!

    MW: Do you recall Jerry ever complimenting Rios on his work ethic when he was here?

    - Kevin D
  6. 6.

    So what do you know? Its bear not bare. I thought about it and both ways didn’t make sense. But I guess that’s English.

    - Kevin
  7. 7.

    Why would the Brewers trade for a 3B who can’t field that well, with an okay bat, to replace a 3B who can’t field with a better bat? Doesn’t make much sense. I think we’d have to toss in some pitching to get it done.

    I would rather go with Figgins + Bay. Figgins can play 3B, where his glove is a plus, and Bay can add some power to the middle of the lineup. Also, I’m not sure if Hudson would be interested in resigning with the Jays.

    One suggestion I read about on a blog is trying to get Snyder from the Diamondbacks, now that it seems Montero has taken over the fulltime catching job. Any idea how much it would take to get him?

    MW: The answer to your first question is because they’re going to move Gamel off third, apparently. The Figgins/Bay combo works, but you have to figure out what to do with the $5 million Encarnacion. Snyder is owed just over $11 million over the next two years – if they’re secure in Montero, then I’d wager he could be had for some mid-tier controllable pitching. He’s a little expensive for the production, though, no?

    - Nick
  8. 8.

    Really enjoyed this article. The last few years (last 16 actually) have been very tiring as a Jays fan and for me one of the things that keeps me going through the dog days of summer and offseason is being optimistic about next season. Please post more of these kinds of articles. I love hearing other ideas for next year. And I didn’t know Hill could play 3rd base that really makes things interesting.

    Here was the lineup I was thinking of for next year. Granted I am not sure Ruiz will keep up his hot hitting and make it last for next year and I cant be certain that the Jays will trade Overbay or that his replacement in my mind, Dopirak, will be as strong in the Majors as he was in Vegas but this is what I was thinking.

    Figgins/Hill/Lind/Ruiz/Wells/Dopirak/Scutaro/Snider/New catcher

    Now I would prefer Nick Johnson (and his ridiculous .420 OBP, who would be a great acquisition if the Jays could get him) to take Ruiz spot at DH or have him at first base. But who would be a catcher that the Jays should go after? I do like Chavez as a good defensive backup but Im not sure I want him starting. and where would you play Johnson if we got him, 1st or DH?

    Great article as always. Please post more about your thoughts on next year because as a fan of a non contender the ability to hope and dream about next season is one of the few things that keeps me going through nights like these.

    MW: I don’t think a team that goes Ruiz/Wells/Dopirak in the middle of the line-up is likely to be a contender. If Johnson and Overbay were both here, then Johnson is the DH.

    - Richie
  9. 9.

    I like your ideas, and Bay wouldn’t be a bad option either

    Let me throw in a decent idea (I think) for the Catcher problem:

    Chris Snyder

    Miguel Montero has taken his job. He’s having a very bad year with the bat and his value should be nice and low. Might even get him for a totally spare part like David Purcey.

    But over the previous three seasons his OPS was over .770 which would put him about the middle of the pack for AL catchers.

    And he’s still just 28. He makes 4.75 in 2010, 5.75 in 2011, and has a .75 buyout of 6.75 in 2012.

    And even adding him on top of your suggestions (Figgins/Hudson/Hardy) the team would still be under $100 mil by a safe margin.

    MW: Would they? Right now, the Jays are on the hook for $66.5 million for six players. Snyder gets that to over $71 million, Hudson and Figgins get things over $80 million and they’d still have to pay 17 more people. Whoever the catcher is wouldn’t be at the minimum, nor would Bautista, Frasor, League, Camp, Janssen, Marcum and Tallet. I guess they’d still be under $100, but it could be close.

    - WillRain
  10. 10.

    Mike, must Marco Scutaro be jettisoned? It has been such a pleasure to watch him & he seems to be immune to injury (knock on wood). I am just beck from NYC where my son treated me to the Aug. 11 game in Yankee Stadium (big bucks for hot dogs & drinks). I was proud of our team, & of course they won the night before. Hoping on in Sudbury,
    Nancy

    MW: It’s not a must that Scutaro doesn’t return, but the Jays don’t control that so it’s not that they’d “jettison” him. Thing is, it’s his first good year, he’ll be 33 and it’s a contract year. Those things don’t bode well for future success.

    - nancy thurston
  11. 11.

    I just can’t see Rogers going out and spending that much dough – not in the immediate future for sure.

    Jason Bay, a Blue Jay! Chances of that happening are about as great as Rios coming back to Toronto. Some seem to think becuase he is Canadian he wants to play for a Canadian team, not much logic applied to those thoughts. He loves Fenway!

    Orlando Hudson back in Toronto! Love to see that happen but he is a pretty happy dude playing for the Dogers and I think he will re-sign with them.

    That’s funny Mike, as to using Bobcats’ relationship with Beeston with respect to Rogers spending that much dough in 2010. I understand your “tounge in cheek” comment! Coming out of spring training, He also said the Jays would win 90 games this season.

    Nah, I think the Jays are going to keep payroll to a minimum. I really hope not, as it sure will send out the wrong message for future signings. Not to mention what it would do at the gate!

    The Jays signed Cito for two years. His job for these two years is to mentor the young guys and get them ready for the next “experienced” skipper in 2011.

    Having said that, the Jays do have plenty of trade bait as to young arms. It would be nice to see the line-ups you mention Mike. So who knows maybe some big trades in the off season along with some signings but I just don’t see that or big dollar spending happening for a couple of seasons.

    Thanks and keep up the great blogging!

    MW: It wasn’t tongue in cheek, and happy players switch teams in free agency all the time. If Bay loves Fenway so much, why didn’t he sign the $10 million per year extension that the Red Sox offered at the all-star break?

    - Bob (from Burlington)
  12. 12.

    Making a run at Jason Bay makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. Wells, Bay, and Snider with Lind DHing looks good on paper. And, I agree that the plan (for now) should be to have Lind or Snider take over at first base.

    Figgins also makes a lot of sense, although I don’t understand why you said we’d bring him in to play left. He’s a 3rd bagger, isn’t he?

    Hill should not be moved from 2nd, under no circumstances. After the season he’s had, don’t mess with his head. Let him be the great 2nd baseman that he is. I would resign Scutaro to play short, if the price was right, as long as you manage to bring in Figgins to lead off. We need a stolen base threat at the top of the lineup to make things happen.

    I love speculating!

    MW: With whom are you agreeing about first base? Figgins is playing third this year, but he’s a quality defender everywhere on the diamond but shortstop.

    - Michael
  13. 13.

    Not a bad plan, though I’d like to have Scutaro in the mix as well. And your plan does hinge on giving Snider a legitimate shot, not as this year, demoting when he struggles.

    I also wanted to ask you does it serve any organization to jerk a player around as the Jays have Accardo; especially when they are keeping arguably lesser arms in Camp, Tallet, Janssen and Carlson on the team?

    MW: The only purpose it serves is that they retain all their players.

    - Will, Oshawa
  14. 14.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one not buying Cito’s rationale for putting Millar in for Overbay (the same reasoning doesn’t seem to apply to McDonald).
    Mike, do you think Overbay deserved a chance to try to continue his recent success, even if it was against a leftie?

    MW: What do you mean it doesn’t apply to McDonald?

    - kate
  15. 15.

    The Brewers haven’t given up on Hardy, they like Alcides Escobar more because he’s younger, better on defense, has a higher offensive ceiling and only make $400k. Hardy becomes a free agent at the end of 2010 and already makes $4.65 million.

    The guy we should be trading for is Escobar, not Hardy.

    The problem with what you outline is all you’d do is add a bunch of contracts of old declining skill players and still end up in 3rd or 4th place. In either scenario, it’s a nice lineup-but doesn’t put us in a competitive position with Boston, Tampa Bay or New York.

    In this post steroids era, teams are getting younger, not older to ensure they’re not signing some post steroids user to a huge contract-like the Jays did with Vernon Wells (imo).

    For this team to move forward, they need to dump both Wells and Overbay and build with younger players. The core must be Lind, Hill, Snider, Dopirak, Arencibia and possibly even Encarnacion. I think it’s too early to give up on Encarnacion until Butter has time to take a shot at improving his defense. His bat will improve once he’s over the wrist injury and 26 home runs per year is nothing to sneeze at.

    The time to charge, is 2011, when Ryan and hopefully Wells and Overbay’s salary are gone and we’ve built a stronger and larger core of players than we have now.

    To ramp up the salary in 2010, bring in a bunch more over paid, declining skill players with big contracts is exactly what got us into the mess we’re in now.

    MW: I don’t see Figgins, Hudson and Hardy as old, declining-skill players. I agree with you that Escobar is the shortstop to get, but he’s not available. There’s no way to move Wells.

    - gerry
  16. 16.

    I am so tired of
    Cito’s managing. How much longer are do we have to watch Kevin Millar in the clean up spot?

    MW: Another week or so, I think.

    - Al
  17. 17.

    I very much so agree with the second option that you have presented, mostly because it involves leaving Aaron Hill alone. Never, ever fix what is not broken.

    Bringing in Chone Figgins would probably happen before Jason Bay, so I could see that happening. I will miss Scutaro though, and I wonder if he might be a cheaper option than Figgins.

    I love the idead of Bay in left, but the Yankees have been trying to plug that hole since Matsui broke his wrist a few years back, so the price might be steep.

    I would like to see Chavez back behind the dish, I think he has earned an opportunity with his exceptional defence, but it sounds like Johnny Mac’s situation; “If only he could hit just a little bit more.”

    Question, who is the top free agent catcher for next year/most available via trade?

    Love the blog, keep up the good work.

    MW: Scutaro would almost definitely be a cheaper option than Figgins, but Figgins is the better (and younger and more versatile) player. The top free agent catcher is probably Bengie Molina. I don’t think Aaron Hill’s bat would suffer if he was moved to third any more than it would if he stayed at second.

    - T.J.
  18. 18.

    Interesting that when you talked with Jerry about the Rios situation, he gave the same impression that I and many of your callers have given you about Rios. Many of your callers have said Rios doesn’t run out ground balls or hustle in the outfield or make adjustments at the plate. Funny thing is though, when Jerry said these things, you really didn’t seem condescending at all. When I have offered critisizm you basically just tell me I’m wrong. You must question how your opinion and Jerry’s opinion are polar opposites. I always assumed that Allan had that opinion because he would show that sometime in his analysis. McCowan has also voiced his opinion about Rios. In his opinion Rios hasn’t gone near a wall in years. Maybe you should explain to him that because Alex is so talented, he doesn’t need to go near a wall or lay out to get a ball.

    MW: It’s not true that Rios hasn’t gone near a wall in years. Nor is it true that I have ever held up Rios as a paragon of hard work and great effort. If you’ll remember, my comments were that it doesn’t look like Rios is trying hard because he doesn’t need to try as hard as the short, scrappy white guys do in order to achieve the same or greater level of success. And do you honestly not understand the difference between talking to someone you call and someone who calls you? Between talking to Jerry Howarth, who is in the clubhouse every day, travels and stays with the team and has seen every major-league game that Alex Rios has ever played and talking to a caller who is basing most of his assessments on assumption and perception about a guy he’s never met? Honestly.

    - Dan from Elmvale
  19. 19.

    I know you have beaten the Wells’ contract to death.

    This is my point of view on the contract. When Vernon signed that contract he just came off one of his best years in the majors and the fans were extremely worried he may work for nothing, expect for draft picks. I do believe they over paid him about 2-3 million a year and his contract should probably average out to 15-16 million a year.

    This is where I believe JP and the organization made a huge mistake. I think the way they have structured the deal. JP gave him minimal amount of money in the first few years of the deal and now the Jays have to pay 20+ million over the remanding years which makes it hard to sign new players and makes it extremely tough to trade Wellsy. The same case can be said about BJ Ryan with the way the deal was structured.

    Why does JP and the organization as a whole like to back load contracts?

    MW: Wellsy? They backloaded those contracts to fit under budget early when the payroll was lower, in anticipation of a higher payroll and an excess of younger, cheap, controllable players down the road.

    - Brent from Sarnia
  20. 20.

    I noticed you have Lind in the 3 spot in your two projections, and Cito has kept him there for a good part of the season. With the lack of a true clean up hitter why haven’t the Jays tried Lind in the 4 spot and move Hill down to 3?

    MW: You want your best hitter batting third.

    - Brendan
  21. 21.

    Do you really think the Brewers would trade Hardy for Encarnacion? Why would the brewers give up a slumping power-hitting defensively-able shortstop for a slumping power-hitting defensively-challenged third basemen?
    The values don’t match up at all.

    MW: See above.

    - Evan White
  22. 22.

    So you dont think they need a pure power hitter in fa?

    MW: It would be nice, but it’s not necessary.

    - nick
  23. 23.

    Mike
    Like those ideas.The team needs little revamp for sure.Having someone like Bay here may just be whats need to help Vernon get it going earlier staying at least consistant.Marcum’s return will also be key.Although Tallet has done an admirable job filling in the rotation,he’s been missed in the pen.Romero and Cecil’s learning on the job this season has worked well and will lead to success going forward.I hope the Jays keep Chavez.Not sure he could do it everyday but I like his arm.He does pretty good for just coming in on a part time basis.We were all told this was to be a bridge to 2010,I hope the brass is still thinking that way.There’s still alot of good pieces here….just needs to be built on.

    - Terry
  24. 24.

    Hey Mike, like your ideas for the 2010 Jays. A true leadoff hitter would be a nice addition, Scutaro has done very well this year but if they can luck out and have him walk as a Type A FA then that’s great.

    Anyway, in regards to a caller last night who asked you about the Jays pitching injuries this season. I heard on another radio or podcast production earlier this year that ADDING pitches to young pitchers’ arsenals is a potential cause for injury. Is there any merit to this with respect to the Jays? Do you know of McGowan, Marcum, Litsch adding pitches to their repitoire? Cheers Mike

    MW: Litsch added a four-seam fastball late last year, but that’s not really a new pitch.

    - Pat
  25. 25.

    Love the work you do Mike!! And I like the scenario you paint for next year. I’d love to bring back the O Dog!!! Do you think Bay would sign here? I don’t think he would. Just ’cause he’s Canadian wouldn’t be enough of a reason for him to come. I believe he’d probably re-sign in Boston or go to Seattle to be closer to where he’s from. He’s also not had that great of a 2nd half. I don’t know, Just a thought.

    MW: I think Bay would sign here, given the right contract offer. He’d probably prefer to play in Seattle, though.

    - Jeff
  26. 26.

    Michael,

    Jason Bay? Really?

    I like Jason as much as the next guy but if the Jays sign him it would smack of another ownership decision. “Hey guys, I know what we need to fix this. A good Canadian boy in LF, think of the PR!”

    So they give JP or his replacement the money to overpay him just as they did with Vernon Wells and we see how well that has worked out.

    Bay is better than Wells but he is 31 and he’s going to want a long-term deal. This off season is not a stellar FA year, if you’re going to spend money this seems like the wrong time to do it.

    - Uncle Ben
  27. 27.

    In the event the nationals don’t sign there top pick and he goes back in the draft next year, what pick would they get in return for that pick. Would it be around the same area. Could they have the top twp picks next year in the draft.

    MW: The Nationals would get the second overall pick next year. If you fail (or choose not) to sign a player you’ve drafted, you’re awarded the next pick down the next year. Barrett hurt his finger in Vegas and had to have surgery – he’s out for the year.

    - Kevin
  28. 28.

    Hey Mike…

    I haven’t listened to your show for a while and i’m just wondering what your thoughts are on Vernon. You kept on telling fans to back off Vernon in the first 2 months of the season. However, it doesn’t seem that anything has changed

    MW: Anonymous? Why would you not put your name on this comment? My thoughts on Wells are that he’s having a horrible season, but there’s no reason to expect that this level of production is his new normal.

    - Anonymous
  29. 29.

    There is 0.0 chance Overbay is with the team in ’10. He will be moved, even if they have to take on some salary. Lind has been asked to go to Winter Ball to learn 1B. The off-season shopping list is DH, LF (need speed there). Depending on who is signed or acquired for LF will determine if there is enough left for a SS. I think they will be satisfied with J Mac everyday if a A+ OF is signed.

    There is enough young pitching to offer in trade for a C and/or DH.

    The irony is that Bay will probably be available for about what Rios made. 4 yrs $60 should be about right.

    MW: I doubt very much that Bay will get that kind of money. You shouldn’t speak in such absolutes, you’re asking for trouble. And what makes you so sure that McDonald will re-sign?

    - Neil
  30. 30.

    One other point on the 2010 budget – would be interested to know if the $100M includes the $15 for Ryan. If so, its barely competitive. $85-23 (Wells)=$62, -$15 (Halladay)=$47. With Frasor and Downs FA eligible, League arbitration eligible; the cupboard looks bare. How they account for the Ryan $ is the key

    MW: Ryan is only owed $10 million for next year (they’ll count it, whether they say so or not), Wells only makes $21 million next year, and neither Frasor nor Downs is eligible for free agency.

    - Neil
  31. 31.

    Mike, I think Rogers is getting some unfair criticism with what’s going on right now with the Jays. The `mother corporation` has shown a willingness to spend money in the past, particularly with the Wells` and Rios` contracts. Those 2 contracts clearly have not worked out. Now that they`ve got Rios off the books, I think it would be smart to wait until the off-season to decide where their money would be best spent for next year and going forward.

    Rogers will most certainly get a new president and GM in place in the off season. A new dirction is clearly needed and is likely coming. Using the Raptors as an example, optimism can be created relatively quickly. The only albatross hanging over this team now, although it`s a huge one, is the centrefielder. However, there are a number of pieces in place, there is pitching, and I think with the right GM, things can be turned around pretty quickly.

    MW: The difference between the Raptors and the Blue Jays is that you only need three great players in the NBA. I have to ask – if there are a number of pieces in place and there is pitching, which is the most difficult thing to acquire – why get rid of the guy who brought all that in?

    Because after 8 years of a 5 year plan, all the pieces should be in place. That’s why!!!

    MW: They should? Maybe in a perfect world.

    - Marvin
  32. 32.

    A lot of what’s been wrong with this team has had to do with the batters’ inability to hit with runners in scoring position. Especially the 3 and 4 hitters. If your line-up can redress that, then more power to you.

    As for the infamous article about Ricciardi’s contracts, he may have been overly anti-Ricciardi in some of those deals, but that Wells contract is more than an albatross. It’s a noose around the team’s neck for the next, what is it? 5 years? That having been said, Wells could maybe improve his game. For the money he’s getting I expect him to be paying the sun moon and stars for private hitting and fielding instruction all winter. Because I will surely be burned watching a below-average fielding, light-hitting centre fielder making $$$$$$$$$ that could have been spent better elsewhere.

    - isabella reyes
  33. 33.

    As long as I’m on a roll here I have one more comment. Its more personal so I doubt you’ll let it thru, but I think its important to say.

    Lately I feel your responses to posters has become antagonistic. I understand its frustrating to feel you need to be “rational and reasonable”, and you probably feel a certain need to defend the Organization.

    But I think you need to see the bigger picture. In a ciy where baseball is #2 or maybe #3 sport, who do you think reads your blog about a struggling Team towards the end of another disappointing season? Its the hardcore diehard for the most part. We have strong opinions about management after seeing the current regime deliver exactly the same results (granted – in a different way) than the Ash era.

    Instead of giving half-hearted responses to us, why not put some more effort into being polite and respectful to your readers? Perhaps you don’t see this as your job. But when this team leaves in 7 years, you will be wishing more people cared.

    MW: I’m polite and respectful to those who are polite and respectful to me. I don’t see anyone else who does this even giving short responses to comments. Isn’t this better than not responding at all?

    - Neil
  34. 34.

    MW: Would they?

    On the books (6 players plus Ryna): 66.5

    Five Arb player (Marcum, League, Accardo, Tallet and Janssen – I’m working on the assumption that Bautista will be non-tendered and Camp and Frasor will be dealt): 6.5

    Snyder: 4.75
    Figgins: about 8
    Hudson: About 4
    Hardy: guessing 5.25

    Altogether that’s 93. That leave ten spots.

    Reserve catcher – say Chavez or Barret for half a mil;

    3 near minimum starters (Romero, Cecil, Richmond?);
    2 near minimum relievers
    (Carlson and ??);
    Snider and Lind at near minimum;
    Inglett and a (hopefully young) reserve SS (I’m thinking Hu from LA as part of the price of Frasor) – also both near minimum.

    9 X 400,000 = $3,600,000 so round that up to an even $4 million and add in the catcher for $4.5 which brings you to a grand total of:

    $97.5 million

    However, it’s closer than I at first thought because you have to pay McGowan and Listch so it get’s close to $99 when you do that.

    Still, if they have a $100 million budget it’s probably not going to be an issue if it turns out to be 101 or something.

    You could also trim that down a bit by dealing Tallet.

    One other things – someone asked above about Figgins at 3B and you replied concerning what you do with EE – what about the idea of dealing Overbay and moving EE over to 1B? if throwing is his issue, 1B should mitigate that and you can plow Overbay’s $7 mil back into what you pay Figgins et al.

    MW: I don’t think Hudson will be that cheap, nor do I think you can operate under the Camp/Frasor/Bautista assumptions, but I appreciate the work!

    - WillRain
  35. 35.

    Re Overbay/Millar vs Scutaro/McDonald.

    I’ve heard Gaston defend not playing McDonald because Scutaro is playing too well to be taken out, even at the cost of spreading playing time around, and I have no argument with that.

    Earlier in the season I heard Gaston defend keeping Wells in the heart of the batting order, even though he was not coming through with timely offence, so as not to discourage him.

    So McDonald sits because Scutaro is having a superb year: I’m onboard.

    Wells clogged the order because Gaston wanted to give him every oppportunity to succeed: I’m not onboard.

    Overbay begins to get on track and he sits for a struggling Millar. Any chance Overbay might start hitting lefties better if Gaston showed the same faith/support in him as Gaston has shown to Scutaro and Wells.

    MW: I think you’re shrugging of the track records of McDonald and Wells a little too much. Overbay has not been a good hitter against lefties for his entire career, having hit .267/.311/.406 against them. Still, though, that’s only 40 points of OPS worse than Millar is against lefties this season, and the defense makes up the difference.

    - kate
  36. 36.

    Hi Mike,

    This Stephen Strasburg bonus situation is getting ridiculous. This guy hasn’t proven anything in professional baseball, let alone the major leagues. He has a great arm, but who is to say he doesn’t blow it out his first 6 months in pro baseball? What are his other options anyways? The St. Paul Saints? Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks? Is he going to make $50 million there?

    Hopefully the owners and players association can negotiate a better way of handling draft pick bonuses in the next CBA. I can’t see how these huge bonuses to draft picks help the veteran players who have been paying their dues all these years. You would think that they would rather this cash went to major league free agents rather than unproven prospects.

    MW: You would think so.

    - Ryan
  37. 37.

    Jays’ should have kept Orlando Hudson in the first place. He was a fan favourite, spectacular defense (better than Aaron Hill’s) and his last four years have proven him surprising strong offensively.
    I’d move Hill to Shortstop… he has the arm and Ripken-esque range for short.

    MW: I think that trading Hudson for Troy Glaus was absolutely the right thing to do at the time.

    - Kelly Pfeiffer
  38. 38.

    Hi Mike,

    What was the exact reason that Riccardi got rid of O-Dog?

    MW: He was offered a 30+ home run guy in trade and had a ready replacement at second base in Aaron Hill.

    - Howard
  39. 39.

    I would like to see the Jays get Nick the stick as the “scary bat” addition. Having looked at Figgins numbers I’m excited by the thought of the Jays going after him for 3B – we need some scary speed on base. I was prepared to argue with you about Scutaro but I’m starting to see your point about how this years numbers do stick out as his best and why the Jays maybe/sorta/could let him go.

    Still I really prefer to see Scutaro stay for the following reasons:
    1) i just dont see a player with his “baseball intelligence” losing so much offence for next year despite his age; 2) you can’t dismiss the value of having Scutaro/Hill play so well as an SS/2B tandem these past 2 years; 3) his defence is excellent and I dont think players loose that suddenly; 4) he battles almost all the time to get on base (look at that amazing 13 pitch AB vs Garza today to set a good tone).

    Here is my final reason why the Jays should keep Scutaro – and it will be the clincher for you. I fully expect you to concede my point when you are reminded of this.

    Marco made the most amazing heads-up baseball play of the season. He stole 2nd on a walk – against the World Series Champs no less. I didn’t even know you could do that. It will be the Jays highlight of the year for me. You gotta agree -that was awesome.

    So with Figgins, Scutaro and Hill in my 2010 lineup, I’m thinking you lead off Figgins with his speed and have Marco hit 2nd since he has very good OBP and AVG and a little pop. That would remind me a bit of the White Alomar tandem in the WAMCO days.

    Figgins/Scutaro/Lind/Johnson/Hill/Overbay/Wells/Snider/catcher

    MW: All your points about Scutaro are well taken, but I continue to believe that he won’t be worth the contract he signs this off-season, unless he can be had for a two-year $6-8 million deal, which is unlikely. You’re right – stealing second on a walk was the coolest thing I have ever seen in a big-league baseball game.

    - Rez
  40. 40.

    What makes anyone think that Hudson,Bay et al have any interest in signing with an organization like the blue jays?
    Wishing won’t make it so.

    MW: It’s not about wishing, it’s about money.

    - david998
  41. 41.

    Hello Mr.Wilner

    I do not agree with all your ideas on how to improve the team.

    First of all, Orlando Hudson is in the NL and he is 31. He does not make a bad signing because it would take only around 5-6 million to get him since he’s making I believe 4 million this season and he deserves a bigger paycheck. The only issue is his age other than that he’s not a bad signing and will always provide stellar defense.

    JJ hardy is not a good signing. He is a career .262 hitter and with that average it is quite hard to drive in runs which is what the jays need. He has never had more than 80 rbi’s in a season and he’s been injured frequently. His upside is the fact that he is only 26.

    I totally agree with the signing of Chone Figgins. He is speedy, he is a typical leadoff hitter, he hits for average, and he is great defensively.

    What’s up with Jason Bay? How come everyone’s so high on him? He is hitting .259 this season. We could do better than Jason Bay.

    I like Figgins and Hudson but Hardy and Bay, not so much.
    We need someone like Adam Jones, or Joey Votto, or Markakis, or Grady sizemore, Aramis Ramirez or Victor Martinez or Yunel Escobar. I know I’m just throwing names out there but those are the type of hitters we should be going after. Granted many of them will require a lot of money.

    Thank-you.

    MW: And none of them are available, which is a bit of a problem. Jason Bay may be hitting .259 this season, but he has a .385 on-base percentage and a .521 slugging percentage. You can’t do much better than that. Re-read what I said about J.J. Hardy.

    - UltimateBLUEJAYSfan
  42. 42.

    Hi Mike,

    Like the additions of Figgins, O-Dawg & Bay – not too certain of Hardy only because no one seems to want E.E.! I’d think Hardy has more trade value.

    Also, the Jays should thank Scutaro for his solid season and the two picks they’ll get for him. Nice return on investment – bonus points for who they gave up to get Scoot from Oakland without looking it up :)

    I remember Orlando mentioning that the only persuading he needed was a call from Doc and it was as good as done.

    Figgins can play multiple positions well and can provide some speed at the top of the lineup.

    Jason Bay is going to be a hard sign. I can’t foresee Boston letting him get away via FA to a team inside the division. I’m also a bit leery of his cold start after the all-star break (although he’s showing signs of breaking out again). Obviously Bay is more consistent with a bigger bat than Rios but how much would his potential contract handcuff the team from improving (a la Vernon) after the 2010 season?

    MW: If the payroll goes up as much as it needs to to sign Bay, it wouldn’t be a handicap at all. He’s not a $15-20 million guy out on the market, I don’t think. What makes you say no one seems to want Encarnacion?

    - Lee
  43. 43.

    Yo M-Dub,
    was listening to the radio today and heard somebody mention something about Jerry chewing out Rios…I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR THAT. Any chance there is a link around?
    Also, keep pushing for Chone! Even if it doesnt happen, we can make fun of the jays all next season for missing the boat!

    MW: There’s no link for the Jerry/Rios thing that I know of. I will keep pushing for Figgins, though I know the Jays are concerned about his age.

    - Slobberface
  44. 44.

    Hi Mike…..do you see a difference in the way Cito is managing the players, the team, line-ups he’s making then when things were going so beautiful for him. I’ve referenced this before to you that Cito was an always to late to re-act kind of guy. I know the players need to execute to make the manager look great, when in the world was the last time Carlson came in and did the job he needed to, when did Millard get a big hit in the 4th spot, look how long it took Cito to get Wells out of the 4th spot and realize he just doesn’t have the make up to be a good hitter. With Tenace, Cito and Murphy’s hitting expierence what do these guys need to do to make these players understand you need to hit the ball. I’ve mentioned before Wells looks clueless up to bat as to what the pitcher may be throwing next is there any way the Nick Leavy can send him down a signal to be prepared for the next pitch…..I coach 15 year olds and granted they are young and inexperienced but we send down signals that the pitcher should be throwing the curve or fastball because that’s what the count or situation dictates….he just looks like he has no idea what might be coming so anything if this minor league assistance should help a guy like him. I’ve just been following your blog,,,,Jason Bay coming to Toronto, your kidding me I just can’t see it. You have Lind, Wells and bringing up Snider so why in th eworld would you consider bringing in a guy like Bay to take away at bats from Snider….as long as JP is here you can also forget the O’Dog, JP just couldn’t bring a guy back he let go for nothing….Mark Feeley

    MW: You have to up your game, folks. Bay would take at-bats away from Snider? Hudson was let go for nothing? Come on, now.

    - Mark Feeley
  45. 45.

    Hey Mike,
    I definitely like the sound of the potential lineups you have listed above. Any reason that you don’t have a catcher listed there? Obviously Barajas is an FA and Chavez would need to be re-signed as well. It doesn’t appear as though there is a whole lot of choice in the FA market at the catcher position that would be a move up from Barajas. Would you say odds are the Jays re-sign Rod?

    On a completely unrelated note… What are the main reasons that Blyleven has not been voted into the Hall? Most of his career is before my time, so all I can do is just look at his numbers which look quite impressive.

    MW: I don’t think the odds are that the Jays re-sign Barajas, but there is nothing much out there on the market, it’s true. The only reason I can see why Blyleven hasn’t been voted in is because he didn’t get to 300 wins.

    - Steve
  46. 46.

    Mike,
    I’m not attempting to defend Jeremy Accardo but do you not think that Brandon League could use a respite in Las Vegas?
    Has Accardo become the whipping boy for the bullpen?

    Mark

    MW: League doesn’t have options.

    - Mark
  47. 47.

    Hello Mr.Wilner

    I read a comment by a responder to the blog by the name of Neil. He complained about the way you reply to us.

    I don’t want to sound like I’m sucking up but I’ve got to thank you for taking the time to read all of our comments and replying to most of them. Thank-you.

    I understand you feel strongly about some issues and that may cause you to respond in a certain manner which the fans take too personally. You are not trying to bash them but you present your point of view on various issues. I’d just like the readers to understand the motive behind your replies.

    It’s hard to find a guy like you who is as dedicated to his show, blogs, and fans.

    Honestly I’m not sucking up, I don’t really care but I had to say something because I found that comment outrageous.

    MW: Sucking up or otherwise, I appreciate it!

    - UltimateBLUEJAYSfan
  48. 48.

    Hey Mike,

    How about these moves to make for an improved 2010 ball club

    1. Sign Chone Figgins to play 3B and hit leadoff

    2. Let Scutaro walk and revieve those 2 draft picks in compensation

    3. Sign Jason Bay to play LF

    4. Trade Lyle Overbay for prospects, or package him with Encarnacion for a shortstop

    5. Move Adam Lind to 1B

    6. Sign a DH, one of – -Vladamir Guerrero
    -Carlos Delgado
    -Russel Branyan
    -Jim Thome

    or package Encarnacion, Overbay, and other players for a DH, or sign Reed Johnson to play LF, and Move Bay to DH

    but only if they would sign for less than 5 Million dollars, if not then exclude the previous 2 moves as well

    7. Sign one of these SP
    -Rich Harden
    -Erik Bedard
    -Justin Duchscherer

    8.(optional) Sign any number of the following players to minor league deals, or cheap incentive laden deals

    -Troy Glaus
    -Andruw Jones
    -Austin Kearns
    -Kris Benson
    -Daniel Cabrera
    -Mark Proir
    -Brett Myers
    -Rocco Baldelli
    -Eric Gagne
    -Bobby Crosby

    9.Trade Edwin Encarnacion for JJ Hardy, like you said
    10. Bring back Barajas, Mcdonald and Chavez

    So then your 2010 Lineup would look something like this

    Lineup -
    3B Chone Figgins
    2B Aaron Hill
    RF Travis Snider
    LF Jason Bay
    1B Adam Lind
    CF Vernon Wells
    DH Russel Branyan/Vladamir Guerrero/Carlos Delgado
    C Rod Barajas/J.P. Arincebia
    SS John Mcdonald/J.J. Hardy – platoon

    Rotation-
    SP Roy Halladay
    SP Ricky Romero
    SP Rich Harden/Erik Bedard
    SP Brett Cecil
    SP Shaun Marcum/Dustin Mcgowan

    Bullpen-
    CP Brandon League
    SU Scott Downs
    RP Jesse Carlson
    RP Casey Janssen
    RP Jeremy Accardo
    RP Brian Tallet
    RP Scott Richmond

    Bench-
    OF Jose Bautista
    C Raul Chavez/J.P. Arincebia
    DH Andruw Jones/Troy Glaus
    SS John Mcdonald/JJ Hardy
    1B Randy Ruiz

    MW: There are a lot of ifs and ors there. How do you platoon two right-handed hitting shortstops?

    - Jazz
  49. 49.

    Michael,

    Did you ever read Miguel Batista’s Magnum Opus, “The Avenger of Blood: A Plot Where Real Facts and Evidences Face Faith”? (Catchy title, I know.)

    MW: Stunningly, no.

    - Uncle Ben
  50. 50.

    as much as i like those suggestions, i am very uncomfortable with building a lineup A)around aaron hill and his .336 career OBP and
    B) under the assumption that snider will develop when we want him to. Hill, wells and overbay can be terrific 5,6,7 hitters (order them based on the year they are having). The Jays need two OBP guys like figgins and hudson to bat 1/2 and then an OPS guy like Bay to hit 3 or 4 in order to make a competitive offense in this division.

    I think you have the young pieces in place and then spend/build around them. I think the jays need to be run a little more like a small market team. When you have teams that spend 50% to 100% more than you in your division, you need to think like a small market team.

    MW: I don’t think my suggestions lead to building a team around Aaron Hill. I don’t like his low obp, either, but I don’t have a problem building a team around Hill, Lind and Snider.

    - jeremy
  51. 51.

    I was reading in the comments that some people think that Bay wouldn’t want to come to Toronto, so i thought I would link an article from CBC Sports that I found online from 2008 (before he was dealt to Boston).

    I find that just cause a player says they would like to play somewhere doesn’t mean that they will end up there given the choice. But other readers might see things different.

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/baseball/story/2008/06/20/bucs-bay.html

    MW: Thanks for the link.

    - Kevin
  52. 52.

    I love the idea of the Jays bringing in Bay and Snyder next season. Especially if they follow Overbay and Snider in the lineup. Win or lose it is bound to create some Abott and Costello moments for Jerry and Alan!

    MW: I hadn’t thought of that. You could have Bay and Snider hitting 4/5 and Overbay and Snyder hitting 7/8!

    - clint
  53. 53.

    I here JP talking about financial flexibility and that is nice and all, but when has JP shown that he can spend money properly on getting good players? I know he has made some nice trades for some solid players, but he has never signed any very good players for big money. His signings have never really worked out well.

    How does top management justify giving JP money as well when they have been eating all these large contracts in either years, $ per season (BJ and Big Hurt), or both (Wells)? How do you increase payroll? Firstly I can’t see any top players coming to Toronto unless the team severely overpay and that probably won’t work.

    Plus why would Bay come to Canada? He just became an American Citizen…seems to only hit fastballs and most pitchers figured that out after May. He is a below average fielder and has a weak arm. With that being said I can’t see the Sox letting him go with their offensive troubles and Ortiz, Lowell, Varitek and Drew heavily declining.

    MW: The Sox don’t have a choice. I don’t see Bay as a below-average left-fielder, though I don’t see him as above-average, either. And since the pitchers “figured him out” (the point at which his average dropped below .300 for good – May 22nd), he has hit only .235, but the .357/.441 obp/slg are pretty solid for a guy who has been figured out.

    - Dan
  54. 54.

    Mike -

    Jason Bay a Jay in 2010? He is now an American citizen. Not sure he would be wanting to move back to Canada right after changing citizenship.

    MW: He didn’t change citizenship, he acquired an additional passport. He’s still as Canadian as he’s ever been.

    - rene
  55. 55.

    Back to the Jerry’s take on the Rios thing. You accused me of making assessments on assumptions and perceptions about a guy I’ve never met. Well you have just done that yourself. I have met Rios. That is not however what I have based any of my critisizms on. Is it not possible that after attending about 12 home games and a about 6 road games and watching or listening to about 80% of every other game all season, every year, that just maybe I have gathered enough information to base an opinion on? It’s also nice to know that you give more respect to someone that you call than you do to one that takes the time to call you or write on your blog. Makes me wonder why we bother.

    MW: Often makes me wonder why I do, too.

    - Dan from Elmvale
  56. 56.

    No way Bay will come to Toronto. Why would he come here after falling in love with the States and getting his American citizenship, kind of defeats the purpose…right?

    MW: Sigh.

    - Steve
  57. 57.

    So the Jays lost again. Actually I am quite pleased with this. I hope they finish dead last. That will give them a pretty good draft pick next time which might benefit them more than ‘playing for pride’ and finishing fourth. The constant mediocrity has prevented any trades from being made at the deadline (‘hey they have a remote chance of still being in the race!’) and it has prevented the team from getting any top-rank draft picks.

    So from here on in I’m rooting for the other guys.

    - isabella reyes
  58. 58.

    Hey Mike,

    Just so you know, Mike, it’s okay for two people to have different opinions. It’s also okay to be wrong once in a while.

    MW: I thought about replying to your previous comment, but then I deleted it, because it was a perfect example of the stuff I don’t want to deal with, and I don’t have to.

    - quinner
  59. 59.

    Great blog as always. A very very disappointing game yesterday.

    I like your speculation on the lineup. What about pitching, in particular the bullpen? I would think that the management would be shopping for a closer, as I don’t think Downs has proved himself and I think the Jays need someone who can rack up 30-40 saves and be completely reliable.

    Despite what Beeston says, I am very disappointed so far by the actions of this club and I don’t preclude boneheaded moves (Rios) in the offseason as well.

    And on paper, the Jays are fine both on hitting and on defence but lack the heart (or confidence) and the managerial decisions to win games. Take yesterday’s decision to just leave League in there with the bases loaded or to keep Millar on the team.

    I don’t really think that Beeston will bump the payroll to $100M and I don’t think that the Jays will contend next year.

    I hope that they sign either Johnny Mac OR Scutaro (not both), they they add an quality (base stealing) infielder using Rios’ payroll, add a closer in the bullpen. I like Bautista too in some kind of platooning role. And I think the catching situation is OK. Maybe I’m just looking at a mediocre team again.

    But I think that the team had the potential this year. The clubhouse as a whole has found a way to lose alot of games whether it’s through a lack of production throughout the game or a lack of a consistent bullpen late in the game. Can you feel the frustration???

    MW: Oh, I can definitely feel the frustration, but I have to tell you that not too many people thought the team had much potential this year – look back at my blog posts in late March and early April, the comments were generally that I was nuts for thinking that the Jays might wind up with a winning record. You can’t say the Jays lack heart and at the same time wonder why Kevin Millar is still here, though.

    - Tim
  60. 60.

    Mike,

    Just wanted to tell you that I LOVE the blog and I really appreciate that you take the time and effort to comment on our comments. It’s nice to get feedback on our thoughts on the team from someone with a little bit of inside knowledge on the Jays and a heck of a lot of baseball knowledge. So even though there are a few people who can’t seem to accept having their opinion questioned, the majority of us really do appreciate the extra work that you do.

    Thank you!

    MW: For readers like you? My pleasure!

    - Logan
  61. 61.

    Personally I think it’ll take a hell of alot of sentimentality from Bay to get him to leave Boston for us, but stranger things have happened (just not to us).

    MW, do you have any word on the likelihood of the Jays remaining 2009 picks signing? I know the Jays history in that department, but its getting pretty late.

    P.S. I like the move for Hardy, I’m just not sure that the Brewers will.

    MW: You know about the picks by now. Bay and the Red Sox were talking about an extension earlier this season, but those talks ceased at the all-star break, with Bay’s demands about 40% higher than the Red Sox’ offer.

    - Dylan
  62. 62.

    Just thought that I would respond a bit to what Neil up there has said. I agree that only hardcore fans read this blog but that doesn’t mean they should get a free pass if they write something offensive or just plain dumb. I think that your veiled comment that Mike here “probably feel[s] a certain need to defend the Organization” is insulting and you should be ready to defend that position. How many times has he disagreed with a decision Cito has made? He has loudly disagreed with the team putting Millar out there and has questioned why the team has not called up Snider. He thought that MacDonald should play late in tight ballgames. In fact just in today’s blog alone he is stating that he has a opinion about how the team should go forward. I just think that he appreciates when people use facts to back up their arguments. If he doesn’t have the facts to bash the team on a particular topic then he doesn’t do so (I believe this is what is meant by “rational and reasonable”).

    I for one believe that The Fan (and Mike in particular) give us unbelievable baseball coverage on par with any other broadcaster that I have ever heard/seen. I think as hardcore fans we should be appreciative that they are actually giving us so much high quality coverage. This blog is like the icing on the cake!

    I don’t get people who read the blog just to write insulting and angry comments. I mean nobody is forcing you to read it.

    I get this feeling that if the team did leave in “7 years” (NOT going to happen) that you would come on here and blame Mike for it…

    I think Mike spends a great deal of time reading these comments and posting replies because he not only feels it is a part of his job but he loves the game of baseball. Keep up the good work Mike.

    MW: Thanks.

    - Aaron - from Hamilton
  63. 63.

    I agree with Neil. I think this season has taken a toll on us all. I also agree with you,any response is better than none. Good job this year Mike. Riccardi is the worst GM in history,I know you can’t agree (what with burning bridges being a terrible thing for a journalist to do) but it is true.
    I really thought Cito was gonna bring back the magic but it is impossible to soar like an eagle when surrounded by turkeys.
    I don’t know if I can support this team anymore,they just can’t compete with the big boys in the east. Having grown up during the golden age,the past decade of near mediocre results has worn me out. Add in the cheating 90′s and all of a sudden…go Leafs go!

    MW: Because the Leafs are so much a better option, right? The statement that Ricciardi is the worst GM in history is utterly ridiculous, but I’m sure you know that.

    - tomtom
  64. 64.

    Mike,

    I’m surprised the Jays didn’t attempt to bring Hudson back this year. I know Hill is spanking the ball and leading the team in HR and RBI, but I don’t know if he would be the best option for #4. I think Hill #3 and Lind #4. Eventually Snider will be your #4, but he will have to develop.

    You don’t see the Jays attempting to sign Scutaro for next year? If they signed Scutaro and Hudson, what about sliding Scutaro to 3rd and Hill to SS?

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Jason Bay in LF, but he could be costly.

    The bullpen is showing some holes. Only 17 saves all year!! Is the bullpen really 17 for 33 in save situations? I think some guys on this years club should not be there next year (Carlson, League). Any ability to trade either, or are they free agents? Any value in either?

    MW: If you had all three, Hill would be my third baseman, not Scutaro. The bullpen, I believe, is 18 for 34 in save situations, which is pretty ugly. League has plenty of value, Carlson has some because he’s so cheap.

    - Aaron Ker
  65. 65.

    Mike,

    I like the idea of Figgins, and Hudson was one of my favourite Jays ever but I don’t think he comes back. But my first move would be to try to get Adrian Gonzalez out of San Diego.

    MW: The price would be way too high for Gonzalez.

    - Anthony
  66. 66.

    Hi Mike

    Great job…love the blog. You mentioned that sending Accardo down allowed them to keep all their players. I assume then that he is the only one who Jays have rights to send to the minors without waivers etc.

    Love your ideas on changes. Hill to third makes sense and would love to have Figgins, Hudson and Bay and whatever catcher we can find.

    Why if Jason Bay might come to Canada, did he become a US citizen? Tax reasons?

    Thanks for the good reads in an otherwise frustrating season.

    MW: He became a US citizen because his wife and children are American, because he works in the U.S. and because he lives there. It’s all about convenience.

    - Laurie
  67. 67.

    Re: Comment 33

    Neil, I understand that you feel Mike is being antagonistic to some of the readers, but frankly? If some of the people who comment here all the time are representative of the baseball fans in this city, I’m saddened. The level of intelligent discourse is severely lacking at times. People say the same things over and over, with no actual facts to back them up, or worse, facts that are cherry picked and removed from all context in order to conform to the idea they already hold. That Mike still lets these comments through is a testament to him caring. He only points out falsities, which is what he should do.

    Don’t think that you (or others) deserve not to be held to account for statements that are untrue, illogical or just plain idiotic simply because you read this blog. You don’t actually get a medal for “sticking” with a team that hasn’t won recently. That’s just being a fan.

    - Mabel
  68. 68.

    hey mike, i might be missing something but i think your math is wrong. Its only 58 million committed to six players for 2010

    Doc – 15.75
    Wells – 12.5
    Ryan – 10 (soooo painful)
    Overbay – 7
    Downs – 4
    Hill – 4
    EE – 4.75

    58 million, and if the rest of the team makes 17-20 million, assuming JP doesnt get Bautista’d, thats around 75-80. 20 to spend will get the jays figgins and Bay, although I still think it would be better spent on pitching this winter. The market being down, combined with a plethora of high-end talent, good veteran pitching will be cheap. I think they should jump for it in case doc doesnt sign next year. on the other hand Bay (who is not as necessary as Figgins) makes the lineup look lethal.

    On another note, if the jays are in the bottom fifteen (which they are right now), can they lose their first-round draft pick if the sign a type A?? Also, if they re-signed scoots, do they lose their first round pick (if it wasnt protected)??

    MW: If you sign your own free agent, you don’t lose a pick. Your math has missed Wells’ $8.5 million signing bonus.

    - Dave J
  69. 69.

    Hello Mike, I don’t know why people think that Travis Snider is automatically in the lineup next season. Granted, that he is a great prospect but he has yet to show he can hit at the big league level for a long period of time. There is a small sample size in that he was good at the begining of the year. And you know about sample sizes, anyone can be hot…As for how he was on fire in this year’s spring training, well it’s just that; It’s just spring training & pitchers don’t use their best pitches to get batters out, they use the preseason to experiment & work on things. So, in a sense, he was getting big league pitching & not at the same time…And you know all rookies go though tough times before they turn into stars. If Snider has troubles for the first third or half season, don’t be surprised that he will be back with the Vegas 51′s for the rest of the year. And at the beggining of the season, you were mentioning Snider would finish at or near the top for the rookie of the year. So, I think people are too quick to put him in the lineup like it’s permanent next year.

    MW: I think he’ll be a permanent fixture in the line-up next year, but you’re absolutely right. There’s a chance he has a hard time again, though I think he’ll be in the line-up every day from here on out, which may mitigate some of the reasons for his April and May struggles.

    - david F.
  70. 70.

    Mike,

    Despite some of these loontunes giving you a hard time, I respect your ability to politely voice your belief that they are full of it.

    I like the idea of moving Encarnacion for Hardy, although Encarnacion, despite a higher salary, is an intriguing option in the power department.

    I agree that I think Hill could make an impressive 3-bagger, I don’t really think the move from second to third would really hurt him. I love the thought of Lind learning to play 1B. He is young and leaving him to play DH the rest of his career will plague his development.

    As for your thoughts about a speedy LFer, any opinion on doling out some prospects and making a run (full pun intended) for Carl Crawford? Slightly more expensive than Chone, but outstanding leadoff hitter nonetheless.

    Despite that comment I think Figgins is the more intelligent pickup, but Crawford would add a much needed spark yes/no?

    MW: Crawford, as I pointed out a bunch last week, is Alex Rios with stolen bases. He’s definitely a sparkplug-type, despite the lack of on-base (which has been solid in three of the last four years). I would think that if the Rays made him available, the Blue Jays would be in there pitching.

    - Chris
  71. 71.

    Hey Mike,

    Going after other teams’ throwaways (J.J. Hardy) hasn’t really worked for the Jays the last few years (Dellucci, Wilkerson, Mench, Matt Clement, John Thomson).

    As for Figgins and Hudson, do either of them have their best years ahead of them? I’d just as soon re-sign Marco Scutaro, who has thrived given a role as an everyday player.

    Whatever the source is for the Jays being hot for Jason Bay, that is the strategy that should be a priority.

    The Jays have been without a fearsome big bat in the middle of the lineup since Glaus in 2006 and Frank Thomas in 2007. As good as Lind and Hill have been this year, and hopefully their best years ARE ahead of them, there’s always a chance their 2009 seasons are a ceiling (just like Vernon in 2003?)

    I’d prefer an established bat in his prime such as Jason Bay or Matt Holliday, as opposed to loading up with middle-of-the-pack middle infielders approaching the downside of their careers (Hudson, Figgins, Hardy).

    And if Lyle Overbay is hitting fifth in the projected order, who hits fifth when the Jays have to face Sabathia, Pettitte and Lester?

    MW: I was going to correct you on Bay’s age, but you’ve done it yourself below. I think you get more out of Hudson and Figgins in 2010 and beyond than you do from Scutaro. Hardy at 28 is a lot different than the guys you list above. You have to find someone to platoon at first with Overbay – Ruiz?

    - Ken Pagan
  72. 72.

    Hey Mike,

    Correction . . . I guess Figgins, Hudson and Bay are all about the same age . . . it just appears Bay is in his prime and the other guys are approaching a downside. But that may not be the case. I just don’t see “speed guys” like Figgins producing as much in their mid-30s as “power” guys like Bay.

    MW: I’d think it would be the other way around.

    - Ken Pagan
  73. 73.

    Mike…Do you find the talk about all the strategy used in the NL somewhat exaggerated or overblown? It seems to me that most of this so-called strategy (pinch hitters and double switches) revolves around the fact that most pitchers are fairly useless at bat, with the exceptions being Hampton, Zambrano, Owings and a few others.

    MW: Yup.

    - chris m.
  74. 74.

    Mike,

    Do the Jays receive a compensation first for not signing James Paxton or is there no compensation for failing to sign a compensation pick?

    MW: They get that pick back next year.

    - Doug
  75. 75.

    I don’t think Jason Bay would want to come here. Didn’t anyone notice he took out U.S. citizenship on July 4th and his wife & daughters are Americans…

    Nancy

    MW: See above.

    - nancy thurston
  76. 76.

    Bump up the payroll to $100 million-plus? That’s wishful thinking. Rogers has given every indication that it’s going to slash payroll, significantly, next year. Ted wasn’t much of a baseball guy but he knew the marketing value of a team that was at least competitive. The suits now running Rogers could care less.

    MW: That’s all speculation.

    - Paul McDougall
  77. 77.

    Boston officials in USA Today say they made an offer for Halladay that Ricciardi called the best offer he received ..

    Any idea what Bosox offered ?

    MW: There’s a rumour of a 5-for-1 offer that involved Buchholz, Bowden, Masterson, Hagadone and one other player, but that’s unconfirmed.

    - Chas
  78. 78.

    MW, any idea of what Paxson was demanding? I think they made the right decisions on Eliopolous and Barrett based on scouting/injury reports, but on the surface the Jays look really bad not signing Paxson. First off they saved the money on the other two, couple that with his elite potential, the fact that he’s Canadian and their history of signing top picks and I’m definitely frustrated. This was just not a good message to send your hardcore fans. If he was asking for Strasburg money then I can understand the decision, but given recent financial decisions I have my doubts.

    P.S. I spelt Paxton wrong intentionally to see if you’d blow off my question.

    MW: I wouldn’t have, but I will now.

    - Dylan
  79. 79.

    Mr Wilner,

    I’m a long time listener, I’m just always driving and can’t call in. I just have a small comment going back to something I heard on the Jays talk after the Gregg Zaun grand slam game.

    There was a caller who said JP had to go, and your comment was something like “how does the front office affect your enjoyment of the game?”

    I tend to agree with you, but I also think that in the 16 years since the Jays have been in the playoffs there has been some hope at the start of each year, and each new regime. And it has always ended the same way.

    I think what the caller was trying to say is that it’s time for someone else to come in here and give it a shot and then maybe we can get some of that hope back

    One day when I’m not driving I will call in when I have a good question for you.

    Keep up the good work.

    MW: Thanks. I don’t think that’s what that caller meant, though. He said that he doesn’t like J.P. and can’t watch the Jays because of him.

    - Alberto White
  80. 80.

    The Jays missed signing 3/4 top picks this year. What happened? I’m not typically a JP basher, but how do you miss on that many? Except for Paxton, a Boras guy, those other two weren’t expected to be tough signs.

    MW: Eliopoulos was offered more than half a million dollars and said no – I can’t imagine why. Paxton is a Boras guy, which kind of explains that, and I understand there were extenuating circumstances with Barrett.

    - Grant
  81. 81.

    Why change the team? There is nothing wrong with this team: this is not a great team, but it is a good team, it is not a bad team. Besides, the season is not over yet. Let’s think 2010 until 2009 is over. There are 45 or so games left and we are only 11.5 games behind the wild card

    MW: Is this a joke?

    - ALT
  82. 82.

    Mike,
    I have a few problems with your version of rebuilding the team which I will follow with some general comments.
    1)Hardy for E.E.? I don’t think the Brew Crew would do this straight up. Hardy is a little cheaper and likely still have the greater up side.
    2) I don’t think the Angels will be keen to see Figgins leave and I think the O-Dawg is looking for a winner like Halladay.
    3)If Cito was likely to move Hill into 4 sport, won’t he be there already?

    4) Can Bay or Snider play right field? Watching this team right now is hard because it has gone from one of the best defensive teams to…..below average without Rios and Rolen while playing Lind in the OF.

    I like that your thinking about how this team can compete.

    MW: 1 – The Brewers have really soured on Hardy, and would have an extra year of control with Encarnacion. This is, though, the one part of the plan that would be the toughest to execute. 2 – It doesn’t matter whether the Angels would be keen to see Figgins leave, and Hudson would be joining Halladay. 3 – No. But that’s not a huge part of it, anyway. 4 – Snider is a very good right fielder, you’ll see the rest of this season (and the next six years).

    - JW
  83. 83.

    hey mike,
    teams are still claiming players off waivers and getting them. when is the deadline that makes the player ineligible to participate in the post-season?
    11:59pm august 31st?

    MW: Yup.

    - Diego
  84. 84.

    Hi Mike,
    It is certainly the dog days of summer. I remain a loyal follower of the Jays, including this blog and reply, and Jays Talk.

    After reading the last posted reader reply, I felt compelled to write you back to throw some support your way. I don’t always agree with your thoughts, but I sincerely respect and enjoy the services you provide. To be able to listen to Jays Talk and then to read your blog and even be allowed to retort is fabulous. The fact that you then reply to our comments goes above and beyond. Anyone who is criticizing you for these services – likely because of your opinions, not the actual service – is out of line and just wrong. Keep up the good above and beyond service. This city needs Blue Jay and baseball talk and you pretty much supply most, if not all, of it.

    MW: Thank you!

    - Michael
  85. 85.

    Mlb.com:search is “toast”. I’m trying to find out who Toronto signed other than: Picks #20, 104, 130, 190, 220, 280, 310, 340, 370, 400, 430, 460, 490, 550, 580, 610, 670, 700, 730, 760, 790, 820, 850, 880, 940, 970, 1030, 1060, 1090, 1120, 1150; 31 of the 34. Who did I miss?

    MW: You missed 160, 250 and 520.

    - Richard
  86. 86.

    I see the jays did not sign 3 of their top picks. I remember JP not trading AJ last year because 2 draft picks would better then prospects, now it looks like AJ walked for nothing. Really wondering what is up with all that has happened in Jays land over the last two years. This organisation needs new ownership and front office to compete in the AL east, bring back Ash and Interbrew. I can see why Doc wants out, I wish Wells felt the same way. I cannot see how you can keep sugarcoating how this team is run, at some point you must admit this team and organization is a mess.

    MW: Bring back Ash and Interbrew? Sheesh.

    - jason c w
  87. 87.

    JP has an interview with WEEI’s Rod Bdarford posted here:

    http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/2009/08/18/ricciardi-jays-weather-the-storm/

    Here’s the money quote (literally):

    “You have to realize that we’re a club that had a $20 million cut in payroll this year. So with that savings going into next year, along with the Rolen savings along with the players we acquired for Rolen, we were able to hopefully utilize that money to address some of our needs.”

    The only way that sentence really makes sense is if he’s implying that they are indeed going to a $120 million ceiling in 2010.

    Which is to say – in 2008 the payroll was right at $100 million which, in the context of the quote, could be understood as the “normal” baseline.

    So if that is the normal, then $100 million is normal for for 2010, then you add the $20 saved from 2009, that would imply that they have $120 million available for 2010….right?

    Otherwise, he’s being slippery with the numbers and he’s saying the $80 mil from this year plus the $20 mil saved in 2009 would mean they are going back up to $100 million (which would still be a lot better than this year) but if they went to $100 again, then they didn’t save $20 this year to do anything but to go back to Rogers.

    So it seems to me that if he means to imply what the words say, it’s a pretty broad hint that the $120 million idea is legit.

    MW: Interesting. It depends, of course, on who is President.

    - WillRain
  88. 88.

    what is status on inglett next year? and will snider play against lhp?

    MW: Inglett is still under control for next season, and yes.

    - nick
  89. 89.

    For my part Mike, I read the blog because a) I like the way you look at the game and b) you respond to comments.

    I tour quite a few other Blue Jay blogs and the sheer volume of stuff you have to sift through blows me away, I for one, apprecitate that you try to be helpful and responsive to all the posters here.

    And sadly, Kevin Millar refuses to fade into the sunset. Inglett down, Snider up. Let me guess who has options left….

    - Greg W
  90. 90.

    Do you know if Snider being called up will make him a Super-2 a year earlier or did the Blue Jays wait long enough?

    MW: I’m pretty sure they waited long enough, but we won’t know for sure until the end of the 2011 season. And you can only be a Super-2 once.

    - Scott
  91. 91.

    Doesn’t Riccardi hate the O-dog for calling me a pimp or something? Is that water under the bridge now?

    MW: Ricciardi wasn’t impressed with the pimp comment, but that was in Spring Training of 2002. Hudson played four years for the Jays after that.

    - Richard
  92. 92.

    Hey Mike,

    I like Figgins leading off but would rather have Nick Johnson than Orlando Hudson. However, I don’t think any of those 3 players would help the Jays that much relative to what they’re putting on the field right now. They clearly need a good rbi man in the 4 or 5 spot but there’s not too many available. Jason Bay is one but strikes out a lot and would command a lot of dough.

    MW: They need great hitters, as opposed to great “RBI men.” If Johnson comes here instead of Hudson, where does he play?

    - Dimitrios
  93. 93.

    Mike,

    Who decides on call-ups and send-downs?

    I legitimately would like to know, because I cannot understand why Joe Inglett got sent down and Kevin Millar is still on this team. While their numbers are similar, Inglett has speed, youth, and versatility on his side.

    I would also like to know why Accardo was sent down and Roenicke is still up here. Accardo has been abused by this team in my humble opinion, and he deserves to be on the big club. While there is a small sample alert, his numbers are better than Roenicke’s – a lot better actually. What has Accardo done to deserve this treatment? Actually, what has Roenicke done to deserve staying up here? I just don’t get it.

    I just don’t understand the roster moves this year.

    Oh – and for the record (like anyone cares but I will say it anyway) I have no respect for a draft pick who turns down a big league contract. I mean….to be so greedy so soon…it’s really sad. As Rob Dibble said this week on his radio show: it’s the BIG LEAGUES…take whatever they give you, and go be a professional baseball player. Your stock has nowhere to go but down by holding out…so don’t be stupid.

    MW: Ricciardi has the final say on roster moves, but he discusses them with Cito. Roenicke is here rather than Accardo because he’s the guy they haven’t seen much, I think.

    - Darren in Carleton Place
  94. 94.

    Michael,

    I found this Paul McGill Beeston quote in the G & M interesting:

    “For me personally I thought both Paxton and Eliopoulos, both being Canadian, would have been terrific for us”

    I think the Jays draft picks were peculiar this year do to the heavy Can-con. Do you think Riccardi was told to draft more Canadians?

    MW: Not in so many words. I think the thinking was that if it was a coin flip, take the Canadian.

    - Uncle Ben
  95. 95.

    A) How much better would this Jays team have looked if they actually had signed a legit hitter in the off-season (ex. Abreu)

    B) Why is Millar still up here over Inglett (at least Inglett can play more than one position and can run).

    C) I know why the Jays waited with Snider but why did it take so long to call up Ruiz?

    MW: A – Awfully, but they thought Snider could stay up. B – His clubhouseyness, I think. C – Good question.

    - Renegade
  96. 96.

    Also.. small sample size BUT JP said Ruiz couldn’t hit a big league fastball. His 3 HR’s have come off of Joba, Beckett and Burnett. Go figure.

    MW: When did you hear JP say that?

    - Renegade
  97. 97.

    Mike,

    Jerry was saying in the broadast that in July Big Lyle drove in TWO runs, and Ole Vern THREE; not exactly the kind of production you expect to get when you shell out ca. 20 million combined for these two champs. Bet Lyle trotted down to first on a few walks, as he’s known to do… though pathetic as that is it’s probably more than Vernon accomplished… These deadweights certainly killed any vague hopes this team might have had left…

    - Ken
  98. 98.

    At the rate the jays are loosing games lately at least they’ll assure themselves of a top ten draft pick that they won’t sign next year.

    Really though, Law proclaims the Jays own the worst draft in the Majors and Baseball America puts them in top 5 biggest loosers of the draft category. This can’t be the way to try and compete in the future in the AL East. Help me understand this.

    - Clint
  99. 99.

    MW: When did you hear JP say that?

    Ken Fidlin reported that ‘one of the knocks against RR is that he can’t hit a major-league fastball’ but he didn’t say where he’d heard that. CBS Sports made the same comment in almost exactly the same words. There’s a lot of similar chatter around the web, and it looks like someone said something. But I can’t find Ricciardi’s name attached to that comment.

    Snider should play every day even if he struggles. He’s a minor-league superstar, but he needs to bat against pitchers who know how to adjust to him. When Delgado first came up he was banging hrs off Window’s Restaurant on a nightly basis. But then the scouting reports kicked in and pitchers made adjustments accordingly. It took a while, if I recall correctly, for him to become the powerhouse hitter he certainly was in his best years.

    MW: It took a trip down to AAA in ’94 and another couple in ’95, yes. And Delgado was older. That certainly has been the knock on Ruiz, but I’ve never heard it from JP.

    - isabella reyes
  100. 100.

    Hey Mike, love the show(s), blog, etc.

    “The suits now running Rogers could care less.”

    That’s simply not true – I happen to know for a fact that someone who was VERY close to Ted and who has influence in the organization is a huge baseball guy. Look for an increase in payroll next year – as reported by Mr. McCown, Beeston declined additional support this year in lieu of a charge next year.

    I love watching Ruiz hit – I’ve never seen someone swing at every pitch as hard as he does! I’m surprised that someone with a swing that long manages to hit a ball at all – I crack up every time I see him screw himself into the ground, I love the enthusiasm! It’s too bad that he wasn’t here sooner – JP might want to take a page out of his former mentor’s Moneyball playbook – everything (physique, etc.) takes a distant second to performance.

    It’s good to see Snider back too. He’s good now, but when he hones his approach at the plate and learns to make adjustments, he’s going to be great. I think that the Jays were a little quick on the trigger in sending him down in the spring, but maybe it was for the best – Delgado went through the same thing (quick success, falloff, back to AAA, returns to the majors a better hitter).

    I heard a comparison the other day between Alex Rios and Vince Carter, and I had a hard time disagreeing. I thought that Rios was phoning it in this year when I watched him play and I feel vindicated not only by some of the anonymous player quotes but by Jerry’s comments as well. As an avid fan and frequent attendee, I feel bitter towards and cheated by a player who’s paid responsibility to me and everyone else at the game is to do his honest best to win. Harsh, maybe, but that’s how I feel.

    - Terry Bradley
  101. 101.

    M-Dub,
    If the Jays are concerned about Figgins’ age, they better be absolutely terrified of signing Scutaro.

    …if they Jays sign Chone, I’ll be the happiest fan in Toronto. I have both Figgins jerseys, and the collectors cap they handed out in the park when he broke the Angels SB record…and an autrographed ball!

    - Slobberface
  102. 102.

    Hey Mike. Great hitting debut for Travis, but his fielding was a mess. Not being able to throw out Ortiz on a bullet to right was bad. I watched him last year and he looked like a bit of an adventure in left. After all the comments on your blog, I thought he went to Vegas and improved his fielding, but maybe that was hopefully just a hiccup. Also, in my opinion, as I stated last year, no free agent is coming to Toronto, unless you grossly overpay them, which won’t be happening in the JP era anymore.

    MW: We’ll have to disagree there. I thought Snider did make one awful throw last night, which runs counter to what I saw in his first go-round.

    - dave
  103. 103.

    MW: You can’t say the Jays lack heart and at the same time wonder why Kevin Millar is still here, though.

    i don’t understand this point. are you saying that kevin millar is here (or so mgmt thinks) to boost those clubhouse intangibles such as ‘heart’, and ‘chemistry’ etc?

    if so, and if the person making the comment doesn’t seem to believe that the jays have any heart, despite millar’s presence, doesn’t that render him essentially useless (for lack of a better term)?

    MW: Yup.

    - Jay B
  104. 104.

    Mike, thank you for printing my comment re: how you respond to posters. A post mentioned that many people say the same things over and over; I think we all agree you have a tough job.

    For clarification sake to the other readers – some of my post was deleted (I understand why) which would put my thoughts into better context. Really all I’m trying to say is if you are going to put yourself in a position to respond, I believe you owe it to people to do so with maximum effort. We all have aspects of our work that we find tedious – but there is a reason we chose to do those jobs. The boring stuff is important to someone…

    I made a comment (deleted by MW) about how some callers are handled on the show. Again, if it is CONTENT you are trying to improve, caring about something as minute as how the caller begins their question is not important.

    I’m not trying to disrespect here. But as another post said – just because someone else’s opinion is different than yours, doesn’t make it wrong.

    Sincerely, thanks Mike for providing a forum to talk about Blue Jays baseball.

    PS – I love WillRain’s stuff on MLBTR. I think you give a great Jays perspective to that blog. Good work man.

    MW: I don’t think I’m giving any less than maximum effort here, and I think you really need to step back and realize about what you’re complaining.

    - Neil
  105. 105.

    My offseason plan: Bring back Scutaro, trade for Ryan Doumit (the Bucs have been willing to sell everyone else, so why not him too?), sign one of Russell Branyan, Adrian Beltre, or Joe Crede to play third (Branyan preferred–these guys chosen because they either need to rebuild value after a season of injuries or don’t have a track record as an everyday player), and sign whoever’s cheapest of Bobby Abreu, Johnny Damon, or Mike Cameron, on the theory that old productive guys are going to get unfairly stiffed again. If you can’t move Encarnacion then platooning him with Overbay makes sense, although I don’t think the Jays would want to spend that much at first base, even if the platoon is productive. Dopirak would also be an option–can they release Encarnacion for a month’s salary during spring training like they did with Reed Johnson?

    MW: No, they can’t. Encarnacion’s contract is guaranteed. I think I’d rather have Chris Snyder than Doumit. I’d rather have Figgins than any of the third basemen you suggested, though Abreu as DH isn’t a bad idea at all.

    - Torgen
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