1:45 PM Eastern

In a departure from form from the previous administration, the Blue Jays sent out a release today actually volunteering information about player injuries.  It’s true – they came out and told us about Edwin Encarnacion and Vernon Wells’ wrist surgeries without having been specifically asked “Are Encarnacion or Wells or both having surgery?”  This is cool – glasnost under Alex Anthopoulos.  Or is it perestroika?  I’m going with glasnost, but either way, I like it.

So here’s the deal:  Last Friday, Encarnacion had surgery on his left wrist – a large bone spur was shaved off his hamate bone.  Wells will have surgery next week to repair cartilage damage in his left wrist.  Both players are expected to be cleared for full activity prior to the start of Spring Training.

We knew that Encarnacion had broken his wrist in April, and that’s the kind of injury from which it can take a good, long while to recover.  It seems as though the last thing to come back from such an injury is power, but Encarnacion hit seven homers from September 1st on, which augurs well.  In fact, after most Jays fans were looking to ride him out of town on a rail after his first couple weeks, he wound up hitting .274/.364/.547 in Sept./Oct.  That’s a .911 OPS that would have ranked second on the team over the full season, 73 points ahead of the third-place Lyle Overbay, behind only Adam Lind.

We knew that Wells needed a cortisone shot in his wrist prior to the season starting, but he wouldn’t admit to anything being wrong over the course what might have been his worst season in the majors (2007 will give it a good argument).  Now we find out that the wrist was obviously bothering him, and he’s going to have it fixed.  What does this mean?  Well, at the very least, it should calm the people who believe that Wells’ 2009 production is the new normal regarding his future level of production.

Still, though, it’s troubling.  This is two years in the last three that Wells has tried to play through injury “for the good of the team” while going out every day in a very important spot in the batting order and – for lack of a better word – sucking.  Is it his fault?  Doubtful.  It’s very difficult to blame a player for not wanting to come out of the line-up if he’s physically able to play (never mind play well).  It’s exceedingly rare to find a player who will step back and say “Not only am I not helping, but I’m hurting the team and embarrassing myself in the process.  I have to ask out.”  Don’t blame Wells for wanting his name written into the line-up everyday.

In 2007, the only reason we found out about Wells’ shoulder problems were because then-hitting coach Mickey Brantley spilled the beans in September.  (By the way, how crazy is it that Brantley, who was fired two years and one month ago, is the Jays’ FOURTH-last hitting coach?)  The Jays knew about Wells’ issues in 2007 – he was totally up-front with the team – so I’m assuming that they knew about his wrist issues this year as well.  Yet in 2007 he missed just three games before being shut down for good in mid-September, and only made nine starts outside the top four spots in the batting order (and those were all hitting 5th).  This past season, he only missed three games – and those were because of a stomach virus he had right after the all-star break – and all but eight of his starts came with him hitting 3rd, 4th or 5th.

At some point, Cito Gaston (and John Gibbons before him) has to be the grown-up, as it were, and tell Wells that he’s doing more harm than good trying to play in his condition and sit him down – or at least drop him to a far lower-leverage spot in the batting order until he gets healthy.

Gaston’s response to the batting order thing was always “if you’re not going well, you’ll come up in a big situation no matter where you’re hitting.”  I guess there’s some anecdotal truth to that, but the real truth is that you can organize your line-up so that there’s a great chance that better hitters will come to the plate with opportunities to drive in runs.

Hopefully the surgery fixes whatever’s been wrong with Wells (though he’ll still have chronic hamstring issues to deal with), but if it doesn’t, here’s hoping we don’t spend another season banging our heads against a wall trying to figure out why Cito won’t drop a struggling Wells in the line-up, or give him the occasional day off or two.

Marc Rzepczynski was our Blue Jay A Day guest on the pre-game show last night, prior to A.J. Burnett’s lovely implosion, and he was terrific.  Here’s his appearance, for your listening pleasure:

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Also, it was pointed out to me that I owe you a rain-delay show from Saturday night.  Here it is:

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There won’t be a Blue Jay A Day Pre-Game Show prior to Game 6 on Wednesday, because locally in Toronto we’ll be joining the game in progress after the Raptors and Pistons, so if there’s a Game 7 (fingers crossed!), we’ll have our last guest for you then.  Remember as well, the phone lines are open for the post-post-game every night, about 45-50 minutes after the last pitch.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!

65 Responses to “Cutting Up Some Blue Jays”
  1. 1.

    “here’s hoping we don’t spend another season banging our heads against a wall trying to figure out why Cito won’t drop a struggling Wells in the line-up, or give him the occasional day off or two.”

    This may be true, but shouldn’t we also bang our heads at the fact that JP handed Wells a very nice contract that will end up paying him over $20 million a year by the end? This seems to be more significant, the fact that the Jays are handcuffed because of this. Cito may make some questionable moves, but who is responsible for Wells having to be there in the first place?

    MW: More than likely, it’s Paul Godfrey. It shows you just how dangerous it is to listen to the fans.

    - John from Victoria, BC
  2. 2.

    I think in light of some of the venom Wells receoived from fans this year, it may have been to his benefit (PR wise anyway) to be up front about the issue. Some may have taken it a little easier on him, or at least there would have been justification for his suckitude this past year.. Then again, fans in Toronto know no bounds when it comes to hating on their own so who knows.

    MW: I don’t think there’s any way that Wells would have gained any sympathy if he’d said he was playing hurt this season, not should he have. Playing hurt is one thing, but playing hurt and not producing is another.

    - Kevin A.
  3. 3.

    It’s ‘glasnost’. ‘Perestroika’ refers to the recent restructuring of the team and the changes in the front office and on the coaches’ benches.

    There was another major leaguer recently who had had a hand injury misdiagnosed and went to see some amazing specialist in the US who fixed it (and his batting average). Did you hear about this and do you remember who it was? I wondered when I read it whether this was what was wrong with Wells. (Alliteration!)

    MW: I know it’s “glasnost”, but “perestroika” is more fun to say. I don’t know who you’re talking about – though there’s a story about Giants’ pitcher Noah Lowry being misdiagnosed, but he wound up having thoracic outlet syndrome, which isn’t the case with Wells.

    - reyes
  4. 4.

    Considering Wells played his best baseball the last two months of the season, I’m not sure what effect his wrist surgery will have on production next year?

    I’m really interested to see what direction AA will take in his long awaited plan for the franchise. My guess is that he will pretty much keep things status quo, which I believe is the worst possible option, any guesses as to what direction you think he will take, rebuild, add payroll, try to compete, etc.?

    MW: I had been putting my guess up ever since Alex got the job. He did as I expected, certainly not status quo.

    - Peter D
  5. 5.

    Three q’s:
    1. Is Overbay a Jay on Opening Day?
    2. Would the Jays eat salary to get better prospects for Halladay?
    3. Is EE the answer at 3rd?

    MW: 1 – Probably not. 2 – They shouldn’t have to. 3 – What’s the question?

    - DH
  6. 6.

    As this will be Cito’s last year managing the Jay’s, what type of qualities in a manager will the execs be looking for come 2010?

    MW: Leadership, intelligence, baseball smarts, people-handling skills, all that cool stuff.

    - Ian T
  7. 7.

    Michael,

    How much of Wells defensive drop-off do you think can be attributed to his gimpy hamstring?

    I know some training staffs have started to incorporate Yoga:
    http://legacy.signonsandiego.com/sports/padres/20050315-9999-1s15padres.html

    Do you know if the Jays have considered Yoga at all given the history of injuries over the past few seasons?

    MW: Shame that Brian Lawrence is the poster boy for that story. I don’t know if the Jays use yoga or not, and I definitely think that the hamstring is an issue for Wells defensively, but it’s also his first step. He’s not getting away with as much as he used to.

    - Uncle Ben
  8. 8.

    Hi Mike. Is it me or does Rick Sutcliff give everybody crap for the smallest of things?? I honestly believe that O.B. wants to stay stuff about it but he shuts up.. One thing he said, which I totally disagree with is a great manager is worth up to 30 more wins then a average manager.. Its a funny number to quantify but he he is way off base on that one.. Maybe 10 games in my books. TOPS.. Anyway do you see the same thing with Rick that I do with the nit-picken’?? Thanks Flipper ..

    MW: I didn’t hear a word Rick Sutcliffe said all year.

    - FLIPPER
  9. 9.

    Well I guess we know why Vernon couldn’t hit last season. They should have given him the surgery earlier this summer. So he would have been ready by Spring Training. I bet you he isn’t ready till well into next season.

    - EC
  10. 10.

    Hey Mike,

    I for one am glad to hear that Vernon has a legitimate reason for stinking up the joint last year…

    On that note, I’d like to open up the offseason hotstove:

    The Reds seem to have no use for Yonder Alonso, and his bat would look great in the Jays’ lineup. Thoughts? What would we have to give up in return?

    Even if Payroll remains the same, would you take a chance on some injury-prone Canadian pitchers? (Bedard, Harden)

    Jarrett Hofffpauir? 25 man roster candidate next year? what does he bring to the organization, or is he strictly depth?

    MW: I think that with Yonder Alonso on the farm, the Reds might be a little more likely to deal Joey Votto, and I would move Heaven and Earth to bring him in. I would only take a chance on guys like Bedard and Harden (and non-Canadians like Mark Prior and Ben Sheets) if they cam with cheap performance-based options for at least 2011. Hoffpauir is a candidate for the 25-man roster, and so is Mike McCoy, who the Jays picked up off waivers from the Rockies this week. But they’re both older and at least Hoffpauir isn’t the defensive-replacement type – they’ll compete for a spot at the back of the roster.

    - Scotty D
  11. 11.

    Mike,

    Something doesn’t make sense here. If Vernon’s playing with a wrist issue all year and management knew about it, why did management stick him in the 4-5 spot order?

    Wells’ power issues might be his wrists, but he still had major hitting issues at home, against LHP (OPS 2006-2008 .861, 2009 .602), with RISP (OPS 2006-08, .872, 2009 .629 (12th on the team) over 190 plate appearances (1st on team, Lind had 189). Another key stat is the “Late and Close” stat where Vernon is absolutely dismal, OPS of .479 (team OPS is .660) over 111 PA (3rd on the team, Hill was 1st with 121). With these numbers, it is no wonder why he got booed. Quite simply, he should have been later in the order (6th or 7th) and Cito should have put him there especially if he knew there was an injury.

    My theory is that Vernon lacks confidence and that he didn’t tell management until late in the season about his wrist issue.

    That would explain his home numbers, his RISP and his late and close numbers. His late and close numbers have been very bad since 2006. Even in 2008, when his OPS was .899, his Late and Close OPS was .640. Compare this to his banner year of 2006 when his OPS was .840 but his Late and Close was .975.

    It doesn’t explain his hitting against LHP. Perhaps due to his wrist injury, he’s adjusted his swing somewhat and that affects his ability to hit the ball.

    For the Blue Jays to compete next year, not only does Vernon have to improve overall (especially his clutch stats), but Cito needs to ensure he bats in the right place in the order, appropriate to his performance.

    Finally, let’s talk about Tony Bautista. His numbers in terms of OPS in September / October were better than Encarnacion. Bautista can play both at 3B and in the OF. He has a great arm in OF. You seem not to hold him in high regard. Admittedly, over the remainder of the season, he was not good. So given a choice been Encarnacion and Bautista, doesn’t Jose look better given the stats that you’ve presented? I think us fans were willing to run him out of town because Encarnacion was no Scott Rolen. If Rolen was a LF, the fans would have probably done the same to Bautista.

    Great blog as always.

    MW: I don’t see Wells’ confidence as being the issue, since he was a fine hitter on the road and as good against righties, basically, as he’s ever been. Which also makes it difficult to blame the wrist. It’s a really, really confusing thing. As for Jose Bautista, I’m not willing to say his great September/October overrides the rest of his career, in which he’s basically just been a solid bat against lefties. I’m also not willing to say Encarnacion’s horrible April and August override the rest of his career.

    - Tim
  12. 12.

    Mike, I apologize if this has already been covered, but is Bruce Walton going to be making an appearance any time soon? Now that he’s been promoted, I’d like to hear some in-depth discussion about his theories, and how he intends to improve the staff and (most importantly) work on injury avoidance. He’s a relative unknown, despite being here for years. I can’t imagine I’m the only one with more than a passing interest in his objectives, and what makes him tick.

    MW: I tried to get Pappy on the pre-game show a couple of times, but he has a new baby and needs a lot of advance notice. Had there been a Game 7, I’d have tried again. I’m sure he’ll make his way onto the radio at some point, probably on Hogan’s show.

    - Rob
  13. 13.

    Are we supposed to admire Wells for leaving it up to Gaston to give him time off or to drop him in the batting order? How much more would he have to be paid before he would share some of that responsibility? Or, what code is at work here — would Wells lose respect (or self-respect) if he suggested to Gaston that he be dropped in the batting order?

    Further, Wells’ defensive decline won’t be helped by wrist surgery. Any hope for improvement there? Or are his hamstring troubles here to stay?

    MW: Wells’ hamstring troubles will never go away, unfortunately, but those problems aren’t the only reason for his defensive decline. Almost no professional athlete will ask to be sat out or to be dropped to a position of lesser import. They’re all like The Black Knight.

    - kate
  14. 14.

    michael,
    here we go. pedro m. certainly has been given 1 more delicious opportunity to unconditionally stake his claim as enemy no. 1 vs. the yanks in yankee stadium & the world in which they live.
    i thought he was really pushing the envelope last week before the series started, stating that he felt he was the most influential pitcher/player to ever enter their worldly sanctum. very brash but perhaps true. i’m not exactly sure on that one.
    i’m assuming you too saw that comment from him. what do you think?
    anyway, big big night for him coming up. should be thrilling indeed…..

    MW: Pedro might have been right with that comment, he certainly backed it up over the years. It’s just too bad he was outdueled twice.

    - darrell bishop
  15. 15.

    MW: That’s that, is it? Don’t tell the 2008 Rays.

    cmon mike seriuosly?lets be honest who would you rather have on your team…. john mcdonald or a terrible defensive shortstop that hit .300/.400
    NO QUESTION…….

    MW: Hey, that’s not what you said. You said defense doesn’t win ballgames, and that’s not true. The Rays’ defensive improvement had a TON to do with the fact that they were almost 30 games better from 2007-08.

    - Han Solo
  16. 16.

    …However, Rick Peterson’s signing with the Astros was in the papers 2 or 3 days before the Jays announced it.

    MW: Rick Peterson is the pitching coach for the Brewers.

    - tomas
  17. 17.

    Hey Mike
    I was wondering what a non- tender contract is. I have been hearing about players that are non tender candidates and i was hoping you could explain what it was.
    Thanks

    MW: There’s no such thing as a “non-tender contract”. What the term refers to is a player on a one-year contract who had less than six years of service time. Every winter, the team must tender him a new one-year contract in order to retain his services, but some players become worth more money than the team is willing to spend, so if they can’t trade him, they simply fail to tender him a contract, making him a free agent.

    - Paul B.
  18. 18.

    We can only hope that this wrist thing turns out to be the big reason why Wells had such a poor year.Now if we could just come up with a reason why Cito makes such poor decisions and correct that as well.

    - Paul
  19. 19.

    I guess we’ll have a “re-incarnacion” of Edwin but the bigger hope is that we have one with the under-achieving Wells. Did I hear right that he will lug home 23 mil next year? Wow! By giving Gaston 4 years as senior consultant, Beeston has rained on your colleague McCown’s brain child that Gillick will return to save the moribund Jays as AA’s mentor. Maybe the Beast and Gillick aren’t the pals we are led to believe, do you think?

    MW: I don’t think Cito will have too strong a voice in baseball operations for the four years he’s under contract as a consultant. That deal has nothing to do with Gillick coming back or not.

    - Carlos
  20. 20.

    Hi i was wondering if i could have more info about Edwin encarnacion’s background and career highlights/injuries.

    MW: Go to baseball-reference.com – it’s a wonderful resource!

    - Lew
  21. 21.

    Mike….If you have car troubles on the 401 one cold wintry night and you call for a tow truck and the guy answers; “Hello, this is Cole Hamels’ Towing Service, we’ll try hard to come and get you” are you going to get out and hitchhike?

    MW: No.

    - chris m.
  22. 22.

    Can”t pass up an opportunity to diss Gaston..I suppose he could have put Mcdonald in the 4th spot..Its funny, if the masses picked on Riccardi for every mistake we didn’t like him..You take a shot at Gaston every time you can and it appears justified..Fine Gaston makes mistakes but Wells didn’t pitch did he?..How about Overbay?..Compare his power numbers to the rest of the first basemen in the AL and he his a distant memory in virtually every category..But heaven forbid if we pick on him..

    Again, I’m totally unsure how you can blame the manager for playing a 20 million dollar player in the 3-4 slot..Even with a bum wrist..Plenty of players play with injuries throughout the season..Who knows maybe Wells didn’t talk about it for most of the season..

    The team hit more then 200 Hr last season..Not too shabby if you ask me..But that was a good thing and I’m sure it had nothing to do with the manager..

    Gaston’s managerial record over the first 162 games was 91-71 better then anyone has done over that span since 93′..The team was terrible down the stretch but you have to judge his good things as well as the bad..

    He certainly did enough good things to warrant having him back next year..

    MW: He really didn’t. His record over the first 162 games was, indeed, 91-71. His record since is 40-53. His record over the 162 games BEFORE the 91-71 is 75-87. His overall record since the 1993 World Series is 383-445. I don’t know why a players’ salary should determine his spot in the line-up beyond a certain point – and Wells was past that point for most of the season. Overbay, a platoon player, finished tied for 14th in OPS vs RH in the American League – one point behind MVP candidate Justin Morneau.

    - ray b
  23. 23.

    jays are getting alot of mention in this world series…thats a good thing..maybe

    - jp
  24. 24.

    do you think the jays are ready to give wells a scott rolen-esque playing schedule?

    knowing that wells is having this surgery makes me even more frustrated with how gaston managed his team.

    MW: I don’t think they’re ready to do that, but they should.

    - jeremy
  25. 25.

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/article/720226–taking-minutes-from-mound-meetings

    what’s your take on this article?

    MW: I think it’s ridiculous that there are so many meetings on the mound. I really do think there has to be a fair way to limit it. Isn’t that what signals are for? I mean, I understand that the catcher has to go out there after he’s been crossed up on a pitch, or if there’s a pinch-hitter and maybe if a runner gets to second, but just to use the meetings as stall tactics is ridiculous. I also think there should be a rule in place that if the catcher goes to the mound, that pitcher can’t be removed until the next hitter comes to the plate.

    - TheSunkenZealot
  26. 26.

    Hi Mike,

    I read a press release that said Brad Arnsberg is now the pitching coach for the Astros, Why did he leave the Jays?

    MW: Because he had the opportunity to work with a great friend in new Astros manager Brad Mills, and because he didn’t want to work with Cito anymore.

    - Shakeel
  27. 27.

    Michael,

    Do you think if the Phillies trade for Halladay instead of Lee and he goes games 1-3-7, as he would have I’m sure, that would have made any difference?

    MW: He would have gone 1-4-7. I don’t imagine that Halladay could have pitched any better than Lee did in Game 1, but having him in Game 4 would have made a difference. Then again, the Phillies won both times that Lee pitched and still lost the series. The same could easily have happened with Halladay.

    - Uncle Ben
  28. 28.

    Wilner question. In this past world series a philly scored from third base. He dived over the catcher and never touched home plate. The umpire never made a call. So how does the run score?

    MW: The Yankees never tagged him and play continued.

    - joe e
  29. 29.

    Well Mike, I guess that what $400,000,000 buys you.

    MW: Well, it’s not like they shelled out the $400MM all at once. It’s what $208MM buys you.

    - Brent
  30. 30.

    Micheal,

    Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda.

    Did you ever hear of the Phillies toying with the idea of adding Lee and Halladay at the deadline, virtually ashuring themselves a championship? Also, they’d have both guys the next season or could conceivably trade them at any point to get prospects back.

    I don’t think Philly gave up any of the prospects Toronto really wanted in the deal for Lee.

    MW: They didn’t, but the only discussion of Philly ponying up to get both pitchers that I heard came from me. If I were Ruben Amaro, I’d have done it for sure.

    - Uncle Ben
  31. 31.

    Mike do you think there is any merit to the idea that the Yankees winning the World Series is good for the Jays?

    I say this because it seems likely that the Jays will be dealing Halladay, and Philly has to realize that even with Cliff Lee et al they don’t have the rotation depth to get it done. Does this possibly put them back in the race for Halladay? If so is it a possibility Jays get some, though of course not all, of the high level prospects they were asking for before? Does it at least add another bidder to the auction?

    Anyways even though I’m still ticked that Cito is going to manage for no reason other than he and Beeston go way back, I am anxious for the offseason to get under way.

    Realistically we probably weren’t going to compete next year anyways, even if the payroll goes up $40M overnight there probably isn’t $40M worth of guys that are going to put the team over the hump or that you (and by you I mean people with common sense) would want to hitch your wagon to in the long term.

    I can only assume (hope?) AA knows better than to bring in the Millar types. If Cito only has young guys (well and the not so young Ruiz) he will have to play them. Thoughts?

    MW: Very true that if Cito only has young guys, he will have to play them. His and Beeston’s relationship isn’t the only reason reason he’s still around, though. I don’t think it’s so much the Yankees winning the World Series as the Phillies, Red Sox and Dodgers NOT winning it that will help bring back more value for Halladay.

    - Sean in Lethbridge
  32. 32.

    An added note, and this was mentioned on the Tao as well, did it seem to anybody else like the Yankees ‘celebration’ was only slightly more exuberant than your average walk-off regular season victory of most other teams?

    Subdued Yankees? Or too much histrionics by other teams in the regular season?

    Personally I despise the jumping around at home plate, throwing the helmet and the whole thing. Act like you’ve won a damn game before.

    MW: I don’t mind a good, tasteful celebration. I thought the Yankees’ one was on par with routine World Series jump-aroundness. It would have been better had Teixeira not run past Rivera on his way to the mound, looking for Rivera, causing a quick turn-around, traffic jam, extra pile sort of thing.

    - Sean in Lethbridge
  33. 33.

    So, the New York Yankees are…Well, the best team money can buy.

    What a bummer. It was like getting root canal to watch them win. Well, maybe not THAT bad but it was bad.

    In other news Ryan Howard is out of his slump! A home run!!! Now he is going to go on a roll…Oh…The season is over.

    My next door neighbour is a Yankee fan and I’m going to have to listen to his XXXXXX all winter. I think I’m gonna hide.

    Anyway, Mr. Wilner, thanks for the blog and have a great winter. Baseball is just around the corner.

    As for me, I’m going to follow the Enterprise Volleyball League.

    - Doug
  34. 34.

    The evil empire prevails.

    Sigh.

    - Geoff
  35. 35.

    Mike,
    Thanks for the blog this year, you do a great job.
    Hope to see you back in 2010. Looking forward to the offseason and some dicussion on where the Jays are headed. It should be interesting.

    - Denny
  36. 36.

    michael,
    listened to your show right to the very end last night. shoulda called in sorry. but listened with interest as we got to the 2 o’clock hour.

    so it’s all over now hun?

    you know i sat there last night after it ended & watched this particular collection of yanks celebrate & pondered a bit. and tried to honestly imagine actually this yanks team being just like all the rest of the teams. you know, with just a few, or just a very small bunch of solid, all starish type players & not a hitting lineup or pitching group as ridiculously deep as it is.
    you can’t really do it can you? can’t even imagine it any other way than just the way it is with this team. there ain’t ever going to be millars dh’ing or playing first base out of necessity. no bautistas patrolling the outfield based on fitting in such types because of budget. and so on & so on. virtually every other team has their bautistas don’t they?
    in fact, if another sabbathia or texeira type comes available, this team will probably figure out a way to add them to the mix too.
    kind of like death & taxes it seems michael. very frustrating.
    and just my opinion but if that team as it was made up didn’t get to the series or win it when they got there (as they did) they would have had to take a very good look around at themselves & think what a bunch of chumps we are. no excuses here…
    but they’ll drink up i’m sure & not even give it a 2nd thought…

    MW: Your last point doesn’t work, because in a short series, it doesn’t really matter which team is better. Bounces and luck have more to do with winning a World Series than talent does (once you get to the playoffs). But yes, there’s no reason to believe that the Yankees won’t continue to trot out teams like this year after year.

    - darrell bishop
  37. 37.

    Hi Mike,
    Jordan Bastian has an article on the Jays that claims they have interest in bringing back Mcdonald, Barajas and Scutaro. If they are indeed going to cut back on payroll in the upcoming year, why bother bringing those guys back ?

    MW: They’re not cutting back on payroll, nor will they bring back Barajas or Scutaro.

    - Dilson
  38. 38.

    Two regrets from the 2009 season:

    1)Yankees won the World Series.
    2)A-Rod didn’t get earholed every time he stepped up to the plate in the World Series.

    - Cam
  39. 39.

    Hey Mike,

    Speaking of glasnost and perestroika, I had a midterm in Russian politics this afternoon down at UofT.

    Anyways, have you ever watched the Naked Gun, with Leslie Nielsen? If not, I recommend that you rent the movie. The ending is hilarious, I couldn’t stop laughing. Here’s a clip from part of the ending on YouTube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-S-eeInJVk

    MW: I saw The Naked Gun, and all its sequels, in the theatre when they came out. Hilarious stuff, as was the short-lived TV series “Police Squad” that preceded the movies. It’s a shame you just discovered it now. You should also check out “Airplane”.

    - Silvio
  40. 40.

    Hey Mike,

    This is the second time this has happend. In 2007 we all didn’t know why Wells only hit 16 home runs until he said at the end of the season he had a busted shoulder. Last season he did terrible and he finnaly tells us he had a wrist injury. I wonder why we just couldn’t shut him down earlier last season instead of him playing everday adn sucking at the plate. So what does this mean now. Do you still want Wells. I have always been a big fan of Vernon and I think that if he is healthy he is a very dangerous hitter. Like in 2006 he had 30+ homeruns and 100+ RBI’s. Then last season he only appeared in 108 games and still had the 20 homeruns which is good. So if Wells stays healthy he will deliver and same with Encarnacion. If Encarnacions wrist is 100% look for him to be very dangerous next season and hit 25+ homeruns like he did in 2008 when he had 26. I like Encarnacion alot and I am really liking how these Jays are looking next season. The Jays have lots of good young talent on this roster like Hill,Snider,Lind,Cecil,Romero and I think Encarnacion should join. He just needs to work on his defensive game at 3B. If he does that then he will be a very good player and he is only 26 which is good. He could be a dangerous hitter for a long time to come. I hope Encarnacion stays because I liked him in September last year and even the 7 homeruns. When he is healthy he is a very good hitter. I was only worried when he fielded the ball. And lastely do you think the Jays will offer Bautista a contract after his monster September. If they do how many years will he getr and how much will he make. I can see him resigning 2 years worth about 2 million a year or mabye 3. If he plays like he did then he will be a very good player for the Jays or who ever he signs with.

    MW: If Bautista signs for $2 million a year, he’d be taking a pay cut. I know the Jays would like to have him back, I just don’t know if he fits, price-wise.

    - Dave
  41. 41.

    Hey Mike now that the Yankees won it all and AJ got his ring do you think now its more likely that Halladay will be dealt before 2010 season or will the jays increase payroll to make a run at it?

    MW: A has nothing to do with B.

    - Royce
  42. 42.

    god I hope they trade roy to the yankees, it will be awesome to watch halladay, sabathia, burnett and petitte in the sam rotation; roy will get his deserved ring, and FINALLY there will be something for blue jays fans to cheer about in the post-season

    MW: You’re kidding, right?

    - Paul O
  43. 43.

    Do you think the jays should have gone after jeremy hermida for right field? Obviously he’s not a great option but it seems like a good buy low bet and another left handed bat.

    I guess part B of the question is Bautista Vs. hermida, who do you pick?

    MW: I would have gone after Hermida, and I was happy to hear that Alex looked into it, but didn’t see a fit. Hermida is a guy I have liked a lot for a while, but he’s a free agent after 2011 and I think the Jays want guys who are under control longer. I pick Hermida over Bautista, and pretty easily.

    - jeremy
  44. 44.

    I was curious about the number of plate appearance (TBA) of the average #1 through #9 spots in the batting order after considering Cito’s “You can’t hide anyone because they always seem to come up in big situations” comment. I know it makes sense that higher in the order the more plate appearance you’ll get but I wanted to see the magnitude of that difference. I found that as you drop a spot in the order you lose about 16 TPAs per spot. Thats 140 TPA if you moved from #1 to #9.

    Major League Average
    Hitter AB TPA
    #1 680 763
    #2 664 744
    #3 635 726
    #4 625 710
    #5 616 694
    #6 605 678
    #7 593 660
    #8 569 640
    #9 542 620

    MW: Good work.

    - jw
  45. 45.

    Jeremy Hermida and JJ Hardy… two early-offseason seemingly buy-low trades… at two positions the Jays desperately need filled this offseason with young, cheap talent…

    Sigh…

    MW: The Jays didn’t have a Carlos Gomez to give up for Hardy, and Hermida – see above. He could still get non-tendered, too.

    - Geoff
  46. 46.

    Twins acquire J.J. Hardy, White Sox acquire Mark Teahen and Red Sox acquire Jeremy Hermida. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/ All players are under two (2) years team control (arbitration). All players, while maybe not the answer, could fill a hole. Did our GM miss sometime here.

    MW: He looked, but didn’t like what he would have had to give up. Good link to MLBTR – it’s a terrific site.

    - Richard
  47. 47.

    Hey Mike,
    1. Can the Jays use Johnny Damon?
    2. I assume Yankees will only resign one of Matsui or Damon; MVP probably means they have to resign Godzilla and Damon is available – agree or is it faulty logic?
    3. If they can move Overbay, can/would Damon play 1st?
    4. Can he lead off?

    I thought Damon looked great this season. He looked to be one of the toughest outs in the lineup. I read your previous comment that you like him too. I’d love to see him here!

    Thanks,

    MW: 1 – Yeah, but they shouldn’t sign him. 2 – I don’t agree totally, there’s some merit to the logic but his winning the World Series MVP isn’t enough for the Yankees to keep him based solely on that. 3 – Damon won’t be here – he would cost more than Overbay and give them less. 4 – Yes.

    - Gautam
  48. 48.

    Bloggage ! we need some pre-GM meetings insight from you. Isn’t this typically a big shopping trip for the GM’s ?

    You were right about the Brewers wanting to dump JJ Hardy but the Twins were pretty fast to scoop him up. Given their history of building solid teams, I’d say you were also right thinking he would have been a good pickup for the Jays. I hope AA wasn’t sleeping at the wheel.

    The Chisox also cut J-Dye loose today – perhaps unclogging the way for Rios to play more.

    - Rez
  49. 49.

    Obviously Wells was playing hurt: the batting production can dip from season to season but the defensive skill only really declines with age and Wells is still young. His glove was poor this year and people who really follow this team knew something was wrong there.

    I criticize the Jays for not pulling him half way through what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

    Mike, you’ll be missed in the offseason!

    P.S. Rumor is that Ken Burns is filming an 11th inning … have you been approached by anyone on his research team? There has to be a good segement on the ’92-’93 Jays (at the very least, a small piece on Cito Gaston).

    MW: Ken Burns doesn’t even know I exist, but I appreciate the compliment.

    - Andrew
  50. 50.

    Hey Mike

    What did you think of the move by the RedSox picking up Hermida on the cheap? Personally, i think this was a fantastic gamble for Boston as Hermida, at 25, is just approaching his prime offensive years. I would have loved to see Hermida in a Toronto uniform, he has an intriguing blend of on-base and power and could be on the verge of reaching his potential?

    MW: See above.

    - rick
  51. 51.

    heres a prediction.

    carlos gomez is gonna get hot and finally break out and this will be looked back on 10 years from now as the worst trade in team history.

    MW: That goes right into the “prediction guaranteed to not come true” file.

    - Han Solo
  52. 52.

    Mike,

    Why are the Jays not more excited about Randy Ruiz as their everyday DH for the next 5 years! The guy put up a combined .318 35 123 year between AAA and the show. Who cares that he’s 32? Is he supposed to develop into something better than that to get excited about? I remember Edgar Martinez not getting a full time shot in Seattle until he was 28 or 29 and then becoming the best DH in history for the next 12 years. Ruiz has earned the opportunity to be the everyday DH and if he can repeat his season then the Jays may be more exciting than most fans think, particularly if Snider takes the expected next step. Hill, Lind, Ruiz and Snider could make up a very potent middle of the order for then next 5 years.

    MW: Ruiz definitely earned the opportunity to get a chance to lose the job.

    - james
  53. 53.

    Any validity to the Overbay for Chris Snyder rumors. I’m not impressed with Snyder at all. What would this say for the Jays catching prospects. Is Arencibia disappointing?

    MW: Arencibia had a very disappointing year. I think the Jays would have done Overbay for Snyder (plus cash) if not for Snyder’s back issues. I don’t know why you’re not impressed with him (unless you’re only looking at 2009). Good defensive catcher, hits for power, takes walks. What’s not to like?

    - Domenick
  54. 54.

    Can you write something in your blog about Chris Snyder? He was my catcher in a very deep fantasy league and I was very unimpressed with his offence but apparently he is excellent defensively and has a very good arm.

    MW: Chris Snyder’s not coming to Toronto.

    - Domenick
  55. 55.

    Hey Mike I have a question.

    How realistic do you think this is: the Jays going after Jason Bay and Matt Holladay in the offseason. That is if they both file for free agency.

    MW: There was never any question that they’d both file for free agency, just like there was never any chance that the Jays would ever sign both of them.

    - Karsten Grubber
  56. 56.

    re: comment 22..

    Nobody will dispute his terrible record in the mid 90′s..But to assess his record from more then 10 yrs ago, is a bit of a stretch..

    Lets not forget that was Paul Beestons sans Gillick era..He hired Ash and left the team in a terrible mess but for some reason, he gets a mulligan..

    If Gaston is going to be evaluated for his lousy record 10 years ago then we should do the same for Beeston right?..If you feel Gaston should go then why should Beeston stay?

    I think Gaston did a decent job with pitching he was given..If he had the 2008 pitching staff combined with 2009 offence, maybe the Jays do something this year..But the Jays were unable to put it all together..

    MW: You did actually watch the games, though, right? You noticed the moves that Gaston made to try to win ballgames? I think you’re confusing Beeston with someone who is actually in the baseball operations department, for one. Yes, he did hire Ash, which was a mistake, but Presidents don’t have won-loss record, they preside, it’s their thing. As for evaluating Gaston based on 10 years ago – is there a reason that he’s here other than his record from 16 years ago?

    - ray b
  57. 57.

    P.S. Rumor is that Ken Burns is filming an 11th inning … have you been approached by anyone on his research team? There has to be a good segement on the ‘92-’93 Jays (at the very least, a small piece on Cito Gaston).
    MW: Ken Burns doesn’t even know I exist, but I appreciate the compliment.

    I don’t think Ken Burns knows the Jays exist. I seem to remember watching his baseball series and catching a fast ‘in 1992 and 1993 the Blue Jays won the World Series’ mention and then moving quickly along to the strike. But my memory might be at fault here.

    - reyes
  58. 58.

    I believe I suggested back in the summer that Wells was hurt. At the time, because of his dramatic drop-off in pwer numbers, I thought that it was his left shoulder, but it turns out that it was his left wrist. Vernon gets the stoic of the year award, but, really, whenever you see this type of decline in a player who is in his years of peak performance, as Wells is, that PLAYER IS INJURED. Why don’t the beat writers ask these questions of management? Maybe they do and are lied to. In which case it is up to the writer to state his opinion. It really doesn’t matter, competitively, because the word gets out real fast to opposing pitchers.

    The other player who I suspect is having a slow recovery is Overbay. He admitted the previous year that his hand bothered him through the 2008 season. Each year he had posted better power numbers until the hand injury in 2007. I think it is high time that batting gloves be designed with hand safety in mind.

    MW: Every time Wells was asked if he was healthy, and he was asked a lot, he said he was fine. But you can’t write off his season to the wrist entirely, because he still performed on the road (.300/.335.444) and he still hit righties as well as he ever has (.278/.322/.425 in ’09 as compared to .272/.317/.461). You can blame the wrist for the drop-off in power, but that’s it.

    - Richard Hennessey
  59. 59.

    MW: They didn’t, but the only discussion of Philly ponying up to get both pitchers that I heard came from me. If I were Ruben Amaro, I’d have done it for sure.

    This offseason, do you think the Phillies again make a run at getting Halladay? Would anything strike fear into the Yankees (or Red Sox) more than potentially having to face Roy in the WS?

    MW: Lots of things would, I’m sure. I hope the Phillies try again, though.

    - Uncle Ben
  60. 60.

    re: comment 56..

    Is there a reason why Beeston is here other then what he did 16 years ago?..Its funny how you always point to the president as someone not involved in the teams on field personnel but you don’t mind pointing to Godfrey for the Wells contract..

    How can the president not be held accountable for the on field product?..It IS his responsibility..He hired the man in charge and if he does well he looks good if he does poorly he is the smuck that hired him..

    Beeston hired Gillick and that was an astute hiring but he also put your favorite whipping boy Ash in charge..He won 2 world series for the Jays but also was around for some terrible post world series teams..Just as Gaston was..Lets not forget, Beeston left this guy in charge even though he was past his due date..He was around for Gaston’s second hiring as many have said he pulled the strings on this one..

    According to many newspapers Beeston was the main negotiator in the losing of the 3 top Jays picks in 2008..

    Gaston hasn’t been perfect but as you have said in the past, the manager may only be responsible for 5 games won/lost over a season..

    Yes he didn’t play Lind in the field often but yet Lind had a breakout year at the plate..Sure he played Millar at 3rd base a few times against the Sox but they won the game didn’t they?..

    Maybe Lyle Overpaid will mercifully get traded and Lind will assume first base..

    By the way, Overbay may have a good OBP but he is still ranked 45th in career OBP among active players..He is also ranked near the bottom in HR, RBI among first basemen..If he was such a good player why is Alex trying to get rid of him?

    MW: In the end, the President bears the ultimate responsibility for everything, but he’s not – or shouldn’t be – involved in day-to-day operations. It’s his (or her) job to hire the right people for he baseball ops department and then stay out of their way. I’m not sure where you got that Overbay figure, but if it’s true, that would put him in the top 5% of all active players. Please tell me how that’s a bad thing. He’s being moved because he only has one year left in his contract, and it’s a year in which the Blue Jays won’t be contending. That’s what you’re supposed to do with players like that – move them for assets that will be part of the team when it’s ready to win. And the Blue Jays winning the games in which Kevin Millar played third base does NOT make playing Kevin Millar at third base a good idea.

    - ray b
  61. 61.

    RE comment: 60

    Certainly Overbay isn’t a bad player..

    He is a first basemen and traditionally first basemen are power hitters…I just don’t think he contributes enough on this team to earn big money..

    Take a look at some of the first basemen in the AL..

    Pena TB 39hr/100RBI/.537SLG
    Teixeira NYY 39/122/.565
    Cabrera DET 34/103/.547
    Morales LAA 34/108/.547

    13th Overbay 16/64/.466

    I just don’t think a good OBP for a guy hitting 6th in the lineup is good enough..If he is in the 6 hole who is going to drive him in?..

    He had 57 runs last year good for 81st in the AL..So what difference does a good OBP mean when you don’t score??

    Just wondering…

    Hopefully Beeston isn’t involved in the day to day operations but like you said, he is responsible..

    Is is just as responsible for the state of the Jays in the late 1990′s as Gaston was..He just gets a mulligan and I’m not sure why everyone wants this guy back in charge considering his record with the club when he left..

    MW: Please don’t get caught up in the “traditionally” argument. You’re right – OBP is wasted lower in the line-up when there’s nobody down there to drive the runs in. But it’s not Overbay’s fault he was hitting lower in the line-up (most often 7th), it’s Cito’s.

    - ray b
  62. 62.

    Wilner question. In this past world series a philly scored from third base. He dived over the catcher and never touched home plate. The umpire never made a call. So how does the run score?

    MW: The Yankees never tagged him and play continued.

    But wouldn’t he be called out for going off the basepaths then?

    MW: Nope, once you are involved in a play at the plate, if it’s not resolved with a tag or a safe call and play continues to the point where another pitch is thrown before an appeal is made, the run counts.

    - josh
  63. 63.

    How can you be so obtuse?

    It seems that TBR, BOS, NYY, DET, LAA, STL, PHI, SDG and pretty much everyone else in baseball seem to have a first basemen that hit for power..NO WAY that is a coincidence..

    The Jays should rid themselves of this 7 million dollar stiff and put a power hitter (Lind) on first base where he should be..

    Its Cito’s fault? In 75 games before Cito took over in 2008 he had..6HR/28RBI/31runs/.404SLG..The The year before that was even worst but he had a bad hand so he had an excuse..

    In 2008, Gibbons had Overbay in the 5th, 6th or 7th spot on a regular basis..

    He finished 2008 with 74 runs, 15hr and a BA of .270..Not much of a difference at all after Cito took over..If anything, slightly better..

    MW: I actually tend to think of myself as more acute than obtuse, but that’s just me. Yes, there are plenty of first basemen who hit for power, and some who don’t. The team that won the World Series two years ago had a first baseman who hit 18 home runs but got on base like an animal (assuming animals get on base a lot – I think they do). And who else’s fault is it that Overbay’s on-base was wasted at the bottom of the order? There’s only one guy who makes the line-up. Also – surely you jest if you’re saying that Overbay’s 2008 was the same as his 2009. His ’09 OBP was 14 points better and his ’09 SLG was 47 points better. Maybe the reason we don’t see eye to eye is because you don’t look at important things like that.

    - ray b
  64. 64.

    In my opinion,Overbay is a bit of a conundrum..

    He doesn’t really hit for power (15HR) but he hits some doubles(35)..He has a good OBP but he doesn’t run well (nada SB) or score many runs (57)..

    How can you justify putting someone who isn’t a very good runner in the top 3 of your lineup?..

    His average vs. lefties in 2009 was .190..But he did OK in the 4 hole (102AB/.283avg/4HR..So what do you do with this guy?..He isn’t quite good enough to be a regular (.190 against lefties) but too good to be a bench player..He just doesn’t fit in Toronto’s lineup..

    Lind would look good at 1B and I think they should seriously consider Ruiz at DH next year..So where or what do you do with this guy?..

    MW: It’s interesting that you’re only taking into account his 2009 numbers. Why do you think Lind would look good at first? Have you ever seen him play there? I really like what Overbay contributes, and it doesn’t matter to me that he’s not a good baserunner – there are lots of speedy guys who aren’t on base nearly as often as he is. That said, he’s a free agent after 2010, so his value to the Blue Jays is higher in trade than it is on the field for them.

    - ray b
  65. 65.

    Lind would look good at first because he can hit the long ball..Its funny how you don’t seem to want to acknowledge the fact that virtually every team in baseball has a power hitter at first..

    There is no logical way to explain this away other then the fact that most teams believe this to be true..Yes there are a few exceptions but one of the guys who believed you could have a lousy running high OBP first basemen has been fired (Riccardi) and the new guy in charge wants to dump him (Overbay)..

    All his stats save the first season as a Jay, are quite similar..When he was healthy, his stats over the last few years are quite similar..

    Now that I look at it, do you realize Overbay led the team in SO in 2008 with 116? or how about 95 in 2009?..The most SO per at bat then any Jay with more then 100 AB..Yea this guy contributes immensely..

    MW: Sigh.

    - ray b
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