He was a 24-year-old rookie middle infielder who hit 23 homers while playing half his games in Petco Park. How do you not want to lock that guy up? The only real question is when to stop offering him more and more years on the extension. He had a 113 OPS+ when he was 24, which meant it was reasonable to expect even more from him as he entered his prime, and that even more would mean he would be a perennial All-Star.
Instead, he was one of the worst everyday players in baseball last year, hitting .210/.280/.333. He’s hitting .210 again this year, and he’s doing it with even less power. There was a glimmer of hope last year, as Gyorko got relatively hot after the All-Star break, but he lost his job to Cory Spangenberg this season and was banished to the minors again. He’s 26 now, and he’s been a .220-or-worse hitter for almost two calendar years now. He’ll make $13 million in 2019, which is an absolutely stunning amount for a player struggling this mightily.
Even when the problem with a pitcher is hard to diagnose, like with Cahill and Romero, there’s still an element of assumed risk that’s easy to understand because pitchers are supposed to be fragile and mercurial. Gyorko reminds us that hitters can be just as weird, and considering how far removed we are from the version the Padres thought they were locking up, it looks like the problem had more to do with poor evaluation and overreacting to a fast start. It’s the new front office regime that has to pay for it, too.
According to sources, the Blue Jays inquired about Cole Hamels but were told Hamels would not waive his 20-team no-trade clause to go to Toronto, as is his right (Hamels, meantime, has handled things professionally; he hasn’t complained and generally pitched well for the non-contending Phillies). That Hamels call was a blow to the Phillies, who likely saw Toronto, with all its young pitching talent (Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, etc.) as a potential landing spot, especially considering their frustration in landing the marquee prospect they desire and these two teams’ solid trading history.
Blue Jays hitting coach Brook Jacoby has been suspended 14 games for his postgame conduct toward the umpires following an April 29 game at Boston.
Joe Torre, Chief Baseball Officer for Major League Baseball, announced the suspension Monday.
After Russell Martin was called out on strikes by Adrian Johnson for the final out of Toronto’s 4-1 loss, members of the Blue Jays coaching staff traded words with the umpiring crew as they left the field.
At Fenway Park, the umpires exit through the visitor’s dugout and share a tunnel with the players to their respective locker rooms. Following the runway incident with the Toronto coaches—of which no details have been provided—baseball sent a memo instructing visiting teams to remain in the dugout until the umpires have passed through.
From the translated Japanese description on this video:
Made a “fun chants reduce” concept, body fat gymnastics.
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That should clear things up!
Out of my way, all of you. This is no place for loafers! Join me or die! Can you do any less?
“You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone, particularly left-handed, better than him,” Amaro says. “Debate it all you want, from the sabermetrics to scout evaluations, but he is as good as there is going to be out there.
“No respect to the guy out there in Los Angeles (Clayton Kershaw) or to Felix (Hernandez), but he was as good as any pitcher in baseball the second half of last season. If you match up his numbers from late May to the end of the season, he’s as good as it gets. And he tends to be a better pitcher late in the season.”
Spoken like a true salesman, and a GM who thinks he has a Ferrari Testarossa sitting in the showroom and isn’t about to sell it at a Ford Fiesta price.
The Pirates, meanwhile, are optimistic the catcher they acquired from the Yankees, Francisco Cervelli, will replicate much of what Martin offered defensively, if not his .832 OPS from 2014.
Heck, Martin probably will not match that outlier; his OPS the previous five seasons had been .702. But the Jays will be a postseason threat if they get even league-average pitching to complement their dynamic lineup. And that’s where Martin should make a difference.
“I think if I can get ahead in counts, shave my walks down, throw strikes, and pitch deep into games that I’m going to have a pretty good season,” says Dickey. “I would say a successful season for me would be 200 innings, 15 or more wins, keep my walks around 50 or 60, [while] going to the playoffs and hopefully to the World Series.”
Welcome to Grantland’s 2015 MLB division previews. From now through next week, Jonah Keri and I will analyze each team in each division, focusing on offseason triumphs and failures, roster strengths and weaknesses, telling projections, revealing stats, and off-field story lines, and wrapping up with our over/under verdicts on each team’s projected record. As always, all overly pessimistic opinions should be blamed on the well-known grudge we bear your team, and only your team, because of that thing it did to us that one time that we’re still extremely bitter about.
After an off-season in which he became a viral sensation for his bushy beard, cerebral surfer persona and his habit of living in his van, Daniel Norris is ready to bring the focus back to his work on the mound.
The media requests — from The Atlantic magazine to NBC — are still pouring in for the man ESPN dubbed “The Most Interesting Pitcher in Baseball,” but the 21-year-old is turning them all down now.
The rookie left-hander, considered among the Blue Jays’ top prospects, is technically still vying with veteran swingman Marco Estrada for the fifth spot in the team’s starting rotation. But it’s hard to see Norris losing the job at this point.
Michael Saunders should be ready to rejoin the Toronto Blue Jays by mid-April rather than around the all-star break after the left-fielder had 60 percent of the meniscus removed from his left knee during surgery Friday.
Santana has agreed to join the Blue Jays on a minor-league deal with an invite to major-league spring training. It’s the first step in either a feel-good comeback story or another stalled attempt by Santana to reclaim his MLB glory.
Santana, 35, didn’t pitch in the big leagues in 2013 and 2014, but not for lack of trying. Shoulder surgery prevented him from taking the field in 2013 with the New York Mets. He signed a one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles last year, but tore his Achilles tendon in June when the O’s assigned him to extended spring training. Santana also missed the 2011 season because of shoulder surgery. He returned to pitch with the Mets in 2012, throwing a no-hitter but posting a 4.85 ERA in 29 starts.
“I have a pretty good relationship with [A’s GM] Billy Beane,” Anthopoulos said. “We’ve done a bunch of small deals. The one thing about Billy, he’s always open-minded and you can never offend him; you can ask about anybody at any time to make a deal.
“[Donaldson] is somebody we asked about right at the end of the season. We were adamantly told, ‘He’s not going to be moved.’ Then we asked about him a little later. [Beane] was still adamant that [Donaldson] was not going to be moved. Then I guess, about a week before we did the deal, we asked about him again in a conversation, he again said he wouldn’t move him, but it seemed in passing that one of the issues was they wanted to win this year. They might retool, but they weren’t going to tear it down.
“[Beane] wasn’t going to leave a hole at third base. I’m the one who introduced Lawrie at that point. We weren’t going to trade Lawrie, but I wasn’t getting anywhere with trying to get Donaldson. Once I introduced Lawrie to fill that hole for him, he seemed a little bit more open-minded and we took it from there. That was the only way I think things could get off the ground, because [Beane] still had every intention to win.”
Max Pentecost recently underwent shoulder surgery in an operation that will delay the 2015 debut of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2014 first rounder, sources told Sportsnet.
Dr. James Andrews performed the operation, a scope intended to clean out the shoulder joint of the top catching prospect’s throwing arm. Pentecost previously had a shoulder cleanup after the 2014 season, but the operation didn’t work as well as initially hoped.
I think about Tabler now because of an email sent by Tom Tango referencing a contradiction in my Strat-O-Matic post. On the one hand, I say I don’t like the horseshoes on Strat-O cards that reference a players ability to hit in the clutch (I have been told by several people that these were actually added to regulate a player’s RBI totals so that they somewhat mirror what happened during the season but it’s the same general thing). On the other hand, I say that I did like the fact that Statis Pro gave Matt Alexander a ridiculously awesome card in 1979 when he only had a few plate appearances. “Pick your poison,” Tom writes. “Do you want to reflect that card relative to what we observed? Or do you want to reflect the card after removing the ESTIMATED random variation?”
I told Tango that I fully embrace that I’m being inconsistent … but it’s mainly because I was 11 years old when I loved the Matt Alexander card. I think that card was ridiculous but wonderful at that point in my life.
In any case, Tango brought up Pat Tabler and I thought back to a question: How much of what Pat Tabler did those three years was luck and random variation? When I was a kid, I was pretty confident that NONE OF IT was luck. The guy was Mr. Clutch. It said so right on his card. Something came over him when the bases were loaded. True, the year the card came out he hit .200 with the bases loaded, which I recall was talked about quite a bit. It’s also true that in 1989, he went 1-for-11 with two double play grounders — and it seemed that whenever he came up with the bases loaded that year, the radio announcers talked about how he was Mr. Clutch which just accentuated the disappointment.
...all of a sudden I had what was called “the posse” all over me. Cal Ripken, Ben McDonald, Brady Anderson, Chris Hoiles, all of the above. They beat me on my ribcage, physically abused me on my way to the training table. They taped me spread-eagle to the training table, they wrote “rookie” on my forehead with pink methylate, and they shoved a bucket of ice down my shorts. I missed the entire batting practice, and you know what? Phil Regan, the manager of the Baltimore Orioles, he did not care, because he knew that what those guys were doing was ‘educating me.’