Tagged: Dave Dombrowski

Spare Change – David Price Delirium and Random Rumbling and Ranting

TBJ1

With 11 wins in 12 games since the acquisition of Troy Tulowitzki, a 1 game lead on the Angels for the top Wild Card spot and currently sitting 1.5 games back of the Yankees for the division lead in the AL East, it is a DAMN good time to be a Blue Jays fan!

It is hard to believe that this is the same team that only a few weeks ago we were discussing if they were a contender or pretender. Needless to say that in the span of those few weeks things have DRASTICALLY changed in the land called the “6” and the city has been abuzz in a way that has been absent since the days that WAMCO wreaked havoc on opposing pitching.

But how did we wind up here?

AA

Well aside from the aforementioned trade for Tulowitzki, Blue Jays GM and resident Ninja, Alex Anthopolous, has been working the phones harder than a sex phone operator (“Tonight I’m staying in and calling QUEST”). Since the end of July, the Blue Jays roster has seen six new players be added, while thirteen players and prospects have been shipped out of town in the subsequent trades.

In: SS Troy Tulowitzki • LHP David Price • RP LaTroy Hawkins • RP Mark Lowe • OF Ben Revere • IF Cliff Pennington

Out: SS Jose Reyes • RHP Jeff Hoffman • LHP Daniel Norris • RHP Miguel Castro • LHP Jairo Labourt • LHP Matt Boyd • RHP Jesus Tinoco • RHP Alberto Tirado • SS Dawel Lugo • LHP Rob Rasmussen • LHP Jacob Brentz • LHP Nick Wells • RHP Jimmy Cordero

As you can see, the cost to make those upgrades and bring those players in was a high one to say the least. In the Tulowitzki deal we lost two top 5 pitching prospects in Hoffman and Castro, and another top 30 prospect in Jesus Tinoco.

The Price trade was almost as costly from a prospect point with the Jays giving up their #1 prospect (Norris) and two top 15 prospects (Boyd and Labourt). But what could make this trade all the more costly is the fact that Price is a free agent at seasons end and there are no guarantees that he resigns. In fact, I would put it at below a 15% chance that we even have a chance. It also hurts that the Blue Jays will not receive a compensation draft pick if Price chooses to sign with another team in the offseason. None of that will matter of course if Price helps the Blue Jays break their 22 year old playoff drought.

Speaking of Price…

DP

David Price Delirium:

First Donaldson, then Tulo, and now, DAVID F****** PRICE!!!

The Blue Jays went from having Felix Doubront (gas can in hand) taking the mound every 5th day to having one of the best pitchers in the game taking it! I was still breathing into a bag over the trade for Tulo when news of an apparent Price deal broke. Being WAY too emotionally invested in this team to begin with, the latest news forced me into the realm of a preteen girl, I just couldn’t even deal.

Even with him already making two (INCREDIBLE) starts for the Blue Jays so far, I still can barely fathom that DAVID PRICE is a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. As mentioned above, the cost to get Price was a steep one to pay, but it is one that had to be done in order to give the Jays a legit shot at the playoffs this season. I am sure that some “fans” will point out that three top prospects, including your #1 prospect, for 10 to 12 starts is asinine at best and, to be honest, they’re not (entirely) wrong.

Where they are wrong is believing that those three prospects, if held onto, will turn into the same calibre pitcher(s) as Price and give us the same shot in 2 to 3 years to contend as we have now. There are no guarantees that any of those guys stay in the big leagues, let alone blossom into a 5x all star and Cy Young award winner. Sure they offer more “control” from a payroll point of view, but from a winning or playoff point of view, all they offer is a big question mark. Price offers us a chance for now.

Sure the cost was high and his Blue Jays future unknown, but I would rather have those 10+ starts from Price and a shot for it today, than waiting on the Norris’, Boyd’s and Labourt’s to come up and make an impact, if any. Hey, it could be worse, we could have given up a top prospect for Mike Leake (currently on the DL with the Giants) or traded Norris-esque pitcher to the A’s for Ben Zobrist like the Royals did with Sean Manaea.

David Price Day #1 (August 3rd, 2015 vs. Twins): 8 IP • 3 H • 1 ER • 2 BB • 11 K (W)

David Price Day #2 (August 8th, 2015 @ Yankees): 7 IP • 3 H • 0 ER • 3 BB • 7 K (W)

Next up… Oakland or the Yankees (round #2)… depends on what Gibby decides.

BJBW

Blue Jays Bandwagon Filling Up:

With back to back sell outs looming for the upcoming weekend series vs. the Yankees and the following one vs. the Tigers, it looks like the Bandwagon fans have finally woken up from their 1993 hibernation. These are the same fans that make it a point to be at every Blue Jays home opener, followed by being the first ones to put away their Jays gear following a 5 game losing streak or the annual June swoon. A message I received from long time friend/part time contributor, GW, said it best:

“Yeah, it’s definitely trendy to like the Jays all of a sudden. I feel like one of those hipster music fans who shout at people that they liked Band X before it was cool.I’d shout: I was there for Jacob Brumfield! David Segui! Brad Fullmer! Brad Wilkerson! Kevin Mench! and Simon F****** Pond!!!! Where were you?!!?!?”

I guess it must be all of those “Leaf fans” who have nothing better to do since all the sports channels started to talk about the Blue Jays, opposed to their usual Leafs ball washing.

TBJ

Random Rumbling and Ranting:

  • Still in absolute awe that we held the Yankees to 1 EARNED RUN over an entire weekend series in the Bronx nonetheless! In fact, that 1 ER came on an absolute wall scraper of home run off of the bat of Mark Teixeira and could have been ruled a double due to fan interference.
  • Remember when our pitching staff was a MAJOR cause for concern? Apparently, that is not the case anymore. The Blue Jays pitching stats for the second half in comparison to their first half is practically night and day. The ERA currently sits at 2.48, down from 4.18, and their WHIP is 0.96, down from 1.30.
  • Resident whipping boy, R.A Dickey, has been absolutely en fuego lately. The much maligned knuckleballer has only allowed 8 earned runs over his last 49.2 innings pitched and has posted a 2.59 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in his last 13 starts, compared to a 5.77 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in his first 10 starts.
  • As much love as AA gets for his trades for Donno, Tulo and Price, it was the trade with the Brewers for Marco Estrada that should start getting more love. Originally thought to be a long relief/spot start candidate, Estrada has been an absolute revelation in the Blue Jays rotation this season. Aside from Pit-Buehrl, Estrada has been the Blue Jays most reliable starter for the majority of the season.

poopy hutch

  • You know who hasn’t been reliable for any of the season? Drew Hutchison. Hutch has been the poster child for why you shouldn’t pay attention to a pitchers win/loss record. The man known as “Poopy” Hutch in these parts, has 10 wins to go along with a 5.42 ERA and a ghastly 1.52 WHIP. Those 10 wins should be credited to the Blue Jays batting order who has given Hutch an average of 8+ runs per start.
  • If it wasn’t for Stro’s torn knee or the fact that we traded all of our potential call ups to other teams, you would have to bet that Hutch would have been a prime candidate for a demotion to AAA Buffalo. As it is now, it looks like AA is still working the phones in the hopes of landing another starter.
  • First it was the Royals, more specifically Edinson Volquez, who were giving the Blue Jays bulletin board material. Now it appears that the Royals broadcasters want to further fan the flames. During Monday nights coverage of the Royals and Tigers, Bill O’Brien starts to drone on about how you would have to think that the Royals are tired of hearing about the Blue Jays offence. His partner, Eduardo Perez, then chimes in and says that the Royals can beat you in a multitude of ways and they can also hit it out of the park when they need too, but they’re not that “Beer League Softball team they have up there in Canada”… Are you serious? Do these clowns not remember that we just took 3 games out of 4 from those same Royals that he is verbally sucking off?

http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/gotta-hear-it-espn-refers-to-blue-jays-as-beer-league-softball-team/

  • Bulletin board material aside, what all this chirping does for the Blue Jays is to help fuel an “us against the world” mentality and force this team to further #ComeTogether. This team already plays with one of the biggest chips on it’s shoulder, you have to bet that this recent batch of hate is only going to continue to add to that chip. Judging by David Price’s tweet today, they’ve already taken notice…

“Did really call us a “beer league softball team?!” I’m guessing cause we hit homers?? That’s all we do well right?!

Marcus Stroman

  • With Marcus Stroman being cleared to begin throwing off of a mound today and Dr. James Andrews being “stunned” by his recovery, it is looking like #Strotember is looking more and more like a reality.
  • Good news: #Strotember is a possibility. Bad news: 2B Devon Travis is out until at least September with a shoulder strain/inflammation. It’s a shame that DT has to miss another month this season as the dude just rakes and plays solid D when he is healthy and in the lineup. Silver lining here is that we have been winning in lieu of having him in the everyday lineup.
  • It wouldn’t be a shock to see AA further upgrade his depth at 2B especially with DT out and Ryan Goins barely hitting the weight of my leg. A few writers have speculated that Chase Utley would be a good fit for the Blue Jays, but it seems more likely for him to end up with the Giants, who have been rumoured to be heavily interested in his services.
  • Remember Michael Saunders? Remember how that ligament removal surgery was suppose to have him back on the field in April? Wait a minute, are you telling me that he is still having complications from said surgery? Sounds like, in hindsight, he should have just opted to have the ligament repaired. Most recent update has Saunders back by September, at the earliest.
  • Still a bit saddened/shocked about the loss of Danny Valencia on waivers to the Oakland A’s. Also still confused why we opted to DFA him for Muni instead of optioning one of our 7 men bullpen down. But hey, in AA we trust. Glad to see that he is continuing to hit well for his new team, although I hope that bat cools with the A’s in town for a 3 game set.

http://m.mlb.com/video/v352405283/houoak-valencia-hits-walkoff-single-in-the-9th/?query=danny+valencia

  • Look forward to a whole lot of Dave Dombrowski to the Blue Jays rumours for the next few months. With the Tigers relieving Dombrowski of his duties as GM it looks like the next (logical) step for him, career wise, would be to take on the President position of an MLB team.
  • With the Blue Jays almost willing to trade Jeff Hoffman to the Orioles for Dan Duquette in the offseason and Paul Beeston’s looming retirement at seasons end, you can bet that the Blue Jays will be one of the more aggressive pursuers for Dombrowski’s services; as will both the Mariners and Red Sox.
  • Both Dombrowski and current Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopolous, have a shared past as they both cut their MLB front office teeth with the Montreal Expos franchise. This tie could make it a bit easier for Dombrowski to step in as Anthopolous’ boss. It also wouldn’t be out of the question to see AA get promoted either.

Futures Market:

Alford

Anthony Alford • OF • 21 • 6’1/205 • Single A Dunedin

91 G • 350 AB • 75 R • 22/5 2B/3B • 2 HR • 29 RBI • 21 SB • 92/56 SO/BB • .294 BA • .798 OPS

CG

Connor Greene • RHP • 20 • 6’3/165 • Single A Dunedin

9-6 • 3.27 ERA • 21 GS • 107.1 IP • 100/27 SO/BB • .268 BA • 1.29 WHIP

JAYS/PHILLIES

Obscure Blue Jay from Yesteryear:

Craig Grebeck • IF • 1998-2000

202 G • 655 AB • 89 R • 5 HR • 60 RBI • .289 BA • .745 OPS

* Before signing off, I would like to add something on a more personal note. My paternal grandfather passed away this past Friday morning. Even though we hadn’t been close or communicated in the past couple years, it is a loss that has been weighing on me for the last couple of days. While I was growing up, my grandfather was one of my idols. He was my protector, my confidant and my biggest fan. He was also one of the people who helped ignite my love and passion for sports, especially baseball.

One of my favourite memories that I will always cherish was the time that Pat Borders flipped him off. My grandfather was a loud and obnoxious man who loved nothing better than to chirp (something I have indeed inherited). Anyway, following a strikeout with a runner on in a close game, Borders headed back to the dugout where he was subjected to my grandfathers verbal torment. Instead of turning the cheek like most players do, Borders looked right at him and gave him the finger. The crowd around us applauded Borders’ non verbal reply and even my grandfather had to tip his cap to the Blue Jays catcher.

Memories like that are what have helped me get through this and are what I will always remember. Whether it watching me at the SkyDome while my dad and uncle sat in the smoking section, getting lost on the Subway following a night game or just taking his grandson to McDonalds at 11pm to get the Smokey Joe (Carter) promotional burger because he had just won Proline and knew that Carter was his grandson’s favourite player. Sure there were memories, more recent ones, that weren’t as pleasant, but it’s the good ones that I will always look fondly back upon. *

RIP Gramps….

David Mounsey • April 8th, 1942 – August 7th, 2015

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2015 MLB Season Preview · AL Central · Detroit Tigers

Comerica Park

Detroit Tigers

Home Ballpark: Comerica Park.

2014 Finish: 90-72 · 1st AL Central.

Over/Under Wins in 2015: 86.5 · Under

What We Love:

  • The Man They Call Miggy: What is not to like about a guy who plays in 159 games, hits for a .313 average with 25 HR and 109 RBI, and is considered to have an “off” year? Even despite getting off to a slow start and being hobbled by an ankle injury, Miguel Cabrera enjoyed his 11th straight season driving in 100+ RBI. Entering his 32nd year, Cabrera is still one of the top players in the game today and with his move to back to 1B last season, and ability to DH, he should continue to play at a high level for the foreseeable future. And that is great news for the Tigers, who will need Cabrera to continue his MVP style of play if they have any hope of holding off the Indians and White Sox for the AL Central title. Not to mention they’ll need/want him to stay healthy and productive as they are paying him a small fortune ($240 million) over the next eight seasons.

 

Detroit Tigers batter Miguel Cabrera watches the ball as he hits a two-run, two-strike, two-out, home run to tie the game in New York

 

Honourable Mentions:

  • Best front office in the game: Owner Mike Illitch and GM Dave Dombrowski.
  • Manager Brad Ausmus’ 90 win rookie campaign.
  • Anibal Sanchez rebounding from a subpar 2014 season.
  • Potential DP combo of Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler.

 

 

 What We Hate:

  • Verlander’s Arm and Velocity Woes: In 2009, Justin Verlander’s average fastball speed was 95.6 mph, the second best in MLB. In 2014, his average fastball was down to 92.6 mph, which had him outside of the top 25 qualified pitchers in MLB. It’s not uncommon for a pitcher to lose a few ticks off of his heater as he ages, but to seemingly fall apart overnight is another thing. Verlander’s 2014 was his worst statistical season since 2008, in fact, both seasons are extremely similar:

2008: 33 GS · 201 IP · 11-17 W/L · 4.84 ERA · 108 ER · 163 K · 1.40 WHIP

2014: 32 GS · 206 IP · 15-13 W/L · 4.54 ERA · 104 ER · 159 K · 1.40 WHIP

Verlander was also the American League leader in Earned Runs in 2014; finishing 2nd behind A.J Burnett for the overall MLB lead.

So what is the cause for this sudden drop off? Could it be “dead arm” (which is, hands down the most awesome, old timey name for a legitimate medical condition) aka arm fatigue? That is a pretty plausible scenario, especially given that Verlander has thrown at least 200 innings in every season since 2007. Perhaps it could be attributed to the core-muscle surgery he underwent before the 2014 season. The surgery might not be the culprit when it comes to the diminishing velocity, but it could be the reason why Verlander has started to experience arm issues. If he was unable to use his proper pitching mechanics and drive from his core and legs, that could have forced him to alter his mechanics and put more stress on his shoulder/arm. It could also be the reason why he was unable to locate and have solid command of his secondary pitches (curveball and slider).

In order for the Tigers to return to the Postseason they cannot afford to have another down year from Verlander. Even with David Price and Anibal Sanchez behind him, this is a starting rotation that will be weaker than it has been in years past. The bigger fear for the Tigers, if Verlander can’t return to his old form, is that they will be paying $28 million a season (through 2020) for an average to above average starting pitcher

*Now with all of this being said, there is ABSOLUTELY no reason NOT to believe that Justin Verlander can and will come back from this. He is still (only) 32 years old and is still one of the top tier starting pitchers in the game. Every pitcher eventually loses their fastball; even the greats. It’s what you do to re-shape your game after that happens which separate the good from the great.*

Verlander pulled

  • A Less Than Watertight Bullpen: In the past four seasons, the ERA of the Tigers bullpen has had them ranked 27th, 24th, 18th and 25th respectively in the entire MLB. The bullpen was one of the key contributors to the Tigers being bounced from the playoffs by the Orioles in 2014. What’s astonishing is that while GM Dave Dombrowski made the moves to replace departed starting pitchers Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello, he neglected to address his bullpen in any way. In fact, it is almost exactly the same bullpen returning that was to blame for that dismal 2014 campaign. 40 year old, Joe Nathan, returns as the incumbent closer, a year removed from saving 35 games while posting a 4.81 ERA. Behind Nathan, the Tigers will have a pair of experienced setup men in Joakim Soria and Joba Chamberlain. Soria, who was acquired from the Rangers at last season’s trade deadline, has experience closing games and could replace Nathan if he falters. Even though they didn’t add anyone in the offseason, the Tigers bullpen may get a big mid-season upgrade if and when RHP Bruce Rondon returns from Tommy John Surgery. Rondon, who was viewed as a future closer, struggled in his first MLB performance in 2013 before missing all of last year following Tommy John surgery. The Tigers will take any kind of upgrade they can get and a healthy Rondon would be an immediate upgrade to that bullpen.

nathan

Honourable Mention:

 

  • V-Mart’s knees: torn meniscus during offseason workouts could force him to miss Opening Day. Bigger concern for Tigers should be that it’s same knee that forced him to miss all of 2012.
  • Attempting to replace Max Scherzer’s and Rick Porcello’s outputs with the likes of Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene.
  • Jose Iglesias’ durability.
  • Alex Avila’s long term health: the catcher suffered upwards of four concussions in 2014.
  • That collective sick feeling that I and every Blue Jays fan will get if Anthony Gose somehow manages to put it all together.

 

 

Player to Watch: 3B Nick Castellanos. Playing in his first full MLB season in 2014, Nick Castellanos enjoyed the highs and lows of life in the big leagues. Offensively he had a pretty decent season at the plate, hitting .259/11/66 in 533 AB. However, his defensive game left something to be desired, as he ranked near the bottom of every defensive metric. The reason for him being a defensive liability could be because he has bounced around between multiple positions since being drafted. Originally drafted as a shortstop by the Tigers in the supplemental first round (44th overall) back in 2010, Castellanos was first asked to move to 3B so his bat would not be blocked by Jhonny Peralta. However, when the Tigers signed Prince Fielder to play 1B, Castellanos path to the majors became blocked by Miguel Cabrera, whom had moved across the diamond to accommodate Fielder. With Cabrera at 3B, Castellanos was then asked to ply his trade as a LF; which would only last a season. Following the 2013 season, Fielder was whipped out of the Motor City, Cabrera moved back to 1B, and Castellanos was asked (again) to switch back to 3B. While the Tigers have always known that Castellanos can hit, they’ll need him to make bigger strides defensively. Perhaps now that he has an established position, he’ll be able to fine tune his defensive skills. On the offensive side of things, it wouldn’t be outlandish to believe a 20 HR/75 RBI campaign is possible.

 

castellanos

Top Pitching Prospect: Buck Farmer · RHP · MLB ETA: 2015

 

farmer

Top Positional Prospect: Steven Moya · OF · MLB ETA: 2015

 

Moya

Top 30 Prospects (MLB.com): http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2015?list=det

 

Final Prediction: 2nd AL Central.

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