February 16 2017 02:32PM
Shi Davidi of Sportsnet talks to the newest Blue Jay, Mat Latos, about his struggles over the last two seasons -- related mostly to a knee injury suffered back when he was in Cincinnati (something he's been vocal about the Reds' mishandling of) -- and what his role could be in Toronto, if he makes the team. Latos comes to camp on a minor league deal, and knows he's going to have to earn his keep, which might mean pitching out of the bullpen -- something he told Shi he found tough at first when he tried it in Washington last year, of the first time in his career, but that he grew to like. "And it wasn't bad looking back and actually seeing 95 every now and then," he adds.
It probably always starts out well with Latos, but then...
Speaking of bad pitchers, Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets that, in the course of exploring the market for depth pitching, the Jays had talks with Edwin Jackson. Yes, the Edwin Jackson. And, actually, it's not as crazy an idea as it maybe sounds on the surface. Jackson's fastball appears to have lost a couple ticks between 2015 and 2016, but that's likely mostly because half of his appearances last season were as a starter, and in 2015 he was exclusively a reliever -- and averaged 93.9 mph heat. WAR pegged him as replacement level that year, and probably fairly, based on his walk and strikeout totals, but he did manage a 3.07 ERA, a 3.82 FIP, and a WHIP (remember WHIP???) of 1.17. No such thing as a bad minor league deal with an invite!
February 16 2017 10:11AM
According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays have made yesterday's rumours official, agreeing to a minor-league deal with Mat Latos. According to John Lott, Latos has the possibility of earning $1.5 million at the major league level.
#BlueJays have agreed to sign RHP Mat Latos per sources— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) February 16, 2017
Fresh from signing a minor league deal, pitcher Mat Latos has arrived in #BlueJays camp. $1M if he makes team, $500,000 in incentives.— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) February 16, 2017
February 15 2017 04:27PM
Cat Latos, the cat belonging to former Reds and Padres and Dodgers and Angels and Marlins and White Sox and Nationals pitcher Mat Latos, always seemed like a target of the Toronto Blue Jays back during the Alex Anthopoulos days, but despite rumours over the years, the clubs was never quite able to land him.
Now, though Alex is long gone, it seems the Jays are finally going to get their feline. Sadly, the reason they're able to do so is that the pitcher who comes along as part of the package appears now to be a shell of his former self.
Yep, Latos is no longer the guy who spurred this amazingly dumb comment I just came across on a message board post from 2012: "Toronto trades prospects for Buehrle on a bad contract but won't sign Jimenez for a more valuable deal. Toronto trades top prospects for Dickey but won't pony up for a budding ace in Latos. Disgusting."
February 15 2017 12:31PM
Aaron Sanchez isn't exactly pleased with the media about the way the supposed feud between him and Marcus Stroman went from Reddit theorizing to genuine news this winter. He's not wrong, either. "You guys like to take things and blow them up. He's doing his thing, I'm doing mine, we're still teammates," he said this morning in Dunedin, according to a tweet from Irfaan Gaffar of Sportsnet.
And here's where I blow this up: still... teammates? That's not exactly the most inspiring description of a pair of former besties. In fact, it kinda sounds like a non-denial denial to me! On the other hand, who possibly gives a shit?
Speaking of Sanchez, Keegan Matheson tweets that John Gibbons told reporters today that young Sanchy isn't going to be pushed especially hard in Spring Training, and that his first start will come on March 8th or 9th.
It's a swing and a miss for the post-Keegan version of Jays Journal, as we're told John Gibbons has "anointed" Justin Smoak his Opening Day first baseman. And the basis for this? When asked on Prime Time Sports last night about who his Opening Day first baseman would be "if Opening Day was tomorrow" -- a wholly ridiculous question for the first official day of camp -- Gibbons responded, "Well, that would be Smoak. But you could possibly see Pearce in there." As I wrote yesterday, Gibbons clearly told reporters that he wanted to see how things shake out, both at first base and in left field. His comments on PTS are entirely in line with that. Words have meanings.
February 15 2017 10:55AM
Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
PECOTA, the performance forecasting system first developed by Nate Silver and currently run by the team at Baseball Prospectus, hates the Blue Jays.
Or, at least, one might look at last week’s reveal of their 2017 projections, and the 81-81 record calculated for the club — a record that, in terms of projected record, puts the Jays behind the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay Rays — and come to that conclusion.
Of course, PECOTA isn’t actually capable of hating anything. It’s just an algorithm. Cold and dispassionate, spitting out forecasts for individual players that are then combined and adjusted for expected playing time into a projected record for each club. Which is...
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