Fascinating stuff at FanGraphs from Dave Cameron, who writes about how the market for power — at least when it comes from 1B/DH/OF types who don’t have much defensive value — has maybe already overcorrected. “If Rasmus can only get $5 million, and no one would take Seth Smith at $7 million, how does Brandon Moss ask for significantly more? What kind of offers are Carter and Pedro Alvarez going to get in a world where similar hitters with better defensive abilities are settling for cut-rate contracts just to land a job,” he asks. This is rather good news for the Blue Jays, because despite having misread this market badly on Edwin Encarnación, they’re now very well positioned to find some bargains. And while you might be thinking that they don’t need bargains so much as they need talent, what these prices mean is that they’ve probably got the budget to add a couple more pieces. A Bautista and a legit platoon partner for Melvin Upton may well be doable within their budget. That’s obviously far better than one or the other. (And, in fact, the dirty little secret of the Jays’ offseason is this: they’re gonna be fine.)
Speaking of power bats, Keegan Matheson does some great work at Jays Journal looking into what the move to Rogers Centre could mean for Kendrys Morales. There is reason for optimism because of both the move to a more hitter-friendly park and the exit velocities Morales posted last year. Doesn’t make the contract look much better, but it’s likely not going to look awful, either. Especially if fans will ever let him be Kendrys and non “Not Edwin.”
On a similar note to Cameron’s piece, Shi Davidi and Ben Nicholson-Smith have a feature for Sportsnet called Shorting the Long Ball, talking precisely about the soft market for power and what it tells us about the always-evolving way front offices evaluate players.
Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Benny Fresh looks at the Jays’ arbitration cases, becauzzzzzzzzz… zzzzzz… Shit! Sorry. Nodded off there for a second. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, ain’t it?
Speaking of arbitration, Jon Heyman tweets that the Jays and Darwin Barney have avoided it, settling at $2,887,500 as his 2017 salary. Sure. Why not? (The number is quite a bit higher than what was projected by Barney at MLBTR, which means — if Justin Smoak getting more than his projection either last year or the year before is any indication — a bunch of morons are about to start acting like it’s the front office that fucked up, and not, y’know, the projection.)
One more from Sportsnet before moving on, as Jeff Blair insists that fans need not worry about the recent Aaron Sanchez-Scott Boras marriage.
At MLB.com, Jim Callis answers some prospect questions, including one about Vlad Guerrero Jr. that we’ll all enjoy very much: “He easily cracked my personal Top 50 at No. 31 and I may rue placing him that low when I look back later this year,” he says, adding that he’ll “be a star wherever he plays.”
Speaking of prospects, awesome stuff from prospect writer Chris Crawford, formerly of ESPN and currently with Hero Sports, as he’s selling his invaluable prospect guides (there is one for each division, plus one on the 2017 draft) at ProspectGuides.com, and today only (Friday, January 12th), he’ll be donating 50% of the earnings to the American Society for Suicide Prevention. The cost is very reasonable ($1.99 for the AL East guide), the cause is great, and the guides are excellent. Giv’er.
Interesting take from Nick Ashbourne at Yahoo! Canada, as he suggests that the Jays are being out-manoeuvred by the Rays this winter… because the Rays signed Colby Rasmus. I mean, that’s not all he says — you should read his piece, Nick is damn sharp — but… yeah, I’m not sure worrying about not getting Rasmus is something any Jays fan should be doing. Plus, there are plenty of other bargains still to be had that ought to swing the tide of these concerns back towards the Jays’ direction. Tampa is smart, though, and Rasmus and Wilson Ramos may well pay off for them, it’s true. But those are flyers a team that doesn’t expect to compete can take.
Speaking of Rasmus, the first of a pair of Jays-related pieces from Beyond the Box Score looks back at the trade that brought him to Toronto. A second piece focusses on Aaron Sanchez, wondering whether he can survive as an extreme ground ball pitcher. The short answer: he seems better equipped than most. But this is a deep dig and well worth he read.
Hot stove stuff passed along by CBS Sports, who note that José Bautista’s camp has been in touch with the Twins. This would be a good move by Minnesota, I think. It would also be good for him to get an actual offer so that he can take it to the Jays and they can beat it and we can get this fucking nonsense over with already (I feel like I’ve said that before.)
Interesting stuff, even if it answers a question I don’t know that anybody should really give a shit about, from the always excellent Jonathan Bernhardt of FanRag. He wonders, do the Blue Jays have a franchise player? The short answer is that it’s Josh Donaldson, but — as Jon rightly points out — the clock is already ticking on his time north of the border here. “Donaldson not only just turned 31 years old in December, but he will be hitting free agency after the 2018 season. That’s going to be his one and only chance at a big contract, the sort of $160-$180 million monster that guys like Chris Davis and the like dream on, and Donaldson’s a better player than Davis is,” he explains. “He might get that deal from the Blue Jays…but Mark Shapiro isn’t the kind of executive that goes out and commits hundreds of millions of dollars to a guy who might be entering his decline just out of loyalty and past production.” Sigh… it’s true.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME SPRING TRAINING REPORT DATES??? Because they’re here, via MLB.com. Now we can wait in breathless anticipation for the opening of camp, the excitement building, day by day, until the boys of summer finally return. Y’know, all that good stuff that comes before we remember that basically shit-all happens in the first month of camp, and most of spring training is boring as fuck. I guess boring details beat nothing, though, amiright? (The Jays, in case you were wondering, will report to camp on… some day in February. Who gives a fuck?)
In I can’t believe this hadn’t aired yet news, over at the Blue Jay Hunter, Ian tells us that Josh Donaldson’s appearance on Vikings is set to go to air next week. Yes, that would be the appearance that was filmed last year around this time.
Speaking of Donaldson’s extra-curricular activities, Sportsnet notes that he’s going to make a special appearance at UFC 209, which is… happening at some point, I’m sure. Shit, I might even know when if they hadn’t spent years pushing a shitty, watered-down card every couple of weeks that it completely turned me off the sport.
Lastly, I promise I won’t inundate this space with too many plugs for this stuff, but I mentioned on Twitter earlier today that over the course of this dull offseason I’ve started writing about music a little bit. Specifically, I’m “reviewing” the songs that, unbeknownst to me, have been catalogued every time I’ve used the Shazam app on my phone. Yeah, it’s a bit of a wank-off, but whatever. It’s a chance to share music I think is awesome and shit on stuff you probably like. Today I wrote about Joe Meek, which is very much the former. You can check out that and the rest of what I’ve done so far at shazamproject.com (aka Songs I Didn’t Recognize…).