Daily Duce: Thursday, June 15th


The Blue Jays should trade Roberto Osuna “as soon as possible,” writes Jonah Keri in a fascinating, hackle-raising piece for Sportsnet. Jonah thinks that there’s a chance that “the Jays could have their cake and eat it too, flipping Osuna, getting young, major league-ready (or nearly ready) talent in return, and retaining their shot at a third straight dance in October.” Wow.

There’s genuine sense in this, of course, despite what I’m sure are your howls. Watching Osuna pitching at his best is a gift, I know. But while the below tweet hardly constitutes a rigorous scientific study, uh… it’s a stark reminder that most great closers don’t sustain that success for fifteen years like a Mariano Rivera (who didn’t become a closer full-time until he was 27).

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Before you get all angry at Jonah, though, be clear that he definitely gets it:

Speaking of Osuna, Israel Fehr has a great one at the Athletic, looking at how the Jays’ closer has turned his season around after a tough start.

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More reliever talk, and more embedded tweets to make this Daily Duce look like trash! It’s MR. Brian Kenny talking about “super-relievers,” a class that he (eventually) includes Ryan Tepera among (and one that would, more rightly, include Joe Biagini, were he not still currently holding down a rotation spot):

And speaking of Neftali Feliz (who was mentioned above), he’s been designated for assignment by the Brewers, and thus has been content for the ol’ content mill over at Jays Journal, as they say the Jays should look at him. Thing is, unless you’re talking about a genuine, obvious upgrade, the Jays bullpen is pretty fine as it is. Taking a flyer on a guy for the sake of it? Nah.

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Moving on, Keith Law provided his team-by-team draft breakdowns for AL clubs today at ESPN.com, once again praising the Jays for their selection of shortstop Logan Warmoth. He reiterates that he felt Warmoth was a “top-ten talent” in the draft, and adds, “I did hear some teams were concerned about his exit velocities, but I do think the swing works well enough that I’d bet on sufficient hard contact to make him a regular at short.”

Keith had several more Jays-related tidbits (though probably not enough for a whole post, which… holy shit, is something I haven’t done in a really long time!), in his post-draft chat at his personal blog, The Dish.

Clutchlings has a nice, detailed breakdown of the Jays’ first three picks as well. Definitely worth a read!

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More team-by-team stuff, but this time not draft-related, and not from Keith, but from Jon Heyman at Fan Rag, as he gives notes on every team in the American League. His Jays notes aren’t exactly full of mind-blowing scoops — did you know that Josh Donaldson is good??? — but it’s still well worth a read.

Elsewhere at Fan Rag, Evan Davis wonders whether Marcus Stroman is an ace. And while Davis ultimately thinks it’s a little premature to say yes, Stroman has certainly looked the part this season.

Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun wonders — as, he notes, Buck Martinez did in a radio hit this week — if the trouble with Marco Estrada is that he’s been tipping his pitches. It’s certainly something I’ve wondered, as I’m sure a lot of fans have as well. There’s not a whole lot of other reasons things could have so suddenly seem to have stopped working for him.

Speaking of Estrada, Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet writes that the man who has been the team’s best pitcher for over two years now deserves some patience through this stretch. Damn straight. (Maybe sign him to an extension while you’re at it, too, Jays!)

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Arden looks at “ever-ready” Dwight Smith Jr., who certainly made the most of his return to the lineup on Wednesday, with a strong Rogers Centre debut (his previous action with the big club had been on the road). Meanwhile, Ben Nicholson-Smith offers optimism on Francisco Liriano — something that Wednesday night’s start certainly did, as Liriano was probably his best of the season. And David Singh talks to the great Kenny Lofton — who, on Twitter, he called “arguably MLB’s best basketball player ever.” Yes, I’d imagine former Toronto Blue Jays infielder Danny Ainge would have something to say about that.

Batter’s Box reminds us of the existence of Glenn Sparkman, who pitched five innings of two-hit ball for New Hampshire as he continues his rehab from a broken thumb suffered in Spring Training. Just what the hell the Jays are going to do once he’s ready to return (or his rehab time is officially up) is yet another roster wrinkle the club will have to deal with in the coming weeks. Unless they just offer him back to the Royals, that is.

Great stuff from Cole Shelton over at Bluebird Banter, as he chats with Jason Leblebijian about his great season so far for Buffalo, getting help on his hitting from Carlos Delgado, and more! Miiiiight want to figure out how to get this guy up to play second base here, Jays.

Gregory Strong of the Canadian Press (here via the Globe and Mail), relays the key quotes this week from Jays scouting director Steve Sanders, who said all the right things about the players he was instrumental in drafting for the club.

Interesting stuff from David Laurila of FanGraphs, as he talks to former Blue Jay Matt Stairs about the ABCs of hitting — which maybe aren’t changing so much with new technology as we’re seeing new word for old concepts. “Hitters have always thought about exit velocity, just not in those words. Our thought process was hitting the ball hard and getting the proper angle to the baseball,” he says. We heard similar things when “pitch framing” had its moment — that catchers were always focused on receiving and trying to steal strikes. It’s just now those are things that can be actually quantified — which, obviously, is huge.

A couple of gems from Jays Droppings, as Ryan discusses the woe to .500, and gives an emphatic answer to the question of whether the Jays should trade Josh Donaldson: no.

Over at the Blue Jay Hunter, Ian takes a look at the longest Blue Jays home run of the season — hit this week by Kendrys Morales.

Lastly, holy shit, this Deadspin piece from Lindsey Adler about the financial difficulties at Baseball Prospectus and some internal strife under the company’s relatively new ownership group. Perhaps it’s only interesting to those of us in sports media, or with a particular interest in the inner workings of our favourite sites, but… yowza. It’s a hell of a piece — and a hell of a look at a side of the industry that a lot of people don’t often see (and that some of us are all too familiar with). Lindsey, by the way, will be in Toronto for a Pitch Talks event on June 26th, chatting with Keith Law! Another panel that night will be Mike Wilner, Shi Davidi, and Nick Ashbourne talkin’ Jays. Especially if you’ve bever been to one of these events, be sure to check it out!

  • JP94

    On the BP thing. I remember when Jason Parks got the Cubs job and talked about what it meant on the Fringe Average podcast. Getting health insurance was a big deal as his knee was bad and he needed surgery. BP was so good for a long time but they could never afford to pay what the talent was worth.

  • The Humungus

    Lets look at that TSN list for a second:

    1. Street – still a reliever, 324 career saves
    2. Feliz – Texas tried to make him a starter, he wasn’t good, then blew out his UCL. Has only had one decent relief season since
    3. Forster – arm injury at 23, then converted to a starter, where he failed miserably
    5. Kim – made into a starter, then bounced back and forth, wound up a sub-.500 major leaguer that Theo Epstein once called signing to a contract extension a “mistake”, publicly.

    So, Number 1 stayed a reliever and, although he’s had injury troubles, has had a decent career.

    The other 3 were made starters and dealt with injuries and basically became nobodies.

    Seems like that’s a pretty good argument not only for keeping Osuna in the ‘pen, but keeping him around in that role as long as you can (and as long as he’s healthy).

  • Regulator Johnson

    I agree with the premise of the Keri piece, but all of his individual arguments are trash. The simple fact is that by not converting Osuna to a starter after his first call-up, we placed a hard ceiling on his eventual value (not necessarily that we decreased his overall value). That kind of relief arm is very valuable to contending teams. However, if the first words out of Rizzo’s mouth are not “Robles and” Atkins should hang up the phone.

  • Just Jeff

    I think it’s much more likely that Sparkman replaces Grilli in the bullpen. If you’re only going to use Grilli in really low leverage situations, why not just use Sparkman there?

  • Player to Be Named Later

    I found it weird (intriguing? notable?) that they pitched Sparkman 5 innings. “Are they stretching him out” I wondered…. Maybe they’re just building arm strength. But it didn’t seem like something they’d do if they were planning on putting him in the pen (which, I thought, would make the most sense.)