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Daily Duce: Monday, September 11th

Daily???!?!???!??????!?!???!?!????!?!?!???!?!??

These posts get harder and harder to do every day I don’t do them. It’s a vicious cycle — which is why they’re much better suited to the off-season, where there just isn’t nearly as much going on with the club to draw my attention away from the ever-growing RSS feed. So… some of the things I highlight in this edition might be a few days old, but they’re still all worthy of our attention — none moreso than Rachael McDaniel’s remembrance of a meaningless game from September 2009 in an outstanding piece at BP Toronto.

Elsewhere at BP Toronto, Cole Nefsky looks at the Blue Jays’ catcher “conundrum” for 2018, which… basically amounts to going with Raffy Lopez for a half year then calling up Danny Jansen, or signing someone halfway decent as a backup. Kurt Suzuki, Alex Avila, and Chris Iannetta look like decent available options for the latter job — shit, and now that I think of it, they could allow Russell Martin to spend some time at second base if need be, which… uh… maybe?

Interesting stuff from Jeff Blair of Sportsnet, as he talks about Aaron Sanchez’s lost season, the ligament issue that we’re now learning is the real reason he’s missed so much time, and the frustration the young Jays starter is feeling over not being on the mound. Money quote: “In a locked drawer at the bottom of this locker in the Blue Jays clubhouse Sanchez has two balls, one with ‘2017’ on it and the other with ‘2016’ on it. Sunday, he asked me to see if I could determine a difference.” You think Aaron doesn’t think the balls are the reason for his lost season?

More from Sportsnet, as Jonah Keri looks at the Jays’ positional needs for 2018, and — Teoscar fans beware — tells us that the outfield is the most pressing area. (Of course, the club has done a nice job of helping to raise the floor in terms of the outfield, while waiting patiently for guys like Anthony Alford to come knocking, and Dalton Pompey to get healthy, but Jonah is certainly not wrong that they could use improvement out there.)

Stale, but how could I possibly not share this pair of long gems from Arden Zwelling, also over at Sportsnet, as he visited Dunedin to look at how Vlad Jr. keeps on proving he’s worth the hype, and to wonder when the baseball world will stop doubting Bo Bichette.

 

And a fresh(er) one from Arden: on how Brett Anderson is making the case to be a part of the Blue Jays’ rotation next season. Or, y’know, at least somebody’s.

Back to Jonah, as he has a great one at the Athletic on what the Blue Jays should do with Roberto Osuna — and you might not like the answer here.

Elsewhere at the Athletic, Ken Rosenthal has an outstanding one of the new era in the stats vs. scouts debate — featuring quotes from Mark Shapiro (who intends on keeping the Jays’ scouting staff robust, he says, despite the fact that the game — thanks to Trackman and Statcast — seems to be moving away from some traditional aspects of scouting). Money quote that I could have used ten years ago: “One executive says that 40 years ago scouts scoffed at radar guns.”

More from the Athletic, as Israel Fehr both looks at the progress of the Joe Biagini experiment, and how the Jays’ once-potent offence has turned into one of the worst in the league. Meanwhile, John Lott explains how MLB undermines its own integrity with September call-ups — which, obviously, is bang on.

Great stuff from Ian over at the Blue Jay Hunter, as he tells the story of how the Blue Jays brought back their white panel caps. (No, really, it’s good!).

Elsewhere at the Blue Jay Hunter, a look at Marcus Stroman going all statue on James McCann over the weekend (or wheneverthefuck that was).

Hey, a news-and-note thing: Benny Fresh tweets that Roberto Osuna is on the paternity list (or at least back in Mexico to be there for the birth of his child — because I’m not sure if they bother with the paternity list in September, when any player on the 40-man is eligible to play). GOOD THING IT’S NOT A PLAYOFF RACE! Which is to say, congrats!!!

Arden adds that Michael Saunders is away for the same reason! Or… well… presumably for a different kid being born.

Jeff Orchard, who works for Baseball New Zealand, and is doing some really interesting blogging at Kiwi Slugger, pivots off a piece I recently wrote about for the Athletic, and declares that Josh Donaldson will make Zack Greinke money in his next deal. Yowza.

I’m way late on this one, too, but here is some great stuff from data analytics student and Jays fan Jon Gruber, who has a great one on the “Statcast Bargain Bin,” and how we interpret — or misinterpret — data from MLB’s new system, and how we might do better going forward. Go read it!

Great stuff, as always from Blue Jays From Away, as Jay Blue tells us about prospects in September, and explains why some of the Blue Jays prospects fans may have expected to see haven’t got the call.

More prospect-y goodness from the blogs, as Clutchlings takes a look at Nate Pearson, and (going back at least a week) at Conner Panas (who totally went Pananas this year).

Speaking of Pearson, great news! Your Van C’s is back in my RSS after a long hiatus, and Charlie Caskey gives us the goods on the excellent impression the Jays’ first round fireballer made during his time out west this summer.

Because apparently it’s never too early to start talking about July 2nd, 2018, free agents, Ben Badler of Baseball America tells us that the Jays are the favourites to sign “Only two kinds of people, Beatles” Orelvis Martinez, a 15-year-old expected to land one of the richest contracts of anyone in the class. That’ll do!

Our good friend Ryan from Jays Droppings tells us why he would bet his money on Marcus Stroman.

Lastly, pretty sure I’d heard about this last week, but today it became official: Mel Didier has passed away. The longtime Jays senior advisor (the man who convinced Alex Anthopoulos to take Phil Bickford, I’ve been told), Expos scouting director (1969-75), the man who provided the scouting report that led to Kirk Gibson’s famous 1988 World Series home run apparently, and lifelong, well-respected, massively influential baseball man was 90. Paul Beeston, in his capacity as the Jays President Emeritus, has released the following statement.

  • Jays of Thunder

    It’s not the sexiest upgrade path, but raising the floor, which Stoeten has mentioned a few times, seems a pretty clear, and accessible way to meaningfully upgrade the team for next year. Jeff Sullivan at FG wrote a post this week about the Indians *arguably* having the best pitching staff ever. And a not insignificant contributor to that is the fact they have only had 24 innings thrown by a pitcher with negative WAR (only -0.1 at that).

    The Jays have had 158.2 IP, or 12.2% of all innings thrown by pitchers with combined -2.9 fWAR. That includes 13 starts by pitchers with combined -1.3 WAR and 105 relief appearances (of 500 total) by pitchers w/ -1.6 WAR.

    On offense, 2278 of 5463 plate appearances, or 42% of the total have been by players with a combined -5.3 WAR. Of that, C is 250 PA / -2.1 WAR, INF is 858 PA / -2.5 WAR, OF is 621 PA / -.2 WAR (I still LU Jose). Obviously injuries are part of the picture here and this is probably oversimplifying. But it sure seems like getting a capable backup catcher is a cost effective way to add two wins to the team, and upgrading utility positions could add another two.

  • Teddy Ballgame

    That Lott piece is bang on…and I love Gibby’s suggestion about how to fix it.

    Keri was right about Osuna ahead of the trade deadline, and he’s right about him now. I’ve always felt that looking at closers as foundation pieces is wrongheaded. Unless the plan is to turn Osuna into a starter, then he should have been a big trade chip.

    • Teddy Ballgame

      And by Rance’s glasses – I was at that meaningless September game! I knew Doc’s time in Toronto could be coming to an end, so I wanted to make sure I saw his start. I went with my brother and sister, and remember the end of the game feeling like SUCH a big deal. We were fortunate to have Doc for so long, and I’m so glad he had that start as a Phillie at the Dome so the fanbase could show him in no uncertain terms how much we loved him.

  • Deener32

    I can’t see the Jays signing a backup catcher to a major league deal this offseason- the 40 man is pretty crowded and has 3 catching prospects who are close enough to the majors that need to be added.

    Pentecost, McGuire and Janssen seem like likely adds to the 40 man, and it would be hard to imagine they give a 5th spot to a Raffy Lopez/Luke Maile type until after the rule 5 draft.