Tagged: Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays pick up Jason Grilli’s $3M option for 2017 — Sportsnet.ca

TORONTO — Relief pitcher Jason Grilli had his US$3 million team option for the 2017 season picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday morning. The 39-year-old Grilli was traded to Toronto on May 31 from the Atlanta Braves. He pitched 42 innings for the Blue Jays, striking out 58 with a 3.64 earned-run…

via Blue Jays pick up Jason Grilli’s $3M option for 2017 — Sportsnet.ca

Seemed like a pretty obvious move. Really the Jays are probably figuring it’s pretty cheap insurance. Kind of like Justin Smoak. Except that Grilli actually contributed pretty consistently through the season.

Seems like the Jays are going to let Osuna stay on as the closer. Unless of course another big option comes along, but they tried and failed that move last year didn’t they? (a la Drew Storen) Osuna was so good this year, why should they even try to move his to start? With a terrific core returning, I imagine they will leave him be.

Bye-bye post-season, hello off-season

[sigh] Well, it took a few days to get over the AL Championship Series loss to a decimated Cleveland team who eked out win after win… after win after win… against the cold Blue Jays offence. The offence that was revitalized down the stretch and destroyed the much hated Texas Rangers much to the joy of Blue Jay fans (including myself).

But a 4 day break put the bats back on ice and a game 4 will to win by Josh Donaldson wasn’t sustainable.

bba-alcs-indians-blue-jays-baseball-20161019

Comments by Jose Bautista before Game 5 about the rookie pitcher that was subbing in for Cleveland, left him a laughing stock when the Jays got shut out.

“With our experience in our lineup, I’m pretty sure he’s going to be shaking in his boots more than we are”

-Jose Bautista

I felt upset by the loss. I wanted them to end their season at Rogers with a win. I knew a comeback from a 3-0 deficit was remote, but just wanted to see one more win. And I think the disappointment had more to do with how they played than the loss itself.

The Twitter reaction was interesting. Most tweeters seemed happy and grateful for the second visit to the playoffs and getting to the final four. I get that. If I wasn’t a bandwagon fan, I would be grateful that I wasn’t reliving the 20 odd years where they didn’t make the playoffs at all.

But, I was mostly annoyed that there seemed to be a stubborn and conscious decision by the team not to adjust their approach. This philosophy comes from John Gibbons no doubt. But every other team with success in the playoffs, studied their opponents and adjusted their approach. It’s just necessary in the playoffs isn’t it? How did the Jays not learn their lesson in 2015 when they were killed by Kansas City’s small ball?

20161019-bluejays

Well, anyway. I will be asking myself these questions for the next 5 months until Spring Training comes around again. As I watch what I hope is a promising transformation of the Jays into an even stronger team. I’m kind of excited and really hope not to be disappointed.

Of all the pending free agents, the only one I’ll really miss is Edwin.

I hope so badly that he comes back, but the man going to get paid, and the Jays may decide that they want a younger, cheaper, left-handed slugger/first baseman instead.

bba-orioles-blue-jays-baseball-20161004

I’m hoping the Jays’ head office will spend some money. I mean how much $$ did the fans spend this season? I mean it’s ridiculous really. I personally spent a few thousand dollars, and gosh, I don’t even want to count the number of hours.

It was fun, when they won. It sucked when they lost. It was an emotional ride. I guess that’s what being a sports fan is all about.

 

The Final Stretch

I haven’t written too many posts lately. And mainly it’s probably because I’m busy. But a lot of it has to do with a chronic sense of frustration with the team.

I know, the professional broadcasters are always dissing us bandwagon folk saying we don’t understand the game and we’re ready to bail on the team even though they’re in first. Blah blah blah. Those like Mike Wilner have a Twitter feed that exists purely to diss any fan who has an opinion.

I get that. For me the frustration stems from the team underperforming. They’re better than they have been and for the most part have been lucky that they got to first place. It’s hard not to want them to be as good as last year, because they didn’t get to the World Series last year. So it’s hard not to think that if they don’t do as well, they won’t get farther this season.

It’s also hard to hear those like Buck Martinez constantly talking about the thunderous offense of the Jays. I mean they’ve only been thunderous a handful of times when playing against poor quality pitchers. They haven’t had any persistent runs where you felt like things were clicking.

Yes they’re in first, but the confidence level is precarious. When they can lose to the worst team in the division, you think, how can they possible beat good teams they don’t know?

Really, I just want them to win the division again. Beyond that would be gravy to me. If they could just play to their potential, it shouldn’t be a problem. But why? Why have they been stymied so often? The coaches love to let them do their thing. But come on. Isn’t there anything you can coach them on? Can’t you practice getting base hits?

It’s been a season of scratching the surface and although they’ve made it this far with their pitching efforts, it’s concerning that they seem to be fading and maybe won’t be able to keep this team afloat on their own. They need offense. And most of all, the expectation is that their defense is working. No dropped balls Devon Travis. No crazy off balance throws to first Marcus Stroman. Move your feed and chase the ball Michael Saunders. No stopping the ball with your body J. A. Happ.

Come on team. Let’s get the adrenaline pumping.

The 6-game homestand

Ok, so the Jays managed to stay afloat over the past couple of weeks while Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista were out on the DL. In addition, MVP Josh Donaldson and superstar hot bat Troy Tulowitzki had to take a few days off for small injuries. So I guess tied for 1st isn’t too bad considering the offense was weak at times and there were strikeouts galore. The bullpen for the most part has covered for some recent glitches in the starting pitching ie, All-stars Aaron Sanchez and Marco Estrada who have struggled since the introduction of the 6-man rotation. Considering the bullpen also lost a couple of games ie, dominant Roberto Osuna, and struggling Brett Cecil, against the Cleveland Indians, it’s actually quite a surprise to still be in first.

And a relief to have a 6-game homestand against the last place LA Angels and the last place Minnesota Twins.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

RA Dickey (ERA 4.51, WHIP 1.35) vs. Tyler Skaggs (ERA 5.19, WHIP 1.58)
Dickey’s ERA is higher over the last 7 games at 5.68. Skaggs has only pitched 26 innings this season.

Marco Estrada (ERA 3.20, WHIP 1.04) vs. Matt Shoemaker (ERA 4.14, WHIP 1.26)
Marco has struggled a bit his last few starts and his ERA has been 4.38 over the last 7 games. Shoemaker’s ERA however has been better than average at 3.51.

estrada era

Estrada ERA 2016 Season by Game

JA Happ (ERA 3.05, WHIP 1.14) vs. Jered Weaver (ERA 5.47, WHIP 1.53)
This matchup is a no-brainer. Happ has been utterly dominant with a league leading 17-3 record and he’s even better the last 7 games with an ERA of 1.85. He seems to be loving the 6-man rotation.

Marcus Stroman and Francisco Liriano will be starting the series against the Twins.

sanchez_aaron1280-1040x572

Aaron Sanchez will be missing his next start against these last place teams. The Blue Jays are trying to figure out a way to keep him fresh but keep him in the rotation as long as possible and hopefully into the playoffs. He’s been sent down to Dunedin for a break. There’s a cost no matter what you do. You skip starts and you don’t get him pitching and winning. You send him to the bullpen, you lose him for good, but gain potentially a solid reliever, assuming of course he’d be as good as last season. And this is a guy in the Cy Young conversation. What to do…what to do…

OFFENSE

The series vs. the Angels will be a great opportunity to watch one of the best players in baseball Mike Trout. (Here’s hoping he’s off his game.) Our old friend and ex-Jay Cliff Pennington is now with the Angels and we will get to see him again too.

The Angels are in the pits this season but they have 7 batters hitting over .250 in the lineup compared to 6 batters in the Jays. Four of the Angels are hitting over .270 compared to only Donaldson for the Jays.

This series is not going to be as easy as it seems like it should be against a team out of the running. We need a series win and if the offense is working, maybe a sweep!

The 6-Man

There has been so much chatter about the 6-man rotation that the Blue Jays have recently adopted. Jays Front Office succumbed to pressure from somewhere (the players, the media, the fans) and settled on this solution as a means to keep young star starter Aaron Sanchez in the rotation for the time being.

There is the usual division of lovers and haters. The reality is, the extra day of rest probably affects some, not others. Clearly, all pitchers have pitched on 5 days rest before. There are days off built in to all schedules. Estrada for example also spent some time on the DL which meant 15+ days of rest.

People talk about players being creatures of habit and that pitchers have a very tight and strict 5-day routine. Messing this up, could mess them up. Others say that at this time of year, guys are tired and sore if not injured and probably could use some extra rest.

How’s it going for the Jays so far? Well, new guy Francisco Liriano 1st pitched on Aug 5th.

ERA Before Aug 5

Happ 3.09
Sanchez 2.71
Estrada 2.92
Stroman 4.74
Dickey 4.49
Liriano 5.46 (with the Pirates)

ERA After Aug 5

Happ 2.70
Sanchez 4.15
Estrada 7.00
Stroman 3.18
Dickey 4.82
Liriano 5.40

There have only been 2 games each since the change so it’s a very limited sample. It does look like Sanchez may be affected, and to a greater degree, Marco Estrada. Marco has said that he’s felt ‘rusty’. He has even volunteered to pitch out of the bullpen this weekend between starts.

I guess if you think about it, Estrada is probably the one most susceptible to too much rest. He has only an 89mph fastball and is a very fine pitcher. If he gets extra rest, perhaps he has too much power and that throws him off? But then again, what about the back problem and shouldn’t rest be good for that?

Like with most things, there is probably no one right answer, and the 6-man could be good for some and bad for others. Liriano had a great start today. He will likely replace Dickey in the rotation for next year. But what will happen later this season? I think the Jays will really want to have Sanchez in the playoff run (and playoffs hopefully). If he shows signs of wear, he’ll go to the bullpen right away and likely be a great addition there. If Liriano goes to the bullpen instead, he’ll probably be pretty good there too. Like they love to say, it’ll be ‘day-to-day’.

 

Meet your new Toronto Blue Jays

 

SCOTT FELDMAN

At the trade deadline, the Blue Jays acquired RHP Scott Feldman from their current opponent, the Houston Astros, in exchange for Minor League pitcher Lupe Chavez, an 18-year-old from Roberto Osuna’s hometown, Sinaloa, Mexico.

Feldman has pitched 62 innings, is 5-3, with a 2.90 ERA and 4.23 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). He’s thrown 42 strike outs and just 13 walks, 1.2 homers/9 innings and 64 base hits. He has had a favorable 77% strand rate. He has experience with one postseason run with Texas in 2011. Look for his slow curve ball.

MIKE BOLSINGER

The Jays also unloaded an unreliable Jesse Chavez to the LA Dodgers in exchange for Mike Bolsinger. He is a cutter/curveball pitcher who is prone to the long ball. Not sure how much he’ll be playing this season and may have just been a means of providing some flexibility and to move Chavez out.

FRANCISCO LIRIANO

Just a minute before the 4 p.m. deadline, the Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Drew Hutchison to the Pirates in exchange for veteran left-hander Francisco Liriano and two of Pittsburgh’s top 10 prospects, catcher Reese McGuire and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Liriano is 6-11 with a 5.46 ERA in 21 starts with the Pirates. He has also issued 69 walks in just 113 innings, an average of more than 5 walks/9 innings. Overall, does not seem like a good replacement for Aaron Sanchez in the rotation. He used to play with Russell Martin and maybe the thinking is that he’ll do as well as he did back then with Martin catching him.

OTHER CHANGES

The Jays recently exchanged 28-year-old Drew Storen for 39-year-old Joaquin Benoit from the Seattle Mariners.

The Jays have also designated $2M lefty reliever Franklin Morales for assignment. He only just came off the 60-day DL for left arm fatigue.