Friday, December 18, 2009

101 Reasons for Offseason Optimism: This week's other transaction

With all of the attention heaped on a certain trade this week, the Jays' acquisition of catcher John Buck was lost in the all of the excitement.

As much as we loved Rod Barajas in spite of ourselves, this move looks like it has the potential to be an upgrade at catcher at a very reasonable $2 million for 2010. Buck's a guy who swings hard and ends up striking out a lot (55 times in 186 ABs versus 13 walks in '09), but he also hits the ball a ton when he makes contact (.484 slugging with 12 doubles and 8 homers in his 59 games last season.) While the swings-from-his-butt description might resemble Barajas on the surface, a look at their slash lines over the last couple of years shows at least some distinction:

Barajas '08-'09 - .275 OBP / .406 SLG / .681 OPS (in 229 games)
Buck '08-'09 - .302 OBP / .405 SLG / .707 OPS (in 168 games)

Parsing through the distinction between the two, it seems as though Barajas will manage a few additional dribblers through the infield while Buck will keep the bat on his shoulder once a week or so. So, you know, no big whoop. The big distinction that we can draw between the two is that Buck is almost five years younger and we much prefer the look of Buck's swing (as you can observe in this video of him at some baseball academy).

And this probably isn't worth much, but Buck raked like a mofo in one of our old MLB 2K games. Which shouldn't put him over the top in our mind, otherwise, I'd be advocating for a J.D. Closser multiyear signing. Still, we're calling this an upgrade.

(You hear that, you cynical smarmy sarcastic heathens? The Jays got better at a key position! Building!)

Cliff Lee's not bitter
Went to that thanksroy.com page, which has already been infiltrated by the merchants of mirth. In particular, I enjoyed this comment from someone on their way to the rainy coast:

25 comments:

Stedron said...

I'd look this up myself, but I'm blocked out of most everything here at work (I guess you should be insulted that you're not on their no-no radar.)

How's his arm?

Tallet's 'stache said...

And, I thought one of the big things about Buck is that at least he could get better - have a breakout season or whatever - while we know exactly what we're getting with Barajas.

SP said...

You guys realize you just set yourselves up for 101 optimistic posts, right? It's going to be depressing.

SP said...

One big difference is that Buck is apparently an awful defender, while Barajas was one of the better ones. Here's a great study on catcher defense: http://www.drivelinemechanics.com/2009/10/13/1082419/2009-catcher-defense-filling-in

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that, SP - and, look at Chavez on there!

Tao of Stieb said...

See, some of the stuff that I've read says that Buck's a good defensive catcher. And some of the stuff that I read about Barajas before he got to Toronto was that he called a terrible game and was a lousy defender. So, you know. Who knows?

Defensive metrics for catchers are really dodgy. I prefer to believe that Buck will be awesome.

eyebleaf said...

I prefer to believe that Buck will be awesome.

Me too.

A questions: Where does Wallace start? Double A?

Peter D said...

Buck is just a fill in player until one of Jeroloman, Aroncibia or D'Arnaud developes.

Best case scenario, Buck plays well enough to gain enough value that the Jays can deal him for prospects.

Anonymous said...

Peter D - but isn't Buck on a one-year deal? So they'd have to trade him half-way through the season, which I suppose means that Buck would have to play well enough to gain value AND a contender would have to have their starting catcher get seriously injured.

Brian Tallet's Cock Cheese said...

I also noticed that The Ack reposted his Let Go Lightly post from a few days ago.

Good Job Ack. I hope Roy sees it.

Anonymous said...

I hope I never hear AA speak the fucking francais again. Fuck off Queebeck!

SP said...

Good call, Tao. There's a reason why the Fangraphs guys don't even bother trying to quantify catcher D.

The Ack said...

@ the Cheese - I actually noticed it up there but I'm not the one who posted it, so someone else passed that along...

TSG said...

I *think* that there is also the off chance that Buck gets type B (is A possible?) status this year with a starting spot and a good year.

You never know.

eyebleaf said...

Ack, I thought that was you. Crazy!!!1 Props to whoever did it, and to whoever created that site. Wicked gesture. Long live the Doc.

Brian Tallet's Cock Cheese said...

At least they credited you Ack.

The Ack said...

Oh, I've got no problems with that. I would have felt a little lame copying & pasting my own stuff anyway.

The Southpaw said...

Yo guys, could you update the link back to my old address?

Oh, and on-topic: i was kinda glad to hear AA gush about Buck's qualifications in terms of working with young pitchers (not like he was gonna say "yeah he's a bum, but weren't all the free agents?")

The Southpaw said...

eyebleaf,

AA said Wallace would be at AAA, Drabek at AA and d'Arnoud at Dunedin

The Man with the Golden Arm said...

Could do a lot worse in the bottom third of the lineup...oh wait we already did.

http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=136460

eyebleaf said...

Thanks, Southpaw.

And, Tao, where's the Doc-inspired goodbye RockOut?

Leaker said...

I'm a lifelong Blue Jays fan who now lives near Kansas City, MO. I've seen Buck play a lot and always thought Buck was nails, very scrappy. A little more contact would be nice, but it's an all or nothing era, so what the hell. I'm still ready for more moves! Let's go AA, more moves!

It seems AA, from his comments, has handed off the team to Hill and Lind (Wells who?). He has mentioned getting those guys help. Are these young guys really gonna arrive in time?

Gil Fisher said...

Well Lind's protected for four years, and Drabek/Wallace will be here to start 2011 at the latest. As for Hill, I think he should be good and over-rated in a couple of years so we can flip him. Somebody should come through the ranks to replace him.

Aaron Hill said...

Your mom was overrated!

Gil Fisher said...

But was she good, sicko?