Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rosterbatory ramblings

Hey, rosterbation!

Believe it or not, we didn't have much in mind when we casually tossed out a notion on Twitter that Kyle Drabek might not make a return trip to Toronto as a Blue Jay. But now that we've seen what a reaction that we received, it strikes us that stirring the pot is kinda fun. Move over, Damien Cox and Steve Simmons! There's a new coy/cynical/smug shit-disturber in town! Idle speculation kills more trees!!!1

We can't precisely recall who had put the notion in our head that he might be in play, but given what happened with Bret Wallace ("Where's Wallace, String! Where's Wallace!") this summer, we wouldn't be surprised to see the Jays most marketable trade chip move in the offseason.

Which is not to say that we have any sense of what the Jays would be looking for, or who they might target, or what their offseason agenda might be. Although if the Gose trade is anything to go on, we could see AA moving today's future front of the rotation arm for tomorrow's future ace, dealing a 2011 promise for a stronger 2013. (In theory.)

We actually don't think that moving Drabek is the smartest move for the Jays this winter, and we'd prefer to see him as the fourth or fifth starter next season. But the most positive note that we can take out of this hot stove wankery is that the Jays have plenty of good options next season to help build a stronger rotation.

A rotation which, it should be noted, shaved .36 off its starters' ERA this year, even without what's-his-ginger-beard there to lead the way.

41 comments:

Ian - BJH said...

Maybe not Drabek, but I have a bad feeling that Marcum is good as gone this off-season. So long as the Blue Jays receive a position player or some decent prospects in return, I'll be cool with it ... eventually.

Tony said...

I think the hidden element in the Wallace deal was that the Jays decided he wasn't going to live up to his potential; thus it was better to trade him before everyone else figured that out. Not sure if the same thinking applies to Drabek.

Tao of Stieb said...

Marcum is probably the guy that I could see going as well, although I've grown kinda attached to his antics.

Interesting (to me) thing to toss out here...Starter's ERAs after July 1:

Marcum: 4.21
Romero: 4.74
Cecil: 4.08
Morrow: 4.47

This was a pretty great pitching year, but someone is going to have to be better than that down the stretch if this team is going to get carried through to the postseason.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

If Drabek was as highly touted a position player, then, yes, I could see AA trading him. But not as a pitcher. AA knows pitching is what it takes to get it done in the AL East. It would suck to see Marcum go, but if I had to pick one guy, it would probably be him. Even though he came up with the whole "pitch like a man" shtick. And you're absolutely right, Tao, they're going to have to be better down the stretch. I think that's why 2011 has to be looked at a developmental year, too. Hell, Morrow was shut down this year.

GSJays said...

Alex suggested Zack Stewart is as good of a pitching prospect as Kyle Drabek,in this Sun article and Wilner's blog....http://tiny.cc/qk6os...Both these kids appear ready and Litsch will be back, giving us 8-10 starters,with additional kids coming up late next year...So fact is we do have some depth and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see one or two guys moved. But to me the most obvious candidate to be moved is Marcum, trading Drabek or Stewart now would be selling low, imo...It sure should be an interesting off season.

The Ack said...

If we're all playing SP trade speculation, I think Cecil is the guy. Younger than Marcum, good results in his career so far, comes with the early draft pick pedigree, etc. Sure to catch the eyes of GM's looking for young, controllable pitching with upside.

But I worry about the total lack of K's and general decrease in stuff & velocity as the season progressed. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy in the rotation next year, but if I had to speculate on one name.....

(and I don't see any way AA moves Drabek, despite AA's penchant for doing the unexpected. Just too much upside, too much hope, too much invested in the kid by the org....I might have a rebuttal post in me on this over the weekend. Conflict!!!!)

Kasi said...

I posted this in the last thread, but really who on the Jays is untradeable? Well other then Wells who is because of his contract. Perhaps Romero because AA just signed him to his first contract as GM. But I honestly can't think of anyone else who isn't tradeable, other than perhaps Morrow. That includes Lind, Hill, Bautista, Snider, Drabek, Cecil, Stewart and Marcum.

Gil Fisher said...

I've been suggesting throughout the year that Drabek might get moved (had suggested anchoring a package for Adrian Gonzalez, though the Kemp tweet was enticing).

I think if you want a difference maker in return, Drabek's the one who has to go - he has the most trade value and it may be at its zenith.

I don't see a Marcum or Romero deal because they excude intangibles and seem to be the leaders of this staff. They'll keep Marcum for three or four years at his market rate and then replace him internally.

I listen to AA and I hear "we'll deal from prospect depth to address team needs". I think he'll look at what it takes to acquire impact bats at the corners and if the price is Drabek, so be it.

As for the performance of the starters down the stretch, arbitrary endpoints aside, I'll take my chances with Morrow, Romero, Marcum, Cecil and Rzep next year on the backs of their 3.63, 3.75, 3.90, 4.29 and 4.32 xFIP's and be happy.

I'll worry about pennant race and playoff performance when we have some data.

(Okay, really, I just wanted to say 'arbitrary endpoints')

Gil Fisher said...

Just two more things:

1) By monthly xFIP, Morrow, Marcum and Romero all finished strong and Cecil had a poor July and September, but strong August.

2) This is a rosterbation thread and I forget to blow my load - Drabek for Rasmus!!!1 EE first base, Lind DH, JoBau 3B. Pennant!!!1

Anonymous said...

I agree with The Ack, I'd move Cecil. Of the four, he shows the most troubling signs.

Can't see trading for Adrian Gonzalez, unless a contract extension is more or less guaranteed. Wonder if he's someone AA considers pursuing in free agency, though?

Scott said...

I can definitely see a trade of Drabek or Stewart this offseason, especially if it nets a 1B/3B that is controllable for the next few seasons

Everyone forgets that Shaun Hill acquited himself very well in september and could be valuable in a 5th starter position, where he can be skipped to save his arm. He can also be a solid trade chip, though he may have more value mid-season.

Scott said...

I can definitely see a trade of Drabek or Stewart this offseason, especially if it nets a 1B/3B that is controllable for the next few seasons

Everyone forgets that Shaun Hill acquited himself very well in september and could be valuable in a 5th starter position, where he can be skipped to save his arm. He can also be a solid trade chip, though he may have more value mid-season.

Ty said...

Shawn Hill showed that he could make a decent 5th starter, Rzepczynski showed that he can be a lot more than that, and neither of them currently have a place in the Jays' 2011 rotation (and there's also Zack Stewart, who for all we know might be ahead of both those guys on the depth chart). I'd bet that some pitching is gonna get traded, but then again, AA likes to surprise us.

From his end-of-season address yesterday it sounded like they're going to be pretty aggressive in the offseason, and that's awesome. Also awesome: the idea that Hill could be playing 2B or 3B next year, Lind could be at 1B or DH, Snider could be in LF or RF, and Bautista could be pretty much anywhere on the diamond means AA has a TON of flexibility in his dealings this Winter.

I have a funny feeling next year's team is going look a lot different than we've been anticipating.

mike in boston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mike in boston said...

i'm really not sure what the return is on any of the Jays current starters. none of them are superstars and so you're not going to get a bag of prospects or young players. i guess what you're looking at is a 1-for-1 or 2-for-2 with a team that has a redundancy at a position, sort of like the Escobar trade.

Stedron said...

I can't believe nobody is talking about Prince Fielder. It makes all the sense in the world, and Milwaukee is desperate for pitching.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Prince is that you only get him for a year. Of course, could be worth it still, depending on who you give up for him, given that right now he's solidly a Type A and there's no way he'd accept arbitration.

Parker said...

There's league-wide concern over Fielder's ability to remain dominant as he ages... fat guys generally fall off a cliff much younger than guys who actually look like professional athletes.

It also might be worth pointing out that the Jays had a very challenging schedule in the second half. I'm too lazy to actually look up the numbers, but there it is.

One last thing. Am I the only one who is starting to find it extremely annoying when people use the "!!!1!!11" exclamation? It was hip to use it ironically two years ago, now it just looks dumb.

Great post and comments overall, though.

Gil Fisher said...

Damn!!!!1

Old guy late to the party.

Ty said...

So, according to MLBTR's final Elias Ranking update, Jason Frasor is a Type A free agent.

I assume the Jays will offer arbitration regardless, but this kinda opens up the possibility of Frasor actually accepting. It'll be an interesting storyline to watch for sure.

Peter D said...

Some thoughts:

1. Ack, I love that you are on the sell high bandwagon with your Cecil comment.
2. As for trading Drabek, I'd be surprised if it happened, but that being said. no one should be off the table if a good deal can be had.
3. Trading from depth to address an area of weakness is always smart.
4. Sounds like AA is planning on doing a lot of trading this off season, sounds like fun.

Brendan said...

According to MLBTR the Brewers are looking for pitching in return for Fielder. The Blue Jays have a ton of pitching and are definitely in need of a first baseman. If AA could pull that trade off and (I know I'm dreaming here) back the money truck up for Carl Crawford imagine how scary the 2011 lineup could be!

Kasi said...

And then it would be awful in 2012 or 2013 when Fielder crashed to earth. True he could hit at DH I suppose, but I don't know if a guy as big as him would be able to last long. And if you don't plan to resign the player, I wouldn't be sending any major league players in the deal. I don't think Toronto is in a position yet to make a rent a player.

SP said...

Any talk of Prince Fielder jumping the shark is nonsense. He is still only 26 and still has great pitch recognition. I'd introduce him to yoga like Thames recently discovered and see the wonders it unleashes. The Brewers are desperate for pitching and we have an embarrassing amount that would be even better in the NL.

Anonymous said...

Cecil for Fielder (aside from the awesomeness of the name) straight up - would AA do the deal? Would the Brewers?

Parker said...

All the yoga in the world can't stop the effects of a 4500-calorie/day diet. Like you said, the guy is 26. He's not a prospect and at this point he's not going to change his eating habits until after his first heart attack. I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts that his mindset is "I'm killing the ball the way I am now, why should I mess with that?"

I'm not worried so much about his pitch recognition as I am about the imminent chronic lower-body injuries he's going to have to deal with in a couple years.

The Ack said...

^^ fun fact - Prince Fielder is a vegetarian.

PW said...

Why aren't we all speculating over a certain pitcher with a social disorder who lamented publicly that he wants to win and not be put through the fifth rebuild in three years in KC?

No doubt Kansas City will want pitching prospects in return for their ace, which the blue jays can provide.

He's young, and would instantly provide the Jays with a bonafide top-of-the-rotation starter, and locking him up long term would certainly appear at this point to make sense for a team poised to start a run of continued contention.

As important as filling the voids we have at the infield corners is, I'm comfortable throwing in the towel on next year, non tendering EE and bringing him back on a 1 yr deal at about 1.5 million and allow he and Lind to play first base/DH, while moving JoBau to third and either keeping Fred Lewis in left or looking outside the orgorgor a RF/LF. What you get is two players getting a full year to compete for the 1B job and/or EE improving his trade value. EE can either show some of his potential or get swapped for a bag of balls at the break and Lind can prove he can play at first or prove he's only useful at the plate (you know, provided he is better than his most recent slash line).

Then you can enter 2012 free agency completely confident in what holes need to be filled.

Excuse me for a moment, but if the blue Jays start 2012 with a frontline of Zack Greinke, Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero, Shaun Marcum and whoever is left that hasn't been moved to fill other needs, well they may just have something a little bit special.

Ty said...

Let me be the first to demand that any trade with the Royals MUST somehow include Tiny Tim coming back. I spent way too much time getting psyched up to see this guy and gosh darn it, I want my two strikeouts per inning and absurd height deficiency back.

Scott said...

PW, I'm all over the EE idea (I posted that exact suggestion on my blog today)

I think getting Greinke is an amazing idea, but would Likely cost Cecil, Drabek and Probably a high-upside low-minors guy like Michael Mcdade or Jake Marisnick (and probably more than that depending on KC's window to compete)
I also want to go on record against the idea of getting Prince Fielder, unless the contract extension is pre-negotiated.

Scott said...

PW, I'm all over the EE idea (I posted that exact suggestion on my blog today)

I think getting Greinke is an amazing idea, but would Likely cost Cecil, Drabek and Probably a high-upside low-minors guy like Michael Mcdade or Jake Marisnick (and probably more than that depending on KC's window to compete)
I also want to go on record against the idea of getting Prince Fielder, unless the contract extension is pre-negotiated.

Steve G. said...

Holy smokes - I think you guys are completely high if you think any of the Blue Jays pitchers individually are going to get Fielder, even with the concerns about how he'll hold up in the future. Did anonymous really suggest Cecil for Fielder straight up, not as a joke?

To get Fielder, I think you'd need to give up Drabek and another good arm, or Drabek and one of the guys in the rotation right now. Doug Melvin isn't Omar Minaya or Steve Phillips; most of his trades have been pretty sane:

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2008/11/gm-trade-histor.html

Also, because there are still plenty of stupid GMs out there, I think one of them will get Fielder if the Brewers do want to move him.

The Ack said...

Steve G, I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. Cecil alone would quite clearly not get it done, but Cecil + Drabek would be too much.

To be honest, though, I think you consistently underrate the Jays starting pitchers. Didn't you and I once have a back & forth about Drabek, where you didn't see him as much more than a mid-rotation starter? Has your opinion changed now that KLaw has come around and sees him as an ace or just below that level (also recall you quoted his analysis as part of the reason for your view)?

The Ack said...

.... and for the record, I don't see any way Fielder is a target. A (non-athletic/one dimensional) Boras client on the verge of free agency? That doesn't seem to fit AA's plan.

Not that I would dislike him & his bat as a Jay..... but the impending contract would be a terrifying potential handcuff/albatross.

Steve G. said...

Well, as I noted in a comment on Ian's blog just now, the Jays' rotation ERA was 21st in the majors. I realize you have to make park effect and AL East adjustments, but still, that strikes me as very mediocre.

It's not like they have one glaring weakness to just swap Drabek in for, so even if he is a huge stud from day one, you still need to cycle in four new pitchers for incremental gains, or hope for even more breakout among the existing starters.

Parker said...

fun fact - Prince Fielder is a vegetarian.

Hahaha, that is a fun fact.

There's no meat in a box of Krispy Kremes though.

I had no idea the Jays starters' ERA was so mediocre this year. Their numbers looked pretty good to me, but I forgot to take into account that offense is way down league-wide. Grienke might indeed be worth going after if the cost to acquire him doesn't mortgage the team's future.

Scott said...

I agree with the Ack, Fielder is a terrible fit for what this team is trying to do.

If we're going to give up our young pitching, Rasmus is a guy that I'd be after (Moving Wells to Right)

Scott said...

Also, looking at ERA is not reflective of what the rotation has done overall. Their collective WAR is among the best in the majors.

Brendan said...

I realize that the guy is overweight but how can you not salivate over the idea of Fielder in the Jays lineup. He has averaged over 40 home runs in the past 4 seasons and has a career OBP of .385. Think about his left handed bat in New York with that short porch in a meaningful September game and tell me who else you would want up to the plate with men on base late in the game! With Halladay, BJ, E5, and Overbay coming off the books the Jays have the money to extend Fielder for 3-4 years. I don't see him declining until he is into his mid 30's.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Brendan. But if the plan is to extend him, and you know there's no way he's gonna give a discount to the Jays just because he played in Toronto for a year, why bother trading for him? Just wait and get him on the open market, so that you don't have to give any prospects away.

nellybud said...

i'll throw this name out there: yonder alonso. he is blocked by joey votto... and did a few very interesting things this season-

1- got healthy... coming off hamate injury. those hand/wrist injuries seem to linger forever.

2- had a huge 2nd half in the AAA international league (335 / 416 / 561)

3- started to hit lefties a little... this has always been the biggest knock on alonso... he didn't mash against them but was a respectable (269 / 319 / 429) against lefties for the season.