Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DYING ON THE VINE...

So it's looking less and less likely the Jays are going to have the wontons to trade Alex Rios for Tim Lincecum.

(OK, so it's more about the Giants getting cold feet about trading Lincecum, but it's fun to type "wontons.")

Drunk Jays Fans has more. It's too bad. On the bright side, the Jays not getting Paul Lo Duca is welcome news.

28 comments:

Tyler King said...

How does Sabean's hesitation translate into the Jays not having the 'wontons'? And you'd rather have Fasano as your backup than Lo Duca?

sager said...

A choice between Fasano and Lo Duca... why don't you ask me which finger I'd like to have chopped off? That's no choice at all.

Fasano is filler and Lo Duca is, well, more expensive filler. Let's give Robinzon Diaz a shot at $300Gs.

Pete Toms said...

I think C is the most difficult position for performance evaluation. A lot of the value in this position is tied up in the confidence that the pitchers have in the C. Calling the game, confidence he'll block the 2 strike pitch in the dirt, rapport with umpires, framing pitches....catching.

All that to say that I thought the Jays pitchers looked pretty confident with Fasano catching.

Tyler King said...

You want to waste a good catching prospect like Diaz's future by sticking him in a backup role at the majors when he would benefit massively from further seasoning in the minor leagues?

And since when is overall cost a concern? It's the Rogers Unlimited Payroll.

sager said...

That assumes Gregg Zaun can start, which, well, is an awful big assumption... Zaun, Diaz, Fasano, we're chasing a small percentage here.

Tyler King said...

Zaun's been a regular or near-regular starter for the past four years! How the heck is that "an awful big assumption"?

And if there was some sort of consensus to that effect (which there isn't), surely that'd have made Lo Duca, as an established starter, more attractive as a signing than a bevy of catchers with no proof of their own ability to start.

Tyler King said...

Furthermore, you do realize by suggesting the callup of Diaz you're basically suggesting the direct callup of a AA player, since he's only got 65 career at bats in Syracuse?

Tao of Stieb said...

But Diaz looked GOOOOOOD with the Cheifs in August. Smart and athletic behind the plate, and a patient hitter. We saw him adjust mid-swing on a change up and hit it the other way for an two-RBI single. So nice.

We'd love to see him with the big club, but maybe only later in the year. Mike Leiberthal and Damien Miller are still out there as legit backups...and we're sure that there are some half-decent sixth-year free agents as well.

Lo Duca at $5 million is a joke. Especially since the Nats had Brian Schneider at a fraction of that cost.

sager said...

Tyler, seriously, 4 comments on a post that's only 3 paragraphs long? None on the Tim Raines post that a lot more thought and time went into?

The larger point is that Zaun is 37next season, which would make him the oldest starting catcher in Jays history (he beats Ernie Whitt in '89 by about a month). It's fair to wonder about him after he and the Jays pitchers struggled to throw out basestgealers last season, and after he was once again a below league-average hitter, as he's been in 3 of his 4 seasons with the Jays (the exception being '06, when Molina was here).

Todd Devlin said...

I don't think you're giving Lo Duca enough credit. I'd take him as a starter over Zaun for sure. Having said that, neither are ideal. The Jays will have to make do with a weak catcher and a weak shortstop (at least offensively).

Tyler King said...

Ernie Whitt in '89 started 129 games in his best season of his career if you want to go by OPS+. So what's the fear exactly?

Zaun's lack of throwing out baserunners is not much down to him - just check the statistics on SB% when one of the slow pitchers are on the mound versus some of the faster ones.

And anyone who calls OPS+ of 96, 94, and 98 "below average" is nitpicking to a ridiculous degree. Plenty of teams would love to have a catcher that hits (and walks!) that well, and you've made no case that Diaz would be anything resembling better.

sager said...

nitpicking to a ridiculous degree...

Pot, meet kettle.

sager said...

That was also Whitt's final season as a regular. The Jays also had Pat Borders and Greg Myers in their system and Pat Borders was at the time. You can't always go by OPS+; Whitt's best seasons had probably come in '83 or '85, when he could still throw decently.

Seriously, this has been analyzed to death already.

Pete Toms said...

The Royals released Paul Phillips. Would that be any different than having Jason Phillips?

sager said...

Arrrrrrrgh! :)

Does Paul Phillips wear glasses?

Tyler King said...

If you can't always go by OPS+ then what's your basis for calling Zaun a below-average hitter?

Pete Toms said...

Olivo & Estrada were non tendered last nite.

sager said...

Tyler, that needed to be worded differently... since it's catchers we're talking about here, defence is a major part of the job as opposed to a corner player, so you can't just look at the guy's offence.

Tyler King said...

And Zaun's terrific at blocking the plate, calling a game, and, when there's a pitcher on the mound who doesn't take five minutes to throw the ball, he's fine at throwing out runners too.

Tyler King said...

Ah, here's the statistic to back up what I've been saying:

"Among the starters, the bulk of the stolen bases (80 swipes with just eight runners caught) came with Roy Halladay, Dustin McGowan and A.J. Burnett on the hill. On days when Shaun Marcum and Jesse Litsch started, Toronto gave up just 12 stolen bases and threw out five runners."

sager said...

We'll see what the projections hold for Zaunie. For argument's sake, let's look at the Most Similar Batters through Age 36, which are all catchers.

Two of them you can throw out right away, since they played so long ago (Val Picinich and Clyde McCullough).

Here's others and what each hit in their age 37 season, which is what Zaun is entering:

John Flaherty: Hit .165/.206/.252 in 138 PA; retired.

Greg Myers: Had only 20 PA in an injury year... this was after a career year at the plate with the Jays in '03.

Pat Borders: Didn't play in the majors at all; had only 250 more PA in the majors, but spread out across five seasons.

Ron Hassey: Hit .213/.288/.299 in 286 PA with the 1990 A's; played one more season as an Expos backup and retired.

Bo Diaz: Retired after his "age 36" season.

Jeff Reed: Had 277 PA but hit .210/.342/.310 (69 OPS+) in his final season.

Damian Miller (who is a free agent, btw): 206 PA, .237/.296/.349 with the Brewers this season. Currently unsigned.

Ernie Whitt: Yes, he's the best of this group -- .262/.349/.416 in 440 PA (career-best OPS+ of 121) with the '89 Jays. It was also his last year as a regular.

I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions what the means... I will point out that back in '03 when the Jays signed Pat Hentgen, using similar players was prescient in a Sportspages post.

Hopefully, I'm wrong on Zaun.

Tyler King said...

You've still made zero case as to how Diaz would be an upgrade or even a competent replacement.

And that 'similar hitters' bit on baseball reference and the like is very rarely an accurate predictor of future success. Wow, a bunch of career backups hit poorly when they were age 37 and didn't have starting jobs like Zaun will.

sager said...

Let's see what the projections say, okay? Have you made a case against Diaz?

Besides, there's biggest fish to fry today.

Tyler King said...

I have made a case against Diaz - he's a AA player with 65 career AAA at-bats, needs more seasoning, and it's dangerous to rush guys up through the system and quite probably waste them sitting them on the bench in a backup role.

So yes, yes I have. You're sounding eerily like those religious types who say God exists because you can't prove he doesn't.

sager said...

Bigger fish, Tyler, bigger fish...

By the way, I was working on a flat tax proposal last night and I accidentally proved there's no God. Unfortunately, I showed my proof to Flanders, and he burned it.

Tyler King said...

I win.

sager said...

What, for needlessly dragging out the comments on a post that was little more than an off-hand, throwaway remark? Yes, you win, Tyler.

This means you can't name your kids Dr. Quinn and Medicine Woman.

Tyler King said...

I'll gladly make that tradeoff.