Archive for August, 2012

Teams with Former Jays on their Rosters

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Photo Courtesy of AP Photo via Daylife

Over at Beaneball, a fantastic A’s blog, Jason Wojciechowski put up an interesting post this morning in which he went through the major league rosters of all the MLB teams to see which rosters contained a former Athletics player. Because I’m a curious person I would have looked at the same thing for the Blue Jays anyways, but then I thought hey why not make a blog post about it too.

As Jason stipulated, the rules are as follows.

1. The player must have played at least 1 game for the Blue Jays at some point in their career and only the Blue Jays, not any of the Jays’ minor league affiliates.

2. The player must currently be on the 25-Man Roster of a MLB team

With that said I’ll predict that 16 MLB teams have a former Blue Jay currently on their 25-Man Roster (as Jason found the A’s had 19)

So let’s start!

AL East
Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gregg
Boston Red Sox:
New York Yankees: Jayson Nix
Tampa Bay Rays: Ryan Roberts, Jose Molina

AL Central
Chicago White Sox: Alex Rios, Ray Olmedo, Orlando Hudson
Cleveland Indians:
Detroit Tigers: Octavio Dotel
Kansas City Royals:
Minnesota Twins: Darin Mastroianni

AL West
Los Angeles Angels: Vernon Wells
Oakland Athletics:
Seattle Mariners: Eric Thames
Texas Rangers:

NL East
Atlanta Braves: Eric Hinske, Reed Johnson
Miami Marlins: John Buck
New York Mets: Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch
Philadelphia Phillies: Roy Halladay
Washington Nationals:

NL Central
Chicago Cubs: Luis Valbuena, Shawn Camp
Cincinnati Reds: Scott Rolen
Houston Astros: Ben Francisco
Milwaukee Brewers:
Pittsburgh Pirates: Travis Snider, Rod Barajas, A.J. Burnett
St. Louis Cardinals: Marc Rzepczynski

NL West
Arizona Diamondbacks: John Macdonald, Aaron Hill
Colorado Rockies: Josh Roenicke
Los Angeles Dodgers: Juan Rivera, Brandon League
San Diego Padres:
San Francisco Giants: Marco Scutaro

So there you have it, 21 teams have a former Blue Jays on their 25 man roster. That’s 5 more than what I predicted and 2 more than the number of teams with former A’s, which frankly is kind of surprising.

Trivia Facts:

  • Of the 21 teams that have a former Jay, the Pirates and White Sox have the most and are tied with 3 each
  • The division with the most former Jays is the NL Central with 8
  • The division with the least former Jays is the AL West with 2
  • The NL as a whole has 81% more former Blue Jays than the AL
  • Darin Mastroianni and Josh Roenicke still have major league jobs

Overall it was a quick and fun exercise that created some reminiscence on the futility and productivity of the careers of a few former Jays….and it gave me an excuse to use a picture of Roy Halladay, that’s always fun.

Side note: The process in which this was done is in no way perfect, so if I missed someone let me know in the comments below.

Talking About Depth

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Photo Courtesy of AP Photo via Daylife 

During Tuesday night’s Blue Jays vs. Rays game former 1st round pick Chad Jenkins came in to the game in the bottom of the 6th inning. Jenkins’ inclusion in Tuesday night’s baseball matinée made him the 31st pitcher that the Blue Jays have used this year (including Jeff Mathis). Not only that, but as Sportsnet’s Barry Davis informed us on Twitter Jenkins is the 50th player that the Blue Jays have used this year.

Some might say that little factoid represents the depth that the Blue Jays have, but it’s actually closer to the lack thereof. Of the 20 position players who have played for the Jays this year 9 (45%) of them have less than 100 plate appearances.

On the pitching side it gets even crazier. Of the 31 pitchers who have pitcher for the Jays this year 14 (45%) of them have less than 10 innings pitched. Some of those 14 pitchers haven’t pitched 10 innings due to injury, others because they are new to the team, but there is also a lot of what you would call scrap heap arms on that not so prestigious list.

It’s easy in hindsight to point out the obvious depth flaw that the Blue Jays had as a team going in to the season.

The bullpen had a few of what you would call top arms, but after the top four there wasn’t much in the rest of the pen or down in the minors for insurance.

The starting rotation had two arms at the top and a few young guys, but there wasn’t that non-injury prone innings eater that many Blue Jays fans crave.

The lineup seemed to have a fair amount of certainty, but on the shortened bench there wasn’t anyone who stood out, no player that would look decent on a playoff team in a starting role.

Of course this is hindsight and as in the rest of life, in baseball it is always easier to look back than to look forward. At the time the Blue Jays seemed fine, but we were all too blinded by the potential of this team to realize the probability of downfall.

I could go into the depth topic more, but Andrew Stoeten did a fantastic job of that already over at DJF. Instead I took the liberty of pulling the names of all 50 players the Blue Jays have used this year and plugging them into a Sporcle quiz for a fun little trivia game. You can try it out for yourself here, here, and here or play the version that is embedded into this post.

If you get them all you can have an imaginary cookie and the assurance that you won’t have to get Tommy John Surgery this year, a rare assurance in Toronto these days.

Click to read more to play the version embedded in this post.

(more…)

Quick Thoughts on Cliff Lee and August Waivers

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Photo Courtesy of AP Photo via Daylife

That pitcher in the above photo is Cliff Lee. You may have heard of him…he is a starting pitcher for the Phillies and oh yeah since 2008 he is second only to Roy Halladay in cumulative Wins Above Replacement.

Thursday morning, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! tweeted out that the Philadeplhia Phillies have placed the very same Cliff Lee on waivers.

In Blue Jays Twitterdom this small move has created quite the reaction and I’d like to explain a couple of reasons why not to be so excited or adamant about the Blue Jays acquiring Cliff Lee or any player that is placed on waivers in the month of August for that matter.

First off in the month of August the type of waivers that all players are placed on are revocable trade waivers. What does this mean exactly? Well if Team A puts a player on revocable trade waivers and Team B claims that player, Team A then has 3 options.

Option No. 1, Team A can allow Team B to claim the player, in which case it would be no different than any other waiver claim at any other point in the season. Option No. 2, Team A can essentially take the player off of waivers as if nothing had ever had happened. Option No. 3, Team A can take the player off of waivers and then try to trade that player, but the catch is that they can only trade that player to the team who claimed him. If multiple claims were made on the same player then the team with the worst record in the same league (AL/NL) as the team who placed the player on waivers is the only team that the player can be traded to. For more info you can check out Jayson Stark’s article on the August waiver rules here.

So this presents a few potential obstacles in the Blue Jays path to acquiring Cliff Lee.

For one thing Cliff Lee is currently 33 years old and is owed a boat load of money going forward. For the rest of the 2012 MLB season Lee is owed ~$8 million. Between 2013 and 2015 Cliff Lee will make $25 million per year and his contract includes a $27.5 million vesting option for 2016. That all comes to a potential total of $110.5 million and that is for Cliff Lee’s ages 34-37 seasons.

Let’s take a closer look at that…

Year Cliff Lee’s Salary WAR Needed
2013 $25 million 5
2014 $25 million 4.8
2015 $25 million 4.5
Total $75 million 14.3
2016 $27.5 million 4.8
Total $102.5 million 19.1

That 19.1 WAR that Cliff Lee would need to justify the money he would be given is through his age 34-37 seasons. In the history of baseball only 7 pitchers have ever achieved above a 19.1 WAR through their age 34-37 seasons.

If you take Cliff Lee’s WAR and prorate it over Cliff Lee’s usual 230 innings it is ~5 WAR. Then if you assume the usual 0.5 WAR per season decrease after a player’s age 30 season then it gets you to a total of 13.5 WAR after 3 seasons, which is 0.8 WAR away from what is needed in order to achieve proper value. However if the option vests then it becomes a total of 17 WAR after 4 seasons, which is 2.1 WAR away from what is needed in order to achieve proper value.

In totality, when regular decline is assumed the back end of the Cliff Lee contract, like most other back ends of contracts, looks to provide the team with less value then they are paying for.

Of course it isn’t a terrible loss in value and it could be argued that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad, but once you factor in other variables such as the possibility for injury of an older pitcher it doesn’t seem like it is worth it.

Another potential obstacle is that as of August 2nd the Blue Jays would be the 20th team in the waiver order for Cliff Lee. That means that there is 19 other teams that could and would (Dodgers?) make a claim on the Cliff Lee.

One final obstacle is that even if the Blue Jays were awarded the waiver claim on Cliff Lee, the Phillies could simply take him off waivers and then attempt to trade Cliff Lee. Beyond that, before the trade deadline it didn’t seem like the Phillies were at all considering taking on any of Lee’s salary, yet they were still looking for big name prospects in return. Not a combination AA would likely embark on.

One last thing, which isn’t really an obstacle, but more of a point is that many knowledgeable people don’t expect anyone to claim Cliff Lee. In his initial tweet Jeff Passan didn’t expect anyone to claim Cliff Lee and in his report on MLBTR Ben Nicholson-Smith didn’t expect anyone to claim Cliff Lee. Mainly because whoever would make a claim is taking on a big contract in return.

Beyond that, the fact that the Phillies placed Cliff Lee on trade waivers isn’t at all significant. In fact last year Alex Anthopoulos told the media that it was club policy to place every player on waivers at the beginning of August. It isn’t an uncommon practice among other teams either…lots of teams do it. It is a good way to gauge potential trade interest and if the player makes it through waivers then they can be traded in August if needed. If the player doesn’t make it through waivers then the team can be taken off waivers…no harm, no foul.

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