Posts tagged Roy Halladay

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.

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.

My Plea for Kyle Drabek

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Photo by sillygwailo licensed under Creative Commons

It has come to my attention through the poll on this site and what seems to be the general opinion of Jays fans that of the four troubling players listed Drabek is the least likely to have a comeback season and I ask why? It may seems so long ago, but it has only been one year since Kyle Drabek was the top prospect in the Blue Jays farm system and a shining star in the Blue Jays future plans. At that time Drabek ranked anywhere from No. 13 by Keith Law to No. 29 by Baseball America on their respective top prospect lists.

Heading in to Spring Training in 2011, Drabek was the next big thing, the possible first fruition of the trade that sent former Blue Jays Ace Roy Halladay to the Phillies, and the first tangible major league talent from Alex Anthopoulos’ regime as general manager. He was all but handed a rotation spot after the Jays traded Shaun Marcum to the Brewers and he seemed to be ready to take it.

Obviously we would later learn that Drabek would not turn in the best of seasons in 2011 and I don’t think I need to paint the entire picture of just how bad Drabek really was. All I have to say is that in almost a consensus opinion the simple stats, advanced stats, and Pitch F/X information all agree on one thing, Kyle Drabek sucked.

At this point in the blog post I usually point out what Drabek did wrong and how he can improve and all that, but in this case Drabek’s problem is pretty simple and the fact is that he just couldn’t throw strikes. Drabek was putting pitches galore outside the zone and in fact at the time of his demotion in June Drabek had walked more batters than he had struck out and was the not so proud owner of the league’s worst strikeout to walk ratio.

Proceeding his demotion to AAA Las Vegas in June things just got worse. Being sent to the band box that is Cashman Field and the very definition of a hitter’s league in the PCL obviously didn’t help, but even against a much worse level of competition Drabek did not perform as he was expected to. Because of a lack of AAA Pitch F/X data no one (unless they saw him) can really discern specifically whether he wasn’t throwing strikes there either, but what one does know is that in AAA he held a relatively similar strikeout to walk ratio and that is in no way a good thing.

In spite of all that has happened, Drabek’s failure in the majors and minors is not completely indicative of what he could do in 2012. In general it is true that numbers and statistics from previous years can be used as a predictor for future performance. The difference with Drabek is for one what he has done thus far is a smallish sample size and there is not enough previous data to rely on, for another as is often cited with another Blue Jay, Travis Snider, Drabek is only 23 and going in to his sophomore season in the MLB.

Courtesy of Shi Davidi on Twitter

Yes he may have strugggled in 2011 and yes that is not a good thing to see out of a rookie, but a quick read of Shi Davidi’s story on Drabek at Sportsnet.ca seems to suggest to us that it may have been partially a mechanical issue with Drabek in 2011 and oddly enough I find it plausible to believe.

I may just be drinking the Spring Training story Kool-Aid in which every player is in the best shape of their lives, but looking at some 2011 footage of Drabek he seemed to me to be a little inconsistent in his mechanics and this article seemingly confirms that thought. In no way am I claiming to be a scout here, but if what Shi Davidi tells us is true then it could have been a big reason as to why Drabek looked like Tim Tebow on the mound.

Now with the Jays coaching staff addressing the issue, call me crazy, but maybe instead of being pushed into irrelevance, could Drabek surprise this year? He still seems to have the stuff that in 2010 Keith Law said could make Drabek “a No. 2 or 3 starter”, but is lacking the command and third pitch that Law said he needed to improve on in 2011. The good thing is command can be taught and can be learned and it looks like it may come with further instruction, tweaking in pitch mechanics, and just more major league innings. The bad thing is it may not come this season.

With that said I’m not completely sure why I think Drabek will do well, but I do. He may no longer be the flavour of the month as that position seems to have been overtaken by Henderson Alvarez and Dustin McGowan, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be able to perform.  As well as I’m sure you already know because its been said 1000 times, but the pitcher that got the Blue Jays Kyle Drabek in the first place, Roy Halladay, similarly had command problems early in his career and look what he became. Not to say that Drabek will become Halladay though, because that simply doesn’t seem feasible, but don’t give up on Drabek just yet.

I know that usually the arguments on this blog are fairly statistically based, but for whatever reason with Drabek I feel different. I feel like he has the potential to be what the scouting reports say rather than the major league statistics, I feel like he can overcome the two pitchers ahead of him on the depth chart. Nonetheless if you don’t have the same feelings as I towards the great Drabek, then at least realize that Drabek has barely pitched for a season and we’ve already lost confidence in him? It isn’t like he got significantly injured or lost a lot of fastball velocity, the stuff seems to be there he just needs to harness it.

In the end there isn’t nearly enough statistical evidence to back up any opinion suggesting that Drabek’s potential is completely gone, so why not wait and see. To my dismay it seems like Drabek won’t get the call come Opening Day, but as happens with pitchers they get injured or pitch poorly and Drabek looks like he could be first on the list to replace, in other words the pitching version of Mike McCoy (Hopefully Drabek doesn’t acquire quite as many Air Miles). Finally if you refuse to believe in anything I’ve said at least remember this, last season you didn’t see any major prospect sites suggesting Drabek was a worse prospect than current Blue Jays Canadian phenom Brett Lawrie, just saying.

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