Sunday, 26 July 2015

Worth noting

Feeling some pressure to get this finished before there's an announcement that makes some part of it obsolete!

You may have heard by now that Drew Hutchison is struggling on the road this year (after being much better on the road last year - baseball, eh?). But the extremes are flabbergasting. Consider:

Home:  9G - 57 IP - 47 H - 14 ER - 13 BB - 53 K - 2.21 ERA - 1.05 WHIP - 7.42 H/9
Road: 11G - 51 IP - 81 H - 51 ER - 21 BB - 45 K - 9.00 ERA - 2.00 WHIP - 14.29 H/9

THAT, my loyal readers, is batshit crazy. No lesser description will suffice. Who can say if the trend will hold, but there's one glittery silver lining: 6 of Hutch's next 7 starts, assuming the Jays don't tamper with the rotation for any reason, come at home. That takes us all the way to Labor Day (by then Maybe we can give some starts to Stroman, amirite?).


Dalton Pompey went 5/6 Saturday with a double and a triple. In eight games, coming into that game, since returning to AAA, he was hitting .355/.474/.429/.903 - not it's .432./.523/.622/1.155 which is, ya know, pretty solid. Plus, he's only struck out twice. I'm relatively certain the Jays are waiting until August 1 (if he's not traded) to bring him back which will give him another 5 games or so to polish but it doesn't look like he needs them. I'm gonna say he's ready to be our everyday Left Fielder.


Shi Davidi reports the Reds wanted Stroman plus in any potential Cueto deal - yeah . . . . no.


The weekend has been buzzing on the trade front. The Royals seem to have Cueto (and his regular turn would have him facing the Jays in Toronto on Thursday), the Royals are zooming on Cole Hamels (which is an outcome I like because it keeps him off the Yankess and Red Sox, as well as off the roster of 2015 playoff contenders) and the Jays keep being linked to controllable guys. First it was Carlos Carrasco which was dreaming big and didn't work out, now it's Mike Fliers from Milwaukee, presumably that would make them look longingly at Tyson Ross too, who's maybe at the top of my list of targets.

With Buehrle going today, and two at home versus the hapless Phillies the Jays have a chance to build some momentum. After that it's 4 against the Royals (who's starting pitching is vulnerable, other than potentially dealing with Cueto) and four against the can't-possibly-be-that-good-Twins. The Royals are a good team on the road, the Twins aren't. If they play well they could run off a 9-3 run (from last night) going into a crucial 3 game set in New York on August 7-9 which will be follow by home series against Oakland and the Yankees again. This August needs to be the reverse of last August.


So much for that "have a good run" idea, eh? Since the winning streak ended the Jays have almost the exact same winning percentage as they had when the streak started.  Even though statistically the pitching has been much better, as previously noted. This does not speak well for the future despite a tremendous open door to the playoffs. As Ben Nichelson-Smith tweeted moments ago, their are only 5 AL teams over .500 at the moment, and all of them hold a playoff position as of now. The very vulnerable Twins are just 3 games ahead of the Blue Jays, and lest we lose hope, the Royals were 50-50 on July 23 last year. Still, the clock is ticking. Loudly.


Jon Morosi tweeted thus:
Given that Kimbrel would only be due something just short of $3.5 million as of today, this can only be a reference to the future commitment - $11 million in 2016, and $13 million in 2017 (with a $13 million option on 2018 with a $1 million buyout). Let me say in passing that $13 million doesn't buy you nearly as much talent as it used to, that's less than the qualifying offer for free agents in each of the last two years. The  Jays paid BJ Ryan $12 million 8 years ago (I know how that turned out).Kimbrel has the lowest xFIP in the National League and is, in today's market, NOT overpaid.

However, the Blue Jays have made it clear they need a starter much more than a reliever. What gives? Consider (and I may be pipe-dreaming here as I hardly ever come p with a speculation like this that plays out - but what the hell) ...consider that there are a couple of rumors concerning the Padres: the first is that they may be under some pressure to move salary (and it's not like Melvin Upton is going anywhere) and the second is that among the starters they are least motivated to move Tyson Ross (for obvious reasons) so what if...just what IF the Blue Jays are expressing willingness to take on Kimbrel's contract in order to get Ross, and are willing to pony up prospect capital for 5 years of control between the two (2 on Ross, 3 on Kimbrel).

From a financial point of view, the Jays can easily rationalize this because Ross, whatever he wins in Arbitration, will make under-market salaries for those two years, while Kimbrel, though more than Alex likes to pay for relief innings, is not exorbitant and they can simply calculate that the savings on Ross off-sets the excess (as they see it) on the closer position. And make no mistake, Ross is worth it - indeed he's in my view the most desirable target among all potentially available starters. There are only 5 AL starters with more fWAR than he has, only 5 with a better xFIP (and 3 of those are on the Indians). He's a starter who can line up with Pineda or Archer without taking a back seat.

As a bonus, and this might not happen even if the acquisition was made but I'd have to seriously consider it: assuming neither Sanchez or Osuna was in the deal (which would kind of deteat the purpose) then Osuna and Kimbrel give you the 1-2 to end the game, and Sanchez can be stretched out quickly to go back into the rotation. Include Hutchison in the deal, or demote him, and you upgrade the rotation in two slots. Also, with Kimbrel on the team it further opens up the possibility Osuna comes in as a candidate to start next spring. That's a lot of potential good out of this deal.

Castro + Boyd + Reid-Foley + something like Urena maybe? You might have to such it up and inclde Sanchez instead of Castro. It would be worth it.

The key might be whether or not they can get someone to take Shields - which would relieve the salary crunch without making Kimbrel an issue. Here's hoping!

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