Russell Martin Determined To Catch Dickey

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Josh Thole is fine. I mean… he’s a replacement level catcher who offers you a little with the glove, even less with the bat, and nothing on the base paths. But such is the world of backup catchers, for the most part.

Bryan Holaday started 42 times for the playoff-bound Tigers last year, for example, posting a sub-Tholian .231/.266/.276 line, for a 49 wRC+.

There were two catchers in all of baseball in 2014 who played in fewer than half of their team’s games and were worth more than 1 WAR (Michael McKenry of Colorado, and the Yankees’ Francisco Cervelli). Twenty-three catchers, meanwhile, played in 40 games or more and contributed a half win or less. If they were better, they’d be starting.

If Russell Martin goes down injured for an extended period next season, in other words, the thought isn’t so much, “Oh shit, Josh Thole!” It’s more “Oh shit, no Russell Martin!”

Of course, that doesn’t mean that better isn’t… well… better. And more and more it’s looking like it’s actually possible that the Jays will be one of the fortunate teams to actually have a better option, with theirs coming in the form of last year’s starter Dioner Navarro.

Despite Alex Anthopoulos admitting that he’d look to move the supplanted backstop, a free-agent-to-be who feels he should start, and played well enough last year to warrant an opportunity somewhere, the “right deal” has yet to materialize, and Navarro remains on the roster. One wonders just how hard Anthopoulos has really been trying to move him, frankly. There’s certainly value to the Blue Jays to having a decent backup catcher who also happens to be a switch hitter that had a tremendous second half at the plate in 2014.

Continue reading Russell Martin Determined To Catch Dickey

One Year After Josh Johnson, Morrow Too Is Going Jackin’ It In San Diego

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Brandon Morrow has followed in the illustrious footsteps of former teammate Josh Johnson and, according to a tweet from MLB.com’s Corey Brock, signed a one-year deal with the San Diego Padres.

It’s a deal that makes complete sense, in that this is exactly the kind of thing that pitchers trying to rebuild some value do — even if, y’know, these pillow deals never seem to work out, and even if they do, it’s not like clubs aren’t going to look at any success he might have in spacious Petco Park as somewhat suspicious.

The Padres had opportunity to offer him. They could also offer the chance to live in San Diego and pitch a whole lot (provided he is actually able to stay on the field) in some really friendly environments. Perhaps most crucially, according to a follow-up tweet from Brock, it’s an incentive-laden deal — something the Blue Jays don’t do, as noted by Jeff Blair here.

Brock tells us that Morrow will make a base salary of $2.5-million, with incentives that could add another $5-million if he starts, or another $1-million if he ends up in the bullpen, which means San Diego has a nice little low-risk, high-reward contract on its hands (though the fact that the contract is low risk doesn’t mean there isn’t still genuine risk that he gives them nothing).

Continue reading One Year After Josh Johnson, Morrow Too Is Going Jackin’ It In San Diego

Jays Un-Non-Tender Smoak

Well here’s something: the Jays have announced that they have signed Justin Smoak to a one-year deal for $1-million. So… so much for them recognizing he’s terrible, eh?

Maybe they feel alright going with him at first because of whispers that a lefty- or switch-hitting solution in left is coming.

Or perhaps because Smoak put up a 137 wRC+ against right-handers in 2013.

Smoak himself, or a first base platoon of Smoak and Danny Valencia, with Smoak — if he doesn’t show much — being supplanted a bunch of times by Reyes, Martin, and Bautista in the DH spot? You could do worse.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a little underwhelming. It’s just…one-million is better than three-million, I guess, right?

I should probably have more to say about this, but… well… here we are.

Game Threat: Jays (17-20) @ Twins (12-23)

OK, so maybe I lied. Got a little distracted there, and I’m thinking that Griff’s bag is going to have to wait until some other time– because it’s just about game time at Target Field, on a sad day, particularly for Jays and Twins fans, as on this day Mel Queen– who spent 21-years in the Jays organization, as a pitching instructor, director of player development, big league pitching coach, interim manager, and the man charged with rebuilding Roy Halladay after Doc found himself all the way back down in A-ball in 2001– has passed away at the age of 69.

Meanwhile, Hall of Fame Twin Harmon Killebrew, whose 573 home runs are the 11th most in MLB history, announced this afternoon that he has exhausted all his options, and will no longer fight the esophageal cancer his doctors have called incurable.

Shitty deals both. And… um… since there really isn’t a good game-related follow-up to that, let’s just move on to News and Notes.

News and Notes

Holy shit! Note tomorrow’s start time: 4:10 PM ET! Sounds like a barbecue is in order. Y’know… in the rain.

Double nice: Alan Ashby will fill in for Buck Martinez this weekend! So, I suppose he’ll team with Pat Tabler, then, while Gregg Zaun moves to the radio booth.

I’m starting to get the feeling John Farrell might have noticed how absolutely fucking awful Corey Patterson is in centre. Sigh of relief!

Ghostrunner on First absolutely nails Red Sox pitcher John Lackey– who, it should be noted, both sucks, and is a fucking idiot.

Amazingly, says a post by Howard Megdal at MLB Trade Rumors, the New York Mets trading Scott Kazmir to the Tampa Bay Rays for Victor Zambrano on July 30, 2004, may not have been the worst move they made that day. It was on that same day that they traded Jose Bautista, Ty Wigginton and pitching prospect Matt Peterson to the Pirates for Kris Benson and Jeff Keppinger.

TV: Sportsnet

And now here are the lineups, by way of theScore.com

Toronto Blue Jays

Y. Escobar SS
C. Patterson LF
J. Bautista RF
J. Rivera DH
A. Hill 2B
J. Arencibia C
E. Encarnacion 1B
J. McDonald 3B
R. Davis CF

R. Romero LHP

Minnesota Twins of Minneapolis

D. Span CF
T. Plouffe SS
J. Kubel DH
J. Morneau 1B
D. Young LF
M. Cuddyer RF
D. Valencia 3B
L. Hughes 2B
D. Butera C

C. Pavano LHP