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  1. You could also argue that the Jays were better than their final record/run differential just due to the injuries they suffered in the 2nd half last year (Bautista, Lawrie being the main ones)

    Comment by jimmy — December 16, 2012 @ 2:59 am

  2. Agreed. And though I’ve never been high on Rasmus’ or Arencibia’s offensive potential, both of them missed time and dealt with nagging injuries.

    Comment by Brennan — December 16, 2012 @ 3:08 am

  3. also I don’t think RickyRo will be as awful as he was last year

    Comment by snoop LION — December 16, 2012 @ 3:09 am

  4. Acquiring Dickey is justified because of previous moves, but it should not go unnoted that the previous moves are now justified by adding Dickey, as well. Either move independent of the other, frankly, kinda sucks. But when you do it together, in addition to expecting better performance from Bautista, Lowrie, and Romero in 2013, well then you’ve had an offseason.

    Comment by Josh — December 16, 2012 @ 3:11 am

  5. Pretty much. There was a long stretch in August and September where the team had 1-2 regulars playing every day due to the number of injuries. Not to mention all the injuries in the rotation (Morrow, Drabek, Hutchison, etc.).

    I agree with Dave’s point but comparing the records of the two teams when one team’s record was a more accurate reflection of their talent level while the other was playing back ups for most of the second half doesn’t make much sense.

    Comment by PBI — December 16, 2012 @ 3:13 am

  6. Anthopolous must really think it’s competing time, since if this goes through, he’ll have done some serious damage to farm for risky upgrades

    Comment by jim — December 16, 2012 @ 3:23 am

  7. The Jays will have a JPA/Thole platoon at C even with the advantage of not letting Thole hit LH pitching that will likely be a sub 100 wRC+ spot in the lineup that is very likely to be their only subpar spot. Realistically this is a team that could have 5 offensive players worth 4 WAR Reyes, Lawrie, Cabrera, EE, and Bautista all have MVP upside a Rasmus/Davis/Bonafacio platoon is anywhere from 2-4 WAR as is a Itzuris/Bonafacio platoon. Adding maybe Lance Berkman or Jim Thome to replace Lind seems like a good idea

    Comment by Tomcat — December 16, 2012 @ 3:28 am

  8. The Red Sox aren’t very good, the Yankees just got a year older and lost a four win OFer to FA and are planning on scaling payroll back next season and while trading Shields was a good and necessary move for the Rays it was a step backwards. The next two seasons are probably going to be the Jays best shot at competing.

    Comment by Preston — December 16, 2012 @ 3:57 am

  9. Yep, I have to think this is a major motivation. The Jays have been stuck behind powerhouses for years. They’ve got a clear window of opportunity here, and they’re going all in to take advantage of it.

    Comment by Eric Walkingshaw — December 16, 2012 @ 4:16 am

  10. To be honest if the rumoured trade is true that its Dickey + Thole + non – elite prospect for D’Arnaud, Snyderguuard, Buck (with us eating his contract) + prospect.

    Then as a Jays fan i cant say im a fan of that deal at all. I know Dickey’s good and would love to have him here, but not for D’Arnaud AND Snyderguuard.

    Comment by Dave — December 16, 2012 @ 5:48 am

  11. Kind of hard to say the MIA move was bad without the Dickey one. They gave up none of their elite pieces and massive improved the big league roster to the point of being in the conversation for best team in the AL East.

    Comment by Joshua — December 16, 2012 @ 5:58 am

  12. This deal blows for the Jays

    Comment by wisesamwell — December 16, 2012 @ 6:10 am

  13. I agree with the premises of Dave’s argument, but suppose the real issue is the order in which roster changes are made. Suppose, for example, the Royals are not done. If they are able to sign another starter (Lohse? Jackson? Marcum?) and an outfielder (Swisher?), or if in some combination of signings and trades they add talent/depth to the roster, might the Shields trade make more sense?

    Comment by Bob R. — December 16, 2012 @ 6:13 am

  14. Might spending some FA money in a EJax or Lohse be a better bet than dealing D’Arnaud to a team that was probably going to let Dickey walk or accept lesser prospects mid season ? I think this is a terrible move that could have been avoided. Worst trade of AA’s career by miles..

    Comment by Adam Grossman — December 16, 2012 @ 7:41 am

  15. I also think that an important thing is the year in which the Jays are doing this. Looking ahead into the season, this is probably the most open the AL East has ever been. The Red Sox are down and out, age may finally (although who knows?) be catching up to the Yankees, the Orioles are probably going to take a step backward in terms of wins, and even the Rays will probably not be quite as strong as a couple years ago. Probably the most winnable this division has been for the Jays in sometime, and I think there’s reason to think that the Yankees and Red Sox may be retooled in a couple years given their vast quantities of money, and the Rays’ organizational depth means they’ll probably be better fairly soon. Sounds like the perfect time to go for it.

    Comment by James — December 16, 2012 @ 7:43 am

  16. At the end of 2011 there seemed to be some hope for the Blue Jays. Everything was going in the right direction, Lawrie came up and played well, there seemed to be a light at the end of the pitching tunnel, and the young guys coming looked like, if everything played out correctly, we could have a competitive team soon.

    Then end of 2012 was devastating, injury upon injury upon a clocked-out manager really seemed like the end of the world. It wasn’t, but it was truly a painful time.

    Whats changed since 2011? We got ANOTHER legit 40 HR threat. Morrow, when healthy, made more strides. We saw Hutch could pitch at the big league level with minimal experience… then a completely ridiculous rash of injuries lead to a train wreck of a finish.

    If you told me after 2011 we would have much of the same pieces that gave us hope (Rasmus, Bautista, Lawrie, Morrow) and we had taken a bulk of the prospects and turned them into 2 front of the rotation starters (one a reigning Cy Young winner) and 2 top of the lineup .obp machines I would have taken that deal without even second guessing. Hell, I’d laugh at you and call you a dreamer.

    This team is better. This team is a contender. This team is FOR REAL. Yeah, we gave up a lot for Dickey. But we gave up nothing vital from the big league roster, the farm is far from bare… and we have a top 10 draft pick this year.

    As a Jays fan I haven’t been this excited in a long time, and I’m glad we’re taking these risks to make winning a reality.

    tl;dr trades were 10/10, would do again.

    Comment by KyleZ — December 16, 2012 @ 7:47 am

  17. True, it is nice to have optimism in the air surrounding the blue jays once again with this time looking alot more relistic. HOWEVER, that does excuse what is vast overpayment Dickey. If we were going to start dealing mutliple top prospects, id have rather seen us target someone like David Price or Yovani Gallardo

    Comment by Dave — December 16, 2012 @ 8:36 am

  18. You are right but he makes a very strong effort to equate the too to give the benefit of the doubt to the royals. It makes the rest of his analysis even more powerful.

    Dave also didn’t mention that the jays probably have more flexibility over future seasons because of their stronger revenues, so if Dickey backfires its less likely to kill them than the royals

    Comment by Colin — December 16, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  19. Don’t forget about the Orioles. They built on their tremendous season this year by signing…

    umm Nate McLouth. Not sure why they didn’t do anything, it’s kind of impossible to expect them to stay the same or improve with the same group of guys, minus a few.

    Comment by Pat — December 16, 2012 @ 8:58 am

  20. If you don’t even care enough to look up how to properly spell Syndergaard, you shouldn’t complain about trading him.

    Comment by Kyle — December 16, 2012 @ 9:14 am

  21. I remember there being one point in the season where, from among all the opening day starters, only Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson were in the line-up. Yep, it got that bad.

    Comment by Neil S — December 16, 2012 @ 9:21 am

  22. Did you see what James Shields just cost? I’m not sure you even have enough in the farm to go for Price. Dickey is incredibly underpaid next year, and is a legit top 15-20 pitcher (and may be better than that depending on what you think about his K rate). After the Shields trade, the Greinke/Sanchez signings and the demands by Lohse this seems less a massive overpay and more a market deal for a premium starting pitcher.

    Comment by Bill — December 16, 2012 @ 9:21 am

  23. And Gallardo?! Him and Dickey aren’t even comparable in terms of talent, at least in the short term. Gallardo hasn’t posted an ERA below 3.5 in any of the last 4 seasons. Dickey has been under 3.3 in each of the last 3.

    Comment by Bill — December 16, 2012 @ 9:24 am

  24. Can’t say I’m a fan of trading the future for a 1 year wonder. In the past when the Jays were knocking on the door they filled in the holes through FA and left the farm to grow. This goes through and AA has to buy another farm and good luck in finding the same quality of players for the farm that he just traded away.Lots of people are pointing to the fact that prospects are not MLB players. Of course these people are JP Riccardi fans and look at how well he did by ignoring the farm.

    Comment by Hope Caper — December 16, 2012 @ 9:29 am

  25. dumb

    Comment by vivaelpujols — December 16, 2012 @ 9:36 am

  26. First of all about the Shields trade, everybody knows that was horrible trade by the Royals, just because they overpaid doesnt mean we have too.

    As for Gallardo, yes he hasnt had a season like Dickey just had but hes very good #2/3 that fits in nicely behind Johnson & Morrow and he’s still only 26 years old and if your going to bring up ERA 3.84, 3.52 and 3.66 is hardly awful

    Comment by Dave — December 16, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  27. exactly. the playoff thing was only one reason why the Royals trade was shitty. the worst thing to me was that they could have gotten Edwin Jackson or Brandon McCarthy and would be 5/6ths of the way to shields without giving up any prospects. Same deal for the Jays here, although its arguable that Dickey is better than Shields.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — December 16, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  28. I don’t understand why people think Dickey was a 1 year wonder. Dave wrote a good piece on this I believe. But we now have 600 innings of sub 3 ERA for Dickey over 3 seasons. Hardly a one year wonder.

    Comment by Bill — December 16, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  29. My point was A) if you want an ace Dickey is your guy, not Gallardo. More importantly B) if everyone is overpaying then really no one is. These deals may seem like massive overpays to you (and I feel that way too to an extent) but if everyone is overpaying for top notch pitching thats just the market. For some reason good pitching is demanding a heavy premium this offseason.

    Comment by Bill — December 16, 2012 @ 9:41 am

  30. I dont think though it needs to be an ace though for the Jays, Johnson and Morrow are pretty damn good at the top of the rotation and i think somebody like Gallardo would be a great #3.

    If this is the price for Dickey, then id rather us pass on the guy.

    Comment by Dave — December 16, 2012 @ 9:52 am

  31. I think this is a huge aspect to this deal. It could easily be a decade before the division is this weak again (relatively–I know it’s not actually weak).

    Comment by Ben Hall — December 16, 2012 @ 9:58 am

  32. My bad, sorry grammer police

    Comment by Dave — December 16, 2012 @ 10:01 am

  33. Sure, they missed time, but basically every team misses time from their best players. The Nationals were without Werth, Zimmerman, Morse, Desmond and Strassburg for over a month each. The Orioles were without Markakis and Hammels for a while. The Reds were without Votto for 50 games. The Cardinals were without Carpenter for most of the season.
    Point being, the number of wins lost due to the injuries to Bautista and Lawrie are not necessary an unlikely amount. Point being, the expected number of wins for the given run differential is for the average team with that run differential. While better luck with injuries is possible, it seems a dubious reason to believe a more favorable outcome is likely.

    Comment by Different Colin — December 16, 2012 @ 10:28 am

  34. the price of starting pitching increased dramatically this offseason.

    Comment by Ray Guilfoyle — December 16, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  35. exactly

    Comment by Ray Guilfoyle — December 16, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  36. If we can extend Dickey then the trade’s not bad

    Comment by jaysfan — December 16, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  37. There is no guarantee that d’Arnaud will reach his potential, and the same can be said for Syndegard.
    TOR has a great chance to win the AL East after the deals they made this offseason.

    Comment by Ray Guilfoyle — December 16, 2012 @ 10:37 am

  38. Grammar*

    Comment by Indestructible — December 16, 2012 @ 10:37 am

  39. I think what needs to be noted is the potential to sell if this doesn’t work out after a couple years. The farm is a little shot right now but Lawrie, Joey Bats, Reyes, Rasmus, EE, Dickey, Johnson could all some solid trade value in the future if it becomes abundantly clear that they can’t compete. It wouldn’t be too difficult to restock the farm some after experimenting with this.

    Give your team a legitimate shot to contend without handing out any albatrosses seems like a solid bet. The price is extremely high but the Jays aren’t handcuffed and could still put together a solid farm with its current roster.

    Comment by Dizz — December 16, 2012 @ 10:38 am

  40. I believe a few comments talked about it, but I’ll repeat anyway:

    • Bautista: 70 games missed due to injury
    • Morrow: 10-11 starts missed due to injury
    • Drabek + Hutchison: both blew out their elbows (didn’t provide a lot of value, but the injuries still took place)
    • Lawrie: 37 games missed due to injury
    • Arencibia: not sure how many games he missed. probably ~25 games.
    • Various injuries to Encarnacion (foot) Rasmus (groin) and others.

    Then there’s the players who were truly awful:

    • Adam Lind (again)
    • Kelly Johnson (isn’t coming back)
    • Ricky Romero (unlikely to repeat such a disastrous season)

    I don’t expect the Jays to have a completely healthy team every year, nor do I expect every player to have years relative to their career norms, but last year was such a vacuum in both cases for the Jays that it’s unlikely-to-impossible that they’ll have the same circumstances happen again. Just from these alone, the Jays should gain a tonne of wins through WAR also.

    Comment by Indestructible — December 16, 2012 @ 10:47 am

  41. I would like to see Jays pass on this deal and buy a Marcum type of starter. We have a good pitching staff now. A Marcum type would give us 6 starters including Haap. I would like to see how D’arnaud does for 2-3 montht at AAA. If we are close this year and still need a boost 3 months in then we still have the trade pieces necessary to offer to a team who is out of it. I doubt that AA will extend JJ now as the payroll is gettin up there and he will be expensive to extend even if he is willing. I think this is an all or nothing move for the next year or two at most and if it doesn’t work we are back to the salt mines.

    Comment by Doug — December 16, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  42. :(

    Comment by Dave — December 16, 2012 @ 10:52 am

  43. With the Nationals, add Storen and Ramos.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — December 16, 2012 @ 10:54 am

  44. We know this won’t happen because the Royals went out of their way to tell us how broke they are: current payroll is roughly $14 million above Glass’ (perhaps mythical) break even point. Combine that with minor league signings of Taveras and — bummer, cannot even remember the other OF turd they signed — and DM’s endorsement of Francouer in right field, and this roster is pretty clearly the opening day talent. Oh yeah, plus heavy emphasis on Hochevar and Chen as the likely candidates to fill that fifth rotation spot behind Shields, Guthrie, Santana and Davis.

    Comment by Twm — December 16, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  45. As a disinterested observer, I don’t really see how this move is even all that debatable from the Blue Jays perspective. Yes it sucks to give up your two best (or two of three best) prospects in a single trade for

    Comment by Renan — December 16, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  46. As a disinterested observer, I don’t really see how this move is even all that debatable from the Blue Jays perspective. Yes it sucks to give up your two best (or two of three best) prospects in a single trade for a single pitcher. But if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it for a premium, ace-level pitcher. Plus, I think both TDA and Syndegaard have less value to the Jays than to a team like the Mets. Even if both those guys pan out (hardly a sure bet, especially when one of them is a pitcher in A ball), it’d probably be two or three years before they’re producing star level results for Toronto. At that point you’re looking at the existing core pushing into their mid-30s. To say nothing of the fact that both the Yankees and Red Sox will probably have reloaded by then (especially with the Yankees being out of the period where they’re cutting payroll to get under the luxury tax). And that’s to say nothing about any improvements by the Rays and Orioles. If think the division is winnable, and you’re not satisfied with another year of being the best team in baseball not to make the playoffs like Jays teams of the recent past, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to half-ass it and only kind of commit to going after the divison. If you’re going to take your shot, it’s way better to push all your chips into the table and build a team that can not only get in the playoffs, but make some noise once you’re in there. I’m pretty sure I’d happily trade any prospect for the chance to experience a World Series run. Isn’t that the goal of accumulating prospects and players in general?

    Comment by Renan — December 16, 2012 @ 11:19 am

  47. I think an important thing people are missing here is that the additional piece(s?) from the Mets side are probably going to be something Jays fans can get excited about. The reports I’ve read stated that Antholpoulos told Alderson d’Arnaud was on the table, but that the deal would have to be expanded. I doubt the expansion he was thinking of was Syndergaard for Thole.

    Comment by Sean_ — December 16, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  48. Just saw that my comment was published 1.3 times. That’s convenient…

    Comment by Renan — December 16, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  49. He can’t be, can he?

    Comment by Jeff in T.O. — December 16, 2012 @ 11:31 am

  50. And most of their pitchers.

    Comment by Baltar — December 16, 2012 @ 11:34 am

  51. Jays also gave up worse prospects for a better pitcher.
    Myers is better than darnaud
    and ordozzi is better than syndergaard
    not to mention dickey had been better for the past 3 years.
    if the jays can sign dickey for 2/26 its a win for both teams. Jays will get a player who for the past 3 yrs has been better than greinke for half the price
    Being a jays fan who wasn’t alive for either of the world series’ i just want to make the post season – and the trade changes that from a 60% chance to around an 80% chance

    Comment by jaysfan — December 16, 2012 @ 11:37 am

  52. Yes, and the Rays lost Longoria for half the season and several others.
    But the persistence and extent of injuries for the Jays was extraordinary. Many people were even saying the Jays pitching coach must be doing something wrong.
    Their likelihood of staying healthier next season is huge.
    With Dickey, and assuming they give up only prospects in the trade, they should be a slight favorite to win the AL East, though the Rays, Yanks, Orioles and Red Sox (in approximately that order) should all be tough.

    Comment by Baltar — December 16, 2012 @ 11:42 am

  53. I strongly disagree with your outlook on the rest of the AL East. With the possible exception of the Red Sox, all the teams look like top tenners to me.

    Comment by Baltar — December 16, 2012 @ 11:47 am

  54. But in the same sense shouldn’t we consider the upgrade that dArnaud would provide over JP the same way we looked at Meyers replacing frenchy. Would the net gains in wins be more if the inserted him into the lineup and tried to sign Jackson to something like 3/36?

    Not opposed to the deal but I feel like that was one of the major factors of the KC deal that made it so bad. I think some of those issues remain with this one.

    Comment by Kramer — December 16, 2012 @ 11:47 am

  55. Not “grammer” police–spelling police. And you did it again.

    Comment by Baltar — December 16, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  56. The other difference is the mets are actively shopping dickey. They don’t want him on their roster next year. That wasn’t the case with shields. The rays could have kept him. They were offered something to good to pass up.

    The mets have painted themselves into a corner. They don’t actually value dickey that highly. As an average player at best going forward. How then can be command such a package?

    Comment by Crumpled Stiltskin — December 16, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  57. I wonder how much of the Royals moves come from knowing that both Cleveland and Minnesota are in deep rebuilding mode and are likely to be a nice 36-game segment of the schedule.

    So, even if they don’t take the division, they’ll have a strength-of-schedule advantage in the wild-card chase for the next few years.

    Comment by tz — December 16, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  58. The nationals are really the only team you can say had a similar circumstance of huge numbers of guys missing significant time. The O’s would have been ruined by these circumstances (which was only 2 guys, one of whom was on pace for a WHOLE 2.5 war season) if not for their once every 20 years luck on winning extra innings games. The other teams you mention had 1 guy out. Every team has a guy out. And it doesn’t even mention that Romero played hurt/won’t be getting more than 50 innings if he doesn’t play better next season as opposed to being one of the worst pitchers in baseball last year. For a month of the season the Jays only had Ricky Romero with his above 5 era from their original starting rotation.

    The contention is that the Jays were probably closer to a high 70s win team with normal injuries (low 80s wins with good health) and have upgraded to a high 80s-low 90s win team with normal health if they add Dickey.

    Zimmerman missed 17 games all season so it sounds unlikely that he missed a month. Strasburg missed 4 starts total. Their best 4 starters missed 5 starts total (detwiler missed 5 starts as well though that was more about Wang). The rest are just straw men examples that are a disingenuous representation of how unlucky the Jays were especially in the rotation.

    Comment by Mike — December 16, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  59. My guess is that they couldn’t get Jackson or McCarthy, or they wouldn’t have done this deal. What makes you think they could have?

    Comment by Baltar — December 16, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  60. Cameron’s confuses talent with proximity to the playoffs. Last year, there were three 90 win teams in the AL East, a terribly tough division as we’ve heard for the past decade (especially by the Toronto fanbase who spent the last few offseasons noting how they’d win 5-10 more games a season in the AL Central–a questionable but nonetheless revealing statement). There were 0 in the AL Central. One division is winnable for a team that won 70ish games last year and improved. The other isn’t. Toronto may have higher true talent, absolutely, but the division talent, as they’ve been complaining for a decade, is unfortunately also higher. Sorry, that matters here when working out how close the teams are to the playoffs.

    Now, I’m not so simplistic to suggest regression shouldn’t be accounted for, especially with regard to Toronto. The number of injuries sustained in 2012 was almost comical. It’s is a completely fair exercise. But then why was that courtesy applied assymmetrically? Hosmer? Worst defender in the league and far from a sure thing as a hitter. Francoeur? Confirmation bias–we knew he was a terrible player, and, voila he was terrible in 2012. He couldn’t possibly regress despite an xBABIP 35 point lower than luck-neutral projection and his worst UZR of his ML career. Dave went so far to suggest that Myers was a 2-3 WAR upgrade on Franceour. Interestingly, if you regress Franceour to his true talent HE is a 2-3 WAR upgrade over his 2012 self. And he doesn’t fetch James Shields in a trade.

    Yesterday we saw that Dickey was not a one-year-wonder. Ok, a perfectly fine conclusion, although it does ignore that Dickey is unlike a lot of other age/knuckleballer comparisons and the jump in K-rate in 2012. But fine, it’s really tough to buy he’s not an ace. What about Shields? We saw the argument that because of his IP and success–and this is gamblers fallacy–we should recognize that he *too* could fail. But Dickey? No.

    And yeah yeah, I get that Toronto did improve their team. But you know, so did the Royals. That Guthrie deal is by no means flashy, but if it means 16 fewer starts with Wil Smith? That’s worth 2WAR. Seriously, what is the difference in projected WAR next year for Yuni and Reyes? If it’s much more than 2-3, color me surprised.

    Sorry, the assumptions behind the Royals being contenders are vigorously questioned and dismissed. I like both deals quite a bit for their respective teams, but the notion that the Shields deal warrants significant scorn, laughs, and outrage…while the Dickey deal doesn’t is an exercise in mental gymnastics. They’re both fine deals for teams looking to contend and GM’s who have established a fine “process” but need to demonstrate onfield results or might lose their jobs.

    Comment by frenchy — December 16, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  61. You are both wrong. The AL East will be probably be the toughest division in the MLB again–at worst second to the AL West.
    The Jays are going for it now because they may never have a bluebird like the Miami deal again.

    Comment by Baltar — December 16, 2012 @ 11:58 am

  62. Everybody seems to think their team could have signed Jackson.

    Comment by Baltar — December 16, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

  63. Though I don’t totally agree with you, you have done an outstanding job of stating that these two trades are not as different as Dave Cameron makes them out to be.
    I was slow to come to the point of view that Dave is prejudiced, but I’m sorry to say that he is in the cases of DM and AA.

    Comment by Baltar — December 16, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

  64. I agree that the deal as has been explained is not quite enough. I assume the idea is actually that buck is on the Mets payroll… I think making a swap of Lind for Ike davis would make this much more palatable. (Davis’ season was sunk by BABIP) Probably pick up half of Lind in that deal. Then you have a lineup with almost no real holes.

    Comment by Mike — December 16, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

  65. Your entire premise hinges on the assumption that the Royals aren’t terrible.

    Comment by Baron Samedi — December 16, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  66. The Mets would never trade a guy in Davis who still has +4 WAR potential for a guy who is barely replacement level. If the Jays asked for Davis too, the Mets would balk.

    Comment by Eric — December 16, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  67. Other aces cost $15-25 mill per season ! Dickey is $5 mill next with a reported 2/$26 extension request. 3/$31 for a Cy Young winner is a MAJOR factor in this deal

    Comment by Infield Fly — December 16, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  68. guilty.

    Comment by frenchy — December 16, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

  69. I was right with you and was going to congralutate you until you compared the royals previous acquisitions to the jays. Your seriously stating the upgrade from Wil Smith to guthrie is similiar to the upgrade from Yuni to Reyes? Guthrie was replacementlevel last season and for his career is barely a 2 win pitcher. Reyes is an easy 4 WAR player while Yunel can be easily counted on for 1.5-2 wins. And I really don’t get your point about Francoeur…the guy has consistently shown he’s a replacement level player with the exeption of 2 seasons where his BABIP carries him, saying Franceour’s true talent level is 2-3 WAR is so beyond ridiculous. Your definitely right, that Dave made a few stretches in logic to differentiate the deals, but alot of your points are flat out ludicrous.

    Comment by Jaysfan — December 16, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

  70. Did the injuries to the nationals occur at the same time? Did they lose 3 pitchers within 5 days? Were they left with 1/9 of their opening day lineup? The Jays were hit with a nasty injury bug and were helpless when competing against the other teams which were moderate to full health.

    Comment by Michael — December 16, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  71. I’m not sure if it’s dubious, given that the team with the same basic core but more league-average rate of injuries won 81 and 85 games the two years before, which is a very different situation for the Royals. And, I think you underplay the injuries themselves – this wasn’t a case of impact guys being gone for a month here or there, but literally scratching 3 of the 5 rotation starters (and then 2 of the 3 backup options), not to mention the closer and best hitter, for the season.

    You’re right that injuries could always be an excuse, but of course sometimes that excuse is justified. Toronto really got nailed last year above and beyond what you’re normally find with any old 162 game season, and just checking out their record from the years before or even the first half of the season before Bautista and their last remaining pitchers went down, I would say pre-Miami trade this was an 80-85 win team.

    That may sound a bit nitpickey, but if you’re starting from that assumption, it puts them in a very different projection range than if you’re assuming they’re just a 70-75 win team to start with. It’s always those last wins that are the hardest to get, but Dickey may well buy them the wins to push a 90 win team to the over rather than under.

    Comment by paint771 — December 16, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

  72. All teams suffer injuries, as Boston, New York, and Tampa Bay can tell you. If Evan Longoria (and half the rays at some point), Pineda (assorted yankees) , carl crawford, cody ross….
    The list goes on…
    You could have made a strong case for the rays for the Playoffs if Evan Longoria had stayed healthy, For example

    Comment by matthewinger — December 16, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

  73. Davis season was sunk by Valley Fever. Once he recovered from that, he was fine.

    Comment by vivalajeter — December 16, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  74. What makes you think they don’t value him, and that they don’t want him on their roster? Other than Wright, there’s no bigger fan-favorite on the Mets than Dickey. Mets fans adored the guy as a person, and he’s obviously a great pitcher. They were going to trade him for mediocre prospects just to get him (and his $5MM contract) off the team.

    Comment by vivalajeter — December 16, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  75. One huge factor in this trade, and why it’s good for the Jays (unlike the Royals’ trade), is payroll.

    For starters, Dickey at $5M next year is half what Shields will make, and reports this offseason indicate Dickey is willing to sign a two-year extension for about $13M/year, which is absolutely dirt cheap for a pitcher of his quality. AA grabbed an ace for Ryan Dempster money.

    Second, the Jays, unlike the Royals, have money. Acquiring Shields has effectively handcuffed the Royals from making any more moves over the next two years. Given Dickey’s contract and the Jays’ finances, Toronto can continue to add pieces if they need to. That, and the depth of their system, could mean the beginning of a long run of competitiveness. Unlike the Royals, who put all their chips into the next two years…

    Let’s also not forget D’Araund wasn’t the same level of prospect Myers is. D’Arnaud may be the best catching prospect in the game, but there are still question marks — for one, he missed half of last season with a knee injury. If I were making bets on who’d produce more fWAR over the next two seasons, my money would be on Myers. And that’s not even mentioning the depth at the position Toronto enjoys. AJ Jimenez might be ready by midseason 2014. And there’s Nessy, too.

    Comment by Jay Stevens — December 16, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  76. To be fair, he said that Francoeur’s true talent level is 2-3 WAR higher than his 2012 performance (which was -1.2 WAR). So he’s really saying he’s a 0.8-1.8 WAR player.

    Comment by vivalajeter — December 16, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  77. So a realistic shot at a WS win should be put aside for two players who have yet to pitch or hit in MLB. Are you suggesting that the Jays have a better chance in 2014 or 2015 by not making the trade?

    Comment by RichW — December 16, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  78. Can anyone provide a link to something showing that the aging curves for knuckleballers is different from mere mortals? A lot of people have been saying this, but I’m yet to see this so called proof…

    Comment by Kevin B — December 16, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  79. McCarthy signed pretty cheaply.

    Comment by matt w — December 16, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  80. While agree with the majority of this article, the AL East is still going to be much tougher top to bottom than the Central. If the Royals could win ~87 games, that could be enough in that division. A team could win around 85 games and finish in 4th or 5th in the AL East. The Red Sox aren’t bad right now, they certainly aren’t elite, but they should be around .500 with no more additions.

    Comment by Brian — December 16, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  81. I would say d’Arnaud is better than Myers. He is 22 months younger and plays catcher rather than corner OF.

    Myers last 3 years
    wRC+(which is adjusted for league/park/season, but not position)
    AA 103
    AA 216
    AAA 137

    AA 107
    AA 150
    AAA 147

    Comment by Indiana Bob — December 16, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  82. My money would be on d’Arnaud over Myers. His offense is not much below Myer’s and he is 22 months younger and plays catcher rather than corner OF.

    Comment by Indiana Bob — December 16, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  83. Yeah, check Fangraphs, there was just an article (By Dave Cameron I believe) that showed how knuckleballers have tended to age.

    Comment by Anthony — December 16, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

  84. I agree with James, and would also add that the lack (or likely lack) of an NHL season could mean a real revenue uptick if the Jays are competitive. Toronto really is a hockey-first city, but if the Jays can capture our sports’ fans attentions it could mean a boon to both attendance at the games and TV ratings (across the country).

    I’d also assume that given the Jays ownership group is also party to the NHL negotiations they probably have a good idea whether or not there will be hockey season. These moves suggest they don’t think there will be.

    Comment by Adam Dunn — December 16, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  85. Michael, while the Nationals’ injuries did not occur all at once, there was a point of time in May where they reached an apex of sorts. On May 6, 2012, the game in which Jayson Werth went down injured for the next few months, Steve Lombardozzi was starting at 3B for Ryan Zimmerman, Chad Tracy was starting at 1B for Adam LaRoche, and the bullpen was missing DLed Drew Storen and Brad Lidge.

    Ryan Zimmerman returned the very next game, but Wilson Ramos was knocked out of the season six days later.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — December 16, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

  86. I didn’t say he is a 2-3 WAR player. I said that the royals are 2-3 WAR better than they were last year, just by a luck neutral xBABIP adjustment to Franceour and by regressing his defense. You may disagree with me doing this, but you have to acknowledge that this isn’t my opinion–it’s based in an agnostic re-telling of his 2012–which was that he suffered significant babip bad luck. We afford this consideration to every other player who has bad babip luck. Why not Francoeur? Additionally, look at his UZR. We know defense peaks early–I’m not claiming he’s going to regress to 2005 Franceour defense. I’m not even asking for you to give him +3 (2011 UZR data). Just 0.

    Guthrie is being asked to be a 4th starter and produce 2-2.5 WAR which is less than what the Royals than the same spot last year. Do I think this was a great allocation of resources? No. But I do think he’ll “earn” his WAR/$ money in 2013 and improve the team, in part because being a FB pitcher out of Coors will help him accomplish this? Yes. I’d wager he’s in a better position to outperform his FIP out of Coors. .

    From 2007 to 2011, Yuni averaged 3.4 WAR/year. Same period for Reyes: 4.4 WAR/year. In 2012, the difference was 2.7 WAR. They’re not *that* far apart, marketability aside. People forget how good Yuni has been.

    But look, I acknowledged–Toronto has more “true” talent than KC. What I’m saying is–that’s important, but so is divisional talent and proximity to the playoffs. And KC benefits by their division being weak…

    Comment by frenchy — December 16, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  87. sorry, more* than in 2012

    Comment by frenchy — December 16, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  88. The White Sox had a similar situation in 1960. The Sox had a veteran
    pennant winning team (in 1959) who had just lost a WS to the
    Dodgers in 6 games. Owner Bill Veeck wanted to return to the WS in
    1960, so traded for the best available power hitters in
    Roy Sievers (1b), Orestes Minoso (LF), and Gene Freese (3b). The Sox finished in 3rd place, 10 games behind the Yankees. Veeck had
    failed to upgrade their pitching, which failed them in 1960.
    Meanwhile, he traded away future stars in: Norm Cash (1B, Batting
    champ in 1961), Johnny Callison (RF, All Star player for several
    years), Don Mincher (1B, Power Hitter for several years), and All Star
    Catchers Earl Battey & John Romano. It wasn’t until 1963, when
    the Sox developed All Star/Rookie of the Year Pitcher Gary
    Peters that they started competing again. So, Blue Jay fans, I
    have been there. Now, the Jays have to keep making significant
    trades on a yearly basis to keep competing, while waiting to
    rebuild their farm system. The question is was it worth it?
    The Jays fans have to answer that question, with their
    attendance to the Jays games.

    Comment by Juan — December 16, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

  89. Last season AA balked at the price for Gio Gonzalez and Matt Latos, which at the time was deemed to be a king’s ransom. Ask the Reds and Nats if they have buyer’s remorse. It’s a seller’s market for starters, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

    Comment by Tim Raines — December 16, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  90. I believe it is likely that the AL East winner will have the lowest win total of any division winning team. Not to say that the AL East won’t be tough, it’s just that no team is going to be soft and no team stands way out from the pack. These marginal wins the Jays are picking up will be huge.

    Comment by Anonymous — December 16, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

  91. Santos: gone for the whole season
    Morrow: about to months
    Bautista: half the season
    Lawrie, Arencebia: 1 month each
    Drabek 5/6th of the season
    Hutch: similar to Drabek
    Rasmus and Kelly: clearly hampered by nagging injuries

    The Nats’ rotation was actually in very, very good health; their lineup did lose some games played and has a better argument.

    Boston was a better example in my opinion. They lost Crawford, Ellsbury, Ortiz, Youkilis, et al for extended periods of time.

    Comment by exxrox — December 16, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

  92. Their farm system could still grade out as around average after the trade…not many impact bats (if any), but Sanchez/Norris/Smoral/Stroman/Nolin is still a very good stockpile of high-upside starting pitchers.

    Comment by exxrox — December 16, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  93. While the AL East is certainly tougher top to bottom, the AL Central should actually be more difficult to win than the East. The Tigers should be a 95+ win team even if they don’t add anymore to the roster, and it is still likely that R. Soriano ends up in their bullpen. The Royals can get some good breaks and may have an easier path to 85 wins than the Jays due to their division, but the Jays have a superior roster to KC and would have to see a lot break wrong in order to win 85 games. As such, the Royals are selling out for a shot at getting in the wild card mix while the Jays have higher aspirations.

    Comment by Anonymous — December 16, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

  94. This has nothing to do with hockey.

    Comment by D.t. — December 16, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  95. Minor quibble on the narrative, Melky Cabrera was signed after the trade with the Marlins, not before. Whether that had anything to do with the negotiations for Melky is anyone’s guess. Maybe if Dayton Moore was more out in front with his trade he could have considered a Melky return. Sometimes the chronology gets lost when you’re looking back on GM’s offseason moves though when making historical judgements.

    Stockpile prospects and cash them in. I’m excited that both these GMs are making these moves. One is a saber darling, the other a saber object of scorn. I’d say that KC has more left in the tank prospect wise, but it’s a close call I suppose. Both GMs had to make moves due to their failure to develop MLB pitching from the farm to time with going and competing.

    Comment by Shankbone — December 16, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  96. Why would Gallardo be available? He signed long-term and right now and the Brewers should be competitive next year.

    Comment by Cubs Fan — December 16, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

  97. Stats in the minors don’t matter a ton. Flaws can get covered up in the minors more so than the majors. Myers *projects* to provide much more offense than D’Arnaud.

    Comment by Cubs Fan — December 16, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  98. I’m fairly sure Fangraphs posted that article a couple of weeks ago.

    Comment by Cubs Fan — December 16, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

  99. Melky Cabrera is not a prospect. Giancarlo Stanton is not a prospect. Dan Uggla is not a prospect. Rickie Weeks is not a prospect. Chris Capuano is not a prospect. Derek Lowe is not a prospect. Curtis Granderson is not a prospect. Ramon Santiago is not a prospect.

    Comment by sOmE GuY wHo DoEsN'T kNoW hOw To SpElL dEtRoIt — December 16, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

  100. Stats in the minors don’t matter a ton. Flaws can get covered up in the minors more so than the majors. Myers *projects* to provide much more offense than D’Arnaud.

    Comment by Cubs Fan — December 16, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

  101. Points can seem that way when you fail to understand them.

    Comment by mypoorbuccos — December 16, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  102. I think two untouched, yet vital considerations when comparing the prospect bloodletting that occurred in KC and the trade for Dickey are as followed: prospect value and context.

    1) I think Rany Jazayerli gave a pretty good treatment of Will Myers value last week. He had pointed out the probability of a top prospect becoming an impact player in the Big Leagues and that of someone like Will Myers. Travis D’Ardnaud while being a definitive top ranked prospect is not on same projected range of success as Myers. Considering Myers won Minor League Player of the Year, he is one of the best prospects in the game, and in the past 20 years joins players like, Jeter; Trout; Rameriez; Mauer – in fact even the least successful players on this list were above replacement players (Baldelli; D. Young). The difference between these two players is the difference between a ‘can’t miss’ and a ‘probably won’t miss’, and that is substantial.

    2) The context of each team is different. When the Royals had traded away Myers they did so while he was positioned to fill one of their glaring holes – right field. Instead they are stuck with Jeff Francoeur, one of the game’s worst everyday players.

    The Blue Jays were in an entirely different situation. Alongside D’Arnaud (at catcher) they had J.P. Arencibia rising through the farm system. Arencibia has more power than D’Arnaud and already two years ahead in developmental terms. Most importantly, Arencibia has been productive. He is well-liked both by the organization and the city of Toronto, which holds value for the Jays organization; hence the re-hiring of John Gibbons as manager. By trading D’Arnaud the Blue Jays have avoided a sticky position of having to call up a late season prospect and having split time with another quality young player.

    Comment by Angus Archer — December 16, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  103. Myers is 22 months younger than d’Arnaud.

    Comment by Ivan Grushenko — December 16, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  104. not exactly a tough conversation to be in atm. Consider this.> Yankees are old, and proving brittle as well, Arod out appx half the season, lost Swisher, Jones, and Martin. Boston is in their version of rebuild, Tampa lost two good pitchers, and the Orioles.. Can they replicate last years luck? The AL-East is a very vulnerable division. If there is a stretch of a few years that anybody can take it, its now. It isnt just the Yankees-BoSox division anymore. Jays are striking while the time is right to take the division.

    Comment by Cidron — December 16, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  105. James Shield’s was 100% being shopped.

    It was not even a secret, as the MLB rumor mill had been reporting on this situation for months. The Rays were never going to afford to re-sign him in 2015. Trading him now with two years remaining on his contract would produce more value NOW than if they were to wait a year.

    The difference between the two teams is that the Rays are competitive with or without Shields. However, the Mets are NOT competitive with or without Dickey. So that is the difference of leverage.

    Comment by Angus Archer — December 16, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

  106. I thought the Jays gave up too much in their last go-for-it trade with the Mets, too. Never once, though, did I feel even a tinge of regret that Jeff Kent was putting up great numbers year after year in another uniform. David Cone didn’t walk on Lake Ontario, but he was an important part of a championship team. Thanks, Alex, for making a bold move that we hope finally puts an end to mediocre results and brings a long playoff run!

    Comment by JD Arthur — December 16, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

  107. I agree with Baltar, the division will be tough.. But, that is exactly the point. It isnt impossible. Tough yes, as it still has boston, nyy, tampa, and baltimore in it.. And they will all win some games. And, when healthy, they are all good teams. But, the division CROWN is far more up for grabs than anytime in recent memory. All five teams have realistic belief that it can be theirs. Jays are merely solidifying their chances while the other teams age (nyy), retool(bos), or (as expected) regress (tb, balt).

    Comment by Cidron — December 16, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  108. Not quite defending Frenchie, but he did have a good 2011 year, if memory serves.. ok, 2012 sucked. But, isnt there a chance he discovers 2011 again?

    Comment by Cidron — December 16, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  109. umm, because he is unsigned?

    Comment by Cidron — December 16, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

  110. That comparison is not even close.

    Jeff Francoeur was the worst everyday player in 2012. He had hit .235/.287/.378. To exacerbate the situation Francoeur has one of the worst ranges for a RF, and had cost KC something around 10 runs. Myers would have been a massive upgrade.

    Toronto it is different. D’Arnaud does not have the projected power that J.P. Arencibia does. Since 2011, Arencibia has hit more home runs in the American League than every catcher not named Napoli and Weiters. He is still a developing player too

    Comment by Angus Archer — December 16, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  111. The Reds are hardly comparable. They didn’t even loose Votto or half the season, they got unlikely help from Frazier, and, perhaps most remarkably, they needed one one (!) start from a pitcher not in their opening day rotation.

    Comment by Bip — December 16, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  112. Toronto fans, which would you prefer:

    1) Zack Greinke’s @ 6 year, $158 million, or
    2) Josh Thole and an unnamed, non-elite prospect along with Dickey, for Travis d’Arnaud, John Buck, Noah Syndergaard and an unnamed, non-elite prospect.

    Comment by Fan Dango — December 16, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  113. Oh god, I hope not.

    Comment by Tim Lincecum — December 16, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

  114. Cubs Fan… i agree. Minor league stats dont count for much, especially in PCL… D’Arnaud played in Las Vegas, nice, dry air to hit balls in.. key words.. DRY air (think colorado in the pre-humidor days, dry air). Not sure if LV has a humidor, but why bother actually.. its a hitters league.

    Comment by Cidron — December 16, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

  115. The point isn’t that the East has become bad. The point is that this might be a low point for them by their own standards.

    Comment by Bip — December 16, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  116. It is a salary dump.

    I think they were able to convince the Mets to eat more salary. They get rid of John Buck’s contract, which is something they were forced to eat in the Marlin deal. The Jays still have plenty of top-ranked pitching prospects, so Syndergaard’s loss is just marginal.

    Comment by Angus Archer — December 16, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  117. not so much a link, but look at the knuckleballers success, or at least usefullness.

    Hoyt Wilhelm pitched til near 50
    Phil Neikro, 48
    Tim Wakefield, 45
    Charlie Hough, 46
    Joe Neikro, 44
    Wilbur Wood, 39 (though, shortened due to injury)
    Tom Candiotti, 42.

    Most of these are household names to baseball, and they all pitched well into the 40’s, with the exception of Wood, who very well could have, if not for a Ron LeFlore liner to Wood’s kneecap (which shattered).

    Again, not a link, but, info that shows longevity (and therefore, usefulness)

    Comment by Cidron — December 16, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

  118. In defense of KC in their trade, and Tor in theirs, we really dont know how the minor league principles will do once they hit full time major league play. We WANT to think they will do, based on their minor league numbers, but, we dont KNOW that they will. There have been many highly regarded AAA players that flamed out under the big lights, in the big time. Will they? only time will tell. As for KC and Tor, they got known quantities for unknown (but, highly regarded).. time will tell the full value on their trades. (might be a Larry Anderson for Jeff Bagwell, all over again, or a trade that fades to obscurity…)

    Comment by Cidron — December 16, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

  119. oh, one more thing to consider for KC.. They kinda have to overpay to get people to play there. Not quite the destination for a star seeking playoff appearances.

    Comment by Cidron — December 16, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

  120. It really does. Hockey is the number one competitor for sports broadcasting revenue in Canada, with playoffs lasting until mid-June. The owners of the Jays are broadcasters. When your competition is out of the game that represents a significant opportunity to build revenue share.

    Comment by Adam Dunn — December 16, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

  121. Assuming Dickey is signed to a 2-year extension, this deal, along with the Marlins trade, also sets the Jays up for 2014 & 2015. Save for Josh Johnson, all the top players on the club are signed or under team control for the next three seasons. Yes, they’ll age over that time period, but it looks like the Jays will have a very solid nucleus for the foreseeable future.

    Comment by Adam Dunn — December 16, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  122. It doesn’t matter what we’d prefer, there was no way the Jays were going to give that type of contract out, especially after just taking on a ton of salary via the Marlins trade and signings. AA has done a good job at attempting to grab an ace level starting pitcher, and pay him #2 or 3 money, even though it looks like he’s going to have to pay a premium in prospects, which they have an abundance of.

    Comment by Anthony — December 16, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

  123. You’ll never convince idiots that he wasn’t a one-year wonder. Don’t bother.

    Comment by Matt Mosher — December 16, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

  124. It seems like every offseason, every time teams make big moves like this, I say, “Why didn’t they just sign Edwin Jackson for 3/36 and keep the prospects?”

    Comment by Michael Scarn — December 16, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  125. @Cidron Umm, this offseason has also been consistent with the Mets testing the trade market waters for starting pitchers before they concluded negotiations with Dickey. As it happened, they’ve apparently found a deal they liked.

    Comment by Jon — December 16, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

  126. A sub 100 wRC+ from your catchers isn’t necessarily subpar. It could still be slightly above average relative to other catchers.

    Comment by Brennan — December 16, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

  127. And at that “apex” they were much more healthy than the Jays were for the second half of the season.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

  128. “Good” is a little strong for Wade Davis. “Effective middle reliever” might be more accurate.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

  129. Of course, Arencibia never walks, strikes out a lot and hits ~.240 in a good year.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

  130. I like the Jays trade alot more, One the Jays are the better team with the better chance atm to make the playoffs. Bos is confused and old, Nyy is old old old and one of these next few years has to fall apart, TB is probably the biggest threat, and Balt (im from baltimore too) probably wont be as good next year, since they have done nothing this offseason. Tor’s Window of winning with the current team is its brightest the next 2-3years Dicky will be great->above average for the next 2-3 years at a very high chance. Royals trade has been beaten to death but if they didnt waste all of the budget on hocheaver/santana and guthrie before the trade and did better with it i would back there trade more also.

    Myers is > d’Arnaud, Myers is not perfect and he might “Just” be a nick swisher impersonator but even thats a legit allstar fringe player. D’Arnaud is older and already injury prone, catchers that are injury prone at 22 arent a good bet to stick at catcher for the long haul. If he moves off C hes an average/above average player tops and thats basically Myers FLOOR. Smart move by the Jays to cash him in before he gets hurt again (he might he might not whoknows but hes def got a higher injury chance after being hurt legitimately 2 years in a row then before). Best part of Dicky is the contract and that it only took 2 legit prospects, Reds and Nats both paid more(prospect wise) for pitchers comming off worst years and got paid ALOT more money then dicky will its a amazing situation for the jays.

    2-3years of competition with the Rays and honestly there best shot at a title since Joe Carter (Jays were an attendance juggernaut then too) and hockey is gone they have a chance to bring in BOAT loads of cash this year for going for it. This year fails miserably they can sell off everyone and get back way more prospects and probably better or simular ones then the ones they traded and resetup for 3-4years down the road but by then the yanks and redsox theorteically wont be weak anymore.

    Comment by AJ — December 16, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

  131. whew, good thing our “AA is a genius; DM is a fool” narrative makes it though this month intact, sparing 95% of FG contributors and readers the hassle of lasering off our lower-back tattoos

    Comment by china_dave — December 16, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

  132. Yeah, Jeremy Guthrie vs. Wil Smith might account for the same as the difference between Yuni and Reyes.

    I guess it’s a good thing they also added Mark Buerhle, who was just as valuable as Shields by RA9, and Josh Johnson to their rotation as well.

    They’re adding Melky Cabrera instead of Rajai Davis.

    And they’re adding Jose Bautista, who is better than anyone on the Royals, to their lineup for ~60 games instead of Moises Sierra.

    They replaced Kelly Johnson with 2 rebound candidates in Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio.

    If Rasmus falls flat on his face again they have Gose who produced almost half as much WAR in less than a third as many plate appearances.

    The Jays completely overhauled their roster. The Royals added 1.5 starting pitchers.

    And, finally, the Royals are not going to be able to compete with the Tigers in any area of the game. Cabrera, Jackson and Fielder alone had more cumulative position player WAR than the entire Royals team last season, a team that will be returning in its entirety.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

  133. You’ve got it backwards. D’Arnaud is 22 months older than Myers.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

  134. That’s all true.

    But what is your point?

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

  135. Alex Avila; Chris Iannetta; Kurt Suzuki; Brian McCann; Jarrod Staltalamachia; Russel Martin; Geovany Soto; Mike Napoli to name a few catchers who finished below .240 last season.

    Historically, with a few superstar exceptions, catchers are the least likely position to get on base. Although, many (example, Napoli) have made a career from becoming a poor contact, good power player.

    Regardless. J.P. has always been scouted as a low-contact player with huge power upside. He has worse contact than D’Arnaud but better power.

    Comment by Angus Archer — December 16, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

  136. Not to be too much of a homer, but it seems like everyone says every offseason that this is the year that the Yankees will finally fall apart, but they never do.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

  137. The only players in baseball with lower OBPs than JP Arencibia last year were Geovany Soto and Clint Barmes. Brian McCann out-WAR’d him while playing with a torn labrum.

    And Napoli is not a valid comparison to JPA considering that he has nearly triple the walk rate.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

  138. Good article: thanks Dave. Both tams have taken significant risks to improve their records in ’13.

    Assuming just for the sake of discussion, that the Jays sign RAD to an extension, then they’re well heeled in more ways than one. First, they’re poised to contend seriously in the AL East and beyond. I don’t know if they’re WS contenders. What I do know is that they’re MUCH better than this past season.

    Second, AA has shown that he can stock a farm with prospects in short order. This trade, in concert with the other moves, puts them in a position–say, when the window to compete in the AL East closes–to do a similar thing. They can deal vets, a la Roy Halladay, for prospects. One significant difference, however, is that TOR is (much) farther ahead in farm depth than they were when AA took over in Dec. ’09.

    I like this deal for many reasons, and have found myself hoping that both the Mets and Jays flourish because of it.

    Comment by chief00 — December 16, 2012 @ 6:52 pm

  139. But the comparison here is with the Royals. The whole point of this article is “Why should our opinion of the pending Dickey/D’Arnaud/etc trade be different from our opinion of the Myers/Shields/etc trade?” In that context the injuries some other random team might have suffered are irrelevant — the Nationals don’t matter in this context any more than the Redskins or Wizards do.

    And I don’t believe the Royals suffered the loss of an offensive player as significant as Bautista or a pitcher as significant as, well, pretty much the entire Jays starting rotation. (Arguably the Royals didn’t even have an offensive player as significant as Bautista to lose). So the nearly equal record from 2012 would be misleading even if the Jays hadn’t been busy upgrading everywhere on the diamond prior to this trade. And that, to answer the question, is why our opinion of the two trades should be different.

    Comment by joser — December 16, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

  140. Un-huh.
    A-rod is out til midseason (at best guess)
    Gone – Swisher, Martin, Chavez.

    Add Youk (no picture of health himself)
    Mo, Gardner, and Pineida of which only Mo was the picture of health before, and ..

    Not sure how you see “no problem”. Who is gonna catch? Between Youk and A-Rod, 3b can be really brittle. Gardner for Swisher.. not same types but both .. servicable swap. Mo, a year out at his age, does he have the heart for another year of the grind?

    I dont see where you say they arent gonna fall apart. Its old, brittle, and slow (might be the slowest team out there). Yes, they have a player or two with speed. But, not much more. I will give you this. They may be the smartest team, and the one that rises to the occasion best.. but, man, old and brittle is a bad combo. Especially when their own division is now very very potent, no weak teams to rest on.

    Comment by Cidron — December 16, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  141. The problems with acquiring Price are twofold: A) The Rays still hope to contend this year and B) They’d be trading him within the division. The Jays would have had to severely overpay to even get Tampa to think about making a deal.

    Comment by Ian R. — December 16, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

  142. #1 – I don’t see the marked difference between D’Arnaud and Arencibia minors careers. Like the Royals, the Blue Jays have seen plenty of guys look like all-stars in Vegas, and flop in the AL East. Why is D’Arnaud can’t miss compared to Arencibia?

    #2 – The Blue Jays front office has caught on that they have a unique window to win the AL East — New York looks old/injury ridden and Boston is in rebuilding mode, so they only need to compete with a Tampa Bay team that has a questionable offense. I think its a genius move to make run now — its how small market teams have to work.

    Comment by MLB Rainmaker — December 16, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  143. I think you blatantly misunderstood my point.

    No one is saying that the Jays are not better than the Royals in terms of true talent. But likewise, the Jays don’t get strength of schedule wins added to their total. The AL East is…good. The AL Central simply isn’t. Cameron’s fundamental criticism of the Shields deal is that, with Shields, they aren’t contenders and so why give up Myers. My opinion–and you’re free to disagree–is that that’s poor analysis that ignores context. Cameron goes so far as to say that the Royals would have been better served in 2012 by keeping Myers and benching Frenchy. And that’s plain wrong. The Royals, by acquiring Shields, along some luck-neutral projections and prospect maturity (similar to what you did with the Jays) put them in the AL Central race. I’ve outlined a number of things (much like you did with the Jays) that don’t involve a huge leap to think that their 2013 true talent is much higher than their win total from 2012.

    So, in that way, my comment has nothing to do with the Jays really–The Yuni/Reyes thing was just a pet peeve actually and I should have mentioned this in another thread. I too think the Jays are a contender too with Dickey which makes the (significant) talent outlay acceptable. My comment concerns the Royals having an easier path than AL East teams to the playoffs. Cameron is simply ignoring context (for any number of reasons, but I’d posit ideology) and I think that’s silly.

    It’s wrong that one move draws laughs and vitriole while the other (reasonably similar one when you consider playoff chances rather than true talent) garners praise. Both moves make their teams divisional contenders, and that’s the most important thing here.

    Comment by frenchy — December 16, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

  144. kudos to the mets…they’ve quietly done a really excellent job at reloading prospects for veterans in the last two years. really impressive.

    Comment by jcxy — December 16, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

  145. @ Cidron:

    The Yankees still have enough players to at least be a nuisance/adverage. Robinson Cano continues to have awesome years and looks fine. Teixeira had a good if down year and if he performs in the same range as last year is good, with a chance of rebounding to a higher performance. And he was injured a lot of last year, I believe. Granderson hit 116 wRC+ despite striking out an insane amount and a BABIP well below his career. And they have a rotation with Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettite(Small Sample Size for 2012 but even putting him near his career numbers makes him a fine pitcher) and Hughes can potentially be a good #4 guy. They could start Cervelli(or Stewart I guess) at Catcher. And Gardner could easily go back to being good.

    I’m a Blue Jays fan but unfortunately the AL East is quite tough. The Rays are still very good(they could afford to lose Shields). The Yankees have plenty of ability to be average or more. The Orioles aren’t going to go 93-69 again but they should still grade out as a good 80-85 win team overall. It’s unfortunate Jose Bautista and E3’s window had to be now because the AL East is going to be a lot easier to win in 2 years or so.

    (As an aside, I like both the Blue Jays trade and the Royals trade. I think the Rays, Mets, Royals and Jays all got some win-win out of it.)

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 16, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

  146. “Second, AA has shown that he can stock a farm with prospects in short order”

    Under the new CBA though?

    Also, tony reaggins doesn’t have a job anymore…or an ace to trade for gose, drabek, and, of course, d’arnaud. Well, morrow, I guess…but he won’t be the GM if it comes to that.

    Comment by new CBA — December 16, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

  147. Let’s call it what it is – a great deal for both sides.

    Mets get an excellent prospect package back, that rivals what the Rays got for Shields.

    Jays have a very good chance to win the division before the trade, and now, even more so. Rogers isn’t going to dole out much more money, and so how often do you have the chance to trade for a Cy Young winner (with three years of proven success), and then extend him for 3/$30?

    Very fair deal.

    Comment by Alex — December 16, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

  148. Not saying the Yanks will collapse this year, might be next year, or the year after, Current jays setup has them as legit contenders for the next 3 years now. Even the most devote Yank’s fan has to admit theres gonna be a lean year within the next 3 for the Yanks basically what the Sox are dealing with now.
    No one can 100% predict anything in baseball its all percent based, but for the next 3 years its basically Dicky V D’naud, even if D’naud has a Mat Weiters type career (which is prolly his ceiling) its going to be 2-3years before hes that.(Look at Weiters minors numbers esp since he didnt play in LV and his first few years in the Majors) By then the Yanks and Sox will be restocked and the Rays might still be amazing, Rather then atm where the division will be down (Still among the best in baseball but down compared to previous years). Best chance percent wise for the Jays to win within the next 2-3years and make a legit run. They sat around the “good” and playoff fringes for the past 3-4years finally they see there chance to strike and there taking it. Good for them. Once they get in the playoffs it is a Crapshoot get 2-3 chances at the crapshoot and hope for the best is what every baseball team sets up for. (Unless your the Yankee’s they want in the crapshoot EVERY year, other teams typically get smaller windows tho.) Nows the Jays best time in the past 10years to do so.

    Comment by AJ — December 16, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

  149. I do agree with Alex too, The Mets have done a good job the past 2years restocking the farm. Beltran trade and this one really were pretty solid coup’s for them. Turned Dicky who they signed off the scrapheap into 2 legit prospects is a great move and 2months of Beltran for a top 5 SP prospect was a monster move.

    Only cant help but to think that maybe the Royals woulda traded Myers for dicky. Him and one or two of the other guys from the Royals package was probably a better deal imho. Bust rate on Myers is so small its pretty much a safe bet that he will be an above average RF for the next 6years. His floor is Delmon Young who will take a walk and not be the worst defender in the sport (Aka a 3win player)

    Comment by AJ — December 16, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  150. The Yankees played pretty much the entire year without:

    Mariano Rivera
    Andy Pettitte
    Michael Pineda
    Brett Gardner
    Joba Chamberlain

    They missed significant time from:

    CC Sabathia
    David Robertson
    Mark Texiera

    People just forget how unhealthy the Yankees were because they still managed to win a lot of games.

    Comment by Jason H — December 16, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

  151. MLBrainmaker Anerncibia doesnt walk or make enough contact to ever be anything more then a outmachine that will swing into Hr’s every now an then. His defense is not bad and the Jays love his work with the pitchers so hes a fringe viable Catcher for a contender but hes nothing great. Since hes cheap atm hes valuable but after that he’ll be extremely below average. D’naud if everything breaks right will be legit better offensivly and a better defender but probably frail and miss decent amounts of time.

    From a statgeek POV D’naud will be the better player even this year probably but the diff will not be much, but from the side we dont understand stat wise all the things catchers do and the Jays have far better information on this then we would they love Arencibia’s work behind the plate pitchframing/game calling wise so maybe hes worth more the next few years then a rookie catcher. These types of things we will never know but maybe the Jays see this and it helped make this trade easier.

    Comment by AJ — December 16, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

  152. Are the Royals not allowed to make any more moves?

    I have a hard time reading this article as anything other than “Alex Anthopoulos is smart and therefore he does smart things. Dayton Moore is stupid, and therefore he does stupid things”.

    Comment by Jason H — December 16, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

  153. #1 Arencibia was only outstanding in Vegas in his repeat year, D’Arnaud was as good first time around.

    #2 The Blue Jays are not a small market team.

    Comment by Mark — December 16, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

  154. I happen to agree that the Royals chances of winning the AL Central have greatly improved. I may even agree that they have similar chances of winning the AL Central as the Jays have of winning the AL East. I do think the Jays chances of winning their division are better but it could be debated. The main reason why I dislike the Royals trade for Shields and like the Jays trade for Dickey is the Wild Cards. I think the Royals are only able to get to the post season through winning their division, I don’t think they have much chance at getting the wild card. I think the Jays have a much better chance at getting one of the two wild cards with the improvements they made.

    Comment by Andrew — December 16, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

  155. @ Riku
    I was merely pointing out that there is a strong possiblity that this is the year that the Yankees do fall apart.. Yes, they got a good rotation, Cano is good, and Granderson .. has been good.

    Tex, I am almost considering putting into the “slightly above average” bin atm given health, declining numbers, etc.

    Even you dont know the starting catcher with certainty.

    Gardner is ok, but good? … and, when healthy (whenever that is)

    Just saying that A) the Yankees are due for a major decline soon (this, or next year) due to health and age.. and B) The AL-East is wide open with no clear cut favorites. The teams all have a chance (some will need a bit of luck (orioles) but, generally, are good enough to compete).

    Comment by Cidron — December 16, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

  156. As for the Jays.. one thing we forget is that Steinbrenner, (no, not george) has mandated a salary drop to get under the cap. They wont be spending for a few yrs.

    And, he is on record saying “We’ll still do more than any other team would do to win, but at some point with the new rules it’s going to become imperative to be a little more fiscally conservative,” he said. “That’s where we’ve got to rely on our young players, and we’ll still be able to get players when we need them now and then.”

    To me, that says “We arent going out and spend on the FA market regularly. Do they have the farm talent to compete long term (3-6 yrs) or trade for proven talent?

    Comment by Cidron — December 16, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  157. But my main point is that the Tigers are much, much better than the Royals in every facet of the game other than defense. Shields, the Royals’ new ace, is about as good as Max Scherzer or Doug Fister. The Tigers have Scherzer AND Fister, and Anibal Sanchez, who’s maybe half of a step down from Shields. And then they have the best pitcher in baseball.

    The Tigers rotation is simply on another level than the Royals rotation, and then there’s the Tigers lineup, which is only going to be stronger with VMart replacing Delmon Young.

    The only players on the Royals who would play on the Tigers are Alcides Escobar, if you believe his bat is for real, and Alex Gordon. Perez and Avila and Martinez and Butler are tossups, but Fielder>>Hosmer. Infante>Getz/Giavotella. Cabrera>>Moustakas. Jackson>>Cain. Dirks (or really anyone)>Francoeur.

    The Blue Jays are much closer to the other teams of the AL East than the Royals are to the Tigers, and the Royals are not going to be competitive in the WC.

    Barring the Yankees lineup returning to their primes or Pineda making a full recovery, or Wil Myers and Chris Archer battling it out for RoY, the Blue Jays should win the AL East. If the Tigers pull a 2012 Blue Jays, the Royals might be able to beat out the White Sox in the AL Central.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

  158. Royals are pretty much not allowed to make anymore moves. They are already over budget by about 10million. Minus maybe minor contracts they are essentially done unless the Grinch (Mr Glass) heart grows 5sizes over Xmas and the pocket book opens up.

    Comment by AJ — December 16, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

  159. Cidron expect the Yank’s to be cheapish this year and next to reset there Lux tax counter. Then they will go spend alot, maybe not dodger style but still a large amount. Just resetting the counter will save them 40ish mill a year roughly has been speculated. Basically why the next 2years are huge chances for Jays/Rays/O’s since the two Bigboys will be a less then normal strength.

    Granted The yanks have like the entire bluejays team Salary comming off the books next year in expireing contracts. Even staying under the lux tax line they will be major players in FA next summer which could be a huge market with better players then this year.

    Comment by AJ — December 16, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

  160. Except if we lose games early on because we don’t put the best team on paper together, making a midseason trade may not give us enough time to make up for early season losses, particularly in a division like the AL East.

    Comment by AA — December 16, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

  161. You’re right, I’m not sure how I can see “no problem” either.

    I guess it’s a good thing I never said that, huh?

    And Cano isn’t “good.” He’s a top 5 player in baseball.

    Gardner has missed significant time twice in his career, is the best defensive outfielder in baseball and led the AL in steals from 2010-2011, his only two years as a full time player.

    Mo is the best closer in the history of baseball and if he didn’t have the heart for another go around, he would have retired and waited 5 years for Cooperstown. We are also adding a full year of Pettitte, and hopefully another 30 games of Teixeira without a cough severe enough to cause vocal cord damage.

    And Granderson just had the worst BABIP of his career. I think I’ll wait another year before declaring him done at age 31.

    They have a lot of problems and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see them lose the division (I think they’ll still get a WC considering their elite pitching, though). I was just saying that they were supposed to be cooked in 2011 too, and we all saw how that turned out.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

  162. “Major Players” might be stretching it considering the inevitable Cano extension eating up 20+ million of their cap room.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

  163. It’s not 3-6 years. If they are below $189 in 2014 and 2015 they reset the luxury tax penalty. Then they can get back to doing whatever the hell they want for a few years.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

  164. Also, there is a reply button, you know.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 16, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

  165. Sorry fixed. Even with Cano they will have alot of cash to spend.

    Comment by AJ — December 16, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

  166. Certainly in fact that tandem may finish ahead of the rays/yanks C production just pointing out that this team is very well set up for 2013

    Comment by Tomcat — December 16, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

  167. Toronto’s last prospect to be nearly as good as D’Arnaud, I think topping out at #7 for BA’s top 100…..Travis Snider, who was untouchable in any trade and they ended up getting next to no value out of (well Brad Lincoln could be an important part of the pen).

    Comment by exxrox — December 16, 2012 @ 11:27 pm

  168. i dont wanna say this about a cy young guy who is kinda badass but old man knuckleballs aint no tampa bred shields stud

    Comment by bilbo vibrator — December 16, 2012 @ 11:37 pm

  169. I think this is a pretty good trade for the Blue Jays. I also think the Royals trade was pretty fine for them.

    The Royals need to at least try to compete while Alex Gordon and Billy Butler are on the team. Gordon is putting up exceptional numbers and Butler is putting up good numbers. And the Royals farm system with Myers/Odorezzi isn’t poised for that: Nobody else is coming up to help in the next 2-3 years with any certainty. Once Gordon/Butler leave, the Royals are back to square 1(Unless, say, Moustakas/Perez/Hosmer advance rapidly…in which case they want that to happen with a good team so they don’t waste it). Combined with an AL Central that seems dissapointing and the time is now.

    Something I think worth noting is that, using the wonder of platoon splits, the Royals can field a good lineup next year.

    DH: Billy Butler
    C: Salvator Perez
    1B: Eric Hosmer
    2B: Chris Getz / Tony Abreu (Or a cheap lefty masher: See addendum below, however)
    3B: Mime Moustakas
    SS: Alcides Escobar
    LF: Alex Gordon
    CF: Lorenzo Cain
    RF: Jarrod Dyson / Jeff Francoeur

    Getz has traditionally batted well against righties last year(95 wRC+/.312 wOBA), though he actually had a reverse platoon split once I looked at career, so that’s not as good as I thought. In fact, it might be better to platoon him with someone to hit righties(Though it’s still below average), if his career platoon continues. But Francoeur has hit lefties to the turn of 110 wRC+ and .345 wOBA over his career, while Dyson has crushed righties well but is weak against lefties. Platooning them would actually give them a very reasonable right field. If we assume that 2B is a weak point and will produce below average(which it is liable too), then we have three young players with wRC/wOBAs(career) of: 119/.348(Perez), 97/.315(Hosmer, even after his poor season) and 88/.303(Moustakas, who has the below average stats, though he had 3.5 WAR last year despite that). With Alex Gordon/Butler and even small improvement(Say…124, 102 and 93 wRC+s) the Royal’s lineup is young and useful.

    Rotation wise, they now have Shields, Guthrie, Santana and two of: Wade Davis, Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen, Luis Mendoza and Danny Duffy. James Shields has put up elite numbers from 2007 and on except 2010 when he had a massively inflated BABIP: Just last year there was discussion of Shields taking the final steps towards acehood. Guthrie is pretty average, but there was a pretty massive ERA split between his 15 games started for the Rockies(6.35) and the Royals(3.16). But unfortunately I can’t find FIP and xFIP data for it…can anyone find it for me? Santana was a buy low on someone who can make good, if average, starts and who is on a one year deal, giving payroll flexibility. Wade Davis, similiarly, was a throw-it-in buy low: he dissapointed early on but has good bounce back potential. And Duffy was looking good and is young: If he can’t go due to Tommy John, Mendoza looked fine, or even Hochevar.

    So, in short, a rotation of…say…Shields/Guthrie/Santana/Duffy/Davis looks good. You’ve got a durable ace, a dependable average guy(Guthrie has pitched 175+ innings every year, including his rookie year), a guy who has been average most of his career and will be payroll flexible, a good young prospect and a young bounceback guy. With a decent ‘Pen that’s not bad at all.

    Finally, consider the state of the AL Central: The Tigers are good, but the Twins and the Indians are a mess. The White Sox are wildcards: Can Konerko keep up production at Age 36? Is Adam Dunn here to stay with a 35% K%? Will Peavy remain healthy two years in a row? Will Dayán Viciedo learn to take a walk? Will Gordon Beckham ever provide value? They have a lot of potential and could either be a massive roadblock or fall to the wayside and let the Royals bring themselves up. Even getting the second wildcard would massively boost fanbase revenue, I think. And the Royals could increase their payroll and sign another piece or two before all is said and done, in anticipation of the TV deal(Although given it’s glass, he might just pocket it)…maybe a second basement or another good starter(Edwin Jackson)?

    In short, I think the Royals can compete in the next 2-3 years, which they need to do to build up some fanbase once again(So they can shatter their hearts) and before Gordon/Butler leave.

    As for the Blue Jays…the AL East will be weaker next year than this year IMHO, but Dickey sets them up for a while. They recognized the same thing the Royals did(Weakening division, key players creating a window, in this case Bautista/E3) and pounced. The primary difference is the Blue Jays aren’t a small market team and thus were able to also trade for Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes and Mark Buerhle. The Jays are definitely stronger, but they ARE in the tougher division…

    I think next year is going to be a fun year in baseball. Considering this year was pretty amazing, I’m pleased.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 16, 2012 @ 11:44 pm

  170. Well, if ever there was a time…

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 16, 2012 @ 11:45 pm

  171. Butler > V-Mart due to Butler being 26 and V-Mart being 33 and coming off ACL surgery. It’s entirely probable for Butler to improve, while V-Mart is probable to continue declining. Perez is 3 years younger than Avila and they have roughly equal wRC+ and wOBA, though Perez is a nudge ahead in both(119 vs. 115 and .348 vs .347). Alex Gordon has put up high WAR numbers that make him close to Cabrera(2011: Cabrera 7.2 Gordon 6.9, but 2012 it’s a larger gap of Cabrera 7.1 Gordon 5.9). Fielder is indeed better than Hosmer, but Escobar cancels out Infante (IMO) and if they get smart and platoon Francoeur(Who has a large split towards hitting lefties) and Dyson(who has a large split hitting righties) then it’s at least equal to Dirks. Starting pitching wise the Tigers have them beat, but getting average years out of Santana/Guthrie(With Guthrie being likely) keeps them competitive IMHO.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 12:07 am

  172. I agree on most of your points, the Royals trade in it self wasnt bad. The issue is how the rest of the offseason has gone for them. Sanatana for 13mil when he was going to be a FA you could sign for half of that at worst was a horrible move. Let alone the fact better pitchers have signed for less hell Blanton signed for 2years and less cash then sanatan got for one and hes a simular pitcher going forward i bet. Guthrie for what he got was a decent overpay as well. They could have gone after many better pitchers and if they struck out signed guthrie for that deal a month from now. NO ONE else came anywhere near that deal in offers to Guthrie based on what other pitchers are signing for now. Its Never a good idea to sign averageish players to multiyear contracts that early in free agent market you almost always overpay.

    They should of done the shields deal, then there profile would be higher omg the royals are going to contend and should be taken seriously story’s woulda cropped up and i bet they would have been players for better fits.

    At the very least if they were trading with LAA they should of gotten Haren for that 13mil, even as marginally damaged goods hes a FARFAR better bet then Santana, his second half stats from last year while hurt were better then Santana’s BEST years stats.

    Comment by AJ — December 17, 2012 @ 12:13 am

  173. Blanton is not better than Santana. The numbers are similiar, but Blanton has been worse for longer(Since 2010: We have serious reason to consider Blanton underperforms his FIP/xFIP due to 408 innings of evidence of significant FIP/xFIP underperformance) and the fact Blanton would almust assuredly sign with a contender(Like the Angels) over the Royals.

    I don’t think Santana would have signed with the Royals on the open market unless they paid more. They probably could have gotten him for less anyway though.

    I do agree they should have gotten Haren(Who would be a great fit IMHO and who I was wondering if they could somehow get) in the trade if they could and that they should have pulled the trigger on the Shields deal then went FA hunting. But I think they got enough of a haul to contend enough it is worth it. Almost all the money comes off the books by the time Gordon is gone, too.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 1:10 am

  174. @Ruki
    There is a key problem in your solution for Francoeur. That is, it require the Royals to “get smart,” something they have consistently shown that they have no intention of doing. And your estimation of the Royals vs. the Tigers in terms of lineup completely ignores Austin Jackson, who pretty much lines up with Gordon, making the comparison between Miggy and Lorenzo Cain.

    I’ll give you Billy Butler, even though Martinez is pretty much a metronome putting up a ~.370 wOBA and ~125 wRC+ every year, because I don’t know how he’ll come back from that ACL tear, but let’s wait until Perez has a full season’s worth of at bats before declaring him better than Avila.

    The top half of the Tigers lineup blows the Royals’ out of the water, plain and simple. And Rick Porcello, who is probably losing his job in the Tigers’ rotation, would be KC’s second or third best pitcher.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 17, 2012 @ 1:46 am

  175. You say “even getting the second wildcard” as if it were any easier than getting the division when in order to get that second wildcard the Royals would have to outplay all but three of the Jays, Rays, Yanks, Angels, A’s and Rangers. Even considering the fact that they added Shields, who would not be the best pitcher on any of those teams, they are nowhere near the same level of raw or actualized talent as the teams that will be competing for the wild card.

    The only road the Royals have to the playoffs is through the Tigers, and the Tigers are simply a better baseball team. They might be able to sneak into second place in the Central if they can beat out the White Sox, who, incidentally, also have a much better rotation.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 17, 2012 @ 2:08 am

  176. So after this year, the Jats are potentially left with (too lazy to look up the exact amounts, but both are backloaded beyond this year):
    Buerhle (2 yrs, ~37mil?)
    Reyes (4yrs, >80mil)

    They significantly upgraded in 2013 but is it worth it? They had some decent solutions at SS (not as good as Reyes, but not exactly bad options) and they could have funneled 150mil toward two quality starters (not as good as the 2013 solution, but better beyond 2013).

    People seem to be assuming Dickey takes an extension, otherwise this is a 1 year rental at a pretty steep price (that for some reason is being compared to 2 years of Shields). I think both of the Jays trades are a fair risk to take a shot at 2013, but these trades might leave behind 2 expensive contracts beyond this year (and maybe a sandwich pick or two). If the GM doing this is not AA, is there more mention of the long term potential risk?

    Comment by Tom — December 17, 2012 @ 2:19 am

  177. Jays… Jats…yikes….

    Comment by Tom — December 17, 2012 @ 2:20 am

  178. Last year both second wildcard teams had a 93-69 record, while the Tigers had an 88-74 record. It’s entirely concievable that the Tigers go 94-68(Though I doubt it) and the second wildcard stays roughly the same, so the second wildcard becomes easier than winning the division.

    (Also I am pretty sure more teams in contention, as you point out with the Jays addition and such, would cause the number of wins required of the second wildcard to decrease, as wins would be more evenly spread out. Also, at least two of the teams you mentioned cannot be in contention because they will be winning the division, unless the O’s, Mariners, etc won)

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 2:22 am

  179. It’s likely being assumed there is an extension because the Jays actually are a fairly high market/payroll able team and new TV Contracts are close. It doesn’t make any sense for the Blue Jays to make this trade if they aren’t going to try extra hard to resign Dickey.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 2:24 am

  180. As an aside, if the Tigers DON’T improve that much…then they’re still in the range of 88-92 wins. Considering the other posts suggests the Royals are now an 80-85 win team, it seems to me there is plenty of room for the Royals to contend, especially if any of their young talent makes large strides.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 2:26 am

  181. I said “all but three of” those teams because 2 will be division winners and 1 will win the other wild card slot.

    And the Tigers should almost definitely improve. They’re replacing Delmon Young with Victor Martinez and they’re getting a full season of Sanchez instead of either Porcello or Smyly.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 17, 2012 @ 2:38 am

  182. The difference between Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello according to Fangraph WAR is 0.9, using last year(Using the year before, 1.1). So it’ll hopefully be Drew Smyly(A difference of 2.1 WAR) in that regard. V-Mart will definitely be an improvement over Delmon Young, though (Though I predict V-Mart to do in the 2-2.5 WAR range).

    And sorry, I missed the three part. That’s my bad in the reading comprehension.

    Anyway, giving V-Mart 2.9 WAR(The same as the last year he played) and putting Sanchez over Smyly gives a +5.7 WAR, which if directly added to the Tiger’s win and rounded up to 6 gives a record of 94-68. In which case a 93-69 wildcard is indeed easier to win(and both are so close it’s inconsequential). So my comment on the potential for the second wildcard over winning the division seems perfectly valid. (This, of course, assumes no other setbacks for the Tigers nor any other gains)

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 2:59 am

  183. Fair enough, but I don’t see the Royals breaking 85 wins, much less 90, while I’ll be surprised if any of the teams I listed, except maybe the suddenly bereft Rangers, has less than 88.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 17, 2012 @ 3:19 am

  184. For whatever reason teams hate Ejax, but yeah, could’ve gotten a really good pitcher and kept D’arnaud. Probably would have made you team better in 2013 overall since JPA and Thole aren’t very good.

    Comment by Preston — December 17, 2012 @ 3:44 am

  185. I compared Alex Gordon to Miguel Cabrera because they were the two best position players on their respective teams. I’m not sure if a Gordon/Jackson comparison is apt until we see more from Jackson: His 5.5 WAR was quite surprising compared to previous years and his .ISO seems unsustainably high, he only had a mark close to or at it in A+ ball back in 2007. It’s a good .040 better than any other .ISO he’s posted at any level. I’d probably compare Jackson to Butler instead if you don’t do Fielder to Butler(If so, you’d compare Jackson with the 3rd best I guess).

    Yes, Francoeur platoon does require the Royals getting smart. But they actually did test platooning Dyson and Francoeur during the last season: They planned for a Dyson/Francoeur platoon roughly around August 5th, which can be seen by looking at the Game Logs from roughly July 28th to August 10th, where Dyson makes multiple starts against right handers and Francoeur makes starts against the White Sox left handers. Unfortunately, Dyson sprained his ankle on August 10th, which kept him out of the lineup until the 17th, then strained his right lat muscle on the 31st, which limited primarily to pinch hitting/running for the remainder of the season. You can still, howevr, see Dyson platooning by seeing when he starts during this time and to a more limited extent until the 31st. Yost also said he was going to platoon them and then Dyson was injured 5 days later.

    So the idea of a Dyson/Francoeur platoon is not entirely farfetched.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 3:48 am

  186. Seems like a lot of risk in each player. Lots of guys with bad injury history have to stay healthy, lots of guys on the wrong side of 30 have to produce. Seems like the 2011/2012 Marlins would be a decent comp to me. Stanton as a diet Bautista, Johnson like Romero, not exactly alike but not too far off when I think of it. When the marlins got all those guys I thought they’d be a team that wins 20 in a month, then loses 20 due to injury/age. I can see the Jays doing similar. Lots of potential, lots of risk. High end 96 wins low end 78?

    I like to look at high end/low end of teams. Like the nationals are probably high end 102 low end 88ish. So likely a playoff team. Jays are a big question mark.

    Comment by Antonio bananas — December 17, 2012 @ 4:10 am

  187. I’d be surprised if the Royals didn’t at least push 85. They went 72-90 when they used over 13 starting pitchers. They combined for roughly 6.9 WAR(I think it may be more like 7.1 WAR: I couldn’t find a way to seperate Sanchez’s three Colorado starts from his Royals starts). James Shields alone had 4.3 WAR last year. Almost all of Guthrie’s WAR came with the Royals last year( gives him 1.8 WAR from this, but I’ll continue using the 1 Fangraphs WAR he got). Many players got little WAR and some actually had negative WAR from starting.

    If Shields, Guthrie, Santana, Mendoza and Davis all had the exact same years as last year(Or for Davis, 2011 the last year he started), they’d have more WAR than last year’s team at 7.1(Or equal if Sanchez is down to 0.5). Note that this assumes Santana still provides negative value at -0.9(And that he wouldn’t be replaced by Hochevar/Chen), that Guthrie produces 1.0 WAR even without the Rockies starts and that Davis/Mendoza don’t improve. If we regress Santana/Guthrie to the mean, say, give Guthrie 1.5 WAR and Santana 1.0 WAR, we get 9.5 WAR, about a 2 to 2 and a half win increase. Plus the possibility of Chen or Hochevar out of the bullpen or as starters(1.5 and 1.3 WAR over Davis’ 0.9 WAR, respectively) and the unknown factor of Danny Duffy. A modest improvement of 1 WAR among Moustakas/Hosmer/Perez, regressing Francoeur to the mean(Let’s say 1.0 WAR) and avoiding a Dyson split(which would help), all of which I think aren’t absurd predictions, 7.2 more WAR is given, which we’ll round off to 7, which directly added is 79-83. Note that I ignored any and all other possible WAR modifiers: Lorenzo Cain produced 1.7 WAR but was only able to play in 61 games, Billy Butler’s inflated BABIP but also deflated K%/BB% regressing, Dyson platooning, Guthrie/Santana returning to 2 WAR form, any Davis improvement, though I also ignored any negative WAR modifiers.

    In short, the Royals should probably win a minimum of 79 games or so next year, and the possibility exists for them to do much more(Guthrie/Santana getting to 2 WAR, Cain playing full time, Dyson/Francoeur platoon, any future signings, etc).

    Totally unrelated to anything, the Royals signed Xavier Nady. He’s a terrible player, but for some reason I keep recognizing his name from when the Pirates were around.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 4:14 am

  188. When looking at win swings, you think the orioles get what? 5-8 games worse minimum, Rays maybe the same if Longo stays healthy and makes up for the loss of shields or if Moore takes a huge step forward. Red Sox might be better than last year but still not real good, Yankees maybe 3-5 games worse. So a division that’s about 10 games worse overall? Plus we should factor in constant interleague and how that devalues the DH.

    As for the Mets, I don’t see how this is a bad deal. Dickey’s trade value is at its peak (moreso with an understood extension), he’s a mystery, Nats are at the beginning of a probably 3-5 year run of 93+ wins. Braves have 3 talented players under 24 and lots of young pitching. Mets farm and mlb clubs are kinda meh. Seems like a food time.

    Speaking of meh, even though there was an article on ow the mets aren’t that far off, feel some clubs get stuck in the middle. Mediocre farm, mediocre mlb team. I’d rather purge the few mlb pieces and build a ridiculous farm and start from scratch, or sell the mediocre farm for a win now team. One direction or the other, being in the middle seems like a great way to end up as an also ran a bunch of years in a row.

    Comment by Antonio bananas — December 17, 2012 @ 4:21 am

  189. We hear all the justification comments for the deal. Jays lost approximately 10 wins to injuries, the AL East is weaker and primed for a run by the Jays. Is all of this not true before the Dickey move? Was this not a contending team without the move? Would it not be more prudent to hold back some assets in case the injury bug hits again next year (logic would say that there are injury prone players on the team). Dickey obviously improves the team, but by how much? Is he going to be enough to make up should JBau miss 70 games again? Is it enough to make up for one of the worst catching tandems in the league (with the only other catcher on the 40 coming off TJS). The Jays have $130M payroll in 2014 with some glaring holes.

    Comment by Realistic — December 17, 2012 @ 4:31 am

  190. Some of the worst injuries the Blue Jays had was to pitchers last year. So it seems logical that a star pitcher would help that part anyway.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 4:34 am

  191. Oh, OK. The key between the Royals and the Tigers lineups, IMO, is that the Royals have Alex Gordon, a great player but not a superstar, and Billy Butler, a very good player but not a great one. And then they have almost nothing besides Sal Perez, who doesn’t even have 130 games to his name.

    The Tigers have Miguel Cabrera, who is a tier up from Gordon, IMO. They have Prince Fielder, who may be a little worse overall but is an elite hitter that the Royals simply don’t have. Then they have Austin Jackson, who is a very nice piece already and will be a star if that power is for real. Both Jackson and Fielder are at least a tier up from Butler. And they have V-Mart coming back, who I will concede is in the lower half of Butler’s tier.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 17, 2012 @ 4:50 am

  192. 1 WAR seems like an optimistic regression for Francoeur seeing as how he’s been worth all of 1.8 WAR over the last 5 years.

    And unless Moose Tacos really is the best defensive 3B in baseball, I’d expect him to maintain his 3.5 WAR if he improves significantly.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 17, 2012 @ 4:57 am

  193. Butler’s wRC+/.WOBA last year: 140/.377
    Fielder’s wRC+/.WOBA last year: 153/.398

    There were 2 players between/equal to Butler and Fielder at the 1B/DH position: Edwin Encarnacion(152/.396) and Joe Mauer(140/.376). After that Allen Craig comes in at 138/.374 and everyone else is 132 or below.

    I’d say Butler is right in the range, though just below, of someone like Fielder. They’re very comparable using wRC+/.WOBA

    Using any position and not just 1B/DH, Butler has 6 players between him and Fielder(E3, Cano, Headley, Willingham, Aramis Ramirez, Holliday) and tied with 4 hitters(Beltre, David Wright, Mauer, Josh Hamilton). In short, Butler is in similiar company to many high level players and is close to Fielder, if a notch below. The real difference maker is if Austin Jackson can maintain his power: The Royals do not have a third big threat developed. If Jackson falls back to a 3-4 WAR guy then it’s not as big, but if he remains a 4.5-5 WAR guy…

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 5:11 am

  194. He was worth 2.9 WAR in 2011. Then before that he was worth 0.6 WAR. And he had his amazingly bad year this year. I figured a decent regression would be below his flawed 2011(BABIP!), but above 2012/2010(Where his BABIP was about the same amount of points down as it was up in 2011). Regressing his K% down(His K% was 1.7% higher than his career, so only a slight regression), a slight .ISO boost(.150?), a BABIP boost to the .285 range and his fielding stabilize at about 0 and you probably get around 0.6-1 WAR.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 5:19 am

  195. Right, forgot Moustakas had that huge defensive WAR boost actually, heh.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 5:20 am

  196. Because people might not watch the early Jays games, instead choosing to watch the Leafs in the playoffs? I think they know less about hockey than you assume.

    Comment by Tim — December 17, 2012 @ 6:45 am

  197. Well, if you keep predicting rain, eventually you’ll be right. Unless you’re in the Atacama, anyway.

    Comment by Tim — December 17, 2012 @ 7:01 am

  198. Thats the key point. The AL East is tough but is seemingly on a low point at the moment, certainly Red Sox and Yankees arent at their strongest so if you think you can improve you have to go for it as clearly Toronto have done

    Comment by paul bedford — December 17, 2012 @ 7:15 am

  199. It doesn’t particularly matter which of these scenarios Toronto fans preferred. Toronto doesn’t have a rich history of attracting big name free agents. Greinke was supposedly very picky in where he would consider playing. I love how people make statements that a team could’ve just signed Free Agent X instead of trading for Player Y, when that’s almost never the case.

    Comment by Pinstripe Wizard — December 17, 2012 @ 9:36 am

  200. It’s not even spelled correctly in the article, why bother to point it out in a commment.

    Comment by I'm not a jackass. — December 17, 2012 @ 9:56 am

  201. Fair point, but like the guy above me, Dickey now deepens the staff. Happ can step into the rotation as the #5 guy if needed. After that, you have guys like Drabek, Hutchison and Sanchez (and others) likely able to help in 2014 onwards.

    Gose/Bonafacio/R.Davis provide good depth if needed in the field as well.

    I’m sure there will be injuries along the way, but I don’t think we’re so thin now that we won’t be able to cover potential losses. Also, who is to say that $130 M is the highest payroll can go?

    Comment by Mike — December 17, 2012 @ 10:05 am

  202. haha, try the blue pill!

    Comment by justaguywholikesbaseball — December 17, 2012 @ 10:33 am

  203. JP is just bad….. a wRC+ of 89…he isn’t good at baseball…. Plus is he isn’t a good fielder…

    Comment by kremer — December 17, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  204. Syndergaard is hardly a marginal loss and I hope the Jays aren’t giving up more prospects for $6M in salary relief, which would be a horrible deal.

    Comment by David — December 17, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  205. He did some damage to the farm sure, but it isn’t overly depleted. Still more arms on the way. d’Arnaud is the one that hurts

    Comment by Al Oliver — December 17, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  206. no, it blows for their opponents

    Comment by Al Oliver — December 17, 2012 @ 11:20 am

  207. Dave C wrote an article not long ago saying that the Mets were not that far from contending, that the holes the Mets have (OF, C, bullpen) are different than a team having mediocre players and putting up similar win totals. Does it make sense to trade a Cy Young pitcher like Dickey and essentially give up on 2013 when trading for a Josh Willingham and signing a Cody Ross could have made the Mets contenders?

    Also, as good as Syndergaard looks (geez, I just got used to spelling Nieuwenhuis!), the Mets have one decent hitting prospect above A ball (other than D’Arnaud now) and Flores is seemingly blocked by Wright and Davis. But they have 11 good pitching prospects. When does TINSTAAP mean it’s time to turn some of these guys into an outfielder???

    Comment by Dave — December 17, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  208. Not to dump on exxrox work, but he’s miss a fair bit there.

    C: Arencibia hurt in July, D’Arnaud out for season, meant months of Mathis
    1B: Lind dealing with back strain all year, Cooper out final two months, Gomes and others got starts
    2B: Johnson playing hurt a lot of the season
    SS: Escobar mostly healthy but missed a month in bits and pieces dealing with a thigh strain and leg issues
    3B: Lawrie missed a couple months via camera-well diving and a jammed finger, reliant on Vizquel
    RF:Bautista gone from the week after allstar break, reliant on Moises Sierra
    CF: Rasmus playing hurt from mid-June
    LF: Healthy mostly, unfortunately this was healthy Eric Thames and then Rajai Davis. Davis missed a couple weeks.
    DH: Encarnacion, played carrying an injury all through August and September

    SP1: Romero pitched all year, had surgery in the offseason
    SP2: Morrow out two months of season
    SP3: Alvarez healthy \o/
    SP4: Hutchison, out to TJ, replacement Happ breaks foot in September
    SP5: Drabek, out to TJ

    Closer: Santos out to season long injury
    Bullpen: Lost Perez to TJ, Frasor misses time with minor injuries, for the most part not too bad though.

    The Jays essentially had one healthy starting player this year (the weakest positon on the diamond), one healthy SP who shouldn’t have been in the majors yet, and a collection of mostly healthy bullpen pieces. You can’t win much with that.

    Comment by TtD — December 17, 2012 @ 11:25 am

  209. Syndergaard is probably their 4th best pitching prospect – assuming Deck McGwire still holds his value. In addition, this team still has a ton of young talented players who no longer qualify as prospects – Drabek, Hutchison and Cecil.

    I’m not saying Syndergaard is a marginal talent, but marginal relative to his position within the organization. Plus, he is still in Single A and is at least three years away in developmental terms.

    John Buck does not really have a place on the Jays roster, and his 6M is dead weight. Considering Anthopoulos works for an owner group that has always been financially-conscious, I’m sure shedding his contract holds more value for them than it would for, say, the Dodgers.

    Comment by Angus Archer — December 17, 2012 @ 11:55 am

  210. A ton of JP haters here.

    He only has a season and half under his belt, and the expectation that his 23 home runs is not his ceiling and he will improve. His wRC+ is within 10 points of other young catchers like Montero, Saltalamachia, and Avila. It is also above full-time veterans’ like Buck, Molina and McCann.

    Regardless, my point was that going with J.P. is a serviceable option with upside; opposed to KC going with Francoeur (who is not). It is worth the risk for the Jays considering D’Arneud is still two seasons away from being a full-time Major League catcher, if at all – since he has yet to get any at bats at the major league level.

    Comment by Angus Archer — December 17, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  211. Those 2 would have caused a 15 win jump? Come on now.

    Comment by Antonio bananas — December 17, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

  212. The excellent cast of teams in the AL East will beat each other up too much for any of them to win a Wild Card.

    Comment by Baltar — December 17, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

  213. I hate the Yankees, but I agree with your comment. The Yankees are still the Yankees until proven otherwise.

    Comment by Baltar — December 17, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  214. At what point are trades not called bad since the market for these types of pitchers now seems to be exactly this?

    Comment by marlins12 — December 17, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

  215. I’m pretty sure they only have to be under the cap in 2014 to reset. Then it’s “Katy bar the door” for a few years.

    Comment by Baltar — December 17, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

  216. Getting the second WC should be about as hard as last year, which is to say very hard.
    The AL East will be out of the WC race because their division is too strong. The AL West, on the other hand, will be able to feast on Houston. Both wild cards will probably come from there.

    Comment by Baltar — December 17, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

  217. You must have excellent inside sources to say that the Mets could have traded for Willingham and signed Ross.

    Comment by Baltar — December 17, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  218. Missed Osuna from your list

    Comment by siggian — December 17, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  219. They get a partial reset if they’re under it for 2014, and if they get under it for 2015 they get a full reset.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — December 17, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

  220. Last year, the NL Central had the Astros. They also had the 61 win Cubs. They also produced the wildcard winner with the least amount of wins. They’re more likely to get the wildcard for being really good than for the Astros.

    Comment by Ruki Motomiya — December 17, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

  221. if it was George at the helm, I would agree. But, Hank.. we dont know what he is all about when it comes to the Yankees yet. Is he a big spender? Is he tight? Is he.. somewhere in between?

    Comment by Cidron — December 17, 2012 @ 8:02 pm

  222. Ruki. hint, people tend to skip over walls of text.. be succinct if you want people to read what you have to say.

    Comment by Cidron — December 17, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

  223. Wrote this email to me friends…
    OMG. I’m about to fucking hit Bro cameron in the uterus unless he gets his head out of his ass. Bare with me for this email.

    Several just gigantic things he’s missing

    1. The win curve. I love the idea of a win curve and think that its a less utilized analysis. Basically defined as the amount a team is willing to pay (in prospects, cash, etc.) for an additional win is dependent on what that additional win will do for their postseason plans or business success. Thats why it seems silly for me when people talk about the cost of a win because it varies drastically from team to team. Lets look at one just gigantic omission by Mr Cameron. The difference between the win curve for a team in the AL Central vs a team in the AL East.
    I don’t think its controversial at all to say that the competition in the AL East is far superior to the competition in the AL Central and a team thats hoping to reach a minimum amount of wins to ensure a playoff chance has a lower win curve. Hence the Royals can pay more (in prospects and in cash) for wins in the 80s. BUT, the wildcard debate throws a wrench into this, because you don’t have to win your division to go to the playoffs. The new format, however, makes the difference between a wild card berth and a division title pretty great, so you can assume that teams have two win curves, one for the wild card and one for the division. Previously, these were very close to each other as the only difference was first round opponent and home field advantages. Now, however, the difference is much greater and teams should likely not sacrifice as much for a wild card as they would for a division. This means that each team’s win curve is highly dependent on their division strength not to mention a host of other factors (previous years’ success, contract status, etc.) that Bro cameron just refuses to address.

    How substantial of a difference is this? Very. As you probably know, last year the Tigers only won 88 games and still won the division by three games. And in 2012 the AL East had 3 teams that won 90+ for the second year in a row. Its not just recent success, since 1997, the AL East Winner has averaged 98.3125 wins and the AL Central Winner has averaged 92.375 wins. 6 wins! In only 6 of the past 16 years has the AL Central champion had more wins than the Wildcard champ (wildcard winner has not won less than 91 games since ’97). If everything else was equal, the Blue Jays would probably have to be at least 6 wins higher than the Royals to be on the same win curve. Thats basically like saying that the only way to compare the two teams next year is if you took Jose Bautista off the blue jays (based on Bro James projections)

    2. Even if you don’t want to talk about divisional problems (which jeez, are just so effin’ obvious), Bro Cameron says that these teams are basically coming from the same position and hoping to make the big leap in 2013. Fair enough, like he said, the Blue Jays won 73 games and the Royals won 72 (which was somehow good enough for 3rd place…). But come on, dave. We all know that wins fluctuate greatly and may not be the most accurate way to evaluate actual talent, right? At least if we’re talking about the marginal win going forward, shouldn’t we look at something else? Oh I know, lets look at how the players actually performed in 2012 instead of just their won/loss percentage. Sound good? All data from FG. The Blue Jays Dynamite offense last year totaled 15.6 WAR and they’re pitching posted a stellar 7.7 WAR, for a grand total of 23.3 WAR.
    The killer Royals on the other hand, posted a 17.3 batting WAR and a somewhat respectable 14.9 WAR in pitching and totaling 32.2 WAR for the season. According to FG, a replacement level team should win around 43 games, meaning that the Blue Jays were expected, based upon their individual performance, to win 66.3 games, but instead won 73 while the Royals were expected to win 75.2 games but only won 73. We remember that like 0-14 start the royals had. So it seems really unfair to compare these two teams as ‘starting from the same point’. Its very easy to argue that the Royals were significantly better than the Blue Jays last year and also played in a significantly worse division. They were just also significantly more unlucky than the Jays.

    3. Possibly the most important yet least quantifiable thing is the expected advances of the Royals young players. Even before we get to that though. Because they’re in different divisions, the Blue Jays will probably have to win 6 extra games to win it and their difference in performance last year was an astonishing 8.9 WAR. So through all of these trades and yada yada yada, the blue jays will have to come up with something like 15 WAR more than the Royals to justify the trade according to Bro Cameron or basically double their batting line from last year or triple their pitching performance from last year. Now, i expect many of the Royals hitters to make strides over the next year, but by how much? This is just impossible to state, but based on how gaga Bro Cameron is over D’Anaurd and Will Myers, you would expect him to be similarly gaga over two people that were in the same position two years ago. Mike Moustakas was ranked as the 13th best prospect in 2009 and Eric Hosmer was the 8th best in 2011, comparable to Myers and D’Anaurd. And when Bro Cameron talks about prospects performing strongly, I assume he’s talking about in their 3rd year or so. So if he’s bullish on Myers and D’Anaurd, then how can he not be bullish on the Royals to make at least a couple win jump from the previous year just on player development alone? I mean, shit, Eric Hosmer was worth -1.1 wins last year, and the Royals are still starting off 15 games ahead of the Blue Jays. You have to think that the Royals are going to get higher production from Hosmer, a full season of perez, another year of development for Moustakas, Escobar and my fav, Lorenzo Cain. He’s discounting the value of prospect development in his evaluation of the Royals major league ball club, but overplaying their value when evaluating the trade.

    4. Other factors that affect the win curve or your approach to it. 2 things.

    1. I think a team that has lacked earlier success places a higher premium on a win, which moves the win curve up. This is pretty standard and the Blue Jays and the Royals lack of postseason appearances has likely shifted both of their win curves up, but I would argue that the Royals mediocrity has pushed it higher.
    2. This is kind of an aggressive argument and is probably because i write about it at work, but I think the Royals team needs to be diversified. What does this mean? Well, when pension funds or big fund house are building a portfolio, they want to make sure they have the appropriate level of risk but they also want to make sure that the risk is spread across many industries and regions. The logic here is that you want your assets to not be dependent on each other. So if one does poorly, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the other does poorly. They’re uncorrelated. Even if you have the same risk level, if all of your assets are held in Colorado penguin shops, if something affects the penguin demand in Colorado (god knows what could), then you’re screwed because all of your assets are in there. It would be better if your risk was spread out over several areas. I think the Royals needed to do this with their ‘assets’ i.e. player talent.

    Most of their talent was concentrated in young power hitters. Now, not only is diversification good because there are little number of positions on the field, but I would further argue that it shields you in case one of your (or the league’s) evaluation methods are incorrect. So for instance, if you build a team in 2000 you would most likely value the things that are popularthen, but there were many developments in how we evaluate offense, defense and baserunning that people were not using then. If your assets are specialized then you’re either going to get them all right or all wrong and its entirely contingent on the specific evaluation system. So I think its important for a team to have young hitting prospects, veteran pitchers, power hitters, young pitchers, draft high school players, college players, international players etc, because of the chance that one of them is the next market inefficiency that you or someone in the league discovers. So I think the trade for Shields was great because it diversified their asset holdings away from young prospects so if the market demand changes in the next couple years, they will not be greatly affected because their assets are spread across several categories.
    5. Well. All of this is not to say that the Royals made the right decision and the Blue Jays made the wrong one. I actually think they both made the right decision. But its mostly to point out the hypocrisy of Bro Cameron and the rest of the FG staff. Its just so obvious that they are blinded by their prior beliefs regarding teams, GMs and players. These situations aren’t perfectly comparable but they’re close enough that you could understand why someone would equate them. As much as I like fangraphs, I’m getting more and more disappointed in their lack of complexity and how they think there is such a simple solution to everything. Baseball is one of a couple things that I’ve been following pretty closely on blogs (I’d throw politics and China and kinda tech in there too), but I think it lacks a developed blog community. For China and politics, there are beginner blogs and expert blogs, but more than anything the blogs keep a check on each other. I don’t see the same type of check in the baseball blog community. I see mainstream media embracing fangraphs basically cause its the only one that doesn’t charge for its data. (Sam….hint hint).

    Well there’s my magnus opus. The gauntlet has been thrown down and I’d appreciate any of your thoughts if you’ve made it this far….


    Comment by Chris — December 18, 2012 @ 1:58 am

  224. Working in a young catcher isn’t exactly optimal on a team with a present window of contention.

    Comment by Stan Gable — December 18, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  225. True.

    Also, seeing the Orioles pass you by has to be a wake-up call.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 18, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

  226. Wow, that’s some e-mail. Ever consider a blog?

    At least it wasn’t a text.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 18, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  227. holeycrap.. *got crushed by the wall of text*

    Comment by Cidron — December 18, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

  228. that said, good … reply? (or mini-article) – especially as a point-counterpoint to the main article.

    Comment by Cidron — December 18, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

  229. Sorry Chris, but I gave up after the third ‘Bro’. Much like Mutts, Spankees, Red Sux, etc, it’s simply not funny or clever when it’s used over and over in a paragraph/post. Can I safely assume that you’re the type of person who wears sunglasses at a nightclub?

    Comment by vivalajeter — December 18, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

  230. You can safely assume that I’m the type of person that will have a logical discussion with you. If I had merely sprinkled Bro in there and talked about superficial things, I’d be inclined to agree with you. But the comment did have sufficient analysis and the “Bro” was only meant to add color to a piece. I can safely assume that you’ll run away from a conversation simply because someone is different than you?

    And there were only 8 bros, 7 of which were before Cameron and one of which was before [Bill] James. The 3rd bro was also about halfway down the post, which means you got pretty far before stopping. Kudos.

    And finally, this was an email to my friends and we use “Bro Cameron” as a term of endearment for Dave Cameron, because we all value his work/analysis. I just thought he was blind to his own analysis there.

    Comment by Chris — December 19, 2012 @ 1:32 am

  231. Egads you have some long winded commenters. Can’t top that, off I go!

    Comment by Adam Wright — December 19, 2012 @ 4:25 am

  232. I wonder if the timing of all of this has anything to do with the NHL lockout? By making these huge moves this year, they get the benefit of making headlines while there are no hockey games. I’m guessing that they are getting a lot more attention than they usually would, and they may get more interested fans during the season too.

    Comment by Pat — December 19, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

  233. It’s not just the “bro”, but the other words you put around it. Like “I’m about to fucking hit Bro cameron in the uterus”. Comes across as juvenile and douche-baggy.

    Comment by bc — January 7, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

  234. You said “Leafs in the playoffs” Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Comment by Doncosmic — January 10, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

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