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Blue Jays’ acquisitions ensure hope, not division title for 2013

Once again we have found the “winners” of the Hot Stove season, this time in 2012 being the Toronto Blue Jays of all teams. Barring a veto made by Commissioner Selig for a baseball-related reason he is having trouble finding, the Miami Marlins are dealing their entire franchise up north, aside from Giancarlo Stanton.

Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck will all be ditching the hideous rainbow costumes in Florida for some classy throwback Jays jerseys in Canada.

Everyone loves to give their opinions and debate over huge deals like this during the winter, but mostly everyone is on the same page in saying the Blue Jays are now “instant contenders” in the A.L. East.

Forget about that atrocious excuse of an owner Jeffrey Loria for a second. Should the trade happen, it’s a bright new beginning for baseball’s only Canadian team, after the Montreal Expos left to become the Nationals in 2005.

Not to discredit what the Jays have done though in the 21st century – they’ve actually won at least 80 games in 9 of the 13 seasons since 2000 and in 5 of the last 7 since 2006. So they rarely have a definitive bad team, and normally they are competitive throughout the year. That’s what draws people to the conclusion that this trade finally gets Toronto over the hump to become a playoff contender for next season and beyond.

It’s a very strong point, and the Blue Jays may very well make the playoffs in 2013. But if we have learned anything in the past three seasons, it’s that no one wins a World Series on paper.

And since 1993, not on Astroturf either.

I understand each team is unique and different, and you can’t compare acquisitions fairly. But there’s now been four teams in the past two seasons that were picked to win their division, a couple to win the pennant, and of course one to capture the World Series.

What happened? All of them missed the playoffs.

The 2011 Red Sox, the 2012 Angels, the 2012 Dodgers, and [as this all has happened because of them] the 2012 Marlins are those clubs. From Adrian Gonzalez (for Boston and L.A.) to Albert Pujols and to Jose Reyes, all of these teams have made significantly huge trades and signings that seemingly put them over the top prior to season’s start.

To me it’s incredibly shocking people are once again jumping on the bandwagon of the team that has spent or acquired the most talent. This Toronto team still lost 89 games last year and has a lot to prove before they can convince me to pick them for even a Wild Card spot. 

I’m not going to go in-depth with analyzing the team, as it would be a waste of time this early in the offseason.

Don’t get me wrong, the other teams in the division are by no means head and shoulders above Toronto, but they aren’t worse either. All of them still have holes and many questions about how to improve, yet it almost feels coy of baseball analysts to be ignoring the Yankees and Orioles’ intense race this past September, the Rays ability to always hang around, and the Red Sox being destined to improve.

There’s a remote possibility that Toronto could even move down into last place in 2013. Not necessarily due to bad performance, but all of the teams are tough opponents and the division could be separated by less than ten games, from first to last. Ranking this Blue Jays team as better than most or all of their A.L. East foes is childish, and it’s a simple question of “shouldn’t baseball know better?”

No matter what, this team will be sugar-coated and hyped up through the winter and into spring by the new guys coming in, much like all the recent clubs that spent loads of money and lost out big time. Though in reality, there’s a reason this team lost 89 games in 2012. And the majority of the players are coming back, and though they are young and certainly may become a strong team soon enough, no one should be picking them [unless you’re a bias Toronto fan] to suddenly explode and over-take the Yankees, O’s, and Rays to win the A.L. East.

We saw in 2012 that anything can happen in baseball, and that’s my thinking. Anything can happen next year and it’s still only November. There’s over two months left for the rest of the A.L. East to “catch up”, and it’s doubtful Toronto’s apparent inferior opponents will be the same as they stand now come Opening Day.

Overall, there is no doubt that this is a tremendous trade for the Blue Jays, and I’m happy for them from a non-bias standpoint. But not everything works out the way it’s supposed to, and it really hasn’t for most of the “winners” of the offseason for the past decade now. Toronto has the potential to change that pattern, but until they do I will have many doubts and continue thinking realistically while people guess away for the Jays to win 95 games and take the A.L. East crown.

Just ask the past couple of year’s World Series favorites. They’ll tell ya baseball isn’t played in the winter on paper. It’s played in the summer on the diamond, and there’s nothing to point to about next season when snow is covering the ground.

I guess that’s the “beauty” of baseball – it brings out the idiot in all of us during the season, debating what we thought back when it was 30 degrees outside and all we had closest to baseball was the MLB: The Show video game is simply guessing and nothing more.

There is one thing that is for certain however – the A.L. East just got a whole lot more exciting.

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Yankees Offseason Notes: Still quiet but Marlins make it interesting

So the Yankees are still being as quiet as ever during the offseason (honestly, this is getting tedious just doing nothing) but we had a taste of the Hot Stove today (no, it didn’t happen in New York).

– The Miami Marlins are close to a blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. The details are a bit sketchy, but the Marlins are planning on sending Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle to Canada! Honestly, this is the most exciting news I’ve heard since the end of the World Series.I had to literally pinch myself to see if I was dreaming that there was still baseball news. But here’s the part where we get to play Yankees GM all over again and focus on everyone’s favorite subject: trading (or attempting to) Alex Rodriguez. With the Marlins dumping all the contracts on the Blue Jays, do you think A-Rod will waive the no-trade clause and finally go to Florida? I know Brian Cashman said that he wasn’t going to trade A-Rod but…come on now! This is tempting!

The main question I have is this: Who do the Marlins think they’re going to get for 5 players (3 of them that are superstars)? Jose Bautista?

– The Colorado Rockies signed Dante Bichette as their hitting coach for the 2013 season. Does his name sound familiar? It should. He’s friends with Joe Girardi and his son Dante Bichette Jr. plays in the Yankees organization. The kid has a great bat, he could be as good as his dad.

Open Thread

There really isn’t much going on in the Yankee Universe today, other than Joe Girardi’s press conference. Therefore, I’ll just recap some of the “Hot Stove” events of the day.

— Now former Red Sox closer, Jonathan Papelbon has signed with the Phillies. It is a 4 year / $50MM deal, with a vesting option for a fifth year. It really tells you how desperate the Phillies were for a closer. 4+ years, and 50 million – yikes. Have fun with that contract, Philly!

— Speaking of the Red Sox, they are not overly committed to having Daniel Bard as their full-time closer. They are expected to pursue Ryan Madson and Heath Bell.

— The Miami Marlins so said “ability” to spend has been continued. They are rumored to have made offers to Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Mark Buehrle.

Talk about whatever you’d like on this thread. Have a great night.

Morning Bits: Buehrle, Posada, Spring Training

Good morning all. Here are your links:

In the opinion of Jeff Bradley of the Star-Ledger, Mark Buehrle could enhance the Yankees’ rotation, as Jimmy Key did in the 90s.

— Joe Torre and David Cone talked about Jorge Posada’s career as a Yankees. Torre said he thought Posada was Hall of Fame-worthy.

As you know, the Yankees’ Spring Training schedule was released yesterday. Click this link to see the official press release.

Have a great Friday.

Morning Bits: Cespedes, Buehrle, Starting Pitching

Good morning all. Here are your notes and links:

The Yankees reportedly held a private work-out for center-fielder Yoennis Cespedes. Joel Sherman added that the Yankees had “5 important voices” watching Cespedes in the Dominican Republic, including VP of Baseball Operations Mark Newman, pro scouting director Billy Epler, special assistant Gordon Blakely, and scouts Gary Denbo and Donny Rowand. As you can see, this hardly seems like a routine scouting trip of due diligence.

— The Yanks have spoken with Mark Buehrle’s agent, and Ken Rosenthal says the Yankees are among the several teams interested in the lefty starter. Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News expands on this.

— Erik Boland of Newsday has the latest on the Yankees’ targeting of Yoennis Cespedes.

— Marc Carig of the Star Ledger details the Yanks’ strategy focused on finding starting pitching.

Hot Stove Targeting: Mark Buehrle

Mark Buehrle has been a Chicago White Sox since 2000 and throughout his career he is 161-119. That’s not bad for a starting pitcher. Buehrle will be on the radar for many teams this offseason since he is a free agent, and ever since Brian Cashman said that he was looking for pitching, Buehrle most likely be on the Yankees list as pitcher that they want. Although Buehrle has been with the Chicago White Sox his whole career, Yankee fans wonder if he will be perfect for the New York spotlight, and handle a position in the starting rotation.

Except in 2000, Mark Buehrle has had at least 10 season wins under his belt

Positives:  Mark Buehrle started playing for the White Sox when he was 21 years old and showed promise when he went 4-1 with a 4.21 ERA. Buehrle since then had notched at least 10 wins every season from 2001-2011. Not only is Buehrle a winning pitcher, but he has been to the All-Star games 4 times in his career (2002, 2005, 2006, and 2009), won the CY Young award (2005) and is a Gold Glove pitcher (2009, 2010, and 2011). Buehrle is not just a pitcher that can only pitch in the regular season; he can also deliver in the postseason. Buehrle  in the postseason is 2-1 with a 4.11 ERA, which isn’t bad compared to what other players have done on the big stage. Here are Mark Buehrle’s postseason numbers in a chart:

 

Year Age Tm Series Rslt Opp W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR SO
2000 21 CHW ALDS L SEA 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 0.1 2 0 0 0 1
2005 26 CHW ALDS W BOS 1 0 5.14 1 1 0 7.0 8 4 4 0 2
2005 26 CHW ALCS W LAA 1 0 1.00 1 1 0 9.0 5 1 1 1 4
2005 26 CHW WS W HOU 0 0 4.91 2 1 1 7.1 7 4 4 1 6
2008 29 CHW ALDS L TBR 0 1 6.43 1 1 0 7.0 10 5 5 1 3
3 Seasons (5 Series) 2 1 4.11 6 4 1 30.2 32 14 14 3 16
3 ALDS 1 1 5.65 3 2 0 14.1 20 9 9 1 6
1 ALCS 1 0 1.00 1 1 0 9.0 5 1 1 1 4
1 WS 0 0 4.91 2 1 1 7.1 7 4 4 1 6
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/7/2011.

Negatives:With Mark Buehrle there aren’t many negatives except for a few

With good numbers in both the regular season and the playoffs, Mark Buehrle would be the perfect candidate for the Yankees pitching staff

obvious things. Buehrle sometimes will have A.J Burnett like numbers. What I mean by that is that even though Burnett could get 10 wins in a season, he tends to get more losses in some seasons, and his ERA will be pretty high. Buehrle  doesn’t have a lot of seasons where he will get more losses than wins (it’s only happened once, in 2006), but Buehrle has a tendency of having a high ERA in a season, meaning that he gives up a lot of runs. Another thing, this wouldn’t really be considered a negative but Buehrle throws soft like Freddy Garcia. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but with pitchers that throw soft they need to have good control or they will get hit very hard.

Is Mark Buerhle A Fit For The Yankees: If I were Brian Cashman, I would sign Mark Buehrle right away. He the type of pitcher that the Yankees could use in the rotation that already has great pitchers such as C.C Sabathia and Ivan Nova (the future of A.J Burnett is a bit uncertain). Buehrle has proven that he can pitch during the regular season and in the postseason and the Yankees could always use a veteran pitcher on their staff. Of course the media is not the same in Chicago but I am sure that Buehrle can handle the pressures of the New York media. With that, there’s one thing I would ask: Where does Mark Buehrle  sign?

Morning Bits: Buehrle, Jackson, Cabrera, Cano

Good morning everyone! Just 102 days until pitchers and catchers can report for Spring Training! Here are your morning links:

- The Yankees have become very interested in free agent Mark Buehrle and he could become their top target.

- The Yankees have also started speaking to another free agent Edwin Jackson

- Former Yankees OF, Melky Cabrera was traded to the San Francisco Giants for starter Jonathan Sanchez.

- Yankees writer Jack Curry blogs about how Robinson Cano and his father Jose Cano felt at home when they trekked to Taiwan for the All-Star series

 

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