FanDuel - WFBC

December 27, 2005

It's official.: The Toronto Blue Jays are the most improved team in baseball.

posted by panoptican to baseball at 06:01 PM - 47 comments

yeah now hillenbrand koskie hinske hill and glaus can play third or first!

posted by probotfan@verizon.net at 06:22 PM on December 27

Maybe, but now they have three third basemen and two first basemen. And a rookie shortstop. And no second baseman, and a weaker pitching staff. I hope that article is right and they have one more move for a defensive glove in them, or else they're going to be in a lot of 8-7 games. as has been now noted.

posted by chicobangs at 06:25 PM on December 27

A weaker pitching staff? They'll be starting Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Gustavo Chacin, Ted Lilly, and an improving Josh Towers. That's pretty much the best front 5 in all of baseball. They do have too many corner infielders right now, but all that means is they are not done improving yet. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Jays move both Shea Hillenbrand and Eric Hinske - The Jays are definitely MUCH improved.

posted by westcoastexpress at 06:38 PM on December 27

but now they have three third basemen and two first basemen One will be traded, one will DH, leaving Overbay and Glaus at 1st and 3rd, and the remaining one (Hinske, Hillenbrand or Koskie) PHing, platooning or even trying RF once in a while. Depth is a good, good thing. And a rookie shortstop. And no second baseman Adams has played a full season in the bigs and part of another. Not the best SS in the world, but could improve, especially with Overbay at first to scoop up his throws instead of Hinske. Hill will be an above-average defensive 2b at least and he's an improvement offensively over Hudson. or else they're going to be in a lot of 8-7 games Not with the best starting pitching and bullpen in the AL (I'll bet! And ESPN readers seem to agree...), and still a very solid infield, Hudson, or no (remember the huge improvement at 1st, and the fact that Koskie missed a big chunk of the season at 3rd last year anyways), plus another gold glover in CF. I've got my season's tickets - this is so sweet for those that never jumped off the bandwagon.

posted by loquax at 06:40 PM on December 27

Chico, Glaus is an excellent third basemen. Defensively, they should be okay. Hill will play second. Their pitching staff is the same, except they've lost Batista and replaced him with a better closer, and they added a front of the rotation starter. Halladay, Burnett, Lilly, Chacin, Downs (who was outstanding in the second half) and Towers is a 6 man rotation who can survive an injury. Can any other team say that now?

posted by dfleming at 06:59 PM on December 27

The other rumour is that they're pursuing Bengie Molina, which means they're better defensively and offensively at catcher too, if they actually do it. I'm not sure they need it, but it would be another plus.

posted by dfleming at 07:00 PM on December 27

6 man rotation who can survive an injury Not to mention McGowan who showed good stuff last year and the other young arms a year or two away. And don't forget the bullpen (with or without Downs). Gibbons can use a quick hook with Speir, Frasor, Chulk, Schoenwiess and now Ryan waiting in the wings.

posted by loquax at 08:00 PM on December 27

Yeah, if it's not official yet, my Swiss timepiece has them clocking in ahead of NYY, with Boston and Baltimore yet to even show near the final mile. Obviously, Tampa Bay didn't bother to try.

posted by yerfatma at 08:05 PM on December 27

I may be way off base here, but I think there are still roughly 162 games yet to be played by each team. Maybe we should wait until they play at least some of them before we go anointing the "most [X]" or "least [Y]".

posted by mr_crash_davis at 08:50 PM on December 27

It's two days after Christmas, and we're ALREADY talking baseball. Jesus, I love you guys! It's only fifty-something days 'til pitcher and catchers. Happy New Year, y'all!!!

posted by Thumper at 09:40 PM on December 27

We started talking baseball the day after the last game of the world series!

posted by skydivemom at 10:04 PM on December 27

There's a cricket discussion going on elsewhere.............

posted by mrhockey at 10:30 PM on December 27

the best starting five in baseball. who are you crappin?! if they can win their own division--- this would be a feat. the white soxs have the best rotation in major leagues period. followed by a couple yes a couple great closers. hey if you jay fans want to dream, that's nice. but the soxs are living the dream. get over yourselves

posted by whodat at 11:34 PM on December 27

If the Jays had been in the Central, they'd have made the playoffs at least 2 or 3 times since 1993, you know, the year they beat the Sox in the ALCS on their way to winning their second straight WS after only being in the league for 16 years. It took your boys 88 years to win their third title, the Jays are at 12 and counting.

posted by loquax at 12:18 AM on December 28

This is providing that A.J. Burnett is actually a good player. I'm sure we will be talking about how stupid the Blue Jays were signing him and B.J. Ryan (and possibly trading for Troy Glaus) to massive contracts in a few years as they probably will not have won much of anything.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:20 AM on December 28

The question now becomes which player they keep around as insurance for when Glaus gets hurt. He'll miss at least a third of the season.

posted by dyams at 08:09 AM on December 28

This is providing that A.J. Burnett is actually a good player. I'm sure we will be talking about how stupid the Blue Jays were signing him and B.J. Ryan (and possibly trading for Troy Glaus) to massive contracts in a few years as they probably will not have won much of anything. Well yeah, but hindsight is always brilliant. The only thing a GM can know for sure is how the players stack up today, not how they're going to stack up for sure in the future.

posted by dfleming at 08:38 AM on December 28

Ahh - those contracts will seem cheap two years from now. In this day and age, you're paying for three or four of those seasons and taking the fifth year as a 'post-payment' for the good years - all the GMs are aware of this, it's the price of free agency (See: Kevin Millwood). I'm a huge Jays fan and yes, they are - on paper - the most improved team in the game and should contend in a tough AL East. They can absorb injuries better, have a deeper pitching staff than anyone (but I would agree at this point that the White Sox have the best rotation) and should improve the hitting significantly. Remember - this is a team that played the Yankees and Red Sox tough last year as it was - now it has improved to the point where guys like Glaus are waiving their no trade clauses to come here.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:03 AM on December 28

If you don't have a "Rance Mulliniks" to coerce fans out to the park, than how can you be the most improved?

posted by chris2sy at 09:20 AM on December 28

You have invoked the name of the all-mighty Mulliniks - now a hundred years of pain will rained down on the Yankees. The prophecy is fulfilled. goddam - you better sacrifice that goat - stat.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:23 AM on December 28

The Jays won 80 games last year. Most years it takes 100 wins to capture the AL east title. Have they improved that much? They got a good starter (Burnett) but lost a good closer (Batista). They got an average 3rd baseman who will hit 250 (Glaus) and lost a gold glove 2nd baseman who will hit 270 (Hudson). Otherwise, they have the same team as last year. Their pitching is very good, but still only won 80 games last year.

posted by drevl at 11:13 AM on December 28

Drevi, calling Glaus simply a .250 hitter is like saying Mariano Rivera is simply a 5 win per season pitcher. Sure, it's true, but you're just blindly overlooking the truth of what he brings to the table; home runs. Something this team desperately needed.

posted by dfleming at 12:15 PM on December 28

It's the Blue Jays who really cares????????

posted by Motown313 at 12:22 PM on December 28

22 other people who posted before you did. Thanks for stopping by.

posted by jerseygirl at 12:24 PM on December 28

I'm not sold on Ryan or Burnett.... If I were a Jays fan I would be as worried as I was excited, those are long fat contracts for guys that haven't proven much(my opinion). I hope it works out though, win the division and put the yankees/sox rivalry to bed for awhile.

posted by tron7 at 01:44 PM on December 28

The Blue Jays have always played the Yankees and the rest of the east tough, they just can't seem to get any fan support. Without fan support it is hard to attract good players. You have to pay top dollar for the good players and make them believe they will have a real chance at a world series title, both of these things the Blue Jays have not been able to offer for some time.

posted by ayankeefan at 02:21 PM on December 28

They'll be starting Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Gustavo Chacin, Ted Lilly, and an improving Josh Towers. That's pretty much the best front 5 in all of baseball. Thats a pretty good front five but unfortunately you are wrong. It pains me to say, but the White Sox have the best front five with Garland sticking around. They also have McCarthy waiting to get into the rotation if someone goes down. My vote goes for the White Sox having the best six man rotation.

posted by sadsadcubsfan at 02:36 PM on December 28

Hope you Jays fans are right and there will be substantial improvement. I'm sick of seeing the Bosox come in second every year. Let the Jays have their turn.

posted by drevl at 03:09 PM on December 28

It's the Blue Jays who really cares???????? Dear Member-for-a-day: If you don't care about a certain subject, sport, or team, just let it go. Petulant little statements like the one quoted above make you look, shall we say, less than intelligent. Also, one question mark is sufficient to signal that your post is a question, rhetorical or otherwise. Thanks, and have a Happy New Year.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:40 PM on December 28

Although the Jays have improved so much in the off-season their offense is bareley above average at best. And lets be honest, no matter how good your pitching rotation is, when you are facing a lineup such as the Yankees which has the AL MVP, the two top run scorers in the AL, an up-and-coming superstar hitter in Robinson Canoe, as well as some other guys such as gary Sheffield who hit 30,40 or 50 Hr's each season, no matter what you will give up runs. Or lets take the Red Sox as an example, their pitching is above average this year, they have two of the MLB's biggest power threats, an underated superstar fielder in Bill Mueler, and a catcher that almost every pitcher in the Major Leagues would want to work with because of his leadership and knowledge behind the plate. And so, even if the Jays didn't have week spots at second and right field, and an overload of corner infielders with a skill level ranging from allstar to decent, they wouldn't be able to contend with the top of the AL east. I would also like to say that because the Blue Jays haven't improved their team enough to contend in their division, that the most improved, or "MVP" of teams involed in offseason aquisations are the Rangers who recenlty aquired Kevin Millwood and have a chance of getting Roger Clemons puts them at the top of their div. and makes them the the most imroved team in 06. Or atleast best improved, shall i say, compared to the challengers they will face.

posted by bronxbomber at 10:58 PM on December 28

Ha - see? You're scared. With that glue-and-snot pitching staff you've got - I'd be scared too. Some notes: The Yankees have a better offence, no doubt. Worse bullpen and rotation. Worse than the Jays, White Sox, Indians and Athletics. His name is Cano - and calling him and up and coming superstar is maybe a little early. Remember - Eric Hinske was an up and coming superstar who won the Rookie of the Year. The Red Sox have not improved overall (aside from Beckett)- have no GM and superstar players who want to leave. You are easily one of the three people on the planet who would call Bill Meuller a superstar in any capacity - the other two people are Mr. and Mrs. Meuller. The Red Sox currently do not have a shortstop or centre fielder - talk about "week" spots. The Jays have managed to do this without trading any prospects, aside from Zach Jackson, and still have an overabundance of arms in the minors. Their farm system ranks among the best - ahead of both the Yankees and Red Sox. No, bronxbomber, the Yankees may still win thanks to that lineup, but I would suggest you take the Jays a little more seriously. They look to be contending for a few years now.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 11:56 AM on December 29

first of all weedy, I said Bill Mueller was a superstar fielder, which he is, and second if you want to talk about the Yankees pitching staff, talk about this: Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina are both healthy, Shaun Chacon is just going to get better with expierience, as is Ching-Mang Wang. also now Jaret wright (who i have to admit is iffy) is back and so is Carl Pavono who played a big wrole in the Marlins success. As for their bullpen; Mariano Rivera is coming off his best year ever, Aaron Small, who was an intricate part of the Yankees when they needed someone to step up is now able to move to the bull-pen (which is good because of his limited arm strength) and the Yanks also aquired Mike Kyers who is a decent middle relief guy. So, Weedy, im not worried at all. And by the way, I don't think its early to call Robinson Cano an up and coming star. The difference between him and Hinske is Cano will be learning and working with guys like Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Alex Rodriguez; natural leaders, and players wih or had a lot of skill. Cano will also be learning from Joe Torre who is easily one of the best managers in the MLB. Soo mark my words: in 3-6 years Robinson Cano will be if not the best, one of the best 2nd basemen in baseball, and will be considered, yes, a SUPERSTAR

posted by bronxbomber at 12:49 PM on December 29

That's like the greatest troll ever, except Rivera did have his bestest year ever if you go by ERA+. So I'm confused.

posted by yerfatma at 01:24 PM on December 29

Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina are both healthy, Shaun Chacon is just going to get better with expierience, as is Ching-Mang Wang. also now Jaret wright (who i have to admit is iffy) is back and so is Carl Pavono who played a big wrole in the Marlins success. Every year, Randy Johnson gets a little bit less effective. Check his numbers, the home runs he's allowing. He's not the same RJ that he was 3 years ago. Mussina is also getting older, but is a horse. He should be fine. Wang has great stuff. Chacon is an average arm, at best, and will most likely get shelled once the league sees him for the second, third time. It happened in the National League (even with the colorado effect included). Pavano might not be able to cut it in NY mentally; he wouldn't be the first. Wright? Good luck getting a full season out of him. Small? Journeyman turned one-hit wonder is just SCREAMING off him. His stuff isn't good enough to win 12-15 games in this league. There are a LOT of questions in that rotation.

posted by dfleming at 01:29 PM on December 29

Aaron Small wont need wins because hes gonna be in the bullpen second, Pavano knows what its like playing under pressure, he was in the world series remember AT YANKEE STADIUM so i dont think the stadium should be a problem now that the fans are cheering for him. pshh Even if he isn't the cy young pitcher he was three years ago he Randy Johnson still has a lot of dominating performences in him and will be a 15-20 game winner and mabey even a few more now that he will be getting even more run support As for Chacon, i think you are right that he wont do as well for the same reason he didnt do well in Colorado but i think he will get 10-12 wins easy and be an above .500 pitcher

posted by bronxbomber at 03:56 PM on December 29

I'm putting the over-under on Randy Johnson wins this year at 11. He may have more run support, and he was one of the all-time greats, but his skills really are starting to go. By September, Wang (who I suspect will work out just fine) will be the top starter on the staff. But that won't be a good sign for the Yankees and whatever playoff hopes they've got.

posted by chicobangs at 04:07 PM on December 29

bronxbomber, you're a complete and total homer. It's ok. Just don't be suprised when Scott Brosius doesn't get into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

posted by yerfatma at 04:30 PM on December 29

I wish I still had BronxBombers enthusiasim when it came to my beloved Yanks, but I remain a skeptic. I'm at the point where I can't comment and find myself shaking my head in agreeance with a lot of yank-haters. Wasn't this thread about the Blue Jays? If you don't think they have improved, I say yee daft.

posted by HATER 187 at 04:45 PM on December 29

As a Yankee fan, I do think the Blue Jays are continuing to improve, and I'm happy about it. I live in western New York and go to Toronto a few times each year. It's a great city, and having the Blue Jays playing competitive baseball makes it a fantastic place to catch a game. As I mentioned several posts ago, I would only be concerned Troy Glaus stays healthy, which I don't see happening. If he plays an entire year, he's one of the top offensive threats in the game. I still think he'd make the most sense as a DH, because of the toll playing third takes on him over the course of an entire season. As for the Yanks, their staff is a toss-up. Getting a dominating year out of Johnson, at his advancing age, would be a bonus. They need Pavano to have a solid season, because he's still a huge unknown. He may be someone who's only capable of putting up good numbers in the NL.

posted by dyams at 05:01 PM on December 29

My perdiction is that the dark (pitch black fits better) horse Tigers are going to take the nation by a storm, win the wildcard, sweep the Blue Jays, then Jeremy Bonderman will pitch a perfect game seven to beat the St. Louis Cardinals and win the championship! Can't disagree either since when the BoSox won the World Series all the pigs flew and hell froze over. See you all in October!

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:40 PM on December 29

Yanks, Sox, Jays in a (fairly) tight race. The AL will go to the Tribe. God, I don't want football to end. Then we have to wait until baseball and suffer through NBA basketball. Yuck.

posted by dyams at 07:02 PM on December 29

I don't want football to end. Then we have to wait until baseball and suffer through NBA basketball. Yuck. Skydivemom and dad completely agree. Although there is hockey and March Madness is always fun. Florida skies here we come to jump ya!

posted by skydivemom at 07:48 PM on December 29

we'll see...

posted by bronxbomber at 10:23 PM on December 29

I kinda' like how this started out about the Blue Jays and has become about the Yankees, alot like the AL east...all about the Yankees!

posted by ayankeefan at 11:38 PM on December 29

I kinda' like how this started out about the Blue Jays and has become about the Yankees, alot like the AL east...all about the Yankees! Isn't that Toronto's initial goal when looking to improve: Overtaking the Yankees? You can't talk about a team in the AL East without talking about the team that's won the divison year after year after year.

posted by dyams at 09:08 AM on December 30

I'm sure going to miss all those "web-gem" plays from Orlando Hudson.

posted by grum@work at 12:30 AM on December 31

Not to worry, Grum -- Aaron Hill will cover 95% of the range, hit 20-30 points better and I have a feeling you'll get used to seeing Glaus bomb the occasional ball off the upper-deck facade. Now if we can only rub a little of it off on Hinske ...

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:56 AM on December 31

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