WTNYFebruary 26, 2004
Off Day
By Bryan Smith

Won't be a long post today, my body is trying to fight off the sickness that plagues everyone I know. But I wanted to point around the Internet and give a few shout-outs before hitting the sack.

First, while scanning the ESPN headlines on their baseball page yesterday, I was shocked when seeing the headline, "Jays: We'll re-sign Delgado at season's end." My ranking on Tuesday put Delgado in the second spot overall for 04-05 free agent hitters, and he'd likely slot in at number three overall.

Earlier this winter J.P. Riccardi locked up Roy Halladay for four more seasons, at the average cost of $10.5M per season. Doug Pappas had the Toronto payroll listed at a shade over $51M last year, about $25M less than what it had been in 2001 and 2002. Delgado will likely sign a compareable deal to Jim Thome's six-year, $85M deal, bringing home about $15M per season. The team has signed Vernon Wells and Eric Hinske through their arbitration years, and the duo will make a little under six million dollars in 2005.

Is it feasible for the Jays to spend $15M towards Delgado when the front office already has a tight budget? By my conclusions, yes. Besides the players I've already named. the Jays also have Miguel Batista (4.75M), Kerry Ligtenberg (2.50M), and Ted Lilly (3.10M) under contract for the 2005 season. That would bring the total up to a little under twenty-seven million dollars for three starters, two hitters, and one reliever. Add fifteen million dollars, and you're giving Riccardi $8-13M to spend on eighteen players.

In 2005, the Jays will be adding new names to their roster. Alexis Rios, Gabe Gross and Guillermo Quiroz will all be regulars. Dustin McGowan will be in the rotation, and Jason Arnold will likely slot in middle relief. Players like Kevin Cash, Josh Phelps, Reed Johnson, and Aquilino Lopez will still be auto-renewable. By my estimations, those nine players should come at about $3M, giving Riccardi $10M to spend on nine players.

Jays ownership, put the payroll at $55M in 2005. Re-sign one of the best hitters in baseball, and let the rookies take the field around him. Pretty soon, you'll have an improbable division winner on your hands.


I barely touched on the Baseball Prospectus top 50 list yesterday, and I wanted to jump deeper into it today. My thoughts on the list:

- First of all, Greg Miller has no business down at number 33. I know Prospectus watches out for injuries and that Miller is a chief candidate, but look at the kid's numbers last year. He's got a great four pitch arsenal, and even if you can't put him ahead of Kazmir and Hamels, get him in front of Matt Riley!

- Speaking of Hamels, Rany was nice enough to answer one of my questions in his chat, citing Hamels' once-broken arm as the reason for being so far behind Scott Kazmir. How can a performance-based site harp on an injury that obviously didn't hinder Hamels' numbers in 2003?

- Russ Adams before Scott Hairston? Chris Snelling before Jason Bay? David Bush before Gavin Floyd or Angel Guzman? David DeJesus only two spots from Grady Sizemore? I know Prospectus has informal ties to the Blue Jays and have fans of the Mariners and Royals, but this list displays their affinities a little too clearly.

I would love to have Rany drop-in and further explain the list for me, but that's for another day.


While running through Rotoworld yesterday, I came across some nice news. First, Brandon Webb, the sensational sinker pitcher with the Diamondbacks, is planning on adding a cut fastball to his repertoire this year. Remember, it was the cutter that turned Esteban Loaiza's career, so if you see Webb late in a fantasy draft, nab him.

Troy Glaus and Carlos Beltran are both talking about wanting to stay home, although neither seem to be desperate to get the deal done. Beltran will not give the club a hometown discount, and Glaus doesn't seem too preoccupied with his hazy future. Finally, it looks as if the Yankees will offer Pedro Astacio, and not Orlando Hernandez, a contract in case Jon Lieber's injured groin worsens.

We'll be seeing ya tomorrow...



While I'm not Rany, I did put quite a bit of effort into throwing my weight into the list, and will gladly do my best to explain some of the rationale behind the decisions. I'll quickly address the ones above, and if you have any others, feel free to drop me a line.

1. Greg Miller doesn't have a "four pitch arsenal". He has a solid 92-95 MPH fastball, a good curve that he still is mastering command of, and an average change-up. He began throwing a slider in the last month of the season, and almost immediately developed the soreness in his arm. The slider will likely be shelved, or at least heavily discouraged, and the Dodgers will ask him to settle on a three pitch repertoire, if he can stay healthy. The arm problems are a major concern, and he's a lot higher risk than even the normal pitching prospect.

2. Russ Adams might be a bit overranked, but I don't have any problems with the placement of Scott Hairston. He's a miserable fielder, destined for left field, who has been inflating his numbers in terrific hitters park. His approach at the plate isn't very good and he has gap power. His work ethic is also pretty freaking terrible.

3. I argued for moving Snelling down, even as a Mariners fan, but he's still got a ton of potential in his bat. He's 3 years younger than Bay, and that cannot be underestimated. Bay's a nice player, but if Snelling can get 500 AB's and put the individual pieces together, he could be an all-star.

4. Angel Guzman missed half the season with an arm injury. Thats good enough reason for him to be pretty low on the list. Gavin Floyd is probably the most overrated prospect in the game. I have no problems with Bush being ahead of either.

As for the comments about team ties effecting the analysis, I really don't feel its true. Jonah was the leader of the David DeJesus pack, and had to convince Rany to move him up. I argued for moving Snelling down, and pointed out that its pretty likely Nageotte ends up in the bullpen. I also threw Felix Hernandez off Rany's original list. Greinke was a bit overrated because of Rany's familiarity with him, but not terribly so.

I don't think the list is perfect, but I do believe that there are at least reasonable assertions behind each ranking, with the exception of Charlie Zink.

David, thanks a lot for responding. I hope you don't think I was taking shots at Prospectus, I've looked forward to the list for a long time and hold it in high regard. Prospectus likes to do things differently, and while I respect that, I needed clarification. I understand most of your comments, and I can see how we came to different points. Prospectus doesn't value a players 'ceiling' nearly as much as most places, which often pays off. You may miss the occasional superstar as a result, but taking the safer road isn't something for me to bash...

Oh yeah, well if the BP top 50 list is so great, where were the Giants position prospects? Hmmmmm?

Oh. I see. Damn.