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Bluebird Links - Bautista, Bautista and more Bautista

Lots and lots of Bautista related pieces out there the last couple of days (go figure).  I linked a few but I'm sure you can find about 50 more if you really want.  There's two really good pieces that I recommend reading if you have time in the 'Around the League' section.  Scott McKinney has compiled a lot of propsect data which could be a great resource for us to look at regarding the Jays and our prospect expectations, and Mike Fast looks at umpire variation and the catcher target theory.  Interesting reading.

On to the Bautista articles first though.  Parkes isn't a fan of locking up Bautista just yet:

There’s no need to take a risk on cashing in on a lower rent Bautista, when the downside to spending so much money is that he becomes a similar burden to Wells and Rios.  The potential savings from avoiding competition on the free agent market don’t match up to the potential cost of another albatross contract.

I don't see a Bautista extension ever being as much of a burden as the Wells contract.  $20M+ per year isn't even close to the $12/13M per year that's been suggested for Bautista.  As for the Rios contract - was it really a burden?  The Jays gave up on Rios after half of a very bad season and I know he's not a fan favorite around here, but other than 2009 he has been a pretty decent player that's probably appropriately payed.

If, as Keri suggests, Bautista will be seeking a figure substantially more than $24 – $27 million over three years, I can’t see the value in it.  In discussing a multi-year contract, the Jays should be looking to pay for two years of 7 WAR, and a roll of the dice with the third and final.

Two years of 7 WAR is likely worth $30+M on the fee agent market so a three year deal at $12/13M seems to be more or less appropriate.

Under those tempered expectations, I could excuse the Jays for pursuing a three year deal with Bautista, but I still think it’s best to let him play out 2011 and see what other teams are willing to offer him after his numbers regress back to the mean.

The problem is, even assuming Bautista does 'regress back to the mean', he's likely to be worth at least $10M.  If you put any stock into the FanGraphs values, even in 2009 he was worth $8.4M in only 400PA.  We're not talking an astronomical amount of money here - the Jays payed Lyle Overbay $8M last year!  The Jays should be more than willing to take that money and a bit extra and give it to Bautista for a few years.  A $12M contract shouldn't be a burden to a rich team with a relatively cost controlled future.

On the other side of the fence is Joanna, at Hum and Chuck, who disagree's with Parkes, citing an interview quote from John Farrell:

"We tried a number of different things and we still saw balls leaving the park," said Farrell. "Those are indications that this is a special hitter that he’s able to make those types of adjustments when you try to counter-adjust in the game within the game. Most importantly, when he got his pitch in the zone, he didn’t miss it."

Adjustments, friends. Adjustments. Baseball is a game of adjustments. A pitcher makes a pitch. A hitter adjusts to hit it. If he does, the pitcher adjusts so the hitter doesn't hit again. Bautista has figured out how to adjust.

Ian at the BlueJay Hunter also wants to see Bautista signed long term:

Like I alluded to earlier, there are no guarantees with prospects and the very same bodes for major league players. No one knows for certain what Jose Bautista is capable of in 2011 and beyond.  He could hit 50 home runs, or he could hit 5. Nonetheless, that's a risk I'd be willing to take.

Just pay the man, Alex.

Who do you side with?  Long term for Bautista, or go to arbitration and let him walk, or trade him during the season?  (Have we been over this yet?  Probably, but it's what everyone is writing about these days).

The rest of the Links are after the Jump.

Jays Links

Ricky Romero proving critics wrong as Toronto's ace
A decent piece on Romero by Gregor Chisholm.

Los Fearless: The New Ricky Romero Nike Commercial
Speaking of Ricky, check out his new commercial.

Jays' Snider ready to earn it
Doesn't this sound nice?

Snider hit leadoff at times and he hit No. 9 at times, with several other places in between in his first three seasons. Farrell plans to find him a spot in the bottom half of the order and leave him alone. "

The more consistent we can be with him in terms of his place in the lineup, in terms of his place on the field defensively, the more stability we can create around him will build some constants in his mind so that he can become established," said the new manager.

Where Branyan Could Make a Bigger Impact
Joe Pawlikowski makes a case for Russell Branyan as a fit with the Jays. I don't know how much he would really add, but what do you think - worth it?

Around the League

Greatest. Tweet. Ever.
The title says it all. Check it out, from Rob Neyer.

Success and Failure Rates of Top MLB Prospects
Scott McKinney at Royals Review compiles Baseball America top 100 prospect lists from 1990 to 2003 and uses FanGraphs WAR to determine prospect success rates for various groups of players. Really fantastic stuff here - read this piece.

Spinning Yarn: The Real Strike Zone
Interesting work here by Mike Fast of Baseball Prospectus regarding umpire variation and the catcher target theory:

Anyone researching the performance of umpires in calling balls and strikes is strongly encouraged to consider the catcher target theory. It does not fully explain every umpire variation, but it appears to be the primary factor in many cases.

Also of note regarding catcher framing:

When Bill’s catcher framing numbers for 2008-2009 are normalized by pitcher, the best and worst catchers are around +/- 20 runs per season.

+/- 20 runs per season is a 4 WAR swing - I wonder how Molina compares to Buck and JPA?

MLB Players Of The Decade For Best Third Baseman
Rob Neyer continues his series on the best player of the upcoming decade. No surprises here.

Interesting Gold Glove Choices
Joe Posnanski takes a look at the most 'interesting' gold glove winners in baseball history (Read: worst). The winner:

An interesting choice: Michael Young. Well, here you go: I don’t want to kick a man while he’s trying to get traded, but I think that Michael Young’s Gold Glove at shortstop in 2008 is probably the most bizarre in the award’s odd history.