Effectively Wild Episode 1665: Season Preview Series: Blue Jays and Giants
And welcome to episode sixteen sixty five of effectively wild fag baseball podcast brought to you by her patriotic supporters. I'm a rally a fan grasp. I enjoyed as always by ben lindberg of the wringer. Then houria doing pretty well. How are you doing okay. Have you been watching spring training baseball band. Little bit here and there pay so we have spent an inordinate amount of time in the last couple of episodes. Talking about the tom jerry. Business our like when there's baseball stuff that is wrong. They should ask us for help. The general way out there in the world and we will help them. But i am here to say that. I have a tiny bit of a bone to pick and it might be with. Mlb about its own products. Oh that's a first for us. Yeah we've never. We've never criticized the game of baseball before but do you get these like. Mlb flashback commercials. Between thanks yeah okay. so you know. There's there's like what's supposed to be like a wicked guitar riff. And then there's an exploding baseball and an exploding home plate. And i guess that's supposed to like denote action or excitement or the mlb hates baseball. I don't know what it's supposed to me. Have you noticed that the baseball and home play are made out of the same material in this explosion. That's a good point. I mean who knows what the baseball is made of these days but the plate is made of no they are supposed they are supposed to be wildly different substances. And so i don't know if they thought it would be like upsetting to have the actual Stuff and nonsense in the middle of the baseball lake exploding outward but it is not like a solid piece of plastic which is what they make it look like and so i thought i had exhausted all of the things that i could find. Urinating about those interstitial. But i found a new thing. Yeah ever since we had that email show conversation about sentient baseball's and what would happen if it were suddenly discovered that the baseball's were self-aware. I've been less comfortable watching baseball's explode so that's somewhat painful but yes. I long had complaints about like mlb tv between inning things like especially when they do flashbacks to highlights which is great. I like seeing old highlights but you see ones over and over and over again. And there's so many great baseball plays out there and there on that great interface on the mlb site now the mlb film room without searchable highlights and they're all tagged in. It's wonderful but on tv you tend to see the same like three highlights over and over and over again. And it's like explore the space open up the vault so many of the highlights that you have in reserved their because if you are a frequent baseball watcher then whatever they show if it's a repeated thing you will see so many times by the end of the season that you can't stand it anymore so mixing sobriety for those of us who are watching all the time. It is interesting to me that they. I think there must have been a meeting or at least an email sent about Their their level of comfort was showing astros. Highlights has at the beginning of last year. There were not. They did not show astro. It was like they're like nobody wants to have this conversation right now and now that complete game no hitter from four pitchers against the mariners. I've seen that. Ad comey god damn times and so. I think they must be out of the doghouse at least from a highlight perspective. But we are putting the whole enterprise back in dark house because yes show new clips and show show more teams and show weirder stuff and get a new song. Dan nana and you're like that was terrible. And i'm here to tell you that that's exactly said generic rift. They're like can't we can't make it too much like inception but we wanted to be in that in genre. We want people to to hear foghorns. Well are complaints. There have been a lot of entertaining sights and sounds the spring training. I know i said recently that. I get impatient when spring training starts. I want fast forward to opening day. But there's a lot of oddness that happens in between that is worthwhile and some fun stuff that you wouldn't normally see you like each row. And mike cameron taking it. Batson playing the field in a mariners. Simulated game that was wonderful or orioles pitcher. Evan phillips facing pirates hitter philip evans also entertaining or the yati molina. Jose serey challenge play. Siri had the audacity to taunt molina for failing to back pick him and then challenged melina essentially to throw him out or molina challenged him to try to steal on him and he was cut down and yachties are stolen. Base success rate are not what they used to be in his prime but he can still throw and jose. Siri was not up to that task and who is jose. Siri to challenge yet here. Lena soaks as david better. The big leagues yet. So molina sort of cut him down to size put him back in his place and that was fun because you could see that he cared. Which is you know that kind of gives you a window into the competitive personality. Because molina he's going to be a hall of famer it's an exhibition game. This is jose siri is far from a household name. And yet molina was motivated to assert his dominance to show that the old man still had it. And i guess you could say that he was provoked even more by the fact that it was not a prominent player. But also it's like you know this is like beneath the notice of yet your molina. Except that he wasn't that's the way that a lot of athletes are wired if you challenge them no matter how insignificant compared to their career. They want to put you in place and he did. Yeah i i have a feeling that if you out of your molina watched Michael jordan doc. That the and i took that personally really resonated with him. He's like finally someone gets it right. Yeah syria sort of the matombo finger wag first base which was not wise anyway. There's been some fun stuff like that. And also this practice of rolling innings which is just for the spring so what if the pitcher throws twenty pitches in a frame then. The team can elect to not finish the day. Just walk up the field half inning over which is weird because then you get situations like the reds in diamondbacks had a few days ago where they just didn't finish the bottom of the ninth. I think and it was a weird situation because think the game was originally supposed to be eight innings and then eight and a half and then it was supposed to be nine but there was some confusion about that and then there is a a rally in the bottom of the ninth so i think the the diamond backs were up against the reds five to three or something in the bases are loaded and there was one out and then the gay just ended. It's like well. We're taking advantage of this rule and a rally over inning over game over and it's odd that i'd almost surprised. There's no unwritten rule about that. I think there was a case like in another game. Someone mentioned her facebook group. I think it was a brewers game and they were up big at the end of the game they still insisted on playing it out just kind of as a courtesy or maybe just to get a pitcher some work but it's a weird situation. I mean it's spring training and it's been trading post pandemic season and so anything goes really but that just sort of reminds you yet. We're watching exhibition baseball at an odd time in the sport and in the world. Well it's the thing that happens on the backfield's all the time because the young no it especially in an environment where you're prioritizing developments. You definitely don't want to injure a guy just to sort of observe the normal rules of baseball because that stuff doesn't matter and so i wonder would. It feels like for for some of the non roster invitees who are coming up prospects. Obviously you don't have the the sort of normal number of minor leaguers that you would have on the complex given how they spaced out spring training to try to minimize the risk of an outbreak. But you do have prospects who are non roster invitees and i'm sure for some of them look i thought it would be so different appear but i don't still just rolling so it's the same. Yeah so. I wonder what it's like for those guys to be like. I thought that this would feel more different than it. Yeah i want to know the the unwritten rules of rolling innings. Hopefully there aren't any. I mean there shouldn't be it's exhibition. It's everyone's trying to work themselves back into shape at an unusual time so hopefully no one takes umbrage at this but it is a strange sight so we are doing season previews today. Two teams as usual. We'll be talking to kaitlin. The graph of the athletic about the toronto blue jays and then we will be joined by brisby. Also of the athletic to talk about the giants. So just a but up to things that we've been entered about before we get to our guests. The first is that jared kelanic is hurt. Now i guess so. Maybe this sort of ends. The service time is going to be on the opening day roster debate. I don't know if kelanic is acquiescing to that. Because he seems to think he will be back post-haste but he has an injury that takes a few weeks to recover from usually. And so this would give the mariners illegitimate excuse or cover at least not to have him on the opening day roster and not to have too many people be mad at them and then if they bump him back to mid april which is when they would need to promote him in order to have him under team control for one additional year. They will have a valid excuse for that. And it sort of reminds me of the vlad situation apple years ago where the whole conversation in spring training was. Will vlad be on the opening day roster and if he's not how will they justify it and then he had that injury and it became a non-issue suddenly so i'm sure the mariners are not happy that jared kalmyk hurt himself but it definitely takes some of the pressure off of them. They no longer have to think of a not so believable. Excuse if they are to start the season without him one of the unfortunate things about this whole scenario. Which is that you just you want. Everyone's incentives to be aligned in the same direction and toward you know a good player being productive at the major league level. And i think one of the things that makes Sort of whatever. Lack of trust might exist between cal. Nick and and the mariners right now. Is that you the possibility. And i don't know that this is true and i'm sure you know. He has irritated as he is with both the injury and the the events of the last couple of weeks hopefully china keeping his is sort of on his long term health and career. But you don't want him to be in a position where he might be incentivized to be dishonest. About the extent of the injury in an in an effort to be on the opening day roster. And you don't want the team to slow play this guy even when he might be. You know ready sooner than than they wanna say because they want a good excuse for the service time manipulation to take place and. I'm not saying that any of that is going to happen. But i just i do think that one of the side effects of this stuff is that you end up in in a skeptical place where you wouldn't necessarily be if you've had confidence that everyone was sort of acting in good faith so i hope that kelanic recovers soon and that. He doesn't russia and that the team promotes simas yunessi is deemed ready both from a health end onfield perspective and then the mariners could be good or at least better than they would be and then we can all sing and hopefully better than the mlb guitarist because that was terrible and the last bit of news is jayco torrisi related so we talked last week about the fact that oh teresi was still unsigned and was clearly the best free agent still available. You speculated that the astros would be a good fit for him because of the injury to from revolt as and then there is a subsequent injury to forest whitley and it was not the deepest rotation to begin with and sometimes things just make sense and the player ends up at the obvious destination so the astros did sign odor easy. It's a sort of an oddly structured. Deal so it's a two year deal with a player option for the twenty twenty three season. But it's an option that is very unlikely to be exercised because it's a twenty three and a half million dollar guarantee but it's a six million dollar signing bonus a six million dollar salary in twenty twenty one a five million dollar salary twenty twenty two and then a six and a half million dollar player option for twenty twenty three which comes with a three and a quarter million dollar buyout. there wouldn't be much incentive for him to exercise that option. Less things have gone horribly wrong for him between now and then so it's kind of one of those weird situations where it seems like it's largely maybe tube suppress the average annual value of the contract for competitive bounds tax purposes. Which you know that was kind of the issue with the astros. Everyone was pointing to the astros as an obvious destination for odor easy but they were right up against the cpt and so the question was can they signed him and still stay under that and they seem to have found a way to do that. Because the player option is technically considered guaranteed money and a guaranteed year because the player has the option to exercise it and so the average annual value of the so torrisi deal is a little less than eight million dollars whereas if they were to put the same total into two years it would be considerably higher and in this case it would put them over the tax threshold. And i don't know if it's just me but anecdotally. I i haven't studied this but it seems like teams are getting more brazened. How does does right by big ways to get that average annual value lower because for competitive bounce tax purposes what is assessed as the annual value of contract. And so if you can take another year onto the end of that thing or or do something to try to get the av down. Then it's less avai quasi cap hit for you and the yankees just this same player option gambit with brett gardner in deir no day and justin wilson so that saved them at least a few million i see bt purposes in theory like they're supposed to be limits to how much you can manipulate that and upi is supposed to have some oversight there but it has seemed to me more and more like teams are sort of skirting that and finding ways around it and it's not like i mind this sure. The purpose of the c. Is partly to try to maintain competitive balance. But it's largely to discourage teams from spending. I don't know why. Mlb is not cracking down more on that because if there is one thing that mlb tends to be pretty vigilant about it is trying to suppress salaries and payrolls somehow and the seems like one way you can get around the penalties. That are in the cba. So i don't know if it's just that it's tough to legislate this or it's the last year of the cpa and they figure while the system is going to change anyway but it's something that has struck me as becoming more common. Yeah yeah i sorry. I've been talking like jimmy stewart. Last two weeks. I need i need vaccine. So the facts of the vaccine. It makes you stop talking like jimmy. Mr would let me go outside with greater confidence. Probably i'm so sorry. I don't know leave it all in dylan people should know this. Is this what. It's like. Now so i am so i am similarly surprised i mean i don't wanna offer a galaxy brain take but i do wonder if if maybe they are like fall. This cat's players paid and we want to try to tamp down labor unrest and being creative and so you know if another owners like. Hey what about that guy over there. We can say well they did. They structured the deal so cleverly. I don't know though it still does seem very odd. I assumed that the white sox would get their slapped around this stuff but after after they didn't one hundred signing i was like Maybe maybe everyone just gets to have have a little a little cvt. Shenanigans retreat to stop this. I guess you'd have to build something in where you can't have like a greater than something percent increase or decrease in salary over the life of the deal. Maybe something like that would work. I know this has been an issue in other sports and they've found ways to curtail it. I was asking michael bowman about this earlier. Because i knew that this had come up in the nhl and bauman explained to me that this was at least one cpa ago but there was a spate of contracts that would run like twelve years and carry on until the players age forty two season or something and at age thirty seven or so the salary would drop from ten million dollars a year to one million but because the cap hit was the it only costs seven million or whatever against the cap and at the time of the salary drop the understanding was that the player was supposed to retire and so in two thousand ten the devils signed ilya kovalchuk to a seventeen year contract right which is a pretty bold that would have run until he was forty four years old and so the nhl said not so fast and they made reconfigure the contract i think to fifteen years for roughly the same amount but then in punishment for trying to do the seventeen year deal the nhl strip the devil first round draft pick from them. Although i think then gave it back before the punishment applied and batman said there is something called cap recapture where if a player on one of those super long deals retired after the salary dropped but before the term of the deal was up the team would take cap penalty for the difference and then ultimate leave they just agreed to limit the term contracts. So you could only sign a maximum of eight year. Contract extensions and seven years for free and so i guess that could be. Mlb future but maybe they can keep getting away with it if teams don't make that egregious and diamond said nhl gm's are nowhere near as devious as an upbeat will stay on the right side of that line. Capri capture. sounds like us based thing that sound like a stage. In like our rocket re entry or something catastrophic hap- recapture capita anyway. The astros found a way to get jacob and it's probably good for them that they did because they really need him even though he has not gone deep into games lately and even though he missed much of last season with non arm related injuries between valez and whitley and cova outbreaks in not having a ton of depth to begin with the astor's really needed someone like him to kind of raise their four. I think in a division where they're not the powerhouse anymore in the in the as are credible competitors and so it it seems like as dense impor- ski wrote in his post about this that adding it really gives them some insurance and makes the the worst outcomes less likely yeah. I think that that's right and it's not a sure fire signing by any means but it is. I think they would have left themselves very vulnerable to what is a winnable. Division for other teams would have been much more so if they hadn't done this so I don't know that they had another choice but to sign some and i think they got the best of the available options still on the market. So yeah we don't have to believe that conversation but yeah those astros and more important. It cemented my win in the offseason. Free thank you came down to odor easy you who i had the under on his predicted. Thirty nine million dollar deal from mlb trade rumors and ended up comfortably under that which was unfortunate for odor. Easy who at a different time might have cashed in more in sort of deserve to probably based on his longer track record but at least i eat out the w in that draft which i know everyone was on the edge of their seat waiting to see who would win that one so we will take a quick break. Now and we'll be back with caitlin mcgrath talk about bluejays followed by brisby. The giants fan took me all right. It is time to talk about the days and we are joined by king mcgrath. Who covers the movies and comics for the athletic she. Also co host. The blue jays podcasts. At yet but expen- rate how are you doing pretty well so i think the blue jays may have led the league in boomers. This offseason both rumors that panned out in rumors. That didn't it was kind of a running joke on the podcast for a week or two that every time a free agent would signed. We would hear that the blue jays. We're so close. They were the runners that they made the second biggest offer and then ultimately they did land. Some of their targets ended up being pretty busy. But do you think this offseason took the path that hey envisioned or intended because they did talk a game coming into the winter. They said they were going to be active. And then they certainly seemed like they were trying to. But maybe it took a little longer for them to actually breakthrough than they had anticipated. Yeah i mean i Would consider this to have been a very good off season for the blue jays in a sense that they did accomplish a lot of what they wanted to get. You mentioned that they eventually did get some of the targets. They wanted so when. I looked at the off season. I'm from the outset of it. I thought george springer did make a lot of sense for these blue jays. Centerfield was a position of need for them. They also needed a a sort of star player. Like a player that you could really build your offense around. In addition to that a player who's experienced and a player who has a lot of playoff experience. And so when you kind of look at all that and then you look at a guy like toward springer. He just made a lot of sense for the blue jays. So i thought that the offseason was really going to hinge on whether or not they were able to get him because the sense around the team just following the team. He's did seem like he was their number. One guy certainly. They probably had other guys that they ought to that. They didn't get. But it just seemed like george springer really was their priority. I think they really wanted him and they really went out and got him other. Signings look really. Good like marcus. Semi-in looks really good in the lineup. He makes the offense even better obviously. He's moving positions so the Really signaling to boba shed that they have faith in him because markus simians gonna move over to base but the blue jays kinda talked a lot about how their position players are very versatile so they kind of approach the offseason where they weren't exactly looking for a specific position per se. They were really trying to like target people in players. They really wanted and then kind of mold their team around those guys. So i would say position player wise. I think the bullpen. They made some nice additions. Kirby gates i think could be like a sneaky good signing so i would say the only thing didn't really address fully would be starting pitching on obviously brought back robbie ray. They traded for stephen Matt's both of those guys are kind of bounce back candidates if you will last year there were some good returns from robbie ray so he was really happy with the blue jays. He kind of wanted to continue on that path to see if they could really kind of rejuvenate his career. But i would say like the starting pitching that would be the one area where the blue jays didn't necessarily check all the boxes. I think they're still kind of missing another front of the rotation arm to kinda compliment hundred. Reaon it come. It becomes even more apparent now. Because maybe we'll get into this later. But like nate pearson's kind of separating from a minor injury right now so it kind of you know. Their rotation is probably the weak spot of their roster currently. Do you get the sense that it's any harder for the blue jays to sign free agents than the typical team because there is a perception that that's the case for various reasons whether it's because well currently they sort of lack a- a- staple homefield but also just generally you know the playing surface or being the only team in canada and the complications that come with that the milk coming in bags and cartons whatever it is do you think that they have to pay any sort of toronto premium to get players to come there. I do think that it probably does take some more money. Just because taxes are higher here. Tuesday could take some extra money. I that that's generally the perception around toronto especially the over the last few years in all the points he made valid like. I do think that there are some legitimate concerns or dislike a questions or uncertainties with some players have who have not spent any time in canada. It is very similar to the united states but it is a different country. There are some major differences in it is just living in a different place. You have to get used to crossing the border all the time you have to. Your family would have to have passports if they don't so. There are just like a lot of things that you have to consider. They're not major roadblocks but just additional things you have to consider and then this season and last season in particular like you're talking about the blue jays have all this uncertainty about whether they can even play in toronto. We don't know yet if they'll be able to play here. But honestly talking to guys like george springer markelle simeon to you kirby. Yates like It didn't really come up with them like not. None of them sounded that concerned about the uncertainty about the home ballpark on the blue jays. Did a good job sort of like reassuring them like. This would be the plan and you know we'll make everyone comfortable will make families comfortable staying in dunedin to start the season so that's really not a huge transition for the players because they're all already there during spring training so and the the other point i would make is just that i think all the concerns that come along with maybe coming to canada or just coming to a new team are valid but i also think like if the team is winning team players. Wanna come here and at the blue jays are willing to spend money in pay players which they demonstrated they are willing to do this past offseason than players will come here so i do think that there are some questions that pertain to the blue jays. Only the blue jays. But i also think just like other teams they can spend money. They can put a winning team on the field and if they do those who things players will probably wanna come here. Can't believe that ben is reigniting. The bagged milk controversy effectively. Wilde's pass so the blue jays did what they set out to do. They signed exciting. Players gonna feel this this team of new free agents and their young core and it's gonna be a lot harder for people in canada to see them and it's going to be a little bit of a different experience to hear them so before we get into some of the specifics of the roster. I wanted to ask you what your impression of the fan base is. Reaction is to the team's decision to sort of eliminate their dedicated radio broadcast and simulcast their tv broadcast. And then it seems like it's been very difficult to watch this blue jays team during spring training through some combination of scheduling in the end the blackout restriction. So what is the general sense among blue jays fans about that right now. And what's the strategy here because you would think that you once you've gone out and signed exciting players wanna make it really easy for your fans to watch them especially when they can't in person at least not in the beginning of the season yeah. I think that there is a lot of disappointment among fans right now about not being able to see the during spring training although they did set up cam camera today that just like streamed the game with no sound so that was something that was new today so does he make are making a bit of effort. I mean it's a complicated thing. Because as i understand it. The decision about the broadcast and the decision about the radio broadcasts in particular would come down to sports net. Which of course is owned by rogers. Which rogers also owns the blue jays so there is some overlap there. I don't know exactly who is making the decision about the broadcast. My sense is that it comes more from the media side so like a sports nut side as opposed to the blue jays. Having really much say in that. I think if you ask the blue jays i think they would prefer to have as much content about their teams as much as possible so but it is a it is one of those very complicated situations here just because of the ownership questions than being owned by the same communications company here but just generally like it has been it has sort of slowed down. I guess the the hyper excitement that was around the blue jays. Coming off this offseason. I think that. I think that once the season starts though in the game at least be on tv again. That kind of excitement will reignite. It's been a weird year. Because i think there's also been a lot of teams. I don't know if it's budget or what it is but it seems like a lot of different fan base has has have been dealing with the frustration of not being able to see spring games. I wonder if it's just you know. Another another layer to the general frustration. How difficult busier has been for everybody and just not that rushing. Change to see baseball on tv and stuff. It feels like it's all kind of adding up but you know in a couple of weeks they'll be on. Tv every day and the blue jays fans will be able to watch them albeit gobi dunedin. Toronto fans are still going to feel kind of far away from the actual team. Yeah and i think the blue tastes are the only team. That's doing the simulcasting of radio and tv broadcasts and i know that last year. Going into two thousand twenty. The a is announced that they weren't going to be doing terrestrial radio broadcasts but they were still doing dedicated internet radio broadcast and then very quickly. I think because of the outcry about that they went back on that and had terrestrial radio broadcasts but the blue jays. Roger seem to justify this decision based on covert and travel concerns but it seems like a lot of people interpreted as a cost cutting measure. Which if so don't seems like it would be somewhat shortsighted because baseball on. The radio is quite different from baseball on tv. And if you try to tv broadcast with radio listeners in mind or vice versa it seems like you're either going to over describe or under described him units. It's hard to satisfy both of those audiences. So do you think it's a cost cutting thing. Is there any possibility that they might change their minds. Easer the season in a future season. I hope so. Like i really hope. The radio broadcasts comes back. Because you're all the points you said are exactly. I mean it's a different audience. I think that also there are people that just prefer radio Prefer listening to it on the radio. Maybe it's because they grew up out. I'm listening to based on the radio. They preferred those. Broadcasters i think thumbs worsening in particular they let go of mike wilner who was the previous play by play voice for them the last few years so they really had a vacancy. The sort of i understood it as that they were going to try and fill that vacancy with a former player tight broadcaster to complement bed wagner still with sports net and so that was kind of the announcement that we were all waiting for. Who is going to be the second the second voice in the radio booth and then it came down that obviously they were doing the simulcast. I mean i will say that. Dan stolman is going to be part of some of those. I'm not sure the number of games he's doing or whether it's even been announced yet but if there is a person who can handle that kind of challenge of calling it on tv and radio at the same time. I think dan schulman's a guy that can step up and do that. I mean he's a really great broadcaster. He's beloved in canada. I mean he's probably beloved everywhere but especially beloved here in so. I'm sort of optimistic. That he ended up martinez. Pablo will be there too. But then i'm optimistic. That dan schulman has the has the chops to handle it. But i do hope i do. Hope moving forward that they do find they go back to the ways it was right and they have. They do hire someone. I don't know if it's going to be a former player who it will be but certainly you have to wonder right like you do have to wonder about you. Know if it is a cost cutting thing but like you were saying like if other teams have tried. This are some time. It's so much backlash that you know the reverse course in there certainly has been a lot of backlash over that decision about the simulcast. So i mean. I don't know for sure but i'm optimistic and i would hope that just knowing how much Fans are hurting not having radio broadcast. They would sort of intend for next year for it to go back to normal. Well this is the time of year when we hear about is being in the best shape of their lives often. That's just eyewash. But one guy that it might actually apply to mirror junior. I'm sorry to start with this. But i'm sure you anticipated the question. I'm curious just how he actually does look in camp. And what if anything you might think it means For his future defensive position he he moved to first base last year. I imagine that he will still take the majority of his at bats at first but dusing. There's any possibility that he might end up. Moving back up the defensive spectrum as a result of this shift in his physicality or is he just firmly anchored at first. So i'm not present in dunedin right now so i can't confidently say how exactly he looks with my own eyes because i think we've only seen him on zoom and you know what kind of looks like on zoom the you sitting down but i have heard from people that are there that have seen him and they say it's a noticeable change like they say he looks really good And i think you're right. I think it is probably almost accurate to say that he probably is in the best shape of his life and he kind of alluded to that too like. He said he feels later. You feels more agile. He feels like he can take more ground balls. He feels like he can swing the bat. Better back speeds all that kind of stuff so it does seem like it all is pointing to direction where he is going to be better on the field in. I think also just like total credit to lad. He's in his early twenties. He went out in las forty. Two pounds is what he told us. That's incredible so. I think that alone Just being able to accomplish that taking his career in his own hands the accountability. All that kind of stuff. It's really great to see. I think sometimes we forget. Because i feel like we've been talking about vlad for years and years and years think sometimes we almost forget how young he is still early in his career. So i think that everybody around the organization all his teammates. Everyone is very happy to see him. You know initiate shape. That he's in and i think it's pretty apparent that he's really feeling good about himself. So that's that. I think in terms of defensive position. I think that they're giving him an opportunity to play some third base on and they don't want to close that door. I think that it's really beneficial for the blue jays and there are kind of lineup versatility. If he can play a little bit third base because it really just opens things up for the rest of the lineup. So of ladd can slide over third base for a game. Then you can have rowdy to lead at first base and then you can use one the extra outfielders at the d. h. position. So i mean i could go on and on about different kinds of lineup combinations that it opens up for vlad at third i will say. I don't foresee him becoming an everyday third baseman. I think that the blue jays the message to him is that you can play a little bit of third base but we really want you to excel at first base. Now i think they gave him the message like something along the lines of you know go out there and go become a gold glove first baseman. So i really think they envisioned for faces his position. But they're not gonna close the door on third base. If that makes sense. And i guess like you know i'm also curious sort of where he's at with the bat we've you know. He was hugely touted. Prospect when eric long in hagen wrote about him for fan graphs he described his bat as messianic. And i'm curious you know. he in. The shorter season saw a bit of an improvement at the plate. But he has he has yet to reach the high highs that he in double and triple a. in two thousand eighteen and i'm curious one sort of what the expectations are for him. Offensively this year and also if he's experienced anything of any sort of release of the pressure of being the big bat in the lineup. Because now he you know he doesn't necessarily have to carry this offense all by himself. He surrounded by some other potent hitter. So what effect has that had on. Sort of his approach at the plate in the way that he sort of thinks of himself in the light up. Yeah i think that about the pressure for sure. I think having the bringing those two guys. In particularly on a george springer end marcus simeon definitely does take some of the load off of not just vlad but some of the other young players to like boba cabinet. Bdo today's daddy dance on. All of them were so young. They're still early in their career thing. Adding those kind of veteran experience. Bats really does take some pressure off of the other guys In vlad in particular. I think with you know. I think that he learned some really key lessons through his first two seasons. I mean they're not quite full seasons yet. He with his start in his rookie. Year was delayed. You weeks we know the reason why and then obviously last year was season. So you really hasn't had like a full season runway release. He do. I think he just learned some valuable lessons. He learned how much harder it is in the major leagues to hit two to hit and right like a major league. Pitchers are a lot better than minor league pitchers in so i think he learned a lot about preparation. I think he learned a lot about. Just you know being a professional hitter as as they always say you know all the all that kind of stuff on even the fitness stuff like i know talked a lot about how fatigued with got to him and you know especially after at the end of a long season he would feel tired and i think in his rookie year You really did see sort of a decline there. In the last few months he really attributed to his just getting tired interest nino not being as fit as possible and that contributed to his kind of slow end of the year. Again like it kinda goes back to just like him working hard this offseason and i think for that reason like i think it's it's fair to be fairly optimistic about flawed. I have sort of picked him to be like a breakout candidate. Which feels we are to say because again like we all know that. Yeah we know who that is like. He's not like some like guy that he's like a twenty six man roster and i'm saying he's gonna break out this year like we know it does feel like they're they're the pieces are there. He's gone through the lake the lessons that you need to go through early on in your career. He's learned how to be a better hitter. Learned all these different things. He's coming into camp really good shape. He's got he's now on the team. That's not quite in the rebuild. They're kind of on the other side of the rebuild so some of the pressures probably off of him and i think all those things they they suggest to me that he could be heading for. Maybe that sort of big season that we all are all the fans and everyone was sort of just waiting for him Since since he debuted in the league so if floods not gonna play third someone else has to and they were some thought that we might bring in a third baseman ultimately. They signed marcus semyon. Who's more of a middle infielder which seems to leave that spot to cabinet be. Oh semi-in has played a little bit of third in the past and be she too has played some third but is not primarily a third baseman. Speaking so defensively speaking. How is he expected to fit there. And then also offensively. He's been quite productive over what is essentially a full season's worth of playing time thus far but there's still some skepticism about his bat because he just has not hit the ball very hard it has worked fine for him so far and he walks a lot like his old man maybe even more than his old man but is there any skepticism within the organization that he can keep up that kind of the production. No i think I think the blue jays are huge fans of Some of it has to do with the intangibles any brings to the team. And i think some of it has to do with the tangible brings to the team so defensively. They have a lot of faith that he will adapt to third base in. Like you said the town experience. They are especially not in professional baseball. I think early almost like when he was a teenager. I think-i played a little bit of third base. But i mean that's a long time ago on it's kind of like youth baseball on whatever it was but he seems really eager and keen to learn third base that position he's working hard their untold in spring training. Really taking ground balls there and so. I think that there doesn't seem to be really any concerns about him. There in the blue jays. Like i said earlier like they kind of went into this offseason almost fully expecting that. That was a possibility i think. If they didn't have faith that cabin could do it. Then they really would've gone out and got specifically got a third baseman essentially with signing semi end like in. This is a move that you gotta do your organization trying to bring in. The sky is essentially said to him. What do you want. We're not gonna shortstop that supposed position about what. What would you prefer to play. He said second base so they gave him second base. So that kind of moved cabin. Over in kevin's he's built this reputation as this very team. I will do whatever the team needs from me kind of guy. And so essentially like they were like we need to at third base in. he's like got it and so he's fully immersed himself in sort of learning opposition so the only concern might be his arm strength. I think that's the one thing that is something that he probably needs to work on other than also like really getting comfortable with a position. I think he was saying that. Third base is a lot more reactionary than second base. So i think it's sorta just like really getting the reps there this spring and offensively. Yeah he's he's not the hardest hitter. He does have a tendency to hit. Some home runs. That are like wall scrapers. I know that's kind of been the book on him. Hitting high-velocity is while has not been his strong suit so there are some things offensively needs to work on in there might be some things offensively. That just really aren't in his wheelhouse. I think though he really does make up for it in some other ways like the his ability to get on base is pretty much been the best on the blue jays for the last couple years you know you said. He takes a lot of walks. He really has. That patient played approach. He's a good. He's good about taking a lot of pitches. And i think he's also been good about adapting like i think early on in his career he pitches kinda got the book on him that he really didn't swing audrain until they just started pounding him with strikes in he would strike out and so i think he kind of learned that he has to kind of walk that fine line between being patient but also being aggressive in going up there and swinging. If you see a pitch you want hit. So he's he's adaptable. I think he of recognizes things that he needs to work on in one thing that you mentioned this year which has been sort of a trend. That's been going through the blue jays last two years. has been there to strike approach. You not oscar. Hernandez talked a little bit about how that contributed to his sort of breakout last year which is to strike. Approach simplifying swing. It'd be more confident up there with two strikes so and obviously bobryshev as well known for his to strike approach. So i think kevin trying to borrow from those things and try to improve offensively that way. I want to ask about a trio of players because the the blue jays catching situation fascinates to me so right. Now you have your dan jansen you have reached mcguire and then you have all hundred kirk. Who has the most impressive albeit in a very small sample of of their bats at least recently but doesn't necessarily look like he should be able to play catcher because he is kind of a husky guy and as a result of that is uniquely fascinating to me because the body type is so unusual for big leaguer regardless of position. So do you think that he has a chance to sort of slot into the eventual backup role. Or is that really rece- maguire's gig at this point. I think he has a chance. You know. allah hundred kirk fan favorite around here blue as fans love him. I think he's just really fun. Gotta watch for a lot of different reasons and so last year when he got called up it was. It was a surprise to me. I didn't think the blue jays do it just because have typically been sort of really cotton like not cautious. But they didn't really careful. I guess with development in progressing is slowly and but then again last year was a weird year really didn't have the minor leagues to move up in so they really hide if they wanted all hundred kirk to get a taste of actual competition. They had to put him in the major so and it was kind of a mixture of things do it was released which was having a really bad year last year. They really couldn't even have him out there. He really just had to figure things out. So kirk stepped in. He was great last year. You know. I think the blue jays were really really impressed with how seamlessly hitchike transition to the major leagues last year. Especially considering he hadn't played above high. I think a lot of the blue jays. Painters were really impressed with him as well. Like the How he called game. Like i remember probably ray In particular an instant connection with him and so considering all that. I do think he has a chance to make the team. I've been kind of like when i feel like making my productions maki my predictions in stuff. I've been kind of like taking the safe route. I suppose in insane in Only because like i think race is out of options. So if the blue jays didn't break camp with him than potentially they could lose him or you know they have to work out a trade at the same time. Like i think kirk the blue jays really want to be a competitive team this year. They wanna have their best lineup. Every day kirk makes them better because he can really hit. I think he needs to. I think the team says He needs to continue improving defensively. I think game calling in communication getting more comfortable back. There just other defensive things while he worked on them all off season. Of course you can continue getting better. Like i said he really doesn't have a ton of experience at the high minor league level and he's only got a handful of games at the major league level so he can always get better. Get us more time the miners i think really. That's the most interesting sort of roster job competition right now which is kind of boring. Because the blue jays Most rauscher sort of sat which is a new phenomenon. Like there's been other years where we didn't really know what the would be but this year the is kinda sad like the big competition is like who's going to be the backup catcher. So at this point i think it's almost fifty fifty really depends on what the blue jays kinda wanna do. Whether they don't wanna lose res whether they want to spend more time miners that i can see it going kind of either way. So you mentioned the rotation. There's been a lot of turnover there. The last couple of years there was Twenty nineteen when everyone in ontario to start at some point okay. Rebuilt their rotation again and now they've sort of rebuilt it another time in as you noted they didn't really land a top of the rotation target so they settled for a few new faces. None of whom is Assure thing necessarily and i'm sure they have high hopes for pearson who is struggling with a grain issue right now. So how do you see this shaking out. Because there are a bunch of people who are ostensibly in the rotation who kind of been back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation in their careers. And maybe there some interchangeability there. So is this gonna be a weakness. A strength is the sort of a work in progress though I don't know like i think that on paper. It looks like a weakness in a sense of when you look at the Rousers whole if you were to say. What is the weak link here. I think it's a credit to the other parts of the lineup. I guess but i think pitching starting pitching in particular was the weaker spot and with the injury with pearson characterize as minor I think as far as i can tell it does seem to be fairly minor. I mean he's been playing long. Toss for the last couple of days and Presumably it shouldn't take too long for him to sort of at least be throwing aside session or something like that so there is some optimism that this isn't gonna really sidelined him for a long time but i think it's fair to say that he's probably questionable for the start of the season just because this will put him behind a little bit. I think like the guy who slides in is probably roster plane just because he's kinda built being built as a and then in he was an invitation he would take up that like swing man role. So it's kind of easy to just slot him in the rotation to start the year. Then if nick using it's healthy then then you just move ross back to the bullpen. Where he's still long anyway. So but there's other options like the blue jays. I will say like there. Is some question marks about their the high end of their rotation. i guess but they do. They have built themselves quite a bit of depth. Like they have a lot of young guys that you like you alluded to like that kind of were bullpen guys. Last year but really are more traditional star types or want to be traditional star types so like anthony tae trent thornton of last year but he was a starter for them in two thousand nineteen like our most consistent starter and they are. Is thomas hatch. Julian mary weather is another guy although he's kinda dealing with some lower back tightness right now doesn't sound again like it's super serious but it's kinda slowing down. Tj's awake is another name. He's a guy that wants to be a starter so they have like a lot of young. So any of those guys kinda be called upon to be starters but if you look at sort of like the the rotation in how it will be like you re you at the top. Obviously he was great for them last year probably There's probably still some lingering questions about like injury with him or you just really never know like he does sometimes need to pitch on extra rests so there always are you know with review. You do have to be careful. Are he's very particular. And then after that. It's like kinda betting on guys that you really hope like found something right so lake. Tanner rourke is really trying to bounce back from last year which he was not happy with. Why guys kind of alluded to before like robbie. Ray really wants to bounce back. He liked he liked with the blue jays. Were doing with him so he he signed almost right away because he wanted to continue that work with them. Pete walker and bushmen. And then stephen matt's who's actually had a really nice start spraying he today yet. Another good outing. And he's kind of really clicked with the blue jays pitching coaches as well so there is a lot of question marks around this rotation award of it is kind of like hope a prayer on some of these guys really bounce back and not kind of fall back into maybe some tendencies that they were that they struggled with last year on paper. I'd say it kind of looks like a weakness because you really don't know how it's going to pan out and i think also like the blue jays are probably almost looking ahead to the trade deadline and like if they're not shopping for a starter even before then. I think they will be at that point. So those guys who you mentioned are hoping to hand leads off to the blue jays bullpen and the bullpen. Last year was not especially good. It was toward the the bottom half of the american league. It was in the bottom half of baseball overall and to remedy that they have brought in a couple of guys some of whom had disappointing challenging twenty twenty s but who they're expecting a bounce back from so they added kirby yates they added tyler chat. Would they added david phelps. So this seems like a group that could gel nicely or could once again sort of disappoint. What are your expectations for them this year. Yeah the bullpen was weird last year. Because i think up until the midway point which i mean last year was like midway point was only like thirty games or whatever but the the bullpen was actually quite good and then they really seem to like tire out and i think some of that was because of injuries really went to the open pretty aggressively at a lot of young guys. They're like they weren't used to the bullpen roles and just like other crazy things with baseball on small sample size in the kind of stuff so it was weird year for the. I think they're hoping that it says a more of a strength this year. The names you mentioned. They all have good track. Records especially kirby eighteen especially felt for being released. Chat wood is more kind of transitioning to be that high leverage relief guy now which is interesting because i think when he signed initially sorta seemed like he might be more of a swing man tight just giving his starting experience but he's really kind of embracing that relief for all our high leverage relief role and You know he's also really good so far like throwing the ball really hard in so that kind of thing early returns suggest that could work out really nicely for them so i think a lot of this the success of the bullpen kind of hinges on garlic. Kirby yates if he can really stop into the closer role and return to form a twenty nineteen even get close to it than you know. He's one of the best relief pitchers in the majors. He's a guy he actually appeared in spring at. I think kind of bringing him on slow just given like The injury in surgery that he had last year. But he's also a guy that traditionally isn't a big reload guy. He's got the splitter rate. So i think that he's a guy that if if you are hoping for a bounce back those guys traditionally maybe bounce back better. 'cause they're just like not relying on like blowing past guys so that's why i kinda thinking might be like a sneaky good signing because i think there's potential there for him to just kind of put twenty twenty behind him and really kind of like the pitcher that he was in twenty nineteen and you know. The blue jays have some other interesting arms in their bullpen lake jordan. Romano really like really kind of exploded onto the scene last year He was a guy that had. He's from Just outside of toronto so he's like a hometown guy and he had spent some time in the minors as more of a starter and then finally jays cottages converted him to a reliever and then he came into camp last year having spent his full. Offseason focused on relief anti really. The returns were great like he looked great original spring training. He looked great at summer. Camp you've really had a nice start to the season and then it ended with like a finger injury which kind of was tough. But he was shaping up to almost like a future closer. He did have some closing opportunity so if he can really be the guy. He was for that short sample last year. The jays do have a pretty good sort of setup back there they could have a yates that romano phelps back backloading bullpen. Which i think you know if all those guys are doing what they traditionally have been able to do. I think the bullpen actually could be a relative strength from blue jays. Wanted to give you a an opportunity to talk briefly about the new player development complex that you wrote about a couple of weeks ago and a link to that piece but seems like the blue jays separately invested in that area. I know they've really been at the forefront of pursuing sports science and high performance departments and. I know that they tend to be pretty secretive about that stuff. Tried to talk to them. When i was working on the mvp machine but it seems like they're doubling town in those areas. And i guess it's not a bad time to open up a new complex in dunedin when the big league team will be there for at least a little while. Yeah i mean so. The complex has been a project that's been ongoing for the last five five and a half years. Essentially since march pyro joined the blue jays. That's been one of his. Priorities is to rebuild the facilities in dunedin. And you know he. He was pretty blunt him when he was talking to whenever they unveiled the facility. A couple a couple of weeks ago. And you're saying that like the facility in dunedin was like the laughing stock of the features like it was really outdated right. I mean especially when you look at what other teams are building in florida and arizona. All state in the art monster facilities and so the blue jays really behind times and so finally make now. They've sort of leapfrogged teams that they were behind a now. I think they sort of consider there to be the most advanced of the majors shirt up. Only a number of years before their their Lapped some other team will come out with an even better facility but you know it is great for a good timing like you said like now they have to start the season in dunedin. I think it's really great for the players like just having this facility a lot of them have raped about just the fact that thing you need. Is there for you. The pictures that were in that piece. I have Spectacular i mean. I don't even know if i've seen like a a gym or weight room like that. Big that lake. Just there's so much there. They've got these expansive outdoor fields. These covered outdoor fields Covered like cages. So it's really impressive facility. I was honestly hike jealous looking at the photos. Because there's like the florida weather in the background. Literally sunny nice and i would love to go see it that we were there last year and it was just like under construction so you could kind of envision like how big it would be because you know you just like saw the like outlines of it but when seated actually completed as is completely different so but yeah like it's one of those things where gave a tour but of course they didn't let us see inside like the pitching labs and all those like labs teams have so i think they think it's going to give an advantage. I think that there's certainly reasons why it could give them advantage right. Like i think having a great facility for players will make players like wanna spend time. They're working out. I think there's some hope that eventually it could become dunedin in that surrounding area. Could become like a hub for the blue jays in. You'd have like blue jays player spending like year round in in florida or essentially offseasons in florida. And so they're really using that facility all the time and then the Teams can have sort of more supervision over offseason plans and and so they kind of really hope that that it does lead to Championship quality teams. And i think that obviously there are other factors that go into that. But i think like having this facility having decked out with every single player coaches in the organization needs it can only help right like you can only helps. Oh pretty spectacular. They did a good job like paying tribute. I thought to like the blue jays organization. The history you know looked really nice. All the there's a lot of photos up there which i think thrilled the players that there was like photos of them like just last year in staff so it literally nice and i think everyone's really happy with it and so we'll see what the next big project is for mark shapiro. Everyone's gonna be everyone's going. I already saw fans asking for. Okay now now renovate the roger center. So that's gonna be the next big project that everyone's going to be asking about. Yeah i know. They've brought in people who started in sports european sports other non american sports. So if you look at the blue jays front office you know. High performance department was things you see. A lot of names like angus mugford. Which hey. I always enjoy seeing there. But they've been kind of progressive when it comes to that so we will end a second by asking you for a win. Total prediction for this season. But it's hard. I suppose to predict how many wins. The team will have without even knowing where it will be playing and when and this was something they've got used to just being an itinerant team last year playing in buffalo playing all over the place and i guess you could say it mattered less than a season where no one had fancy at games then again i guess you could say it mattered more in a season when there was all this uncertainty about the coronavirus and it was probably added stress to always be on the road and not in complete control of your surroundings and living out of a hotel all the time but regardless they are starting this season in dunedin. Is there any sense of how long that might last. And if and when they might be able to return to draw or what sort of effect it might have if they have to stay in florida for well so the initial plan right. Now i think is for them to play out there i to a home series in dunedin which i think takes us to just after the beginning of may and then i mean they'll reassess our certainly though before that date but so they could stay in dunedin for longer they come back to canada and their questions about that would just be like the further you got into the summer months. The worst weather can be in florida so it just as hot and it can be relate rainy and you can just have these massive thunderstorms and so the weather becomes an issue and obviously the blue Spring training ballpark does not have a roof so on it might not be a good idea for them to stay there much longer than into the summer so if they are not able to come back to canada than they would probably go back to. Buffalo is my guess. They've kind talked about how they're trying to implement. Some hermit changes in the fields in buffalo with the bison they are affiliated with them anyway. And they've just signed like they re upped that affiliation so they're going to be a failure to them for the number of years so investing in that ballpark permanently is only going to help organization but it will still take a lot of effort for them to move to buffalo though have to kind of do similar things what they did last year and they can't find the same solutions for like last year. Emerson the photos but like last year the blue jays used the concourse for example as like their weight room and like their cages. And stuff like that so obviously. They can't do that this year. Because presumably in new york state they will be able to sell a limited amount of tickets so if fans are going to be in the stands even a handful of them than they're going to be to move through the concourse so so there's gonna be even more creative solutions for buffalo this year and then it just to answer your question about canada like it's really still uncertain i think The only thing that i can say is just that really kind of just depends on continued. Roll out of the vaccine. Both in the united states in canada in it depends on then how successful that is then when ever the border opens I think that will be really key. I mean the blue jays will continue to talk to various levels of government in canada. They need to. But i think the thing why they weren't able to play here last year and why they didn't even really pursue to play here yet is because you know things really haven't changed enough with the spread of the virus by in you know things changed so quickly as we've seen this Going through this pandemic altogether so in two months time it could look really different. And i know the vaccine timeline in the united states is a little bit different than it is in canada. But they're talking about. They're really optimistic and canada. Now the last couple of days about even getting all adults vaccinated by the end of june. I think in ontario. So you know that was able to be done than i think. There's probably a path for the blue jays to eventually return to candidate at some wheat. This summer i think that sort of the hope. I think that if they could get back here some point in the summer that would be the best case scenario. It's so hard to pinpoint like a date though it will happen like so much could change between now and then okay. Well that takes us to the last question. Which is how many games do you foresee the blue jays. Winning in twenty twenty one. Good question never great at predicting this kind of stuff. I'm will say. Eighty eighty six. I think okay six all right. Well i don't know if that will satisfy all fans but at least they have a lot of young entertaining players to watch new additions. Hopefully they'll be able to listen at some point and it won't be weird as well so it's an exciting young team in an up and coming team and following up on a playoff appearance and hoping to make it another but difficult division as usual so you can find caitlyn at the athletic toronto canada yet. Let it be. You can listen to her on spin rate the bluejays podcast via the athletic. And you can find her on twitter at cape ann mcgrath. Thank you very much kitten and now we will take one more quick break. We'll be back with brisbane to talk about the giants. Ncaa way he said you care about you. We are back and we're as ready as we'll ever be discussing the san francisco giants. We used to be joined by our friend in yours. Lennox rent went frisbee. Hello grant that is short for granted. Great it's grantham as the initial. So we're talking about the giants. I wanted to start with a quote that comes from the beginning of cars lease piece for bp in the coda. Hates your team series. And this is on the giants. And he says. I've been staring at this roster for twenty two minutes trying to make sense of it and i've got nothing. It contains a truly cursive collection of names. It reads like a neglected keeper. Team from twenty fifteen. Is this some sort of perverse amodu to remember some guys. It's like looking at an eno wildcard roster from eight years ago through a funhouse mirror. I hate it harsh but fair or harsh but unfair. Try making it your career buddy. I i think that's how i know. The whole gimmick of that series is sort of like a roast. You're supposed to take it good spirit so it's not wrong. You know you do look at a team in twenty twenty one in east. Start thinking brandon bell joke. He's gonna be thirty three and can barely tie issues anymore. But you know brandon crawford can be thirty four like you ever mongolia's thirty six. Almost i mean yeah. It's it's a weird collection of like you know. Name some guys yeah. We did a couple of weeks ago on the possibility that the giants might have an all over thirty year old lineup which has not been done since the two thousand eighteen giants before that was done times by the bonds era giant sewer old so yeah i mean if marisha debone takes a day off you're looking at all over thirty's basically i mean wilmer. Flores turns thirty point this season. I guess you've got austin slater who is A sprightly twenty eight but not exactly a youth movement going on here. No that you know. I noticed i mean i noticed this like i really noticed it like everything just snapped into focus About a week or two ago for me. Where i looked as they wait a second like a really old like i knew i knew. They were an old team last year. I think they had the average Lineup in baseball last year. So it's not a surprise but it's still jarring to think that Foreign zaidi took the team over after. Like two thousand eighteen at the time thinking. Well you know it's time to to burn everything down and lets you at grows out of the ashes in just what happened. They he stuck with the the thirty guy thirty year old guys when it made sense to and last year just making sense so there you go well even their big sort of offseason addition. This year is a guy over thirty. I guess we can use this as a as a sort of transition to talk about thomas stella who i will never be able to read without wanting to yell so but i'm curious sort of the. The duration of his deal is a little bit surprising. He's been a productive hitter for awhile now. He's been a productive hitter over the last two seasons arbeit in slightly limited time but where do they sort of see him slating and not only this year but just how much of the next good giants team do they expect. Tommy la stella to be a part of it took a question because You know he's going to be around to what twenty twenty three and he's you know he's already Thirty two years old so if you do the math thirty four. What is the thirty four year old giant going out. How much utility is that going to have pun intended. And i you know first off the first thing you have to think about is you can't worry about the contracts in the twenty twenty. Three giants have so much money coming out the books. The stella's contract. It's really really going to be back. Loaded at the same time like it's a rounding error on on that team because they have no long term contracts other lem le stella the other thing that there is utility in signing a guy for twenty twenty one. The giants are probably finish behind. The dodgers are going to finish behind the padres but You know maybe this breaks breaks here in in your challenging for the second wildcard not saying their favorites or that they're going to be in it on the last day of the season but there's also value in keeping fans interested throughout september. He can't just write off. Twenty twenty one. V give fans a reason to be excited for the summer months that that has value but i also think twenty twenty two sounds pretty darn interesting and you don't have to worry about la- sela blocking at prospect because he's so versatile you can play a third at second He can be a platoon guy. If you know markelle luciano is is ready. And you have to play luciano at third. Or or we'll wilson is ready. That's the guy that has to be at second base like. You can move less stella around. So i think it was a combination of this guy. Fits anywhere There's a benefit to winning this year. There's definitely a benefit to winning next year. In you know the giants they'll have long term contracts so why not. Yeah so you alluded to this but far hung was hired almost two and a half years ago. Now how surprised would you have been back in the fall of two thousand eighteen if someone had somehow showing you the roster resource page for twenty twenty one giants as of today. Is this totally different from what you would have expected. And why do you think he has diverged from what was expected if he has. I mean he certainly made some smart pickups and found some undervalue gems here and there. But it just hasn't really followed the blueprint that i think. A lot of people assumed he would follow. Yeah no i'd probably spend spent like the first five minutes laughing about alex dickerson's name because eight years old. But i know it is. It's a remarkable roster and a lotta ways in there would have been a lot of just like you can't go through this roster without thinking. Wait why donovan donovan solano. That guy's not even in the majors and belton crawford are still around. Are you kidding me. you know. And that's before you get to guys like Evan longoria and the the weird rotation that's like all cincinnati reds with the one exception. It's a weird roster. And i think it's just it's like a ship of theseus like you're just taking one part away and you're putting another part in and then he looked up and everyone division. No i was it got it and that was like i've listened to podcasts about the ship of theseus and i haven't seen one division. I saw i saw the reference. Come across my time. i'm like damn it. That was my pet reference. But no it's a weird roster and yet it makes sense individual ego well. Donald was stella he does this. That austin slater alex dickerson. They form together to make a a pretty nice lego Peace in left field and you can make excuses not just excuses but like arguments for all of these players. It's just when you step back in you. You've got the view from the top. It's just an old weird roster but that old weird roster can have some utility even. If it's just to to buy time for guys. So i wanna talk about the catching situation On the giants which you know we we have buster posey coming back after opting out. Last year we've noted the addition of curt casali and this seems to be impart at least to give joey bart sometime to figure stuff out. So what do you think. Went wrong for joey bar last year. And how might he get back on track. Because when his top one hundred blurb was written at fan graphs air long and hagan worried he had been tzaneen owed which seemed like a slight to me personally but perhaps not a terrible way of describing the situation that he found himself in here where he had just very little time in aa at a difficult position and then was asked to sort of figure stuff out last year. No in that's always been a competence that song over his head you've got you know right heading hidden catcher with power drafted with with one of the first picks in the first round and everything seems like it's right there every tool except maybe the content you know. Maybe they hit tool. But wha- what's going to happen. What the big problem with that Until the hit toll doesn't work and last year it was really unfair joy bard because a couple of different things. I don't blame the giants for for calling him up when when they did because They started the year and it was a real shock after a decade to realize how much good catcher meant to a team. Were you you've got. I mean it. It shouldn't be a shock but at the same time you're watching tyler heinemann and chadwick trump and she blessed them for everything that they did. But it's still just jarring. Were you've got sketch your defense defensive. Sketch your game calling skit. You're either just fueled general stuff where you're giving your teammates The best chance that they might have to succeed then so the giants wanted a catcher and they were getting rave reviews like everyone at the alternates. Guy joey part. I don't know what he's doing here. I'll choi birds killing the ball up here on the alternate side in the giants said. Okay you know screw it. The will bring them up. But we don't know Are internal metrics. Don't necessarily suggest this but okay. Let's let's just give it a give it a whirl and you know he played twenty two games above eight ball and he looked like it just flat out. He looked like a guy with twenty two games above able coming from an alternate site in the middle of the summer. In a weird mutant season and on the one hand. It's like i want to really use that. That look against bart. I just wanna be like. I saw this guy. He couldn't hit the inside pitch. Couldn't hit the outside pitch You know breaking balls away. Give him problems. Fastballs on the hands really gave him problem. So yeah. I'm just going to downgrade him to his At the same time. Newton season what he can do well. He still does well. Maybe he will hit twenty power in a solid glove. That should be fine. I think that's what the giants heads maybe. Stop at the hall of fame stuff just because it happened last time and just be happy if he is even like zunino in as prime. We've been rigging the lineup a bit for being old but it was also quite effective last year. The giants hit wealth. Hit better than i think anyone expected and actually hit. I empower hit an above average number of home runs. And i know that you have written about the facts. That oracle park seemed like the land that that you spell forgot for years but they changed the park in some ways that maybe had an impact. So why do you think. The giants did hit as well as they did last year. And what was it like to actually see some diggers in your park. It was just like the the world's fullest canteen thrown to you. When when you're marching through that does it was just to watch the team headed. They didn't they lost more games than they wanted. It make the postseason but they could freaking hit. And i'm seeing that surprised because it was if the giants were down three to nothing last year they might not win the game but you should still watch. That was never the case. It was like a three run first inning when the padres were in town in two thousand eight teams. Forget it. you know. I have to be here but you guys can go on because this isn't going to end well Last year no they would come back. it would scrap. They would have some good moments. The ballpark obviously had an effect A lot of people's pet theory is you know they. They closed the the archways. So people couldn't come in and watch the game for free and that affected the the wind tunnel at oracle park. Maybe that At the same time. I think the hitters were just better Maybe they had more confidence. The left-handers specifically when you're talking about crawford and belt had more confidence But i don't buy that theory either. Because belt in crawford started the season so poorly for two weeks. I think crawford's case three weeks they were so lost. Thought they were going to fade at any second So if it's confidence thing they would have to have the confidence to come back from that so that would have the confidence to in the park early in that i. I don't know it's it's all a big weird malange but i think it's just a their their hitters. Were were solid. I mean they were just good and maybe the coaching had a lot to do with that tattoo. Me about the weird malonga is gonna be this rotation because some of this might work. Okay maybe right so we should perhaps run through some of the the additions that they made here right they brought in guzman. They have alex. Would they have whatever is left of cueto they have anthony full ghani as you said like this is the the once and future reds. I suppose but what are. What are your expectations of what they're actually going to be able to put together here. I think the plan. And the more i thought about this because in the off season when i'm scrambling for content i'm looking at this rotation gone. Okay you need. You have these. Five starters You signed aaron sanchez. You're going to need six starter. Seven starter and eight starter. Nicer than started can't just be well. Logan webs our six starter and then we'll figure it out from there So you've got like Nick troiano and scott casimir built that depth but overall. I think the plan is just to make sure that the bullpen is in the game as much as possible and they have a lot of guys with options. You have tyler. Rogers has options and whereas miranda's options. And you'll have guys you'll have a shuttle from sacramento to san francisco that's going to turn an eight-man bullpen into a twelve man bullpen or a thirteen and bullpen. And they were already. The starters were already throwing fewer innings than ever before and that's just the trend around baseball. But i think last year Fifty percent of the team's innings were pitch by starting pitcher the lowest in franchise history that trend will either be right around there. Maybe they'll pitch even fewer innings I think that's the plan is going with their depth. They have quantity of quality. And if someone like. Alex wood gives them one hundred innings. Hey maybe that's what they're looking for you know you don't want him to give twenty innings you don't get forty innings but if he set your expectations at one hundred innings oh maybe can do it and then if you get that you know maybe can get that from aaron sanchez or if you can you get one hundred and twenty from Sclafani maybe i don't know and so i think that's the plan is get the the quantity of quality and hope for like not a total disaster. Worst case scenario for all these guys get the medium case scenario and you might be okay and what about the bullpen shopping up. And how might it be managed. I was kind of curious about what you're one of. The gabe kaplan managerial. Experience was like from sort of a a spectator perspective. So did the bullpen issues. That plagued him in philly. Follow him to san francisco. And how was his managerial style received. Yes it followed him. No it didn't like. I'm really conflicted on that. Because the giants lost their season because of the bullpen And that's that's not really in dispute. They had the one stretch. I can't remember exactly it was Three blow ninth inning leads in four games that led to losses three or four or five games That led to losses. And that's really really really hard to do. I was i. It's hard to search for throughout history but few teams in history of had that many ninth inning leads that lead to a loss in major league history and some of it had to do with specific decisions. Trevor got gives up a Five run lead in part in a game. That was even a safe situation in in capitals. Idea was okay woking. I'm just gonna put them right back into the fire and build up his confidence and instead he just ruined his confidence and then the bullpen was scrambling and the giants look like they were. You know in contention for the first overall pick and then things got really good really smooth. Bullpen was smooth after that tyler rogers rounded in a form kayla burger. You know became kind of his go to guy in a lot of ways and he did crate and there was like you know just little pieces hardly car sia sam selman and he was just playing the organ perfectly and it was all molest and then in the final weekend of the season. Sam coon rot. All the sudden the closer and whoopsie doodles. There goes that season all they needed was one game in a blown. Save by kuehne was enough to just ruin all those sweet sweet dulcet tones from from august before. So you know it's i i don't know it. It goes either goes in both directions. You can blame him. For those specific situations but overall i think the second month the season the times bullpen was was humming along in a big part of why they were contending in the first place one at the older hitters. That we were just talking about is make stransky who surprised a lot of people in twenty thousand nineteen and then when people thought he might regress in twenty twenty instead became even better. And you wrote about that. You wrote about some of the roots of his success so interested in what you found there. He has defied the odds and broken out at a somewhat advanced age. And then also what do you do with them. Now because matt trueba just wrote something for bp about how his performance and where the giants seemed to be makes him sort of an obvious trade candidate. So as one of the prominent of those slugging san francisco giants what his his future with this team. The with mary field conundrum. Now i i. It's it's chart so he got better because he his pitch recognition got even better. You know he's rarely swinging not just at like it's not like he's stopped swinging at balls out of the strike zone. He's not swinging as much at balls into the strike zone. That don't fit his profile. You know like he. He's willing to take a good strike. He's not scared of getting to a two strike count and his whole approach is just fantastic. It's a really. He's a really fun ballplayer to watch hit especially when it gets to strikes. He's been excellent with two strikes in that might be a little bit of meraj but the the general feel of his at bats is this guy knows what he's doing now as for will continue in twenty twenty one. Twenty two to the giants don't necessarily have to make a decision because he'll be cheap. He'll be cheap well into his thirty's they're not gonna. He's not an extension candidate. They have under tin control. Sucks when he break out in your thirty you know it's just you gotta get host. I just don't think the giants need need to trade him in one reason is i don't know if they're going to get. Mvp type offers for them. You know what i mean. I don't know if another team is gonna say Here's joe adele. Here we go. We need mike yastrzemski. We're going to give you one of the best prospects in baseball. Nothing we can do about it you. Our hands are tied giant. Here have had this top ten prospect. I just don't see that happening. And once you start getting those diminishing returns is it worth it for the giants. 'cause they might be good in a year two three and stransky. It's not like he projects to be a sloth in three years. He's at he's nath. Let a guy who might to age. Well i just. I'm not sure if the fit. Is there just yet. i could be wrong. But there's no harm in keeping around a good player who makes peanuts Just in case you get good which the giants plan to be in unless another team comes over the top with some buffo trade offer. They can't refuse. I just don't see the. I think maybe we should talk about the when they expect to be good of it with this giants team because when you look at the the forty man timelines for some of their top prospects she auto in rama's you know some of these guys on bart is obviously already seen major league time but we'll get to lick his wounds and hopefully Come back stronger this year by by starting in the minors. But when you look at the the forty man timelines for some of these guys you know. They're they're twenty twenty two twenty twenty three. Some of them are even further out into twenty twenty four so what. What are your expectations for. When we might start to see some of these guys actually come up at the major league level. Because they're clearly not in a rush but they are a bad team necessarily as you noted there. they're sort of done by a really tough division. So what are your expectations there. I think it's reasonable to say twenty. Twenty three is when the cavalry comes in that. That's what it all comes together. At the same time. I think the pattern in recent years has been for teams to arrive a year early The nationals when they when they were terrible and all of a sudden you could see that that wave of prospects coming up in the whoop the good a year early. The astros did that. The cubs did that. The braves did that. The twins did that. You know these teams. You could see it coming on the rise. You could see the braves and what they were building. And you're like You know when when this team finally gets it together. They're going to be you know excellent and then a year before the was like surprise. You know we went one of the braves. The brakes went from ninety losses. To ninety wins. i think there's a chance of that enough so that you can't just punt you can't just say it's gotta be twenty twenty three. We're not even gonna bother until then just as don't you worry about it. Just get back to us in two years. You'd have to kind of set everything in motion a little bit I you have to be coffin and giants ability to find strong offensive players. You know even if they have to dumpster dived do it. Whether it's with trump's gear donovan solano alex dickerson. I i think they have a fairly good track record there. So if you just promote one of those guys affiliate romo's becomes a guy know this year or next year you surrounded with talent. Now you've got one of your young guys in then maybe luciana comes up and once you have that you might have an ozzy albee's ronald kunia situation. Were a ha like these guys are in place and everything sure looks a lot better as far as contending immediately so you would have to think it's likely to happen in twenty twenty three or even beyond but you got a plan for a year earlier. You got a plan for some surprises in the in the near term. The giants have a lot of coaches on the staff. Maybe more coaches than anyone. Although there has been kind of coaching staff inflation across the league as there's been more of an emphasis on player development even at the major league level and so the giants have what three hidden coaches. They've got to hitting coaches and an assistant hitting coach who is also director of hitting. They have a pitching coach and assistant pitching coach and a director of pitching. So it's like double redundancy at every level. They've got multiple assistant coaches including of course. They have quality assurance coach. Have you seen any obvious benefits or affects from this. I mean do players appreciate having someone helpful like the coach player. Ratio is Quite good for the giants. So has that paid off in any way. Have any players credited that you know. I'm better because There were three hidden coaches available at all times and so we were able to work with them at same time if we wanted to. Yeah i don't think that if if a player didn't like it if a player thought that is too many too many cooks in the kitchen that they would say. You know what i mean. So it's it's it's a little hard to disprove it at the same time brandon crawford and gave a lot of credit to what he did his You know when he was starting the two thousand twenty season he was just terrible. Looked lost Looked like a guy who going to get released in at some point. Not only do the giants have faith in them and sort of. Just keep with them. Which surprises the heck out of me But at some point he got better and he said know. I think the coaching and the ability to tell me exactly what was wrong. And make sure that it's not just a few minutes in the cage before a game or someone one running up with a clipboard with a screenshot and pointing to it but actual dedication to Let's see when he was a august fourteenth august fifteenth. He had a four fifty four. Oh ps at games into a sixty game season and after that for the rest of the way he was hitting like an all star. He had almost a thousand. Opiates the rest of the way in he was crediting. The the coaches for you know saying okay. You're doing this. You need to focus on this. Don't chase this look for the pitch here I'm simplifying it. He gave that a lot of credit. And when you look at the returns from him from brandon belt from players who looked lost I think the coaching could could have helped. It just makes sense with what baseball is today. It's it's really. it's so granular. And you can have a just a great hitting coach. Who's the best to communicating. But if you've got Thirteen hitters that. You have to do that for in only so much time. Maybe spread spread it out a little bit gain on. Just just get everyone all the attention they deserve. Because it's not these coaches aren't all reinventing the wheel. They're like wheel salesman they're like. I've got extra wheels on the truck you know. They don't have to come up with these genius ideas they to communicate them and make sure that they're rock solid in everyone's head. I wanted to ask about knack. Because i didn't hear a lot about how her year went. Which i actually took to be a good sign that she was just able to do her job. But i i'm curious. What your sense of of her first year with the organization. How i know. It wasn't her first year with the orbit in terms of her role on the coaching staff. How that had gone and Assuming that it went well what the organization did proactively hopefully to support her and kinda put her in a position to succeed. It's a tricky question to ask. After the pandemic season because the quotes that we have the the are done via zoom. You know they are done in a very controlled environment so if someone really had if someone was really being a jerk ball about the whole situation you know you might have heard a comment overheard in the house you might. There might have been other ways to pick up on it. I'm just gonna assume that didn't happen though. And that she did her job well and then everyone sort of appreciated it and that it was fine. I mean andy beggarly Something on her in october. And everyone's like yeah. You know she she ruled. She did what she was supposed to do. She helped out. She helped with what we asked her to do. Did a little bit more. And i think we were better because she was there. And that's that's the sense i get in. I have no reason to think that there are crumple pussies who who think that. That is not the case. So i'm just going to be like okay like this. It like like you said the lack of noise. Maybe that's an awesome thing. So giants are in a division with two pretty good teams the dodgers and padres and for fragment of your former giants fandom still lingers inside you is probably not thrilled to have two powerhouses that seem like they could be competitive forever in the same division. I'm sure a lot of chance fans feel that way. Of course. I know you can also appreciate. What makes them appealing. What makes them fun to watch. Particularly the padres. Maybe you don't have the historic and the detoured. But what does that do for the giants in the future. How do you hope to compete with these two behemoths that are among the best teams in baseball. If not the best teams in baseball now and seemed to have just an endless wave of young players and prospects coming up behind them to the point that you can't really forecast a year you know it's not like you can flip ahead to twenty twenty three or something it's like okay. That's when the dodgers window will be closed and that's when the giants will be rounding into form. Whatever here you pick like. There's no year where the giants necessarily project to be better than those teams that we can actually foresee now. So how do you go up against those teams. Yes i will be. The first thing i'll say is that i for some reason of always had a special emnity towards the padres. It's kinda like i don't know this is just me like you guessing how it was because i was like captain football papa in high school but like you know when like your door in your with another door and you get to bully that dork. Like that feeling is like what giants fans could do with the potties. It's like none of us have world series. But you know you know the dodgers the capital football team and then they just had a growth spurt. Suddenly they just now. At least you could give the padres in a you know what i mean. And then so now. They're so i don't know it's it's weird to see the padres thriving like they are and a lot of that had to do with Like how great teams are built had to do with solid development smart things and then an also like you know the white sox want james shields for whatever reason and then he turned around and there are some super team. I'm not entirely sure how that happened. It's it's hard because the giants want to do with the dodgers do as far as they wanna have the money. They've got their real estate development in across the across mccovey cove. They're putting up all these buildings and they're expecting to be not just a baseball team but also real estate magnates and and once you have that you're the easiest way to get people to buy condos it and store fronts Near the ballpark is to have a reason to come to the ballpark so they should spend money on the team. They want to be rich. They wanna be powerful. They want to have a conveyor belt of prospects and develop the players in. That's the plan that you can't really worry about the dodgers you'd have to get that conveyor belt functioning you have to get that steady stream like oh i guess. We've got cody bellinger. Oh wow. mvp okay great You have to do that. You have to have players. Like alex redo goud. Who is worth a mookie. Betts in some teams is. I guess you have to just get those prospects up and allows you to do everything and allows you to spend on. Trevor bauer Allows you to spend on eric hosmer and once you have that conveyor belt it's hard to stop is rigged underpay. The players were the best. I mean you guys know this. The players in their twenties or the best players though the healthiest players. And they're the cheapest players in once you get those guys into the system and they start paying off. It's just a perpetual motion machine. You can keep doing it And you can keep you know given newbies now to the pirates or whomever right. Well you know how we end these things by demanding that you make win total prediction. So how many wins for the giants in twenty twenty one. Okay okay so last year. You did this and i think i did like forty. Yeah and the joke was that the season would be cut short because you nailed it. Yeah so a lot's riding on this grant. I'm gonna have to say two hundred because they're going to play so many more games than we expect and it's going to be all right so let's see this season. I'm gonna go eighty. I think they will fight to get to five hundred. I think they'll do better than some people. Give them credit for They will be in the thick of second wildcard race. Later than some people think might not win more games than they lose but will be an overall. Hey not too bad year all right not too bad is something that a lot of us would be very happy to have you. Were like really sick when we talked to you last year too and i might have been like her aunt. You have covert and we're like no he doesn't i just Wanted me the whole year. So i'm glad you're well now i was. I've been feeling badly about it. So yeah no i. That was after. I flew home from arizona. So i flew from san francisco arizona. Back to san francisco. I sick with a fever and it was like a respiratory illness. you know. yeah. I wasn't too sick you know but i i was. I was pretty sick and Yeah no i probably had the darn covid but you know. There's no way to figure that out. Now yeah. I missed that episode. I forget why was away. But i was listening to you all and you were talking about how conscious you were of touching your face and how you were trying very hard not to touch your face. Early cova days. I had my thumb on the mute button on my mic. Because i was coughing like at all times like this was about five days into it and i was just sort of like mute apart brian. They unmuted fun times fun times. Well glad you're healthy now. All right well you can read the grant writing about the giants at the athletic. You can find him on twitter at grant brisby you can hear him co hosting the giants podcast at the athletic bags and brisby. He has brisby. Thank you very much grant. Thank you very much have me on. I always enjoy. That will do it for today. Thanks as always for listening. You can't support effectively wild on the patriot. I go into patriot. Dot com slash effectively. Wild appalling listeners have already signed up and pledge some small month the amount to help keep the podcast going and get themselves access to some perks. Dan david firemen. James edward morgan bryan gold geier and dzhavadav missouri. Thanks to all of. You can join our facebook group at facebook dot com slash group. Sasha collectively wild. You can read review and subscribe to affect. Be wild on itunes on spotify and other podcasts platforms. Keep your questions and comments and meg coming via email at podcast grass dot com or via the patriot missile system. If you are a supporter. Thanks phil higgins for his editing assistance. We will be back with another episode soon. Talk to you then then. Just good note. Good no thing. Is this your first time. The inaugural podcast. I'm excited whom done this one hundred times. Leave it all in working out the kinks sir. We've been my muted silence record. Okay try that again.