The Shapkins Defender – I Want My MLB TV

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.)
This time, I really wanted to be writing about projections again. In a previous post, I had talked about projections and how the Jays were the kind of team that could wind up ahead of their projections. And I was going to tie that into this similarly-bullish piece at FanGraphs.
And I was also going to talk about Baseball America still having the Jays in the number 6 slot on their organization talent rankings in spite of graduating so many prospects last year. And I was going to talk about the FanGraphs top 100 prospects having four Jays on the list. And then there’s Keith Law’s list also having four Jays on it, but in a slightly different way. And it was all going to be sunshine, lollipops and rainbows about the coming season and the even rosier picture beyond that and so on and so on.
Unfortunately, I have to talk about this MLB TV bullshit.
Sigh. Defeated sigh.
This is …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation

The Shapkins Defender – Looking Back to Look Forward

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.)
Spring training is finally arriving this week. (Well, the part with the stretching and jogging and whatnot.  The actual games are still a ways away.)  And as the players show up and start tossing the ball around, our focus will shift away from the front office and towards the players, with stories about position battles and which guys are in the best shape of their lives and all that. The team has already tweeted out video of their big offseason prize, Hyun-Jin Ryu, half-assedly getting loose on the grass down in Dunedin. 

The content RYU need to brighten your day pic.twitter.com/qQq1IapPyB
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) February 8, 2020

But just before we do that, this seems like a good time to take a moment to reflect on what has transpired over the past few months, while the suits in the front office were the ones in the spotlight. The reason I started doing this whole Shapkins Defender thing …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation

The Shapkins Defender – 6 to 8 Breakout Men

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.)
Well, the offseason is winding down. The coldest days of the year are now behind us and most of the free agents have signed. With the Reds signing Castellanos today, that leaves only three names from MLBTR’s Top 50 still without a home. And those three names are from the bottom of the list, with #37 Yasiel Puig, #41 Brock Holt and #49 Pedro Strop being the remaining wanderers. So, though there might still be a trade or two, that means the business of the offseason is mostly done and us fans can look forward to pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, which is barely over two weeks away now.
And that also means it’s time for a classic baseball tradition: making futile attempts to predict the future that will look very foolish almost immediately. Your favourite source of baseball charts and graphs will soon reveal projections about the upcoming season, from FanGraphs to 538 and Baseball Prospectus and on and on. One …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation

The Shapkins Defender – The Blue Jays’ Connection to the Sign-Stealing Stuff

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.)
By now, you’re surely aware of the Astros sign-stealing scandal and the recent fallout. I don’t want to spend too much time summarizing it, both because it’s been written about extensively by people with actual sources and also because new stuff seems to be coming out by the second. But the Astros definitely cheated in 2017 with the garbage can stuff, leading to a whole bunch of people being suspended and fired and probably more penalties still to come.
What I do want to dwell on, because I’ve seen it casually mentioned on Twitter a few times, is how the Jays are connected to all this. As far as I know, there are two strands to follow.
First, there’s the Hudgens thing. Dave Hudgens was the Astros hitting coach during the 2017 cheating season. The Blue Jays hired him as a bench coach after the 2018 season. As Shi Davidi reports, Hudgens is not mentioned by name …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation

The Shapkins Defender – Losing My Mind

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.)
Let’s get to it!
“Hey, Shapkins Defender. I notice the Blue Jays won’t be taking any players to arbitration this year. Do you think this represents a philosophical shift or just a reflection of the fact that so much of the roster is pre-arb guys? Thanks!” – Faiq Naym.
I just realized there’s less than a month until spring training starts! That’s fun!
“Sup, SD? Who is going to provide the catching depth at Buffalo this year? Riley Adams should be there. But since he hasn’t played above AA yet, they should probably get a veteran to join him, right?” – Imagen Nairy.
Just over two months and it’ll be Montreal time! Hell yes!
“Greetings, my good sir! What relievers do you think the Jays will target before the season starts?” – Phick Shunal
I miss baseball so much.
If you are a pretend person that …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation

The Shapkins Defender – Running the Phases

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.)
Since my last piece was super long, I’ll try and keep this one short and sweet, both because it’s still sort of holiday time and because Shapiro and Atkins seem to require less defending these days. I wonder why that is.
Could it be because there’s a rumour they offered Gerrit Cole 300 million simoleons? And could it also be because that rumour actually seems somewhat plausible given that they subsequently spread over 100 million bucks on other pitchers, including Hyun-Jin Ryu? That’s all pretty fun!
With the heavy lifting of the offseason now complete and the calendar flipping over to a new year, many Jays fans are understandably turning their attentions to the regular season and dreaming of watching meaningful baseball come September. And while I occasionally get caught up in those fantasies myself, I think the more clear-eyed reality is that the Jays are probably closer to a .500 team than they are to being a …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation

The Shapkins Defender – Chering Blossoms

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.)
This edition is quite a long one. So, I recommend skipping it to spend time with your family and friends. (I’m just kidding. It’s long but all gold. Your family and friends, on the other hand, are a real fucking snooze fest. Kidding again! I love them and you and everyone. Please don’t sue me.)
First things first, I’ll respond to a couple of comments from my last piece. First up, this guy.
“Slowly burning planet lol. I remember when the media pumped up Acid Rain but it was a fraud then there was a massive hole in the Ozone Layer lol, what a joke that was. And more fear-mongering bs about Global Warming now re-packaged as Climate Change lol. And the filthy rich control your politicians(as they always have) to pump up Climate Change to downsize our standard of living like the rest of the 3rd world but they will live better …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation

The Shapkins Defender – Stuck in the Middle with Blue (Jays)

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.) Let’s get to it!
For this edition, I am going to talk about Stealers Wheel. I mean, Wheeler’s deal. I saw lots of people voicing their displeasure on the Twitter, both with the fact that the Jays let him go and the cyborgian comments from Atkins after the fact. And while I completely understand the reaction, I’m not quite there myself. Let me try to explain.
First, I want to get into some nuance for a moment because the modern baseball landscape puts us fans in a bind, since the player compensation system is so broken. If this is something that concerns you as a person who has empathy for your fellow human beings, then you are likely to have two competing desires that perpetually exist side-by-side.
Players aren’t being paid enough, given that league revenues are up but player salaries are down. And since the baseball players are what I am paying to watch, I want more of my money …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

The Shapkins Defender – The Jays Probably Won’t Sign Any QO’d Free Agents and That’s Fine

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.) Let’s get to it!
For this edition, I don’t have a specific argument to parse through. Instead, I want to talk about the general thirst around Blue Jays world this offseason. There have been various pieces mulling over the possibility of acquiring a Gerrit Cole or a Zach Wheeler or a Marcell Ozuna. And, well, I don’t think it’s gonna happen. And I don’t think it’s a bad thing either.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We’re all on the same page here. We all want the Blue Jays to be good. Sports are way more fun when your favourite squadron is good. And with so many talented kids debuting last year, it seems like the goodness is within grasp. And I certainly won’t complain if the team goes out with a dollar-sign-emblazoned sack and throws it at somebody in order to smash open the next competitive window.  But I think it makes sense for the front …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation

The Shapkins Defender – The Résumé, Resumed

Welcome to The Shapkins Defender, where I inhale your toxic screeds and spit out the fresh oxygen of optimism, like a tree that kind of understands WAR. (Just don’t ask me to explain it.) Let’s get to it!
Now, I’ve talked about Shapiro’s track record before. But it looks like I’m going to have to do it again, because…

“When, precisely, was the pilot on this beautiful island before?” – AA
This comment from Alex Anthopoulos was in reference to a previous post of mine where I said this…
“The way I look at it is it’s like we’re on a plane together. And the pilot keeps telling us we’ll be at a beautiful tropical island soon. And it’s an island he’s been to before. I’ve seen pictures of him there! But you’re using every bit of turbulence as an excuse to go running and screaming that the plane has been hijacked. And my point is that maybe, just maybe, if you take a few deep breaths and have a snack, we’ll both enjoy the journey a little more.”
This was my way of saying that Shapiro has …

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Author: Darragh / Blue Jays Nation