Your preamble-less links for a Monday…
“I feel blessed and fortunate to be able to come home, giving my wife and me a chance to live at home now and work here in Houston,” says the departing Alan Ashby in a piece from John Lott of the National Post. “But – and the ‘but’ is huge – my six years in Toronto were absolutely the best, and I appreciate everybody, all the fans, everybody I was associated with at the ballpark. It was just the greatest experience.” Ashby the best.
No link, but the local media just received word from the Jays that RA Dickey will be in town and made available in a news conference tomorrow afternoon, alongside Alex Anthopoulos. So… expect a lot of stuff about that.
Bluebird Banter notices that Jays 2007 first-rounder Justin Jackson, who is still in the club’s minor league system, will take to the mound this season. The one-time shortstop prospect reportedly has a hell of an arm, and after six seasons in pro ball, peaking at Double-A, with an OPS across all levels of .635, it seems about time to try something else, huh?
Elsewhere at Bluebird Banter, they look at the Jays’ uniform assignments for 2013 and the changes we’ll see from last year, which… is actually more interesting that it sounds, it turns out. It also turns out that we won’t be seeing Yunel Escobar’s tainted number five this season. Or… OK, technically it’s assigned to John Gibbons, but it’s not like we’re ever going to see it under that muumuu he wears.
At the Tao of Stieb, the Org Guy notices the return of hockey and wonders whether, as baseball fans, we should give a shit or not. The Jays’ marketing department should, at the very least. Personally, I’m a little surprised how very, very little I’ve missed it.
Almost like it’s Spring Training already, we’ve got lots of “Jose Bautista is healthy and happy” stuff, as he’s in the country as a part of the club’s resurrected Winter Caravan (or whatever less-good name they’re calling it this time around): there’s one from John Lott of the National Post, from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, Chris Toman of BlueJays.com, Robert MacLeod of the Globe and Mail, and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. And another one from Lott.
At whatever they’re calling Miked Up these days, Mike Wilner looks forward to 2013.
Matt Garrioch of Minor League Ball puts forth his ridiculously early first mock draft of the year, pencilling in athletic, big power outfielder Austin Wilson of Stanford for the Jays at pick number ten.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider Olney) ranks the top ten bullpen in the Majors, and the Jays don’t make the cut, which… yeah, I wouldn’t expect anyone to look at the names AA has accumulated back there and be over the moon about it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they can be pretty terrifically good.
Chris Jaffe of the Harball Times continues the annual tradition of giving Wednesday’s Cooperstown results today, though with the obvious caveat that this year’s ballot is way harder to gauge than those from year’s past. His metric has Craig Biggio just squeaking in.
Dave Studeman of FanGraphs argues that it’s time to change the Hall’s voting process, while longtime voter Dave Perkins of the Toronto Star writes that he filled out a full ballot, including Bonds, Clemens, et. al, and gives some sound reasoning for doing so– much to the awesome chagrin of many of the confused readers commenting on his piece.
Lastly, more Hall of Fame stuff, as today’s Wezen-Ball article at Baseball Prospectus looks at some contemporary reports from Mike Piazza’s peak years, in the 90s with the Dodgers. He was one king hell of a hitter in his day, but won’t be in Cooperstown anytime soon, thanks to idiots and bacne. Wezen-Ball also makes the case for Curt Schilling in much the same way.