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, Robert MacLeod of the Globe and Mail, and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. And another one from Lott.

Lott also has a piece on incoming bench coach DeMarlo Hale in the Post, as does Brendan Kennedy of the Star. Hale is also currently on the Winter Tour.

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 (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.

Comments (84)

  1. Every since Robbie didn’t make it in on the first ballot I’ve found the whole HoF situation to be super depressing. Then, after Parkes tweets about the hall losing money every year, I’ve decided that I’ll treat them like my alcoholic uncle. Realize I can’t fix it, let them keep fucking up, and move on with my life.

  2. I heard Dirk Hayhurst on the Fan a couple of months back saying that a lot of catchers he played with have back acne. He said it was down to the accumulation of sweat caused by the equipment. Not sure if that’s enlightening or BS? Still possibly the most ridiculous reason for keeping a true hall of famer out of Cooperstown.

    • I think the Bagwell reasoning is pretty close. Creating a phony “first ballot” tier in order to punish guys voters know they’re going to vote for eventually anyway is pretty awful, too. But yeah. Yeah.

      • I used to think that that HoF added some sort of distinction for 1st-ballot Hall of Famers, but after a cursory glance at their website, it doesn’t differentiate them at all. As far as they’re concerned, you’re a Hall of Famer whether you get in on the 1st ballot or the 15th (though it does distinguish those elected by the BBWAA from those elected by committees).

        Any idea how this fictional category of “1-Ballot Hall of Famers” came about? I’m curious why the writers would decide to make the distinction on their own accord, when the Hall itself doesn’t seem to care.

    • I used to get bacne in the shape of the straps on the chest protector and also get bacne in the shape of an X on my back from carrying my golf bag on the course everyday.

    • What does it mean?

  3. I remember Beeston claimed that he would rather the Leafs do well, rather than badly, because it makes the sports atmosphere in the whole city better, and it all kind of bleeds into each other. Like the early 90s I guess.

    With all that’s gone on these last couple months, I think the Jays should be able to get lots of attention even with the NHL starting back up. People are pretty psyched.

    • I’m inclined to agree. Boston became a giant, big-money big-audience ESPN-consuming sports hub in the 2000s with the combined string of titles for the Patriots, Red Sox,Celtics and Bruins. It all just turned into a big, all-consuming Voltron that we now know as Boston Sports.

      In the 90s, when all 4 teams were mediocre, no one talked about the Boston sports market.

      • The Sox were mediocre in the 1990s but they also made some playoff appearances, in 1995 and then with Pedro. The rest of them, yeah they stunk. Hell, the Patriots were never even a player at all until Brady showed up, they nearly moved a few times.

        • They were so far from being a player they had 2 super bowl appearances in the 16 years before Brady – Pats fans certainly did wish they had the Lions…

          • I don’t want to get into a massive football discussion, but they were never at a level close to the Sox, Celtics or Bruins before Brady. Even during their two pre-Brady Super Bowl runs they were always the “fourth team”.

    • Baseball has spring training. NHL hockey has all the bullshit games from October to January where the stars never get out of second gear. Even a lot of core hockey fans don’t start paying attention till after Christmas.

      That said, the hockey strike worked out well for the Jays promotionally. They got much more coverage of Marlins’n'Melky than they would have otherwise, so that’s all good. Now they have to contend for the AL East pennant over the summer and make the playoffs. The potential for major fanbase growth is there — hell, it was there last year. If the team had been a contender last summer, they would have had a breakout year audience-wise. It’s there regardless of hockey.

    • Agreed. And we all know the Jays are the only team that can truly knock the Leafs off the front page in this city. People will get excited about the Leafs now, which is understandable and acceptable, and even if both the Leafs and Raptors make the playoffs (don’t laugh at the Raptors, they play in the terrible East) the buzz leading up to April 2 is going to be very hard to miss.

  4. Olney needs to eat a fucking maple dick…

  5. The preamble had a good run.

  6. Coffee flew out my nose at the muumuu line. We need a photoshop of Gibby’s head on Homer Simpsons’ muumuu look.

  7. Oooh so we all get to see AA’s shiney new dickey.

  8. We have some serious inning-eaters in Beuhrle and Dickey. Morrow, Johnson and Romero are less sure things as far as innings go, but I’m optimistic. It can’t possibly be worse than last year.

    Which means Janssen, Santos and Delabar will hopefully be the ones the majority of relief innings – and I’m fine with that. Add Cecil for an at-bat here and there and Happ for long relief. I don’t know – seems ok to me.

    I really don’t get why relievers are valued so highly. A run given up in the 9th is worth no more than a run in the 1st. It just isn’t. The only real “leverage” situation is when a reliever inherits a bunch of runners that are already on (and then we still stick the ERA over to the original pitcher, leaving ERA pretty useless for relief pitchers). So I see a need for one or two lights-out guys for those actual leverage situations. But beyond that who cares.

    Plenty of times position players get called upon to do an inning of relief. Plenty of times they don’t give up any runs. That has to tell you something.

    So all Oliver moral debating aside – I just don’t think he’s worth more than 3M as a 43 year old relief pitcher. Especially now that we know (rightly or wrongly) how much he’d rather be home, would he really fight his way back from injury to be back in September? Or would he just hang it up?

  9. correction: “Which means Janssen, Santos and Delabar will hopefully be the ones the majority of relief innings GO TO”

  10. with dickey, buerhle, added in to the rotation, we should get a lot more innings from our rotation, especially if johnson/morrow stay healthy and romero doesn’t suck.

    our bullpen will be a lot more refreshed and better just because of that. we wont need to use 4 relievers a game anymore

    • So a refreshed Brett Cecil hanging curveball might fly 450 ft instead of the typical 475 ft?

      I’m pumped.

      • “As for Cecil, the now-reliever will come to Dunedin out of options, and is expected to make the team out of the bullpen. Not just because he would likely not make it through waivers if they tried to send him down, but also because he’s been able to dominate left-handed hitters at the big-league level even as he’s struggled overall. In 2012, Cecil held lefties to a .214/.281/.321 mark — an OPS against of .602 that was 42 points better than Darren Oliver’s. For his career, left-handed batters are hitting .232/.288/.369 against Cecil. And remember, he was drafted out of Maryland as a closer.”

        - Your favourite Mike Wilner

      • no way man – he’s on delabar’s throwing program. That and his incredible conditioning should keep the ball to a tidy 527ft.

        • Ernie I saw that too…Given that he lost all that weight last year (as he said he would)…it should be interesting. I mean his fastball’s been getting slower and slower every year.

      • Well, typically it’s the 87 mph belt high fastball that’s the big weapon in Cecil’s arsenal, but yeah…

      • if you care to look at the stats

        brett cecil was better vs lhb than darren oliver last year

        as long as he doesn’t face righties, and why would he need to with janssen,santos, and delanbar, why would he need to?

        • Cecil’s Career vs LHB (albeit with more velocity in years past) is:

          BA.232 OPS.657 BAbip.267 and K/BB 3.12
          Years of Control: 4

          Black Magic Career vs LHB:

          BA.270 OPS.765 BAbip.315 K/BB 2.20
          Years of Control: Probably None
          Age: Fucking Old

          Makes you think doesnt it…

          • Holy fuck folks is there an echo in the building.

            @Hassey I dont blame you for knockin Cecil, but he definitley can pitch against lefties. Oliver aint comin back. Cue the farewell wave.

            Barring injury I feel the bullpen will be more than capable.

        • I prefer longer sample sizes of success, and less risk i.e. more depth and more options for Gibbons in a year when we are trying to win the entire fucking thing.

          Fuck relying on Cecil in crucial situations, and fuck Mike Wilner, period.

          • @RHGF

            So basically you just have a gut feeling one way about Oliver and another way about Cecil. Based on nothing more than what you see on tv.

            Because you are dismissing rather straightforward stats here.

      • The homeruns may still fly but, with better starting pitching, he won’t have guys on base when they happen and he won’t be pitching as often.

        • Well if you’ve ever followed a championship calibre team closely, or if you’ve ever been a champion yourself, you’ll know that you can never have enough good players/skill.You have to be greedy on all fronts. To rely on Cecil, even with the decent lefty averages against, is to rely on risk. Fuck, those same lefties hit .295 against him just two years ago. What if that stat line rears its ugly head again? All I ask is you watch him pitch – he doesn’t have good stuff at all. To say oh well the rotation is better thererfore the pen doesn’t have to be as good or they’ll be well rested or I’m ok with Cecil if everything else is great is opening up that door of risk way too far, and its making far too many assumptions. It’s being overly optimistic. It’s homerism. You simply can’t take enough precautions at all 40 roster positions, because you will get hit with bad luck at some point, and then the guys you didn’t care much about will need to suddenly step up into a much bigger role.

          Hold your head up high and never settle for anything but the fucking best, otherwise you will never be the best.

          • Relief pitching is by nature high risk and unpredictable because year to year it’s based on a small sample size in comparison to starters…guys numbers can get fucked for a year based on a bad outing or 2…there are very few Kimbrels, Riverias and Papelbons in the world…based on the biggest sample size possible (outside of the Black Magic minor league scrolls) cecil as the LOOGY isnt the end of the world…and if he is shit try Loup or trade for another guy mid season…even a stud LHRP is worth MAYBE 1 WAR…get over it….

          • lol @ black magic scrolls

            I take the stats based on their context, and I’ve seen enough of a sample size of Cecil with my own eyes over the past few seasons that I would not want him in my pen if I was going for it all. I’m not saying they should have a pen full of Kimbrel and Rivera types, thats ridiculous. But thats no reason to simply shrug your shoulders and say, oh well, Im ok with whatever we have, its all a crapshoot anyways. A bullpen, regardless of your rotations presumed abilities, is vital to a team’s success. Examples are abundant, and shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. There’s a swagger about good pitchers that you don’t see in average and crappy ones. Look at Pedro Strop last season. The guy is a beast. You can tell by just watching him pitch. Hitters look lost against him. His stuff is downright filthy. Thats the kind of guy I want in my pen. Now sure, maybe Cecil finds his niche in the pen and pitches brilliantly, who knows? Maybe Loup has an all star showing? Nobody knows for sure. But there’s risk attached to everything, and as it stands right now, I believe Cecil comes with far too much risk, and Loup has as short track record, so risk is big there too. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here.

          • Strop has roughly 100 career innings…this is my point…


            Career 3.48 era, 1.434 whip, 1.6 K/BB

            You can’t scout a guy on one good season…

          • Sure you can. Just watch him pitch.

            Now, he’s just one example. He has had control issues that have haunted him in the past, but his raw stuff is fantastic. If he can harness his control (which he did in the first half of 2012). he’ll even make a great closer. That’s the last thing I’d ever say about Cecil. If he can harness his control. he might get by as an average middle reliever. Big difference.

          • you sound like a former A’s scout, pre billy beane

            watch him play!!1

            championship team!!!11

            because the tigers bullpen was so fantastic last year.

            its not like we lost jansen or santos

            oliver had his best year at 42, to think he comes back and hes the same is moronic (hint, you’re moronic)

  11. That Perkins article is mighty stupid. Palmeiro gets his vote but Sosa doesn’t. Sosa wouldn’t have got to eighth all time on the HR board without “bottled help”, but Palmeiro would still have gotten to 3,000 hits and 500 homers. The fuck?

    I find the moral pretzel twisting to be so annoying. If you’re against taint, no Bonds, no Clemens, no Palmeiro, no Sosa. But if you don’t care about all that, can you really reject the guys who are 8th and 10th on the all time HR leader list? It pisses me off when these self-righteous aholes vote Palmeiro but then cite Sosa having only 2400 hits and McGuire 1600 to keep them out.

    Stoeten, do you think Sosa and McGuire would be “Hall of Famers” if the voters didn’t care about taint? I’m not saying “should be” but asking whether they’d get the votes.

    I prefer all or none.

    • Personally, if you were caught once baseball instituted testing it’s going to be a lot harder to get my hypothetical vote. And that pains me, because I always loved Manny as a hitter. I kind of agree with Perk on the Sosa thing.

      Fuck, I’m just glad I don’t have a ballot.

    • I’ve heard a lot of voters are really into taint.

      • Yes, that’s why Clemens and Bonds won’t get in this year. But what I mean is if suspected or proven drug use was not an issue, would the voters vote for Sosa and McGuire or would their lack of hits still be held against them?

        I suspect McGuire’s lack of hits is held up by some voters as the reason they’re not voting for him whereas the real reason is ethical – but they’re not ethical enough to admit this.

    • No to McGwire getting in regardless of roids or not (closer to Dave Kingman than Babe Ruth).
      Sosa not likely due to his sudden appearing and disappearing acts before/after the roids.
      On the fence about Palmeiro.
      Bonds/Clemens getting in due to stellar pre-roids careers (i.e. had the sport been ‘clean’ all the way through, they both likely would have acheived HoF credentials).

    • … Sosa had the double-negative – everyone seems to forget the shattered bat = little rubber balls flying everywhere… cheat x 2

  12. I am just glad no mention of the Oliver debacle in the morning links.

    And hoping that none of JPA, Gose, Rasmus or Hutch get injured in their curling training while in S’toon.

    • Just be glad Lawrie’s not going, he’d probably run up and down the ice full tilt, sweep until the broom snapped, then try throwing a rock overhand shotput-style

  13. This is off topic, but there have been several posts on here lately wondering about various Blue Jays and their option status. That information can be found here:

    • Good to know, thanks!

    • Dude that is so great! I’ve been looking all over for something like that..just like the guy said in the article!

    • Nice find. Didn’t realize that Happ had one option remaining, although he does have to consent to the assignment. Certainly adds more flexibility for the opening day roster should the Jays decide to try Jeffress out of the bullpen. I doubt he would clear waivers (ditto for Esmil Rogers).

      Delabar and Lincoln having options is also cool. l think both will go north with the big club when spring training breaks, but if one or both shit the bed in spring training, having the option to get their act together in Buffalo is awesome.

      Cecil needs to make the big club out of spring training as one of the LOGGY’s. While the queue wouldn’t be long to claim him, one suspects that an opposing GM would scoop him if the opportunity arose.

      One guy we don’t hear much about is Ryan Goins. Read on Twitter that he could be a dark horse candidate to win a job as a bench guy. Not out of spring training, but he could become a shinier version of Mike McCoy.

  14. Is anyone else fine with Loup in the LOOGY/Oliver role?

  15. If someone better isn’t signed

  16. Ranking bullpens is entirely arbitrary, since a bullpen is only as good as the person who is controlling it, plus a bullpen could benefit from having a starting rotation that consistently goes deep into games.

  17. So while we’re all laughing about the Canseco for mayor thing, he just tweeted out this hilarious website with his “platform”:

  18. Personally my biggest issue with the PED argument is that people seem to think it only started with Bonds, Clemens, etc – guys in that era. They were found out for using Steroids, but I believe that the idea of drugs in sports goes way way back.

    The real argument should be what is considered “performance enhancing”. There have been constant and numerous documentations of players using drugs in baseball. Not many of us would think that cocaine or acid would be performance enhancing, but to the trained athlete, giving them delusions of superhuman ability could potentially enhance their performance. In fact these are all now on the “banned substance list”. Hell, even marijuana is, and I fail to see the performance enhancing ability of it (though in my mind, it does make me pretty good at video games ..)

    I certainly dont have any proof of this, but Id wager money that a lot of guys already in the hall were drug users. Should they be cast out? Is it right to think that steroids are bad but cocaine is okay?

    I dont have any answers, obviously. In fact I have a hard time really forming an opinion myself about PED users and the hall of fame. I dont really envy those guys who do have to make those decisions.
    Just thought I’d throw a contrary point out there. I personally think its a bit niaive to think that PED use only began in the 90s.

    • what bothers me is the notion that steroids, testosterone etc are magical baseball superstar pills/needles.

      if you give johnnny mac all the steroids in the world, he wouldn’t have amounted to anything more than he was.

      steroids help, thats for sure. but even arod was good before/after the juice. his power spiked a bit, but it doesn’t go from 10 HR to 40.

      a lot of talent needs to be present, its performance ENHANCING, not CREATING.

      what should be done is a general consensus on what steroids reasonable could have improved. if its a 10-15% drop in OPS then look at that players numbers after and see if he still should get in.

      barry bonds is a hall of famer no matter what.

  19. Is Viagra on the banned list? It’s supposed to enhance your performance.

  20. Now that the hockey strike is over it will be so nice to hear frustrated Leaf fans chanting “Let Go Blue Jays!”

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