Doug Harrison of CBC Sports talks of the relationship between Alex Anthopoulos and ex-Leafs GM Brian Burke, whose expertise Anthopoulos occasionally sought– including 18 months ago, when, “Concerned with some off-field matters with one of his talented players, Anthopoulos picked Burke’s brain. Satisfied with his friend’s advice, Anthopoulos soon made what he still calls a ‘pretty good transaction.’ ” Hmmm. The only transaction I can think of that really fits the timeline is the one in which the Jays traded Aaron Hill and John McDonald, though the 2011 trade deadline deal that brought Colby Rasmus could potentially fit as well. Again: Hmmm.
Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts writes at ESPN.com (Insider Only) about the Jays’ championship window, explaining that he believes their optimal year for contention is 2013, which is pretty hard to argue with, given that Josh Johnson will be a free agent after the season, and key pieces like Mark Buehrle and Jose Bautista aren’t exactly getting any younger. I’m sure the Jays will find a creative way to reload for 2014, and more importantly, right now, who really cares?
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders if the Jays– or the Yankees– might be a landing spot for Michael Bourn and the one-year, pillow contract he’s surely at this point about ready to settle for. In the Jays’ case it would mean trading Colby Rasmus (theoretically at low point in value– though maybe he’ll prove this year he can go even lower), as well as giving up a draft pick. So… yeah. Not really seeing that happening.
Sportsnet has the entirety of Stephen Brunt’s John Gibbons feature up online, in three parts. Definitely worth a watch.
Amy Moritz of the Buffalo News covered Friday’s event at Coca-Cola field, and liked what she heard from Alex Anthopoulos, who explained that “ long term, seeing our payroll rise, having established big league players for multi years, that’s going to be great long term for this franchise. In the past when we were so reliant upon our young players, they may only spend a month or two [at Triple A]. Now they have the chance to spend the entire year here and really develop.”
John Lott of the National Post was there too, and gives us a great summary of the event, a picture of the dual-flag logo Bisons players and coaches will have their jackets emblazoned with in 2013, and quotes Alex Anthopoulos as saying that “We’ve almost devoted a small part of our front office to making sure that [Buffalo] is going to be a good club.”
While in Buffalo, Lott also looked at the club’s catching situation, after news broke of Josh Thole’s two-year deal– which still doesn’t guarantee that he’ll be backing up JP Arencibia in the Majors. In fact, Alex Anthopoulos makes pretty clear that he’d much rather Henry Blanco play well enough to earn the backup role, which would give the club a lot of depth at the position.
Bill Potrecz of the St. Catharines Standard was also there, and he spoke to Bisons GM Mike Buczkowski, who is excited about the opportunity to draw attendance from our side of the border. “We have so many Canadians coming to the malls and our theatre district so we want to make the Bisons another one of those options when they come,” Buczkowski said. “We want them to come to see a Bisons game and the future Blue Jays part of their agenda.” Season tickets, he tells Potrecz, go for just $500.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports writes about the six 2012 AL also-rans, and how they’ve improved themselves this off-season, ranking the Jays (obviously) first. “I’m concerned about the heightened expectations placed on star personalities unfamiliar with one another,” he writes, oddly, seeing as that stuff doesn’t really matter at all, “but Jose Bautista has the stature to resolve any chemistry issues by becoming the undisputed leader of this team.”
Not a lot of Jays prospect content in episode 296 of the FanGraphs podcast, however at one point guest Mike Newman does single the club out as one making extensive use of video, saying that there’s a Jays video scout at virtually every minor league park he visits, compiling countless hours of video on various players.
Bluebird Banter goes back and looks at John Gibbons’ bullpen management during his first stint here, and finds nothing particularly alarming.
Ben Nicholson-Smith uses some quotes from Alex Anthopoulos in a piece at MLBTR detailing the arbitration process.
Joshua Menzies of Jays Journal makes the point that the Jays’ failed rotation plan in 2012 was probably a blessing in disguise, given what they’ve wound up with heading into 2013. I still wouldn’t mind having a healthy Drew Hutchison, but I see the point. And, y’know, it won’t hurt too much to send Hutchison to Buffalo, seeing as he’s never actually pitched at Triple-A, and only has 31.2 innings at Double-A.
MLB.com’s Cut 4 thing shows Ricky Romero getting closer to the Stanley Cup than the Leafs ever will. HEYO!
Scott Carson looks at both Jose Reyes and Tony Fernandez in his latest for Sportsnet.
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York has the text of R.A. Dickey’s speech at the BBWAA dinner over the weekend, in which he accepted his NL Cy Young award.
High Heat Stats uses WAR among non-closers to show just how crazy valuable Darren Oliver has been in the second half (or, more appropriately, last quarter) of his career.
For whatever it’s worth, Tigers blog Motor City Bengals has been ranking farm systems throughout the league, and has decided the Jays come 21st.
Lastly, Jesse Wolfersberger of FanGraphs looks at some of the absolutely head-spinning numbers produced by the late Stan Musial, who passed away over the weekend. Meanwhile, at Getting Blanked, Darren posts a delightful example why the late Earl Weaver, who also passed over the weekend, was awesome– apart from the whole having Sabermetric instincts before it was cool.