A hodgepodge for a Monday afternoon…
Over at ESPN.com (Insider Only), Keith Law kicked off his Top 100 week by first ranking the minor league systems throughout MLB. The Jays find themselves way down in 24th, which is a wholly unsurprising spot for a club that dealt Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick, Adeiny Hechavarria and more.
It’s also entirely in line with where John Sickels had the club in his organizational rankings at Minor League Ball last week– though Sickels had Atlanta, Oakland, Washington and Cleveland behind the Jays, whereas KLaw has them all ahead (but the Giants and the Phillies behind).
So… that’s pretty much where they happen to be at the moment, though according to Law this was “a top-10 system before the big offseason trades, probably top five, but Alex Anthopoulos pushed his chips to the center of the table, stood up and said ‘Boo-yah!’ … but in the politest way possible.”
Sickels noted that one of the ways the club can move quickly back up the list is if some of their toolsy guys who haven’t quite showed yet that they can play baseball start doing so. Two guys like that from last June’s draft spring immediately to mind: DJ Davis and Anthony Alford.
Alford is, of course, the more interesting one, though not because of anything on the field– at least, not on the baseball field.
His legal troubles stemming from an incident late last year appear to be going away, as the Hattiesburg American reported last Wednesday that he had entered a “pre-trial diversion program” relating to one of the charges against him, and that the other charge would not be presented to a grand jury.
The Forrest County Circuit Court order allowing him into the diversion program states the charge will be passed to the inactive files subject to reinstatement upon motion of the district attorney.
In lieu of prosecution, Alford will be placed under the supervision of the District Attorney’s Office for three years, where he will complete up to 300 hours of community service.
He must also pay an initial $300 fee, a $75 monthly fee, and a $100 assessment to the Mississippi Crime Victims Compensation Fund, according to the order.
Upon completion of the program, the charge will be dismissed.
Sounds like great news for the Jays, save for one thing: Alford has also committed to transfer to Ole Miss to continue his football career after a disastrous season at in-state rival Southern Miss. According to CBS Sports, Alford is among eight new enrollees “all of whom are expected to compete in spring practice” this year, despite the fact that “at Ole Miss, Alford will have to sit out the 2013 season under standard NCAA transfer rules, but will have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2014.”
Last year’s spring practice ran for a month starting on March 22nd, so if Alford does participate, he’ll be considerably behind– though still able to get in some games in the Gulf Coast League, which runs from mid-June through August, assuming he’ll continue at the level he played a whole five games at in 2012.
Just choose baseball already, Anthony.
And if Alford does choose baseball, and eventually makes the Major Leagues, and John Gibbons is still somehow managing the Toronto Blue Jays, we’ve learned today that the young two-sport star will never be playing under a lame duck manager. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet explains:
The Toronto Blue Jays have built a creative rolling option into the contract of John Gibbons that will prevent him from ever facing a lame-duck year as manager.
Back when he was hired in November, Gibbons revealed that he was given a two-year deal plus an option, but he didn’t explain how the option functions.
The way it works is that as long as the Blue Jays don’t fire him prior to the following Jan. 1, the option becomes guaranteed with another option added to the back end. For example, if Gibbons makes it to 2014, his 2015 option vests with another option added for 2016.
So… that’s kind of nifty. Or, at the very least, it will do a much better job than the attempt that Alex Anthopoulos made this summer– when he tried to explain that a manager’s contract really just sets his salary, and the years don’t matter– at shutting up the local media’s pointless bleating about lame duck managers.
Lastly, and speaking of getting certain types to put a sock in it, I think all the PED crusaders out there ought to take a minute and read the excellent piece from Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald, as he emphasises the large moral grey area that exists on an issue that so many insist is entirely black and white.