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.

Comments (69)

  1. Would be interesting to see how Gibby’s salary is determined if they can’t agree on a price.

    And can he quit? Does he have to give a year’s notice or decline the option? Otherwise it sounds a lot like indentured servitude.

    • like most options, actually all options, a price has already been set and entered in to the contract.

      • except this is a perpetual option. I doubt they have agreed on a price for the next 10 years. Possibly a % escalation but that could be tricky.

  2. That’s way we got Gibby. If you monkeyfuck around, pops is gonna OWN you!

  3. What’s Alford’s end game? If he really wants to do football he should just break off from the Jays completely. There’s no way he can do the showing up late to spring training and then not playing for 4 more years and have any chance of baseball career. His commitment to Ole Miss seems like the end to me.

    • There still remain the possibility that he continued to perform horribly at football and leaves early.

    • Why wouldn’t he keep his options open? Theres no reason for him to back out, and if your the Jays, why would you cut a potential asset even if it seems unlikely he’ll ever choose baseball?

    • Why would he just break away from the Jays completely? The Jays signed him knowing that this was what he was going to do. Right now the Jays are getting exactly what they paid for… now should he continue to suck at football and choose to focus on baseball considering what his price was for a pure baseball committment… well, the Jays would be getting a bargain.

    • David Freese, Evan Gattis and many others disagree with you. Of course the chances at carving out a career in MLB would be slim if you’re barely playing baseball for a number of years and decide to return, but its not impossible. He can’t just “break off from the Jays” either. As far as his baseball career is concerned, they hold his rights

  4. Now that’s a segue!

  5. Great line from KLaw on Anthopolous.

    How long will Alford have to play football before he’s considered a complete non-prospect baseball wise?

    • Where’d he say that?

      • I’m guessing those are 2 seperate items. 1st is a statement about the poker like by Klaw.

        2nd is a question for us all to answer about Alford.

        My guess on Alford is that he’ll play another year of football, crap the bed like he did this year and finally commit to baseball. If he plays out his college eligibility there is no way that he ever sees a Blue Jays uniform.

      • I think buffalo Tim made two separate thoughts in one post…Great line by Klaw about AA being all in and a second thought being his question…

      • I think those are two separate thoughts. A statement and then a question for “us”.

      • Guys, it must be two separate thoughty thing-a-ma-jiggies.

        • Yes, two separate thoughts! I’ll try to be more clear next time.

          I think Scotty C is right… probably okay for Alford to try another 2 years of football, but any more than that will pretty much doom his chances of a career in MLB.

          • See, there you go with the two separate thoughts thing again!

            • I thought he was going to stop doing that!?

              Doesn’t everyone think Alford should stick to baseball, since we’re fans of the team that drafted him to do that?

  6. Good article by Le Betard.

    • yep, while I usually find him entertaining, this was solid

      • Equivocating and gutless rationalization of cheating. Who cares what pressure the lesser man feels as he struggles to keep up with the strong. Life is hard. Cheating is wrong. If McGuire was so innocent, why’d he hide his bottle of shit after the reporters saw it in his cubby? He knew, that’s why he hid the andro.
        On the topic of Ray Lewis however, I don’t think he cheated. Everyone was assuming he was healed when he came back and therefor, cheating. I don’t think he was healed at all, I think he was playing with one arm. He’s just a murderer, not a cheater so that’s ok.

        • I ignored your post for the longest time but I realized I can’t be the bigger man. It’s not who I am.

          The fucking article clearly showed how a passionate athlete will endure unbelievable amounts of pain to help his team achieve the goal which is a championship. For you to bring up Mark McGwire and his situation where everyone knows he took STEROIDS just shows that you either didn’t read the article or you’re a trying to piss people off.

          The current argument is PEDS vs Roids. What constitutes one vs the other? Why is a natural product that promotes recovery considered either?
          I don’t know, and neither do you.

          Guys who take HGH and anabolic steroids are making a choice to cheat, should guys who spray Deer antler spray on a tricep to help their body heal be lumped i to the same category? I’m saying no.

          Make your own choice.

  7. is stroman a realistic call up or is he going to be seen as a starter in AA once his 50 game suspensions is over?

    • He’s going to be a starter until he fails at being a starter, from what I’d though AA has said.

    • One of the beat reporters tweeted that once his 50 game suspension is served, Stroman will be destined for high A ball in Dunedin and will start. The Jays could promote him to New Hampshire if things go right for him.

      My hope is that the Jays don’t need Stroman until the roster expands in September. Why burn an option for nothing? And of course, he would be called up as a bullpen piece.

  8. Stroman is better off getting more innings now anyway especially since the suspension will limit him so much.

  9. Oakland does it again!

  10. How good is this Alford??

    Obviously must have some skillz if their gambling on the fact he may stick with being a wannabe RG3 with football; but if he were to commit to baseball what would be expected of him and at what level??

  11. How much would Altuve cost btw?

  12. Jays don’t need Altuve. They need health.

    I hope they have figured out the White Sox’ secrets for pitcher health.

  13. What’s the difference between Alford playing a 3-4 month long shortened season of baseball with the Jays and somebody playing a 3-4 month long 60 game season with some NCAA baseball team? Nobody has any issues with drafting a college player who has played those kinds of competitive seasons from ages 18-22. Obviously, it would be preferable to be focused solely on baseball, but it’s far from the travesty that some make it out to be.

    • Football is in full swing by the end of the GCL season, though. Alford left the club on June 22nd last year. So… there’s a difference.

      • If Alford is any good wouldn’t he be capable of handling full season A as early as next year? That should allow him to get a reasonable amount of AB’s while he is in college? Or am I missing something.

        • That’s kind of nuts. Consider the context: he’s 18 (and more raw than that) and has all of 20 PAs in rookie ball. Such players rarely start the next season in a full season league, if ever. Davis had a great debut, 250 PAs, reached short season A-ball, saw more time in instructs, and from the sounds of it he might not even start the year in full season ball

      • Fair point. But if guys like Adam Dunn, Todd Helton, Seth Smith (like Alford at Ole Miss no less) can become productive major leaguers despite being college quarterbacks and the time commitment which that entails, I’m not convinced Alford can be anywhere near written off.

  14. Do yous guys think Alford will play in any GCL games this year?

  15. I think that we can safely write off Alford.

    If he’s going to red shirt 2013, that means he’s aiming for 2014 playing time, which means (to me) that if there’s going to be a realization football isn’t his thing it won’t be until after the 2014 season (2015). By then (I’d think) too much development time would have been wasted to count on him being a baseball player.

    • Probably needs to drop football soon or else his careers fucked

    • He could realize sitting around on his nutsack for an entire year isn’t worth it and decide to go the baseball route some time next year too, could he not? He’s going to be all of 20 years old at the start of the 2015 season too

    • I’m with you Alisauce. I think his biggest problem is between his ears. It’s one thing being a good NCAA QB and possibly making it in the NFL. But he’s not even an average NCAA QB. He’s a bad one with legal problems and a now a new programme. If someone doesnt take him under his wing and advise him correctly, he’ll be on the street soon with no sport or education. IMHO there’s no future at QB for him. He’s a talented athlete who should switch to (as they said in the ESPN article) corner or WR. And that’s where AA should step in and convince him to go baseball. If he only wants to play QB, he may be susceptible to the right offer from AA.

  16. where were the marlins ranked?

  17. This is the first season where the Jays are going in purely on win mode. It should be very interesting to see how patient or impatient our fantasy GM will react to players having a tough time on the field.
    AA might just take his frustration out on the AAA roster instead just to keep his hands off the big league team. If I were the last man on the bullpen bench or 25 man on the roster, I wouldn’t get too comfortable if the team isn’t hot.
    Our GM can’t go a month without making moves. I’m sure he and Billy Beane can trade some minor leaguers to fight off urges to make blockbusters- degenerate adrenaline junkies that they are.

  18. I’ve never played anything closer to football then flag, it boggles me that these guys would chase football over baseball. Baseball players get paid much more on average, don’t get their brains bashed in and their careers last much longer. Colin Kaepernick was drafted by the Cubs and even though it was ridiculously late (43rd round) he was a much bigger prospect in baseball then football. Most thought he’d be lucky to have a CFL career.http://colorado.rockies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130114&content_id=40959838&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb
    It must be some kind of aphrodisiac playing highschool football in america. I guess probably similar to the junior hockey players in Canada.

    Once Bo Jackson turned his back on Tampa he started to carve out a career that some thought would end up with him in the Hall. I hate how that ended for Bo, he was one of my favorite non-Jays ball players.

    I hate that baseball loses athletes to football and hoops. Though it didn’t affect either of the athletes I mentioned I’m sure the new slotted MLB draft salaries is going to deter even more guys from playing baseball.

    • Notice the knee brace on his right leg in that picture? SEC football not a good thing for joint longevity.

    • Both Tim Raines and Ricky Henderson were excellent football players in high school. Raines averaged 10.5 yards/carry and had over 100 scholarship offers. Henderson rushed 1,100 in one season and had scholarships from USC, (would have been tailback between Charles White and Marcus Allen) and Arizona. They both realized they were too small for football and focused on baseball instead.

      Raines needs to have a chat with Alford.
      I remember exactly where I was when I read this article. If there is anyone who thinks Raines shouldn’t be in the HOF, they should read this article.

      http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1065066/index.htm

  19. As lousy as he was last season, why is he bothering with football? He has no chance of playing in the NFL. All football can do for him is ruin his body

  20. You’re trying to tell me that a canadian person can’t imagine someone giving up a potential career for a chance to play a sport that dominates their national culture? Kids leave their families, let alone school, at 16 to play hockey here. They call it “living the dream”

  21. State of the Franchise is today.

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