The Afternoon Snack is now The Daily Duce– all the latest must-read Jays links, fully Rob Ducey-fied…
In the Globe and Mail, Jeff Blair writes about the nervy three weeks upcoming for the Jays, as “all that money and possibilities are in someone else’s hands at a time when nothing good can happen in spring training – only injuries – until opening day.” He also talks about R.A. Dickey’s catcher– who most believe will be Henry Blanco, the veteran who “has become a subliminal presence in the clubhouse, moving easily between the various cultures”– and the fact that the reigning NL Cy Young winner wants J.P. Arencibia to catch for him in the World Baseball Classic, when he starts game one for the USA on Friday.
Blair also has a terrific piece about Brett Lawrie, and the steps being taken by the organization, often in the form of having Mark DeRosa attached to him at the hip, to rein in some of his destructive exuberance. “He does everything you can do on the field,” says DeRosa, who compares Lawrie’s personality to a less laid back Bryce Harper. “I guess what I’d like to do is expedite things.”
Matty Leach-bomb of MLB.com writes about Colby Rasmus, who tells him he’s happy being just another player on a team full of big names, rather than someone more fully in the spotlight. Leach also talks about the club’s rotation health, which will be crucial to a successful 2013.
Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLBTR reviews the Jays’ off-season, in which… holy shit, they made a lot of moves!
Maury Brown predicts at Baseball Prospectus (paywall’d) whether attendance will be up or down for each club in the American League, and is unsurprisingly bullish on the Jays, explaining that “it’s very possible that the Blue Jays could see attendance break the three-million mark if they start the 2013 season off on a high note. You can mark this down right now: Toronto will see the largest attendance increase in the league this year.”
At Sportsnet, Mike Wilner recaps yesterday’s loss to the Phillies, but notes some good news: Ricky Romero and Sergio Santos felt great physically and thought their stuff was working well. He also passes along the news about Dustin McGowan’s sudden health– though he thinks the always-injured pitcher will probably start the season on the DL regardless– and the fact that Brad Lincoln is moving back into a relief role, partly because of how decent some of the Jays’ depth pitchers have fared so far (i.e. J.A. Happ, Claudio Vargas, Justin Germano, Dave Bush and Ramon Ortiz).
Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Shi Davidi has a lengthy feature on the remaining, and perhaps the most exciting, member of the Lansing Three, Aaron Sanchez. “Each year since we’ve gotten him, it seems like he adds a grade to his fastball and he does it so easy that I’m not sure what his limits are. Often times when a guy’s velocity and power increases, it’s like having a new toy and sometimes the control and the command lag, usually it might take a year for the guy to get comfortable with that newfound power and velocity,” explains Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava. “It’s still not where he wants it or we want it. As he matures, that’s going to be a big part of his development.”
And one more from Sportsnet, as Arden Zwelling talks to Dustin McGowan about his slow road to recovery-ish.
Great stuff, as usual, from John Lott of the National Post, who looks at the success Aaron Loup has had after lowering his arm slot, and the somewhat forgotten Tommy John trio of Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek and Luis Perez, who are all nearly ready to take their first steps back out onto a mound again.
Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun asks a huge number of Jays players who they think the best newcomer the team has added this winter is. His colleague, Steve Simmons, writes about the relationship between a couple of cats wound just a little bit differently: John Gibbons and Brett Lawrie.
Elsewhere in the Sun, Ken Fidlin writes about the Jays’ intention to keep up the defensive shifts they used to good effect last season, and about Mark Buehrle, velocity, and Mark Buehrle’s lack of concern about velocity.
In the Toronto Star, Richard Griffin gives a lengthy preview of the WBC tournament.
Parkes talks Jays and their Spring Training ratings in his Monday Morning Media Culpa at Fanatico.
Non Jays-related but interesting, part one: Nolan Ryan could be on the way out in Texas, according to Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Non Jays-related but interesting, part two: Mother Jones takes an extensive look at what they term MLB’s “Dominican sweatshop system.”
Not sure where the lefty stuff is coming from– well, OK, mostly via Baseball Think Factory– not that I’m complaining, but here’s an interesting one on the mostly-retired O-Dog, Orlando Hudson, from Daily Kos.
The Blue Jay Hunter looks at some of the heroes of Spring Trainings past for the Jays.
At the Tao of Stieb, the Org Guy previews the Jays season by answering some questions from Replacement Level Blog. And elsewhere, the Tao himself looks at the big year upcoming for Colby Rasmus, as part of his 30-odd Jays in 30-odd days series.
Extra Base Hit has the composite fantasy rankings for shortstops, and Jose Reyes finds himself behind only Troy Tulowitzki, tied with ex-teammate Hanley Ramirez. When it comes to third basemen, Brett Lawrie comes off the board tenth, per the composite.
At Bluebird Banter, Minor Leaguer updates the Jays’ uniform number assignments. He also has a bunch of anagrams with the names of Jays players (no out-of-control singer bashing his way through the crowd, though, unfortunately).
Mike Ferrin of Baseball Prospectus looks at all the teams who’ve added in one off-season something in the neighbourhood of the same WARP as the Jays have this year. Turns out such teams are pretty good!
Delicious blasphemy: Paul Swydan of FanGraphs wonders if 2013 will be Justin Morneau’s last stand.
At Franchise Mode, Scott Johnson– who did the awesome new Daily Duce artwork you see at the top of this post– uses Jays players as his models in a side-by-side comparison of what the graphics look like in MLB 2K13 and MLB ’13: The Show.
Lastly, great stuff from Getting Blanked today, as Zubes recaps the weekend’s overseas action in the WBC, Drew stands up for the ever-growing number of cable cutters among us and points out MLBAM’s dropping of the ball when it comes to streamed WBC content (of the legal variety), and Travis Reitsma’s excellent team preview series continues, looking today at rivals-ish club, the Baltimore Orioles. Drew also passes along worth that Joey Votto will indeed play for Canada during the WBC!