The Daily Duce– all the latest must-read Jays links, fully Rob Ducey-fied…

Is JP Ricciardi still running this club? Because it wasn’t a local guy– nor was it a guy in the team’s employ– who broke the news on Twitter late Sunday afternoon that Josh Thole has been optioned to Buffalo, meaning Henry Blanco has won the Jays’ backup catcher job. It was Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Unless, that is, you want to give out credit for correct guesses, in which case the story was broken by… y’know… everyone all along.

Back before the weekend Ken Rosenthal tweeted that, despite the struggles of their supposed fifth starter, the Jays wouldn’t be rethinking their stance on not making a move to sign Kyle Lohse, as they like J.A. Happ and are also– and probably more importantly– at their payroll limit. For now, at least– Paul Beeston (unless it was Anthopoulos) said on Prime Time Sports last night that he was confident that Rogers would be willing to kick in more money, if needed, for a trade deadline move, if the circumstances were right. At least, I’m pretty sure he said that. He’s said it before, so… yeah, let’s just go ahead and assume that he did.

Speaking of AA’s PTS segment, MLB Trade Rumors checked it out and noted a couple of interesting statements, including the fact that the GM says that he’s currently active, trying to make some trades, and in particular is looking to add a Happ-like guy: someone who is of fringe-average MLB quality but can be stashed in the minors.

MLBTR also passed along news over the weekend that the Jays picked up right-hander Todd Redmond on waivers from the Orioles, moving Drew Hutchison to the 60-day DL in order to make room for him on the 40-man roster.

At Sportsnet, Mike Wilner cites numerous examples of great teams with awful fifth starters, which… is supposed to be comforting? Because, with the margin for error in the AL East (and fighting Wild Card opponents with considerably weaker schedules), it isn’t, but the bigger point rings true: running a poor pitcher out there every fifth day isn’t only not disastrous, it’s normal.

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Shi Davidi looks at the question marks and the decisions on the horizon for the Jays as camp mercifully enters its final week. Meanwhile Wilner writes about speaking to Anthopoulos prior to the game, an “interview that can be found in the Audio On Demand section of sportsnet590.ca, and among the things the Blue Jays’ general manager mentioned was the fact that the club’s starting rotation is set and that Ricky Romero is a part of it. There is currently no consideration being given to starting Romero on the disabled list, and that won’t change unless he gets hurt in his Tuesday afternoon start.” He also says that the GM ”floated the possibility of beginning the season with eight men in the bullpen should Brett Lawrie have to start the season on the disabled list.”

Tom Maloney of the Globe and Mail also takes a look at the club’s upcoming roster crunch, as does Mike Rutsey of the Sun, in the middle section of piece that also discusses Mark Buehrle’s struggles against Pirates minor leaguers and (mostly) the wind on Sunday. Regarding the roster, he says that it largely comes down to the status of Brett Lawrie, and “the thinking is it would be prudent for the Jays to take the slow route — and on this Lawrie is in full agreement — and miss some time at the start of the season rather than have the ribs become a nagging issue throughout the season.”

At North of the Border, Gregor Chisholm transcribes the chat Alex Anthopoulos had with reporters late last week, in which he mostly addressed the performances of J.A. Happ and Ricky Romero, as well as the second base competition, which may have turned into a simple time share featuring Izturis and Bonifacio.

Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun has some transcriptions as well, published back on Thursday, in which Anthopoulos talks about Janssen, Santos, and some of the stuff also addressed in the link above.

Elsewhere in the Sun, Bob Elliott writes about a still outwardly confident Ricky Romero’s searching for his old “bulldog” style.

Chris Toman of gamereax writes about Brett Cecil’s attempt at reintroducing a changeup– which he ditched when he transitioned into the bullpen– to his repertoire.

Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star looks at some of the key, or at least interesting, home series the Jays will be hosting in 2013.

In a notebook post at BlueJays.com, Adam Berry writes that Brett Lawrie’s Opening Day status remains in doubt, as John Gibbons says that he’ll need to get into game action early this week to be ready in time– and the same goes for Casey Janssen, though Gibbons thought all was good on that front, and it was Janssen himself who was not so certain. Mike Rutsey of the Sun also writes at length on Janssen’s status, as does John Lott of the National Post.

Following Sunday’s tough outings for Dave Bush and Jeremy Jeffress, Evan Drellich of BlueJays.com looks at the combatants for the Jays’ final bullpen spot (assuming Janssen doesn’t start the year on the DL), which would now seem to be those two plus Brett Cecil and Dustin McGowan– who John Gibbons says has an outside shot. Drellich adds a notebook post in which John Gibbons says that Opening Day is not in doubt yet for either Brett Lawrie or Edwin Encarnacion– who jammed a finger in WBC final; an injury that’s been termed as minor. Gibbons also says that he believes Ricky Romero will “get it back.”

Elsewhere at the National Post: Lott gives his take on the Romero-Happ situation. He speaks to J.P. Arencibia about it, and the catcher says he still has faith that Romero will be the guy. He wrote back on Friday that John Gibbons was leaning towards Henry Blanco and Brett Cecil for the last spots on the roster, and that Jose Reyes wants the WBC’s Dominican magic to carry over onto the Jays.

More from the Toronto Sun: Mike Rutsey profiles Jose Bautista last week, as the World Baseball Classic ended and Jays camp got set to return to normal. Rutsey also looks extensively at Henry Blanco, who has won the Jays’ backup catcher battle. Bob Elliott informs us that Braves 1B Freddie Freeman, who has two Canadian parents, was ready to strap on the ol’ maple leaf if Joey Votto was unable to play in the WBC. Elliott also speaks with Casey Janssen, who gives a lengthy sizing-up of the Jays’ chances this season.

Elsewhere from the Globe and Mail: Tom Maloney profiles Josh Johnson– a question mark in November, but one of the best looking starters on the Jays based on his spring performance. Meanwhile, Jeff Blair figures baseball must be in pretty good shape if Bud Selig is willing to go hard after Ryan Braun for PEDs.

Speaking of Johnson, he was one of the Tao of Stieb’s recent 30-odd things in somethingorther guy. The Tao also calls bullshit on position battles, which… we’ll see about that.

Mop Up Duty takes a quick and dirty look into some ESPN Stats & Info goodness on Ricky Romero (awful against leadoff hitters), Colby Rasmus (brutal when swinging at low stuff outside the zone) and Edwin Encarnacion (impressively increasing his pitch selectivity).

The Blue Jay Hunter reviews Steve Clarke’s 100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.

Minor League Ball does an impossibly early mock draft, and has the Jays following form, taking toolsbag (and yet, somehow, not a basketball player) high school OF/LHP Trey Ball of Indiana.

Elsewhere at Minor League Ball, John Sickels does a prospect retrospective post on the just-traded Vernon Wells, while over at FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan looks at the fact that the Yankees have acquired the former Blue Jay on purpose– like, for realious.

Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider Olney) writes about the ten hottest potential flashpoints for the upcoming MLB season, including right here in Toronto, where it’s certainly not business as usual, as the Happ-Romero situation somewhat suggests.

Sean Gordon looks at Warren Cromartie’s optimistic quest to get Montreal back on MLB’s map, citing reasons for the city’s viability that include “a new revenue-sharing scheme to help the financial weaklings, a strong Canadian dollar, new revenue opportunities online, rising broadcast revenues in the United States, a vibrant local corporate sector and considerable, if somewhat latent, fan interest.

Speaking of the Expos, that club’s former GM, Jim Beattie, hired Alex Anthopoulos years ago, and now is a scout working under him for the Jays. He tells the Canadian Baseball Network that “our situation at second place is a little unsettled. We have two guys there but they’re not an everyday guys.’”

Lastly, Parkes got deep into Romer-woe (or is it RomerLOL?) in last week’s Ten Stray Thoughts On A Friday at Getting Blanked.

Comments (22)

  1. Official now, Lawrie to open season on DL, 8 man pen https://twitter.com/ShiDavidi/status/316178125602033664

    • does mean they wont have to try and trade away anyone to start the year, and just see what happens i guess.

      So who starts at 3rd? DeRosa? Or IzTuris?
      Also – seems that 8 days away, wonder why they make this call already?

      • Jays twitter says combo of Izturis and De Rosa. Since he can be backdated to March 22, he would be eligible to play Friday against Boston, right?

        • not sure on the backdating and how that works, but Im sure if he starts on DL, then yes, he would be backdated, anyone have ideas on that?

      • Gibby said earlier that it would be De Rosa releiving Lawrie.
        Depth wise –Lawrie,De Rosa.Izturis then I guess in a pinch Bautista or call up McCoy.
        Although Wilner said that Bautista hasn’t fielded a ball at third all spring, even in practice.

  2. Where is the audio on demand now on the new 590 website? I only see “latest audio clips” which show a few clips.

    • It’s frickin confusing.

    • Ugh, I hate the new Sportsnet site because of that. I can’t find ANY page that has any sort of audio on demand thing like they did before. Like you, I can only find the latest audio clips (only 3 of em at a time, I think) and hour-long podcast segments for certain shows like Primetime. It’s annoying as hell trying to find any sort of audio clips I’d like to listen to.

      • I’ve never seen an established, working site get so fucked up.

      • I even went so far as to call them on the phone. I asked, “where’s the audio on demand section for the new website?”. They said, “It’s there”. I asked “where? The woman on the phone said, “right in front of you.” I said ” where right in front of me?” She looked for about 7 or 8 minutes and finally said ” I dunno, but it’s there” At that point I gave up on the fan 590.”

        • The even stupider thing (if that’s possible) is that they are advertising this thing as if it is a new car or a new smartphone.

  3. Even if the Angels send a significant amount of cash over to the Yankees in the V dub trade, does his full salary count in the Yankees payroll over the next 2 years or is his salary split between the books of both teams. It’s going to be hard to resign Cano and stay under 189 million if they’re paying Vernon another 21 million.

    • I was also wondering this – it’s not like Well’s contract stayed on the books in Toronto after he was flipped the first time

    • you have 32mil going to Yuk, Rivera, Pettitte…..so that makes next year closer to 190 if thats all that changes.

      Then think you are already paying Cano 15 this year.

      they are also paying 8.5mil for AJ Burnett this year.

      So if they sign Cano to 20mil a year, and everything else stays the same, they shed 40mil from the 4 above players…..189 is not hard to get to for them. they will be under.

      dont know the full details on the Vernlols trade, but looks like yankees pay him 12mil this year, 1 mil next, and the rest is picked up by the Angels.

      • what I think is more funny about the Yanks right now – this number….$67,125,000 sitting on IR – if Jeter ends up on DL – that pushes that number to 84,125,000 which is about league average for payroll – think its about 100mil this year thanks to the 2 LA teams and the Yanks.

  4. Trey Ball.

    That’s just awesome.

  5. Let’s just be thankful the Jays don’t have to face Pirates minor-leaguers during the regular season.

  6. I hate any “logic” that attempts to make it okay to have a shitty player playing.

    If you have the best pitcher in baseball and the worst pitcher in baseball, you’re going to get ~.500 results. If we (for the sake of argument) keep Romero and he is worse than last year, then we have essentially wasted the gain from Dickey.

    Romero’s wins, Dickey’s wins, April wins, September wins… all are worth 1. It’s addition by 1. How can you possibly make addition by 1 confusing?

    (PS. Not saying Romero shouldn’t get a chance to break with the club. Just talking in general.)

  7. Bring back Afternoon Snack. The Duce sucks balls.

  8. “a still outwardly confident Ricky Romero’s searching for his old “bulldog” style”

    Has anyone searched Miss USA 2010′s Fakih’n handbag?

    I find that’s usually where my friend’s wives’ keep their cajones, so maybe the same applies to bulldog styles and Ricky forgot to ask for it back when he parted ways with the insanely reemable Rima.

    Whatever the case I had enough last year watching a visibly lost Romero looking for his mojo, and would strongly request he begin this year’s continuation of the search in Buffalo so that he can stop spoiling our buzz over the new team.

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