Leading off, as always (or usual), it’s today’s edition of the Getting Blanked Podcast– which for the duration of the season will be coming at you daily! We’re not double posting this year, but I’ll be sure to include the link in the first Daily Duce or Game Threat that follows the post going up over at Getting Blanked. Otherwise, you can find the podcast at Getting Blanked on iTunes, get it via the RSS feed we have setup, or like Getting Blanked on Facebook in order to get each day’s podcast straight into your news feed (and while you’re at it, go ahead and like DJF on Facebook, too).
The Key Read…
Bill Madden of the New York Daily News has some money quotes from Jays players, the manager and the GM, as he jumps onto the ever-deepening pile of people trying to figure out what’s wrong with the Jays. “Do you want me to go out and hit for them?” he quotes John Gibbons as telling reporters at one point, “with a trace of irritation. ‘I couldn’t hit when I played.’ ”
What’s most interesting to me, though, is how he writes that Mark DeRosa called a players-only meeting this week, “to reiterate a lot of what beleaguered Blue Jay manager John Gibbons said to the media the day before. (‘There comes a time in a every game where you have to make a big pitch or you have to get a big hit and that’s eluded us all year long. It’s frustrating. I’m giving you guys the same stinking comments every stinking night and I’m getting a bit tired of it.’)”
However, he then quotes DeRosa as explaining, “There’s just a bad vibe creeping in here and we need to address it.”
Almost sounds like two different things, doesn’t it?
Anyway, lots of good, hopeful/frustrated quotes in Madden’s piece.
Lots more analysis– some of it decidedly more gloomy than my own– of the mountain that the Jays now have to overcome to even sniff the playoffs in the ultra-competitive American League East.
Dave Cameron, whose work from last week I leaned on in my piece, writes that The Blue Jays Are In Trouble at FanGraphs. “To win 90 games and give themselves a real shot at either of the wild card spots, they’d have to play .596 baseball over the remaining 136 games, which is a 96 win pace over a full season. That’s not impossible. Every year, three to five teams play around .600 baseball from May 1st to the end of the season,” he explains. “Those teams just generally don’t come from the pool of clubs that were lousy in April.”
Cameron also figures that the trade deadline makes things even trickier, as April will constitute 25-30% of their record by the time July 31st rolls around, not the 16% it will at season’s end, and they may not have made up enough ground by then to justify hanging on to Josh Johnson, et. al. Good point– also: ouch.
Jay Jaffe is on the same trip over at Sports Illustrated.
And the Rest…
Sigh of relief, you guys! Marty York is still at it, and he tells us that the Jays decided today to not fire John Gibbons! But if they get swept by the Red Sox, the Gibbers death watch is back on! Robbie Alomar is a possible replacement, he suggests. Oh, and in another tweet he adds that the Jays’ “decision-makers already have fans’ ticket money based on preseason hype but plan 2 change mgr soon 2 keep fans buying tix all summer.” Because that’s totally how that works!
As per a team release earlier today, the Jays have announced that Aaron Laffey has elected free agency, rather than accepting a minor league assignment.
Our very own Drew Fairservice writes a guest post at Big Leauge Stew, in which he gives Yahoo! readers a local’s guide to the Rogers Centre and a baseball-involved Toronto road trip.
Chris Toman of gamereax looks into whether J.A. Happ is actually getting better with age. And you know what? He might be!
In his latest Bullpen post for the Toronto Star, Richard Griffin looks at the return of Ricky Romero (in Dunedin), as well as John Gibbons’ penchant for losing with less-than-ideal lineup configurations, and more.
More on Romero’s saga from Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun, and in a notebook post from Gregor Chisholm at BlueJays.com, in which we’re told that R.A. Dickey is going to get an MRI for the sore neck and back that he’s been pitching through, and that Sergio Santos is progressing, though his timeline for returning remains unknown.
In another piece from BlueJays.com, Gregor– as a proxy for Alex Anthopoulos– take the opposite view of Jaffe and Cameron, pulling quotes from the lengthy media scrum over the weekend in which the GM insisted that nothing is fucked and that reporters were being very un-Dude.
Tom Maloney of the Globe and Mail looks at the shortstop spot, where Alex Anthopoulos– due to the options on hand and the cost of picking up an upgrade– seems resigned to standing pat. Maloney also looks at how clubs are exposing the Jays’ weak middle infield with Jose Reyes out, while his Globe colleague Ingrid Peritz speaks to Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s widow, about the couple’s time in Montreal, which was entirely absent in the just-released biopic 42.
Over at Bluebird Banter they answer some common early-season questions– and pretty much nail the living shit out of it.
MLBTR points us to a pair of Jays-related tweets from national writers this weekend, with Jon Heyman suggesting this week is a big test for John Gibbons, while Keith Law scoffs at the notion of getting rid of a guy who’s “been the manager for 20 minutes.”
The Tao of Stieb asks us to embrace the agony, because winning don’t come easy, while at the Mockingbird, Jon Hale embraces his inner T.S. Eliot, penning an outstanding Jays-themed homage, The Jay Land.
Lastly, Alex Anthopoulos joined Jeff Blair and Dirk Hayhurst on Baseball Central today on Sportsnet and the Fan 590. Here’s the clip: