More like the Weekly Duce, amiright? And I don’t even have the excuse of the fact that this was the All-Star Break, because the ol’ content monkeys kept on churning out words through the whole thing, leaving me with a hell of a pain-in-the-ass of a backlog I’ve been trying to avoid. So, I didn’t do myself any favours either, is what I’m trying to say, which… I’m sure you completely don’t care. No podcasts to link to here this week, but we’ll be back on Monday. Now on to the links…

MLBTR passes along the latest from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, who lumps the Jays in with a number of clubs supposedly interested in the services of Astros pitcher Bud Norris. It makes more sense than the Matt Garza stuff, as Norris has two years of team control left– and actually, Norris is having a career year so far, despite making the move with the Astros from the NL to the AL (which is positively shocking to me, because I thought all NL pitches completely fell apart the second they got to the AL, y’know, because I’M A FUCKING IDIOT). Still, though, not seeing how in two or three weeks you fit Norris, Rogers, Dickey, Buehrle, Johnson, Morrow and Happ into a five-man rotation. Sliding guys to the bullpen (which just moves the roster crunch elsewhere), or other deals, I guess. Not really seeing it, and not seeing the need to move the prospects necessary to do it, but what the hell do I know?

Fascinating stuff from Chris Toman of Gamereax, as he speaks to Brett Cecil, who credits Roger Clemens for helping him with his curveball.

A trio of gems today from Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, as he looks at J.A. Happ, who had a strong start to his rehab assignment last night in Dunedin. Kennedy also examines the slow ride climb to the big leagues for Kyle Drabek, and talks to top prospect Aaron Sanchez, who sounds like he gets it. “Early on in the season I attacked, and if I was getting guys out with my heater then I was getting guys out with my heater. But from a development standpoint I needed to start making it a point to throw my off-speed more, which was hard because I was having so much success with my fastball — if I gave up five hits in a game, maybe three of them were on off-speed pitches,” Sanchez says. “So that was a tough adjustment to make, but I have to think of the big picture.”

More from the Star, as Richard Griffin has a new Griff Bag for me to avoid hijacking, and earlier in the week published his lengthy Bullpen post, where he talked about ditching the home run derby, among other things. Meanwhile, in Griffin’s stead, Mark Zwolinski took the reins on a mid-week chat with Star readers that turned out to be pretty interesting.

Over in the Sun we’ve got a mid-season chat with Ken Fidlin, Mike Rutsey rightly pointing out that Colby Ramus needs to avoid his typical second-half swoon– and also thinking  wistfully at what could have been as he prepares himself for the continuation of the Jays’ Quixotic journey– aaaaand there’s also a too typical dose of maddening stupidity from Steve Simmons. (Seriously, sure, the Jays starters have been awful– almost as fucking awful as trying to pass off as “analysis” worth anybody’s time an insistence that those guys are terrible that glosses over the injury troubles of the first half and doesn’t for one second consider a player’s track record beyond April 1st, 2013. Which isn’t to say the awful first half doesn’t matter, but it’s just shoddy, half-thought, cherry-picked “analysis” to feed the worst of fans’ uncritical negativity.)

On a better note from the Sun, Bob Elliott is getting geared up for next weekend, when the late Tom Cheek will take his rightful place in Cooperstown as the winner of this year’s Ford C. Frick Award. Elliott passes along a great old story, written out by Tom himself on a yellow legal pad found by his wife Shirley shortly after his death, and speaks to former Jays broadcaster, and a Ford C. Frick Award-winner himself, Tony Kubek, who the piece’s title says is Cheek’s number one fan.

Plenty from Shi Davidi over at Sportsnet, as he looks at what the Jays need to do over the final months of the season (and what little time they have to waste in doing it), stands up for the All-Star Game (as does Drew at Getting Blanked!), talks to Mets manager Terry Collins about R.A. Dickey’s fatigue, and looks at the wide range of options when it comes to potential penalties for those caught up in the BioGenesis scandal (among whom, I should add, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports says are more players yet to be revealed– none that are stars, though, apparently).

Speaking of BioGenesis, Frasor Blair has a great guest post up about the matter, also over at Getting Blanked.

And there’s also more Sportsnet stuff, as Michael Grange writes about Ricky Romero overcoming his mental demons, while Ben Nicholson-Smith passes on word from Forbes that the Buffalo Bisons are the 13th-most valuable minor league franchise.

In the National Post, John Lott looks at the roster logjam the Jays will face in the coming weeks– great stuff (uh… the piece, not the logjam)– and looks at the scant evidence suggesting the Jays can make a miracle run back to legitimate playoff contention. Meanwhile, Eric Koreen runs down ten key storylines from around the Majors during the season’s first half.

Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com gets us set for the season’s nominal second half. Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail looks at the issues facing the league and the Jays the midway point, while the Tao of Stieb asks “Does this team suck?” and other unanswerable questions.

Jonah Keri of Grantland gives out his mid-season awards for the AL, and the Jays land one: Most Disappointing Team. Obviously.

“I didn’t have a spring training this year and then I went to Team Canada and injured my oblique. It’s hard to be ready without at-bats. I only had 10 to 15 AB’s before going back up to the top and the other guys are in mid-season form after spring training. I was there trying to find rhythm, but it’s tough without a spring training and not many AB’s,” said Brett Lawrie while at Lansing, pretty much hitting the nail on the head, in a piece at Jays Prospects. “The other guys were ready to rock and my first month was basically my spring training. That stuff is tough, but I’m not a big excuse guy. In the first half I was grinding and trying to help my teammates out the best I can so I feel it’s important for me to get in games get at-bats.”

Lastly, a trio from Bluebird Banter, where Nick Ashbourne looks at the way the Jays have built their bullpen, Minor Leaguer marvels at the fact that the Jays’ road grey uniform has the worst record of any uniform in the Majors this season, while Blake Murphy wonders why the hell Colby Rasmus doesn’t steal more bases.

Comments (43)

  1. Not sure that giving up assets for Bud Norris makes a ton of sense for the Jays right now. He’s having a career year, but career low K/9 and 4.30 xFIP. If everyone pitched the way they can, he’s still somewhere in the 4-7 range on the rotation.

    • agree with you but id go further and say that acquiring bud norris via trade makes no sense for the Jays.

      • Sure.

        Who would want a good, young, durable and improving pitcher with two years of control left?

        We certainly won’t have room for him in our 2014 rotation with all the lockdown healthy starters returning from this year.

        Seriously though. Why wouldn’t we offer up Dan Norris and Gose for this guy?

        • hahah… good one(s)

          D Norris, Gose for Bud Norris? you really show your ignorance by proposing that. that .288 wOBA repeating AAA will sure appeal to Jeff Luhnow, probably the smartest GM in the game. or maybe the fact that Daniel Norris has fallen completely fallen off the prospect radar will.

          but i dont know what’s worse 1) that you think that Gose/D Norris ave any value right now or 2) that you think Bud Norris is young or 3) you think Bud Norris and his career 4.09 FIP will save the Toronto Blue Jays. either way you’re out to lunch.

          • Kind of contradicting yourself here.

            If Gose and Dan Norris have lost value, and Bud Norris isn’t so young and isn’t that good….. Why wouldn’t it work?

            Anyway. Gose and Norris was just an example. Point being two prospects in the 5 – 10 range in the org would make sense for a decent cheap controllable arm like Bud Norris.

            Jays will look to compete again next year and SP depth has been a major issue two years running. Not top level prospects should still be used to supplement this team for 2014.

            Doubt he’s the “White knight riding in to save the Jays” that you think I’m implying he is. But he sure would look a hell of a lot better than fuckin Wang and Redmond taking turns on a team trying to contend.

            And actually this year he would have been better than Happ, Romero, Johnson, Buehrle, Morrow and Dickey too. I’m sure we could squeeze him in.

          • Lunhow definitely wouldn’t be interested in a prospect, whose stock has fallen, but has high-ish upside ceiling… like Anthony Gose, Dan Norris, or you know, Asher Wojciechowski.

    • But would a 3-way work wherein we give up a bullpen arm and JJ and get prospects that then in turn land a guy looking more reliable than JJ and with 2 years of control?

      • trading Josh Johnson for Bud Norris would be one of the stupidest trades AA could make.

        • There is a good chance that this season is done and that JJ leaves in a couple short months. Meaning you are not trading JJ, you are trading a comp pick and a bullpen arm.

          I’ll admit I can’t recall seeing Norris pitch or knowing much about him.

          • fair enough. but you’re going to get, at best, 4.0 fWAR from Norris and with him pitching in the Rogers Centre against the AL East it’s likely you’ll get far less than that.

            JJ could put out 4.0 fWAR in the rest of the season. plus you get that potential comp pick and potentially you get an exclusive negotiating window for an extension, which it’s becoming increasingly clear has real value for MLB clubs (that could be huge if JJ returns to his career norms).

  2. Brandon Morrow should be bullpen bound asap. They should recondition him as a reliever sooner than later because it couldnt be more obvious that he cant stay healthy as a starter. Remember when he used to throw triple digits out of the pen? I do and they would be good to make that move before he is completely useless. I really like the guy as a pitcher and I wanna see him succeed with consistency but I don’t think he’s going to do it as a starter. So there’s one guy that could be bumped to the pen. Rogers should also be relegated to the pen so that frees up some spots and leaves the possibility of Norris open.

    • You just made a career altering decision about Morrow based on…. nothing.

      And sent our best starter to the bullpen.


      • Based on nothing ? lol have you been under a rock? Hrmmm how about the shit loads of time he has spent on the DL and the fact that he’s not getting any more durable moving forward. Yes, put him in the pen where he can throw 95-100 mph and strike guys out without needing a yearly stay on the disabled list. That is in fact what I am saying and I would suggest the same for Drabek as well but not based on healthy as much as the ability to concentrate on 2 pitches rather than 4-5.

  3. There is a CBC poll up as to whether the Jays should be buyers or sellers at the deadline. The comments on it are atrocious jibber jabber from the under informed. Here is the best I have found so far:

    Gord Campbell

    This is one screwed up baseball team. Its okay to be sellers when any other team takes a look and sees nothing worth buying. Gibbons has to go, right after Anthopolous gets his termination. Put Beeston on that nuke list.

    I don’t actually blame the players on the field all that much. This is a structural problem more than anything. Ernie Whitt, not Gibbons should have been Field Manager. I’d put Dickey up as the interim playing manager until a permanent one can be found. Can’t be any worse than it is now

  4. Never get out of the boat.

  5. Sounds like Garza to the Rangers.

  6. Was listening to the Bison’s broadcast.
    Nice to see Santos hitting 93 and 94 on the gun.
    With the earlier reports,there was some concern.
    3 k’s also.

  7. norris has faced the angels 4 times 28ip 1 ER

    rest of league he has a 4.71 ERA

    so he’s just beat up on a weak hitting team. He’s not really that good.

  8. Kara Lang is hott. Ricky is fixed, he just needed to get laid on a regular.

  9. Juan Perez has an ERA of 0.00 in 19.2 innings.

    I understand why it hasn’t been mentioned much…..

    but still, I feel this deserves more attention.

    p.s. that there is no GIF of his pitch release recoil in heavy rotation is shocking to me. It’s like he’s going back in time!

  10. That Tom Cheek story is, as with everything associated with him, amazing. Fuck you Cancer.

  11. The Aaron Sanchez link goes to the Drabek story fyi

  12. AA says starting pitching is the biggest problem. Meanwhile, they have derosa, davis, and izturis batting 4,5, and 6 vs price tonight. The starting pitching has been shit, no doubt, but AA should be looking to improve the lineup substantially.

    • Starting pitching is still the #1 problem

      • To me starting pitching and lineup is 1 and 1A in terms of priorities that need to be addressed in order for this team to significantly improve. Im just not a fan of having so many free swingers in the lineup that cant get on base. In this division, you cant have that many outs in the lineup. As for derosa and davis hitting lefties. Sure they do but does that mean they should be hitting 4 and 5 in the lineup on a contending team. Fuck, no. These guys should be hitting 7-9 in the lineup. Not 4-6.

    • You mean the two guys who hit lefties well and a third guy who’s on a hot streak?

    • Davis has a career 111 wRC+, and 146 on the year vs. lefties.

      Derosa has a 117 and a 109.

    • if the rotation was middle of the pack in the AL, the jays would be in the middle of the AL east and at the top of the AL Wild card race.

      If the rotation was as good as advertised (dickey,johnson, morrow) the jays would be leading the division.

      There is actually nothing wrong with this offense, other than Reyes missing all that time.

      The offense is still near the top of the pack for most offensive categories, and i firmly believe it would be better if it wasn’t consistently behind the 8 ball before the 3rd inning.

      its hard to justify stealing and taking a walk (for some) when you are down 6-0.

  13. Toronto fans need to get behind their team. Cannot believe the comments on all the articles. They sure as hell wont go anywhere without some fans cheering.. I would love to have even the worst MLB team in Vancouver. Hell even a AAA team would be nice..

    • finally someone nails it!

      when 1/2 the “fans” are screaming against the team, that has to have an effect …

      stay on the boat, but for the rest of you, get on it.

  14. Put Sanchez on the weighted ball program. Not so he can throw 102, but so he can throw 98 in his sleep… lol… I’m not serious, at all. Can’t wait to see how these three pitchers develop, but think the Jays kept a great prospect. Hope we see him in 2015, and that he develops while not getting rushed to the show. Wonder as he fills out, if he’ll be a Verlander type of pitcher, being able to throw harder as the game goes on, and if he will light up the gun to triple digits.

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