In the Toronto Sun, Bob Elliott writes that the Jays have eyes for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, having sent both assistant GM Andrew Tinnish, and pro scout Dan Evans, formerly the GM of the Dodgers (though Elliott says the White Sox), to Japan to see Tanaka in person about a month ago. I don’t know if we need to get too lathered up about it, though. Alex Anthopoulos himself went twice to see Yu Darvish two years ago, and that would seem to be a clearer indicator of a firm interest.
Another reason to be skeptical about the Jays’ potential interest comes from a statement in Keith Law’s chat at ESPN.com last week, where a reader asked for KLaw’s thoughts on Tanaka, noting that most information seems to have him pegged as possibly a number two, and not terribly far behind Darvish. “I have not seen him myself. What I have heard from scouts is that he’s less than that,” Law replied.
Brendan Kennedy fleshes out some of the details regarding Melky Cabrera’s spinal tumour in an excellent piece for the Toronto Star. “If he had told us that his back was bothering him earlier, maybe we would have found it earlier,” Anthopoulos admitted. “. . . I wonder how much it really bothered him when he was playing and he wasn’t saying anything.” Later he adds that “Anthopoulos referred to a ‘culture’ in baseball in which players are often reluctant to disclose injuries.” It’s tough– Brandon Morrow was getting shit on this year for supposedly being soft, yet Melky is going to get shit too for trying too hard to be what, in other circumstances, some people would call a “gamer.”
Elsewhere in the Star, Richard Griffin’s latest Bullpen post tells us that the Jays mishandled Ricky Romero, which… yeah, they could have not called him up to replace Josh Johnson, or not tried to spare the armchair psychology by insisting his issues were mechanical, or… I don’t know. They could have done a bunch of things differently. Does anyone think it might have changed the outcome? I don’t.
Elsewhere still in the Star, Kennedy looks at the success that Sergio Santos has finally been having, now that his health issues are, hopefully, behind him.
Another on from Kennedy at the Star tells us about Jose Bautista visiting with the parents of 9-year-old Derek Lendosky, who was such a big fan of the Jays’ slugger that he was buried in a Bautista jersey after he died in an ATV accident last month.
In a notebook post at BlueJays.com, Gregor Chisholm looks at the accomplishment that was Kyle Drabek’s reappearance on a big league mound– even if the results weren’t what anybody had hoped for. He also adds notes on Jose Reyes putting his ankle injury behind him, and Edwin Encarnacion’s sore wrist.
At Sportsnet, Mike Wilner plays some arbitrary endpoint bingo and notes, fairly enough, that Adam Lind is hot again, hitting at a .333/.394/.617 clip since August 15th, following a dismal two months of 193/.265/.357. The overall line is obviously closer to the reality of what Lind is, I think, streaks and all. This year he’s hit .280/.350/.480, which is still, despite the mid-summer swoon, better than a lot of people probably want to admit.
Another Wilner post starts to make the argument that it might not totally be the worst if the Jays have to go into 2014 with Ryan Goins as their starting second baseman. It’s certainly not ideal, but you could carry Goins’ bat if he’s going to be your worst offensive player, I think. If someone like J.P. Arencibia is still around, though, it becomes tough. But Goins has certainly showed just how badly the Jays could use a strong defender at second, and it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to find someone with enough defence and offence to be a huge upgrade on what the Jays have got this season. I still want to believe that the Angels would move Howie Kendrick for any two of Romero, Happ, Stroman, Nolin, Drabek or Hutchison, but that can’t possibly really be a real possibility, right?
Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at John Gibbons’ statements regarding Ricky Romero, who still may be called upon to start a game before the season closes, and Dustin McGowan, whose insistence on being a starter next year Gibbons is a little reluctant to endorse. “We’re looking at it. We’re not sure how the rotation will stack up next year,” Gibbons said. But Ben adds that “Gibbons noted that McGowan has sustained injuries as a starter in previous years and explained that the Blue Jays like what he has done out of the bullpen in 2013.”
Jays Journal makes the correct point that Brandon Morrow isn’t nearly as injury prone as people want to believe (where have I heard that before?), though it gets maybe a little rose-coloured when they argue that Morrow has been unable to stay healthy at any point in his career, “Except for, you know, basically every season of his career entering 2013 save for a two month stretch in 2012.” That’s a pretty broad “basically.”
Lastly, Bluebird Banter‘s Monday Morning Media Mashup notes that the Jays have now been mathematically eliminated from the AL East race– the earliest that’s happened since 2004– and also tell us about some upcoming schedule changes (Saturday’s game against Baltimore is moved to 4:07 PM ET, and the Jays are making up a rain-out in Chicago a week from today), while also linking us to– among others– pieces from Amy Moritz at the Buffalo News, who recaps the Bisons season, and from the Vancouver Canadians, who won last night to force a winner-take-all Northwest League championship tonight against Boise from Nat Bailey Stadium. You can listen to the game online, apparently, at CanadiansBaseball.com– it begins at 10:05 PM ET.