“Cat Party”? Pfft. Welcome to five months ago!
Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the Jays’ signing of Maicer Izturis, which kicked off their big off-season, and was greeted a little too favourably in these corners. A reminder that things might be quiet right now– and they sure are– but could heat up any moment.
Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated looks at the off-season plans for each of the AL East teams, and naturally suggests that there’s less reason to be optimistic about the 2014 Jays than we ended up becoming last year, but that’s probably OK. He wonders if the club doesn’t already have one of its needed pitching upgrades in Marcus Stroman.
Baseball Prospectus does a similar thing, looking at the one key move each of the AL East clubs needs to make, and Ben Carsley is somewhat optimistic about the club’s ability to give themselves an easy upgrade by buying a third-tier free agent catcher, like Carlos Ruiz, A.J. Pierzynski, Kurt Suzuki or Dionner Navarro. That works.
I’ve sort of been cold to the idea of the Jays giving up a draft pick for Ubaldo Jimenez, given the appearance of “Bad Ubaldo” during the 2012 season and the first half of this one. But… I don’t know, actually. Yeah, at his worst it’s bad, but he’s only had that one year of less-than-3.2 fWAR over the last six seasons, and the last year in which he didn’t make thirty starts? That would be 2006, when he was playing on a shortened Triple-A schedule, and made 26. The last season in which he made fewer than 25 starts? In 2002 an 18-year-old in the short-season Pioneer League. So, is… uh… is he a way less risky, far more durable Josh Johnson with the same five- or six-win probably-never-coming-back upside? Should the Jays be all over this? Did I hear someone say on the radio the other day that Anthopoulos was trying to get him when he was originally traded from Colorado to Cleveland in 2011? The answer to both those questions might actually be yes, right? At any rate, Grant Brisbee looks at his free agent case at Baseball Nation, and sees him returning to Cleveland by taking the qualifying offer. Alex can do him one better than that, eh? Protected pick and all. Do it!
At Bluebird Banter, writer jessief gives us some food for thought by looking back at last year’s Marlins trade in a dollars-per-WAR vacuum, which ignores way more than enough context to make the supposedly damning conclusion pretty worthless, but it’s worth understanding that side of the equation all the same.
Gideon Turk of Blue Jays Plus sees Detroit’s out-of-favour catcher Alex Avila as a possible upgrade for the Jays, especially with the Tigers needing bullpen help, and the Jays having depth in that area.
FanGraphs takes a look at the free agent players you don’t want your club to sign this winter (Jarrod Saltalamacchia, come on down!), and the best bargains of the crop (Omar Inflated? Sure, fuck it, why not?).
Shi Davidi of Sportsnet passes along word from earlier in the week that the Vancouver Canadians have been named the minor leagues’ top affiliate.
In other awards news, Don Ketchum writes for BlueJays.com about Drew Hutchison, who was the AFL’s Pitcher of the Week for week four.
Hutchison did hit a bump in the road yesterday in AFL action, giving up seven hits and six earned in just two innings, as Jeff Moore of Baseball Prospectus tells us.
Tip of the Tower, FanSided’s Toronto sports blog, says they’re looking for Jays writers– hit ‘em up!
In a piece at Splice Today, Booker Smith wonders if there would be any takers for Ryan Braun, which could help the Brewers replenish a poor farm system, and throws the name Alex Anthopoulos out there as someone who would at least consider it.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is hearing that the price tag on Phillips, though, is going to be rather steep. He doesn’t specify what that might mean, but… I don’t know, if you’re giving them so much salary relief, the Reds can’t expect it to be that much, can they?
Back to SB Nation, where Jim Baker brings us old ads! Specifically, ones depicting ballplayers trying to get people to ingest (mostly) awful things! (I say mostly awful because it will be a cold day in hell when you find me shitting on popsicles.)
Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports that ex-Jays scout Tom Hinkle has passed away after a long battle with cancer. RIP.
Podcastery: Drew has a new edition of the Getting Blanked Podcast, in which he speaks to Benny Fresh– aka Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. And it’s double duty for him this week, as he also finds himself on the Blue Jays Plus Podcast. Meanwhile, it’s a new episode of the Quazcast with Jeff Pearlman, who this week talks to the Jays’ own Sal Fasano.
Lastly, MLB.com takes a look at the two key Jays prospects in the Arizona Fall League, Marcus Stroman– who gets some especially high praise from Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis– and Aaron Sanchez, in this video clip: