In Ben Nicholson-Smith’s weekend notebook at Sportsnet, he tells us that Yuniesky Betancourt has interest in the Jays, in part because the friendly hitting environment. Good luck with that, Yuni, but I’m sure the people running the Chiba Lotte Marines know a thing or two about park factors, and aren’t going to be fooled into upping the dollars on your next contract. (Also: just to be clear, outside of NPB, Korea, or the minors, signing Betancourt ought to be a fireable offence. Fortunately for concerned Jays fans, I’m confident if the Jays had the slightest hint of interest they’d have scooped ol’ Yuni up by now– pretty sure the current market for middle infielders with a 56 wRC+, bad defence, and worth about three wins below replacement over their last 630-odd plate appearances is a little soft at the moment.)
Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Ben looks at the opposite ways in which the Jays and Twins have tried to fix their rotational woes this off-season. At least so far…
Word broke over the weekend that Pat Hentgen will step aside as the Jays’ bullpen coach, with Bob Stanley — yes, the Bob Stanley (look him up, kids) — getting the promotion from Buffalo to take his place. Gregor Chisholm passes along the details at BlueJays.com, explaining that it’s a family issue that has caused Hentgen to step aside, as he “has been re-assigned within the organization to allow him the time needed to support his family and his father’s health issues.” You simply never hear a bad word about Hentgen, and his putting family first here speaks to that, I think. We wish him and his family the best in what must be a tough time.
Elsewhere at BlueJays.com, Gregor takes an up close look at the Jays’ rotation depth, which — as we’re all too aware of by now — looks pretty good, at least on the back end.
Elsewhere still, Gregor looks to the season ahead and gives us ten questions that will need to be answered in the affirmative if the Jays are to make anything of 2014– and, as always, it’s great stuff.
It will never stop being amazing to me to watch people freak out like Jose Bautista, now that he’s – scawwwy! – thirty-three years old, is going to roll out of bed one day very, very soon — maybe as soon as tomorrow! — and forget how to hit a baseball like a fucking boss. Drew has a piece up about this at Getting Blanked, where he notes the eerie similarities between the numbers produced by Bautista since his breakout in 2009, and Gary Sheffield at the same age. Granted, Bautista has been beset by injuries in the last couple of years, and the aging curve in Sheffield’s era may have been artificially lengthened, but over his age 33-35 seasons — which is the stretch of career Bautista is about to enter — Sheff produced a total of 16.2 WAR. Doesn’t mean Bautista will stay healthy, of course, but… fuck, just read Drew’s piece about it already.
Sticking with Getting Blanked, while I’ve been trying my best this year to give baseball’s Hall of Fame the respect it deserves by completely ignoring it, Drew has taken a different tack, amazingly laying down a whole bunch of damn sense on the subject.
And while we’re talking about Bautista, the guys over at Mop Up Duty would like you to learn to stop worrying and love Jose’s low BABIP.
Since Masahiro Tanaka will pitch next year as just a 25-year-old, it seems close to fair enough to view him in relation to other prospects, which is exactly what Baseball America does in their latest Ask BA post, telling us that he would rank as the top prospect in 27 organizations. He’d rank behind Byron Buxton, Xander Bogaerts, “and you could go either way with him or Oscar Taveras,” they explain. I’ll take that, thanks.
Buried in some thing he does every year at the Toronto Sun, Bob Elliott suggests that Dirk Hayhurst is headed elsewhere next season (after a successful stint with TBS during the playoffs, don’t forget) and that Jack Morris may not return either. A few of you included me in tweets directed at Elliott suggesting I might have warranted a mention in the main part of his piece — still less influential than the San Diego Chicken! — which is nice and all, but believe me, I prefer it this way. It’s much more amusing.
Morgan Campbell of the Toronto Star speaks to Roberto Alomar about his foray into the baseball equipment business. “It’s up to the people to decide if they like it or not,” says Alomar of the bats made by his eponymous company.
Chris Sherwin of Blue Jays Plus gives Jays fans several good reasons to back away from the ledge, despite a pretty thoroughly dispiriting off-season.
Brian Crawford has a nifty piece up at Jays Prospects on slightly under-the-radar youngster — and Canadian! — Dalton Pompey, who is starting to turn more heads lately, and is coming off a nice season at Lansing (in which he won a Minor League Gold Glove).
And lastly: dat ass. Edwin Encarnacion posts an Instagram picture of him riding a donkey (or a burro– whatever!) which is as awesome as it is reminiscent of Jose Reyes’s own foray into… um… ass play last winter.