Fascinating stuff from Chris Sherwin at Blue Jays Plus about biomechanics, Brandon Morrow, and the worryingly outdated ways that the Jays may be looking at their pitchers. I don’t know nearly enough about this subject to call bullshit on any of it, or to counter what seems, on the surface, like pretty well-reasoned expertise, which is all the more reason that this sort of stuff needs a bigger place in the conversation — especially, I fear, in the Jays’ front office, where, despite the progressive reputation, you get the sense that a lot of old school thought pervades.
Toronto FC’s “Bloody Big Deal” on Monday was a pretty spectacular thing for the team and the city (unless, perhaps, you’re one of those people who has an incomprehensible knee-jerk hatred of soccer that, more than anything, is about a sad fear of the unknown), and for Jays fans it brought thoughts of the possibilities of a committed ownership that doesn’t push the lie of needing to tie payroll inexorably to shady dreams of revenue we’re, of course, not ever allowed to see the full picture of. Money quote from Tim Leiweke: “Three DPs is financial suicide,” but “in the end they wanted to win and they would do whatever it took.” Isn’t this a company that’s part owned by Rogers???
At Fanatico, Parkes tells the most elaborate version of the DJF origin story published yet, but that’s just the hook for an outstanding piece on the state of sportswriting in the wake of the furores of the last couple weeks. Read it.
Jack Morris is going to return to the Jays booth this season, says Jays Journal, with an impressive exclusive. Apparently the favourite of revisionist historians everywhere was only considering leaving — as reports earlier in the off-season had suggested — if he’d been elected to the Hall Of Fame. Since he wasn’t — which, OK, OK, would have been fine too (who cares!) — he’s going to return. And you know what? I was not keen on the hire when it was first announced, based mostly on a few clips I’d listened too, some poor reviews from Twins fans, and reports that were quick to highlight the negative. But I found him a whole lot more enjoyable to listen to than I gave him credit for. Old school, yes. A little to quick to point to dispelled notions that only aid his legacy, sure. But pretty alright, on the whole.
Chris Crawford of MLB Draft Insider rolls out his top 14 Jays prospects for 2014. A bunch of great scouting reports– he’s really bullish on Osuna, despite the injury, and has Sanchez ahead of Stroman, but likes them both — and definitely worth a read.
Yahoo’s Jeff Passan tweets that the Jays are scrapping their plan to make Jeremy Jeffress a starter. So… there’s that.
Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com talks Adam Lind — who the Blue Jay Hunter shows us was recently spotted at a Raptors game (with bonus Steve Paikin sighting!) — and also to Marcus Stroman, who is staying patient as his time in the Majors nears.
Another Lind piece comes from Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star, with a focus on the hitting coaches he’s been through during his tenure with Jays. Money quote: “Then Farrell … he kind of knew everything.” Lind ended that final sentence with another heartfelt chuckle.
Elsewhere from the Toronto Star we have an eight-year-old fan who got Cooperstown’s ear when he requested more Canadian memorabilia in the museum, a look at the key players who were visiting the city last week for the club’s prospect camp, while Richard Griffin specifically looks at A.J. Jimenez.
At Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at the asking prices for the remaining available pitchers, as well as Marcus Stroman and Sean Nolin’s hope to reach the big leagues in 2014, and Anthony Gose, who played some winter ball in Venezuela this year. Meanwhile, Shi Davidi talks to Adam Lind, who is excited that he wasn’t traded, and relays John Gibbons’ confirmation that the Jays have some interest in Masahiro Tanaka.
Speaking of Tanaka, at Getting Blanked, Drew rolls out some outstanding — if a little to disappointingly realistic — Tanaka Power Rankings.
In last week’s chat with readers at ESPN.com, Keith Law suggested that he thinks the Jays would choose Ubaldo Jimenez over Ervin Santana — something Buster Olney said on a podcast this week, though I’m too lazy to go look up the link — because a “higher beta makes more sense for them, where a pitcher who’s worth 4 WAR is worth maybe three times as much as a guy who’s worth 2 WAR.”
Bluebird Banter takes a look at the Jays’ uniform assignments for the upcoming season. Because… January.
The Blue Jay Hunter tries to put together some “clues” regarding Colby Rasmus’s impending arbitration case — including the Jays’ policy not to negotiate one-year deals after arbitration numbers are exchanged (which happens on Friday) — to wonder if a contract extension is imminent. Because… January. It’s fun enough, I guess, but once you get into stuff connecting bobbleheads to front office decisions I’m way out.
The Jays sent out a press release this week listing their various coaching staffs at the minor league level.
Elsewhere at FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan looks at the insane fact that Mike Trout alone is projected to be better in 2014 than all but seven other big league outfields. More insane? The Jays project to be one of the seven better than him.
Great stuff from Jonah Keri at Grantland, as he looks for the Red Sox Redux — five teams in line for positive regression in 2014 — among whom the Jays are clearly a candidate.
Because I can’t resist, Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus goes through a bunch of examples of how everyone always says the same things about clubhouse chemistry because it’s all meaningless.
Baseball Card Vandals has an outstanding riff on a Tony Fernandez card.
Drinking: at BlogTO, friend of DJF, Ben Johnson, gives us the twelve bars with the most taps in the city. Presumably.
What’s that? The A-Rod stuff, you ask? I mostly don’t care and have purposefully been avoiding most of it. Nobody is going to come out smelling great from this one, and bizarrely I think it’s A-Rod — who has proven time and again to be hopelessly self un-aware — who understands that better about his own situation than Selig, MLB, and the odd media sycophants defending them, do about theirs. But A-Rod is obviously a loathsome figure. I”m pretty “soft” on the P.E.D. issue when it comes to the Hall Of Fame stuff and the odious whitewashing an era where it was condoned to the point of tacit encouragement by painting certain individual users as the sole corrupters of the game’s innocence who alone must be punished, but in 2014 that’s no longer how things are– at least, it’s not how they’re supposed to be, though obviously MLB’s testing program has massive holes in it, as this whole sordid episode shows. It’s a far more complicated issue than we let it be, but with the rules as they are, even I must grant that systematically, intentionally, repeatedly violating clear, collectively bargained rules deserves punishment. I’ve never understood why it should have been more than the 50 games given any other player being caught for the first time, but clearly he should have been punished. And while I believe that the arbitrator suggested multiple violations were each individually suspendible under the Joint Drug Agreement, given MLBs response to the arbitrator who ruled against them in the Ryan Braun case, it’s hard not to question the integrity of that decision. It’s also hard not to wonder about the other thuggish behaviour of MLB in pursuit of Bud’s white whale. Rodriguez, of course, is no saint himself, but I don’t think the onus is on him to maintain credibility the same way that it is on the league. I don’t think the ends justified their means, but they obviously disagree. I also don’t think it serves anyone to continue propping up the narrative that these substances are the baseball equivalent of magic beans, but like this A-Rod mess, I don’t think that nonsense is going away anytime soon either.