If I wanted to be smothered to death, I’d go back to the Xcalibur and fess up. … If I go back to the Xcalibur and fess up, I’ll be smothered to death. That’s in our Charter.

I didn’t make a big deal of it at the time, despite a lot of people insisting it must be viewed as more evidence of Rogers’ nasty cheapness (hint: it isn’t), but it’s worth mentioning that in his Monday morning piece at Fox Sports, Ken Rosenthal included a tidbit about Jays reliever Neil Wagner. Rosenthal explains that last year, the major league portion of Wagner’s deal “was worth $525,000, and Wagner spent nearly four months last season with the Jays, getting paid at that rate,” and performing reasonably well. However, because “the Jays, like many clubs, use a pay scale for 0-to-3 players” that is based on service time, “Wagner merited an offer of $506,250″ for 2014, and had no leverage to do anything about it. Yep, that’s how the CBA works, and it sure as shit wasn’t a dictum from Rogers that insisted the Jays cut Wagner’s pay — Rosenthal tells us exactly why that happened. So why is he mentioning it at all? Is he assigning some kind of major importance to the story by putting it under his byline? Hardly. Minor Leaguer has it, tweeting that it simply “was a cool look into pre-arb players who were once minor league free agents, not often does their pay get written about.” That’s it. And if Wagner or his agent is upset… um… shouldn’t it be at themselves for not knowing when they signed in the first place that the Jays use a service time-based scale for pre-arb players?

Also from Monday was the Monday Morning Ten Pack at Baseball Prospectus, which featured a pair of Jays prospects: Aaron Sanchez and Dan Norris. Sanchez, as you may have heard, didn’t have his best stuff. “His delivery escaped him most of the day and he struggled to throw strikes consistently,” we were told, with the addition that “seeing the raw potential in Sanchez was easy, but it was also very apparent that he still needs considerable work to reach his ceiling.” Norris isn’t the same calibre of prospect, and also struggled with command, but Chris King, who saw him pitch over the weekend for Dunedin, was impressed with his curve, and added that “on a night where his velocity was down a tick or two and he lacked fastball command, it was very impressive to see a kid battle like he did and shut out a pretty talented Brevard County lineup over six innings.” I’ll take it.

The Jays are looking at having to make a roster move to accommodate Jose Reyes’s return on Friday, which almost certainly means demoting one of their other middle infielders, and I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that — while I didn’t even consider Jonathan Diaz — I sort of figured that Munenori Kawasaki was probably the best fit all along. If Goins keeps hitting like he did last night, though, I could live with that.

Great stuff from Blue Jays Plus, where Gideon Turk talks to Sal Fasano, and looks at some of the drills that the Jays’ roving catching instructor was having his charges do during the spring, to help their receiving and their defensive skills in general.

And more great stuff, as always, from Grant Brisbee of SB Nation, who writes a premature post-mortem for the 2014 Jays, as part of an ongoing series, and decides that things really could be a whole lot worse for the club. Well… yeah.

Prior to the big grand slam last night, Chris Toman wrote at Gamereax about the possibility that the Jays’ offence was about to break out, with a particular focus on Brett Lawrie. They’ll need others to step up, of course, with Adam Lind now ailing.

Elsewhere at Gamereax, Chris talks to Pete Walker about Brandon Morrow. We obviously didn’t see the best of Morrow in the Minnesota cold last night, but Walker still has visions of a front-end starter for the oft-injured pitcher — and you could see why in the first few innings of his start against the Astros last week.

Huh? According to Chris Zelkovich’s latest at Eh Game, the Jays drew better ratings for Saturday night’s game against Baltimore — which was up against Hockey Night In Canada (albeit a meaningless Leafs game for most of English Canada) — did better than their game on Friday. OK?

He may be laid up with a season-ending injury now, but it’s still definitely worth reading John Lott’s story from the National Post last week about Maicer Izturis, and how he’s had to compartmentalize in order to keep his mind straight amid fears for his family’s safety, as they remain in the worsening situation in his home country of Venezuela.

No Griff Bag for a while? Well then be sure to check out Gregor Chisholm’s Inbox post over at BlueJays.com.

At Sportsnet, Shi Davidi has the Blue Jays make their picks for the first round of the NHL playoffs. Because hockey.

Elsewhere, Shi also has a post about the Jays seeing the benefit of playing tight games, of the kind they experienced for the first two of their three in Baltimore. I think I’d take the laugher that was Sunday’s win, to be honest.

Some interesting stuff from FanGraphs over the last few days, and not unrelated to some things we end up talking about around here: for example, Jeff Sullivan looks at the real cost of sitting a player for a backup — money quote: “Starting a bench guy for David Ortiz? The Red Sox’s odds of winning would drop by about 2.4 percentage points. That’s like conceding the first out.”

Other stuff from FanGraphs: a look at the startlingly effective Jesse Chavez (yes, him), a look at the relative ages of teams in the majors (Jays is old, Cards is young), and a piece on the potentially historic comeback of Michael Pineda, which, if Pineda played for the Jays and Dustin McGowan played for the Yankees, would so be about McGowan.

Not Jays- or baseball-related, but if you’re ever bothered by my occasional forays into soccer talk (mostly confined to twitter these days) and wonder what the hell that’s all about, I’ll tell you it can all be traced back to pretty much one specific moment — Dennis Bergkamp’s goal against Argentina at France ’98 — which Rob Smyth of the Guardian has outstandingly recounted for us this morning.

A bunch of gold from also Getting Blanked over the last several days: Drew’s outstanding My Approach series continues with a chat with the awesome Carlos Beltran, Parkes looks at how MLB treats children like commodities, and Jack Moore looks at how little that’s changed over the years in the latest Primary Sources.

Lastly, elsewhere still at Getting Blanked, even though I’m a day late in linking it, Drew’s piece on Jackie Robinson Day is some seriously essential stuff. Read it.

Comments (23)

  1. Found it odd that Morrow threw his fastball under 50 percent of the time in those conditions. One would think breaking balls would be harder to command and execute in the dry cold than a fastball.

    His velocity wasn’t that bad, considering the conditions…..hit 95 once i believe and was sitting 93…….

    dare I say that goins has actually been looking better the past few games…actually had a few hard hit balls in bmore that went for outs as well.

    • i dunno, i always found it easier to control a breaking ball when it was really cold out. yeah, it’s counter-intuitive, and maybe i’m just a weirdo, but putting the fastball where you want it is a lot harder when your fingers are cold, and you don’t have a great feel/touch for the ball. i found it odd in zauncherry’s little rant how he pointed out that the FB placement was off (basically, Morrow was chucking meatballs down the heart of the plate), yet was also complaining that he wasn’t throwing more FBs, never seeing the correlation that maybe he was throwing more junk because he didn’t have confidence that he could put the FB where he wanted to.

      • Yeah me too. Maybe it has something to do with the fact the fastball essentially comes off just your fingertips while with breaking balls you’re gripping it with your entire finger. Fingertips would be more numb.
        Just a thought.

  2. Morrow is a wuss, thats why he doesnt throw his fastball more. A real man throws his fastball 99 percent of the time.

  3. I think the Delabar piece on Sportsnet deserves a strong recommendation.

  4. The piece on Bergkamp’s goal was great and the entire series ( 25 WC moments) is excellent.

  5. I don’t know what to think about Morrow. If he was just a mediocre guy who can dial it up on a good night I’d be fine with it. Not happy, but fine. But the way he’s been playing, well, basically every year except his shortened breakout season has been so infuriating.

    I don’t see how the guy who pitched last night is the same guy who pitched the start before. He’s so fucking close…

  6. 100% chance of rain in Minneapolis tonight, with snow later in the evening.

    I’d say tonight’s game is PPD and we play a DH tomorrow. Forecast looks much better.

  7. Just heard Josh Johnson Could be up for TJ surgery. Whew! Glad he walked but I wasn’t then. Also, Kawasaki must stay up aaaaand get a bobble head.

  8. Maybe I’m reading the ratings thing wrong, but the HNIC is combined both games? The Habs/Ranges was the national game, with the Leafs on in Ontario. Don’t know if that changes anything.

    • Yeah, the number is for the whole broadcast, regardless of which game a viewer got based on their region. But definitely didn’t realize Habs/Rangers was the national one (should have, for obvious reasons), since I was watching the Jays anyway. Thanks!

  9. How does Dickey look in the cold?

    are there any stats on that split?

    Cold Fingers could make for a long night (if the game goes tonight)

  10. How far ahead of time do they cancel/postpone games?

    That Minny forecast looks ugly.

  11. BlueJays.com just sent me an email explaining why Dickey could have trouble in cold weather…. Weird preemptive thing to do

  12. Tonight’s game is postponed. Double header for tomorrow

  13. I’m certainly not going to be disappointed about the postponed game, if it means DIckey gets slightly better weather to pitch in.

  14. re: wagner… the jays behavior comes off as cheap regardless of whether or not the agent knew that the jays used a scale based on service time.

    no one is forcing them to so rigidly stick to a service time / pay scale system for pre arbitration eligbles but themselves. matching wagner’s 2013 mlb salary would have cost a little more than $18k on a payroll approaching $140M ( roughly 0.00012% of payroll)… instead they unilaterally reduce his pay by $6250 (compared to the ‘scale’) as punishment for not signing the offer. it strikes me as absurd… not unlike most other rigid rules that do not allow any consideration for context.

    • Meh, I get it. It may be just 6k more, but it’s more like a matter of principle. If they break company system for just wagner, what’s to say the other players don’t demand more. If you’re gonna break your system for a lowly reliever (albiet a good one), why have it in the first place?

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