Archive for the ‘Bob Elliott’ Category

tanakaAI

I’m perhaps a little more optimistic than most that the Jays might actually try in good faith to land Masahiro Tanaka, but I’m not delusional enough to actually think they’re going to land him — not with the Yankees and the Dodgers as determined as they appear to do so in their own right. [On Friday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted that the Dodgers would go "all-out" for Tanaka and "certainly won't be out-bid," only to completely walk back the suggestion later.]

In a way, then, I agree with the latest from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, who tells fans not to get their hopes up about the Japanese star pitching in a Jays uniform next year. In another, more realistic way, though, the piece really grinds my gears, forcing me, as it does, to read yet more lazy utterances of the completely bogus suggestion that the Jays’ fake policy limiting contract length will have anything to do with the club’s pursuit of Tanaka ultimately ending up futile.

I hate to sound like a broken record on this [note: not really -- it's super easy!], but I find that I can’t not push back when I get so damn exasperated by stuff like this:

It will be easy for teams to plunk down $20 million to buy their way into the bidding. It won’t be easy to sign him as he will command a seven-year contract, one he will get, with maybe 10 teams interested.

And the Blue Jays, while they like Tanaka — and scout Danny Evans, former Chicago White Sox general manager, has seen him pitch — are not into seven-year deals, rightly or wrongly.

Once again, the suggestion that the Jays’ supposed insistence (though they’ve already admitted it’s bendable!) on not offering deals of that length has anything to do with what will likely ultimately be their inability to sign Tanaka is a giant steaming load. I can’t fathom why so many people are willing to simply swallow the company line on it.

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Bob Elliott chatted with readers today over at the Toronto Sun, and while it may be true that I took something of a mocking tone yesterday when I linked to a previous chat, today I’m going to go with a different approach, because it turns out he’s let loose all kinds of interesting tidbits in there.

To wit:

On starting pitching:

“They are looking for better than Marcum.”

Names of interest on that front, he says, are “Dickey, Niese, [Wade] Davis.”

“It would be nice [to keep Arencibia and Rasmus], but they are looking for a No. 1 guy. Right now they have a lot of No. 3s or maybe Morrow is a No. 2 and Johnson could be if his shoulder allows him to add missing MPH.”

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They may not always do it on the record, but Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun sure is a wizard when it comes to getting people to talk– especially scouts and executives with juicy, interesting things to say about the Toronto Blue Jays.

I don’t know if it’s just because he’s got so many connections he can simply print a source’s title– even including the league he works in!– and still no one will be able work backwards to figure out who’s dishing him the goods, but it’s a pretty remarkable trick he pulls, and at a big conference like the Winter Meetings, he lands some invaluable stuff.

I’ve already pulled some from his latest to us in the Escobar piece below, but there’s much more in there, and two things, in particular that stand out…

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Though I already sent a link in Bob Elliott’s direction in the Afternoon Snack, his piece from today’s Toronto Sun on Lansing’s Aaron Sanchez, Justin Nicolino and Nose Snygen probably needs a little extra exploration, if only because– as I said at the time– it’s providing a nice bit of warm light in what’s been a dark and ugly week of a dark and ugly season.

Aaaaaand… also because there isn’t a whole hell of a lot to write about at the moment, and Keith Law didn’t include enough Jays-related tidbits in his latest chat with readers at ESPN.com to make a full post of it– though what he did say, I’ll provide below.

First up, however, is the key stuff from Elliott’s piece, which come, with one exception, from his most reliable source: his anonymous drinking scouting buddies!

“No wonder they didn’t trade Sanchez,” a ‘veteran evaluator’ tells Elliott. “We heard they had all kinds of offers for him at the deadline. They did the right thing holding on to him. He’ll be the best. You phone me if he’s not the first one of the three to make it.”

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Drew mentioned earlier that Bob Elliott often employs a classic trick where he turns some quotes from a scout into a column– and funnily enough, that’s almost exactly what he employed earlier this week at the Toronto Sun (here via Canoe, because the Sun’s website has been squirrely lately).

To be fair, Elliott actually tacked the quotes below a whole column’s worth of content that wasn’t based around what his scout-buddy was telling him, but… who gives a shit about that, amiright? Here’s how his RBI-loving source viewed some of the Jays’ top prospects, followed by more prospecty tidbits from Kevin Goldstein and Keith Law…

Now, I scoff at this evaluator’s anachronistic-seeming view of the game, and this would be the part of the post where I back off of that slightly, except that I’m pretty sure I have damn good reason for doing so.

“He’s an all-star shortstop with the glove, which everyone knew at the start of the season,” he tells Elliott of number two (no, really) prospect Adeiny Hechavarria. “Now, he’s starting to hit some, look at his runs scored and RBI.”

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Bob Elliott begins his article in today’s Toronto Sun by asking the… um… question, “OK, raise your right arm if you had Joel Carreno as third man out of the chute in the Blue Jays starting rotation to open the 2012 season?”

I’ll bite, I thought to myself as I began what figured to be a look at the Jays surprising fifth starter– who actually had a pretty fantastic tiny sample of a stint in the club’s bullpen last season. What I found, however, was a piece that morphed from there into an exploration of all that went wrong in the Jays’ pursuit of starting pitching over the off-season– and as usual, Elliott has added a little something to our picture of exactly it all went down.

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While some folks still aren’t quite ready to buy into what the Jays are selling about the progress Adeiny Hechavarria has made, people who’ve been in the organization continue to heap praise on him. People like… Chris Woodward?

“Las Vegas inflates the numbers on home run hitters, not on line drive hitters,” said Woodward, according to a piece from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. “He reminds me of Tony Fernandez watching his line drives.”

“I’m watching him in the cage and don’t understand,” Woodward added. “He doesn’t swing like a .235 hitter.”

Omar Vizquel liked what he saw as well, noting that “He’ll be back soon. One year, maybe two,” and adding that, when he does return, “They’ll have to trade someone.”

This brings us to the nut of Elliott’s piece, which is the question of what happens to Yunel Escobar if Hechavarria proves he’s ready and Woodward’s specious analysis of the Vegas hitting environment proves true– and the fact that Elliott thinks the Jays might be most inclined to trade Escobar.

“He’s what, 28 year old? He may be able to move like this for a few years, but what happens when he gets to 32, 33?” asks Vizquel, who says he think Escobar will be more of a third baseman down the line. The Jays seem pretty OK at that position, for the moment, and Escobar signed a team-friendly extension last year, which Elliott notes will make him rather attractive in trade.

Most interestingly, though, is that he says “privately the Jays complain about Escobar missing signs.”

This shouldn’t be entirely surprising. You might recall the time last May when the right-handed Escobar missed a squeeze sign and swung away with Rajai Davis racing from third base towards home, and nowhere to hide if Escobar had ripped one down the line. Granted, that’s kind of a fucking dangerous play, but… do missed signs wipe out that much of the value of a 4+ win shortstop who got on base 37% of the time last year?

I’m gonna go ahead and say no. And I’m also gonna go ahead and say it’s not something we really need to bother even worrying about worrying about at the moment.

Ahhh, spring! Where letting nature take its course is never an option.