Archive for the ‘Daily Duce’ Category

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Daily? Not even close! In fact, as you’ve surely noticed, I’ve been finding it tough to push through the apathy for this team and this season that finally settled in around me this week, with the Jays losing five straight, slipping again behind both the Yankees and Cleveland, even as the Wild Card holders in Oakland and Kansas City have stumbled. Of course, it’s pointless to get frustrated about five individual games. Baseball is about the big picture, and in the big picture, the Jays were pretty much right where we thought they’d be: mediocre. There are all kinds of reasons why and all kinds of things they can do to get better next year — don’t let anybody tell you they’re not close — and, oddly, it will be something of a relief in the coming days to start assessing the wreckage and looking towards the future. Sorry, but Mark Buehrle’s quest for 200 innings just doesn’t do it for me. And speaking of the future…

This piece should be marked NSFW, because holy shit. Jeff Long of Baseball Prospectus lectures us on “The Dangerous Business Of Comparing Stroman To Maddux” as he goes about comparing Marcus Stroman to Greg Maddux. Yowza! Conclusion? “Consistent release points to hide the ball. Late, hard break on all of his pitches, making it difficult for hitters to decipher one pitch from another. Excellent control of his pitches, minimizing the damage done by free passes. Those three characteristics describe Marcus Stroman. They also describe Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. Fine, we didn’t get so far as proving that Stroman’s got anything like Maddux’s future, and Stroman hasn’t gone so far as proving it himself. Until he does, he’ll have to settle for using many of the tenets that made Maddux great—and he’ll have to settle for being “merely” on the cusp of being an ace.”

Speaking of the future, J.J. Cooper chatted last week at Baseball America, in the wake of their naming Kris Bryant — one-time Jays draftee! — as their minor league player of the year. In the piece he laid this on us: “ If we picked a pitcher of the year, it probably would have been Norris edging Glasnow. Norris getting the edge because he pitched at four levels this year while Glasnow stayed in hiA. But as good as both of their years were, they didn’t compare in our eyes to the season Bryant had.” Fair enough. And also: nails much?

Elsewhere at BA, last week they named their all prospect team for August, which included a pair of Jays farmhands: Franklin Barreto and Jairo Labourt, the latter of whom “ led the Northwest League in ERA (1.77), opponent average (.188) and strikeout rate (10.4 per nine innings), indicating the extent of the 20-year-old’s ceiling.”

Blue Jays Plus points us to a BA piece letting us know that the Jays have extended their agreements with the Lansing Lugnuts and the Bluefield Blue Jays, meaning that all the Jays affiliates will return in 2015.

Back to BP, where this week’s Monday Morning Ten Pack listed prospects who exceeded their expectations in 2014, and first up is Dalton Pompey. Chris Mellen writes that Pompey has been a nice surprise “not so much in regards to identifying the raw tools and what they indicate for his overall potential, but in how quickly things have clicked for a player who was just finishing up his first full-season campaign a year ago.”

Speaking of Pompey, John Lott tweets out the Jays’ lineup for tonight, and Pompey is in it — his first MLB start. Nice!

Keith Law revealed his prospects of the year this week at ESPN.com, and unsurprisingly, Daniel Norris was one of the ten he short-listed. “He might be in Toronto’s rotation in 2015,” he says, “which is a remarkable leap for a pitcher who spent 2013 in the low-A Midwest League, walking a man every other inning. ” Indeed.

At FanGraphs, David Laurila talks to Dalton Pompey, who he says “ has catapulted himself from promising prospect to star-in-the-making.” The player himself gives a lot of the credit to Steve Springer, the Jays’ “performance coach,” who helps him with the mental side of the game. Interesting stuff.

More Pompey stuff from Melissa Couto of the Canadian Baseball Network, as the young outfielder reveals that he had a conversation with Vernon Wells back in 2010. ““I told him he would have to move over to left because I was going to play centre one day soon,” he says. Nails much?

A pair from Brian Crawford at Jays Prospects, as he talks to Mitch Nay about his successful first trip through full season ball, and tells us about the rise of Miguel Castro through the Jays’ system.

Heading to the local mainstream press, we have Scott Stinson of the National Post, who last week wrote about how the Jays’ slim playoff odds belied a lot of promise for the future. Meanwhile, Richard Griffin writes similarly in the Toronto Star, singling out the club’s young arms as reason to be optimistic.

Ben Nicholson-Smith write about Norris for Sportsnet, looking at a pitcher who is quickly losing his fear of the unknown in the big leagues. A week earlier, he wrote about Aaron Sanchez, and how the right-hander’s elite stuff is leading to great results.

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Shi Davidi tells us that the Jays won’t deter their young pitchers from throwing inside, despite Marcus Stroman’s suspension, and the tensions of this week’s series in Baltimore.

More from Sportsnet: Arden Zwelling writes about the two different exits being taken by the Jays and Orioles as the 2014 regular season winds down; Shi Davidi recaps last night’s loss to the Yankees, suggesting that the Jays don’t have much to work with right now, and it’s showing.

Three more particularly interesting ones from Davidi this week: he writes that the Jays expect to be competitive for Melky Cabrera; that, despite a less-than-glowing endorsement from his GM, John Gibbons’ job isn’t in jeopardy; and he explains why Steve Pearce chose the Baltimore Orioles, who has been a key cog for them this season — and who at one point this season was claimed by the Blue Jays.

Speaking of Melky, MLBTR looks at the market for him, and comes down on the side of sanity, not mentioning the Shin-Soo Choo deal, or something of five years or more, but highlighting Shane Victorino, Jhonny Peralta, and Curtis Granderson as possible comps. I can live with that — and better still, I think the Jays can live with that. But the lack of other outfield options on the market maybe changes things — though, honestly, I wouldn’t despair a Michael Cuddyer or Josh Willingham on a cheaper, shorter deal, I suppose.

Great stuff from John Lott of the National Post, as he digs up the details on Aaron Loup’s text message conversation with Nick Markakis, following a hit-by-pitch in Tuesday night’s game in Baltimore.

Elsewhere in the Post, Lott relays the not-terribly-apologetic response from Alex Anthopoulos following criticism from PETA about the Jays having tiger and lion cubs from the Bowmanville Zoo in their locker room prior to a game last week.

Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star talks to Roberto Alomar and Devon White about sliding headfirst into home, which they don’t recommend.

Todd Redmond has had his good deeds recognized, as Gregor Chisholm tells us at BlueJays.com that he has been named the team’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente award, “which honours the Major League Baseball player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field.”

A tweet from our old friend GROF points us to a FanGraphs leaderboard showing the 19 players over the last five years to put up a wRC+ below 30 while being handed over 150 plate appearances. Fans of the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays will recognize one of the names on the list.

Interesting stuff here from Harvey Araton of the New York Times, as he looks back at the Opening Day 2003 incident involving Derek Jeter and Ken Huckaby — pivoting off a recent Sportsnet piece that Huckaby reportedly now says he regrets — and comes to the conclusion that Jeter “might consider giving one thing back — or taking back — a rare misstep made across nearly two decades of brilliance. Call up the Lansing Lugnuts, get a contact for the old catcher who 11 years ago landed on him with his tools of ignorance. Tell Ken Huckaby that he gets it now, he respects the effort, and leave it at that.”

Speaking of the Lugnuts, their broadcaster, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler was one of the panelists at last week’s excellent Pitch Talks events, and has provided a great roundup of what was discussed at The 2-2 Pitch, his blog about the Lugnuts. Great! Now I don’t have to!

At the Wall Street Journal, Kelly Johnson, who has now played for all five teams in the AL East, gives a guide to the cities in the division, saying that Toronto has the best food and the worst traffic — at least as far as the area around the ballpark is concerned. Seems reasonable.

Lastly, Bluebird Banter has a poll up asking readers if they approve of the job that Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler are doing as the Jays’ TV broadcasters. I know how I’m gonna vote!

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The Jays quest for the improbable continues tonight with another game against the Cubs, and with Cleveland and the Yankees not-so-firmly in their rear view. But a lead is a lead, and all the Jays have to do is keep on winning and they won’t have to worry about them again. Meaning that they’ll only need to worry about the Mariners (against whom they still have four games to play), and either the Royals or the Tigers, one of whom is guaranteed to lose tonight — they play each other, with the winner assuming control of the AL Central.

And what that means is that if Seattle loses to the Astros, and the Jays win, the Jays will sit just 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot, with seventeen games to play.

In fact, with the Jays and the AL Central clubs playing in the eastern time zone, it’s virtually guaranteed that, with a win, at some point tonight the Jays will be at 3.5 back — though a Mariners win would make them the holders of the spot, with the Jays four games back.

The thing about all this is, though, that they gotta win. So do it! Go Jays!

Next game(s): Friday, 7:07 PM ET vs. Tampa

For those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app.

And now, the lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
C Dionner Navarro (S)
3B Danny Valencia (R)
LF Kevin Pillar (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)

RHP Drew Hutchison

Chicago Cubs

LF Chris Coghlan (L)
SS Javier Baez (R)
3B Luis Valbuena (L)
RF Jorge Soler (R)
C Wellington Castillo (R)
CF Ryan Kalish (L)
2B Arismendy Alcantara (S)
1B Mike Olt (R)
DH Logan Watkins (L)

RHP Kyle Hendricks

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Two days in a row!!?!?!

It’s been a while since the Daily Duce has actually been, y’know, daily, but maybe that’s changing. Maybe it’s just temporary, though. Either way, I needed to do one today, because our pal Drew dropped some science over at Ghostrunner On First, so this officially counts as an occasion. In the piece, Drew looks at what it means that the Jays are “not technically dead,” the easy target placed on John Gibbons’ back, and how the manager is, in fact, probably fucking awesome. Or, at least, that’s how I read it. Try it yourself!

Moving on, Drew’s colleague at FanGROFs, Mike Petriello, weighed in this morning on perhaps the single most important issue the Jays will face in the upcoming off-season: what will happen with Melky Cabrera. The crux: “While there’s some real reasons to question about him going forward, he’s also about to enter a market that is almost totally devoid of outfield offensive talent. Cabrera’s going to get paid, and it’s going to make a lot of people unhappy.” Petriello notes that, unfortunately for the Jays, there are several teams potentially in line for a protected draft pick who could certainly use an upgrade like Melky — who is by far the youngest, best outfield free agent on a very thin market this year. The Phillies, Padres, Astros, White Sox, Mets, and Reds are the ones he came up with off the top of his head, along with the Jays. That’s troublesome, but ultimately Mike doesn’t suggest a deal for Cabrera is going to be any more outlandish than what we’ve heard — the four-year, $60-million deal that Curtis Granderson signed with the Mets last year still appears to be the high water mark. One hopes.

Speaking of people being unhappy about what Cabrera will make this winter, Buster Olney, everybody! If you follow a link in Petriello’s piece you’ll find some high grade nonsense over at ESPN.com (Insider Olney), wherein it’s suggested that it’s “a really, really great idea that the union should consider” to limit guys who test positive a second time to one-year contracts. Yes, more hysteria. That sounds like a plan.

Moving on, we have some good news! The Rays, according to the Tampa Tribune, have shut down pitcher Drew Smyly for the season, meaning that the Jays will not have to face him when the Rays come to town on Friday. Nate Karns will be recalled to make the start. “Karns was 9-9 with a 5.08 ERA in 27 starts at Durham. He had 153 strikeouts in 145 1/3 innings,” we’re told. He’s coming off a 12 strikeout game, though.

Less good news: According to the New York Post, Masahiro Tanaka is feeling good after pitching a simulated game, and the Yankees are hoping to get him into one or two games before the season ends. Not only that, we’re told that Yankees manager Joe Girardi “said it’s possible Tanaka could pitch for the Yankees five days after [his next simulated game, tentatively scheduled for Sunday], setting up a potential return from the disabled list during the September 19-21 series against the Blue Jays at the Stadium.” Of course, if the Jays are in it enough by then for the possibility of facing TANAK to matter, um… I’ll totally take that.

Greg Wisniewski continues his outstanding “One At-Bat” series at Blue Jays Plus, looking at Brett Cecil’s dramatic two-out punch-out of the Rays’ Sean Rodriguez to preserve a ninth-inning scoreless tie that would be broken in the next frame by a pinch hit home run from Colby Rasmus.

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Think of how many rags he had to pick!

It’s been a while since I did one of these, so there is a tonne of great stuff to get to, but how can I not start with last night’s gem? As usual, John Lott’s game story in the National Post provides us an excellent recap.

As I noted in this morning’s GIF post, Marcus Stroman’s performance truly made one feel good about the future. But as we all know, the Jays’ future doesn’t hinge solely on him. Last week Ben Lindbergh of Grantland looked in-depth at five September call-ups that fans need to know about, and two of them were Blue Jays: Dan Norris and Dalton Pompey. He was, as you’d expect, a little less high on Pompey than Norris, suggesting that his rapid ascent this season might oversell his potential, and killing some of his maple dick buzz by reminding us that “he handed in his Canadian card when he admitted he’d never attended a hockey game before March of this year.” Still, though, great stuff.

Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet gave an excellent rundown of all the Jays’ call-ups last week, as well.

Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs looked at four of the same five call-ups as Lindbergh did, offering a scout’s take on both of the Jays’ prospects. On Norris he generally offers praise, explaining that “he still isn’t perfectly online, he can elevate at times when he locks his landing knee and these things lead to a flatter fastball and giving up more hard contact. That said, he’s athletic enough to make all of this work and, when it’s right, the stuff is electric. There’s 2/3 starter upside and Norris now has the command to get there much faster than many would’ve guessed before this season.” Pompey’s promtion, he thinks, is less of a good thing: “He has under 200 plate appearances above A-Ball, has a bigger stride/swing than most lead-off types and his dead hand load gives him some timing issues against advanced pitching. Pompey has hit his way to the big leagues, he offers speed and defense immediately and that could help prop up his batting average in the short-term, but this is a little premature.”

Elsewhere at FanGraphs, Carson Cistulli’s look at the week’s best fringe prospects includes Dwight Smith Jr., who got less hype than Pompey — and didn’t rise through the system the same way — but who exhibited a similar skill set to his former Dunedin outfield mate.

At FanGraphs’ sister site, RotoGraphs, Marc Hulet takes a fantasy focus and tells us about the top impact prospects in MLB among left-handed starters, and guess who heads the list? Yep. It’s Daniel Norris. (His piece on the top right-handed starting prospects has Aaron Sanchez coming in fourth — behind Taijuan Walker, Archie Bradley, and Lucas Giolito, but ahead of Noah Syndergaard and Dylan Bundy. Hmmm.)

Oh, and there’s still more: Jeff Moore and Ben Carsley of Baseball Prospectus offer some pretty nice praise for Pompey, from a fantasy perspective, explaining that, “depending on the Jays’ offseason moves and prospect graduations, Pompey could be a top-25 name when we start compiling prospect lists this offseason, and if for some reason he’s not owned in your dynasty league, you should rectify that immediately.” They also nail it with this one: “Anthony Gose could lose the most playing time to a Pompey since Pliny the Elder.” Wah wahhh!

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Daily?

Here we go again. Scott MacArthur of TSN.ca writes that the Jays should be willing to trade Jose Bautista in the off-season. The club’s positional portion of the roster “is built to win now. You could argue the positional roster is beyond its ability to win, past its prime. Centrefielder Dalton Pompey is the only positional prospect of consequence playing higher than Single-A. He’s currently at Triple-A Buffalo,” he explains. “It’s time for the Jays to supplement the young pitchers with a more youthful positional corps. The way to do that is to take the best asset, Bautista, and use his prodigious productivity and cheap contract to secure a haul.” I might agree if Bautista’s contract wasn’t so good. I might agree if whatever young position players they could get their hands on wouldn’t come with huge question marks that Bautista doesn’t. I might agree if I thought this team was irrevocably broken and not just a few savvy tinkers away from being able to make noise in the AL East again. I might agree that the age gap is such a concern if there hadn’t been 16 playoff games started by pitchers age 23 and under in the last two seasons, and 47 made by pitchers age 24 and under in the last four. I might agree… but I don’t.*

McArthur focused on roster construction as the reason Bautista could be in play this winter, but it’s certainly not like there hasn’t been a bunch of peripheral noise being made around the Jays’ superstar this week — much of his own doing. But even as things may have been getting worse (though not in my eyes) with his shouldn’t-be-shocking reluctance to sing the praises of Rogers, they may have been getting better, too. One example is Bob Elliott’s counterpoint to Scott’s trade talk, writing in the Toronto Sun — in a piece with a big, bold headline — that Bautista isn’t going anywhere. At least not in the player’s view. “I’m not going anywhere until the end of my contract,” he says.

Of course, he doesn’t really have any say in that. Not yet, at least — but it’s damn close. I thought I was super sharp for thinking of this, but it was actually brought up first by a caller on last night’s JaysTalk, as I later discovered: Bautista will end this season having spent six full years on the Jays’ active roster (plus part of 2008, after he was acquired from Pittsburgh), and will have nine years and 165 days of big league service time — just seven days short of ten years of big league service. Seven days short of earning his ten and five rights, and the right to veto any trade. If they don’t trade him this off-season, it will become very difficult to do so. Edwin Encarnacion, by the way, will also hit the milestone by the end of next season.

It’s worth repeating and adding to this, even though I proved a link in last night’s piece: Shi Davidi vindicates Bautista’s contention that he didn’t deserve his ejection on Sunday afternoon. “hey were both down. They were both down. It’s a one-run game,” is what Davidi quotes Bautista as saying in a piece last night at Sportsnet. “You gotta go,” umpire Bill Welke responds. “I’m not cursing you,” Bautista responds, and is then ejected. It wasn’t the first time, Shi reminds us, that Bautista was run by Welke: “On Aug. 26, 2011 in Toronto, Welke was behind the plate for another game between the Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays, and called a second strike in Bautista’s third at-bat that he didn’t like. A few pitches later Bautista struck out for the third time against James Shields, and when he returned to the dugout began smashing the wall with his bat and cursed out, earning an ejection from Welke. Once tossed, Bautista proceeded to throw his bat, helmet, elbow pads and other accoutrements onto the field.” Hmmm.

Ben Lindbergh of Grantland take an excellent, deep look at players who have lost their prospect eligibility this season, and how they have trended in the eyes of scouts, scouting directors, analysts, and other executives, and I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the huge main image at the top of the post is of Marcus Stroman. He leads off the “trending up” portion of the piece, and why the hell shouldn’t he? One person he spoke to says that Stroman has already proven himself a capable mid-rotation starter, but another seems to go farther. ”I was worried about the lack of an out pitch vs. LHHs, although I did think he’d be able to stick as a starter. The development of his cutter and fastball command have essentially molded him into a pitcher with three plus offerings.” Nails much?

Aaron Sanchez, by the way, gets an honourable mention in the “trending up” section after he received multiple up votes himself. However, Sanchez is also mentioned later, as at least one of those surveyed felt he’d trended down.

Here’s something fun: though he is at least reasonable enough to point out that there’s no way to know if it was a grave error for the Jays to have not found more reinforcements at the trade deadline (have you seen this? have you heard about this?) or something else, and to note that both the Tigers and A’s — huge deadline winners, we were told — have suffered as well, but Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs looks at the changes in playoff probabilities across the majors since July 31, and HOLY FUCKING SHIT. The Jays have lost 56 percentage points off their odds as of that date — by far the most in baseball. Detroit’s 30 points and Atlanta’s 20 percentage points lost are second and third highest, so… yeah.

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I tell ya, I haven’t seen this many ants since Cincy in ’84.

It is, of course, an off-day for the Jays, with a trip to Chicago and a reunion with Edwin Encarnacion upcoming. That means a roster move, too — and could spell the end of Juan Francisco. But so then you make Danny Valencia your starting third baseman against right-handers? I don’t know about that. Maybe? Francisco has been so awful lately (and brings so little with the glove) that it’s almost the better move, but don’t be shocked if the fact that Anthony Gose has options left makes him the odd man out either. We probably won’t hear about that until tomorrow, or later tonight at the earliest. In the meantime, here are some links…

“When the Jays needed a huge performance from starting pitcher R.A. Dickey, he allowed a two-run, two-out home to DH Kendrys Morales,” writes Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. “Dickey overall did not pitch poorly, but once again, as has been the case with all of the Jays starters, he did not pitch well enough to win.” I mean, those lines are maybe not the essence of the article as a whole, but come the fuck on.

Griff did, however, have some nice words to say about the great travelling crowd of fans that once again greeted the Jays at Safeco Field.

Meanwhile, at Sportsnet, Arden Zwelling wraps up a big series that sure looks like a blow to the Jays’ playoff chances. While the Tao of Stieb tries to remind us of what Faith No More roadies looked like. And also that “even when things were good for this franchise, they were nerve-wracking and tense and often profoundly disappointing,” and that more delight and agony are sure to be in store over the next two months (assuming the Jays ever actually score a fucking run again).

Oh, but be sure to pause the autoplay video at the top of that Tao piece before you start reading, otherwise you’ll see one “getting poured out” for the Jays season (which is apparently over?) by Six Seixeiro… because he is a garbage clown. Hey, and speaking of Sid, him and I are just two of the guests who’ll be appearing at the next edition of Pitch Talks, which will be taking place a week from today — Thursday, August 21st —  along with Stacey May Fowles, Jenn Smith, Erin Valois, Shi Davidi, and Jeremy Taggart. Get your tickets here – use the promo code DJF for $5 off! Cool-ass poster here.

Hey, and two days earlier, come watch the Jays take on the Brewers at 8:10 PM over at Opera Bob’s! It’s an old fashioned DJF Drink-Up! (That’s Tuesday, August 19th, for those of you counting — and Opera Bob’s is at Dundas and Ossington here in Toronto, for those who haven’t been).

Anywho… hey, here’s a team whose playoff chances I don’t mind worrying about nearly as much as I do the Jays’: the Detroit Tigers. Michael Bauman of Grantland writes that it’s time for Tigers fans to worry. For Jays fans, though, the piece is worth noting because of how it illustrates just how quickly the Tigers’ fortunes turned around (*COUGH*) and how damaging it may have been that they over-extended themselves at the trade deadline and with big contracts, only now to find themselves in a position where they must fight to be in a play-in game (*COUGH, COUGH*)

Elsewhere at Grantland, Ben Lindbergh gives us The Managerial Meddling Index, in which he measures the in-game activity of managers, and finds — unsurprisingly, given all the platoons he’s had to run — that John Gibbons has meddled more than any manager in the majors so far this year.

FanGROFs Alert: I linked it in yesterday’s Game Threat, but definitely do check out Drew’s appearance on the FanGraphs podcast from this week — especially as he and Carson Cistulli spend a good deal of time talking about the DJF and Getting Blanked podcasts (the former of which, I should make clear, will definitely rise again — it just might be a little while) — and his latest FanGROFs piece, in which he looks at the importance of “the good miss.”

Elsewhere at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron looks at the Baltimore Orioles, and the idea of accepting random variance.

A couple pieces from over at the Toronto Sun, as Bob Elliott looks at prospect Mitch Nay, and also interviews Munenori Kawasaki.

I’ve been pushing this lately in the Game Threat, so I might as well do it here too: since Facebook changed its algorithms with respect to sharing, it’s really become a much more powerful social media tool, and so it’s probably in your best interest to just go right ahead and like DJF on Facebook. That way you can get everything that’s posted here injected straight into your feed-veins. Do it.

Lastly, Kendall Graveman continues to be something of a groundball machine, and at Blue Jays Plus we can see in one handy GIF all eleven groundball outs he induced last night for the Buffalo Bisons. Impressive stuff. I wrote about Graveman last week, in case you missed it, trying to make sense of his success, his rapid ascent, and his status as a “real” prospect.

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Move over bananas, I’ve got a new source of potassium!

Talk about burying the lede. In small subsection of a Saturday piece for the Toronto Sun, Bob Elliott dropped this nugget: “Rogers Communications might prove us wrong about not giving general manager Alex Anthopoulos any cash to add at the deadline and the Jays could add a $10-million contract next week. Might it be a tad too late?” I’ll believe it when I see it. Sure would be fucking nice, though. So… whaddaya think the Mets want for Jon Niese? Because I bet it’s a metric shitload.

“I haven’t had any communication with them, which has been a little frustrating at times because I feel like I’ve ironed some of the things out that I needed to iron out and I’m just waiting for that opportunity to go back out there and hopefully do what I’m doing here.” Those words come from Sergio Santos, who says he was taken aback by the decision to designate him for assignment last month, according to Stephen Whyno of the Canadian Press, via the Globe and Mail. Santos gave up a hit in his first appearance for Buffalo, and hasn’t since. He’s struck out nine in 6.2 innings, but has also walked four. Sounds like he’s close.

More from Whyno, this time in the National Post, as he reports on Edwin Encarnacion’s first rehab game for Buffalo, and how badly the Jays need their slugger back.

The Jays announced this afternoon that they’ve claimed Colt Hynes, a left-handed reliever, from the Dodgers and assigned him to Buffalo. Hynes is 29, with 17 innings of big league experience, all of which came last season for San Diego, and… uh… it did not go well. He had a great year last year in Double- and Triple-A, though. This year he’s pitched to a 4.08 ERA and 4.04 FIP in 42 games in the PCL. Meh.

Great stuff at Sportsnet from Arden Zwelling, who looks at Jose Bautista, who is everything to the Jays — but maybe not enough.

Elsewhere at Sporstnet, Shi Davidi confirms what I wrote about yesterday: that the Jays will indeed play exhibition games in Montreal once again this spring. Sweet!

Back to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, as does his best to empower the whiny subset of the Jays’ fan base, writing that the club missed a golden opportunity last night, in what was “supposed to be the easy one” against Seattle. Yeah, and they were supposed to lose to the Tigers’ Cy-calibre starters, right? Funny how baseball sometimes is baseball.

Elsewhere in the Sun, in a notebook post, Elliott notes that Jose Reyes wasn’t thrilled with the decision to have him sit out Monday’s opener of the series in Seattle. “It was an executive decision,” John Gibbons told reporters. Elsewhere in the piece, Elliott notes that Dan Norris had an excellent debut on Sunday with the Buffalo Bisons, striking out ten in six scoreless.

Baseball Prospectus gives some context to Norris’s performance: “Norris has ridden his fastball/slider combination all the way to the upper levels of the minor leagues this season, with Buffalo representing his third stop along the way. He’s missed bats in droves at every stop and showed no sign of slowing down in his first Triple-A start on Sunday. He’s still got a ways to go to become a complete pitcher, including the development of the changeup he’ll need in the majors, but for now he’s able to get by with two potential plus pitches.” Sounds sorta like a guy who could do alright in a big league bullpen in a pinch, doesn’t it?

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