Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is quick to make clear exactly what I figured about the rumours of the Jays talking to ex-Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, saying that Kevin Seitzer is expected to return as the club’s hitting coach. “The Blue Jays as a matter of process speak with many available coaches to see if there’s a fit anywhere in the organization,” he explains.
Whoa. WTF?? According to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal, Rays GM Andrew Friedman is leaving the AL East and will take over for Ned Colletti as GM of the Dodgers. That’s big. (Colletti will stay on as an advisor or some such thing).
Over the weekend, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Seattle Mariners front office — as well as their new, expensive signing, Robinson Cano — wanted to sign Nelson Cruz last winter, but their plans were scuppered by ownership, who refused to touch anyone with P.E.D. issues. Does this remove what could have been a very strong suitor for Melky Cabrera this winter? Let’s hope! (Since we’re still pipe-dreamin’ that the Jays get him back, right?)
Speaking of pending free agents, MLBTR’s latest is a continuation of their Free Agent Profile series, which today looks at Melky Cabrera. “A number of teams will be looking for offense in a thin market for bats, and Cabrera’s will be one of the best out there. The Orioles, Tigers, Royals, White Sox, Twins, Mariners, Rangers, Giants, Padres, Reds, Phillies and Mets could all be in the market for an outfield upgrade, so Cabrera’s representatives at the Legacy Agency will have no shortage of teams with which to converse,” writes Steve Adam, noting also that the White Sox, Twins, Rangers, and Phillies Among those clubs, the White Sox, Twins, Rangers and Phillies would have a protected first-round pick. “I feel the $36-45MM figure floated past the Toronto Star’s Brendan Kennedy in a survey of rival agents was low. Cabrera can rightly claim that he’s one of the best bats on the market at a relatively young age, and that’s enough for me to predict a perhaps unnecessarily specific five-year, $66.25MM contract (Peralta’s contract with an extra year at the same AAV).” Yeesh.
At MLBTR last week they did a Free Agent Profile on Colby Rasmus, which… was less glowing. “I believe Rasmus will prioritize finding the right fit over maxing his earnings, whether on a one-year or multi-year deal,” writes Jeff Todd. “I do find a make-good contract to be the likelier outcome, and think that Rasmus will be able to reach $12MM on a one-year deal. But I would not be surprised if he ultimately scores a three-year pact.” I’d say that if it wouldn’t take away from whatever else the Jays might want to do — which it wouldn’t, so it’s a moot point — making Colby the qualifying offer might not be entirely crazy. Except that with the draft pick tied around his neck his market changes significantly and he totally accepts it. I’d really like to see what Dalton Pompey can do, myself.
Rasmus won’t be offered a qualifying offer, nor will Casey Janssen, of course, as Mike Wilner reported at Sportsnet last week. No shocks there.
Moving along, Steve Simmons vomits into our mouths at the Toronto Sun, dumbing down the discourse by using the examples of this year’s playoff teams to tell us that the Jays don’t have to spend to make the playoffs. We all know that’s true, of course, but the implication of this sort of nonsense, and the goofy attempt to implore his readers to see what’s supposedly in front of their noses — “It isn’t about payroll with the Blue Jays. It’s about spending the money wisely. It’s about player development. It’s about team. It’s about trust. It’s about performance. The money is there. The results are not.” — reduces a complex matter to a bunch of platitudes. Oh… I’m sorry… is it obvious that I can’t stand this sort of empowerment of mouth-breather mantras that overlook things like the division the Jays play in, the unbalanced schedule, and the specific reality of their current predicament? Sure, all that stuff in the abstract is totally true. But if the Jays want to be better in 2015, they need to spend more. If the Jays want to be good and maintain a player development pipeline and spend future money wisely (by keeping as many quality homegrown players possible and not destroying their pipeline through trades), they need to spend more now in order to fill in their current gaps. Hey, but let’s pretend this is all uncomplicated and WAHHHHHHH!
Elsewhere in the Sun, Mike Rutsey reports that Marcus Stroman contacted Caleb Joseph of the Orioles about the incident that got him suspended in September. “He got my number and we spoke and as far as things are concerned with me it’s a fresh, clean slate, start over. We’ll move on. I don’t have any desire to drag it out, hold grudges. This game is much bigger than a grudge that Caleb Joseph may want to have or not, it doesn’t matter. We spoke and I think things are good between us and hopefully we’ll have good competition the rest of the way out,” Joseph explained. “Honestly, right now I’m just so excited to be here in the post-season. I kind of forgot about it to be honest with you. It’s not my place to judge intent and honestly I could care less.”
More from the Sun, as Bob Elliott looks at the Kansas City Royals’ Canadian connection, the rave reviews given Buck Showalter by too-valued Jays advisor Mel Didier, and the resignation (cue garbage clowns) of the Jays southeastern cross checker, scout Rob St. Julien.
Roberto Osuna debuted last week in the Arizona Fall League, and… uh… if you haven’t heard, it didn’t go so well. Charlie Caskey writes about the outing for the Vancouver Sun, and offers some hope: “Grasping at straws, but as Clutchlings reminded me, Aaron Sanchez had a pretty rocky AFL debut. He only got better from there.”
Speaking of Osuna, last week Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs looked at the top ten 2015 prospects by projected WAR, and while no Jays made the list, no pitchers made the list either. If there was a list for pitchers, though, Osuna would find himself third, behind Lucas Giolito of the Nationals and the Marlins’ Andrew Heaney.
Interesting stuff, as always, from Nick Ashbourne of Bluebird Banter, as he takes a look at Edwin Encarnacion’s trouble with breaking pitches.
Great stuff from Harry Pavlidis of Baseball Prospectus on Fox’s alternative, stats-oriented broadcast of game two of the NLCS over the weekend.
Marcus Stroman made Baseball America’s All-Rookie team, because… of course he did.
The Jays added pitcher Bo Schultz last week. Unless his nickname is “Dutch,” meh.
At BlueJays.com, Gregor Chisholm has an excellent mail bag up, which should totally help those of you who, like myself, are feeling Griff Bag withdrawal.
Lastly, I was on a very special baseball-themed edition of local movie podcast The Dew Over, as lent my inner ghoul to a talk about the top baseball movies of all time. Have a listen!
And speaking of podcast, up shortly at Your Van C’s will be the latest edition of theirs, which features Anthony Alford and Tom Robson. Check it out!