Archive for the ‘Daily Duce’ Category

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So I may have been neglecting my RSS reader lately, meaning that there’s surely a tonne of good stuff out there that we haven’t been over since the last time I dropped a Daily Duce. However, I’ve put aside several recent gems the old fashioned way, and have some really great stuff to share today, along with the promise that these are going to be a little more regular. Probably just lacked fibre in my diet while on the road in the States. Poop. Also: Daily?

An update from Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes on the status of Ervin Santana came yesterday evening, as he tweeted (en Español) that the Braves are very interested but have no budget, that the Royals “called” (“Royals lo llamó”), and that standing offers remain from the Jays and Orioles. Rojas adds that he figures if a club ups their offer to $15-million for one year, that will be the end of this insufferable game. Just do it already, Jays!

Jon Heyman concurs that its coming down to the Jays and Orioles at CBS Sports, and adds this interesting tidbit: “Both have made reasonable one-year offers, with the Blue Jays believed to be in the neighborhood of the $14 million mark, and the Orioles thought to have initially offered a couple million dollars less than that. Baltimore hasn’t ruled out the possibility of adding an incentive package, which could allow the Orioles’ deal to be worth as much as Toronto’s or perhaps a little bit more.” Reading that has made me about as positive about this whole thing as I’ve been all week.

Back to speaking of the Braves, MLBTR has the latest on injured pitcher Kris Medlen, which is… inconclusive. So no Tommy John announcement yet, which is good for the Jays. Except… they should have just done this Santana thing already, though maybe now it’s he who is keeping the club waiting, with thoughts of a nice National League pillow deal on a good Atlanta team in his head. Because of the budget stuff, Heyman says “it isn’t known how involved Atlanta is to this point.”

Great stuff, if a bit dispiriting, from Jeff Blair at the Globe and Mail, who looks at the Santana situation, jumping straight to the rub: “What nobody wants to say is what everybody around the Toronto Blue Jays is saying privately: that if this was last winter, Ervin Santana’s signing would be done and dusted. There would be none of this nonsense of player-imposed deadlines allowing more teams to get in the hunt.” He adds that “more than one player has said he finds it odd that an organization that added players of pedigree and contract last winter is suddenly unable to close a deal with a pitcher such as Santana.” Right?

Staying on the pitching front, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune writes about Jeff Samardzija, who pitched in front of a bunch of scouts this week. He adds that “the Blue Jays — who had former Cubs general manager Ed Lynch in attendance as a scout — continue to lurk, and Samardzija realizes multiple teams may be interested.” Hmmm…

Shifting gears, last week there was a public meeting regarding the expansion proposal at BMO Field, and TFC blog Walking The Red has images of what the updated stadium would look like — including retractable end seating to accommodate the Argos. The especially fascinating stuff is in the comments, as the writers for that site are saying this expansion will start after Labour Day (i.e. once the Ex is over) so that stage one can be completed in time for the Pan Am Games, that they’ve heard it confirmed that the Argos will be moving there (“a fait accompli that is well down the line”), and the big one: “Argos will be out of there before the Jays 2016 season at the latest.” Grass, please.

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Spring Training isn’t maybe in full swing just yet, but it’s pretty close. Many reporters have made the trip to Dunedin already, so it’s time for the annual tradition of every media outlet in town publishing a whole bunch pretty much the exact same story. And a bunch more that’s great, too! Baseball!

Mike Petriello of FanGraphs looks at the Jays’ second base problem, and offers all the solutions we’re aware of that almost certainly aren’t actually going to happen, unfortunately. Grim.

In the Toronto Star, Richard Griffin figures that the Orioles have ruined the Jays chances at Ervin Santana by setting the bar too high, and too close to the Matt Garza deal. Hard not to share the concern at this point.

Last week Griffin also penned an excellent tribute to former Jays manager, the late Jim Fregosi.

Regarding Santana, MLBTR looks at the latest on the last remaining big-ish name free agent pitcher, including the fact that several teams are now in on him, apparently. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet looks at the possibility of the Jays still landing him, while at Getting Blanked, Drew gives his skillset the benefit of the doubt… sort of.

At his North Of Border blog, Gregor Chisholm gives us some early impressions on camp, including the fact that the club really likes Erik Kratz — he’s worked with Dickey in the off-season and apparently the Jays are really looking for a reason to take him north, which sounds like a plan to me — and that J.A. Happ’s spot in the rotation seems pretty well set. Hmmm.

Speaking of Happ, he’s an easy case to spin if you don’t allow anybody to think too much about it, I think: great last spring, got hurt, fixed his arm angle, great in September. Lots of ways to think he could be alright, if you really want to. I dunno though. To that effect: Shi Davidi writes about his adjustments for Sportsnet. Ken Fidlin of the Sun looks at the adjustments as well, while John Lott of the Post talks about his knee (or at least that’s what his piece’s title does).

Jays Journal passes along word via the Houston Chronicle that the Astros are now talking with the Washington Nationals about finding a new spring facility in Florida. They were, of course, involved with the Jays until the deal with Palm Beach Gardens collapsed.

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He’s like a kid in a candy shop, and that candy is… success.

Sportsnet will broadcast a tonne of Jays Spring Training games on the radio this season, and also on TV. They gave us all the details in a release this morning.

Late addition: According to a tweet from Jon Morosi, the Jays are among the teams who’ve scouted Cuban 23-year-old second baseman Aledmys Diaz. That doesn’t mean they’re not just doing their due diligence, but if the interest is there, and the opportunity to play in the big leagues is something that may drive Diaz’s decision, uh… you’d have to think there might be a chance. I gathered some additional background on him here.

Bluebird Banter takes a fresh approach to looking at Jays prospects, with writer jays182 giving us the infield portion of their Organizational All-Upside Team.

So, about that pining for A.J. Burnett. According to John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times, there’s more to A.J.’s ending up in Philadelphia than just money. “Everything changed when the Pirates decided not to start Burnett in the decisive Game 5 against the Cardinals in the National League Division Series after he had been rocked for seven runs in two innings in Game 1,” he writes. “Burnett was enraged by the decision and threatened to not fly with the team to St. Louis despite being told he would likely start Game 1 or 2 if the Pirates advanced to the National League Championship Series to face the Dodgers.” Yikes.

Drew has a hot taco on the Burnett stuff over at Getting Blanked. And there’s Moore great stuff at Getting Blanked (see what I just did there?), as Jack Moore’s latest Primary Sources piece looks at Dick Allen, Race, And Repeated Failures in Sport.

Back to Sportsnet, where Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at the weak spots for each team in the AL East, and also catches up with Darren Oliver, who won’t be pitching at a big league camp this spring for the first time since the Jays’ World Series years.

Brett Lawrie tweets that he’ll be on the Canadian cover of a video game this year.

Jonah Keri looks at the worst contracts in baseball over at Grantland, with Jose Reyes getting an honourable mention, and Ricky Romero ending up on the full-on list.

The Jays will once again run their Tournament 12 showcase for Canadian amateur players this year. Gregor Chisholm has the details at BlueJays.com.

Keith Law chatted with readers at ESPN.com today, calling Kevin Pillar a fourth outfielder, and… that’s about it, as far as Jays stuff goes. But it’s always good stuff, regardless, of course.

Interesting stuff from the Canadian Baseball Network, as Alexis Brudnicki looks at the history of Baseball America, and its Canadian roots.

Um… skinny C.C. Sabathia? Skinny C.C. Sabathia.

Finally, former Jays manager Jim Fregosi is in a Miami hospital, recovering after a stroke suffered during an MLB alumni cruise in the Caribbean. MLB.com has the info. Here’s hoping for a speedy and full recovery.

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Mention those proofs again and just see what happens, Valerie.

“It would take something extreme for the [Clevelands] to re-sign free agent Ubaldo Jimenez at this point of the year,” writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in what is not a repeat of every other story on this subject of late. “There has been no communication between the Indians and Jimenez’s agent, Diego Bentz, since the end of January. What’s more, the Indians value the draft pick they’ll receive for Jimenez if another team signs him.”

Marc Hulet of FanGraphs released his top 100 prospects list on Tuesday, and while the usual suspects line up about where you’d expect, there was an intriguing addition at the very end: Mitch Nay, checking in at number 100. He explains, “Nay is probably the biggest surprise in the entire Top 100 (you probably won’t find him on anyone else’s list) but I’m going out on a limb with him much like I did with Michael Wacha last year and that worked out pretty well. Nay has a chance to be something very special with the bat and should hold his own defensively.”

A pair of big season previews from Gregor Chisholm at BlueJays.com. In one of them he speaks with Alex Anthopoulos, who suggests last year’s internal improvements by the Red Sox as the hope for his own club in 2014, and then Gregor then guides us through three key questions for the season, and what the roster will look like — who’s in, who’s out, who’s on the mend, which prospects we should keep an eye on, and who might surprise us by making the club. In the second piece, Gregor goes position-by-position through the lineup with key concerns for the upcoming year.

Because of course Rogers wouldn’t have him join the Jays crew, despite the vacancies, according to Philadelphia Business Journal, Matt Stairs has joined the Phillies’ broadcast team. Jamie Moyer, who also has Jays ties (remember 2012? Moyer threw his last pitch as a pro to Yan Gomes in a 7-3 Las Vegas loss at Reno) will join them as well. (Link via the always outstanding Baseball Primer Newsblog at Baseball Think Factory).

According to Twopcharts yesterday was the fifth anniversary of @drunkjaysfans joining Twitter. We were so green to the medium that Parkes and I shared it at first, often tweeting contradictory opinions  from the same account– confusing, to say the least. By the end of the 2012 season we’d reached 8,600 followers, and now, less than 16 months later, we’re well over 21,000! Thanks for the support, and if you don’t follow already, do it! (Give me a follow at @AndrewStoeten while you’re at it).

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And we’re happy with this background?

According to Nick Cafardo’s latest for the Boston Globe, the Jays are one of several teams to have made a bid for Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon. OK? He’s a Boras client, so don’t hold your breath. Here’s what Steve Adams said about him at MLBTR last week: Yoon, 27, was considered Korea’s second-best starting pitcher behind Hyun-jin Ryu following the 2012 season. A shoulder injury in 2013 prompted a move the the closer’s role with the Kia TIgers last season, but from 2011-12 Yoon posted a 2.77 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 325 1/3 innings as a starter. As MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes noted in Yoon’s free agent profile, his fastball sits in the 91 to 93 mph range, and he won the KBO’s MVP Award in 2011 for his outstanding work in the Kia Tigers’ rotation.

Bluebird Banter has spoken with Dustin McGowan and learned that the Jays have acquiesced to his request to attempt to pitch as a starter in 2014, “on the condition that he work separately from the other starters in a personalized program at the beginning of spring training.” Hard for them to say anything else with a rotation as unsettled as theirs currently is, and… well… we all know the story: could be great if he stays healthy, but he inevitably won’t. Here’s hoping, for his sake, something finally changes in a positive way, but I can’t see it being anything but a longshot that he could actually win a job in the rotation. Or… I don’t know… it’s not like he’s going to be up against a bunch of world beaters. At least this all should make for an interesting spring for once.

In the McGowan piece it’s also noted that 2014 will be his fifteenth season in the Jays’ organization. Holy fuck.

Buster Olney tweets that it’s worth repeating to point out that “the Jays are in a great position to sit back and wait for Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez to agree to a deal on team’s terms.” Yep.

To that effect — and the effect of our previous post here — Shi Davidi of Sportsnet tells us that everything remains status quo for the Jays. Just in case you hadn’t noticed.

Spring Training Online lists the report dates for pitchers and catchers, as well as position players, for each club this spring, and the Jays are really leaving themselves open to having the silly “too relaxed” narrative take hold. They’re one of four teams to be asking pitchers and catchers to report by February 16th, which is the latest date any club is doing so this year. They’ll be the last team to put pitchers through their first workout, they’re one of just seven clubs whose position players don’t report until the 20th or later, and one of seven who won’t have their first full workout until the 21st or later. I don’t think this matters one iota, but it would be sort of nice if they were savvy enough to not have given reason to talk about it at all.

So… Dan Norris might be awesome. Melissa Couto of the Canadian Baseball Network checks in on the prospect and the ’78 VW Westfalia camper van he basically lives in. No, really.

Speaking of awesome prospect-y things, Brian Crawford of Jays Prospects talks to Griffin Murphy’s moustache.

According to a QMI story in the Toronto Sun, Roberto Alomar is selling his Tampa area mansion for $6.5-million, and because there’s shit all else going on, now I’m writing about it.

Gregor Chisholm checks in with his weekly mailbag — er… Inbox — post at BlueJays.com.

Elsewhere at BlueJays.com, Gregor looks at which players have been invited to Spring Training with the Jays, and highlights a pair of first timers in the big league camp: Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez.

Lastly, in the latest of his outstanding Primary Sources series at Getting Blanked, Jack Moore tells us that baseball has always been too slow.

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But she’s got a new hat!

Jays Journal was, as far as my RSS is telling me, the first to spot the new all-red hat that the club will be wearing on Canada Day — and that has now been officially tweeted to the world by @BlueJays. It’s the club’s batting practice hat, only red, so… you can picture it. I’m sure it will be nice to no longer have the incongruous blue in the Blue Jays’ traditional Canada Day reds and will probably make the day of the folks out there who don’t find shrouding sports in fierce patriotism — especially slobbering on about the military — cringe-worthy and weird. I can make an exception on Canada Day, it’s just that the rest of the time I’m pretty full-on secular when it comes to this stuff — I’ll just go ahead and be proud to live in my country in private and without the creepy pep rallies, thanks — so I guess this isn’t for me.

Ben Badler of Baseball America tells us that the Jays have put the international bonus pool money they obtained from the Angels when they flipped Rule Five pickup Brian Moran to them back in December has actually been put to good use: they’ve signed Dominican right-hander Hansel Rodriguez for $330K. “Rodriguez, 16, is around 6-foot-2, 180 pounds with a fastball that sits in the low-90s and touches 95,” he tells us. “Rodriguez also throws an above-average curveball, which had made him one of the top arms available in Latin America after going unsigned last year on July 2.” Nice.

Michael Grange of Sportsnet looks at the sinking loonie and how it will impact pro sports in this country. Jays-related money quote from Paul Beeston: “It won’t affect our plans for this year, we’re already locked and loaded (with regard to payroll), but it will affect our bottom line, that’s for sure.”

Gideon Turk of Blue Jays Plus tweets that a source tells him the Jays requested the medicals on Ervin Santana late last week — Jon Heyman didn’t include the Jays among teams who were known to have done so in a piece at CBS Sports back on Friday, but didn’t say they didn’t, either. Turk adds that he thinks a report at ESPN.com from Buster Olney, which says “there is concern over the condition of Santana’s elbow, for a pitcher who relies heavily on his slider,” may be coming from a team trying to lower the price (or, I should add, scare others off), as he’s hearing that “his elbow is the best it’s ever been, and the UCL tear he had in 2009 (which was small) has healed itself. Medicals said to be ‘pristine’.” OK?

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Daily?

Buster Olney tweets that the asking price for Ervin Santana has come down significantly, and that the free agent pitcher may now be looking at signing just a three-year deal. That’ll do.

At ESPN.com (Insider only), Jim Bowden breaks down where the free agent market is at, calling the Jays a likely landing spot for both Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana — though, before you get all breathless, I don’t think he means it’s likely they’ll get both, just one of them. Importantly, he notes that, while Cleveland and Kansas City wouldn’t give up a draft pick to re-sign their own players, they actually kind of would. Cleveland, in particular, he says is banking on getting a draft pick when Ubaldo signs elsewhere. And Kansas City doesn’t seem likely to re-sign Santana either, according to what he’s hearing.

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star has an excellent, wide-ranging interview with Paul Beeston, and perhaps most interestingly, he speaks of his fight to make Jays games available to be viewed by anyone anywhere who wants to watch it… not that I ever noticed that MLB.tv blackouts didn’t exist last year or anything. Beeston mentions something about having to be authenticated with Sportsnet and TSN to watch those? I don’t really know. There was a bunch of other food for thought in there too.

Speaking of: according to a tweet from Scott MacArthur, TSN is the new home of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball in this country, plus Monday and Wednesday night telecasts, as well as Baseball Tonight. Nice! Except for whatever blackouts may now apply. They’ll carry 75 games this season.

“The Jays aren’t saying, but after months of freezing out Dunedin while they and the Houston Astros worked a deal for a new stadium in Palm Beach Gardens, the team has finally agreed to sit down with Dunedin officials later this month and talk about what it would take to keep them in town,” writes Keyonna Summers of the Tampa Bay Times. She adds that the gamesmanship is happening on both sides of this issue, as “just in case [the Jays leave when their lease runs out in 2017], Dunedin has reached out to other teams whose leases are also nearing expiration.”

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