Archive for the ‘Game Threat’ Category


The Jays take on the Red Sox in yet another untelevised bout of weekday afternoon baseball-ish, and apparently Jerry Howarth said on the radio earlier today that Ryan Goins and Moises Sierra “are the building blocks of the future” and that “Goins is going to be a plus no matter what he hits.”


Also: Mike McCoy!

And I Thought Wednesday Was Rock Bottom…

Though it was only Ervin Santana that the Jays missed out on this week, it really wasn’t only about Ervin Santana. Wednesday’s acquisition by the Atlanta Braves of the mid-rotation innings eater that the Jays’ own staff is fucking screaming for (figuratively, I mean, although maybe even literally too) was about as low as it was going to get for a while, I thought. Then yesterday, I saw this. It’s a year old, and apparently I was shown it at the time and was all FFF, dickholes! World Series here we come! WHOOOOOOOO!, but actually taking it seriously was new to me, and… holy fuck, talk about a gut punch.

According to the New York Daily news, well… this:

Here’s a snapshot of how high the Mets are on d’Arnaud: Alderson said that he tried to get two specific players from an unnamed team for Dickey, but the team balked. But when Alderson acquired d’Arnaud, the team called back and offered the same two players for d’Arnaud alone. Alderson said no, even though the Mets would’ve kept the other players acquired from Toronto.

If you’re unclear, what they’re basically saying is that they value Travis d’Arnaud alone more than they did R.A. Dickey, which leads us to the question, then, why the fuck is Noah Syndergaard a Met???

Reading it so rigidly is slightly misleading, of course, because you need to account for positional scarcity, needs of the roster, goals for the upcoming season, the timing of when these offers were made, things of that nature. And who knows if it’s even accurate — Alderson could just be pumping his own tires or d’Arnaud’s here. But seriously! They asked for two players for Dickey that they wouldn’t give up for d’Arnaud. Meaning, they could have had those two players they’d have taken for Dickey, plus Syndergaard, but they valued d’Arnaud so astonishingly highly that they wouldn’t do it. As in: higher alone than the two players they felt were enough to give up Dickey for. Yet the Jays gave them him plus another prospect of equal or higher value.

Wrapped your mind around it yet?

We’re always hearing about the Jays and their due diligence, but that can only go so far, especially when they’re competing with other clubs to make the best offer in a trade. It’s certainly plausible that Anthopoulos didn’t know that the Mets had asked the team about these two players. It’s also plausible that he got schooled by the old man. Ugh.


Jeff Blair spoke about Brandon Morrow on the radio today — audio here — because he noticed Morrow’s name missing from clubhouse charts listing where pitchers are scheduled to be over the coming days. His first instinct was to believe he was hurt, he says, but that isn’t the case. He explains that “it appears now as if there has been an alteration in the Blue Jays rotation heading into the season, and effectively it looks as though Brandon Morrow is the fifth starter. It looks as if Drew Hutchison has a shot at getting the second game in Tampa Bay.”

“This much is pretty apparent after talking to people around the Blue Jays for the last three days: Brandon Morrow is on a pretty short leash here. I think he knows that. I think he realizes that there are a lot of eyes on him this spring.”

It’s true that Morrow’s spring hasn’t been great, and that last year was a total write off, and that tough love is very probably the way to go with him for a somewhat exasperated organization who desperately need him at this point? Sure. But he last pitched in the big leagues in May, so I think it’s somewhat forgivable that he hasn’t been entirely sharp as yet. But yeah, he’s kinda got to get his shit together.

And now the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

DH Jose Reyes (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
1B Dan Johnson (L)
SS Ryan Goins (L)
2B Chris Getz (L)
3B Munenori Kawasaki (L)

RHP Drew Hutchison

Boston Red Sox

CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (L)
3B Jonathan Herrera (S)
DH Mike Carp (L)
1B Mike Napoli (R)
LF Jonny Gomes (R)
RF Corey Brown (L)
C Ryan Lavarnway (R)
SS Brock Holt (L)
2B Mike McCoy (R)

RHP Clay Buccholz

The Jays are playing the Astros. It’s already kind of happening, so… do we really need this Game Threat to be a thing, or shall I just move on?

I think we both know the answer to that…

Spring Threat: Jays @ Tigers


The Jays visit Rajai Davis and the Detroit Tigers today in Lakeland, and what’s this? Anthony Gose in right field, and Melky Cabrera in centre??? The fact that this is a thought that could even be entertained, let alone acted upon, speaks to the impressiveness of Melky’s recovery after having a tumour removed from his lower back. By mid-2013 it seemed a foregone conclusion that Melky’s days patrolling centre — something he did 144 times for Kansas City in 2011 — were officially through, but the Jays are smartly taking a look, knowing that it’s very possible that their Opening Day roster will have a very limited cast of characters capable of spelling Colby Rasmus.

Really it’s looking very possible that Melky, Moises Sierra (who played 17 games there for Buffalo last season), and maybe even Jose Bautista (three innings in centre in 2009!) are really going to be the only options, and the Anthony Gose has an option remaining and needs more seasoning still before we’re asked to swallow that rancid meat.


Rajai, we hardly knew ye. And, of course, it’s not just the loss of his versatility or the fact that he’s a weapon as a late game pinch runner that hurts, but the fact that he could platoon with Adam Lind, too.


Justin Verlander is on the hill for the Tigers today, making his spring debut.

Meanwhile, the Jays are also playing the Canadian under-18 squad in St. Petersburg, with Brandon Morrow on the hill, and a stacked lineup going up against the kids: Rasmus, Lawrie, Bautista, Lind, Navarro, and Sierra. And, of course, back in Lakeland, we have Ryan Goins for some reason getting used to the ninth spot in the order, rather than getting the chance to squeeze a bunch of extra at-bats by hitting up top at this stage. Dumb.

You can listen to that game on! The game against the Tigers in Lakeland is on, which you can also do for free. (If you’re having trouble accessing the stream, the Jays have a handy graphic explaining how to do it).

I’d add more, but a there’s a full Daily Duce and (I think) a Layin’ Down The Law still to come!

TV: None

And now the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
3B Maicer Izturis (S)
CF Melky Cabrera (S)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
1B Dan Johnson (L)
C Josh Thole (L)
LF Steve Tolleson (R)
RF Anthony Gose (L)
2B Ryan Goins (L)

RHP Todd Redmond

Detroit Tigers

2B Ian Kinsler (R)
LF Rajai Davis (R)
1B Miguel Cabrera (R)
DH Victor Martinez (S)
LF Torii Hunter (R)
CF Austin Jackson (R)
3B Don Kelly (L)
C Bryan Holaday (R)
SS Eugenio Suarez (R)

RHP Justin Verlander

Spring Threat: Jays vs. Rays


So… I really did go walk for a burrito, and it took longer than I planned. So discuss this one amongst yourselves while I write up a real game threat — some interesting stuff to touch on, including M.I.J.A. and Stroman’s big day.

Or… maybe I got so bogged down in comments, Twitter, and burrito that it seems pointless now. Not that you cared anyway, right?

Here, though. Here’s a picture of Marcus Stroman that might almost make this look like a real post if you squint hard enough. Sound about right?

Rain Threat: Jays @ Pirates


The Jays and the Pirates spent much of the morning bizarrely going through all the motions like they actually were going to play baseball today, but… uh… everyone at the park seemed to have other ideas — especially Mother Nature (see what I did there?). Florida weather can change quickly, but based on the damn six hour rain delay I sat through at the Daytona 500 the other week, that’s not always exactly the case, and as of 12:15 PM the game has indeed been cancelled.

Suffice it to say, the players are about as happy about the whole pointless dog and pony show as the media:

Now starts have been moved back — Scott MacArthur tweets that Mark Buehrle goes tomorrow, Drew Hutchison is on Saturday, and R.A. Dickey will go Sunday — and other schedule juggling has commenced, with Mike Wilner tweeting that Marcus Stroman and Ricky Romero, both scheduled for today, will go tomorrow (and Stroman will have to be mighty fine if he wants to keep up with Aaron Sanchez in the competition between the two that exists only in my head, following the two stellar innings the club’s 1A prospect put in yesterday).

The inability to play baseball during a downpour mit tornado warning should have been obvious to anyone, yet there were lineups posted, and all the standard pre-game stuff was happening. I decided early on that writing them out, and figuring out which side of the plate the various Pirates scrubs I’m only barely aware of the existence of hit from — because all those lineups you see here are manually made, hand-crafted, artisanal lineups — just seems like a wasted effort, and fortunately I was right. Well, “fortunately” except for the part where we don’t have a baseball game to watch (or listen to– whatever the case was going to be).

Still, though, I thought, I can put this space to good use… with some shameless self promotion! I mean, you need something to watch now that the game’s off, right?

Well, maybe you caught it on Twitter the other day, but some extremely talented and creative people had a brief mental lapse and asked me to be a part of a web series they’re producing — I’m even slated to act in it, apparently (which will no doubt will be a quiet triumph). Lofty goals here, but think The League meets It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, meets Toronto sports — as you can see in the demo below, which Pat Smith and the guys at 83 Pictures put together as a part of a package to secure funding to get this passion project of theirs made. I’m not entirely convinced Pat isn’t just doing this in an attempt to meet Robbie Alomar (by getting him to guest star and writing him into an episode getting cock blocked at Opera Bob’s by the character Pat plays), which… actually seems reason enough to do anything, if you ask me.

Anyway, it’s going to be really Toronto sports-centric, and specifically the downtown-centred subculture many of the readers of this blog likely feel a part of (not to mention rather Jays-focussed, as well), so it just might find itself in a lot of your wheelhouses and we hope you like it as much as we do.

We also hope to make a whole bunch more — full episodes, even! — and you can help us with that by showing there’s an audience and following @SportsBarHeroes on Twitter, and from there we’ll keep you updated on how the project is going.

So… for your between raindrops [note: ugh] viewing pleasure, have at it:


Image via @ScottMacArthur.


The Jays host the Pirates this afternoon in yet another game of baseball-ish, as the march towards Opening Day continues. Perhaps the player who holds the key to the 2014 Blue Jays season more than any other, Brandon Morrow, will be on this hill, and Mike Wilner tweets that he’s scheduled for three innings. Morrow, you’ll remember, was kinda terrible when he was able to get himself on the field last season, so we’ll all be watching — er… listening — closely to see how well he does, how comfortable he looks, and if there are the kinds of hints we want to see that he’s returning to the form that saw him post a 2.96 ERA in 2012 — good for 12th in all of baseball among pitchers with 120 innings or more, though… the peripherals weren’t quite as good, and… y’know… only 120 innings.

Aaron Sanchez will get into this one too! Plus Santos, Loup, Jeffress, and Jenkins, per yet another tweet from Wilner.

Hey and the Great White Hope is in the house!

And baseball-ish!


Yes, unfortunately this game is an audio-only one. Can’t imagine what Sportsnet might otherwise be airing. Though, actually, don’t they have like a billion channels or something? I don’t work there, so I have no idea what the exact number is. Anywho, the Jays have provided a handy graphic to help guide you through the hoops required in order to listen to the club’s spring broadcasts for free. So don’t say they’ve never done anything for you.

Looking forward to hearing Joe Siddall on the airwaves for the first time. He’ll be calling today’s action with Mike Wilner. Here’s a great, touching piece from the Windsor Star on Siddall and his grieving family, who last month lost their 14-year-old son to cancer.

Another Wilner tweet tells us that the Jays have sent some players to minor league camp: Luis Perez (who’ll start the year on the DL, he says), Derrick Chung, and Parkdale’s Jack Murphy.

If there is failure in Ryan Goins’ future, writes Gregor Chisholm at, it’s not going to be through lack of work ethic. And good on him, I say! I hope it works out for him, and for the Jays, I just… y’know… think it’s a rather terrible decision to not aim higher.

Behind the paywall at Baseball America is some great praise from Ben Badler for the Jays’ free agent acquisitions on the Latin American amateur market this year — continuing a trend that is a welcome change from the J.P. Ricciardi era.

After yesterday’s outing, Scott MacArthur tweets some comments from R.A. Dickey, who feels great compared to last year, in terms of health (he’s said that a twinge that began in the spring of 2013 became the back and neck issue that plagued his first half of the season), and in particular on some high, hard knucklers he reared back to throw. He hopes to throw more than 100 pitches twice before opening day, MacArthur adds.

MacArthur also had a one-on-one with Pete Walker at Read it.

Great stuff from John Lott of the National Post about Colby Rasmus and the changes he made that made him an elite big leaguer in 2013 — and could lead him to a massive payday at the end of this year.

Lastly, in a notebook post at, Gregor tells us that the Jays are saying J.A. Happ’s spot in the Jays’ rotation isn’t in jeopardy because of two tough starts. I get that — he didn’t pitch as bad as his line looked during his spring debut a week ago in Clearwater — but I also get the wariness that Jays fans have about him and why the Jays seem so intent to believe in useless September data and mechanical changes that… might be real? I don’t know. Someone asked me on Twitter the other day who I’d like to see as the Jays fourth and fifth starters and I answered Drew Hutchison and Ervin Santana. I stand by that. But I also think Happ can be a lot better than the gloomiest of fans want to believe, so… there’s that.

TV: None

And now the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

2B Chris Getz (L)
LF Steve Tolleson (R)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
DH Josh Thole (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)
SS Jonathan Diaz (R)

RHP Brandon Morrow

Pittsburgh Pirates

LF Starling Marte (R)
CF Chris Dickerson (L)
DH Neil Walker (S)
1B Gaby Sanchez (R)
RF Travis Snider (L)
3B Brent Morel (R)
C Tony Sanchez (R)
2B Josh Harrison (R)
SS Clint Barmes (R)

RHP Jay Jackson


What’s this? Night baseball? R.A. Dickey vs. Cliff Lee? That’ll do just fine, thank you, for a whatever-night-this-is in the dead of winter.

Sure. That’ll do just nicely. Even if I have no idea why they’d be starting a Grapefruit League game at this time of day.

Though, considering Bright House Field is pretty nicer than the Rogers Centre and doesn’t thrust advertising down your throat at every turn and in between every inning, this one will probably feel as much like a regular big league game as anything we’d see around here. Y’know… apart from all the scrubs who’ll be playing from the fifth inning on. (Starters look respectable-ish, though.)

What I guess I’m trying to say is, the fact that we don’t have a hot dog cannon is a disgrace — liability be damned!


The talk of the baseball world earlier today was the interview with Ian Kinsler, in which the Tigers’ new second baseman classlessly skewers his former organization based on a bunch of nonsense reasons. Josh Hamilton pledged his support.

Noah Syndergaard is the talk of New York. I’d puke more about this if it wasn’t entirely expected for a prospect to be getting pumped up in that market.

Jon Heyman tweeted this morning that the Orioles have come to an incentive-based deal with Johan Santana. Want to gripe about an unnecessary policy that the Jays use to handcuff themselves ever worse than all the natural disadvantages that plague them? How about the fact that they refuse to put incentives in deals, and thus miss out on taking fliers on guys like this. Even though Santana surely won’t amount to anything for Baltimore (or he wouldn’t have if I hadn’t just jinxed it), it wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Jays to be able to do stuff like that.

Speaking of Santana’s, Ervin is still out there, though the Mariners are sniffing around. Or, at least, they should be, according to Robinson Cano. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet takes a look at why that’s a genuine fit, because… y’know… apparently the Jays are still not doing anything about this.

Hard not to absolutely fucking love this tweet from Brett Lawrie: “Learning the little things from my boy @Encadwin #TalkinShop #YaHesQueso #EarsOpen #Grasshopper” Nailssssssss. Shittt sonnnnnnnnn.

Alexis Brudnicki files an excellent, lengthy profile of Aaron Sanchez for the Canadian Baseball Network.

JaysCare tweets about PITCH, a new series of baseball talks that will be taking place at Tallboys in Toronto, kicking off with words from John Lott, Shi Davidi, Jared MacDonald, and the fucking hilarious Dylan Gott.

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star talks to tonight’s starter, R.A. Dickey, who talks about his off-season and where his thoughts on the club are at.

Lastly, I wrote a small season preview for Toronto Life. It’s geared more to casual fans, but give it a whirl anyway.


And now the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
3B Maicer Izturis (S)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Moises Sierra (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
C Erik Kratz (R)
DH A.J. Jimenez (R)
CF Kevin Pillar (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)

RHP R.A. Dickey

Philadelphia Phillies

CF Ben Revere (S)
SS Jimmy Rollins (S)
2B Chase Utley (L)
1B Ryan Howard (L)
RF Marlon Byrd (R)
DH Bobby Abreu (L)
LF Domonic Brown (L)
C Carlos Ruiz (R)
3B Maikel Franco (R)

LHP Cliff Lee