Archive for the ‘Joey Votto’ Category

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Hat tip to Bluebird Banter for this one, as they’ve spotted a report from Montreal’s 98,5 Sports that says a tentative agreement has been set, and that evenko will once again be opening up the doors to le Stade Olympique, as the Jays will face off with Canada’s own Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds for two games next spring.

It’s a hell of a bit of great news to come today, on the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the strike that led to the cancellation of the 1994 season — in which, of course, the Expos were running away with the NL East and certain to win the World Series (or whatever revisionist history we allow ourselves to believe about it). This year’s event was positively magical.

It’s also maybe a bit weird, though, given the massive support that Jays fans on the west coast are right this fucking minute showing for the team down in Seattle, as they learn that the hope of bringing spring training games to BC Place has been spurned, at least for another year.

And that’s especially disappointing, I’d wager, since it’s been less than two weeks since reports arose suggesting the Vancouver Canadians were looking into ways to bring a Blue Jays exhibition to the city.

From Metronews.ca:

Vancouver Canadians president Andy Dunn, speaking on Team 1040 radio on Thursday, said it’s something the local club is looking at. The C’s are the short-season Single-A affiliate of the Blue Jays, Canada’s lone Major League Baseball team.

There’s one major obstacle, however, at the recently renovated BC Place and that is the new video board, Dunn told the Vancouver sports radio station.

. . .

“We’re going to be sending some guys down there in the coming weeks. We’re actually going to go hit in the place and just find out how big a factor that video board comes into play. And if it doesn’t come into play, hopefully that’s something we’ll definitely be working on and bringing some exhibition games to BC Place.”

One supposes the Jays could do a series both cities — it would certainly be a revenue win, a win for the brand, and it’s not like they’d be leaving behind a palace in Dunedin to do it — but that’s a lot of travel. And if it’s just one that can be done, it looks like Montreal is it, for now.

Hard to blame the Jays, as the 98,5 Sports report says (translated from French), that the Pittsburgh Pirates were in talks about being the Jays’ opponents, and that, in fact, several teams reportedly wanted a part of the action following the success of this year’s series.

Of course, at that time I wrote about the excitement for baseball’s big return to the Big O, while at the same time fearing when “the dubious hand of Rogers starts milking it, year after year, for all it’s worth until it’s fucked to death, like you and I both know that they will.” Is this the beginning of that? Maybe not if Vancouver finds a way to accommodate some games. And even if it is, round two in Montreal next spring? Fucking right, that still sounds awesome!

Drew has the details, per MLBTR, and will be following the story over at Getting Blanked

Keith Law chatted with readers today at ESPN.com, and since I’ve hardly posted anything today (having the excellent excuse of doing a run-through for the Getting Blanked video show we’ll be embarking on daily at the start of the season), let’s take a look at the Jays-related tidbits– of which there ended up being several:

Ian (Toronto)
Hey Keith. The Jays missed out on signing Tyler Beede, much to the disappointment of fans. Now that time has passed and we have more data on Beede, do you think this is a miss the Jays will come to regret?
Klaw
No. And they didn’t miss out. The two sides couldn’t agree on how healthy he was, so the discussion fell apart. He has not looked good so far this year, according to a half-dozen scouts I’ve talked to who’ve seen him.

Ron (Toronto)
It seems like for the next two years, there will be an endless Joey Votto-Blue Jays discussion in Toronto. Given the Jays likely timeline and team needs, is Votto the player you would suggest they go “all-in” on, whether it’s in free agency, a trade, or a trade and extension?
Klaw
Great player, but I don’t get the whole “sign every Canadian you can” concept. How about just signing the best players?

Jon Cook (“Work”)
Do you think at any point in your lifetime you will share with your readers what it was like to work with JP Ricciardi. In addition to that do you think you’d ever provide the details on what really happened between JP and Orlando Hudson. O Dog didn’t have nice things to say after, but didn’t elaborate.
Klaw
Nothing happened. Hudson was 0-for-the-spring, wasn’t playing well at second base, and needed to go to the minors, so we optioned him. Complete non-story blown up by the media.

Jonathan (Tampa, FL)
How high do you see Virant going in this draft? Seems like the kind of projection guy the Blue Jays would pounce on at #22, no?
Klaw
First round. Do they really have a track record of taking projection guys? They took Beede, the opposite of a projection guy, last year.

Daniel (Charlotte)
What is the single greatest 1 game performance you have scouted?
Klaw
Can I count two from Toronto? Delgado’s four-homer game, or Halladay’s 99-pitch 10-inning CG against that awful Tigers team in 2003. Took a no-hitter into the 8th when Kevin Witt broke it up. I don’t buy into the whole “inevitability” thing, but those were two instances were I felt from early in the game that I was watching something different.

For some reason the guys at CBS Sports continue to poke and prod their way around the notion of Joey Votto– who reaches free agency two full effing seasons from now– one day signing with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Last week it was Jon Heyman, who asked Votto straight up about club policies that limit the length of free agent contracts to a certain number of years– five, I believe it was. Hmmm… who could he have been referencing?

Now today we get Danny Knobler– the Knobler!– who has gone to the finest source possible for insight into the workings of the Jays front office…

Vernon Wells?

“I think there could be an exception to the rule,” Wells told the Knobler. “They have the resources to do what they want, but they’re very calculated.”

“So could that exception be a first baseman, maybe a Canadian first baseman who can become a free agent in a couple years?” the Knobler oh-so-subtly asks.

“There are exceptions to the rule,” Wells said.

So that’s that… DID’JA HEAR! VOTTO IS COMING!!!!!

“It would be tough for a [top] position player to sign for five years. No matter how fond a person is of the city, players have to maximize the number of years,” says Joey Votto of the Reds, after having once again been insufferably asked about the possibility of him going to the Jays once he hits free agency after the 2013 season– y’know, assuming he doesn’t ink an extension with Cincinnati prior to that, or get traded and extend wherever he lands.

The quote comes from Jon Heyman’s latest for CBS Sports, with the explanation that “if the Blue Jays stick to their five-year maximum policy for player contracts, they can forget luring Reds superstar Joey Votto back home to Toronto when he’s a free agent.”

Neither Heyman nor Votto is wrong, it’s just… yeah, we know.

Clearly the Jays aren’t getting any sort of major free agent with the ridiculous self-imposed handcuffing of their inflexible five-year max policy. Paul Beeston has told us that the club held to this principle in previous negotiations– as in, with Jose Bautista– so, unless we want to piss off Jose, we’d better keep our mouths shut.

And while we’re at it, I guess we should all just forget that Bautista was coming off a crazy outlier season, and still had a year of team control left, when he signed his extension, and that going beyond five guaranteed years with him probably wasn’t going to happen, ridiculous self-imposed rule or not.

Of course, to get all that upset about the rule means that you have to believe that it actually exists and wasn’t just the most convenient PR cover the Jays could find to hide behind when fans started going apeshit over their lack of spending this off-season. I tend to think there will come a time to break the ridiculous rule, and they’ll figure out how to explain it away when that happens.

Perhaps even more ridiculous than the rule itself, though, is the constant baiting of Joey Votto with questions about what he’s going to do as a free agent, two whole goddamn seasons from now. He tells Heyman that he’s proud to play for the Reds and that he definitely would like to stay.

What the hell else is he going to say?

Are we seriously in for two more years of this?

 

Find us on Facebook and weigh in on the Jays’ self-imposed five-year max rule in our latest Smokin’ Poll.

It’s probably not a healthy thing to keep stoking Jays fans’ maple-fuelled infatuation with a player still under contract to the Cincinnati Reds for two years, but there are a lot of reasons– something like two hundred million of them– to think that, when the time comes, Joey Votto is going to hit the open market. And for Jays fans yearning (ridiculously) for a Canadian superstar, a first baseman that isn’t Adam Lind, and a club building a national brand and shameless in their willingness to exploit players’ birth certificates, obviously that’s going to be the cause

Jon Morosi addresses this in his latest piece for Fox Sports, citing a source “with knowledge of Votto’s plans” who says that he and the reds “aren’t actively exchanging proposals now and that Votto is ‘in no rush’ to start.” He paints a picture of Votto as an extremely driven player, but more interestingly, for our purposes, someone who has done some thinking about how best to position oneself for stardom.

Sure, on one hand he says that he has “no problem falling under the radar,” but he also tells Morosi that “I think Albert might find — not that I know — that St. Louis might have been a good market as far as him being a star.” Morosi also points out that Votto “recently remarked to Hal McCoy of FOX Sports Ohio, ‘Prince Fielder sure got a lot of money, didn’t he?’ “

But he’s certainly not all about money, as demonstrated by a comment that should make us Jays fans take notice.

“The Blue Jays will be under intense pressure to pursue Votto if he hits the open market, since he was born and raised in Toronto,” Morosi writes. “But Votto seemed unmoved by the local-boy-makes-good-and-comes-home narrative when I mentioned it to him. ‘I want to play for a good team,’ said Votto, who now makes his offseason home in Florida. ‘Cincinnati has a good team right now.’ “

For now. With Votto. Two years from now, who knows?

With a shit-tonne of shit now shit-streaming in from Dunedin, it only seems prudent (read: easiest), instead of creating a massive commentary-laden Afternoon Snack, to pile all of the day’s links into one dump, then following that up with some expanded commentary where necessary. So that’s what we’re going to do each day. Unless we don’t. It’s your Further Comment…

A few weeks back on a podcast I suggested, not even 100% jokingly, that you could “book it” that Joey Votto would be a member of the Toronto Blue Jays come July 31st. I was, of course, like, 95% joking (unless it happens!), but this took a baby step towards theoretical reality Monday, as the Reds somewhat inexplicably decided to lock up reliever Sean Marshall to a three-year $16.5-million extension beginning in 2013.

Parkes wrote about the extension, the pipe dream that is the Reds falling out of contention in 2012, creating the opportunity for a Votto deal, and a possible precedent for it, yesterday at Getting Blanked, as mentioned in the Afternoon Snack.

“Such an asset on the trade market could bring back the type of haul that the Texas Rangers got when they moved Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves at the trade deadline in 2007,” he writes. “The Rangers received the top three prospects in the Braves system according to Baseball America in Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus and Matt Harrison, as well as Neftali Feliz and Beau Jones.”

Not only were those the Rangers’ top prospects, but they were numbers 36 (Saltalamacchia), 65 (Andrus), and 90 (Harrison) on Baseball America’s 2007 Top 100 prospects list. And Teixeira was, as Votto will be this July, a year and a half from free agency.

“The conversation likely starts with three of the following prospects,” Parkes writes, I think correctly. “Travis d’Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, Anthony Gose, Drew Hutchison, Noah Syndergaard and Dan Norris. It would certainly be a steep price, but one that without a doubt would be a game changer in the AL East.”

And it’s one that, in the office here we agreed, the Jays would probably pay. Votto, we think, is the guy for whom they’d break all the rules.

But it got me thinking about whether there are other sorts of crazy notions that might not be quite so ridiculous after all (but probably are). Like… what if the Jays decided that they could be a much better club and could do a much better job preventing runs, without taking such a terrible hit offensively, if they benched Eric Thames, consolidated Lind and Encarnacion into a strict first base platoon, and went the otherworldly up-the-middle defence route, promoting Adeiny Hechavarria to play short, with Johnson or Escobar moving to DH, and Anthony Gose to play centre, shifting Rasmus into left?

Carrying a pair of replacement level– or worse– bats and showing utter disregard for service time and minor league apprenticeship makes the suggestion kinda crazy, you say? Pffft! Poppycock!

Or… OK, so maybe it is. But mostly because it’s a moot point, since Gose will only be available until he’s dealt to Cincinnati mid-season, amiright?