Archive for the ‘Jose Bautista’ Category


Believe it or not, there are reasons that people voluntarily go to Cincinnati without being forced to by some baseball trade. And there are also reasons people hang out with Charlie Sheen that don’t involve inhaling half of Colombia off of naked prostitutes… y’know, presumably.

But that doesn’t mean that this wasn’t a notably curious exchange on the ol’ Twitter back on Saturday night:


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Domonic Brown displaying every ounce of his fielding acumen

Howard Eskin showed up on Jeff Blair’s radio show on the Fan 590 this morning, and to his credit he didn’t back down from the tweets he made last night that sent us into such a frenzy. In fact, he had some pointed criticism for Jon Heyman and “haters” out there on Twitter, reiterating that he had made clear any trade would involve more than just Domonic Brown heading to Toronto, and insisting that he’s just doing his job by putting something out there that he’s heard from sources he deems credible.

I mean, it’s true. What else is he supposed to do?

Think about this comment, for example, left on last night’s post by someone claiming to be the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, and doing a pretty good job of imitating his well-reasoned tone:

Do not discount Howard Eskin…he does have his swings and misses, but also has hit some mammoth HRs. Very powerful voice in Philly and important people do talk to him. I know there have been cases where teams “float” things through him to see reaction.

Give it time.

And indeed, Blair is saying that there have been informal discussions between the Jays and Phillies about Bautista– including some as early as last year– but he’s not indicating at all that those were terribly different than informal discussions that certainly go on all the time, and definitely not different enough to put a wild rumour out there.

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In case you missed it last night, we were treated to one king hell of a rumour from Howard Eskin of Philadelphia’s Fox TV affiliate and sports radio station 94 WIP, as he told us that a “major trade” was brewing between the Blue Jays and the Phillies that would involve Jose Bautista, Domonic Brown, and more.

I wrote about it in the link above, eventually coming around to the notion that the deal isn’t as patently absurd as it might seem– acquiring a cheap, young, left-handed power bat with many years of control left, and immediately opening up nearly $14-million in 2014 payroll space is hardly the nothing that the delightfully fanciful folks expecting a number one starter and a quality catcher or second from any Bautista trade want to believe it is.

Buuuuuuut, it’s also apparently bullshit. To wit:

Or is it?…

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Howard Eskin, according to his Twitter bio is a reporter for Fox 29 TV and 94 WIP Radio in Philadelphia, and… um… he actually appears to be genuinely serious about the rumour he– and only he, it would seem– is reporting this evening. The man has over 40,000 followers and his account is verified, so I’ll do him a solid and try to take it at least half seriously, even though I’m pretty sure that without additional details or confirmation, it doesn’t quite pass the smell test.

And by “doesn’t quite pass the smell test,” I, of course, mean that it smells like a fifteen-tonne truck of steaming, fresh, lumpy bullshit.

To wit:

Would be slightly more credible if he could spell Bautista’s name correctly, huh? But this isn’t Marty York, either, folks.

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Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays

This tidbit is a week old, but it’s more than important enough– and hasn’t been dealt with much elsewhere– that I don’t think I should just let it slip into the ether. Not that, y’know, at its centre isn’t a question that’s going away any time soon: what the Jays should do with Jose Bautista.

Truthfully, I have no doubt in my mind what the Jays should do with Bautista. I essentially wrote about it last week, when I insisted that Rogers must continue to spend– that jumping a year early into the coming TV-fueled explosion of salary shouldn’t excuse them continuing to spend on a level commensurate to an RSN-powered club owned by a company that just a year ago spent half a billion dollars on a sports property, and thus has a very good idea what that sort of business, run well, is worth.

I hinted about it as well when I scoffed at the questions raised about Bautista’s leadership earlier this month– not that I’m interested in going to deeply down that road again today. Besides, Stephen Brunt, speaking on Prime Time Sports last Monday, elucidated the same sort of thoughts as I have, explaining, “Now, I don’t put a tonne into the old ‘clubhouse dynamics’ stuff. You know, the fun guys in Boston with beards now are great, but they would have been the chicken and beer guys two years ago. The Blue Jays with secret handshakes would have looked great if they were winning, but I think all of that stuff’s crap.”

I might add that, this time a year ago, the story was that the Jays’ clubhouse reportedly became unhinged after their leader, Bautista, went down with a wrist injury in mid-July– though he returned and played two late-August games for the club before shutting down for good. But… whatever.

More crucially, Brunt being bang on about such silliness wasn’t nearly the most interesting thing he had to say on the matter of Jose Bautista.

Asked by guest host Elliotte Friedman if he was of the opinion that Bautista gets dealt, Brunt explained, “Well, I’m not– I’m more inclined to believe that he could be dealt than I was a month ago. Let’s put it that way.”

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For quite a number of weeks, Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail and the Fan 590 has been going on like a broken record about the possibility of the Jays dealing Jose Bautista this winter. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say that he necessarily thinks the club should do it, but he’s certainly willing to provoke the conversation, and in implying that doing so maybe shouldn’t be quite as tough a move to swallow as most of us would think.

This morning he found an ally on the subject, chatting on his Fan 590 program with Jays radio voice Jerry Howarth, and leading the club’s most recognizable broadcaster into openly questioning what he saw from the club’s ostensible leader this season. And nearly as interesting as that, Blair did so by telling us about conversations he had with teammates who were similarly less than enamoured with the right fielder’s attitude.

Here’s the idiot-empowering exchange, which occurred in the first segment of the ten o’clock hour of Blair’s show:

Blair: I got the sense from talking to a couple of players in the last two weeks that they’d kind of had enough. I didn’t have anybody say the guy’s an ass or anything like that, but I had a couple players tell me it got to be a distraction. One player in particular said– you know what, it got to be a distraction, I’m just going to leave it at that.

Howarth: Here’s what I saw: that, where the leadership went from being positive to being negative. And then that negative attitude– especially with umpires, and his continual complaining, and giving up at-bats. And one time, with a runner at first base and one out, hitting a fly ball to right field, and he turned and walked back to the third base dugout. What is going on here?? Here’s what happened: Jose Reyes, a good kid, a four-time All-Star, he started to complain about the umpiring because of who? Jose Bautista. When Bautista wasn’t there, the last month-and-a-half, that allowed Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion to emerge as leaders. That’s what you want in 2014. And if Bautista can give you something– a piece that you don’t have right now– do it, because the other leaders are in place, and all they need is that opening to take and run with it, and I can see them doing that.

You know what else happened when Bautista wasn’t there for the last month and a half? The club lost the production of a player who, by league- and park-adjusted wRC+, hit about exactly as well as Giancarlo Stanton, Evan Longoria, Buster Posey, and other elite hitters among the top 20 or 30 in baseball this year.

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Kansas City Royals v Toronto Blue Jays

Today was the final episode of the season of the Fan 590′s Baseball Central– because it’s making way for hockey talk, since, y’know, NHL rookie camps are open, so we’d better talk about who’s going to end up as the top defence pairing for the Abbotsford Heat, right?– and as an outstanding send-off hosts Dirk Hayhurst and Sam Cosentino spoke to Jose Bautista.

I normally find player interviews pretty astonishingly boring– even, frankly, when it’s someone clever enough to not merely spew out steaming bowls of bland soup, media-trained-to-death– but Bautista today offered what seemed like a pretty honest assessment of the team dynamic that many feel hampered the Jays in 2013.

Of course, I’m surely being naive if I don’t suspect that this isn’t maybe exactly the kind of media-trained goo that I just railed against– it is too close to exactly what you’d think disillusioned fans certain of their armchair assessments want to hear– but it’s worth taking a look at nonetheless.

Asked about leadership and what, if anything, needs to be changed with respect to how the Jays conduct themselves, Bautista said this:

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