Today In MLBTR: Monday, July 28th

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The non-waiver trade deadline hits Thursday, and there is all kinds of chatter, big and small, out there regarding the Blue Jays and everyone else, so let’s check out what’s going on over at the invaluable, fantastic, and comprehensive MLB Trade Rumors and see what we’re hearing as the hot stove gets close to its boiling point… 

A large, awesome Jays-specific piece will require several paragraphs here to cover:

- Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun writes that the Jays could have had Chase Headley, with San Diego paying the freight, if they’d traded Juan Francisco and two “not big-time prospects.” It may seem bizarre to some that the Jays wouldn’t do this, especially those whose minds are broken by strikeouts, as though they’re some sin infinitely worse than any old other out (they’re not, though yes, they’re worse), but I can see it. First, it depends on who the prospects are. Second, as MLBTR points out, even with the recent struggles, Francisco is having a much better season than Headley so far. Third, Francisco doesn’t come with injury concerns that would only be exacerbated by playing on the Rogers Centre turf. Fourth, if the performance from Headley wasn’t there, you’d maybe wonder just how easily he’d take being held out of the lineup, especially as a free-agent-to-be trying to rebuild some value as he heads towards a payday. Francisco, I don’t think, would pose an issue in this regard — though to be fair, I certainly can’t say the same about Headley with any knowledge either, I’d just maybe have wondered.

- A piece from Shi Davidi at Sportsnet tells us that the Jays are being scouted beyond just “the usual suspects,” as he notes that the Phillies took a short trip down the road to Dunedin to look at a rehab start from Sean Nolin, while the Rangers have had scouts in Vancouver, looking in particular at Franklin Barreto, Miguel Castro, and Jairo Labourt. It could just be due diligence, or these clubs having a look at these guys just so they know better what they may want to ask for in the future. But I don’t know… though we heard last week from Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that the Jays (as well as the Yankees) are cool to the idea of A.J. Burnett, that could be a thing — though he’s certainly not the only intriguing body on their roster. And the Rangers have some pieces that could move too, including Alex Rios, who the Jays are rumoured to be interested in – though Ken Rosenthal tweeted yesterday that their interest was fleeting.

- Kenny Ken Ken also tweets that free-agent-to-be Asdrubal Cabrera is “an option” for the Jays, which… is he? He’s been worth nearly a win-and-a-half this year, but thanks mostly to the fact that he plays shortstop, which he’d be moved off of if he came over to the Jays, moving back to second base, where he played a bunch from 2007 to 2009. He doesn’t play great defence (according to the metrics) at short, and has a .303 on-base over his last 970 plate appearances. And his platoon splits aren’t terribly pronounced, either. Against right-handed pitching, where he’s hit best, over that span the switch hitter slashed .249/.315/.407. At this point I’d take Munenori Kawasaki and his .295/.351/.352 line against right-handers, thanks. And I’d certainly take Steve Tolleson and his 174 wRC+ against lefties. Second base hasn’t even really been that big a problem for this team, frankly.

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The dumb streak is over. Thank fuck. Now we never have to hear about it again.

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It’s just a stadium. Relax.

Scuttlebutt

Gregor Chisholm tweets that Nolan Reimold appears to be the closest of the Jays’ injured players to actually returning to action, with Monday in Boston sounding like a possibility.

Gregor adds that there’s no real update on Lind and Encarnacion, though they will be back before the trade deadline next Thursday (or so John Gibbons says), and also tells us that Brett Lawrie will join those two in Florida in the next couple of days, with Brandon Morrow heading that way to continue working towards full health on Monday.

Richard Griffin tweets that John Gibbons decided not to have his club take on-field batting practice today, because the Yankee Stadium scoreboard was celebrating the club’s 1938 championship… or something. OK?

Alex Seixeiro tweets that the Jays are going to face a left-handed starter sooner than they’d planned: Chris Capuano has just been picked up by the Yankees and will go on Saturday.

At Sportsnet, Mike Wilner and Shi Davidi talk to Jays senior advisor Mel Didier, which sounds fascinating, but also slightly terrifying. If he’s got great insights he’s got grade insights, no matter what age he is, but it’s not exactly the most progressive thing to have a strong octogenarian voice in the front office — and I’ve heard that the Jays really do value his input, like on Phil Bickford. Prior to being with the Jays he was an advisor to Jon Daniels and the Rangers, so maybe I shouldn’t go too nuts with the ageism.

Marcus Stroman tweets that Mark Buehrle got all the young guys on the team fitted for suits while in NYC. Nice.

Shi Davidi tweets that Dalton Pompey has changed agents, and is now represented by CAA.

Oh, and as for the silliness about the Jays’ struggles in the Bronx being something more than a coincidence, uh… yeah, no:

Next game(s): Tomorrow, 1:07 PM ET @ New York; Sunday, 1:07 PM ET @ New York

For those of you who’ll be out and about, be sure to follow all the action on your phone with theScore app.

And now, the lineups… 

Toronto Blue Jays

SS Jose Reyes (S)
3B Munenori Kawasaki (L)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
C Dioner Navarro (R)
1B Juan Francisco (L)
DH Colby Rasmus (L)
2B Ryan Goins (L)
CF Anthony Gose (L)

LHP Mark Buehrle

New York Yankees

LF Brett Gardner (L)
SS Derek Jeter (R)
CF Jacoby Ellsbury (L)
DH Carlos Beltran (S)
1B Brian McCann (L)
3B Chase Headley (L)
RF Ichiro! (L)
2B Brian Roberts (S)
C Francisco Cervelli (R)

RHP Hiroki Kuroda

It was before yesterday’s outstanding performance from Marcus Stroman and the Jays — and before today’s big trade of Deck McGuire to the A’s for cash (and Brad Mills’ clearing waivers and being sent to Buffalo) — but I think there’s still probably reason to pass along my appearance with Macko And Cauz (aka @MackoAndCauz) on TSN Radio 1050 here in Toronto.

So… uh… here it is.

Enjoy!

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STROly fuck! The Jays’ starter really left his MARCUS on that one.

What is there even to say? Stroman was magnificent. Francisco looked like it was May. The Jays took a four game set with the Red Sox and now sit tied with the Mariners (and the bullshit Yankees and their grounds crew) for the second Wild Card, and just two-and-a-half back of the Baltimores in the AL East.

I think a lot of kids might have become baseball fans for a long time on this camp day at Rogers Centre. That was something else. Now go sell off your shitty team, Boston fucks.

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Afternoon baseball!

Yeah… I got nothing. This is your game threat!

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Aaron Sanchez threw six curveballs over the course of the two innings that made up his big league debut on Wednesday night, according to his player page at Brooks Baseball. Three of them went for strikes, to go along with nine strikes on sixteen four-seamers, and one strike from the three two-seamers (or so the Pitch F/X machine says they were — 93 mph changeups?) that he threw. One of those three curveball strikes was actually the ball in play from Dustin Pedroia, who impressively stayed back on a curve nearly on his shoe-tops and lifted it to centre for the first out of Sanchez’s big league career.

And while he didn’t generate any swing-and-miss, wasn’t the groundball machine he was in the minors (and yes, he was indeed a groundball machine, as his page at the excellent MLB Farm shows), didn’t necessarily hit all of his spots, didn’t show a starter’s repertoire, and likely benefited from the Dickey Effect, the club’s top prospect certainly flashed the kind of pure, raw stuff that has his name written on sites like this for so very long, that allowed the Jays to feel comfortable parting with a guy like Noah Syndergaard, and that the club has so tightly held onto over the years as he was ascending to this moment.

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