lawriemlbtheshow

This one’s been around for a few days now, and has over 20,000 views, but it’s certainly new to me, um… save for having shown up in an email from awesomely-named commenter Macho Man Randy Travis a few days ago, which I just got around to opening now. But enough about my utter laziness, it’s Brett Lawrie interacting with kids, everybody!

He’s doing so, as you’ll see, because as the cover boy for this year’s Canadian version of MLB The Show, evidently he gets his own commercial He even kind of nailed some of the lines.

Actually… you know what? The whole damn thing might be a little bit endearing, even, what with the playing up of the whole Brett Lawrie stereotype thing. Now all he has to do is stop hitting everything into the damn ground and maybe he’ll get a chance to make another one of these next year.

I’m sure you all know how to use Google and can figure out how to read more about the latest incarnation of MLB The Show, so I won’t bother linking to that noise. Let’s just check out the video — after the jump (at least for those of you reading on the home page, I mean)…

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dailyduce2

Daily?? Been waaaaay too long.

Mark Buehrle was a fucking boss last night, as I’m sure you all saw. Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that the eleven strikeouts he recorded last night were one shy of his career high, and that in 430 career starts, he’s reached double digits only twice.

Baseball Tonight tweets out an outstanding heat map of Buehrle’s performance, which shows how he worked the edges of the plate juuuuuuuust a little. However, from the “not sayin’, just sayin’” file, according to Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, last night’s home plate umpire, Jim Wolf, was also behind the plate for Buehrle’s perfect game. Hmmm…

With apologies to everyone else, for my money, John Lott writes the best gamers. So here’s his from the National Post following Buehrle’s gem, as well as another piece he filed, in which — among other things — he spoke to Rays skipper Joe Maddon about the league’s new insufferable replay setup, which apparently has eased tension between managers and umpires. Sounds like a fair trade off for killing one of the most iconic elements of the game while also somehow making it slower in one fell ill-conceived swoop, eh?

One more from Lott: he profiles Dioner Navarro in the wake of the praise — and subtle dig at catchers past? — heaped on him by Jose Bautista after last night’s win.

Alex Anthopoulos was on the Fan 590 with Brady and Walker this morning, and Ben Nicholson-Smith has some highlights at Sportsnet, including the GM’s admission that Jonathan Diaz may not necessarily be returned to the minor leagues when some of the club’s walking wounded return. Diaz offers better hope of taking a walk than Ryan Goins, and just might play better defence, too. If you wanted to bet he steals Goins’ job, I wouldn’t be betting against you.

Gregg Zaun’s “Zaun Cherry” pantomime should best be taken for exactly that, but sometimes he says something so fucking discouragingly off that you can’t not call him out for it. A few post-Sportsfeld beers don’t hurt, either. But seriously, do we really need to empower this kind of moronic thinking? I guess bashing my head up against it keeps me employed, but… for fuck sakes…

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buehrle-mtl

Buehrle’s gonna buehrl tonight, and yet… how long might this game actually take, when Matt Moore can’t hit the damn plate, and John Gibbons and Joe Maddon play the insufferable game of delaying the game long enough to be made aware from the bench whether or not a play should be challenged under MLB’s new shitty, poorly thought-out replay system.

I mean, seriously, people. What the fuck is this interminable nonsense? Scrap the garbage already. Or, at the very goddamn least, make it so that a manager who leaves the dugout without having made a challenge relinquishes his right to issue a challenge – something to keep what has been happening in the first few days of this season from happening again, because… as much as I suppose I can accept more correct calls in exchange for fewer awesome arguments between managers and umpires, um… arguments are awesome and this is bullshit.

Oh, and apparently there’s a baseball game on now or something. Also apparently: a Sportsfeld tradition is to go to the bar after. FYI.

Scuttlebutt

Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider Only) is ready to blow up the Jays — exactly the kind of advice that got him shitcanned every time he’s been made the GM of a team. Or… actually that’s not true. Pretty sure it was skimming money from Latin American kids that did him in the one time.

A tweet from Chris Zelkovich (formerly of the Star, now of Yahoo!), says that the Jays averaged 591,000 viewers on Tuesday, even though they were up against the Leafs. Pretty good.

Matt Moore and his I-don’t-know-where-this-pitch-is-going thing can kinda fuck off.

TV: Sportsnet

Next game: Tomorrow, 7:10 PM ET, at Tampa

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

LF Melky Cabrera (S)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
1B Edwin Encarnacion (R)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
DH Moises Sierra (R)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
2B Maicer Izturis (S)
SS Jonathan Diaz (R)

LHP Mark Buehrle

Tampa Bay Rays

CF Desmond Jennings (R)
RF Wil Myers (R)
2B Ben Zobrist (S)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
DH Logan Forsythe (R)
1B James Loney (L)
LF Sean Rodriguez (R)
C Jose Molina (R)
SS Yunel Escobar (R)

LHP Matt Moore

colby

In this guest post from Kyle Matte we get a look at what the future holds for Colby Rasmus, as he begins his final season before free agency, and whether the Jays can keep him. Follow Kyle on Twitter at @KyleMatte.

When Major League Baseball’s newest Collective Bargaining Agreement was under discussion, both sides acknowledged that the Type A/Type B free agent compensation system needed to be re-worked. It put numerous players in a position where their leverage was being artificially hauled down by a mechanism that offered them little to no benefit. The acceptance of arbitration would at best gain them a one-year deal, and because of the way salary escalation was handled, even the best players were looking at maybe a 20% raise on their previous year’s earnings. Always seeking the security of a long term deal, the offer was almost universally declined.

The two sides came up with the Qualifying Offer – a way to protect teams from losing elite free agents for nothing, while limiting the number of mid-tier free agents carrying draft pick compensation because of the hefty figure involved: a one year deal with a guaranteed salary equal to the average of the top 125 players in all of baseball. Part of that plan has certainly come to fruition. Heading into 2011, 83 free agents had draft pick compensation attached: 33 Type A, 50 Type B. In the two years since the Qualifying Offer was implemented, just 9 and 13 free agents have felt the draft pick noose hung around their neck. What likely wasn’t a part of the plan is that the non-elite free agents still being tagged are finding a market more unwelcoming than ever before, as front offices have proven increasingly protective of their draft picks and bonus money. Some fault must be placed on the agents for misreading the market their clients were jumping head-first into, but any system that prevents above average talent like Stephen Drew from finding legitimate, fair contracts is obviously flawed. Kendrys Morales: there are simply no words for your decision making process.

This system is relevant to Toronto, as come the end of the 2014 season, one of our own will be marching into free agency: Colby Rasmus. Mind you, we thought much the same last year, and we saw how that turned out with Josh Johnson. The situation with Rasmus is different, however, for two main reasons. The first is that he’s been healthy; his 458 plate appearances in 2013 were a career low, and he still had his most productive output. The second is that he’s a position player. Of the 22 players to receive qualifying offers, 16 have been of the non-pitcher persuasion. Teams have, perhaps wisely, been especially wary of spending big on free agent pitchers the last couple of years.

Beyond his health and non-pitcher status, Rasmus has a number of things working in his favor. Colby will be just 28 years old on Opening Day 2014, which would tie him with B.J. Upton as the youngest free agent to receive the Qualifying Offer. Additionally, he’s already displayed an elite-level peak. His 4.8 fWAR in 2013 places him in the company of Robinson Cano, Josh Hamilton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-SooChoo, Michael Bourn, Curtis Granderson, and Mike Napoli as players who exceeded 4.5 fWAR in any of the three seasons leading up to their free agency. Finally, Rasmus plays an up-the-middle position (catcher, second base, shortstop, center field). Seven signed players met that criteria, and the average contract from that group was an astounding 6 years and 113 million. That is not a prediction of what he will make, merely a guarantee that barring a meteorically catastrophic 2014 season, Colby Rasmus will receive a Qualifying Offer from the Toronto Blue Jays, and he will decline it.

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sportsfeld

The long, interminable winter is over and the season has begun, meaning — in addition to other, far more important things — that people have started asking me to come talk about baseball and stuff on their podcasts and/or radio shows! I already linked you to one such instance earlier today – attached to the outstanding every-Jays-conversation-you’ve-ever-had video from the folks behind Just Passing Through — wherein I spoke with Michael Newton (aka @michaelknewton) on a very special baseball-themed edition of his excellent all vinyl and alcohol podcast, Two Turntables And A Bottle Of Wine.

And now we have another, as this afternoon I was fortunate enough to join our old friend the Zubes (aka @the_zubes) — along with Jake Goldsbie (aka @JGoldsbie), a special appearance from Devang Desai (@DesaiDevang), and Ryan Eligh (@RyanEligh) on the ones and twos — for an episode of Sportsfeld, the sports podcast about nothing!

Follow Sportsfeld on PodBean, curse the name Justin Bourne, and have a listen to it too. I think we might have kind of nailed this one, and fans of the DJF Podcast ought to dig it.

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jpt

Two-for one media bonus time, here, because I can’t be arsed to make two separate posts!

First up — after the jump — we’ve got some funny stuff from the folks behind the great web series Just Passing Through, as they pretty much hit the nail on the head in laying out all the hopes and concerns that surround this year’s edition of the Blue Jays. Give it a watch, and give them a follow at @jpt2013.

Then! When you’ve got some time on your hands, are find yourself champing at the bit for the home opener to just get here already, and are ready to sit down for some good baseball-related tunes, and a chat with yours truly in between, check out a very special baseball-themed edition of the great, local, all-vinyl-and-alcohol podcast, Two Turntables And A Bottle Of Wine. Give them a follow, too, at @ttbwpodcast, and have a listen below!

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hutchisonFAES

It’s times like these where I’m reminded of the immortal words of Killface:

All right, all right. Let’s bring it in. Bring it in. On me. On me. Now look, I’m counting on all of you. There’s no yesterday. There’s no tomorrow. Forget ant farm keyboard. That’s… forget that. I want you to go out there, and take this moment, and make it yours.

Sure, the start to the season has gone about as poorly as imaginable, but that was March. That shit’s in the past, man. This is April now. Let’s turn the page. There’s still time for the Jays to shake off their dismal first month of the season and get this brand new month started right.

Drew Hutchison is on the hill with large expectations in tow, and a lot of talent, but little experience against the kind of hitters the Rays will be running at him — or with a pitchers on the opposite hill who was as good last year as Alex Cobb was. Should be a treat tonight, but like last night, and like the Jays season as a whole, it has as much potential to go really well as it does to go shatteringly poorly, even considering the fact that we’ve finally turned the page on the dismal regular season schedule in the month of March.

Forget ant farm keyboard. That’s… forget that.

Scuttlebutt

Got an email blast this morning from Bodog, telling me John Gibbons is 2/1 to be the first manager in baseball to lose his job — the odds on favourite. Hate to say it, but… yeah, probably.

Brett Lawrie is an ass man. We knew this, today — apparently thanks to someone from Buzz Feed — the world learned it. But at least, by way of @_scottjohnson, we got this outstanding Sir Mix-A-Lot GIF.

At Gamereax, Chris Toman writes about the Jays’ shrinking window to win. Ugh.

Five Thirty Eight looks at the popularity of MLB teams relative to their market size, and naturally, the Jays are firmly in the bottom third.

Meanwhile, some interesting stuff from concession prices, league-wide, from our friend Jonah Birenbaum at theScore.

Jack Moore wrote about Montreal for Getting Blanked, and nailed it.

Book launch for the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is tomorrow at Tallboys. Read about it at Blue Jays From Away.

TV: Sportsnet: Pacific/East/360, MLB Network

Next game: Tomorrow, 7:10 PM ET, at Tampa

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

LF Melky Cabrera (S)
CF Colby Rasmus (L)
RF Jose Bautista (R)
DH Edwin Encarnacion (R)
1B Adam Lind (L)
C Dioner Navarro (S)
3B Brett Lawrie (R)
2B Ryan Goins (L)
SS Jonathan Diaz (R)

RHP Drew Hutchison

Tampa Bay Rays

LF Matt Joyce (L)
RF Wil Myers (R)
2B Ben Zobrist (S)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
1B James Loney (L)
CF Desmond Jennings (R)
DH Logan Forsythe (R)
C Ryan Hanigan (R)
SS Yunel Escobar (R)

RHP Alex Cobb