Friday, November 30, 2007

Tony LaRussa is a baseball genius...

...and don't you forget it.

Incidentally, there's really something that is begging to be said about the inextricable link that we have created in our North American sports culture between booze and sports. But we'll keep it to ourselves for fear of offending our pals over at Drunk Jays Fans.

(Hat tip to the G&M's incomparable Jeff Blair for the link.)

Looking for High Quality CanCon (Celine and Nickelback need not apply)

Let us begin by acknowledging two things:
And yet, heading into the Winter Meetings in Nashville, there are rumblings that both Erik Bedard and Jason Bay may be available for the right price. So would either of them be a fit for the Jays?

The O's are apparently looking for two young Major League ready players and a prospect for Bedard, which might be a bit too much to hand over to a division rival, while the Bucs might be ready to unload Bay and build around some of their own young prospects.

With so much emphasis being placed on teams pursuing Johan Santana this winter, Bedard's price might go up when teams fall out of that race. Still, we're guessing that it wouldn't take as much to pry him out of Baltimore, nor will he cost anything near the $25 million over five years that Santana is seeking. A quick look at their numbers, and it is hard to find why the gap between the two would be so great. (Bedard: 3.16 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 221 Ks versus 57 BBs; Santana: 3.33 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 235 Ks versus 52 BBs.)

Bay might come cheap, but he's 29 and coming off an awful 2007 season that was eerily similar to Vernon's (.746 OPS, 21 HRs, 84 RsBI, 4 SBs). The question with Bay is whether if that was a harbinger of things to come, or if his knee injuries held him back that much.

Maybe the most important question is whether if we'd give a flying fadoo about either of these guys if they didn't have a maple leaf on their passport.

Where's Corey Koskie these days?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Powder Blues for Christmas?

Neate notes the rumblings on the Fan 590's flagship program that the official unveiling of the Jays powder blue retro-alt jerseys could be coming any day now. We've been as jumpy-squirmy-anxious as a school girl with Hannah Montana front-row ducats since we first heard in September that the Blue Jays would be bringing the old school unis back. Hell, just look around the page if you want to know the true colour of our Blue Jay Love.

A tip of la casquette to Home Run Derby for their awesome run down of the best of the powder blue jerseys. Dig those red and powder White Sox unis!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This is Vernon's good news why are we worried?

The CP has a story on the progress of Vernon Wells' recovery and rehab from shoulder season at the end of the season. We think that it was supposed to be a good news story, giving fans a sense that V-Dub will be back to 200-hit, 30-homer, 100-RsBI form in 2008. But in reading it, we got stuck on the negatives. (Maybe that's just our way.)

Wells talks about the "anchors" in his shoulder, and how he couldn't lie on his back because they would pull, so he's been sleeping in a recliner. Yeah, that makes us feel really secure. Because nothing says brand new shoulder like anchor-pull pain.

And then there's this quote that will certainly have us sleeping the sleep of angels through the winter:
"Until I start lifting (weights) again I won't truly, truly, know the difference. There's still a little bit of pain in there."
Yeah, that completely calms the nerves.

Wells' rehab from shoulder surgery going well, will be ready for spring, Canadian Press (via Google News)

Monday, November 26, 2007

There's always room for a good Steve Simmons takedown

Cheers to Neate at Out of Left Field for his excellent takedown of smarmy Sun Media hack Steve Simmons, and his off-handed note about the Yankees' 20 MVPs versus the Blue Jays' one.

Simmons has made a career on these careless, mindless swipes. We find his diatribes on TSN's The Reporters so unintentionally comical that they are almost unbearable to watch. Simmons is so pleased with himself when he's about to fire off some juvenile missive that he chokes and drowns on his own self-satisfaction. Or maybe that is just saliva...we're never quite sure.

If only he had the chops to back it up.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Joe Kennedy, R.I.P.

Former Jays pitcher Joe Kennedy has died at the age of 28 of undetermined causes.

It's like our buddy said when he passed along the news: It's sad and unnerving to see someone younger than you die. While we saw him only for a brief time in Toronto, he was a young man with potential that spanned far beyond his baseball career.

Deepest regrets.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Revolving Door: It was nice knowing you, What's-Your-Name

You gotta feel for Cody Haerther. First, he gets put on waivers by the Cardinals, then he gets picked up by a team that can't spell his name.

Then he gets interviewed by Dave Rouleau, and says all the right things about being excited to be in Toronto. Meanwhile, the Jays are DFAing him to make room for David Purcey.

And when it all shakes out, he's right back in Saint Lou, praying for Chris Duncan or Rick Ankiel to trip down the stairs over the winter.

It was nice knowing you, Hather Hether Heathen Heater Hater Hatchling Haerther (if that is your real name).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

He may be a Gas Can, but he's our Gas Can

Perhaps we should leave it to Bergkamp at the DJF - the one person left amongst us who still believes in Josh Towers - to discuss the recent news that the Jays are looking at offering arbitration to the Gas Can.

We're just puzzled.

Matt Clement: Didn't we already dodge that bullet?

Ever the bargain shopper, J.P. is apparently sniffing around the 75% bin again for discount starters.

This year's model is Matt Clement, who dissed the Jays before the 2005 season, only to go on to stink it up for the Red Sox for a season and a half. (Actually, he made the All-Star game in 2005, for whatever that's worth.)

Clement's had a wacky injury history. We were actually watching the D-Rays-BoSox game a couple of years back when he took a Carl Crawford line drive off his melon, so we feel for the guy.

If nothing else, last year's foray into marked down arms didn't really cost the Jays much, so maybe it is worth taking a shot on a reclamation project like Clement. Could he really project to be any worse that Gus "The Machine" Chacin?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Welcome to the Blue Jays, whatever your name is

Someone might want to invest in a little liquid paper for the Jays communications shop.

In their press release today announcing that they had claimed someone from the Cards, they called him both "Cody Haether" and "Cody Heather". Neither of which is the correct spelling, as we found out when we tried to find out anything about him.

In fact, dude's name is "Cody Haerther". We apologize, but we have no pronunciation guide to offer.

(Update, November 21st - The presser is corrected now. But trust us when we say that we wouldn't make this stuff up.)

Marco! Scutaro! Marco! Scutaro!

The Blue Jays traded a couple of middling minor-leaguers to (who else) Oakland for Marco Scutaro. This presumably fills the yawning gap left after they released Hector Luna last week.

Maybe we're thinking of Scutaro's fantasy value when we say that we like his positional flexibility. Still, he played games at second (13), third (36), short (43), LF (6) and RF (4) last year, so he assumes the Dave Berg role for the 2008 Jays. Which is to say, he won't be good enough to be the everyday player at any position, but you can put him pretty much anywhere in a pinch.

Scutaro's numbers (7 HRs, 41 RsBI in 2007) have been pretty consistent over the past couple of years (5/41 in 2006, 9/37 in 2005), and his career OPS sits at .704.

Oh, yeah: some people like to call him "Lil Papi" because he's allegedly a "clutch" hitter. Which is such a total load of hooey that Dick Griffin is likely already drafting his first column praising Scutaro's clutchiness.

Hey, it's not the most exciting off-season deal...but we get to add a new tag to the blog!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Roy Halladay - Hall of Famer, Pitching Coach to the Stars

What's not to love about Doc?

First, he gets his number retired by the Arizona Fall League, in recognition of the fact that he was the league's first grad to win a Cy Young.

Then, he gets name-checked in his acceptance speech by 2007 NL Cy Younger Jake Peavy, who noted that Halladay had given him some handy tips on fastball grips while playing golf in the off-season.

Whadda guy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Little Aaron Hill's all growed up

The Fresno Bee reports that Aaron Hill got married on November 10. And not to Russ Adams.

Hill married Elizabeth Kenfield in Monterrey, with seven members of the Blue Jays in attendance, including Vernon Wells and Troy Glaus. Just imagine how awkward it's gonna be in the locker room next year when the rest of the team gets to hear all of the stories about how great the wedding was, even though they weren't invited.

(And don't ask us why the Bee has included this in an article about kids washing their grubby little hands. We don't see the link either.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Marty York's sources should lay off the hard drugs

Every so often, when we're mired in the middle of a Dick Griffin mailbag, we wonder about the depths to which Toronto baseball journalism can sink.

And then we remember Marty York.

In York's column published today in Metro (that soggy bit of mush you walked over when exiting the subway), he barfed out this dubious little nugget:
"Could Roger Clemens be returning to Toronto?

The future Hall of Famer has decided to start collecting some of the $3-million US he’s owed by the Houston Astros, who signed him to a personal-services agreement in 2004. That may mean he’s finally ready to retire, but it could also mean he’ll extend his pitching career for a smaller base salary.

And sources tell me the Blue Jays are seriously thinking of pursuing both Clemens and his pal, Andy Pettitte. (I wonder if they’ll offer Canadian money.)"

No. Really.

York's connection to reality has apparently been completely severed. Even if some drunk were to spin a yarn such as this, there's no way that you could plausibly a) believe it or b) print it without doing irreparable damage to your journalistic reputation.

Which, when you think about it, is all pretty much moot for York.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Random thoughts on a shakey video of Travis Snider

Someone's got their ReggieVision Handicam down at the Arizona Fall League, documenting the prospects with a cinematographic skill that can onle be described as "Zapruderesque" . Among them was this one of Travis Snider cranking out a double.

The Good: Didja hear the beautiful sound of the crack of the bat? Niiiiiice.

The Bad: Not that we want to ponder this for too long...but doesn't Snider's body look a bit "Hinske-esque"?

Snider is one of the few players in the AFL who hasn't played above the single-A level, and he's still ripping it up. In 21 games, he's rocking a 1.025 OPS with five doubles, four homers and 11 RsBI. (And a .342 AVG, for those of you who are into that sort of thing.)

He's still only 20 (which is a few years younger than most of the top prospect in 'zona), but his performance bodes well for a possible 2009 appearance with the Jays. (Maybe...)

Other Futuer Blue Jays in the AFL
  • Sergio Santos has 4 HRs and 14 RsBI along with an .823 OPS, and is playing a lot of third. In case the Jays should need new body at the hot corner sometime soon. Just sayin'.
  • David Purcey's got a wicked 1.59 ERA in five starts and 17 innings. He's struck out 17 and walked 8.
  • Ricky Romero's been pitching primarily in relief, and has a 4.22 ERA in 10-plus innings. He got off to a rocky start, but hasn't allowed a run in his last 7 innings of work, spanning four appearances.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Hot Stove: Yowza!

We're back after a brief work-related foray to the vast wilds of our country. (We missed you too!)

And while we were away, the hot stove started to heat up.

Matt Stairs - Welcome back, but...
While we were pleased to see the Jays bring back Matt Stairs for next year on a sentimental level, we've got to say that we have some serious apprehensions about him for next year. Yes, Stairsy was completely off his ass this year at the dish, but what are the chances that he replicates last year's numbers? More over, does his signing block Adam Lind from getting ABs...or moreover, does it lock the Jays in at LF when that might be the best place for them to add a BIG bat in the off-season?

A.J. on the block...not on the block
We don't want to simply restate what the Drunk Jays Fans said yesterday on Burnett, so we won't. Well, not really. Except to say that we should expect to hear a lot of rumbling around Burnett's status from now right up until the trade deadline. If the Jays come out flat and are somewhat out of the race in July, we can see A.J. heading out of town. However, we wonder if it wouldn't make sense for the Jays to try an buy out his opt-out clause in this off-season.

It seems a little odd to think that a guy as fragile and frankly undependable as Burnett could use a couple of injury-riddled 10-8 seasons as a springboard to a big payday, but such is the demand for big nasty arms in MLB.

The Big Bat of our dreams
There will be no shortage of teams in the Miguel Cabrera sweepstakes, so we probably shouldn't even start twisting ourselves into feverish anticipation that the Jays could get him. Cabrera is young and can flat-out rake, and if the Jays were to get into the fray, Cabrera could be the franchise's cornerstone player for the next decade. (Sorry Vernon...we saw way too many pop ups to the infield this season to keep thinking of you that way.)

There are two significant roadblocks, of course. First, the Marlins seem to want to attach Dontrelle Willis to Cabrera's coattails. After a nice start to his career, D-Train has spent the last year and a half getting whacked around in one of the NL's most pitcher friendly parks. Put him in the AL in less spacious surroundings, and you can see where a problem may arise.

Secondly, there is still the matter of that tall slow guy who's making a mint to play third for the Jays...although he may not be around in the first 50 games.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

BoSox-Schilling Ink Deal

The Globe reports that the Red Sox have re-signed Curt Schilling to a one year, $8 million deal. It's a bit of a surprise that the bloodied one did not return to Philly to try to wrap up some unfinished business from '93.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Stairs Locked Up...

...with a two year deal worth $3.25 million. Not bad at all.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Vote for Tom Cheek!

If you are truly a fan of the Blue Jays (or even if you're not), stop what you're doing right now and go to the Baseball Hall of Fame website to vote for Tom Cheek to receive the Ford Frick Award.

Cheek's contribution to baseball in Canada can hardly be summed up in a few lines. He was the narrator that spun the Blue Jays story from to their very beginnings through to their most glorious moments ("Touch 'em all, Joe!").

Mostly, we loved the fact that he never hit a false note in describing the action. He wasn't a homer, and he never sold the story as something more than it was. He was dry without being boring; funny without being jokey; and he was willing to give the Jays the business when they were playing like a shit sandwich.

Our favorite Cheekism: Whenever the fielders were miscommunicating, or flubbed a defensive play, he would refer to them "playing a little Alphonse and Gaston in the field". Classic.

The voting for the Frick Award lasts through the month, and you can vote once per day.