2010-03-31

Fantasy Baseball Pool



DUE TODAY
The Hall of Fame's Baseball pool is due by 11:59pm today. If you have signed up then thank you and spread the word, but if you haven't there is still time.

FANTASY BASEBALL POOL FORM

11 PRIZES:
All-Star prize (1st place at time of 2010 All-Star game): 2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau autographed ball
Best points/per game average at end of season – autographed ball
Best Month (wins CBHFM hat), Best Week (wins autographed ball), Best Day (wins book) at end of season
The best in the last 30 days! (To be determined on the 30th of each month) – Ernie Whitt autographed induction card

Grand Prizes:
First place: $100 and 4 field level jays tickets to one game in 2011
Second place: Autographed baseball bat (you choose from Lasorda, Fernandez, Jenkins, Walker etc….)
Third place: Autographed baseball (you choose from Lasorda, Fernandez, Walker, Whitt etc…)
Fourth and Fifth place: New Era Major League Baseball hat of your choice

You can fax the form to 519-284-1234 or email it to baseball@baseballhalloffame.ca
If you need a form sent to you call 519-284-1838.

Baseball Bloggers Alliance Announces Formation of Goose Gossage Award













The Baseball Bloggers Alliance is pleased to announce the formation of the Goose Gossage Award.
Starting with the 2010 Major League Baseball season, the Goose Gossage Award will be a postseason award given to the top relief pitcher in each league.  "It's hard to picture anyone more worthy of having his name on an award such as this," said BBA founder Daniel Shoptaw. "Mr. Gossage embodies what so many people think of as the classic relief pitcher, and the BBA is honored that he has agreed to lend his name to this award."
Richard "Goose" Gossage was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008 after a 22-year major league career in which he had 310 career saves and recorded a 3.01 ERA in 1,002 games played. He was a nine-time All-Star, finished among the top vote-getters for the Cy Young Award in five different seasons, and was named the 1978 Rolaids Relief Man of the Year.
The Goose Gossage Award will be voted on by the membership of the BBA.  Team chapters will have two votes each for either the American or National League ballot.  The General Baseball chapter will vote in a manner determined by its members.
"While we held award votes mirroring those of the Baseball Writers' Association of America did award voting following at the end of the 2009 season, we did not have a separate award for relievers," stated Shoptaw. "With the popularity of that voting, we decided that it was important to differentiate ourselves from other voting organizations.  With the addition of the Goose Gossage Award we have taken the first step in that direction."
The Baseball Bloggers Alliance was formed in 2009 and numbers 142 blogs across baseball, representing 29 of the 30 major league teams and including numerous general baseball blogs.  Award balloting for the BBA is a transparent process, as no ballot is counted unless it is posted on the voter's blog.
The official website of the BBA is located at www.baseballbloggersalliance.com.  The BBA can be found on Twitter by the handle @baseballblogs and the hashmark #bbba.  Members of the BBA may also be heard at Blog Talk Radio each Tuesday night with their call-in show, BBA Baseball Talk.

2010-03-30

Breakdown of Rotation Spending...

Nemesis here,

I know it’s been a while since I posted, I’ve been stuck on an island with a bunch of others running from some black smoke trying to solve the mystery, what is this island?

The reason I’m here is this, I’ve just read an article on MLBTR that has left me stunned and quite frankly embarrassed of what this team of ours has become.

The article breaks down the total cost of the starting rotation.

So in first place, I won’t leave you guessing because I’m sure you know who’ll it be.

1…coming in at $63 million New York Yankees
29… $9.4 Million Tampa Bay Rays
And number 30, coming in at a whopping $4.08 million dollars, your Toronto Blue Jays.

So looking at the rest of the AL East

Yanks 63
Red Sox 42
Orioles 14
Rays 9.4
Us 4.08

Let’s put this in to a pie chart to make us feel even better.


Makes you feel good about our chances going into 2010 in a week. This certainly adds ammo to Golden Arm’s argument that we have a chance to finish dead last in the AL this year. Well man, we’ve already finished dead last in one category and the season hasn’t even started yet.

I knew it was going to be low, but come on, we’re even behind the Pirates, The PIRATES! They point out that the total spent on starting rotations across is the bigs is $736 Million Dollars, so our piece is %.005. Wow. I know I know, we’re rebuilding, oh excuse me, just building. But come on, we still have to make it through this season to come out to the promised land that is the mighty 2011 season where everything is supposed to come together for us.

If you take out Doc's and Ryan's salary from our payroll this year, looks like the starting 5 for the Yanks is more then our entire payroll.

But the bigger kick to the nuts is, as the author points out. We are paying more for Roy Halladay this year to pitch for the Phillies then we are for our actual starting rotation. *gulp* It’s going to be a long year fellow Jays fans.

Check out the original post on MLBTraderumors.com

Toronto Blue Jays Roundtable



Another re-post.  You may notice I ripped off the answer to the final question from a previous roundtable we were involved in.....just wanted to be consistent!  If you want to check out the original post, which I highly recommend please click here.  There is also a season preview and top ten prospects list available.   

Our guest bloggers is Matt Seybold from The Sporting Hippeaux and Dick Smith from 1 Blue Jays Way.

Question 1 – Did the team get enough for Roy Halladay? Would they have gotten more last July?

Trent: No. They might have gotten more, but more is still not really good enough for this team. Maybe if they had taken up Lee instead of Drabek (or maybe both) in the latter trade would they have come out somewhere near even in the long run. I think it will be asking a lot for the Jays to make up that kind of production in the AL East, considering that Halladay was the one pitcher that made all opposing lineups stand up and take notice. That’s close to 25 wins they’re going to have to make up for and that isn’t something that gets replaced with ease.

Matt: I strongly believe they could’ve gotten more if they had traded Halladay at the deadline last season, when teams would’ve had the opportunity to ride him to two postseasons before he was eligible to become a free agent, rather than just one. The failure to do so clearly led to the dismissal of J. P. Riccardi, who did a lot of good things in Toronto, but clearly bumbled and misread the market for Halladay from the beginning. That said, the package they did finally receive from Philadelphia/Oakland has some promising players in it. I expect Kyle Drabek and Brett Wallace will both be in the major leagues sometime this season and could make an impact as early as 2011.

Warren: Not really. They could have gotten more last July because players closer to free agency tend to draw way to little and they could have gotten something better if he was traded in July when teams were looking for depth and a strong starting pitcher come playoff time.

Dick: Could it ever really be enough? Sorry to answer a question with a question but he was all we had to cheer for sometimes. Roy Halladay is a dominant pitcher in the major leagues. A true ace. Anything short of that in return is a downgrade.
That being said, it is unfair to evaluate this trade yet. The young player we received are all top prospects. Considering what the Twins got in return for Johan, I think we did alright.
With respect to the deadline, unfortunately our former GM was a lying piece of garbage. I tuned him out years ago. Therefore based on what he said this deal was not available back then. But he is about as truthful as Tiger Woods.
I think if we could have dealt him to Boston or the Yankees, then we could have got more. But that would have been suicide for J.P. Whatever fans we have left would have gone nuts, myself included.
Don’t forget, Doc had a no trade clause. I’m sure he said no to a few destinations with better packages…..
The way J.P. went about that entire ordeal no doubt cost him his job. Classless to the end.

Daniels: I think they got what they could for him. Players with no-trade clauses are a pain and Philly was clearly the destination they had in mind all season. Philly likely would have given them about what they gave up anyway. I still think Riccardi’s best move was to give away Halladay for peanuts to an NL team with the condition they take Vernon Wells and at least 3/4ths the salary — then pray to every deity ever conceived that Wells have an insane 2010 and opt out of his current deal. In that case, they get more than prospects — they get $23M/year to spend on people who are good at baseball.

Question 2 – How soon until we see Brett Wallace?

Matt: I think that will depend mainly on the performance/progress of Edwin Encarnacion, Travis Snider, Jose Bautista, Lyle Overbay, Randy Ruiz, and whoever else gets thrown into the 1B/3B/OF/DH mix. We won’t see Wallace before the end of May, for certain, because the Jays will be looking to set back his arbitration clock. If the above players have performed fairly well up to that point (or if Wallace hasn’t been particularly productive at AAA), then we probably won’t see him until the second half, or even September.
However, I doubt that will be the case. In all likelihood Wallace will get the call sometime in June or July. Even if Bautista, Overbay, and Ruiz play well, I think it is almost certain that the Jays would be willing to trade any one them at the deadline.
From what I can gather (I haven’t actually seen him play), Wallace makes more sense at 1B or DH than at 3B. Overbay seems like the most likely trade bait, as many contenders might covet him as a left-handed pinch-hitter and defensive replacement (see Casey Kotchman in ‘09). The Jays won’t get much in return because he has a relatively large, expiring contract, but they’d probably trade him for a 35th round draft pick at this point.

Eugene: I think it’s a monetary reason that he won’t start the season with the big league club, plus the fact they couldn’t trade Lyle Overbay. Wallace won’t be playing third, the Blue Jays have already said that; the production of Encarnacion will have nothing to do with Wallace. They had the deal lined up for Chris Snyder of Arizona, but were scared off because of medical concerns. I think they will be able to trade him, but not get much back, as Matt said.

Matt: The only reason Encarnacion’s performance/health could come into play is that impacts how they use Jose Bautista, Randy Ruiz, etc. I don’t think Encarnacion will be the player replaced in the lineup by Wallace, nor will he be a player the Jays look to trade, but if he can only play DH because of the wrist injury, that could block Wallace from that position (which may be where he makes the most sense eventually). If he can only play infrequently or not at all during his rehabilitation, that could help speed Wallace’s path to the bigs. The recovery time after wrist injuries is very difficult to gauge (see Big Papi, Derrek Lee, etc.), so I think the Jays can’t expect much from Encarnacion this season, especially in terms of power.

Dick: I’m thinking Sept. call up. Even if we trade Overbay at the deadline or before, Wallace is learning a new position. Speaking of which, why are we changing this kid to a 1B? If he is comfortable at third why move him? I have never seen him play, but a 3B is obviously more valuable than a 1B. Is he THAT bad there?
Matt brings up a good point about service time. I think our new GM is going to be schooling us all on that in the coming years. No way he lets Wallace, Drabek or the Cuban become super two’s, even if they are ready to play in the big leagues.
I like the thought of having some lefthanded power in the line up moving forward. Snider, Lind and Wallace…..

Eugene: He profiles as a first baseman; he’s got a wide base and his body has been compared to Jim Thome and Prince Fielder. I saw him briefly at the Futures Game and made a great play to his left. I still think he could be a league average third baseman if given the chance, but no one appears ready give it to him. That’s why the Cardinals traded him for Matt Holliday.
I agree, it is somewhat surprising that nobody’s been willing to give Wallace a chance at the hot corner, especially since both the Cardinals and Athletics had very little talent blocking him at that position.
After all, some bruisers have been okay there (Pablo Sandoval, Ken Caminiti, etc.). However, the trend recently has been away from playing big-time power-hitters at the position, even if they are okay defensively, as guys like Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Kevin Youkilis, Aubrey Huff, and Russell Branyan all got moved across the diamond. I have to believe the main reason is to protect their health. Third baseman get hurt more often. I don’t know why that is, but it is a fact.
In Toronto, Wallace’s mediocrity at the position might be further exposed by the fact that he’d be playing 81 games a year on turf, noted for both it’s difficulty for infielders and it’s tendency to be tough on knees and backs, one of the reasons Scott Rolen was traded despite his productivity at the plate and in the field.

Eugene: Some of those guys were moved to make the team better or because they couldn’t handle the position. Pujols was moved for Rolen (well, he was first moved for Polanco since he could handle the position well and Pujols was fine in the outfield) and Youkilis was moved for Mike Lowell (and his bloated contract). Cabrera was moved because he was too out of shape to handle the position.
I don’t think this is a trend in baseball – I think this is teams trying to be better by getting the right guys in the line up and preserving their high dollar investments.

Question 3 – What should be expected of Brandon Morrow? Rotation or Bullpen?

Matt: Morrow, though he doesn’t get nearly as much press, has followed almost exactly the same career path as Joba Chamberlain. He was a first-round pick who the Mariners rushed to the majors at the age of 22, after which they bounced him back and forth from rotation to bullpen, and even to the minor-leagues, perhaps stunting his development and maybe even exacerbating his injury issues, then gave up on him shortly after he turned 25.
Morrow, like Chamberlain, has clearly been more successful (and more comfortable) in the bullpen, where his strikeout rate rises from 8.1 K/9 to 10.1 K/9 and his ERA falls from 4.42 to 3.65. However, I can see the temptation to turn him into the starter, where, if successful, he’d be much more valuable.
Whatever Toronto decides, they need to commit to it, at least for the entirety of 2010. Considering the fact that Toronto’s bullpen already has a few solid arms and there are facing injury concerns with starters McGowan, Cecil, Marcum, and Richmond, it makes sense that they try to slot him into the rotation. If it doesn’t work out, they can turn him into a late-inning reliever in 2011, at which point reinforcements will have arrived in the form of Cecil, Drabek, etc., while closer candidates Downs, Frasor, and Gregg may all have become free agents.

Dick: Brandon Morrow will start. Period. If he is unable to put it together at the Major League level, he will be optioned to AAA.
The expectations on this young man in Seattle were immense. Being drafted before Tim Lincecum tends to do that. The switch from reliever to starter and back again definitely played a large part in his availability. Sure, his numbers are better in the bullpen and he may end up being a late inning guy somewhere down the road but for the next few years he will be given every opportunity to start for us here in Toronto. If he can develop his change up, his third pitch, then his chances increase greatly that he will stick in the five man rotation.
It should be noted that he has never pitched above 70 innings in the big leagues. He will and should be capped around 100 innings this season which translates to about 20 starts. Look for reinforcements like Jesse Litsch or Shawn Hill to jump into his spot around late July.

Eugene: I had high expectations before last season for Morrow, but the way the Mariners handled him had killed my expectations. Hopefully the Blue Jays are a little better to him. I’d say give him a season in Triple A as a starter to see what he does there. If he succeeds, he’ll have a good shot at the rotation in 2011.

Question 4 – What place will the Blue Jays finish in?

Matt: The rebuilding Jays won’t be too concerned with the standings this season, which is a good thing, since it seems like last place is probably a foregone conclusion in their deep, dominant division. Anything over 70 wins would have to be considered a great sign for the future.

Dick: Dead last in the AL East, maybe even the entire AL.
We won 75 games last season and that included contributions from Scott Rolen and Alex Rios for roughly two thirds of the season. We replaced them with Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. That win total also includes a full season of Roy Halladay and Marco Scutaro. We replaced them with Brandon Morrow and Alex Gonzalez. I hate to be so negative before the season even starts but I think we may be in danger of flirting with the teams fourth 100 loss season.

Eugene: While I think last is possible, the Orioles could fight them for it. It appears that Toronto at least has somewhat of a plan for rebuilding. The Orioles will be relying on a lot of young pitching, where the Blue Jays have some guys with more experience. I think in the end they’ll win last place by being a game or 2 worse than Baltimore.

2010-03-29

Remembering: Roy Halladay

 

I think I'm ready to talk about the trade now.  I know it took a while.  I have no idea where this one is going to go but I hope you enjoy the ride.....

Harry Leroy Halladay.  AKA Doc

Your Toronto Blue Jays selected him the first round, 17th overall, in the 1995 MLB June Amateur Draft as an 18 year old.  He rocketed through the minor leagues, reaching AAA by 1997 and the Majors in 1998 as a 21 year old.  Things looked good.  At the time we had three young right handed pitchers who seemed destined for success.  They were Chris Carpenter, Kelvim Escobar and Roy Halladay.

But everything became unraveled.  Carp suffered some devastating arm injuries, Kelvim was bounced between the rotation and the bullpen and Doc got sent all the way back down to High A ball in 2001.  He was told he needed to completely change his pitching mechanics and find some consistency.  Instead of bitching and moaning like some of our current players did about being demoted, Doc went down and just did his work.  I'm sure he was bitterly disappointed but he never let anyone know about it.  By the end of 2001, he was back up in AAA.  He started 2002 on the major league roster and went 19 - 7 in 34 starts amassing 239.1 innings and received his first of six all star game nominations.  In 2003 he won his only Cy Young award.  His numbers were ridiculous for a modern day pitcher.  22 - 7 record, 266 innings, 36 starts, 9 complete games.  But the most amazing stat for me in that season was his walk totals.  That year he faced 1071 hitters and walked 32 of them.  Mind blowing stuff.        

For his career he has 49 complete games in 287 starts, 15 of them shutouts.  17% of the time he took the ball, Doc finished what he started.  For me, the best part of any of his games was when the manager went out to the mound to talk to him for the first time in an inning.  Literally, a three second conversation ensued.  I can only imagine how it went, but if I had to guess:

Manager says, "Doc you look a little tired."
Doc replies, "What's tired?  Now go back to the dugout and let me get back to work."     

I remember early in the 2008 season when he pitched four complete games in a row and remarkably we somehow managed to lose three of them.  I guess that sums up his career here in Toronto better than anything else I could ever say.

April 12: 4 - 1 win
April 17: 4 - 1 loss
April 23: 5 - 3 loss
April 29: 1 - 0 loss

It was always a fast game when he was on the mound.  I figured it out that last year the average length of the games he started was 2 hours and 45 minutes.  Doc worked quickly, efficiently not wasting any time between pitches.  He pounded the strikezone, almost seeming to dare hitters to swing.  His focus was second to none and watching him set up his prey was an absolute treat for me being a former catcher.  

"I want to throw a lot of innings, and I want to give the team a chance," Halladay said. "I try to be aggressive and pitch to contact."

And give us a chance to win you did sir.

Personally, I felt we were the best team in baseball every five days.  I truly did.  We never needed to score many runs with The Doctor on the mound and we usually didn't.  I remember more than once writing the dates he was projected to pitch in my calendar and trying to keep them free so I could watch the surgeon preform his work.

Doc was always a bright light in a sometimes (mostly) dark season.

Day in and day out, he took the ball and executed.  To me, the mark of an athletes greatness in any sport is how he preforms when he doesn't have his A material or "best stuff".  Anybody can be great some of the time.  Some guys are able to be great more than they are not.  Doc was good enough to win, even with this offense, when he didn't have command of all of his pitches.  Normally it was his curveball that would disappear, occasionally it was his cutter.  On those days, he was forced to battle hitters.  Jacking up the pitch count and refusing to give in.  It was still good enough to give us a chance to win.


Over the years, people here in Toronto seemed to take his brilliance for granted.  They must have assumed Doc would be a Blue Jay for life due to the fact he signed TWO under market value extensions to stay.  Always saying, I just want to win and by signing for less we can spend that money on other players.  The players union must have been pissed with his decision for obvious reasons but he still did it anyway.  A true team guy.  A lifelong Blue Jay.  But then it all changed.....

Last summer we began to hear rumblings that Doc may be available on the trade market.  J.P. was just throwing his name around in the media and making it seem like he wanted to leave.  Selfishly I didn't want to believe it.  Not Roy.  ANYBODY but Roy.  The fans reacted and quickly made their voices heard.
  

But deep down inside, how could we blame him for wanting to leave? 

Doc waited most of his career for the brain trust to surround him with reinforcements, even providing them with the $ to do it.  There was always an excuse, first it was the difference in the Canadian dollar vs the US dollar.  We made our revenues in CAD and paid our expenses in USD.  When the exchange rate was at 65 cents, that excuse seemed valid.  But things slowly started to even out.  Still no help.  Then they bitched about not owning the stadium, so they tanked a few seasons and drove down attendance.  Ultimately they got the stadium for dirt cheap and did try to spend some money on players.....it just didn't work out.

Considering his on field success, it is almost easy to forget about Doc's contributions to various local charities when talking about his legacy here in Toronto.  But if you don't mention it, you are missing a big part of what made him so special.  He and his wife Brandi owned a box in the SkyDome and even had it renovated, paying for it to be done themselves.  It was appropriately called Doc's Box and every home game they treated children from nearby Sick Kids hospital to free baseball.  First class all the way.


So where does that leave us?  What are we suppose to do now?

We have lost a warrior.  An true ace.  The ultimate competitor.  

But we had to do this deal.  Ask any Toronto sports fan about what happened with the hockey teams former captain and you will understand why we had no choice.  There was no way we could afford to let Doc walk for draft picks.  And he had given this organization EVERYTHING he had.

The young players we got in return will always be mentioned in the same sentence as Doc.  Always.  And I for one think that may be a bit unfair.  Replacing this type of player will be impossible.  Don't even try.

A couple of positive things will happen this year for Roy Halladay.  He will get a chance to pitch in the playoffs and maybe win a World Series.  He will also (finally) be recognized as one of the best pitchers in baseball by the American sportswriters.

I have no ill will towards Doc.  I cannot and will not cheer against him.  It is not in my current DNA make up to do so.  But seeing this breaks my heart.

        
I had every intention of writing this post link free.  But I believe some of the articles that I have been saving since he left are a worthwhile use of your time.  This may take you a little while to get through but I think you need to see these:
  1. Dirk Hayhurst tells a great story. Click here 
  2. Ghost Runner on First recalls a day in the life existence of Roy Halladay. Click here 
  3. You Don't Know Dick Griffin chats with Brandi Halladay. Click here
  4. USA Today tries to open some eyes. The Audio Q&A link is still active. Click here
  5. The Cito talks about losing his ace. Click here
  6. Shaun Marcum talks about losing Doc. Make sure to watch the 1 minute video. Click here
  7. The prospects traded for Doc speak up. Click here
  8. Bob Elliot follows Doc around for a day. Click here
  9. Jason Stark @ ESPN does open some eyes. Click here
  10. Roy Halladay's career stats. Click here
  11. Roy Halladay's contract information. Click here
  12. King Jordan observes a change in the clubhouse this year. Click here
  13. Mop Up Duty wrote this a few months after I posted this. A must read 
Conclusion: 

This post took a lot out of me.  I started it about two weeks ago when I thought I was able to talk about Roy being traded.....and I was wrong.  Every time I revisited it since, I would think about another story or fact that I could use to help me convey my feelings.  I could probably have kept writing about Doc for a while longer but I'm happy with this for now.  Hope you enjoyed reading it.

The healing for me has finally begun.....

2010-03-28

Weekly Round Up : Mar. 22 - 28


Please consider this your required reading for the week.

Courtesy of King Bastian:

JAYS TRIM ROSTER: Early on Sunday morning, the Blue Jays parted ways with Joey Gathright, releasing the veteran outfielder. Gathright was hitting .167 this spring and said on Saturday that he was willing to accept a Minor League assignment.
"You kind of expect something bad to happen, but not this," Gathright said "But, I can understand where the team is coming from. I had a very, very bad spring hitting wise. You've got to do what you've got to do. A lot of guys are having good springs, so you've got to give those guys opportunity."
Anthopoulos said it did not seem fair to Gathright to send him to Triple-A, considering a few other outfielders had passed him on the organizational depth chart. The GM said Gathright would've been fourth or fifth in line for a potential promotion. Beyond Gathright and Emaus, the Jays also reassigned outfielder Chris Lubanski to Minor League camp.
The Jays now have 33 players remaining in camp. Eight cuts to go.

There are only three days left to get your vote in for the first ever 25 Man Roster Challenge.  You can find our picks in the right hand margin at the top.  I think it's fair to say that none of us saw this one coming as we all had Gathright on our lists.....

Courtesy of Ken Rosenthal @ FOX Sports:

One way or another, the Jays will turn Frasor and Downs into younger pieces as they continue rebuilding. The team’s look is changing rapidly; by this time next season, Brett Wallace could be at first base, Adeinis Hechevarria at shortstop, J.P. Arencibia at catcher.
Wallace was part of the four-team Roy Halladay trade. Hechevarria is a highly regarded Cuban defector. Arencibia, the team’s first-round pick in 2007, is coming off a big spring.
The idea is to keep adding quality young parts. The Jays, if they trade Frasor and Downs, will not settle for fringe prospects in return.

Kenny getting paid to state the obvious.  Jason Frasor was named the closer this week.  Got him for a buck in my AL only fantasy league and just picked him up off the waiver wire in a mixed roto league!  Hope he gets Team BALCO a few saves before he is traded.

Courtesy of Fan Graphs:

Shawn Camp has picked up a change-up to go with his fastball and slider combination. Camp did more than pick the pitch up; he threw it over 30% of the time in 2009. That story is eerily similar to Brandon League’s 2009. Although unlike League, Camp’s fastball doesn’t touch 94 MPH in a hurricane. Instead it sits around 88, and Camp relies on mixing speeds more than the baker man. Camp actually worked in higher leveraged situations on average than League did last season while missing a career high percentage of bats. What makes Camp intriguing besides his (presumably) lower trade return and modest salary just over a million dollars? He’s a groundball machine (56% career) and devours righties (career 3.05 K/BB ratio against them). Any pitcher who can survive in the American League East is worthy of a look-see, and a transition into the American or National League Central would almost certainly improve his numbers, albeit on a marginal level.

Shawn Camp is in a key figure in the 12 Man Pitching Staff Battle Royal.  My view is he gets a job in the bullpen for a few reasons:
  • He is out of options
  • The Cito has confidence in him to get right handed hitters out
  • His ability to throw more than one inning effectively
Courtesy of The Detroit News:

Casey Fien said. "This game can be cruel sometimes. Nobody gave me any answers. I asked the Jays why and they told me I was a liability.  A liability? I haven't thrown to a hitter all spring. It's been like a twilight zone, a nightmare. Nobody gave me a chance. That's the first time I'd ever thought of quitting baseball."
Interesting quote.  Wonder who said it to him?

Courtesy of Deadspin:

2. His real name is Clarence Gaston, and it's actually how the name appears on his early baseball cards. He took the name "Cito" because he was a fan of a lucha libre wrestler with that name while growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Our lame duck field manager took the name of a fucking Mexican wrestler?  Wow.  Just wow.  Nice to see fellow Blue Jays blogger Ghost Runner on First getting a shout out at the bottom of this post.  Drew and the boys are rock solid.

Courtesy of Bob Elliot @ Toronto Sun:

Roy Halladay could always draw a crowd. Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies are scheduled to be at the Rogers Centre for a three-game series June 25-27, but Major League Baseball is looking at re-arranging the schedule — a day-night doubleheader perhaps — according to industry sources.
It’s not that Halladay will bring a legion of fans to the Rogers Centre as the Jays plan to honour him, but rather a conflict with the annual G-20 Summit set for the same weekend.
While the summit attracts presidents and prime ministers from around the world, it also attracts protestors and heightened security. The nearby (Metro) Toronto Convention Centre is hosting the event.
The teams could play a day-night doubleheader on Saturday and allow the Phillies to leave early, or the three-game series and the one before it could be pushed ahead a day.
The St. Louis Cardinals, who visit Toronto on June 22-24, and the Cleveland Indians, who are in Philadelphia the same dates, could play a day early. All four clubs have June 21 off.

The much anticipated weekend series is entering full blown clusterfuck status.  As mentioned in the weekly round up two weeks ago, we got a double dip coming our way!  I have ordered tickets for all three games and can't wait to see how this thing is going to work itself out.  I spoke to an old colleague, who works in the MTCC, and he informed me that the G20 will be taking place in the south building.  The entrance to that building is off Bremner Blvd and the bulk of the meetings will take place 300 or so feet below ground level.

2010-03-25

#Dotcomdash



Riveting stuff

First of many painful defeats this year Blue Jays fans.  We will wait till the piss test comes back clean before we admit total defeat.....

We still love you King Jordan!  Train hard, say your prayers, eat your vitamins and go get em next year.  And always remember especially when times get tough: You can do it Duffy Moon ;)

CBHF Fantasy Pool


















Fantasy baseball is in full swing.  By now, you must have had your draft(s) or are getting pretty darn close.  I myself have already taken part in one snake draft, am still trying to fill out my team in a slow auction which started over a week ago and have another auction draft party this Saturday in my big money AL only league.  I actually had so many teams going that I had to back out of one league.  Hey, I gave over a weeks notice.  Nothing worse than fucking over the league by quitting half way through a draft.....cough (websoulsurfer) cough

With each league comes a different set of rules.  I got mixed head to head leagues, standard 5 X 5 roto leagues, AL only keeper leagues.  It's sometimes hard to keep it all separate.  I follow all the games, read all the boxscores and keep up with the players as best I can but I must say my knowledge of NL baseball is not as in depth as the AL.  My team I cheer for plays there.  I do have a few guys on my advisory committee who are NL guys.  I lean on them heavily this time of year.  What am I suppose to do, watch ALL the games in baseball?  I would love to but need to stay employed, eat, sleep and occasionally bathe.









About four years ago my good friend and inside scoop guy who works at The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys called.  You see, me and this guy talk on the telephone about baseball.  While he is at work.  It's in his job description.  I'm totally jealous.  Anyways, we normally end up talking about the Blue Jays but occasionally he or I have something specific to discuss.  That day four years ago he did.  And it was fantasy baseball.  His boss had given the green light to a fundraiser fantasy baseball pool and he was lost.  He had no idea what to do and wanted me to consult.  I told him I wanted to be paid.  He said no.  I told him fine, then I want to have a title.  He asked what is was and after some thought I came back with: Senior Fantasy Adviser/Advisor to The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.  He wisely agreed, although I never did get those business cards.....I proceeded to offer him a few observations I had made over the years of playing fantasy baseball.  They are as follows:

1. Keep it simple
2. Keep it cheap    
3. Offer prizes that people can't easily get.

So from there we basically created the pool from scratch.  Four years later, we need your help.

It's only ten bucks and the thing I really like about it is you only have to select your players once.  No daily transactions.  You just hope that your guys avoid injury.  Last year I finished 4th or 5th and ended up walking away with an authentic Expos hat and a signed Fergie Jenkins baseball with certificate of authenticity.  Not a bad haul.

I also really like that the scoring categories and their values are unique.  Complete games are rewarded greatly as well as triples.

Fantasy Baseball Form Click Here

Fill it out and send it back.  Deadline is March 31st at midnight.  Plenty of time to get it in.  For all you out of towners, I will buy the Jays tickets off you if you win and can't go.

Remembering: Baseball In Ottawa

Baseball in Ottawa is back and they named their new team the Ottawa Fat Cats. The name is a good one for a number of reasons, the likes of which I will allow your imaginations to conceive. But the thought of baseball in Ottawa brings me back to the summer of 2007, the last year for the Lynx in Ottawa. Myself, The Man With The Golden Arm and Last Row 500’s were traveling to Ottawa to compete in an annual Slo-Pitch event hosted by a government agency that may or may not take your tax money every cheque and every year in April. Hint: they do. We compete in this mess of a tournament almost every year, the year before we traveled to Prince Edward Island where a team member showed up drunk to every game and thought it would be hilarious to hit the ball and run to third. Worst. Game. Ever. The Ottawa Lynx had been the Triple-A International League (IL) affiliate for three clubs, The Montreal Expos from 1993-2002, the Baltimore Orioles from 2003-2006 and the Philadelphia Phillies for 2007. While at the ball tournament in Ottawa we had a scheduled off day and we decided to go to Lynx Stadium to catch a ball game. The Rochester Red Wings were in town to open a four game series starting on Friday July 20th 2007. Game time was 7:05 pm, and we roll up to the ticket window around 6:00 pm in search of seats. I believe there were around 8 of us, and as such didn’t really believe we would get great seats. We walk up to the ticket window and ask for the “best available” seats they have. The gentleman behind the window says, “sure, how does rows 1 and 2 sound?” So, let me get this straight. I wheel up, an hour before game time and I can sit right next to the Lynx dugout on the field? Yes, that’s correct. And it’s only going to cost me $10 a ticket? Yes, that’s correct. Done. We get to our seats and we have two rows of four seats, rows 1 and 2, literally a stone’s throw away from the Lynx dugout. The Lynx, a farm system club for the Philadelphia Phillies featured new Toronto hero, Randy Ruiz. Pitching for the Lynx was RHP Bubba Nelson and LHP Dave Gassner on the bump for Rochester. The game would go on and it was a close one. After the Rochester half of the third inning there was a fly out to the centrefielder. As he was running into the dugout he spotted a couple of young girls asking for the ball he had just caught. As he drew closer to the stands he underhand flipped the ball to the waiting girl and you can just see the joy in her eyes. On this day however, The Man With The Golden Arm had other plans. As the ball was mid-air, Golden Arm stood up, stuck his hand up over the young girl’s shoulder and snatched the ball from her waiting glove. She looked up at him in disbelief, almost expecting him to give her the ball. He looked down at her and said "life is tough kid, now beat it." There was a paltry 1,934 fans in attendance that day, I’m sure that anyone in the entire stadium could have got a ball. It’s actually quite funny to hear ALL 1,934 fans boo at the same time, together. And boo they did! One guy in the row behind us called it saying "they must be from the city." Yes it was a dick move, yes everyone booed him, but fuck it was a nice catch! Question: So what do you do when EVERY person in the stadium is booing you? Answer: The only thing you can do.....stand up, turn around, address the crowd and boo yourself. And that is exactly what Golden Arm did. As the game went on the kids continued to run down the aisle looking for caught baseballs from the players but at the same time, we had more to drink, so I’m unaware if the kids received their prize. Final score was 6-3 in favour of the Lynx pushing their record to 39-57 at the time. Bubba Nelson got the win, Gassner took the loss, with Gary Burnham and Joe Thurston added a big fly each. And yes, 4 of us got baseballs. But here is where the story gets interesting. I was wearing a very distinct shirt to the game. It was green and white and featured a horizontal striped pattern that was very noticeable. We were staying a hotel in Ottawa that, apparently, players on the Ottawa Lynx stayed. So after the game we head back to the hotel and we do whatever it is we do after a game. I remember getting into an elevator at the hotel and just as the door was closing, I heard a “hold the elevator please”, so I did. Two players from the Ottawa Lynx get into the elevator with me. They look at me, I look at them. No words are exchanged. Elevator is slowly moving up. Around the third floor, one of them turns around to me and asks “were you at the game today?” I respond “why, yes I was! We were right by the dugout.” After a slight pause he turns back around and says “aren’t you the dude who stole the ball from the little kid?” I laughed and said “what? What kind of person does that? Of course not.” He looked at me odd, and turn around. They exited on the 7th floor. They must have recognized the shirt. As soon as I got back to the room, I informed Golden Arm that not only did the fans notice he stole a ball from a little kid but also the players. I cursed him for putting me in that position of having to answer to ball players about stealing baseballs. Minor league baseball is fun, its intimate and allows for the actual baseball fan to see players developing and future stars. Players such as Randy Ruiz, along with Matt Stairs, Rondell White and Javier Vazquez all played for Ottawa. And I’m sure that they would have been equally agitated had they seen Golden Arm steal a ball from a kid. Note to all those who plan on attending a game with Golden Arm. He will yell. A lot. He will wear a helmet occasionally, and he will steal baseballs from children.

2010-03-24

Playing Pepper 2010 : Toronto Blue Jays























So we are part of an alliance.  It's cool.  It sounds cool.  Whatever.

Occasionally we get to be part of good stuff like this and we even got to bat lead off!  Check it.

Courtesy of our fearless leader Dan The Man @ C70 At The Bat:

Last year before the season began, I posed five questions to a blogger for each team, so as to get to know the rest of baseball.  I focus so heavily on the Cardinals that sometimes the rest of MLB can pass me by.  That went very well, so much so that it spawned not only a postseason edition but was part of the impetus for the formation of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

So this year, I've brought 
Playing Pepper back, with a little bit of a twist.  Instead of five questions, I posed 10 questions, and this year every team got the same set.  Plus, tapping into those BBA connections, I sent them to every blogger representing that team in the BBA.

We'll try to do two a day in a general alphabetical order---ah, who are we kidding, we'll get them up when we get them up.

Toronto Blue Jays
2009 Finish: 75-87, fourth in AL East
It had to be extremely tough this offseason for Jays fans to see Toronto icon Roy Halladay get shipped on.  Sure, they knew it was coming sometime, and they'd had the dry run for the whole thing around the trading deadline last year, but that couldn't have made it any easier.
The BBA is stocked with great Blue Jay bloggers, so I was able to round up Dick from 1 Blue Jays Way, Ian from The Blue Jay Hunter, Chris from Infield Fly and Mat from Jays Journal to take a look at the season to come via the Playing Pepper Ten. 

C70: How was the offseason?  What kind of grade would you give it?

1BJW: B minus

Bottom line: We traded away our best pitcher, the face of the franchise, for three young players that may help us in the coming years.  We received no major league ready talent in return. 

I understand that team management was put in a difficult position and we had to trade clubhouse leader Roy Halladay.  I also understand we did received great prospects in return for him which has helped restock our substandard minor league system.

But....
 
Losing the ace of your staff creates a HUGE hole at the top of the rotation in terms of quality innings pitched, the ability to stop a losing streak and the rest the bullpen receives every five days.  The remainder of the off-season acquisitions were stop gap measures meant to fill holes, except the trade for Brandon Morrow.
  
We acquired Cuban born shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria.  He fills a long standing organizational need at shortstop and immediately becomes a top five prospect for the team at a premium position.  Along with Brett Wallace at one of the corner infield spots and Kyle Drabek on the mound, things look a little brighter in the days ahead.  All three of these off-season pickups should see some time in the show this year.

Travis d'Arnaud is still a few years away before he will be in a position to help us out at bat catcher.

BJH: There was a maelstrom of off-season activity for the Blue Jays, obviously spear-headed by the Roy Halladay trade. We all knew it was going to happen, we just didn't know where (Philly) and when (December). After the Doc deal, other pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place, like the Alex Gonzalez signing, the John Buck signing, and the Kevin Gregg signing. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos was very busy this off-season and overall I would give the team a B- grade in their off-season transactions. The moves certainly weren't ones that will make the Blue Jays a contender in 210, but they were moves that are building this team for the future.

IF: Rookie GM Alex Anthopoulos showed he's got potential to be good at his job by pulling off a good deal for Roy Halladay, pouring resources into the scouting department and bringing in lots of arms and some nice role players who can help speed the development of the younger players. But for a team that's supposedly undergoing a youth movement, priority No. 1 should have been to bring in a manager who can develop the youngsters and who will let them play. Clarence Gaston is not the manager to do that, so the team gets an overall grade of D.

JJ: Tumultuous and busy to say the least. Any time you change GMs, add 25 scouts to the franchise and change its structure, trade a beloved franchise player, add 2 top 50 prospects (Drabek and Wallace), add a quality arm (Morrow), and add another 15-20 depth guys to compete for spots you know it's been a busy off season.  I definitely grade the off season as an A since it could not have gone any better.

C70: What is the key to success for 2010?

1BJW: I'm not certain what our goals actually are for the upcoming season.  As such, it is difficult to answer this question.We are building/re-building/re-tooling/whatever you want to call it (again) and it is no secret we are not stepping onto the field everyday thinking we can win.

BJH: I think the key for the Blue Jays lies in the hands (and arms) of the starting rotation. There are a lot of questions surrounding the starting five, and with the departure of Roy Halladay, somebody is going to have to step in and become the new ace of the club. Fortunately, there are a lot of young starting pitchers with a lot of upside that could surprise a lot of folks in 2010. Also, with the return of Shaun Marcum and possibly even Dustin McGowan, those guys can provide some experience and depth to the starting rotation.

IF: The pitching should still be strong enough to give the team a chance to win, so the key is Vernon Wells. If he can return to the level of offensive production that he's capable of, scoring runs will be a lot easier for this team.

JJ: Over achievements from 3-4 of their young pitchers and a good return in trades of some RP and 1B Lyle Overbay.

C70: What will be the team's strength?

1BJW: Team defense.

In 2009 we tied the Pirates for the best fielding percentage in the Majors at .988.  I expect a small drop off due to the loss of Alex Rios in right field, Marco Scutaro at shortstop and especially Scott Rolen at third base.  But we should continue to be in the top half of the league.

BJH: Again, similar to the previous question - I think the Blue Jays strength in 2010 will be pitching. Top to bottom, they have a core of young, talented starting and relief pitchers that are only maybe one or two years away from really hitting their stride.

IF: Even without Halladay, the team's strength should still be pitching. The rotation is young but talented and the bullpen is pretty deep.

JJ: The core of Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, and Travis Snider, along with the overall talent of their starters.

C70: What could be their Achilles' heel?

1BJW: Field manager Cito Gaston and his "old school" approach. 

He needs to manage a team full of veterans that police themselves in order to be successful, which is the exact opposite of what he has now.  He is in the final year of his contract to manage the team so it will be interesting to see what type of legacy he wishes to go out of baseball with.

BJH: Surprise, surprise! Once again, starting pitching will be something that could make or break the Blue Jays in 2010. With a starting rotation that is heavy on sophomore and rookies, there will undoubtedly be a lot of growing pains this year. But its best for those pitchers to gain the experience know and use it as a learning tool for the future.

IF: The Manager. If the team struggles, he's very unlikely to make the necessary changes to the lineup and/or rotation.

JJ: Youth and inexperience.

C70: Who will be the team's MVP?

1BJW: Adam Lind.

Next question.

BJH: I'm going to go out on a huge limb here and say that Vernon Wells will be the MVP for the Blue Jays in 2010. Expectations for him are so low, that anything above what he produced last year will be a vast improvement. We've all seen his potential to be be 30 HR/100 RBI hitter, and if healthy, he has the potential to reach that status once again ... but that's a very big "if".

IF: Adam Lind. His offensive future seems blindingly bright. Aaron Hill should be good again, but his power numbers will likely drop off and the people who vote on these things won't like that.

JJ: 2B Aaron Hill.

C70: Will a rookie make a significant impact on the team in 2010 and, if so, who?

1BJW: Determining rookie status: A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit (excluding time in the military service and time on the disabled list).

Although we have a lot of young players expected to contribute, none of them still qualify as a rookie.

BJH: It's tough to gauge whether or not a rookie will make big contributions towards to the pitching staff because many young rookie hurlers stepped up last season for the Blue Jays. Technically, Ricky Romero is out of the running because he spent the entire season with the Blue Jays, so my vote for rookie breakout for 2010 would either have to go to Brett Cecil or Marc Rzepczynski.

IF: Randy Ruiz is poised to make a huge impact. I really hope someone in the front office leans on Cito to give him some playing time.

JJ: Yes, 3B Brett Wallace should be able to put up some great numbers when called up mid-summer.

C70: Who will be the breakout player for the team?

1BJW: Travis Snider. 

I guess if I keep picking him to do it every year, eventually I have to be right!

BJH: For me, the breakout star for 2010 has to be Brandon Morrow. After being bounced around from the rotation and the bullpen over in the Seattle Mariners organization, Morrow can now focus all his efforts on being an effective starting pitcher. With the Toronto Blue Jays, he has nowhere to go but up.

IF: I have a feeling that Edwin Encarnacion is poised to put up some pretty impressive performances at the plate. And with infield coach Brian Butterfield working his defensive magic, Encarnacion might develop into a well-rounded player. May not be a typical "breakout" player, but he might surprise some people.

JJ: RF Travis Snider.

C70: Which player will drop off the most from 2009?

1BJW: Aaron Hill.

Hill had a breakout season last year and put up silver slugger numbers hitting behind productive lead off man Marco Scutaro.  He had more at bats than anyone in baseball last year and he took advantage of that fact.  I think Hill will drop off only because his supporting cast is worse, but he still remains a top tier major league second baseman.

BJH: I don't necessarily think that all his stats will drop off this year, but we can definitely expect Aaron Hill to come back down to earth a little bit in 2010. It would be overzealous to expect him to club 30 home runs again this year. I would be surprised if he surpassed 25 HR's, but expect him to land around the 20-22 HR range this year.

IF: After the lousy 2009 season this team had, there's not much room for a drop off. If I had to pick someone though, I'd say Hill. His home run total will likely go down, but he should hit quite a few more doubles. Not a real drop off, but again, it's probably the closest thing to a drop off that his team will have.

JJ: DH Adam Lind.

C70: Who is the most likely player to be dangled as trade bait?

1BJW: I think we will be sellers this year, all year, not just at the trade deadline. 

Lyle
Overbay, John Buck, Alex Gonzalez, Kevin Gregg, Jason Frasor, Scott Downs are available for a price.  I anticipate we will receive a lot of trade offers as contending teams begin to lose starting players to injury or nonperformance.

BJH: This is a toss-up between Lyle Overbay and Jason Frasor. Both of these guys could easily be traded at a moment's notice and I would not be surprised at all to see them go prior to the trade deadline. Other teams might find Jason Frasor a little more appealing because it seems like clubs are always in the hunt for stable relievers that could close if need be. Since the depth chart is so deep at both these positions, the Blue Jays could easily trade either Overbay or Frasor and have another player step in and take their place at a moment's notice.

IF: Anybody who pitches out of the bullpen. The pen's deeper in Toronto than in most places.

JJ: RP Jason Frasor because of his value as a proven closing option, followed by 1B Lyle Overbay and RP Scott Downs.

C70: What will be the team's final record and divisional standing?

1BJW: Dead last in the AL East, maybe even the entire AL. 

We won 75 games last season and that included contributions from Scott Rolen and Alex Rios for roughly two thirds of the season.  We replaced them with Edwin Encarnasion and Jose Bautista.  That win total also includes a full season of Roy Halladay and Marco Scutaro.  We replaced them with Brandon Morrow and Alex Gonzalez. I hate to be so negative before the season even starts but I think we may be in danger of flirting with the teams fourth 100 loss season.

BJH: Overall, I think the Blue Jays will be on par with their record and placing from last season. I expect them to finish in fourth place with somewhere around a 70-92 record.

IF: I'm taking an optimistic approach to 2010, and I'm going to guess the team ends at 80-82 in fourth place (ahead of the Orioles).

JJ: They will finish last in the division with a 77-85 record.

My thanks to all of the guys for taking a little time out to answer some questions.  Dick even sent along a picture that he felt encapsulated the whole situation, indicating just how tough it can be in Toronto right now.

















I included a pic that really seems to sum up our season to me.  It is going to be very bad (bottomless) but it can really only get so bad (65 feet).  Do you get it?  Never mind.  Go Jays!

2010-03-23

Player Hater's Ball - March Edition


J.P. fucking Ricciardi.  How did it take this long for your number to get called for this monthly trashing?  Nothing short of a miracle.  Even Paul Beeston, one of the nicest men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, couldn't hold back.  Listen to this interview and fast forward to 11:26. 

“I love the game,” J.P. said, “I love the people in the game, so I’m not looking to rip people. I’m looking to explain how things work.”

He then goes on to rip his former owners, IN THE SAME ARTICLE.  I called the author out on it in the comments section. ;)

“I’m not saying you have to have money to be successful, but if you don’t have money you’d better be willing to go seven or eight years of bad baseball before you start seeing the fruits of those No. 1 picks getting up to the majors. I’d go into another job with my eyes a lot more open and probably do a little more homework on who the ownership group is and what their expectations were because that’s what ultimately controls everything.”

I guess he has blocked out the fact that he was given the money required to do these moves.....

Courtesy of These's No "I" in Blog:

B.J. Ryan (five years/$47 mil/two years missed to injury), Alex Rios (seven years/$69.835M), and Vernon Wells (seven years/$126M) were all signed to risky, back-loaded contracts by Ricciardi, and none of the three worked out. Nor was he able to draft or mine the bargain bins well enough to find talent for cheap, which would offset the poor Free Agent contracts.

Toronto Blue Jays payroll for 2010:

Ownership, however, cut payroll last season from a planned $100 million to $66 million and the team won only 75 games after a very strong start.

J.P. was most proud of his trades for Troy Glaus, Ted Lilly and Shea Hillenbrand, and his drafting and developing of Aaron Hill and Adam Lind, both of whom hit 35 homers and drove in more than 100 runs last year, and Ricky Romero, who won 13 games as a rookie.

He seems to have also blocked out the Chris Carpenter clusterfuck, selling Raul Mondesi for a guy who pitched a little over 2 innings in the major leagues and the Carlos Delgado non arbitration offer fiasco.  Let's not even talk about the way he handle the Halladay trade.  I think we can all agree he wasn't very good to the "star" players.

By constantly drafting college level players like Russ Adams, J.P. neglected the minor league system for to long.  When he was fired we had one of the worst rated farm systems in baseball.  Finally in 2006 he strayed from his rule by selecting Travis Snider in the first round out of high school and look how he is turning out.  A young high ceiling guy, exactly what we need to compete in this ultra competitive division.

“As soon as a trade is made,” Ricciardi said, “there are 50,000 people blogging about how the general manager did a bad job, and they don’t understand what he was up against from a standpoint of what the ownership wanted to do, what kind of money he had to work with, how he was putting his team together based on a four- or five-year deal, what the player wanted.”

Apparently, a handful of Major League Baseball teams offered J.P. a job after the Toronto Blue Jays mercifully fired him last fall as their general manager, but he wasn’t interested.


Ricciardi will be paid by the Blue Jays through 2010, so he wanted to take this season off after spending the last eight trying unsuccessfully to overtake the Red Sox and Yankees in the AL East.  Besides doing the broadcasting gig for ESPN, the year away from MLB will give him the chance to help coach his sons, Dante, 13, and Mariano, 11, on their Worcester Heat AAU baseball team.

My man Silky Johnson wanted to say a few things.  Take it away Silk:


"Here's a fact about J.P. you may not know, his wife wears underwear with dick holes in them."

2010-03-22

Update: 12 Man Pitching Staff Battle Royal


Your Toronto Blue Jays reassigned RHP Steven Register, LHP Willie Collazo and LHP Rommie Lewis to Minor League camp on Saturday.  That leaves 18 guys fighting for 12 jobs.  All of them are on the 40 man roster.  That means six more cuts and I think all the remaining guys can pitch in the big leagues and get people out.  Injuries may play a small role with McGowan shut down and Morrow missing a start.  This battle has major implications on the 25 Man Roster Challenge.

One of those jobs has been assured.  Today it was announced that the opening day starting pitcher on April 5 in Texas at Rangers Ballpark will be:














Shaun Marcum!

It makes the most sense and I agree with the choice based on the candidates.  That being said, you have to think he is in the bottom half in the AL in terms of quality.  He will line up to pitch against guys like:

CC
Josh Beckett
Justin Verlander
Zach Grienke
Mark Buehrle
Jered Weaver
King Felix
Scott Feldman
James Shields
Kevin Millwood
Ben Sheets
Jake Westbrook
Scott Baker

Could make for a long losing streak or two this season.  I officially ban the terms Ace and Marcum from ever being uttered in the same sentence on this site.  I do not recognize him as such.

Thanks to Jordan Bastian for this:

CAREER MAJOR LEAGUE STARTS
1. Shaun Marcum: 64 
2. Brian Tallet: 31
3. Ricky Romero: 29
4. Brandon Morrow: 15
5. Marc Rzepczynski: 11

MAJOR LEAGUE STARTS IN 2009
1. Ricky Romero: 29
2. Brian Tallet: 25
3. Marc Rzepczynski: 11
4. Brandon Morrow: 10
5. Shaun Marcum: 0

"I think he’s earned it from what he’s done in the past" Cito Gaston said.

Noted.  Now sit down at the end of the bench and shut the fuck up.

I found another quote that is a tad bit more interesting to me.

"The way Ricky threw the ball last year, I thought he deserved an opportunity but [general manager] Alex [Anthopoulos] chose me," Marcum said.

The GM making the decisions around here and not the coach....?  I like it.  There is some hope.  

Quickly:

Take a look at the names on this list of opening day starters.  Doc for the last 7 years on the pitching side.  We were 4 and 3 in those games.

Truly some great names!  Did you know that TV color-man Rance Mulliniks has started at third base more than anybody?