2010-09-30

Thank You, Sir

So about half way through the touching video to Cito on the JumboTron, I realize that I got the autographs of quite a few of the celebrities giving the personal tributes. A quick shout out and between the guys here at 1BlueJaysWay we were able to come up with 12 of the 19 signatures. 

That's well over .500! A somewhat arbitrary goal, that we did not have when the process began.....

Here is the list, in the order they presented:
  1. Vernon Wells
  2. Duane Ward 
  3. Jose Bautista
  4. Tony Fernandez
  5. Pat Hentgen
  6. Paul Beeston
  7. Tony again
  8. Bautista again
  9. John Buck can you really blame us?
  10. Jesse Barfield
  11. Robbie Alomar
  12. Beeston again
  13. Robbie again
  14. Alex Anthopoulos
  15. Vernon again
  16. Buck again
  17. Beeston again
  18. AA again
  19. Nick Leyva seriously, who has got this guy to sign?
  20. Robbie again
  21. AA again
  22. Leyva again
  23. Hank Aaron
  24. Tony again
  25. Paul Molitor
  26. Dave Winfield shocked at this one!
  27. Jack Morris
  28. Dusty Baker why would we have his autograph?
  29. Bautista again
  30. Bud fucking Selig I'm actually proud that we don't have this one covered
  31. Gord Ash not all that surprised on this one
  32. Bobby Cox we are not quite that old
  33. Robbie again
Observe in all it's glory:

 Vernon Wells 
 Duane Ward
 Jose Bautista
 Tony Fernandez
Pat Hentgen
 Paul Beeston
 Jesse Barfield
Robbie Alomar
Alex Anthopoulos
Hank Aaron
Paul Molitor
Jack Morris

If you noticed that one thing here does not look like all the others, solid job. It's a pretty random story.

Quickly:

Anybody else wondering why this guy didn't join in on the fun?

Pat Gillick

Travis Snider Rules

Photos courtesy of daylife

I absolutely fucking love this guy.

Interview With Joel Carreno


Joel Fernando (Decena) Carreno was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, when he just 17 years old in 2004. 

His 2010 season can only be described as massive. He smashed the Dunedin Blue Jays single season strikeout record with 173 and also broke the Florida State League record for strikeouts in a single game, when he whiffed 15 in July. For the year, his first in High A, Joel finished with some pretty impressive ratios for a starting pitcher:

11.31 SO/9
1.96 BB/9
0.52 HR/9
9.61 H/9

After the 15 strike out performance MILB did up a nice article on his accomplishment. In it, Darold Knowles his pitching coach and 16-year Major League veteran said Carreno projects as a reliever at the higher levels.

Our boy Jesse spoke with Joel in the early 2009 season while he was still pitching with the Lansing Lugnuts. It turns out to be a particularly insightful interview due to the timing. Joel mentions that he only learned his now filthy slider a month prior and he already felt comfortable throwing it in all counts. They also talk about his knack for holding runners on base, his "light step" when he throws home and his quick feet when he attempts a pick off.

2010-09-29

Interviews With Mike McDade

Mike McDade was a 6th round pick out of Silverado High School in Las Vegas, Nevada in the 2007 Amateur Draft. The switch hitter is listed at a hulking 6'1, 260lbs. McDade had a breakout campaign in 2010, leading the Florida State League in HR (21), 2nd in TB (215) and was 4th in Slug (.448). His season in High A ball earned him the R. HOWARD WEBSTER AWARD, which recognizes the most valuable player at each of the Club's minor league affiliated teams. He has also been selected to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Peoria Javelinas when the season starts on October 12.

Our boy Jesse was able to catch up with Mike on two separate occasions during the 2009 season.

In the first interview they discuss what players do during rain delays, how long he has been switch hitting and the adjustment from catcher to first base.

  

In the second interview they speak about why Mike's stats on the road are better than his numbers at home, his lefty swing being more productive and what it's like to mentor a fellow player at his position.


2010-09-28

Interview With Henderson Alvarez


Henderson Javier Alvarez was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2006 at 16 years old out of Venezuela. This year he participated in the MLB XM Futures Game during the All Star weekend at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, for the World Team. He was also named to the Florida State League 1st half All-Star team, and was ranked as the #5 prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays organization for the 2010 season by Baseball America.

File this tidbit under the good news catergory, according to Bobby Elliott:

Jays tell RHP Zach Stewart, one of top arms in system along with Henderson Alvarez: "Be prepared to start or pitch in relief next spring."

Bob then clarified:

@dustinparkes They told Stewart be ready for either or, not Alvarez

And mentioned:

@PdashOW Stewart was told be ready for either or. Mentioned Alvarez as one of the top starters, along with Stewart

Our boy Jesse caught up with Henderson in 2009. They talk about the honor of being an opening day starter, his favorite pitch - the change up - and his story about signing a contract with your Toronto Blue Jays.

  

2010-09-27

Interview With Mel Queen

 Image courtesy of (Peter Muhly/Getty Images)


Melvin Douglas Queen currently holds the title of senior adviser of player development with your Toronto Blue Jays. Boy Wonder promoted him in late October of last year. Prior to that, under J.P. Ricciardi, Mel was on a "special-projects" contract. He was assigned on a case-by-case basis to work with specific minor-league pitchers. Basically a roving Minor League coach.

In the past, Mel held a variety of titles within the organization. He served as the pitching coach from 1996-99 and even replaced The Cito as interim manager for the last five games of the 1997 MLB season. He was also the farm director and a special assignment scout during his time with the Blue Jays.

His most notable work as a coach has got to be his complete overhaul of Doc as a pitcher in 2001. Click here for an epic post by the team over at Mop Up Duty. Rock solid stuff right there.

Our boy Jesse caught up with the man last year for an interview. In it, they discuss a wide range of topics and some of the highlights include:

  • Henderson Alvarez and a comparison to Pedro Martinez
  • Marc Rzepczynski and his over use of the slider
  • Henry Aaron and pitching inside
  • Willie Mays and a curveball

  

Click here for Mel's career stats as a player.

2010-09-26

Weekly Round Up: Sept. 20 - 26

Consider this your required reading for the week.

Consider this your required listening for the week.

Consider this your required viewing for the week.

Courtesy of Fan Graphs:

I think it’s safe to call Bautista the King of Left Field this season. His Majesty’s domain has seen 45 of his 50 homers, with left field defined as those home runs between 135 and 105 degrees on the above chart. The other 5 landed in the left half of center field.
Jose Bautista will, barring a minor miracle, lead the Major Leagues in home runs this season after toiling away in relative obscurity for the first six years of his career. Although his 20.9% HR/FB rate is a bit of an anomaly compared to his career numbers, it’s not that out there for someone with solid power in a hitter’s park. Nobody should be projecting Bautista for 50 home runs again next season, but there are certainly reasons to believe that he should continue to be a threat at the plate for the Blue Jays. Congratulations to Bautista on his majestic achievement.

BAS for life bitches!

Courtesy of TSN:

"I think it's a combination of a lot of factors," explained Bautista. "Consistent playing time, great confidence that the team has shown in me, and confidence within myself - within my ability to play, and a lot of adjustments that I made at the plate and with the approach."
"Just the combination of all those factors and that I was put in a position to succeed, being the three hole hitter in the lineup for most of the season, all this has led to the success."

I had started a post on our cult leader due to the fact that at least 6 different people asked me how it was possible that he hit 50 home runs this season. Then I read this interview and it basically covered everything I was gonna say.

Courtesy of Joe Posnanski:

The thing that stands out about the 50-homer season, I think, is not so much who has done it but who has not. You probably know that Hank Aaron never hit 50 home runs in a season — that’s a rather famous trivia reference point. Aaron hit between 40 and 47 eight different times. Heck, he hit right on his number, 44, four times, which is one of the more artistic statistical anomalies in baseball history. But he never hit 50.
Harmon Killebrew never had a 50-home run season. Five times, Killer hit between 45 and 49 homers — and he hit 49 twice — but he never quite got to the half dollar.
Albert Pujols has not hit 50 homers in a season. Mike Schmidt… Willie Stargell… Willie McCovey… Reggie Jackson… Ernie Banks… Eddie Mathews… Frank Howard… Ted Williams… Frank Thomas… Frank Robinson… none of these great players and great home run hitters hit 50 home runs in a season.
And this year, Jose Bautista has done it. How does that figure?

A great read by a great writer.

Courtesy of Baseball America:

The Blue Jays led all teams with four players on the list, two from the 2009 draft who earned a promotion partway through the summer—outfielder Jake Marisnick and first baseman K.C. Hobson—while 2010 draftees Kellen Sweeney and Christopher Hawkins accrued enough playing time to qualify. Toronto could have easily had six make it as righthanders Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Sanchez, taken in the first and supplemental first-round this year, performed well and have upside, but they barely missed the minimum innings requirement.

The future is so bright, I gotta where shades.

Courtesy of Shi Davidi:

"It was clearly one of our core strategies to be big in Latin America right from 1977 right until the time that I left (in 1997)," says Beeston. "There was just a different philosophy that was being used by the previous regime and we kind of moved back to looking at players around the world and believing that we have to stockpile our organization."
The decision to withdraw from Latin America under Ricciardi was driven by the lack of resources that plagued the club during the start of his reign. There is no substitute for connections, relationships and deep, deep pockets in baseball's wild west, and with tight restraints on his budget, he chose to save his bullets for the draft, focusing on lower-risk picks that better control costs and don't take as long to develop in the minors.

It's gonna take a few years before this pipeline of talent gets reestablished. Once word gets out we got cash to burn, look for the young Latin players to come to us for our offer first and then shop it around.

Courtesy of Shi Davidi:

Varying in size, there is a Latin corner in pretty much every clubhouse in baseball. The Toronto Blue Jays for instance, have from left to right in one corner, locker assignments for slugger Jose Bautista, shortstop Yunel Escobar and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion. Across from them, catcher Jose Molina is within shouting distance.
Sometimes such denizens integrate well with their North American counterparts, sometimes they don't, and working to avoid a toxic clubhouse mix is something the Blue Jays must do as they move back into the Latin American player market.
"It can go wrong, but that happens in life," says Bautista. "There always is a divide and there always will be. There are cliques here in the big-leagues. Look at our clubhouse. But that doesn't mean I don't like Vernon Wells or Casey Janssen. We just feel more comfortable being around each other, we have similar cultures and it's just a matter of being comfortable.
"It's up to guys to be able to learn how to have teammates."
That can be easier said then done.

An interesting look into the clubhouse dynamics of your Toronto Blue Jays.

Courtesy of MLBTR: 

The numbers Kevin Gregg, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor have posted this year will look pretty good on the backs of their respective baseball cards. Gregg has a career high 35 saves with a 3.38 ERA and 9.3 K/9; Downs has a 2.73 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9; Frasor has a 3.75 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9. But Downs says he looks for something else when evaluating his season.
“Staying healthy,” Downs said. “That’s the main thing. Staying healthy since it’s such a grind. It’s six months out of the year and your body goes through so much, so I think if you just prepare yourself mentally the best you can, if you stay together physically, things will take care of themselves.”

The Gods at MLBTR sit down with the backend of the pen. Frasor and Downs mentioned they would love to come back to Toronto. Gregg, not so much.

Courtesy of You Don't Know Dick:

So what is the medical truth, if any, behind the necklace? Is it a sporting circle of life or destined to become a fad like the hula hoop, Slinky, mood rings or coonskin Davy Crockett hats? Does it actually have the healing and energy-giving powers it claims, or is it a horsehide version of the ’60s love beads . . . maybe “glove beads.”
There are skeptics. At worst it is a placebo, but perhaps if the athletes believe in it then it’s working. And as Billy Crystal’s character Fernando used to say on SNL: “You look mah-vellous. It’s better to look good than to feel good.” The Phiten is striving to do both.

Lay off the booze before you write Dick. Jesus.

2010-09-22

The Kyle Drabek Experience

Big time prospect porn going on over here right now.

I'm totally feeling it.

Kyle Drabek is making his home field debut tonight against the offensively challenged Mariners of Seattle.

But you should already know that.

You owe it to your children, your conscience and most importantly your ballclub, if able, to be in attendance at the SkyDome tonight.

I will be there.

Never a doubt.

And I feel like buying a program and scoring the game.

All by myself.

No beer, no heckling, no interruptions.

Just baseball.

Could be some news on a post party bash with a very special guest after the game.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter for updates.

2010-09-21

Where My Head Is At


I've been away from the scene for a while. Nothing earth shattering, just not able to watch as many games as I want to for various reasons.

But the truth is, sadly, I haven't felt like watching that many games.

It's kinda hard this time of year to get into it and not because we are out of it. That was expected at this point. This time of year, to me, is all about day dreaming about the future. Seeing players that are expected to contribute in the future and trying to imagine where they fit in. Think Bautista last year. That is what September is and has been for us Blue Jays fans for a long, long time.



But, true to form, The Cito is fucking everything up. It's kinda getting old just straight complaining about our field manager and don't think for a second I don't do it. I just can't bring myself to write about it.

I will say this:

Allowing guys to play for next years contract, when it's fully expected to be a contract with a different team, is totally mind blowingly fucking retarded. Especially when you have questions that need answering about your own team and players that may be the answer, stapled to the end of your bench.

So what I am gonna do, is try to answer some of the questions that are floating around my brain. Feel free to jump in wherever you see fit.

The Bullpen Situation:

Kevin Gregg

Our current guy is a heart attack closer plain and simple. He walks a few too many hitters early in his appearances for my liking. That being said, his numbers are excellent especially lately.

In August and September this season, he is 2-1 with 10 saves, 1 blown save and a 1.98 ERA.

His contract is pretty unique and requires us to make a decision this off season. We can exercise the team option for only 2011 at $4.5 million or we can exercise a team option for 2011 and 2012 at $8.75 million. The third and final option is we buy him out for $750,000 and allow him to become a free agent. Currently he is a Type B, which would net us a sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd round of next years draft, if we offer arbitration and he turns it down.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Take a look around baseball and see what other closers are getting in terms of salary and term. Most of them make over $7 million dollars a season on multi year deals. Taking that into consideration as well as his decent numbers this season, I exercise the 1 year option and hope he can keep it together in 2011. If he does, then he might just get into Type A territory or we can deal him at the deadline for something we need.  If the wheels fall off, then we got an overpaid set up guy and somebody else gets a shot at closing out games.

Scott Downs

Our current set up man is money in the bank. He does not throw hard but knows how to get guys out at the Major League level. Every team in baseball needs one of those and they generally don't come cheap. The fact that he is left handed is a bonus.

Downs will be a free agent at the end of this season and the only thing to consider is whether or not to offer him arbitration. He is a Type A so if he signs with another team we get their 1st round pick (unless it's a protected pick) and a sandwich pick when we offer him arbitration and he declines.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Offer him arbitration, sit back and wait. If he accepts, that's great. Bring him back on a 1 year deal and look to unload him at the deadline.

When he doesn't accept, that's great too. I give him a call in February if he's unsigned and offer him a 1 year deal. If he has signed with someone else put the draft picks in your pocket and give the job to Purcey to see what he can do. You still got Rommie Lewis and Jesse Carlson as lefty situational guys. Jo-Jo Reyes might be a guy who could fill that role as well.

Jason Frasor

Like Downs, he is a free agent at the end of this season. Unlike Downs, he is right handed. 

What I would do if I was in charge:

Offer him arbitration and pray that he declines. Take the sandwich pick and run. Frasor is easily replaced from within the organization.

Perhaps Jeremy Accardo finally gets a fair chance.  He is out of options.

Or Josh Roenicke.

Dustin McGowan is gonna need a spot next year if he is fit and able to pitch. Maybe he gets converted to a reliever? He is also out of options.

Dirk Hayhurst if healthy could get a look.

Incumbents Casey Janssen, Shawn Camp or even new guy Taylor Buchholz could easily fill that role.

Point being: right handed relievers are a dime a dozen.

Brain Tallet

Non tender him and be done with it already. There is no way this guy has any value on the tradeblock. I see a guy like Rzep stepping into the long man / spot start role only because there probably won't be a full time spot for him to start anytime soon.

The Rotation Situation:

Thankfully, I probably won't need to spend to much time on this. We are looking very solid here. Brett Cecil, Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero will be with us for a long time. Provided they can stay healthy. 

Shaun Marcum

Fully recovered from Tommy John, the staff leader and number 1 guy for now, will not be eligible for free agency till 2013. He has pitched very well for us but seems a little over matched against the true aces in the AL.

What I would do if I was in charge:

I discuss a 3 year deal with him or maybe a 2 year deal with a club option this winter. No point going year to year with him unless we have to. That being said, I would listen to offers on him and if somebody dangles a blue chip infield prospect than perhaps I do it. Only because we have a bit of depth here and some glaring holes elsewhere. He will fetch quite a return on the open market, either now or at the trade deadline.

Number 5 Guy

So very many options!

Kyle Drabek, Jesse Litsch, Marc Rzep, Brad Mills, Scott Richmond, Robert Ray, Shawn Hill just to name a few. A good spring by Luis Perez or Jo-Jo Reyes could get them in the conversation as well.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Keeping in mind, this spot gets skipped quite a bit early in the season, I give the ball to Litsch if he's healthy. 

I would start top prospect Drabek in AAA and buy some time before starting his arbitration year clock. With a kid like this, I need not worry about things like option years and I burn one if necessary. In the Minors, I can control his innings a lot easier and I would absolutely baby his arm.

He will be pitching in the rotation in 2011, I just don't see it happening to start the year.

The Catcher Situation:

John Buck

Our current starter is a free agent this winter and projects as a Type B. 

What I would do if I was in charge:

I offer him arbitration. Since he is coming off an All Star year, I doubt he accepts. But for some reason if he does then I'm not exactly disappointed. He has done a good job for us and it wouldn't be the dumbest idea to bring him back to catch the majority of games in 2011.

Jose Molina

Our current back up and personal catcher to break out starter Brandon Morrow has done a better than expected job for us, especially with the bat. He has a cannon of an arm and does quite a few things that do not show up in the box score. We have a team option on him for 2011 at the cost of an even million dollars. He is close to being a Type B free agent and with a decent season next year, he could obtain that status.

What I would do if I was in charge:

This really depends on John Buck. 

If he doesn't come back, then I definitely exercise the option. If he does come back then I'm not so sure but I probably do it anyways.

J.P. Arencibia

Coming off a monster 2010 MVP season in AAA, he certainly deserves to be in the conversation. Is he ready to start the lion's share of games in 2011 for the big club? Can't answer that because he has not been given a chance yet. And with All Star catchers at every level, the real question should be: Is he the best one we got anyways? It takes time to develop a young catcher, especially when you got a young rotation like we do.

What I would do if I was in charge:

This again depends heavily on John Buck. 

If he comes back and I pick up Molina's option, then obviously J.P. heads back to AAA.

If he comes back and I do not pick up Molina's option, then J.P. gets the back up job in the Majors.

If Buck does not come back, then J.P. gets his well deserved shot at the Majors. He and Molina each get about the same number of starts, which would probably pump Molina into Type B status. This is the preferred option in my eyes.

The 1st Base Situation:

Lyle Overbay

Lyle is a free agent this winter and has no compensation attached to him due to his shitty last couple of seasons with the stick. He should not be brought back under any circumstances.

Adam Lind

Adam has been used primarily as a DH during his career. He is a left handed thrower and has shown the ability to hit big league pitching in the past. Granted, he is having a down year after a silver slugger award for his awesome 2010 season but is under team control till 2017 on a very reasonable contract in terms of salary.

What I would do if I was in charge:

The kid has got to be given a chance to play everyday. I guess you could go with him in left field and cross your fingers that the ball doesn't get hit to him. Or you could continue to try to develop him as a potential 1st baseman. 

I would look to sign an aging somewhat cheap free agent slugger that can play a little 1st base this winter on a 1 year deal with a team option. This would allow him and Lind to get a couple of starts a week at 1 bag and a couple of starts a week at DH.

Whoever we sign must be a Type B free agent when we sign him. That way we are pretty sure, given full time at bats, he can at minimum maintain that status. If he goes off, then maybe he climbs up to Type A or becomes a tradeable commodity at the deadline.

I'm thinking Adam LaRoche is a nice candidate. 

The 2nd Base Situation:

Current starter Aaron Hill has had a tough 2010. No doubt about it. A hamstring injury early in the season really seemed to set him back. Playing on the carpet at home probably didn't help any. His defense appears to be in decline, in terms of footwork and range, although he still has an above average arm. With respect to his contract, a major decision looms at the end of this season. Technically, he is entering the final year of his deal. The club has 3 years of options that can be picked up. The catch is, if we wanna pick up all 3 then it must be done before the 2011 season begins. After that point, only the 2012 and 2013 options can be exercised.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Ask myself if Aaron Hill is gonna be able to play 2 bag for me for the next 4 seasons. He will be 29 years old at the start of the 2011 season, which would make him 32 at the start of the 2014 season. The money seems about right for a starting infielder:
2011 $5 million 
2012/2013 $8 million
2014 $10 million
Looking down on the farm, we got nobody pushing him for his spot right now at 2nd base. 

Honestly, this is a tough call especially since he has been hitting like shit all year. The safe thing to do would be nothing at all. Let him play out 2011 at 2nd base and re-evaluate at that point. If his D and hitting come around, then exercise the options for 2012 and 2013. If they do not, then maybe he isn't part of the future here in Toronto and we let him walk. I just don't see the point of picking up all 3 option years right now, regardless of the dollar amount.

The SS Situation:

Thank God for Yunel Escobar and the 3 years of team control. 

And while I'm at it, thank God for Adeiny Hechavarria and his 5 years of team control.

The 3rd Base Situation:

Edwin Encarnacion

Everyone's favorite whipping boy and future firework safety spokesman is entering his final year of arbitration. He is making a whopping $4.75 million this season. E5's defense is fucking awful, especially his arm and his hitting is not that much better. We DFA'd him this year in June and nobody made a claim. Shocking, I know.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Based on his contract vs his production, he seems like a clear non tender candidate. We could offer him arbitration but I believe the least he can sign for is 80% of what he is being paid right now. That would be $3.8 million and that's the absolute best case scenario. I hate to let an MLB asset walk for nothing but I would make an exception in this case.

Jose Bautista

I mean really, what are we even talking about here? 

Sure J-Bau is solid in right field and does have a lot of assists thanks to a strong, accurate arm. And the rumor is he prefers it there, at least that was The Cito's reason for keeping him out there this season. Bautista is a beast with the stick, takes his walks and has a year of arbitration left.

As a nice side bonus, he is a little less likely to get hurt at 3 bag than OF in my opinion. Less running around and diving and what not.

What I would do if I was in charge:

He plays 3rd base everyday and hits clean up. 

I discuss a long term deal with him but would prefer not to sign him. If 2010 was a fluke, then you could get burned here big time. If 2010 was not a fluke, then you can pretty much guarantee he is at minimum a Type A free agent after next year and at most a very tradeable commodity at the deadline.

The Outfield Situation:

This one is a little more complex in my eyes. If Bautista moves to 3rd and Lind moves to 1st as mentioned, then we may have a little bit of work to do here.

Vernon Wells

Will be back in CF. No way he is ever being traded and I doubt the new manager is gonna want to start off with a new club by moving the veteran team leader to a new position anytime soon. 

What I would do if I was in charge:

Move Vernon to RF.

It is gonna have to happen eventually, so why not get the kinks out before it really matters? I'm terribly worried about V-Dub's health.

We don't have anyone ready just yet in the Minors, although our boy Darin Mastroianni could get a long look this spring. Anthony Gose is the future in CF. Look for him to start the year in AA and hopefully be ready in 2012 at some point.

Travis Snider

The kid is finally getting the opportunity to play everyday. I wonder if The Cito was finally told that this MUST happen. According to those who watch him day in and day out he is more comfortable in LF than RF but he can play either which is a nice luxury to have.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Make the decision to keep him in LF and stop hitting him dead last in the fucking order. 

Fred Lewis

Fred is limited to LF duties only and is not very strong there. He misses his fair share of cut off men and seems to take strange routes to balls. His best asset to the team is his bat and his ability to hit lead off. He is under team control till 2014 and is out of options.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Since Travis is my full time LF and Vernon is my RF that moves Fred to the bench as the 4th OF. He would get in the line up occasionally but only when the match up dictates. I would try to get him at bats when and only when one of my groundball machines AKA Romero and Drabek is on the hill. 

So Who Plays CF In 2011?

Great question. 

I like Mastro there and hitting 9th but I doubt he's ready. The Angels recently moved gold glove machine Torii Hunter over in favor of a young man by the name of Peter Bourjos. Surely the idea wasn't a popular one but neither is watching a former star decline at a premium position on the field.

I guess we could look for a defense first guy on the market and grab him on a 1 year deal. Or we could hang onto DeWayne Wise and run him out there. Any way you slice it, we get better defense in CF and whoever is providing that, hits last in the line up.

The Bench Situation

The Back Up Infielder

John McDonald will be in the final year of his contract for the 2011 season. A versatile infield defender that doesn't complain about playing time is a manger's wet dream. He gets a spot for sure.

The Back Up Catcher

No matter what happens with the catching situation, I think this spot goes to Jose Molina.

The Back Up Outfielder

I think it goes to Fred Lewis. He would the best pinch hitting and best pinch running option by far.

The Extra Guy

I can see a bunch of different things here but realistically it depends on the way the new manager wants to play the game. If he values speed and defense, look for a Mike McCoy type guy. If he wants to mash, then maybe a Randy Ruiz type guy. My hope is that it is not someone currently on the 40 man roster. 

It wouldn't totally shock me if we go with a short bench and an extra arm in the pen, especially if it means protecting a guy like McGowan from over use.

Conclusion

Boy wouldn't it be nice if we were using this garbage time in September productively to find out the answers to some of these important questions? 

The teams still in the race can suck my cock and the dicks at the MLB head office can also suck my cock for continually scheduling brutal finishing months for us. Like why should we care what Tampa Bay or New York or Boston thinks about us running out some kids to see what we have for next year? You think if the situation was reversed they would do the same? That's all I am gonna say about that.

Keep in mind there is a bunch of shit that will no doubt change this winter but if I had to guess, right now, Opening Day 2011 looks like this:

My line up:

Snider LF
Escobar SS
Lind 1B
Bautista 3B
Wells RF
Whoever DH
Hill 2B
Arencibia C
Mastroianni CF

My bench:

McDonald
Molina
Lewis
Whoever or nobody

My starting rotation:

Marcum
Romero
Morrow
Cecil
Litsch

My bullpen:

Gregg 
Purcey
Camp
Janssen
Carlson or Lewis or Reyes
Accardo or Roenicke or Buchholz or Hayhurst
Rzep

McGowan is the wild card once again.

Simply put: We stay the course, keep building through the draft and developing our own talent.

2010-09-17

BAS 4 Life

Gotta ask the question: How many kids out there are going to try copy this swing?

2010-09-16

Mandatory Drabek Observations

Courtesy of day life

The only person to take me up on my offer to watch the game chez moi was none other than the Nemesis Enforcer himself. His ETA was a little after game time, which was no problem thanks to the wonders of PVR, but meant I had to resist the urge to open Twitter and not respond to the 3 text messages I got asking me if I was watching.

My observations of the centre piece in the Halladay deal will be purely from a catcher's perspective. Here goes:

First off, the kid can move the ball. With respect to his fastball, I saw 3 different kinds.

The 4 seamer: straight and flat in the mid 90's.
The cutter: breaks in on left handed batters in the mid 90's.
The 2 seamer: breaks in on right handed batters in the mid 90's.

He threw these pitches early and often. Breaking bats and getting guys to look like basically Minor Leaguers. I especially liked the cutter, which did look like a slider at times.

He did not throw his curveball nearly enough early on, which I think we can attribute to the fact that John Buck had NO CHANCE of catching it. Dirty, filthy, sick, nasty.....call it whatever you want. A tight 12 - 6 break on it and appeared to be difficult to pick up by the hitters. Definitely his best pitch with big time swing and miss potential.

I only saw about 3 change ups all night. They looked straight and sat at about 86 - 87 MPH. 

Much was made by the announcers during the pre game and the game itself about his Cy Young award winning dad and what advice he may have passed along before the start. Here is what I think Doug said to Kyle: "son, you had better keep the ball down in the zone" 

The only pitch I saw that missed it's spot up, was the homer that Vernon brought back to earth off the bat of Adam Jones.

I do have a few things that I think may need to be worked on, although much of them can probably be attributed to nerves.

1: Holding runners on

Both Bautista and Buck had to gently remind our young fireballer to vary his times to the plate. The double steal in the first inning by Baltimore was evidence of this. You cannot, under any circumstances, get into a rhythm with runners on base. To his credit, Kyle was able to correct this very quickly.

2: Throwing the pitches he wants to throw, when he wants to throw them

I only saw him shake off his catcher once. And that was in order to throw the curve for a strike out. I totally understand why he was hesitant to do this but as he becomes more comfortable and familiar with the league, look for this to change.

3: Maintaining his velocity

From what I can see, his velo was down about 2 - 3 MPH by the 5th inning. It is the end of the season and this is common.

Conclusion:

Overall, a wonderful performance from where I was sitting even though he took the loss. I think the hype may be warranted and I will most definitely be in attendance for his game against the Mariners at the Dome.

And you should be too.

2010-09-12

Weekly Round Up: Sept. 6 - Sept. 12

Consider this your required reading for the week.

Consider this your required viewing for the week. 

Courtesy of John Lott:

“Kyle certainly deserves it,” Anthopoulos said. “He had a great year. His last start was outstanding. It was important for us for him to pitch in a playoff atmosphere. He did a great job. He did everything we asked, and his innings total is pretty much identical to what it was last year.”
Drabek’s first outing will come Wednesday in place of Brett Cecil, whose start has been pushed back to Friday in Boston.
According the current rotation schedule, Drabek would make his home debut Sept. 22 against Seattle and his final start, again at home, against the New York Yankees on Sept. 28. 

It's been confirmed that this game will only be shown on SportsNet One. Now that REALLY sucks for those that can't get the channel. Look for this hashtag to explode: #StupidSportsnetOne 

Courtesy of Damien "Suck My" Cox: 

The confusing part is that with Paul Beeston back in charge, the disliked J.P. Ricciardi gone, a local boy running the front office and an appealing youth movement, it was expected this would the year GTA baseball fans began to feel more enthusiastic about the team.
Instead, attendance suggests the Jays are less popular now than they were last year, and definitely from three or four years ago.
'Tis a puzzlement.
Wtih Jose Bautista swatting homers at a major league-leading pace, an impressive young pitching staff featuring Brandon Morrow and some exciting prospects on the way, one might have thought there was an opportunity at hand for the Jays to recover some lost ground, not lose more. Generally speaking, local media types have approved of the direction of the team, some suggesting this has been nearly a triumphant season despite a record just about .500. Moreover, its not like any of the other pro teams in town are producing championship-quality teams.
So what's the reason behind the drop? Well, the stadium, of course. The Rogers TV issues haven't helped. Having a caretaker manager doesn't exactly get the masses excited. And, as has been the case for a long, long time, no meaningful games in August, let alone September, kills interest. Playing in the tough American League East continues to be an issue, although another competitive season from low payroll Tampa Bay is gradually taking away the division in which the Jays play as a meaningful excuse.
The season began with some shockingly low numbers, but then there was some recovery. Now, it seems the season may end on a low, which has to leave the Jays thoroughly puzzled as to what it will take - if anything - to bring the people back. 

This guy needs to stop writing about baseball. Seriously. 

Courtesy of Klaw: 

Pettitte isn't that great a prospect, as he's old for the level, but New Hampshire starter Zach Stewart was extremely impressive in his seven innings of work, striking out 10 (also against a weak lineup) with just one walk and ten groundouts against just one air out.
Stewart showed four pitches, pitching at 90-96 with sink and some tail with a tight, out-pitch slider at 83-87 that he threw for strikes, even back-dooring it to left-handed hitters for called strikes. His changeup was the biggest surprise, as another scout at the game told me he hadn't seen it this good before; it's mostly straight but has good separation from the fastball at 81-85 and his arm speed is excellent. He also used a fringy curveball with good depth, but he didn't command the pitch as well as he did the slider.
Stewart worked aggressively with everything and had good tempo. He stays over the rubber before driving forward with a long stride, although his arm action is a little long in the back and he pronates relatively late in the delivery. I know several scouts see Stewart as a sinker/slider pen guy, but I see four pitches, a good frame, and a pitcher who likes to attack hitters, and I see a potential No. 2 starter, maybe a No. 3 if the changeup isn't always where it was tonight. 

Klaw had something positive to say about your Toronto Blue Jays. Seriously. 

Courtesy of John Lott: 

Asked whether he wants to succeed his old friend Cito Gaston as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, Nick Leyva does not hesitate.
"They know I'm interested," he says. "Why wouldn't I be? This organization is going in the right direction. You have a young, aggressive general manager. He's got a plan. You'd be foolish if you didn't want to be part of that."
The general manager, widely credited with Midas-like qualities in his rookie year, is Alex Anthopoulos, now deeply engaged in his next big decision: culling a long list of contestants for the job Gaston will vacate at season's end. 

Do we go outside the organizations? Do we look within the organization? Both have their pros and cons. Discuss. 

Courtesy of Baseball America: 

A team bursting with impact prospects will represent the United States at the 2010 Pan American Qualifying tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The team will scrimmage Sept. 25-28 at USA Baseball's National Training Center against teams from Puerto Rico and Canada, then plays in the tournament Oct. 1-10. The event serves as a qualifier for the 2011 Pan Am Games, with the top eight teams earning entry, and the top six teams also qualify for the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup. 

Brian Jeroloman gets the call to represent his country. Great honour for him. I see him as our AAA starting catcher next season with d'Arnaud, Jimenez and Perez breathing down his neck. 

Courtesy of MILB: 

Dunedin Blue Jays closer Matt Daly joined fellow pitcher Joel Carreno as a Dunedin record-breaker in 2010, setting new single-season marks for both saves and appearances in the D-Jays' 4-3 win over Tampa on Saturday.
Daly, 24, notched his 31st save in his 56th appearance, breaking Connor Falkenbach's save mark from 2007 and Ben Weber's appearance mark from 1993.
Falkenbach's saves record was the most recent record set by a Blue Jays player, and with both Daly and Carreno breaking records in 2010, they became the first D-Jays duo to accomplish that feat since pitchers Cameron Reimers (hit-by-pitches) and Aaron Dean (earned runs) did the deed in 2001.
The 13th round draft pick in 2008 out of the University of Hawaii has had a stellar 2010 campaign, going 2-2 with a 2.50 ERA and holding opposing hitters to a .214 batting average. His 31 saves came in 33 chances, a remarkable 94% save rate. He also struck out 63 in 57 2/3 innings. He was named a first-half Florida State League All-Star, as well, pitching in the FSL All-Star Game back on June 12.
Daly now has 56 saves in his three seasons with the Blue Jays organization and 32 overall with Dunedin, having notched a save during a late-season call-up in 2009. 


Straight rip of a press release. Looking forward to seeing how Matt does in the AFL. 

Courtesy of John Lott: 

Bautista opened the year as the leadoff hitter, later batting sixth and seventh before his burgeoning power production prompted manager Cito Gaston to install him in the No. 3 slot on June 24.
Since then, Bautista has batted .296 with 23 homers and 56 RBIs. In the same span, Wells has hit .262 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs, a sharp drop-off from his early pace. At the time of the change, Wells was batting .281 with 16 homers and 42 RBIs. 

So I had this thought. Why not put J-Bau in the clean up spot next year? Move Vernon to the 5 hole and bring Lind back up to the 3 hole. I'm kinda getting tired of seeing Esco take the bat out of J-Bau's hands.

 Courtesy of James Christie: 

Toronto Police have turned over documents removed from Toronto Blue Jays offices to U.S. authorities in connection with the perjury case against seven-time Cy Young winning pitcher Roger Clemens.
Two Toronto officers executed the search in June, an Associated Press report said, and assisted the U.S. Justice Department by forwarding two boxes they obtained, according to Toronto police spokesman Constable Tony Vella. The police spokesman would not say whether the documents were medical records.
The Blue Jays are maintaining silence on the Clemens matter. Blue Jays physician Dr. Ron Taylor said through an associate “he did not know under what circumstances the documents were obtained and will make no comments,” while Blue Jays spokesman Jay Stenhouse said the club will not comment “about matters pending before courts, other than to confirm that it is our policy to comply with all valid legal process.”
Jays president Paul Beeston did not reply to a phone message seeking his comment. 

He is still the very best pitcher I have ever seen in person. Check out his numbers as a Blue Jay. Fucking insane.


 Courtesy of Jeff Blair: 

But I do know Anthopoulos is a smart guy, and I know that smart, first-year general managers pick their spots. You can’t take over as GM of a team managed by someone with Cito Gaston’s track record knowing that your boss – president and chief executive officer Paul Beeston – wants a comfortable exit for the guy who helped bring the city two World Series titles. You can’t fight bitterly for every inch of your turf, not when you know that Beeston stared down the players during last year’s September clubhouse revolt. So you save your powder, knowing you are just weeks away from making your franchise’s most important managerial hire since Gaston was fired.
When you are asked about Snider’s handling, if you are Anthopoulos, you point to his age: 22. You point to nine home runs in 222 at-bats, shrug and say, essentially, “could be worse.” J.P. Arencibia’s lack of playing time? “No,” you would say, “John Buck was an American League all-star." 

I have been meaning to post about The Cito for a while now. I am suppressing the anger. It's becoming un-healthy. 

Courtesy of You Don't Know Dick: 

“It’s more about the opportunity I have to pick these guys brains as much as possible and watch games on a closer level,” Arencibia said. “Watch the hitters, watch what’s going on. Sitting in on the catcher-pitcher meetings before games and stuff like that. That’s the way I’m going to have to learn.”
Arencibia has a lot to learn. Following his fabulous August debut, he caught sporadically and when he did, pitchers struggled. He must improve his pitch-calling and his understanding of the major-leagues. He must form relationships with the pitchers he will work with next year. He needs to play.
Even if the Jays plan on re-signing Buck, especially if the Jays plan on re-signing Buck, they could easily ease his workload in September and it wouldn’t hurt him. As for Arencibia, following his second straight successful season at Triple-A he was asked if he was ready for the majors.
“I’m the Pacific Coast League MVP,” Arencibia said with quiet confidence. 

You Don't Know Dick absolutely nails it. Why not play the kid? What the fuck do we owe the Skankees or Tampa Gay? 

2010-09-11

Game 141 Recap: Live And In Effect

  
So, the 1 Blue Jays Way free ticket giveaway extravaganza was no doubt a success.

Most of the details are a little hazy still, so I decided not to fight it. 

Fuck paragraphs.

Was able to get seats in the 2nd row, at the box office, after the game had started.

There was some expected add/drops to the line up during game day.

Couldn't find Esteban in an empty bar.

Navin bailed but did it early.

Jimmy Triggs called moments after arriving at the airport and made an unexpected appearance.

My buddy Ty, who lost a massive Jays related bet and still hasn't paid the heavy price, was a late addition.

Got chirped by Ike Stake and Jimmy Triggs for inviting a couple of dudes I've never met to a ballgame.

Was asked if I met Jeremy on Lava Life.

Cecil sucked.

Before I sat down it was 6 - 0 for the Devil Gays.

I heckled our own mascot with this, captured in time by Andy: 

"Diamond flew away, eh Ace? Tough break."

Bautista hit 2 bombs, the second one to tie the game up at 8 in the bottom of the 7th.

Fact: Ian and I have seen 2 games together and Bautista has hit a total of 4 HR in those games.

This is the only thing I felt the need to tweet all game:

That was fucking awesome! Tie game. #jays

Aaron Hill made a game saving play on defense. 

Gregg sucked.

Carl Lindeman Crawford got fucked the fuck up. 

At one point I remember looking down at my feet and seeing 4 full beers.

Had to play peace maker with a guy that I was calling 8 Ball and Cue Ball all night.

Ian did a really good job on his recap.

Many thanks to everybody for a very entertaining evening.

2010-09-09

1BlueJaysWay.com Talks with Darin Mastroianni

Darin Mastroianni is close to becoming a household name among Toronto baseball fans. This season, in 132 regular season games with the Double A level New Hampshire Fishercats, Mastroianni has proven himself to be a solid prospect by posting full season career highs in batting average (.301), homeruns (7), runs (101) and OPS (.788).

A leader on defense and on offense, Mastroianni has helped New Hampshire reach the Eastern League playoffs. New Hampshire began their first round series on the road in Trenton, NJ on Wednesday, and came out on the wrong side of a pitchers duel, losing 2-0. In game 2 on Thursday, Mastroianni stroked a grounder that should have given the Fishercats the lead in the 12th inning of a scoreless contest, but he was mistakenly called out on the close play. Instead, the game went to the bottom of the frame, still tied, and Trenton walked off when Thunder designated hitter Rene Rivera slugged a homer.

The Fishercats won 16 of 23 regular season meetings with the Thunder, but now trail their arch rival 2 games to none in the best of 5 series that continues in New Hampshire on Friday night.

I had the opportunity to speak with Darin, prior to game 1 of the Eastern League Division Series, about his improvements this season, his teammates, the rivalry with Trenton and more. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview.



To check out our previous Q&A with Darin Mastroianni, click here.

To follow 1BlueJaysWay on Twitter, click here.

Breaking News: Insurance Scam In The Making?


So a friend of the site told me a juicy rumour a few days ago. They said that tonight's starting pitcher - Canadian boy RHP Shawn Hill - has an injury in his foot/ankle area that requires surgery. They also said that Shawn was called up to the Majors with the intention of only pitching a bare minimum number of innings. Apparently this has all been pre arranged between him and the brain trust of your Toronto Blue Jays. My source mentioned there are insurance implications.

Naturally, this news got my attention. So I decided to do some research, starting with the Twitter injury guru.

@injuryexpert is there any benefit for either player or team whether a DL trip and surgery happen in MLB vs MILB, in terms of insurance?
@1bluejaysway Yes, mostly the team. 
@injuryexpert Thanks for responding. Do you have a link to some articles that explains it for me? Any help would be appreciated. 
@1bluejaysway no sorry
@injuryexpert thanks anyways.
@1bluejaysway Writing about insurance issues isn't very popular.

Having my suspicions confirmed, I then proceeded to try to get some info on the topic. And let me tell you, the @injuryexpert was right. There just isn't a lot of people talking about this subject.

What happened next absolutely blew my mind. 

I must say that I do not consider myself an expert as it pertains to MLB player transactions. However, I do think I know more than the average fan. 

What I was able to find out on the insurance topic COMPLETELY changed my perspective. It feels like I have been enlightened.


Courtesy of Sports Business Daily:

December 2, 2002

"It's become so expensive that it's a cost item we really have to look at when you put your payroll together. If you're going to insure players, you almost have to include that as part of your payroll." Orioles COO Joe Foss said initial coverage now being restricted to the first three years of a player's contract "is going to have an impact on clubs' appetite for the length of contracts." Chass: "The Tom Glavine negotiations could be a case in point." Expos GM Omar Minaya added, "When you're negotiating a contract, the insurance issue comes up more and more, especially now that it's three years. When you take on a guy in a trade, you always ask what's the insurance situation." D'Backs GM Joe Garagiola Jr.: "The companies are more aggressive in trying to exclude conditions from policies. We don't do a lot of policies. Mostly our insuring is confined to pitchers. But our experience is you can have a policy effectively excluded out from under you. You can have a disability policy on a pitcher, and exclusions can cover injuries to his shoulder and elbow"

Courtesy of CBS Money Watch:

March 1, 2006

Major League Baseball found that it pays to take a team approach to purchasing insurance.
Instead of continuing to purchase insurance separately, Major League Baseball and the organization's 30 clubs decided to band together, set up a captive and develop a collective risk management strategy.
The results? Big cost savings, improved loss control and greater sharing of risk management best practices.
Major League Baseball has saved $40 million over the last three years after forming a captive known as MLB BASES, which stands for MLB Burlington Assurance Exchange Society. The captive is domiciled in Vermont and was launched in January 2003.
"Our strategy is simple. It's take high deductibles and use our captive to finance our retentions on a leaguewide basis," says Anthony Avitabile, the director of risk management at Major League Baseball.
Major League Baseball currently uses its captive for its workers' compensation and general liability programs and might use it eventually for some property risks as well.
"We felt our program should be put in place in the areas where every club is going to be purchasing insurance anyway," Avitabile says.

Courtesy of The Biz Of Baseball:

May 10, 2007

The New York Yankees signing of Roger Clemens to a prorated contract that will pay out $18.5 million and change has brought another aspect of player contracts these days: Insuring the player in case of injury.
With guaranteed contracts, clubs may wish to investigate the use of disability insurance for players to cover the losses they may incur, should a player have a debilitating injury that would end a season or career for the player.
The problem is, the rates to insure a player can be extremely high, and thus, clubs have to weigh taking the gamble of going it without insurance, or paying the premiums.

Comments by a spokesman for HCC Specialty Underwriters, one of the major insurers of professional athletes, goes on to say that it would be difficult for an insurer to take on the risk of Clemens due to the amount of salary involved and his age. A recent case that have touched on insuring players was the Astros suing the insurer for Jeff Bagwell who would not pay off their $15.6 million claim on his salary. 

Courtesy of Sports Business Daily: 

May 13, 2008

But MLB and insurance industry sources indicated that policies "often exclude areas of the body that have been seriously injured before." Also, position players are "less expensive to insure than pitchers." ESPN's Steve Phillips said that two events in '01 "changed the baseball insurance" marketplace: the Orioles received a reported $27.3M claim on the remaining $39M of injured LF Albert Belle's contract, and the World Trade Center attacks on September 11 "precipitated large payouts throughout the insurance industry at large"

Conclusion: 

So what does this all mean as it pertains to Shawn Hill and your Toronto Blue Jays? Well, I certainly don't have all the answers right now but this is what I think.

The Blue Jays must have an insurance policy out on Shawn. That policy no doubt excludes his oft injured right arm, elbow and shoulder. If this rumour of his foot/ankle injury is true, then they would be able to recoup some of his salary from the insurance company if he goes under the knife but only for a surgery that is not on an uninsured part of his body.

Thanks to the @injuryexpert, we know that this benefits the team in some way but only if it's done while he is on the Major League roster. It also benefits the player because he incurs service time while he is in the Majors, even if it's on the DL. For the record: Shawn Hill has 3.153 years of MLB service time according to Cot's Baseball Contracts.

So I guess everyone wins right?

Quickly:

I couldn't help but start wondering: How often has this happened in the past? 

A few names came to me right away:

Jesse Litsch (hip)
Dustin McGowan (knee)

More Quickly:

If Shawn Hill gets pulled early tonight and subsequently goes on the DL with a foot/ankle injury that requires surgery, you heard it here first.