Tagged: Toronto Blue Jays

Looks like the day is finally here

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-CA
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0cm;
mso-para-margin-right:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0cm;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
table.MsoTableLightShading
{mso-style-name:”Light Shading”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:1;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:1;
mso-style-priority:60;
mso-style-unhide:no;
border-top:solid black 1.0pt;
mso-border-top-themecolor:text1;
border-left:none;
border-bottom:solid black 1.0pt;
mso-border-bottom-themecolor:text1;
border-right:none;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
color:black;
mso-themecolor:text1;
mso-themeshade:191;
mso-fareast-language:EN-US;}
table.MsoTableLightShadingFirstRow
{mso-style-name:”Light Shading”;
mso-table-condition:first-row;
mso-style-priority:60;
mso-style-unhide:no;
mso-tstyle-border-top:1.0pt solid black;
mso-tstyle-border-top-themecolor:text1;
mso-tstyle-border-left:cell-none;
mso-tstyle-border-bottom:1.0pt solid black;
mso-tstyle-border-bottom-themecolor:text1;
mso-tstyle-border-right:cell-none;
mso-tstyle-border-insideh:cell-none;
mso-tstyle-border-insidev:cell-none;
mso-para-margin-top:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
line-height:normal;
mso-ansi-font-weight:bold;
mso-bidi-font-weight:bold;}
table.MsoTableLightShadingLastRow
{mso-style-name:”Light Shading”;
mso-table-condition:last-row;
mso-style-priority:60;
mso-style-unhide:no;
mso-tstyle-border-top:1.0pt solid black;
mso-tstyle-border-top-themecolor:text1;
mso-tstyle-border-left:cell-none;
mso-tstyle-border-bottom:1.0pt solid black;
mso-tstyle-border-bottom-themecolor:text1;
mso-tstyle-border-right:cell-none;
mso-tstyle-border-insideh:cell-none;
mso-tstyle-border-insidev:cell-none;
mso-para-margin-top:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:0cm;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
line-height:normal;
mso-ansi-font-weight:bold;
mso-bidi-font-weight:bold;}
table.MsoTableLightShadingFirstCol
{mso-style-name:”Light Shading”;
mso-table-condition:first-column;
mso-style-priority:60;
mso-style-unhide:no;
mso-ansi-font-weight:bold;
mso-bidi-font-weight:bold;}
table.MsoTableLightShadingLastCol
{mso-style-name:”Light Shading”;
mso-table-condition:last-column;
mso-style-priority:60;
mso-style-unhide:no;
mso-ansi-font-weight:bold;
mso-bidi-font-weight:bold;}
table.MsoTableLightShadingOddColumn
{mso-style-name:”Light Shading”;
mso-table-condition:odd-column;
mso-style-priority:60;
mso-style-unhide:no;
mso-tstyle-shading:silver;
mso-tstyle-shading-themecolor:text1;
mso-tstyle-shading-themetint:63;
mso-tstyle-border-left:cell-none;
mso-tstyle-border-right:cell-none;
mso-tstyle-border-insideh:cell-none;
mso-tstyle-border-insidev:cell-none;}
table.MsoTableLightShadingOddRow
{mso-style-name:”Light Shading”;
mso-table-condition:odd-row;
mso-style-priority:60;
mso-style-unhide:no;
mso-tstyle-shading:silver;
mso-tstyle-shading-themecolor:text1;
mso-tstyle-shading-themetint:63;
mso-tstyle-border-left:cell-none;
mso-tstyle-border-right:cell-none;
mso-tstyle-border-insideh:cell-none;
mso-tstyle-border-insidev:cell-none;}

The day
every Jays fan has been quietly dreading for a couple years now is finally
here.  With the news that Roy Halladay
has agreed to a contract extension with the Philadelphia Phillies, the trade
for the ace of aces looks to be final. 
The best pitcher to ever don a Blue Jays uniform will be displaying his
wares for another team, another city, halladay-757029.jpganother country.

 

This should
be, without a doubt, a day of mourning for all Jays fans, but fear not my
beleaguered comrades; the future is still bright.  And Halladay deserves the chance to pitch for
a winner; he’s earned that much.  Let’s
face it: The Jays won’t be contending any time in the near future and Harry
Leroy Halladay should not waste any more of his prime years pitching for a mediocre
team.  The Phillies will be a World
Series contender again in 2010 and on behalf of Jays Nation, I’d like to wish
him good luck in getting that coveted ring. 

 

Rookie GM
Alex Anthopoulos appears to have made a deal that ensures the Jays will bounce
back.  The Phillies ship their own ace,
Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners for a package of prospects that gives them
both the financial flexibility and the replenished farm system necessary to
make the trade for Halladay.

 

So here are
the unconfirmed details as of right now:

 

To Philadelphia:

To Toronto:

RHP Roy Halladay

$6-million cash

RHP Kyle Drabek

OF Michael Taylor

C Travis d’Arnaud

 

To Seattle:

To Philadelphia:

LHP Cliff Lee

RHP Phillippe Aumont

OF Tyson Gillies

RHP Juan Carlos Ramirez

 

On top of
that, I’m being told as I write this article that the Jays may turn around and
send Taylor to the A’s for corner infielder prospect Brett Wallace.  Wallace, a former first-round pick of the
Cardinals, was acquired by the A’s in July in the Matt Holliday deal.  Confused yet? 
Me too.

 

drabek.jpg

The blue
chipper the Jays get in this deal is without a doubt, Drabek.  Son of 13-year Major League veteran Doug
Drabek, Kyle was regarded as the top pitching prospect in the Phillies
system.  He was drafted in 2006, 18th
overall and has tremendous stuff.  There
are some concerns with his arm, but he appears to have fully recovered from the
Tommy John surgery he had last year and by all accounts appears to be better
than before he went under the knife.  He
was also arrested in 2005 for public intoxication.  The charges were later dropped, but some
question his maturity.  I, personally,
don’t put much stock in things like that; he was 19 at the time.  We all do stupid things at that age.

 

Drabek
consistently throws between 92-94 mph with his fastball which has great tailing
action and can reach back and hit 97 when he needs to.  His mid-80’s slider has tremendous bite and
he has a curveball that rivals anyone’s in baseball.  He’s also working on a changeup but needs to
maintain his arm-speed for it to be a truly effective pitch; he did make
strides with it toward the end of last year. 
Drabek was a shortstop in high school and is a plus athlete.  He also seems to be developing a strong work
ethic; something that could separate him from his contemporaries.

 

arnaud.jpgTravis d’Arnaud
was a sandwich first-rounder in 2007 and is projected by many to be a starting
catcher in the future.  The Jays have
lost some faith in J.P. Arencibia and Brian Jeroloman, their two “catchers of
the future” so d’Arneau will serve as a motivator and could fuel a
position-switch for Arencibia.  Scouts
say he could develop 20 HR-power if he cuts down on swinging at bad pitches and
is above-average defensively.

 

If the Jays
retain Taylor, they will have one of the most physically imposing prospects outwk6_MichaelTaylor.jpg

there.  At 6’6″ and 250 pounds, Taylor will
likely put up monster power numbers and has a .312 career average in the
minors.  His size would suggest a long
swing and a high number of strikeouts and his defense leaves something to be
desired, but the bat would be a big plus.

 

brett-wallace.jpgIf the Jays
are indeed planning to send Taylor to the A’s for Brett Wallace, I think that
could end up being the most important part of this deal.  Wallace has tremendous upside with the bat,
but struggles defensively wherever he plays. 
He’s currently a third-baseman, but will likely end up at first.  At 6’1″ and 245 pounds, Wallace may battle
weight problems in his career and some say that could lead to a lot of knee and
back issues.

 

Overall I
believe Anthopoulos did a nice job in this trade and hopefully it will be one
of a few moves that will turn the franchise around in the next couple of years.

 

As for
Halladay; it was a pleasure watching him pitch for the last 12 years.  In my opinion there’s no better pitcher in
baseball, and he’s definitely the best pitcher to ever play in Toronto.  I will always be a Jays fan, but I might find
myself cheering on the Phillies quite a bit in the next few years.  Thanks Roy.

Advertisements

The Cleanup Hitter

There was an article written on Bluejays.com last night talking about how the cleanup spot for the Jays has been a bit of a puzzle since Scott Rolen was traded to the Reds.  I agree, but this shouldn’t be all that hard to figure out.

Cito Gaston says that he doesn’t want to move Aaron Hill down to the cleanup spot because he feels that sometimes players play the game differently when they are moved to that spot.  they feel the pressure and start to try too hard to hit the ball over the fence.  Although this is invariably true, I would like to see him try either Hill or Lind in the cleanup spot over the last part of the year.  As for the two spot, move Alex Rios in there.  The movement to a place in the order where he doesn’t feel like he has to smash homeruns all the time may be good for him.  He’s also a decent contact hitter when he’s on and he’s the fastest baserunner on the team.  Seems ideal for the 2 spot to me.  Put Hill in a situation where he can put up even more RBI and put to good use that ridiculous bat of his.  It’s not like the Jays have anything to lose here.

Here’s my suggested lineup for the rest of the way:

  • SS Marco Scutaro
  • RF Alex Rios
  • DH Adam Lind
  • 2B Aaron Hill
  • 1B Lyle Overbay/Kevin Millar
  • CF Vernon Wells
  • 3B Edwin Encarnacion
  • C   Rod Barajas
  • LF Jose Bautista

I mean, why the hell not?

Any thoughts?

Wow, what a summer: The Bitter and The Sweet

So yeah.  Sort of lost initiative to write here over the summer.  I’ve had a bitter-sweet one so far.  On a  personal level, one massive bitter pill:  My mom has fallen ill.  This is likely the single largest reason I haven’t been writing here.  She’s mostly okay now; let’s hope she gets better.

On the sweet side, I went on tour for 2 weeks in July across Southern Ontario and Qu├ębec.  It was fantastic.  No new album yet…but soon.  I actually have two in the works.

Again on the sweet side.  I have cats.  Two of them.  I grew up with cats and haven’t had any pets at all since I moved out of my parents house almost 7 years ago.  Well now 9 month olds Timbre (pronounced Tamber) and Cappella are here and I couldn’t be happier about it.  Timbre is currently between me and the keyboard, making this just a little more difficult than it otherwise would be.  But that, my friends, is the beauty of cats.

On the baseball side, it has also been bitter-sweet for my Jays, and indeed for Major League Baseball as a whole.

For the Jays…

The Bitter

  • The rocket fell to the ground:  After the fantastic start that had just starting making even the most pessimistic of Jays fans (such as myself) believe that maybe they could contend with the behemoths in the AL East, the Jays fell back down to earth…hard.  Yes, it was expected.  I mean, when you have the amount of pitching injuries that the Jays have, you aren’t going to remain hot for long.  Deep down all of us Jays fans knew that the bats would eventually cool off and the young, unexpectedly good pitching would too.  I picked the Jays to finish 4th in the AL East this year with a 78-84 record.  It would appear that that is about where they’re headed.  Another season of mediocrity.

  • The Doctor and the GM that couldn’t:  One thing I haven’t commented on is the whole Roy Halladay trade rumour business.  I mentioned in an earlier entry that if the jays eventually fell out of contention that J.P. Riccardi should look into trading the ace.  With a year left on his contract, the returns would be astronomical.  Well, the Jays DID fall out ofriccardi.jpg contention, and J.P. DID look into trading him, but could not.  My problem is not with the fact that the Jays brass considered trading their long-time ace, but how it was handled.  J.P. Riccardi went entirely too public with this whole thing.  It became a HUGE distraction to Halladay and his teammates, which is really unfair.  Does Roy deserve to be traded to a place where he could win a World Series?  Absolutely!  Does he deserve to be given the run-around right as he’s preparing to start the All-Star Game and preparing for the stretch run?  Absolutely not! 

    Not only that, but J.P. threw Roy under the bus by going public in saying that he had indicated he wasn’t going to come back after 2010.  Given that Halladay is such a class act and has done nothing but praise the city of Toronto and the fans, was it really fair to announce something that could potentially turn the fans against him?  I mean, come on J.P.  Luckily, Jays fans have a head about them and they don’t blame Roy for considering another team to try and win on.  I mean, the Jays aren’t going to be World Series contenders any time soon.  Not with bone-head in charge anyway.  The problem here is that J.P. like to be the star of his own melodrama and he doesn’t much like being a mediocre GM in a middle-market city such as Toronto.  Please Blue Jays…fire numbnuts before he does something really stupid: Like trade Roy Halladay for a package of peanuts and a Heathcliff Slocumb trading card.

  • Vernon Wells and Alex Rios:  What can I say here.  These guys just plain haven’t delivered.  Rios has always been a good hitter, but I’m not sure he ever really warranted all this “star-player” talk.  I mean he’s never been much more than a decent player, capable of some great hot streaks.  As for Wells, I don’t know what to say.  I did notice that he dropped a lot of weight and his bat-speed seems to have decreased considerably.  With all the recent talk about steroids; I wouldn’t be totally surprised.  Remember how quickly Wells used to be able to come back from fairly severe injuries?  Isn’t that one of the wonders of PEDs?  Forgive me for being pessimistic, but I think we all have a right to be these days.
  • B.J. Blown-Save: We saw this one coming, didn’t we?  Of course B.J. Ryan was awful this year.  Of course his velocity was down.  Like Wells, Ryan looked CONSIDERABLY smaller than he had in past years, and although he’s never lit up the radar gun, Ryan’s velocity was curiously down from 88-91 mph to 84-86 mph.  Hmmm…I wonder what could have happened.  Probably the best move J.P. has made in recent years was releasing him when he did.

The Sweet

  • King Hill:  Everyone in Toronto has known how good Aaron Hill is for years now.  But the outside baseball world is just now figuring it out.  Even the proverbial psychics of the game, Baseball Prospectus, seemed to be completely misguided about the Jays star aaron hill.jpgsecond baseman, “there’s no telling where he’ll pick up, now that he’s a year removed from his 2007 power surge.  Sometimes a lost season can completely derail a player’s progress, particularly when that player was a late-bloomer to begin with.”

    First of all, how is Hill a late bloomer?  He was a 1st round draft pick and was in the majors within two years after solid minor-league numbers.  Secondly, Hill was projected by the Prospectus to hit .260 with 8 HR and 50 RBI.  Currently, with two months left in the season, Hill is sitting at a .291 average with 26 HR and 76 RBI.  Yeah…WRONG!!!  Hill has become the franchise player this team needs for the long-term future.  I like him…even if he is a Republican.

  • Adam Lind:  Cito was right when he said this kid could hit and would eventually become a 30 homer guy.  Lind has put up a fantastic year and has become a true power and average threat.  I can’t wait to see where his ceiling is.
  • The Doctor: Whether or not he’s Jay for much past the end of this season, Roy Halladay is still the best pitcher in baseball.  He proves it every time he take the mound.  Now that the distraction of almost being traded is behind him for now, Roy can get on with winning his second Cy Young Award.  Enjoy it while we have it Jays fans.

Major League Baseball has definitely seen its ups and downs this year as well.  The Ups: Buehrle’s perfect game, the myriad of cycles being hit, Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter, and Bronson Arroyo’s plain admission to using PEDs in the early 2000s, something more players should do.  The Downs: Manny and David Ortiz and steroids.  It’s getting to the point where players who were/are clean have the burden to prove their innocence.  No one is clean until proven that way.  Thats the bed Major League players have made for themselves, they must now lay in it.  No more excuses.  And if you are naive enough to believe that steroids are out of the game, than be sure write that list to Santa Claus, because Christmas is less than half a year
away.  I say from now on, if you get caught…full season suspension.  If you get caught again…lifetime ban.

I’ve been hesitant to do it because in the past I have believed that we need to give players the benefit of the doubt when it comes to steroid use, but now, after all of this crap, I will be making a list of players who I suspect were or are on steroids who have yet to be caught.  Stay tuned.

FINALLY

I told myself I wouldn’t blog again until the Jays won a game.  For a while there I thought it might not happen again this year. 

We all knew that eventually the Jays would slip.  I figured they’d lose 4-5 in a row…maybe 7 of 10.   9 in a row never crossed my mind.  The 9th loss was by far the worst loss I’ve ever seen for the Jays.

Tim Wakefield started and ended the streak, and I think he had a lot to do with it.  For the first 3 or 4 games after he stymied the Jays in the first game in Fenway, the Jays’ timing was screwed royally.  After that it became a matter of confidence, and as I said at the start of the year; hitting slumps and if you don’t have good pitching, you’ll go through some losing streaks.  The lack of pitching depth for the Jays has been exposed.  From here on out, I expect the Jays to be a merely average team that might end up with 85-87 wins.  Their ridiculous start has allowed them to withstand some long streaks.

Blown out of Proportion?

Toronto Star reporter Richard Griffin makes a good point.  As nice as it would be to see the Jays win 1 or both games against the Red Sox in this series, it has been blown out of proportion.  If the Jays get swept, it’s not the end of the world.

With all the injuries for the Jays and the fact that they aren’t putting out Halladay against them, if the Jays get swept, I don’t think it’s the big litmus test everyone around the league seems to think it is.  The next two games have two pure rookies who have never pitched in the spotlight of Fenway in their careers in Brett Cecil and Robert Ray going for Toronto.  If they put up nice efforts but lose, does that mean the Jays aren’t legit?  Hell no.  Especially against the Red Sox in Fenway.

So I urge my fellow Jays fans to not panic if the Jays lose the next two against Boston…it won’t be the end of the world as some are predicting.  They play Atlanta and Baltimore in the next two series’.  There’s no question they can win 2 of three in both of those and should still surface in first place in a couple weeks time.

Round One: Julia’s Team

I’ve watched Tim Wakefield baffle hitters for practically my entire life.  Tonight he got his 17th career win against the Jays and I’m not sure I’ve seen him be more dominant against them.  Every out seemed to be a pop-out and if it wasn’t for Kevin Millar smacking one over the green monster, he’d have thrown a shutout.

Next time Julia…next time.

On the plus side, Brian Tallet threw another 6 outstanding innings.  He’s been a massive surprise this year coming out of the ‘pen.

*Evil stare toward Julia*

Series of the Year…so far

For any Jays or Red Sox fan, this week is huge.  The Jays and Sox are by far the best two teams in the AL so far this year.  For at least the early part of the year, this series will show if the Jays are for real.  Now, if they lose all three games, it’s not to say the Jays are done…but if they take two of three or sweep, it has to make people sit up and take notice that this Jays team may not go away quietly.

Now, as I said ealier, I can’t watch the series because I don’t have the money to get TSN 2.  Well, I can’t watch it legally.  SO, I may have to resort watching it on the MLB.tv archives well after the games have finished; so no one tell me the score before I’ve had a chance to watch it.

Good luck to Julia BoSox…not too much luck…just enough to lose.

Enjoy everyone!