Consider this your required listening for the week.
Consider this your required viewing for the week.
Courtesy of Dave Feschuk:
You can certainly see the argument for making more free-agent noise, and pronto. Call me impatient; a more aggressive approach would get my vote. Selling hope is nice, but an average crowd of 20,068 showed up to watch hope this past season.
Still, while franchises built around annual marketing campaigns would probably urge a young GM to sign the biggest names available, consequences be damned, Anthopoulos says he isn’t being asked to be a This-is-the-Year salesman. He’s got a honeymoon of a chance to be a full-fledged architect of something special. He’s building at his pace.
If magic happened and 2011 happened to be The Year, he said, he’s more likely to announce it in July, and make the appropriate acquisitions on the fly.
“We’re told to look for ways to improve the club ... and if the right baseball opportunity is there, the funds will be there,” Anthopoulos said. “It’s not about spending for the sake of spending ...”
He’s not spending for the sake of spending, and maybe that seals it. Manny being Manny in Toronto, and certainly Manny being happy in Toronto, seems unlikely.
I found this article on unusual MLB contract clauses. It says Manny "to be paid out in 16 installments of $1.94M, from 2011-2026." So the way I see it, he could sign for a small discount this offseason and still get paid.
Courtesy of TBO.com:
DUNEDIN - A driver plowed through the Toronto Blue Jays training facility today, running through fences before coming to a stop next to a batting cage.
Pinellas County deputies said Robert E. Gibson, 50, 1440 Wildwood Court, was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries suffered in the one-vehicle crash.
Deputies said Gibson was heading east on Solon Avenue in his 2002 Ford F150 pickup at about 4 p.m. when the truck left the road and ran into the Cecil Englebert Recreational Complex.
Authorities said Gibson drove through two fences, across the ball field, through another fence leading to the batting cage area before coming to a stop.
No one else was injured. Gibson's truck sustained heavy front-end damage and had to be towed from the scene.
The crash remains under investigation.
This guy either hates baseball or he is really upset with the lack of free agent signings up to this point by your Toronto Blue Jays.
Courtesy of Bobby Elliott:
The Blue Jays have inquired about the availability of Kansas City right-hander Zack Greinke.
This one sentence sent shock waves through the fanbase.
Courtesy of Mike Fast:
Release Point Consistency
Which pitchers have the most consistent fastball release points from game to game? Looking at game-to-game consistency apart from the major shifts on the rubber or in arm angle provides a more interesting answer. The values presented below use the root-mean-squared change in release point from game to game with changes over about six inches removed from the calculation.
Here are the pitchers with at least 300 innings in 2008-10 and the most consistent release points from game to game.
RMS Change (inches)
Very, very interesting read.
Courtesy of Jim Callis:
Q: How do the four righthanders the Blue Jays selected in the first and sandwich rounds of the 2010 draft—Deck McGuire, Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, Asher Wojciechowski—rank in terms of ceiling?
A: We posted our Blue Jays Top 10 Prospects list online on Friday, with McGuire at No. 2, Wojciechowski No. 6 and Sanchez No. 9. (To find out where Syndergaard checks in on our Jays Top 30, you'll have to buy the 2011 Prospect Handbook.) Those rankings are based on a combination of potential and likelihood of reaching that potential, so Rob's question is an entirely different matter.
McGuire has a good arsenal of pitches and definitely the most polish of the group, but he conceivably could rank fourth in terms of pure stuff when all of those pitchers are finished products. Wojciechowski has the best present fastball, sitting at 92-94 mph and touching at 96, but Sanchez and Syndergaard already touch 95 and have a lot of projection remaining in their slender frames. McGuire operates at 90-94 mph.
There's not much to separate McGuire's slider, Sanchez's curveball and Wojciechowski's slider. Syndergaard has made good strides with his curveball in the last year, but he figures to have the fourth-best breaking ball of the quartet. Syndergaard might have the best changeup in the long run, however, as none of them have one that stands apart from the rest right now.
Sanchez has the biggest upside of the four Jays premium picks, followed by Wojciechowski, McGuire and Syndergaard. McGuire is a lot closer to his ceiling, which is why he ranked the highest on our Jays Top 10.
Little bit of prospect porn for ya!
Courtesy of MILB:
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player J.P. Arencibia of Las Vegas, International League Most Valuable Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson of Durham and Albuquerque's John Lindsey, who led Triple-A with a .353 batting average, are among the 10 players selected to the Topps Triple-A All-Star Team. The best performances in all Minor League Baseball classifications are again being honored by the Topps Company of New York in conjunction with Minor League Baseball.
J.P. Arencibia, 24, of Miami, hit .301 with 32 homers and 85 RBIs on his way to earning MVP honors in the Pacific Coast League. In 104 games, the Las Vegas 51s catcher had a .626 slugging percentage and a .986 OPS. The Toronto Blue Jays selected Arencibia in the first round in 2007 out of the University of Tennessee.
J.P. gets the nod to be part of the Topps Triple-A All-Star Team. Isn't that like being named the valedictorian of summer school?
Courtesy of Matt Eddy:
The number of MiLB free agents has declined steadily in the past four years, falling from 602 in 2007 to 561 in ’08 to 536 in ’09 to 533 this season.
Any player who was not on a 40-man roster on Nov. 6 qualified for free agency if he had accumulated at least six years of service time (minors and majors inclusive) while still bound by his first uniform minor league player contract. That contract is broken if the player is released or granted free agency by other means before he logs six years. [Update: Teams also can re-sign players to minor league deals prior to Nov. 6 to prevent them from joining the free agent ranks. This is what we've seen in the past few installments of Minor League Transactions. ME.]
Toronto Blue Jays (17)
RHP: Lance Broadway (AAA), Clint Everts (AA), Dirk Hayhurst (AAA), Steven Register (AAA), Merkin Valdez (AAA)
LHP: Willie Collazo (AAA), Zach Jackson (AAA)
C: Raul Chavez (AAA), Jonathan Jaspe (AA)
3B: Shawn Bowman (AA)
SS: Manny Mayorson (AAA), Jesus Merchan (AAA)
OF: Jason Lane (AAA), Chris Lubanski (AAA), Ricardo Nanita (AA), Welinton Ramirez (Hi A), Aaron Mathews (AAA)
A complete list of all Minor League free agents. Anybody jump out as a must re-sign?
Courtesy of King Jordan:
Considering Bautista is eligible for arbitration this winter -- or possibly in line for a long-term extension -- the Silver Slugger certainly helps his bargaining position.
"I would think it does," Bautista said with a laugh. "I'm not an expert on what gives you leverage, or more bargaining power, but I can tell you this: If I didn't receive it, I probably wouldn't be in the same position now. Accolades are always good in the negotiation process."
Bautista said that he and his agent, Bean Stringfellow, have yet to enter into contract talks with the Blue Jays. Toronto's right fielder said he understands -- given that the Jays have been dealing with hiring manager John Farrell and piecing together the team's coaching staff -- and he hopes to begin discussing his contract around mid-December.
"The team has been busy with all the stuff going on," said Bautista, who earned $2.4 million in 2010 and is eligible to become a free agent next offseason. "They were doing the managerial search, the coaching staff. I think they're going to get to the negotiations down here pretty soon, but I haven't heard anything yet."
Courtesy of Craig Calcaterra:
The Worst: I hated the caps with the big maple leaf they wore in the Roger Clemens era, but I really hate the “Jays” lettering on the current duds, especially the black alternates. Like so many teams searching for a sartorial identity, the Blue Jays have settled on something that is simply generic. If you were making a movie about baseball and couldn’t get the rights to use real major league teams, you’d come up with something that looks a lot like what they wear these days.
Assessment: If they’re not going to embrace the big Jay head in the middle of a pullover shirt, they should at least try to do something memorable and maybe even a little audacious. What they have right now is so blah.
I'm not a fan of the most recent uniforms. Neither is this guy.
Courtesy of Fox Sports:
Blue Jays: The Jays are in contact with the Marlins. Uggla could fill a void at third base, and the Jays are again willing to spend for the right players. They also have shown a willingness to carry potential free agents with the idea of collecting draft picks if those players sign with other clubs.
Uggla to the Jays? Seems like the Marlins are in sell off mode (again)
Courtesy of Mike Fish:
Alomar and his family name remain beloved in his native Puerto Rico. Little more than a year ago, he captured headlines back home by marrying Maripily, dubbed in gossip circles as the Paris Hilton of Puerto Rico. The celebrity couple was all smiles last summer for his enshrinement in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, where he was honored for his All-Star play and championship seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. These days, Alomar stays busy with a clothing line he's launched, splitting time between Toronto, Tampa and Puerto Rico. But since retiring in 2005 as a 12-time All-Star, his baseball legacy slightly tarnished by the infamous spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck, Alomar's life has also been littered with soured relationships and legal wrangling. At least four women, including his estranged wife, have accused Alomar of being HIV positive and having unprotected sex with them. Alomar has steadfastly denied being HIV positive.
Amid the lingering personal turmoil, Alomar looms on the cusp of his greatest professional achievement. His name tops the list of players who'll be under consideration when Hall of Fame ballots are mailed out next month, and his Cooperstown induction is almost a foregone conclusion. His first time eligible last year, Alomar fell just eight votes shy of the required 75 percent of ballots cast. He was a favorite for election, though media accounts indicated some voters were reluctant to make him a first-ballot selection because of the spitting incident.
"His dream is to make the Hall of Fame," Maripily said of Alomar, a lifetime .300 hitter and one of the game's best-ever second basemen. "He was disillusioned that he did not get in [last year]."
Alomar told Newsday after the vote he was shocked by not being elected: "I'm surprised. I'm real, real, real surprised. Sometimes you have to deal with the good and the bad."
A look into the personal problems of the best Toronto Blue Jay to ever wear the uniform. Sad really. Moral of the story kids: don't marry anyone dubbed in gossip circles as the Paris Hilton of Puerto Rico.
Courtesy of Dave Cameron:
He’s probably best known for his brutal defense at third base, where he’s earned the nickname E5. In six years of mostly partial playing time, he’s still managed to rack up an awful -44.5 UZR, over half of which comes from his error problems. His career fielding percentage is .936, which is pretty terrible for a guy who also doesn’t have very good range. Toronto fans hate his defense with unbridled passion. He scored a 29 on the Fans Scouting Report in each of the last two years – remember, the rating is out of 100. That puts him in the same company as Jonny Gomes, Manny Ramirez, and Jose Guillen. Yeah.
Walks? He’s not a big fan of those, either. He’s drawn 216 unintentional free passes in 2,548 trips to the plate. He’s not an uberhack, but it would be charitable to call him anything other than a free swinger. What Encarnacion can do is hit the ball over the wall. He’s got significant home run power, averaging 24 home runs per 600 at-bats in his MLB career to date, and launching 21 in part-time action last year. Those home runs are why he was available on waivers in the first place, however.
As a 5th year arbitration eligible player with some decent counting stats to point at, and a $4.75 million base salary in 2010 to build off of, he’s looking at a pretty decent arbitration award this winter. If the A’s choose to offer arbitration, he’d probably be looking at a $6-$7 million paycheck in 2011. The Blue Jays had no interest in paying him that much, which is why they cut him loose to begin with.
I was hoping we could swing a trade for E5 but I guess it wasn't meant to be.