Weekly Round Up : Feb. 22 - 28

Please consider this your required reading for the week: PhoulBallz.com: Spring Training Q&A with Travis D'Arnaud

Click here for your Toronto Blue Jays quotes of the week.

MLBTR put out it's offseason in review piece about your Toronto Blue Jays.  Did you know we spent a whopping $10.5 million on 4 major league free agents this winter?

Courtesy of King Jordan: 

You Don't Know Dick Griffin's cell phone ring is "Forever" by Drake.  I have been bouncing to this tune ever since the news came out.....

Courtesy of River Avenue Blues:

2010 Amateur Draft order is official.  We have 9 picks in the first three rounds and as mentioned earlier we have $16 million USD allocated to spend on the draft.

Courtesy of Minor League Ball:

Sleeper Alert List for 2010 

Courtesy of Scott Carlson @ Sportsnet.ca:

Who hold the Blue Jays record for most stolen bases in a season?

Now, I'm thinking that most of you are Googling this furiously, but I'll save you the work. It was Dave Collins, or "Doc" as Rance Mulliniks usually refers to him, who swiped 60 bases way back in 1984 before a good chunk of you were even a twinkle in your parents' eyes. Since then, only Roberto Alomar (55 in 1993), Otis Nixon (54 in '96) and Shannon Stewart (51 in '98) have hit the half century mark.
Looking back at Blue Jays playoff teams of seasons past, speed was always part of the equation. A look at their five postseason appearances seasons tells us as much:

1985 144 2nd 6th 99-62
1989 144 4th T-8th 89-73
1991 148 2nd 6th 91-71
1992 129 7th T-11th 96-66
1993 170 1st 2nd 95-67

 Courtesy of Baseball Musings: 

Team Offense, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Best lineup: 4.95 runs per game
  • Probable lineup: 4.85 runs per game
  • Worst lineup: 4.73 runs per game
  • Regressed lineup: 4.57 runs per game
What’s clear from looking at the nine likely hitters is that there is no great option at lead-off. I would put Lyle Overbay there, and so would the Line up Analysis Tool, based on the Marcels. The article talks about using Jose Bautista or Joey Gathright, but the better option probably is Travis Snider. The LAT likes Snider, too, as he’ comes up first in a number of the top lineups. On top of that, his recent minor league OBPs were good, and as he’s very young, he still has room for improvement.
As a whole, the lineup is poor. There are no great hitters, and three poor ones (Wells, Buck and Gonzalez). While the Blue Jays can hope for Wells to rebound, the longer it takes to happen, the less likely it becomes (think Eric Chavez). If the Jays are going to win with this lineup, they will need outstanding pitching, or a couple of career years from the hitters.

Courtesy of Hardball Talk:

Who will win the closer battle between Kevin Gregg, Jason Frasor and Scott Downs?

In the grand scheme of things, it hardly figures to matter; the Jays are a fourth- of fifth-place team and it's quite possible that none of the three will still be around in 2011. Fantasy leaguers, though, may feel differently.
Manager Cito Gaston had made it pretty clear that he wasn't very comfortable with either Frasor or Downs in the closer's role, necessitating an offseason addition. Gregg was viewed as a proven alternative, even though he blew seven saves last season and nine in 2008. Frasor and Downs are superior pitchers, but both have more experience setting up than they do closing. Odds are that Gregg will be handed most of the save chances initially. Of course, that was also the case the last two years and he went on to lose the job both times.

Courtesy of Baseball Musings:

Players A to Z, Jason Frasor

Jason Frasor pitches in relief for the Toronto Blue Jays. Jason brings an excellent strikeout rate, a decent walk rate and an outstanding home run rate to the table. Jason turned in the best season of his career in 2009 by greatly reducing his walk rate, his 2.5 BB per nine IP in 2009 was 1.4 BB per nine below his career mark.
Jason was used in the closer role at times and converted 11 of 14 save opportunities. That wasn’t enough for him to get the job going into 2010, but he’s one of the candidates the Jays are testing. If he keeps his walks low, I can see him taking the job.
Pitching in a very tough division, he dominates the Red Sox, Rays and Orioles, but the Yankees hit him very well. The Yankees have been able to throw a lot of lefties against him, and they’ve done very well.

Courtesy of CBS Sports:

Fantasy Analysis: For closers, a manager's confidence goes a long way. Gaston might ultimately opt for Kevin Gregg because he has more experience in the role, but Jason Frasor already has his foot in the door and is worth a flier late in mixed leagues as a result. Even if he retains the job, though, you can't expect him to get 30 saves pitching for the out-of-contention Blue Jays.

Courtesy of CBS Sports:

Fantasy Analysis: Whenever a manager starts praising a reliever's versatility, it usually means he'd rather not confine the reliever to the closer role. Considering Scott Downs is the only left-hander of the bunch, he's a long shot to close anyway. He'd post decent peripherals as a setup man, but nothing to make him more than an AL-only option.

Courtesy of Jeff Schultz @ AJC

Hinske brings his ‘living canvas’ tattoos to Braves

“It’s just traditional Japanese styling tattoo,” Hinske said. “I got a tattoo of a cross on my left arm when my grandfather died and I liked it so then I got one of a dragon on my other arm. I just liked the way it looked. Then I got addicted to it and I couldn’t stop. I had my arms and chest plates done so I just wanted to tie it all together so it looked like one big piece. So I just got this big Japanese warrior and this snake wrapped around with the snake’s mouth open, with wind and clouds and stuff. It’s pretty cool.”

This guy is out there.  I mean way out there.  I absolutely LOVE making fun of Hinske and rarely pass up the opportunity.....this time though I have to post a comment from the article that made me laugh out loud.  

February 25th, 2010
3:33 pm
Hopefully there’s a clause in his contract that his deal is null and void if he contracts Hepatitis.

Courtesy of The National Post:

The G8 and G20 summits this summer will be the largest security event in Canadian history, officials said today.

The federal government announced last week it would host the G20 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre June 26-27, despite the city’s expressed wishes that it be at Exhibition Place.

A blueprint of Toronto’s security perimeter has not been divulged, but there is already a glimpse of the force being amassed to protect those coming to and living in Toronto: the federal government’s “Integrated Security Unit” will include Toronto police, RCMP, the OPP, the Canadian Forces and Peel Region Police.

“There will be security, there will be disruptions,” Mayor David Miller told councillors yesterday.

Courtesy of Fantasy Fanhouse:

The Breakout

You may not like trying to spell it, but you'd better get used to seeing Marc Rzepczynski's name. Considering he didn't come with much (if any) fanfare, it would be easy to dismiss his 11-start debut in 2009. If you do that, you may miss the next great breakout pitcher.

Rzepczynski (or the RZep, if you want to go a little Wu-Tang on it and ignore that the 'R' is silent) has produced fantastic numbers at every level of his professional career. In the minors, he never had an ERA above 3.00. He always struck out over a batter per inning. He almost never surrendered a homer, allowing just five in over 250 minor-league innings. High strikeouts and low homers allowed? Sounds like an ace in the making to me!

Courtesy of Yahoo!

Top Candidate To Surprise:  CF Vernon Wells has not had a good and injury-free season since 2006, when he hit .303 with 32 home runs and 106 RBI. Last year, in 158 games, he hit .260 with 15 homers and 66 RBI. It wasn’t until after the season, though, that Wells revealed he was bothered throughout the season by a wrist injury, one that was fixed in the offseason. If Wells, 31, can stay healthy, he still has the tools to put up some quality numbers.

Top Candidate To Disappoint:  1B Lyle Overbay hasn’t been the same player at the plate since his right hand was fractured by a pitch in June 2007. In the last two seasons, Overbay hasn’t produced the kind of numbers needed from the position—.270, 15 homers, 60 RBI in 2008 and .265, 16, 64 in 2009. He has been woeful against left-handed pitching, to the point where manager Cito Gaston last year benched him against lefties and thought that he lacked aggressiveness at the plate. Overbay claimed the reduced playing time affected his timing. Overbay will earn $7 million in the final year of his contract, and the Jays will be looking to move him through the spring and up to the trading deadline.
Courtesy of Mop Up Duty:

I know we’re supposed to suck and all this season but the fantasy community is giving the Toronto Blue Jays absolutely no love. Only three players rank within the top 200 (average) for standard 5×5 roto leagues. Here’s a table of the top Jays fantasy players for 2010 from four of the most well known fantasy services. The average applies only to players that ranked on all four lists:

Players Bloomberg ESPN Rotowire Yahoo! Average

Top 375 Top 575 Top 350 Top 550 (made all 4 lists

Adam Lind 53 41 59 59 53
Aaron Hill 76 76 45 45 60.5
Vernon Wells 161 190 187 186 181
Kevin Gregg 196 247 X 353 X
Edwin Encarnacion 222 268 245 282 254.25
Ricky Romero 244 X X 485 X
Randy Ruiz 279 568 294 300 360.25
Jason Frasor 298 240 342 278 289.5
Travis Snider 303 280 241 292 279
Lyle Overbay 315 350 307 399 342.75
Scott Downs 360 250 282 260 288
Dustin McGowan 368 X X 549 X
Shaun Marcum X 318 X 445 X

Courtesy of King Jordan:

Every Saturday from now until the end of camp, I plan on including my current predictions for the Opening Day roster. Two days into full-squad workouts, here is who I believe will be among the 25 players headed north:
PITCHERS -- Starters: Ricky Romero, Shaun Marcum, Brandon Morrow, Brian Tallet, Marc Rzepczynski. Relievers: Kevin Gregg, Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, Shawn Camp, Jesse Carlson, Casey Janssen, Jeremy Accardo
POS. PLAYERS: John Buck, Jose Molina, Lyle Overbay, Aaron Hill, Alex Gonzalez, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, Travis Snider, Vernon Wells, Jose Bautista, John McDonald, Joey Gathright, Randy Ruiz.


Fantasy Baseball Pools

I got into fantasy baseball about 4 years ago.  Up until then I had resisted because I was worried about what it would do to my personal life.  I started slow.  A mixed league roto with a snake draft and unlimited transactions for next to no money.  It was fun, I finished 3rd in my first year and 2nd in my second.  Learned a lot about the format and what to look for in players.   Last year the commissioner and his side kick vetoed a trade I made when I was in third place, the first veto in the four years I had been playing in that league.  Guess who was in first and second place at the time.....needless to say I am not participating again this year.

Two seasons ago, a good friend of mine asked me to play in his league.  It was AL only 12 team keeper league with an auction draft.  The other owners are very good players and really stay on top of things.  This league is much more competitive and last year the winner took home over 2 grand.  I have not finished in the money yet.  This is year three of "the plan" and I get to keep 8 players on Team BALCO.  By my account I have 13 potential candidates.  I decided to seek some advice from the experts.....

Today, Dick(that's me) needs some help determining who to keep on his team. The question he poses is:
League size: 12 teams
League format: Roto
League stats: 5 X 5 OBP, HR, R, RBI, SB / W, S, WHIP, ERA, K
League draft: Auction
Roster size: 9 pitchers, two catchers, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, MI, CI, 5 OF, DH, 4 reserve spots
Keepers: 8 total
Special rules: $3 per transaction, AL only
Keepers / salary / contract status
Jorge Posada C / $13 / 2 years left
Adam Lind OF / $1 / 1 year left
Juan Rivera OF / $1 / 2 years left
Alexei Ramirez SS / $8 / 1 year left
Brandon Wood 3B / $1 / 1 year left
Edwin Encarncion 3B / $3 / 2 years left
King Felix / $29 / 2 years left
David Price / $1 / 1 year left
Justin Duchscherer / $1 / 1 year left
Armando Gallarraga / $1 / 1 year left
Bobby Jenks / $21 / 2 years left
Jason Frasor / $1 / 2 years left
Scott Downs / $8 / 2 years left
Lind, Rivera, Ramirez, Price for 11 bucks total are no brainers to me. I like Posada and King Felix as well. Two spots open max 4. Interested in hearing your thoughts.
I want to keep a closer but Jenks for 21 may be draftable at that salary. I would prefer not not keep either of the Toronto closer candidates due to the uncertainty surrounding the role. Throw in Gregg and the fact that the Jays are going to suck and not have many opportunities…..
I like the thought of keeping a cheap 3B, but Wood will have to fight for his playing time and EE is coming off wrist surgery. Tough to make a call there.
Cheap SP arms are always welcome. Will Gallarraga bounce back? Will he even start for Detroit? Duch didn’t throw at all last year and I just don’t know about keeping him. I like the fact he pitches in a big park and the AL west may be a bit weaker with LAA taking a step back. But the Mariners are loading up.
Still trying to pick up some cheap OF speed, but difficult to get my hands on. Spring Training may answer some of my questions. Draft day is March 27th so I got a bit of time.

Whew, that’s a lot of detail, but I needed a bit more information to properly answer Dick, which he supplied.
Lind, King Felix and Price are the three that jump out at me. I realize Hernandez is expensive, but having a top 5 SP for the next two years cannot be passed up. Price at $1 is too great a value to let slip, and Lind is exactly the same. Rivera for the next two years that cheap cannot be let go, either.
Time to eliminate some choices. The situation in Toronto for Downs and Frasor became muddied when Gregg signed on. That bullpen is too crowded for my liking, and with neither pitcher having a set role, I would avoid both, especially since there are no points given for holds. Jenks is too costly, I just think you can get another closer for the same price or less in the draft. I’ve been watching Gallarraga in Detroit for a couple of years now, and see him as a SP5 on a fantasy squad at best.
Since the draft is at the end of March, I would wait to decide on Ducscherer. What I’ve read so far is positive, and if he’s fully recovered, I take him as my 5th keeper. He’s not a strikeout pitcher, but the rest of the peripherals are there to be enjoyed.
Ramirez at $8 is well worth the cost. It is entirely possible that you could find a similar SS in the draft for a comparable cost, but then again, depending on your league members, I would expect that the price of a SS that gives you 80 R/20 HR/80 RBI/15 SB/.280-.290 would be something about double what Alexei costs you here.
Of the two 3B, I don’t trust either of them, but I’ve been burned by Encarnacion for the past couple of years and he’s a risk with his surgery, as noted. Wood is finally getting his chance to play with Figgins moving on to Seattle, and I’d expect him to hold the position unless he has a total meltdown in spring training. At a buck, he is worth taking a chance on, again like with Ducscherer, if you can hold off on making a decision until you see what shakes out this spring, you would be well served.
That leaves us with Posada. My hatred for catchers is legendary, but I do believe you can get another couple of years out of Posada, and at $13, he’s not overly expensive for an AL-only league. If you agree that Posada is a top 5 catcher in the AL, then it is next to impossible to let him go back into the draft.
Thus, I suggest the following be kept on this team:
  • Jorge Posada C / $13 / 2 years left
  • Adam Lind OF / $1 / 1 year left
  • Juan Rivera OF / $1 / 2 years left
  • Alexei Ramirez SS / $8 / 1 year left
  • Brandon Wood 3B / $1 / 1 year left
  • King Felix / $29 / 2 years left
  • David Price / $1 / 1 year left
  • Justin Duchscherer / $1 / 1 year left
If Ducscherer doesn’t look good in the spring, then I would swap in whichever of the Toronto RPs you think has the best chance to close. I like Frasor at this early stage, and I like his cost, but it is really about who has the best chance to shut down games.  These 8 players will cost you $55 of your total budget, leaving you $205 to spend on the remaining 19 roster spots. That should be sufficient to build a competitive team, assuming you can snag a couple $1 sleepers.
Good luck this fantasy season, Dick, and remember to keep coming back to read our fantasy goodness.
If you have a fantasy keeper question, I highly suggest you send it over to the team at Fantasy Game Day.  They got back to me quickly and provided some follow up.  To get in touch with them click here.

A good friend of mine and regular commenter on this blog got me in touch with his former roommate who happens to the content manager over at FantasyBaseball.com.  After a brief introduction, I decided to ask him the same question.  He came back with this:

I actually think you should keep most of your guys.  I'll put my comments under each one....
Jorge Posada C / $13 / 2 years left
I don't love Posada but AL-Only catcher are hard to find so you must keep him.
Adam Lind OF / $1 / 1 year left
Your easiest call to keep.
Juan Rivera OF / $1 / 2 years left
For sure - he is worth $10+ in your format.
Alexei Ramirez SS / $8 / 1 year left
Also an easy call to keep.
Brandon Wood 3B / $1 / 1 year left
Also an easy call to keep.  He is worth a dollar in deep mixed leagues this year.  He won't help your average but he is getting first crack at the 3B job for them and could hit 20 home runs,
Edwin Encarncion 3B / $3 / 2 years left
He is an easy "yes" too.  I know you have concerns about the wrist but the Jays are planning on having him play 3B just about everyday because they have committed Bautista to the OF.  He should hit 20+ home runs this year and that isn't the Jays fans in me talking!  Look at some of his past seasons - the power is there and he is still young.  He would go for way more than this on AL draft day.
King Felix / $29 / 2 years left
Expensive, but you need a stud pitcher in AL-Only IMO. So yes.
David Price / $1 / 1 year left
A steal - possibly a stud soon.  Either way you should get plenty of K's.
Justin Duchscherer / $1 / 1 year left
I say yes.  He is a big risk but the skills are there.  Even if you could get 100 innings for your one dollar you would be getting a good deal from him.
Armando Gallarraga / $1 / 1 year left
I'm going to say no but barely. You already have 3 good starters and I don't think he is very good.  I also think that he could end up in the bullpen again.
Bobby Jenks / $21 / 2 years left
He's not a good deal at this price and is a tough call.  You need a one good closer in AL-Only leagues.  Look at what closers went for in your league last year and how many you think will be available this year.  If you want to email me some of that information I will give you my definitive advice on him.
Jason Frasor / $1 / 2 years left
He is an easy call - keep.  Good one dollar middle relievers are useful in AL-Only leagues.  They keep your ERA and WHIP down, chip in a few wins and vulture saves and because their innings totals are lower they allow stud starters like Hernandez to weigh more heavily on your ERA and WHIP.  Also, he could end up closing.  Don't worry about how bad the Jays could be - there is little correlation between the quality of a team and the quality of their closer.  Teams like the Royals and Pirates have produced some decent save totals over the past decade.  If the Jays haven't picked a closer by your draft day (I think Gregg will win the job but might not keep it all year) then I think you should by Gregg on draft day.  He could come at a discount because no one else can pair him with Frasor. 
Scott Downs / $8 / 2 years left
I would throw him back but consider buying him on draft day.  If he is healthy in spring training, then he is one of the best relievers in the AL.  Look at his numbers from the start of 2007 to the day he hurt his ankle last year - they are amazing.  He was clearly not the same pitcher after the injury but is likely 100% again.  You could get an outstanding ERA, WHIP and a few vulture saves when they want to use a lefty.  If you could get him for $1-3, and Gregg for $15 or so, you could have 3 good TOR relievers for under $20 and you could use at least 2 most weeks.  For all of Toronto's flaws, they have good relief pitching most years.

His final thoughts ended up being this:

Now that I know its 8, here are my picks,
Adam Lind OF / $1 / 1 year left
Juan Rivera OF / $1 / 2 years left
Alexei Ramirez SS / $8 / 1 year left
Brandon Wood 3B / $1 / 1 year left
Edwin Encarncion 3B / $3 / 2 years left
King Felix / $29 / 2 years left
David Price / $1 / 1 year left
Bobby Jenks / $21 / 2 years left
You can roll with 2-3 relievers and still exceed 1000 innings.  I would definitely own Jenks and buy Thornton at the auction- you get all of CHI saves for $23-25.  Hope that Jenks keeps the job all year and you will still get good MR numbers from Thornton.  
I know that you will likely choose to keep Posada and cut Encarnacion or Wood.  I believe Encarnacion will get 500+ at-bats this year as long as Toronto doesn't acquire anyone else, which is very unlikely at this point.  At Posada's age and position, injuries are a definite concern.  I would sooner send a couple bucks on Shoppach, Buck etc.  As for Wood, I don't like his low average but he has lots of power upside, has been a top prospect for years and the Angels seem intent on finally giving him a long leash so that he can break through.  I like to think about profit with keepers - I don't think Posada will give you much more than $13 in production but you could get $10 in production from Wood.

There you have it.  That is fantasy baseball in all it's glory.  The thing I have to say about it is that you inevitably become a BIG fan of certain players over the course of a season.  For 2010, I am thinking that I will be cheering louder for E5 than anybody at the Dome.  If his wrist looks good in spring training, I may end up hanging onto him for 3 bucks.  Token Blue Jay.  Gotta have one.....

I am interested in hearing your opinions on my keepers.  If anyone can provide some insight or even just some random thoughts on the topic, please feel free to do so.

Because clearly I'm not a big enough junkie, I also found the time to help with a fantasy pool for the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.  I still remember when my good friend who works there called and asked me about helping him get it started.  We basically created the pool from scratch and now it is now going into it's forth year.  My title that I sign all e-mails sent to him relating to the pool is:

Senior Fantasy Adviser/Advisor to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Jokes.  Anyways, I finished  4th or 5th last year and ended up walking away with an authentic Expos hat and a signed Fergie Jenkins baseball with certificate of authenticity.  Not a bad haul for the $10 dollar entrance fee.  The thing I like about it is you only have to select your players once.  No transactions.  You just hope that they avoid injury.  I had Jose Reyes at SS, Rickie Weeks at 2B and Vladdy in the OF.  These guys cost me first place for sure last year.  I also really like that the scoring categories and their values are unique.  Complete games are rewarded greatly.


I’m ‘gonna repeat” says ‘09 winner Ryan Mullin

St. Marys – The prestigious 4th Annual Baseball Fantasy Pool sponsored by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame is about to begin, and the reigning champ, Stratford’s Ryan Mullin, is calling his shot!

“I wasn’t lucky last year, I was good, and I’m ‘gonna repeat” boasted Mullin, 28, who will attempt to retain the crown in 2010 and take home the one hundred dollar grand prize and four field level seats to see the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 2010 pool, offering more than one thousand dollars worth of prizes, has a format that is extremely user-friendly. It is a one-page form, and entrants simply choose one player from various groups of five who they feel will perform better than the rest. To make it even easier, next to each player’s name on the entry form is their 2009 point total using the 2010 formula. From there, the fun begins. Should names be checked randomly or, do baseball instincts take over? Did he top out last year? Did he under-achieve? Was he hurt? Was his production up or down due to who hit behind him? Is it his team that makes him good? Does being Canadian matter? Only the entrant can answer those tough questions, but checking out last year’s point total is a good starting point.

A pair of new categories will make the pursuit of bragging rights a tad tougher.

“I think that these will be the toughest categories to pick from because, sure, Dempster had a good year last year, but Bedard, Harden and Francis were all hurt so who knows what will happen in 2010,” said Ball Hall Director of Operations Scott Crawford.

“And speaking of players who were hurt, the ‘Come-backers’ category is very interesting because you have one former Cy Young winner and four former all-stars included”.

“Ball Hall President & CEO Tom Valcke has set his sights a little more modestly than Mullin, having finished in 108th place last year, compared to his 142nd showing in 2008!

Deadline for entry is Wednesday, March 31st, 2010.
Forms can be emailed to baseball@baseballhalloffame.ca, faxed to 519-284-1234, or mailed to CBHFM Fantasy Pool, P.O. Box 1838, St. Marys, ON, N4X 1C2. There is a ten dollar entry fee by cheque (payable to “CBHFM”) or credit card.

If you need a form call 519-284-1838 or email baseball@baseballhalloffame.ca

Over $1000 worth of prizes to be won!  

11 In-season prizes: 

All-Star prize (1st place at time of 2009 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 four field level jays tickets to one game in 2011

Second place: Autographed baseball bat (you choose from Lasorda, Walker, Fernandez, Gaston, Jenkins, etc….)

Third place: Autographed baseball (you choose from Lasorda, Fernandez, Jenkins, Walker etc…)

Fourth & Fifth place: New Era Major League Baseball hat of your choice

Cost: $10 per entry

Deadline: Wednesday, March 31st at 11:59pm EST.


J.P. Ricciardi Officially Joins ESPN

Former Blue Jays General Manager J.P. Ricciardi has joined ESPN's Baseball Tonight as an analyst and will make his debut in March.

"I'm really excited about joining the ESPN Baseball Tonight family," Ricciardi said in a statement. "I look forward to sharing my perspective of the game, which has many layers and has been built over the years through my various roles."

Check out the comments on the official release by the fans.

I can sum up all you need to know about J.P. in one quote:
"It's not a lie if we know the truth."
He made this comment after being caught making up a back injury story to cover pitcher B.J. Ryan's arm troubles in spring training.  B.J. ended up needing Tommy John surgery on his elbow and never regained his form.  In fact, we are still on the hook for the final year of that contract.  Price tag: $10,000,000

He joins his former assistant Keith Law who has been at ESPN since he quit working for J.P.  They didn't end their business relationship on good terms and after KLaw broke a false Vernon Wells story, J.P. had this to say:
"He’s become a writer. It doesn’t take long. Keith Law is officially an idiot.”

These two guys are going to make staff functions at ESPN a tad AWKWARD.

I can't wait till he is part of the broadcast for either the Washington Nationals or the Kansas City Royals.  He had some controversial things to say about some of their current players while he was the GM of your Toronto Blue Jays. 

On then Reds outfielder Adam Dunn: "Do you know the guy doesn't really like baseball that much? Do you know the guy doesn't have a passion to play the game that much? ... I don't think you'd be very happy if we brought Adam Dunn here."

On pitcher Gil Meche, who chose lowly Kansas City rather than sign with the Jays: "When a guy talks about coming to our place where he has a chance to win and compete against the Yankees and Red Sox, and then he goes to a place like Kansas City, that's an eye-opener."

Buddy Bell, the Royals' manager at the time, shot right back: "Every time I hear this guy talk, all he's doing is whining."

I wonder why he choose this route and what other offers he had on the table?  I'm sure he will let us know eventually but no doubt it will be a lie.....and WE know the truth about you J.P.


Late Breaking News:

Your Toronto Blue Jays resigned Howie Clark on February 3rd to a minor league contract.  He is on his third tour of duty with the club and still trails Tony Fernandez for the team lead by one.

Don't really have a good excuse why this one got by me, I guess I'll go with some Russian guy named Evgeni Nabokov was in net at the time ;)

I bought this game worn batting helmet about three months before the Mitchell Report came out.  On page 228 you can find this:

According to Radomski, Clark was introduced to him by Larry Bigbie. Radomski said that Clark called him several times before buying anything. Radomski recalled that Clark had done his own research about human growth hormone and had decided to use it. Radomski said that he made four or five sales of human growth hormone to Clark and that Clark paid him by money order or check.

I have not talked about the fact that most of my hero's are cheaters partially because it shames me to do so.  This batting helmet and the Mark McGwire plate commemorating his 70 home run season my Dad gave me are constant reminds of that fact.  Check out this site for a time line on professional baseball's dirty little secret. (single tear rolling down cheek)

Friendly Piece Of Advice:

If you ever see me wearing this helmet to a game at the Dome, it's best you and your party turn and run.  I only wear it when it's going to get extra messy.....see you on Opening Day!


How To: Heckle Part II

Vernon Wells inscribed a personal message on a baseball for his heckler. (Cleveland Indians)

Occasionally during my travels around the internet, I come across an article that must be read in it's entirety.  This is one of those articles.

You see, I am a heckler.  It's what I do.  My second post ever was about heckling and how to do it successfully.  I am that guy The Doctor was talking about in this quote:
"It's part of it, there were times in Toronto you could hear every single guy yelling at you. I don't know what's worse, 40,000 or five guys you can actually hear. (Philly's) a challenge. They expect to have a good team and they expect people to perform. I expect the same thing. I would probably boo myself. It's just too good of a team to disappoint the fans."    


05/16/07 10:00 AM ET

Heckler gets his fill at The Jake

Blue Jays center fielder shows sense of humor in Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- Vernon Wells playfully covered his ears, feigned a yawn and brushed off his shoulders. The relentless heckling from Jacobs Field bleacher denizen Jeff Raycher and friends was proving a success.
"Any time you get a response, it's pretty cool," Raycher said. "Of course, it always ends at that."
But on this particular night, May 2, in Cleveland, it didn't end at that. Seven innings of taunting the Toronto center fielder yielded Raycher one of history's wackier souvenirs.
Before the bottom of the eighth inning, Wells tossed the 28-year-old Raycher a ball inscribed with this gem of a message:
Dear Mr. Dork,
Here is your ball! Can you please tell me what gas station you work at, so when you are pumping my gas, I can yell at you. Now sit down, shut up and enjoy the game!!!
Your favorite center fielder

For Mr. Dork, a lifelong Tribe fan who in reality works as an accountant for a computer technology company, the scene could have been scripted in heckling heaven.
"I couldn't believe this was happening," Raycher said. "People were just dying laughing. It was the funniest darn thing ever."
And it's about to get funnier. Raycher and a few of his buddies plan on reuniting with Wells when Toronto visits Detroit for a Sept. 10 makeup game. This time around, Raycher says he'll be sporting a vintage gas station attendant uniform emblazoned with the name "Mr Dork."
Wells can only laugh.
"It's funny," Wells said. "Whatever comedic value you take out of [heckling] or how much fun you have with it, go for it. They've had fun with it and that's all that matters."
And to think, this great moment almost never happened. Raycher and his buddy from work, 27-year-old Tom Montague, decided on a whim late that Wednesday afternoon to exchange their tickets from snowed out Opening Day for a pair of bleacher seats to the night's game against the Blue Jays. And then once they arrived at The Jake, Raycher almost got tossed.
Why? For ribbing Wells, of course.
Sitting in the fourth row of section 184 of the left-field bleachers, Raycher's one-way conversation with Toronto's $126 million center fielder started from the game's onset.
And eventually, many in his section joined in on the childish chants that could only be appreciated in context.
-- "Ver-non ... Verrr-non ... VERRR-NON."
-- "What happened to 2003 Vernon? You're a bum, Vernon."
-- "Our center fielder is an MVP, Vernon."
The heckling was innocent enough, and Wells was playing along. In the fifth inning, Wells even pump faked a throw in Raycher's direction before then tossing a ball to the section over.
Not everybody saw it this way, though. In the seventh, a group of police officers paid a visit to the bleachers, asking for a word with Raycher. Rumor had it that he was disturbing Wells.
So the cops took Raycher back to the concourse for a little chat. That is, until an usher rushed to his defense.
"There's this older usher that's been laughing with us the entire time," Raycher said, "and he says, 'Hey these guys are just having fun with Vernon. He's giving it right back to them.'"
Raycher could stay, emerging as a bleachers hero.
"People figured I was kicked out, so when I walked back through that tunnel, everybody started cheering," Raycher said, laughing. "I yell, 'He just complained about us.' So we just got 10 times louder."
And Wells, in turn, just got 10 times more creative. Wells spent the top of the eighth inning inking a 42-word message on the baseball that he would toss up to Raycher between innings.
Or at least attempt to get to Raycher. Wells' toss fell short, caught by a man in the first row who then handed the ball over to a little girl seated next to him.
This would not do. The girl could -- and would -- get a ball the next inning. This one had to go to Raycher.
"No, give it to that guy. That guy right there," Wells shouted, pointing to Raycher in the fourth row.
What was going on? Raycher never asked for a ball, and now one was being expressly shipped to him by Toronto's superstar outfielder.
"This is nuts. Is he sending me an autograph?" Raycher thought.
When Raycher realized this ball was far better than any signature, he let out a stunned laugh. Then, he did what any self-respecting heckler would do.
"I stood on my seat and addressed the crowd, reading the whole ball," Raycher said. "It was the funniest moment ever."
A moment that will go down as one of baseball's great oddball moments, and a moment that is not for sale.
Now all that's left for Raycher and his framed ball is to yak it up face to face with his new Canadian chum.
"The next coolest thing would be to actually meet him," Raycher said. "Maybe it can be arranged in Detroit. That would be so awesome."
Stay tuned.

Another theft by the two time gold glove winner.


The Cito Speaks

Someone put a microphone in front of the field manager yesterday when it was raining in Florida and this is what came out.....

On his 37 pitchers in camp:

"You almost need names on the backs of these guys," he said. "Because it's going to take a while to get to know them."
"It's going to be hard," Gaston admitted. "Who's my starter? Who's my No. 1? Who's my No. 2? You talk about two guys. We hope their arms are OK but you don’t know until they start pitching in competition.”
“We don’t have Doc anymore,” Gaston said. “We had to keep him on his rotation (starting every fifth day). That’s the way Doc wanted it."
“You don’t really have to do it with these guys. So guys won’t pitch as many innings. We’ll just bag ‘em up and keep going. If it’s Ricky’s turn to pitch and Marcum’s pitching better, then we’ll start Marcum.”
“It’s going to be tough to nail down four and five (in the rotation). If you look at the candidates we have, we’re not going to forget about (Brett) Cecil and (Marc) Rzepczynski,” Gaston said.
“I like Zep a lot, man,” Gaston said. “I hope he can come back and pitch the way he did when he was there. To me, unless he just really goes the other way, you got to put him on this club.  You go and look at the numbers he put up against right handers and left handers last year. He's good. If not in the starting rotation, maybe in the bullpen."
"I'm pretty sure these guys are going to miss Doc, too -- just watching him pitch," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. "Watching him go out there and be the surgeon that he was out there on the mound."
“I was sitting in with the pitchers this morning in their meeting,” Gaston said. “I was talking to Doug (Davis, field co-ordinator for the minor-leaguers). “I said ‘I wonder if we’ve got a couple of Docs in this room?’ Sure would be nice. You never know. Maybe this is a chance for them to do that.”
“Because we’re not quite sure about the pitching, I think the strength of this club right now has got to be the hitters,” he said. 

On his line up:

“I’ve thought it over and over,” Gaston said. “I like to keep people comfortable. I’ve played this game and if you’re not comfortable in where you are or what you’re doing, you don’t perform.
“If you’re put on the field and you don’t feel right about yourself, then you’re more worried about that than worried about doing your job.”
"Hill had a great year last year and Lind had a great year, so why mess with it?" Gaston said. "Just let somebody fill around the other spots. So, right now, I'm looking at those two guys second and third, even though I said I was going to try [something else] in Spring Training." 
"Even though I said I would try it in spring training, then I'm messing with their minds. Hill would do it in a second, but he's just going to put more pressure on himself. I want him to be himself. When Lind gets here I'll make sure I talk to him."
“If I do (the switch), then I’m messing with them. I think Hill would do it in a second but he’s just going to put more pressure on himself and I want him to be himself.
“Lind doesn’t like that (cleanup) spot. If you can keep a guy comfortable, keep unnecessary pressure off him, it’s going to help him play better.”

On Vernon hitting clean up:

"You don't want to tear down Vernon's confidence," said Gaston "We need him to come back and be himself. It's all about trying to get the best out of people and trying to put them in a place where they're comfortable."

On McGowan:

"I hope not, man," Gaston said. "If he's ready to go, we're not going to delay it, unless we need to, unless it's for his benefit."
“I hope he starts the season (on the roster),” Gaston said. He’s been down here a long time. He’s probably sick of Florida by now.

On his future with the team and his coaching style for 2010:

"I feel good. I'm going to be around here for another four years," Gaston said. "We're just trying to get this organization back where it should go. If I was 10 years younger I might be a little bit saying, 'I don't want to go, I want to stay.  It's not that I don't want to stay, and it's not that I don't want to go.'
"I just think it's going to take a while. So, maybe I can do something else on the other side that can help get our Minor Leagues back together, and get our big league club going in the right direction for this year, in my last year here as far as the manager. And, just teaching here." 


I have no idea what is going on anymore.  Can someone help me?



I think the brain trust had a sit down with the manager and talked some things out.  We have the first four hitters of our line up.  Bautista leading off, Hill hitting in the two hole, Lind in the three spot and Vernon cleaning up.  Courtesy of the team over at  fantasybaseball.com: Bautista will be the worst leadoff hitter in baseball.

I have a question that has been dancing around my brain for quite sometime.....
Generally: I wonder how much control over the roster the field manager of a major league team actually has?
Specifically: The Cito wants Rzepczynski on his team.  He goes as far to say: "To me, unless he just really goes the other way, you got to put him on this club.”  But, he has option years left.  Tallet, Eveland and McGowan do not.  If The Cito says he wants Zep, does he get him?  Or is that what the GM is there to worry about?  Ultimately, the manager decides in game when to use a player.  So you think if he wanted a player, he would get him.  This young lefthanded pitcher should provide an answer to my question.

Speaking about Mark Rzepczynski, he totally needs a nickname.  King Jordan is on it as always:
RZEPCZ&$#!?SKI: After today's workout, I headed over to Rzepczynski's locker and asked him if he had heard the nickname some of the Blue Jays' bloggers had given him since he joined the club. "Scrabble?" he said with a laugh. "Yeah. A buddy of mine told me about it."
He shook his head and smiled.
"Add it to the list..." he said.
"Why? What else have you been called?" I asked.
"Alphabet. Eye chart," Rzepczynski replied with a laugh. "I don't know. There's a lot.
For those new around here, it's pronounced ZEP-CHIN-SKI. One person who at least knows how to pronounce it right is Gaston, though he usually just calls him "Zep." Last year, Scrabble made 11 starts for the Jays and posted a 3.67 ERA. He impressed Gaston to the point that the manager believes the young pitchers needs to be on the Opening Day roster.
There's only one problem with calling the lefty "Scrabble." There is only one "Z" included in the famous word game.
"I have two in my last name," he said.


A friend of mine sent me a story on the history of baseball called Base Ball Discovered. 
Warning: the full film is an hour, so get the popcorn out.  It is worth your time.  Once you start watching, you can only pause the film.  No skipping forward and NO reversing.  If you do either of those it restarts the film.  I figured this fact out about 54 minutes into the film.  Fuck me.  
Full Film: click here
Summary: click here
I have a couple of observations:
  • Bat & Trap = Slopitch
  • Make sure your watching at the 48.08 and 53.59 minute mark.  The hitter totally shoots the box on the pitcher. 
  • Best quote in the entire movie is at 43.05. 
  • Apparently the link for the full film will not be active for long.


Job Opportunity?

Second Master of Ceremonies needed during 2010 season

The Toronto Blue Jays are looking for someone to pump up the crowd during their Spring Training games in 2010 and are taking applications now for prospective Masters of Ceremonies.
Due to scheduling, the Blue Jays have an opening for a second MC. Applicants must be enthusiastic and outgoing with the ability to work in front of (somewhat) large crowds. Games start at 1 p.m., and must be available to work remaining games, mostly during the weekdays.
To apply for the job, contact Tim Livingston by email at tim.livingston@bluejays.com or by phone at (727) 738-7027.

Now I'm no marketing genius but I do have an idea.  Why don't you pocket this money that you are about to spend on another one of these guys.....

and spend it on something that will actually "pump up" the crowds?  One word: CHEERLEADERS


First official work out for the army of pitchers and catchers is today @ 10 AM.


Weekly Round Up : Feb. 15 - 21

Courtesy of Batter's Box:

BB: You said in an earlier interview that the organization uses first person evaluation for defense rather than the new defensive metrics. Many of our readers saw Vernon Wells miss a lot of balls at the wall that, in our readers opinion, he would have caught in previous years. Did the organization see the same and was it just that there were a lot of close plays in 2010 or did you think that Vernon, because of age and body type, might have lost a step or two?
AA: I think the interview you're referring too may not have captured the meaning of my comments. Principally, we rely on first person evaluations for defense but we do use defensive metrics to either support or dispute what our scouts are seeing with their eyes. We continue to explore defensive metrics and incorporate them into all of our defensive evaluations. In Vernon's case, the metrics did indeed indicate that Vernon did not have a strong defensive season. However, in examining all the criteria and in using all the tools at our disposal, we believe Vernon will have a much stronger year defensively in 2010.

Consider this your required reading for this week.  Great stuff by the team over at Da Box.

Paxton Affair Update

Courtesy of Baseball America:

The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday denied UK lefthander James Paxton's request for interlocutory relief, which was essentially an appeal of the circuit judge's denial of his request for a temporary injunction that would allow Paxton to play without having to meet with NCAA investigators.  Paxton's attorneys were hoping the courts would assert Paxton's right of due process under the school's code of conduct, which would mean he would not have to testify against himself in an NCAA hearing. Media reports surfaced last summer quoting a Blue Jays executive saying that agent Scott Boras handled Paxton's negotiations after the Jays drafted him in the supplemental first round. That would be a violation of the "no agent" rule and would render Paxton ineligible to participate this spring, in all likelihood. Paxton attorney Rick Johnson said in an e-mail that his side would determine by Monday whether or not to file another appeal with the state's Supreme Court.  "Given that this case was one of first impression and of national importance, and given that it directly addressed whether or not student-athletes are entitled to the same civil rights as everyone else, it is very disappointing that the court of appeals did not even address our constitutional arguments," Johnson said.  "In the meantime, the number one senior college baseball player (in the nation, according to BA's preseason rankings of the top prospects by class), who has been accused of no wrongdoing, and who remains eligible to play and is a member in good standing of UK's baseball team is being withheld from play, because of UK's irrational and unsubstantiated fear of the NCAA, which is just one of many points missed by the court of appeals."  It's looking more and more likely that the Wildcats will be without their ace lefty in 2010.

The clusterfuck shitshow continues.....Yawn, next.

Courtesy of Globe Sports:

Afterward, McGowan said all feels fine with his comeback although neither he or the Blue Jays are certain how hard he may be throwing as the club is holding back using the radar gun to gauge his velocity. “That's a no-no,” explained a Blue Jays official. “Guys try to hump up and they hurt themselves.”  The Blue Jays are reluctant to use the radar gun on their pitchers, especially those who are trying to return from an arm injury, as it tends to make them want to overthrow trying to push the speed higher.  “That thing (h)as wrecked more arms,” Dr. James Andrews, the noted U.S. orthopaedic surgeon who has saved the arms of many a baseball player, once noted. McGowan is not sure how hard he might be throwing, but doesn't really care at this stage in his recovery.  “Right now I feel pretty good,” he said. “I feel like I'm letting it go pretty good. Not quite 100 per cent yet but a couple more bullpens I think I can really start turning it loose.”  “Everytime I grabbed that curveball it feels like I've got a softball in my hand,” he said.

A few weeks ago, before we signed Gregg, I put up a post about McGowan.  In it, I threw out the idea of letting him close out games for us at some point this season.  I made the following suggestion, if he were to ever head to the mound in relief:  He could drop one maybe even two of his pitches out of the arsenal, preferably his least effective and/or the one that causes him the most pain in his wing, and still have the stuff to do it.  I guess we now know which pitch that would be.....

Courtesy of Jordan Bastian:

Dustin McGowan slid his fingers over the seams of the baseball that rested in his glove. Years of experience told him that he was holding the ball in the correct manner, but the grip felt completely foreign to the Blue Jays pitcher.  McGowan had not thrown a curveball in 561 days. Third inning. Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts at the plate. First pitch. McGowan sent a breaking ball diving low and inside for a ball. After working four innings that afternoon for Toronto, the young pitcher left the game with an aching right shoulder.  McGowan is also out of player options, putting the Blue Jays in an interesting position. If Toronto wants to send him to the Minor Leagues, McGowan would first need to clear waivers, giving other teams the opportunity to claim him. In order to avoid that process, Toronto's options are limited to placing McGowan on the disabled list to open the year or bringing him north with the team.

Can we at least talk about him going to the bullpen?  Obviously he has more value to the team as a starter but at this point doesn't it make sense to cap his innings and maintain his health?

Courtesy of KFFL:

Toronto's Rogers Centre SkyDome suppresses home run output by about 1 percent, according to traditional team-adjusted park factor calculations. Fascinatingly, though, the primary reason isn't the park's dimensions. In fact, as a percentage of total outfield flies, the park sees 19 percent more home runs than expected.
The reason: Teams playing at the Centre Dome have hit the ball into the ground a full 2 percent more often than the same teams playing elsewhere, the fifth-highest rate of grounders in the league. Thus, getting the ball into the air in the first place represents half the battle.  John Buck, the Jays' new catcher, hits a ton of flyballs, often for power, and moves from the Kansas City Royals' homer-stealing Kauffman Stadium to Toronto.

Interesting take on our home park.  I wonder how much of the high groundball rate we can attribute to the departed Doc and his nasty pitch repertoire?       

Courtesy of The Sporting Hippeaux:

Meanwhile, the Jays have two young, twenty-something catchers, J. P. Arencibia and Kyle Phillips, each of whom now have had considerable experience and moderate success at AAA.  There is absolutely no reason to believe the combo of Arencibia and Phillips would be any worse, at least offensively, than Buck and Molina, or Buck and Castro.  Even if they were, getting them experience in the big leagues during a season in which Toronto must be considered a rebuilding franchise, seems a worthwhile proposition...seem, in fact, very much like the definition of "rebuilding."  Even if Anthopoulos and Gaston have reservations about going with two rookie catchers, I still can't understand why they need THREE hopeless veterans.  What a nightmare the past year has been for Blue Jays fans.

A closet Jays fan on the West Coast questions our "rebuilding" strategy.  I can't say I disagree with him.  More and more it looks to me as though we are going to need to trade our veterans for prospects BEFORE we can even start rebuilding.....

Courtesy of You Don't Know Dick @ The Star:

The positive news for Toronto fans is that, with all these young pitchers in serious competition, the team should rack up impressive win totals in Grapefruit League play. 

Isn't that like being the valedictorian of summer school?  The comments section of his article this week seemed abnormally tame.  I wonder if Dick is paying his friends and family to write in nice comments?  Or maybe, just maybe Dick decided to think before he sat down to preform his magic this one time. 

Jordan Bastian provides some insight from spring training on You Don't Know Dick via twitter:
I had forgotton how hard and violent Rich Griffin of The Star types on his laptop. Take it easy! It's not a typewriter!  LINK
Griffin just attempted to type softer for our sake. "It's not working out," he said. And now he's pounding away again.  LINK 
Griffin is now blaring rap music from his laptop to help drown out the loud typing.  LINK

I better start to watch what I say about him because clearly Dick is a GANGSTER!  I wonder what he was listening to.....Anybody want to take a guess?  I'm thinking maybe N.W.A.

Courtesy of MLBTR:

The Mets have come to terms with Rod Barajas on a major league deal worth at least $1MM, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Rosenthal says the 34-year-old catcher can make $1MM more in easily attainable incentives.  Since the Type B free agent agreed to a major league deal, the Blue Jays will receive a supplemental first-round pick (#41 overall) as compensation. Barajas turned down an offer of arbitration earlier in the winter and it probably cost him. He made $2.5MM with the Blue Jays last year and it would have been a surprise to see the club offer a significantly reduced salary. The Blue Jays, who signed catchers Jose Molina and John Buck, would not have obtained the compensation pick if Barajas had signed a minor league contract.

Courtesy of Kenny Rosenthal: 

Carlos Delgado, 37, underwent hip surgery this week for the second time in nine months, according to his agent, David Sloane. He will be out four months, but still plans to play this season, Sloane said.  Dr. Marc Philippon, the same surgeon who repaired Alex Rodriguez’s hip, reconstructed the labrum in Delgado’s right hip and also performed a micro-fracture procedure on his hip socket.  Delgado currently is on crutches, but already is riding an exercise bike and no longer taking medication for pain, Sloane said.

Nice to see Kenny got the story right on try number two.  He did I complete one hundred and eighty degree turn from this story published just over a week ago.  WTF?  No way Delgado feels a twinge in Puerto Rico, meets a doctor based in Colorado, gets checked out, gets the results of being checked out, decides on whether to do surgery and finally has the surgery in the eight days between those two stories.  Yeah, not happening.  I bet he was lied to by the agent.

Point being, not even a month ago in front of the cameras, The Cito firmly put his mouth around Delgado's cock at the state of franchise address even after his new boss Boy Wonder said no.  AWKWARD.  Now Delgado goes under the knife again.

Simple Question: Is there any chance the lame duck field manager doesn't go out with a bang in his final season?  Keep reading..... 

Can I Get A Quote, Please?:

"I think that will probably be the most competitive part of spring training." — GM Alex Anthopoulos on the open battle for spots in the rotation.
"When there are opportunities to get more athletic, to bring more athletes into the organization through the Draft and so on -- guys that can bring the element of speed and certainly bring defense to the table -- that's something that from a personal standpoint I'd love to add to this organization.
"Again, things need to line up for that to happen and it's not something that can happen overnight. But I think it's something that, as we move forward, we're going to try to put a little bit more of an emphasis on."
"We're definitely starting to address it from a player development standpoint,"
"We added a baserunning coordinator this year. We're excited about him -- someone to spend a little more time to focus solely on that. We never had that before, at least since I've been here."
"I just don't think we have any pure basestealers,"
"Certainly, we have a lot of guys that are capable of doing it, but the opportunity has to present itself. You don't want to run for the sake of running. You don't want to run into outs. Maybe we'll be a little more aggressive on the basepaths, but I really believe you have to have the personnel to do it.
"Right now, we're just not a team that's equipped with a lot of speed."
"It's an exciting brand of baseball when you can play defense and add speed,"
"One thing about that is it plays in all parks. People talk about trying to build a lineup and a team for their ballpark and so on. Well, speed and defense plays all over the place."
"We're trying to create a culture around here,"
"It's important to me that when we watch minor-league games, we play the game the right way, all our players are doing that and being taught that, from base-running to hitting the cutoff man, to wearing the uniform the right way.
"We're going to hand out awards for those little things."
“It was in-depth — many, many hours of interviews — and, as a result, I feel like we’ve been able to address the concerns that everyone had,”

“I think it has blown over,” The Cito said.
“I think some of our guys got suckered into it. Players are going to stick up for each other. There may have been some individual dissatisfaction but I don’t think that reflected the feeling of the whole team.
“When Gillick and Beeston were here before, the one thing I remember is if we had some bad people around, we got rid of them, didn’t keep them around. I think maybe that if there were some people here who were troublemakers, that they’re not here anymore.
“I expect that will help us get back to an attitude of ‘Let’s go out and play ball and not try to run the team ourselves.’ ”
“My door is always open, once again I will tell that to these guys in spring training. If there’s something you don’t like that’s going on, come in and tell me. I’ll listen.
“You can never make everybody happy. You’re not going to get everybody to like you. Do you think everybody in their clubhouses likes (Tony) La Russa? Or (Lou) Piniella?”

“It’s going to be very interesting, in baseball you can never be surprised at what you see. The anticipation of what we might see is kind of exciting. It could be painful. It could also be very good and lots of fun.”
“I’ve been a part of this organization for a long time and I’ll still be a part of it for the next five years and I think it’s going to be an exciting time.”   
"When people ask me about knowing this is my last year this is the way I look at it: I’m excited about the direction we’re taking,” 
“I know (Gonzalez) hit ninth his whole career, but if we move Hill successfully to No. 3 and Lind to hit No. 4 — and that’s not carved in stone because I want them both to be comfortable — then maybe Gonzalez could slide into that second spot. We’ll take a look at it.”
“I’m not counting Snider out, hopefully he comes around and is the kind of player we hope he’s going to be. He has a big future with us.
“I hear only good things about (Wallace), I’m going to have to wait and see. As far as I can tell, we did pretty well with these kids. You always wonder about the one who got away (Halladay) but that’s in the past.”

"I don't think I ever got to a point where I didn't think I could go back to Toronto," The Doctor said.
"I loved playing there. Going back for another year wouldn't have been the worst thing that ever happened. I always had that in the back of my mind."
"Anytime you want to be a part of something you watch it,"
"It does get hard. For me it was more about wondering how are you going to stack up, how are you going to handle this and how fun could it be? It was harder than most years this year.
"I never wanted to look forward to going anywhere other than Toronto. But knowing that things had gotten close and the team I had the best chance to go to was in the World Series made it tough. Not only that, but one of your friends is pitching against them. It was a lot of mixed feelings."
"It's part of it, there were times in Toronto you could hear every single guy yelling at you. I don't know what's worse, 40,000 or five guys you can actually hear. (Philly's) a challenge. They expect to have a good team and they expect people to perform. I expect the same thing. I would probably boo myself. It's just too good of a team to disappoint the fans."
"For those guys (young pitchers), it's important that they create their own identities,"
"That's something Chris Carpenter and I got caught up in, trying to live up to people that had been (with the Jays) in the past. It's important for those guys to make themselves stand out, create their own way."

"With my luck, I'll match up against him, just like in Toronto," GAY J Burnett laughed of his failed return to the Rogers Centre. "I've heard that he's been working out and he's already a legend. One of (the Phillies') front office people's sons goes to school with (my son) and I was talking to him and said, `Wait till you see this guy.'
"And now he's already a legend."

"Everything that Doc brought to the game is going to be missed," new pitching coach Bruce Walton said.
"The fortunate thing is that he was here, we all learned from him in his 10 years. Romero got to spend a year with him; Marcum got to spend two or three years, Frasor, Downs, (Jesse) Carlson, all these guys, so that's a plus. Everything we've learned from him we're still going to do.
"We're going to miss his leadership and we're going to miss his unbelievable performances during the season and his consistency."
“With Roy Halladay it was kind of fun last season,”
“We took for granted that we pretty much had a day off when he started. We knew Doc was going to get us back on track if we had a two-game skid, or keep that three-game streak alive.”
My philosophy is 'pound down,'"
"It's just a simple term that means pound the strike zone down in the zone. Make the hitter work. 'Pound down' means throw strikes downhill, just like Arnie taught. It means attack, throw strikes and pitch down. Pound down. That's my philosophy. That's my motto. It includes three or four aspects.
"Yes, get ahead. Yes, attack. Yes, we're going to throw strikes down in the strike zone. We're going to throw strikes at the knees all the way across the strike zone. We're going to make you work and get your hits down there. We're not going to make it easy on them. We're not going to throw belt-high strikes where everybody wants it. It's nothing that they haven't heard.
"That's part of me and that's something that I will retain and something that I will really preach."
"We have room to make mistakes down in the zone,"
"It might not mean pounding down to both sides of the plate right away. Let's pick one and pound down. If we miss on one side of the plate or the other and they're misses down, we're going to be better off than missing up. I think this is going to help them simplify what they need to do right away."

"I had a chance to come in and be a starter, and I think Toronto wanted me because of what I'm good at — helping run a staff," new catcher John Buck said.
"I was 17 at the time and the Astros had Zaun and Brad Ausmus behind the plate,"
"They wanted me to learn how to help a staff, it was ... your whole existence to help pitchers.
"It's nice to get hits, too, but they pounded the defence into me all the time."

"No, it hasn't changed me," 2009 first round pick Chad Jenkins said.
"If anything, it's been the pressure. People think certain things about you and you try to live up to them, and that's what can make it worse. I'm trying to work as hard as I can and not stick out for anything unusual."
"That was the hardest part, waiting for the right deal."

"The whole numbers thing with players is something that's going to happen," reliever Jesse Carlson said.
"When you lose a guy like Roy you don't go out and replace him easily."

"I'd love to see more bags (stolen bases and base running)," Aaron Hill said.
"I just hope our younger guys realize the chance they have here. There is a lot of opportunity in the organization for them to step up and make the big leagues. That chance doesn't come along often.
"It's a great time to be a Blue Jay."