Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Blue Jays New Year's Resolutions

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New Year's: it's a time to reflect on the past 365 days and wonder how the hell it flew by so quickly. It's also a time to resolve to make changes in the hopes of bettering oneself in the new year.

Rather than hastily put together a list of resolutions which I will almost certainly have no chance of abiding by in 2011, I'd rather pertain them to something which I enjoy - the Toronto Blue Jays.

The following are my Blue Jays New Year's Resolutions for 2011.

To be patient with Adam Lind at first base

Let's be honest, things are going to take a bit of a defensive dive on the right side of the diamond this year. We caught a few glimpses of Lind at first base in 2010, and unfortunately David Purcey was the sacrificial lamb in the Adam Lind experiment.

If the Blue Jays really want to get the most of Adam Lind's contract, they need to transition him into a position player. It might not be pretty at first base in 2011, but the only way for Adam to learn the intricacies of playing the position is to be out there almost every day.

To taper expectations for Jose Bautista

Make no qualms about it, Jose Bautista had one of the best seasons in Blue Jays history in 2010. After setting the bar so astronomically high, anything less than a 54 home run campaign might be seen as a disappointment in the eyes of some.

However, savvy fans understand there will undoubtedly be a drop-off for Jose Bautista in 2011, the question is just how far will that drop-off be? I'd be perfectly content seeing Jose crush 20 home runs, but in my mind, drawing plenty of walks are much more paramount.

And you know opposing teams will be studying videos of Jose Bautista's swing like mad men in attempt to find a flaw in his game (if there even is one).

To believe in Edwin Encarnacion

One of my New Year's resolutions from last year was to believe in Vernon Wells. Eyebleaf lead the charge, and V-Dub had a bounce back season in 2010, so I'm hoping for good things from Edwin Encarnacion in 2011.

EE seems like the kind of player who's just on the cusp of becoming a consistent power hitter, but just can't get over the hump. Maybe slotting him in as the full-time designated hitter and a little bit of extra batting practice will go a long way.

To see a Blue Jay throw a no-hitter

I know this one is out of my hands, but I'm convinced we will see a Blue Jays starter throw a no-hitter in 2011. Considering how close Brandon Morrow was on August 8th, I think it's only a matter of time before somebody joins the elite company of Dave Stieb as the only Blue Jays to toss no-hitters.

To not cry when Roy Halladay comes back to Toronto

Ever since the G20 fiasco, the anticipation for Roy Halladay's return to Toronto has continued to grow. Many fans were upset when the Philly/Toronto series was moved to the city of brotherly love, but after watching what happened in downtown Toronto, can you really blame them for moving it?

Armed with a shiny new Cy Young award, a couple of no-hitters and a trip to the playoffs, it will be great to see Doc back at the Rogers Centre once again. It's only magnified that the Blue Jays will be playing at home on Canada Day weekend, so it will be especially emotional during that series.

Happy New Year to you all!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Toronto's Telltale Signing of Dotel

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Image courtesy of Daylife
Alex Anthopoulos was looking for a veteran arm for the bullpen, and he certainly found one. If the rumblings of the Octavio Dotel signing are in fact true, then the Blue Jays would be adding a 37 year old reliever with velocity in the mid-nineties.

Playing for 10 teams over the course of 11 seasons in the big leagues, Octavio Dotel is the Matt Stairs of journeyman relief pitchers. Pick up a cup of coffee every few seasons, and then move on to the next city.

I wouldn't assume the signing of Dotel means the closer discussion is over, as it appears Jason Frasor and Octavio Dotel would be the two most likely candidates competing for the job. My personal preference would be Frasor, but I guess we'll see what happens in Spring Training.

Even if Octavio Dotel only turns into a half-decent middle relief guy, best case scenario is that he turns into a Type B free agent and the Blue Jays receive a pick for him. Or even better, maybe Dotel lights it up in the first half and Toronto gets a couple of prospects in trade.

At $3.5 million with an option for 2012, at least the Blue Jays have a backup plan just in case another reliever walks next season. It's a fair amount to pay for somebody who's been around the block a few times.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holi-Jays

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It's incredible to think that not only has another Blue Jays season come and gone, but another year in its entirely has almost passed once again.

I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday, and let you know that things will likely be pretty quiet in this neck of the woods until after New Year's.

Since we're all about reflecting and looking back, I may as well get all sentimental before the holiday egg nog wears off. Thanks so much to everyone for reading and commenting on the site this past year.

2010 saw the meteoric rise of the Bautista Appreciation Society and "Meats Don't Clash" - and none of it could have happened unless you helped spread the word like wildfire across Twitter and the blogosphere.

I appreciate all the feedback on Twitter as well, so thanks for replying, retweeting, or just chatting in general. I greatly enjoy all the interaction with you guys and look forward to experiencing another crazy season with you all in 2011.

As Travis Snider would say, Merry Meatmas and Happy Holi-Jays!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Always Be Searching for Closers

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Image courtesy of RickShangle.com
Up until a few weeks ago, I had never watched Alec Baldwin's infamous "Always Be Closing" speech from Glengarry Glen Ross. So the phrase "coffee is for closers" has flown over my head these past few years.

Oddly enough, it turns out "Always Be Closing" is actually very pertinent for the Toronto Blue Jays as their search for a closer continues. Yesterday, Alex Anthopoulos spoke on the Fan 590 about how the team's primary concern is to get a "ninth inning guy".

We've heard about all kinds of closer candidates, from Chad Qualls, to Mike Gonzalez, and even Trevor Hoffman - but the fact remains, the Blue Jays do not have a closer for 2011.

Part of me believes it's all part of "The Plan" as the trend of multi-year deals for relief pitchers continues, yet there are many closers who have yet to sign on the line which is dotted

Understandably, AA didn't want to be the first GM out of the gate because signing a closer at that point would set the precedent for the market. Unless you're an executive gunning for the top free agents like Cliff Lee or Carl Crawford, there's no benefit to inking a player early in the offseason.

After all, the Blue Jays waited until February 15th to sign Kevin Gregg, and he wasn't even handed the closer job off the bat. Only because Jason Frasor faltered in the first few weeks of 2010 was Gregg thrust into the closer's role.

I can just picture Alex Anthopoulos sitting back and waiting for somebody like Jon Rauch or even Brian Fuentes to get anxious near the opening of Spring Training camp to finally sign a contract with the Blue Jays. Come January or February, maybe the price will finally be right.

So let's not panic that the Blue Jays don't have a closer just yet. If coffee is for closers only, the Jays shouldn't have much difficulty finding somebody to step up and pour themselves a cup.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Blue Jays Holiday Gift Guide

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What presents can exude a reaction worthy of an epic Nintendo 64 Christmas morning freakout? None other than the gift ideas below for the Blue Jays fan on your Christmas list.

As a brief aside, I always felt bad for the little girl in the video above because I don't think she fully understood the gravity of getting a Nintendo 64 for Christmas. I think she was just mimicking the actions of her older brother.

Anyway, inspired by Zoo With Roy's and the Getting Blanked Holiday Gift Giving Guide, here is the Blue Jays Holiday Gift Guide.

Blue Jays Silly Bandz ($6.99 CAD)

Earlier this year, I facetiously wished for Silly Bandz for my birthday. If I had known these Blue Jays "Logo Bandz" existed, then I would've asked for these bad boys for Christmas instead. At the low low price of just $6.99, children can harass Santa to bring them the latest fad which they'll certainly all but forget come January 1st.


Second 2 None Cologne ($19.50 CAD)

Ever wanted to smell like a (hopefully) Hall of Fame second baseman? Then pick up a bottle of Roberto Alomar's "Second 2 None" cologne. It may not be accompanied by the novelty of Gustavo Chacin's cologne, but "Second 2 None" will definitely make a great stocking stuffer.

Game Used Bat Bottle Opener
($79.99 US)

Unless you're at the Dome forking out $10 dollars each for a beer, why not get this game used bottle opener to crack open your wobbly pops at home?

Blue Jays Recliner ($999.99 US)

Just in case you ever have too much money that you're not sure what to do with it, here's an expensive gift option: a Blue Jays recliner!

I guess if you have that kind of money though, you can get this recliner for the same cost as five "Action Seat" tickets.



Blue Jays M & M's ($38.99 US)

Some say that giving candy or chocolates on Christmas is very impersonal, but I beg to differ. What could be more personal than a package of M & M's with your favourite team on it?

You can buy three 7-ounce packages of M & M's adorned with the Blue Jays logo and colours for only $38.99


Coasters with Game Field Dirt ($31.99 US)

Here's a gift that's guaranteed to be a conversation piece at your next dinner party: a set of Blue Jays coasters with actual game field dirt inside.

Now the dirt itself may or may not include spit-out sunflower seed shells, snuff, or any other waste from player's mouths. I guess that's part of the fun in the gift: finding surprises like that in the coasters.



Blue Jays Jello/Rice Krispie Mould ($30.00 CAD)

Okay, here's one of the most unique/weird Blue Jays related gifts I found out there ... it's a Blue Jays mould. The listing says it's to make Rice Krispie treats, but it almost certainly looks like it could be a Jell-O mould too.


Canadian Living & The Blue Jays
($7.49 US)

I don't think I've ever read Canadian Living in my entire life, unless it was in a dentist or doctor's office. But I'd be willing to make an exception of somebody wrapped up this special Blue Jays edition of Canadian Living magazine.

Inside are some recipes from the Blue Jays themselves, including John Olerud's Omelette, Roberto Alomar's Mom's Chicken, The Carter's Corn Pudding, and The Stottlemyres's Lasagna.

Blue Jays Beer Pong Table ($114.95 US)

Let's be honest, if you have a son or daughter away at college or university, chances are they're blowing their OSAP money on beer. Since they're drinking away their education anyway, you may as well make it a little more entertaining for them, right? You'll be the coolest parent ever by buying them this Blue Jays Beer Pong Table for Christmas.


1993 Blue Jays World Series Ring ($8898.89 US)

Finally, we have the crown jewel of all gifts a Blue Jays fan could ever want - a 1993 World Series Ring. I'm not sure how the heck this ended up on eBay, but I'm willing to bet Rickey Henderson pawned it off to pay for some diamond-stud earrings.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Edwin Encarnacion's Resurrection

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Image courtesy of TSN.ca
You know the old saying: if you're indifferent about your third baseman, set him free. If he gets claimed off waivers and doesn't come back to you, it never was. But if he comes back to you, then it was meant to be.

With that said, it looks like Edwin Encarnacion will be back as a Blue Jay after signing a one year deal to the tune of $2.5 million dollars. That's at least $2.25 million less than the amount EE would've fetched in arbitration, and probably even more.

Obviously, bringing back Encarnacion wasn't high on the priority list of the Blue Jays at the onset of the offseason, but now that the free agents and trade winds are dwindling, it looks like Alex Anthopoulos has reluctantly made a decision to give EE another shot.

It was interesting to note the team said Encarnacion would not be playing third base, and instead will split time between first base and designated hitter. While an Adam Lind/Edwin Encarnacion platoon at first base isn't exactly the best combination for stellar defense, at least it will allow the Blue Jays a little more flexibility in the infield.

Even if EE ends up being the full-time designated hitter, I don't really find that a cause for concern because there's already enough power in the heart of the Blue Jays lineup anyway. Just because Encarnacion's slotted in as designated hitter doesn't mean he needs to hit cleanup.

Edwin's defense leaves something to be desired, but put him on the right side of the infield and I think the damage defensively should be minimized. And if it ends up being worse than anticipated, then John Farrell has the power to take the glove out of his hand entirely and put him at DH.

Frankly, at $2.5 million for 2011 and an option for 2012, the price is right on re-signing Edwin Encarnacion. Like I said earlier this week about Lyle Overbay, better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

If anything, at least we get to listen to Buck Martinez pronounce EE's last name as "ENCARNASHEEYONE" for another season.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Blue Jay Hunter's Guide to the Blue Jays on Twitter

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It wasn't all that long ago when there was just a single player on the Blue Jays roster who entered the foray into Twitterland.

Dirk Hayhurst held down the Twitter fort for a long time, informing us of his new book and giving away autographed Garfoose baseballs. Now, Blue Jays are coming out of the woodwork and joining the social networking craze at an incredible pace.

Unless an athlete has something particularly interesting to say other than the usual cliche-riddled sound byte, a lot of players are pretty quiet and keep to themselves. However, today's professional athlete is becoming more and more savvy to social networking and they are realizing the benefits of Twitter.

The Blue Jays have recently made a concerned effort to connect with fans, which I'm sure most of you guys really appreciate. And as trivial as it may sound, sometimes it's cool to find out what your favourite players do when they're not on the field.

With the addition of Jose Bautista as the seventh player on the Jays roster to join Twitter roster, I felt it was time to give you guys a guide to the Blue Jays players on Twitter.









Travis Snider (@Lunchboxhero45)

Travis got the ball rolling back on October 25th, and soon thereafter captured the attention of the entire Blue Jays Twittersphere. Snider used his high school moniker "Lunchbox" as his handle, as has been informing fans of his culinary adventures ever since.

We've learned from Travis as to who is the best at Guitar Hero player on the team, and despite his love for food, we often hear about Snider's furious workout schedule. Plus, that fact that he's mentioned "Meats Don't Clash" on several occasions is mind-blowing.









Ricky Romero (@RickyRo24)

It appears as though RR Cool Jay is very much enjoying the offseason from the comfort of his home state in California, and he also likes to chirp J.P. Arencibia about the Miami Heat. I have a feeling if it's a Lakers/Heat NBA Finals, things might get ugly in the Blue Jays clubhouse.

Through the magic of Twitter, we also discovered Romero is off the market, as he's dating current Miss USA, Rima Fakih.










Jesse Litsch

It didn't take long for Jesse Litsch to follow suit from Travis Snider, and he hopped on Twitter just a few short weeks after "Lunchbox".

After various Litsch Twitpics, it appears as though Jesse has grown a beard of Jose Bautista proportions, but at least we know he'll be nice and warm during the unforgiving Canadian winter.


Vernon Wells (@VernonWells10)

V-Dub has actually been on the Twitter scene for quite a while, but like a sleeping giant, his Twitter account has been pretty dormant up until the past few months.

Vernon is obviously a big advocate for this charity "The Perfect 10 Foundation", but he also gives us some insight to his favourite sports team ... the Dallas Cowboys. By Vernon's account, it looks like the hotdogs at Cowboy stadium are outta sight.









J.P. Arencibia (@JPArencibia9)

JPA's Twitter feed is perhaps the most entertaining to read out of all the Blue Jays players so far, and I have yet to discover just exactly what "Beast Mode" is. Hopefully we'll find out come April.

Nevertheless, Arencibia keeps us entertained with his Twitpics of the beautiful surroundings in Miami, and the occasional cameos from none other than Jose Bautista. It sounds like JPA is a pretty good gamer too, and he laid down a little trash talk towards Brett Cecil in regards to NHL '11.









Brett Cecil (@CEC0208)

Right off the bat, you get the sense from Brett Cecil's Twitter account that he's a big family man. Just his display pic alone of his son wearing his jersey is enough to bring a grown man to tears.

No doubt Cecil gets in a lot of hunting down in his hometown of Dunkirk Maryland, as there are various pictures of Brett hoisting the horns of several Bucs he's bagged, and even his son has gotten in on the action!









Jose Bautista (@Joeybats19)

Last, but certainly not least ... we have the latest addition to the Blue Jays players on Twitter, Jose Bautista.

He resorted to using the nickname he gained in Pittsburgh "Joey Bats" as his handle, and although @AppreciateBautista would've been a cool handle, you can't blame the guy for going with @Joeybats19.

So far, Jose Bautista has only logged 5 tweets since joining yesterday, and you can tell already by his "short but sweet" tweets that Joey Bats is a no-nonsense kind of guy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Like It or Loathe It? Lyle Overbay at First Base Again

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It's incredible to think that out of all the hired guns that were brought in by J.P. Ricciardi during the 2005 offseason (Burnett, Ryan, Overbay, Glaus), Lyle Overbay was the sole survivor who made it through the duration of his contract.

It was a tumultuous time for Overbay during his tenure in Toronto. He quickly became a fan favourite in his first season as a Blue Jay, as I can recall the "O-Zone" section being prevalent at most home games.

However, just as the "O-Zone" dwindled, so did Lyle's popularity in Toronto.

Things culminated earlier this season when fans had seemingly had enough on May 17th after Overbay committed two errors in a single game and was in the midst of a subpar first half of the season.

Amidst the public ridicule, Overbay's teammates quickly came to his defense in a touching moment of solidarity, baring his jersey number during an autograph signing.

All things considered, Lyle Overbay was the whipping boy when he really didn't deserve to be, but playing a prototypical power position such as first base, standards were very high from the onset of Overbay's arrival in Toronto. I guess after four and a half seasons, some folks finally had enough.

So now here we are five years later and the Toronto Blue Jays are back at square one: they have no first baseman. Despite the glut of free agent first baseman out on the market, why not entertain the idea of bringing back Lyle Overbay for another season?

Honestly, it's not the best option out there for the Blue Jays right now, but it's definitely not the worst. Unless Alex Anthopoulos can swing a trade to land somebody to play first base, 2011 will be a transitional year for the position anyway.

The Blue Jays haven't committed entirely to having Adam Lind at first base, so why not have Overbay there as a contingency plan? We all know Lyle can play the position cleanly, and while he may not offer what he used to in terms of offense, he can still hit righties very well.

Here's a solution I can offer - a slight variation of the strategy Cito Gaston employed during the 2009 season: play Adam Lind at first base against left-handed starters, and play Lyle Overbay against right-handed starters.

Giving Lind the starting first baseman job right out of the gate isn't the wisest move, so by splitting the time between Lind and Overbay say 60/40, this way the Blue Jays can ease Adam into the position rather than throw him into a dragon pit with nothing but a fork.

There are still a slew of first basemen out there like Derrek Lee and Adam LaRoche, but let's be honest ... none of them fit in with the long term plans of this team. And if these guys are only a short term solution anyway, I'd rather go with somebody like Lyle Overbay who is pretty dependable defensively.

Better the devil you know than the devil you don't, right?

The funny thing about it all is the Blue Jays paid Lyle Overbay a total sum of $26.25 million dollars in salary over five seasons. According to FanGraphs, he was worth approximately $35.4 million dollars. All in all, the Blue Jays basically got what they paid for in Lyle Overbay ... and if anything, a little more.

Now there's no way Overbay will receive anywhere near the kind of money he earned in 2010, but maybe something like a one year deal worth $4 million would be appropriate. Really at this point, the Jays would just be extending Lyle Overbay until Adam Lind is ready at first base.

Call me indifferent ... I'm not in love with the idea of Lyle Overbay coming back to play first base in 2011, but I don't loathe it either. Considering the other free agent options right now, the Blue Jays could be paying somebody else a lot more money but get a lot less ... rather than just sign Lyle Overbay.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Let J.P. Arencibia Play, They Say

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It will stand as one of the greatest single game performances in Blue Jays history: four hits, two of them for home runs, and just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

I remember that day very well because I was sitting in row 20 behind home plate with a bird's eye view of J.P. Arencibia's historical big league debut. The moment he cracked a home run in his very first at bat, I thought to myself "the future has arrived".

Unfortunately for Arencibia, the offensive high water mark was set for him that day on August 7th and it was a slow decline from that point onward.

Suffering from the "Randy Ruiz Syndrome", JPA essentially had to beg and plead for plate appearances the rest of the season. Under then manager Cito Gaston, it wasn't necessarily the best breeding ground for young players looking to get playing time and discover themselves at the big league level.

2011 will be a new year, and hopefully it looks like another chance for J.P. Arencibia to win the starting catching job. It appears as though the Blue Jays are ready to let J.P. have the reins and lead the pitching staff this coming season, and all I can say is it's about damn time.

Maybe the front office didn't want to ruffle any feathers and step on Cito's toes during his farewell tour, but now it's time to get down to business and see if J.P. Arencibia truly has what it takes to play with the big boys.

Alex Anthopoulos shares the same sentiment and reiterated these thoughts earlier this week when he talked to Mike Wilner:
"We need to find out about him. There’s a lot of things he needs to learn at the major-league level and the only way he’ll learn is if you play or at least be around it."
However, AA goes on to say that Arencibia doesn't necessarily need to be a starter. This is just my opinion, but I think he's paying lip service and his intentions are to have JPA as starting catcher for 2011.

Richard Griffin spoke with John Farrell and it sounds like the new manager is more focused right now on having J.P. Arencibia being comfortable behind the plate as catcher rather than in the batter's box as a hitter:
"The one thing that we have to make clear to him is - we have to be sure that in his mind he values leading a pitching staff.

We know that he’s going to go through slumps offensively. What we want to be sure of is that foundation for leading a pitching staff and the characteristics that are important to that."
In order to gain some semblance of a rhythm with the starting rotation, J.P. Arencibia should be behind the plate as much as possible. He needs to discover what works and what doesn't with his pitching staff, and he can't do that sitting on the bench chewing sunflower seeds 4 of out every 5 games.

The only way to find out it Arencibia truly has what it takes is to throw him into the fire and get him behind the plate almost every day.

No one can say for sure if Arencibia's minor league success will translate to big league success, but better to find out part way into the season as a starter than two years down the road as a backup catcher.

Image courtesy of KFFL.com

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Wishes for the Winter Meetings

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This year's edition of the Winter Meetings has already met and exceeded the expectations set by last year's (think The Terminator compared to Terminator 2).

With a flurry of activity after Day One which actually involved the Blue Jays as we progress into Day Two, there could be even more action on the horizon.

I know they say it's bad luck to say what your birthday wishes are out loud, but what the hell ... I'm going to do it anyway.

Wish Number One: for the Zack Greinke/Blue Jays rumors to stop

I don't mean to insult the intelligence of Alex Anthopoulous, but I would hope that he doesn't have tunnel vision on Zack Greinke and is willing to give up Travis Snider and Kyle Drabek for him. A move like that seems especially counterproductive now that the Blue Jays have parted with Shaun Marcum.

Admittedly, like most homegrown talent I tend to overvalue Toronto's prospects compared to other teams, but there's no chance that Zack Greinke = Shaun Marcum + Kyle Drabek ... because that's essentially the move AA would be making if the Blue Jays go after Greinke.

Wish Number Two: figure out the first base situation

For some reason or another, having the first base situation up in the air at this point is the biggest question mark, position-wise in my opinion.

Third base isn't necessarily as big of an issue because Jose Bautista or Aaron Hill could slide over to the hot corner if need be.

The Blue Jays are apparently very interested in Carlos Pena, which in the surface appeared like a great idea, until Parkes pointed out that his on base percentage has steadily declined since 2004.

The only saving grace is Toronto may be able to get Pena on the cheap due to his horrid 2010 season, and maybe they can hope Carlos could find his second wind with the Blue Jays and put up another 2007-like season.

Wish Number Three: stop with the euphemisms already

I don't know why, but for some reason at this year's edition of the Winter Meetings, they are laying on the euphemisms especially thick. Every time I check MLB Trade Rumors, I can't help but giggle  when skimming through the headlines.

Phrases like "in hard", "deeply interested" and "pushing hard" are making me question whether these are the MLB Winter Meetings or an adult film shoot.

Which reminds me, did somebody order a pizza with extra sausage?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Shaun's Gone: Marcum to Milwaukee

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Land in Florida, check into the hotel, turn on the television, trade Shaun Marcum.

That might not be exactly how Alex Anthopoulos' itinerary went on Sunday evening, but that certainly seems how it went down. The Winter Meetings aren't even officially underway yet, and already the Blue Jays dropped a bomb on us.

All indications point to Shaun Marcum being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for second base prospect Brett Lawrie. Marcum was a great pitcher for the Blue Jays, but he was the expendable arm in the starting rotation.

I've always liked Shaun Marcum and he was my favourite pitchers on the staff. He didn't overpower hitters, but instead Marcum was a finesse pitcher and location was his weapon of choice.

Shaun turns 29 next week, but compared to the rest of the starting staff, he may as well be 35. Marcum had two more arbitration eligible years left under team control.

In return the Blue Jays receive the Brewers second best prospect (as of last year) according to Baseball America. Here's what Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin had to say about Lawrie earlier this year:
"When Brett was drafted, he was drafted for his bat. It wasn't firm where he was going to play, and [second base] might not be his last position, either. He's athletic enough to play a couple of positions."
These are promising words from within the Brewers organization, and shows Lawrie's versatility that he could probably play either of the corner infield positions, second base, or even revert back to catcher if he so chooses.

Some folks are suspecting this move signaled a Zack Greinke trade with the Royals is imminent and that the Blue Jays are loading up on prospects so they can swing a deal with Kansas City.

If that's the case, why wouldn't the Blue Jays just deal Shaun Marcum to the Royals in a package for Zack Greinke? Marcum may only be under team control for two more years, but that's still pretty enticing.

I still have a tough time believing Toronto is targeting Zack Greinke because even with Shaun Marcum gone now, starting pitching is not something the organization needs to be concerned about right now.

Does it really make sense to jeopardize the long-term success of this team to get Zack Greinke? He's only under contract for two more years anyway, and it's not like he's cheap: $12.5 million is a steep price to pay for someone who isn't necessarily a bonafide ace, but is definitely paid like one.

Regardless, I have a suspicion that the Shaun Marcum trade is only the tip of the iceberg and Alex Anthopoulos will be a very busy man at the Winter Meetings this week.

Shaun, I enjoyed your work as member of the Toronto Blue Jays and I will miss your ever-changing facial hair styles. Best of luck pitching like a man in Milwaukee.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Roundup Links

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You might ask what The Walking Dead has anything at all to do with the following links about the Toronto Blue Jays, and I'll tell you what it is: absolutely nothing.

It's merely an excuse to post something zombie-related in this cold, desolate baseball offseason. Actually, not that I think about it, that's not entirely true.

A few people have commented to me on Twitter about how there seems to be Roy Halladay and Jose Bautista look-alikes on The Walking Dead.

If you thought Roy Halladay and Bautista were scary enough as is, there's nothing more frightening than Doc and Joey Bats as undead versions of their previously functioning selves. Because Roy will cut you up, Jose will stare you down, and then they'll eat you for breakfast.

So ... let's get to today's links, shall we?

Tao of Stieb has been having some restless nights over Adam Lind lately. Watching those episodes of Walking Dead before bed probably doesn't help.

If you haven't already, check out Cooperstowners In Canada for some great Blue Jays insight. They make a pretty convincing case to convert Rich Harden into a closer for the Blue Jays.

The most intriguing part of it all? Rich Harden in small doses isn't such a bad idea. Looking at his career splits, his ERA balloons from 2.98 after 2 innings to 4.58 after 3 innings.

The 5th Starter did his homework and estimated the trade value of each of the guys on the Blue Jays 40-man roster. It's interesting to note despite an off year, both Aaron Hill and Adam Lind still have some pretty decent trade value.

This one's from last week, but Drew from Ghostrunner on First breaks down the starting rotation co-aces Shaun Marcum and Ricky Romero's pitch type by count. Conclusion: Shaun Marcum is an animal.

The Zack Greinke to Toronto trade talks may have cooled off a little bit, but you never know when something could be cooking on the Hot Stove. Royals Centricity takes a look at what it might cost the Blue Jays to get Greinke. Basically, it's an arm and a leg, and possibly another appendage to be named later.

In case you missed it, Bluebird Banter has a great five part interview with the new bullpen coach, Pat Hentgen.

We all know that the purse strings on offseason spending have been tight these past few years, but there was once a day when the Blue Jays shelled out big bucks for free agents. 500 Level Fan has a rundown of how those free agent signings have performed historically for the Blue Jays.

Image courtesy of Collider.com

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Frasor Renewed For Another Season

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Truth be told, Frasier was one of my least favourite television shows of the 90's. It was a little too pretentious for my taste, and instead I chose to watch quality programming like Full House and Family Matters during my formative years.

While I wasn't a fan of Frasier, I certainly do enjoy Frasor. Jason Frasor, that is. So I was elated to see that Frasor accepted arbitration and he's officially been picked up for another season by the Toronto Blue Jays.

I know some people are a little disappointed Jason Frasor didn't decline arbitration and the Blue Jays missed out on a couple of draft picks. Ultimately, that decision was in the hands of Jason and his agent and there was nothing Toronto could do about it.

And let's not bellyache about how Jason Frasor is going to fetch $3-4 million dollars in arbitration. Trust me, with so many question marks in the Blue Jays bullpen, it's money well spent.

With Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg both out the door, Toronto needed to hang onto Frasor to provide that much very much needed stability in the 'pen.

So let's all cheers to another year of The Sausage King, Jason Frasor!
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