Blue Jays Morning News: Donaldson, Sanchez and More!

Jays From the Couch brings you the latest news and links about the Toronto Blue Jays. In this edition: Josh Donaldson, Aaron Sanchez and more!

Jeff Moore of 2080 Baseball provides an interesting profile of Anthony Alford. Specifically, he focuses on Alford’s ability to seemingly jump right into baseball (after choosing football) without missing a beat. In fact, the athleticism that scouts look for is obviously there, but the baseball smarts are also there. Moore highlights Alford’s ability to see pitches and get on base; to work counts. Not only is he surprisingly good at this for someone who was mostly dedicated to football, but he’s good at it in comparison to the others around him who’ve been spending much more time in baseball. Moore also points out that Alford has a swing that is flat and will limit the amount of power he displays, but is quick to point out that, with adjustments, he is powerful enough and has a strong enough base that he could easily compensate for this. The more you hear about Alford, the more exciting this kid becomes.

At Sportsnet.ca, Ben Nicholson-Smith brings us an interesting look at Josh Donaldson‘s potential arbitration case that is looming over the Blue Jays. If the club is going to go to arbitration with him again this year, it will likely not result in what we’d call a “win” like a year ago. Instead, when the two sides exchange numbers, or file arbitration numbers on January 15th, the result will be a hefty raise for the AL MVP.

And, that is where Nicholson-Smith gets into trying to figure out just how much of a raise Donaldson is looking at. Chris Davis holds the current record for arbitration jumps with $7.05M. There are a few comparisons that can be used (and will be used in an arbitration hearing to determine the value for Donaldson’s 2016 season). Davis, Josh Hamilton and Jacoby Ellsbury all offer precedent in arbitration. However, Donaldson very well could be in a league of his own thanks to an MVP award, his defense and his incredible run of health.

In 2015, The Bringer of Rain made $4.3M. 2016 could see him get a record setting raise. Of course, this very well could have a lot to do with how the club proceeds with contract extensions for Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.

Over at Blue Jays Plus, Matt Gwin set to proving Blue Jays GM, Ross Atkins, incorrect. Atkins recently made a comment that there isn’t a whole lot of success stories of late inning relievers becoming starters the year after. Of course, the context of this comment is that he was speaking about Aaron Sanchez, but we could also substitute his name for Roberto Osuna, even though we’re pretty sure that of the two, Osuna seems more likely to stay in the ‘pen.

Gwin went back and found 98 examples of “relievers” who had made the switch to “starters” and found that there was actually quite a bit of success. Apparently, 41 of the 98 put up “above average” ERA having made the switch. It’s an interesting read that should make you feel better about the idea of stretching Sanchez out with the idea of possibly starting him. Actually, the trade for Drew Storen should have been the first thing that made you feel more comfortable about this idea. Personally, I think there is very little to be concerned about. Sanchez has started already. He didn’t stink. In fact, at one point, he was rather good. The cost of NOT considering this idea actually is heavier than considering it. By not entertaining the idea of Sanchez as a starter, you’re narrowing down your options. That is never a good idea.

Are you confident in the Blue Jays’ chances to compete in 2016? You should be. But, if you’re not, a piece written by Eric Schaal on CheatSheet.com may echo your concerns. Schall says that the starting rotation has too many question marks. In particular, he questions the trio of Marco Estrada, R.A. Dickey and Marcus Stroman and their ability to stack up against other teams’ top 3. But, wait! There’s more.

He moves on to point out a shallow bullpen. He must have forgotten the deal that brought Storen in to solidify the back end, because there is no mention of this move. Instead, he points to the addition of Arnold Leon as evidence of a group that has serious doubt. He throws Jess Chavez and his seeming late season fatigue into this group as well.

All in, Schaal expects that the Blue Jays’ offense will mash their way through the division, but the pitching is suspect to the point where he isn’t sure the club has what it takes to win again. In fact, he thinks that New York and Boston have improved enough that they’ll give the Blue Jays a run for their money. Yeah…time will tell, I suppose…

If the Blue Jays are going to be competitive, they’ll need a full (read: healthy) season from Troy Tulowitzki. He and Stroman are the subject of a piece by Dayn Perry of CBS Sports that suggests two guys who the club will depend on in 2016. Basically, Perry points out that Tulo is projected to get over 500 at bats, which is questionable based on his health history. But, if he can be himself, it would mean a lot to the club’s fortunes.

For his part, Stroman seems to be the de facto ace of this pitching staff will need to get as close to the 200 innings mark as he can. Is it possible? Sure it is. As Perry points out, the injury Stroman was out with has nothing to do with his pitching arm. There is no reason to think that he can’t take a big jump in innings this year. The one mistake you can make is doubting Marcus Stroman.

*Featured Image Credit: udo.d under CC BY-SA 2.0

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Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.