Jays From the Couch brings you (not so) deep thoughts on the latest Toronto Blue Jays news & links. This edition: Donaldson, Liriano & more!
Rather than do what we’ve always done and bring you the latest news and links about your Toronto Blue Jays, I thought it would be much more fun to offer up a reaction to said news. After all, you can get news anywhere. Here, you’ll get the news and a hot/luke warm/room temperature/cold take. This just got real.
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*Josh Donaldson became the 16th player in Blue Jays history to hit 3 home runs in a game on Sunday. The most recent was Edwin Encarnacion, who went off for 3 bombs last summer and was confused by the hats being thrown onto the field. This year, Donaldson had no such trouble understanding what is becoming a Rogers Centre special: the HR Hat Trick.
— Josh Donaldson (@BringerOfRain20) August 28, 2016
This was Josh's 3rd HR yesterday. I am so glad that I was there to see this AMAZING DAY! Congratulations Josh! Jesse pic.twitter.com/MmCVbplIRG
— Jesse Barfield (@JesseBarfield29) August 29, 2016
This big day might be a signal that things are about to take off for the Bringer of Rain and the Toronto Blue Jays. With 33 HR, 91 RBI and 105 runs scored, he will need a big push to take over the AL MVP conversation and repeat the honor. Listening to the ESPN Royals/ Red Sox broadcast Sunday night, the discussion is focused around Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve. But, a strong finish to the season could help to move Donaldson to the forefront of that debate.
The bigger picture is that after a weird, and disappointing series against the Angels, the Blue Jays did what they were supposed to do and swept the Twins. This could be the start of a nice little roll. The win on Sunday (combined with the Red Sox loss) gave them a 2 game lead in the AL East. With a series against the Sox to end the season, it would be great if the lead was bigger heading into that.
*The Toronto Blue Jays have place Josh Thole on irrevocable waivers. So, any team can claim him in 48 hours. If he passes through, the Blue Jays will release him. Now, that makes perfect sense, given that Dioner Navarro is expected to join the club today. Navarro will take that roster spot. The thought is that Thole will pass through (because, do we really think that a team will claim him?) and then the club can sign him to a minor league deal after September 1. That will provide them a catcher for R.A. Dickey, without having to worry about the playoff roster.
Jeff Blair (of Sportsnet) writes that the Thole decision kind of put a damper on what should have been a happy day. The club swept the Twins, Donaldson went off, and yet, the clubhouse was quiet and somber as Thole packed up his gear. Dickey and his catcher had a moment and Kevin Pillar hugged it out with the knuckleball catcher. Something tells me that the reaction among fans will be quite the opposite when they see a lineup that doesn’t include Thole.
*Over at The Globe and Mail, Robert MacLeod highlights the contributions that Darwin Barney has brought to the Blue Jays. The versatility that Barney brings is what contending teams dream on. A guy who can come in and play any defensive position (even pitch *cough*) is worth a whole lot, even if the Blue Jays are paying just over $1M. That seems a bit low, considering Fangraphs has his 2016 value at $10.7M. But, that proves the point. Barney’s value is greater than a lot of people realize.
Of course, MacLeaod uses Barney’s versatility as the key point in his piece, which includes pointing out the utililty player’s piano playing ability. Yup, Barney can do it all.
*Appearing on the Sportsnet 590 The Fan, Jonah Keri suggested that the Blue Jays’ optimal pitching staff includes Francisco Liriano in the bullpen as the lefty arm the club sorely needs. On the surface, this idea makes a lot of sense. The Blue Jays have had a lot of difficulty filling that role with an effective arm. Aaron Loup has been tried. He’s gone. Brett Cecil has had opportunities to be the guy he was last season, but he’s not performing as such. So, an effective lefty is needed.
It makes even more sense when you get to the postseason. Then, you won’t need a full starting rotation, let alone one that has 6 pitchers. The concern lies in whether Liriano can come in out of the ‘pen and find the strike zone quickly. In the reliever role, one does not have 4 innings to figure things out. He has to come out and hit the ground running. The margin for error is smaller, which scares me.
Given this option, the deal to bring in Liriano looks that much better. All things considered, he could be a great pick up. That is, of course, if he can be effective. But, that is true of any deal by any team at any time. The Blue Jays have done a good job of adding depth to fill out their roster. Liriano is another example of the depth and versatility the roster actually has. Of course, so much will depend on a number of factors, but right now, the depth looks good.
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