Jays From the Couch brings you the latest Toronto Blue Jays News & Links. This edition: Jose Bautista & Kevin Pillar gets the thumbs up!
There are a couple takeaways from Cleveland having the success it has had this October. Firstly, Toronto lost to a good team, obviously. And, the guys who had major roles in building that team now work for us! Here’s the latest rumblings on Mark Shapiro & Ross Atkins’ Toronto Blue Jays.
*So, we have heard from Boston Globe scribe, Nick Cafardo, via Sportsnet that Jose Bautista will likely be rejecting the $17.2M qualifying offer that will be coming his way (duh!). That does not come as a surprise, since there have not been many players who believe in their value more than Joey Bats. He is not likely to let a down season, marred by injuries force him into taking a one year- prove yourself deal. Not at age 36, he won’t.
But, what adds more fuel to this burning topic is the following headline from TSN: Report: Bautista Interested in Red Sox. That kind of headline, which only leads to the exact same report of Cafardo’s, is the kind of stuff that is going to make this offseason that much more annoying. The
not so clever twisting of words to create a headline is going to continue to be a thing until both Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion finally sign. Even if they sign elsewhere, the lead up to it will be full of every attempt at causing a stir. The only interest Bautista has is in Brian Butterfield and maybe John Farrell. That seems like very little to base this kind of headline on, no? I mean, there may be something to that interest, but for TSN to use that to create such a headline…I mean…ugh.
*Michael Bradburn of MLB Daily Dish takes a stab at the good old “Where Will Jose Bautista Land” game. He lists 5 teams that could see the Flipper of Bats hitting for them. Now, he begins this exercise stating that Bautista will be a DH only, which is not necessarily a given. Teams have run poorer defenders out there. He lists the Red Sox as an option, of course. But, he includes an interesting choice in the Houston Astros. It’s not even clear why Bradburn lists the Astros since he turns around and says it is not likely to happen. But, that is not even the biggest bone of contention you’ll have. He says that the Texas Rangers are so tired of choking, and have a hole to fill at first that they could consider signing Bautista. I’m just gonna leave that with you.
*Shi Davidi reassures us that Kevin Pillar will be A-OK for Spring Training after having surgery on his thumb. He’d hurt himself back in August, took a bit of time off and then returned to play through the tear in a ligament. In August, he hit just .240, but went on to hit .278 in September and October, with an OBP of .343. Of course he hit with little power over that span with 0 HR and 9 doubles in total in from August onward. It’s tough to hit for power with a torn ligament. Pillar is also up against Jackie Bradley Jr and Kevin Kiermaier for the CF Gold Glove Award. Thumbs up, Kevin!
*Sticking with Sportsnet, we have an interesting notion from Nick Ashbourne. He suggests that the Blue Jays may want to focus on improving their already stellar defense this offseason, rather than trying to retain or replace the offense they look to lose. With Bautista, Encarnacion, Michael Saunders and Dioner Navarro heading to free agency, Ashbourne says that what the club is really losing is their worst defenders. It is an interesting way to look at things, actually. In subtracting the lesser defense of Bautista, the club has the opportunity to focus on run prevention and replace him for much less than it would take to keep his bat.
The focus on defense certainly would be cheaper, and might even save them a few more runs over the course of a season. Saving more runs might mean they have to score fewer. It makes sense. But, when you look at the lack of success the Blue Jays had late in the season, it was not because they gave up way too many runs. The problem is that they gave up too many runs for the amount they were scoring. Cleveland did not score that many runs against Toronto, but because their bats scored more than the anemic Blue Jays, they won.
Around the League
*Matt Musico of Chin Music Baseball offers up 6 free agents who will be interesting to watch this winter. While soon to be former Blue Jays aren’t on the list, there are some rather good ones. Yoenis Cespedes will certainly lead the way this offseason. As will Mark Melancon, who will likely be the third most sought after closer on the market. A team that is clever could swoop in and sign Melancon before Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen set the market.
*If you didn’t see it, our Wade Black looked into the idea of whether long ball or small ball have a bigger impact on postseason wins. It turns out that it is no quite what you think. Well, over at The Captain’s Blog, William Juliano looked into the same idea. William offers up some graphics that compare the two philosophies of scoring runs and is updating them every day. Check it out.
*Remember, when you are frustrated by the Blue Jays being ousted in the ALCS…again, you can always think about which fanbase has it worse. For example, the Philadelphia Phillies are pretty terrible these days. Now, they do get to boast a World Series championship more recent than 1993. They won it all in 2008. Over at Fightin’ Phillies, Rich Baxter says that October 29 should be a holiday in that city. He may have a point. If any team is a healthy reminder of how rare a championship is and how unlikely it is to roll back around, it is the Phillies.
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