Jays From the Couch brings you the latest news and links about the Toronto Blue Jays. This edition: Encarnacion, Competing and Roberto Clemente
It’s a new year and Jays From the Couch could not be happier! We have enjoyed our first full year covering the Toronto Blue Jays and we are looking forward to the growth that another season will bring. We have thoroughly enjoyed 2016 thanks to the great readership we have built. We wish to THANK YOU for your continued support. In looking ahead, we bring you the latest news and links about your Toronto Blue Jays.
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*At Sportsnet, Shi Davidi brings us a timeline of the negotiations that took place between the Blue Jays and Edwin Encarnacion. There are a couple of takeaways from this sequence of events: 1) it is tough to blame the organization for how they handled things. Really, the only fault is that they wanted to move quickly. They wanted to get something done before things got out of hand in the event of a bidding war breaking out. In all honesty, it is even tough to blame the club for working this way. Yes, it is a long offseason, but it can be a difficult approach to ride out the market on top sluggers. 2) if Davidi’s timeline is correct (there is no reason to think it wouldn’t be) the Blue Jays were actually quite aggressive in pursuing Edwin. Many will point to the aggression coming early, but come on… They used their negotiating window. Edwin’s side wanted to wait, which is their right. 3) the club didn’t replace Edwin with Kendrys Morales. In fact, they were trying to get BOTH. One can only hope that Shi’s timeline will help calm the debate that continues to rage over who is to blame for the departure of Encarnacion.
Also, as an aside, here’s a little PSA from Jays From the Couch: Encarnacion was not a Blue Jay as of the final out of the World Series. He departed a while ago. And, the offseason works this way. Teams negotiate with players, players try and get the most they can, turn, turn, turn. Sometimes deals happen, sometimes they don’t.
*At Hum and Chuck, Joanna wonders about the Blue Jays actually being competitive in 2017. She references the well used line from the club about fielding a ‘competitive’ team this coming season. It seems they are saying ‘competitive’, but what does that actually mean? Joanna fears it means the following: “To my traumatized Toronto sports fan brain, “competitive” sounds like “a cost effective, 84 wins, let’s trade Donaldson in July to ‘rebuild the farm’.” Good enough to sell tickets, but not actually good enough to win.”
Toronto sports aside, this is an interesting idea. On paper, the Blue Jays do look to have a team that could compete for a third straight playoff spot. Of course, on paper, the Boston Red Sox look set to win 160 games. To be sure, paper is one thing. But, the fact remains that when this team, as it currently stands, takes the field, we will be holding our collective breath they can actually be competitive.
If they cannot, then we all will likely agree with Joanna and have them do whatever they need to do to get back into real contention quickly, not 20 years from now.
*IF you’re worried about whether the Blue Jays will compete in 2017, relax. Robbie Stratakos is here to save the day! Writing for the Last Word on Baseball, Robbie tells us that the Blue Jays are actually the TEAM TO BEAT in the AL East in 2017. Now, if you can get past the typo in the title, you will read how the Red Sox don’t actually look that good with the addition of Chris Sale. According to Stratakos, adding Sale does not make up for the loss of David Ortiz, who has retired. Um, ok…
In fact, it is Stratakos’ assertion that the Blue Jays rotation is better than their Beantown rivals. While that remains to be seen, it certainly sounds right. The Blue Jays had the best rotation in the AL last season. But, a lineup of David Price, Sale and the Cy Young winner, Rick Porcello seems pretty intimidating.
Stratakos is welcome to his opinion, but his piece doesn’t actually convince that the Blue Jays are ready to repeat playoff glory. Time will tell if he is correct, but it is tough to swallow right now.
*To wrap up our Blue Jays portion, take a look at Bruce Arthur’s list of the best quotes in sports of 2016. There have been some pretty hilarious things said in the world of sports. In particular, baseball fans will enjoy the following from Joe Biagini: “I get nervous ordering food at restaurants, so it’s probably just a general accepted feeling.” This was his response when being asked if he was nervous for the postseason. How about this: “To have your hopes destroyed by a man named Coco Crisp dressed like a racist brand of cereal is tough.” from Globe and Mail theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck, following the ALCS loss to Cleveland.
One that sticks out in the memory is from Juan Uribe who suffered a contusion in his groin after a groundball. When asked why he wasn’t wearing a cup, he said the staff didn’t have one big enough. Classic!
Around the League
*At Unsung Zeroes, we hear that the new labour agreement between MLB and the Player’s Union is not all rainbows and puppies. In fact, it really could be the calm before the storm: “…the league’s latest iteration of the CBA more closely resembles a temporary cease fire with a major showdown likely waiting at its expiration. With major concessions from the MLBPA, including significant restrictions on access to compensation for both domestic and international amateurs and more severe penalties for teams surpassing only a moderately increasing luxury tax threshold, owners are set to unilaterally capitalize on expected continued league-wide revenue growth…”
*Over at Pirates Breakdown, Tyler Waite offers up a look at what could have been for the great Roberto Clemente. More than his impact on the Pirates, Tyler argues that the legend of Clemente goes beyond the field of play. It is a very interesting read for baseball fans as well as the everyday person as Tyler encourages us all to live like Roberto and have an impact on our community the way he did, which sounds like a great New Year’s Resolution. And, it would be tough to argue against the idea of retiring Clemente’s number around baseball, as Tyler suggests.
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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.