Jays From the Couch brings you the latest Blue Jays news & links. This edition: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & More!
The Toronto Blue Jays are getting that much closer to reporting for duty in Dunedin, Florida! As they make their way, you’ll see a lot of folks starting to turn their attention toward baseball again (was out attention anywhere else?). The storylines from Spring Training are bound to plentiful. But, until we get there, let’s take a look at the latest news & links:
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* The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame announced its 2017 inductees on Thursday, and the list is rather impressive.
— CDN Baseball HOF (@CDNBaseballHOF) February 2, 2017
Vladimir Gurrero spent 8+ seasons playing for the Expos, establishing himself as one of baseball premier hitters, before heading to play for the Angels. If his son, Valdimir Jr can live up to the kind of legend the father established, the Blue Jays will be quite pleased indeed, as tall an order as that is. Ray Carter recently stepped away from his role as President of Baseball Canada, where he served for 16 years. Doug Hudlin was a former prolific umpire who passed away in 2014. The CBHoF has a nice profile of him HERE. The 2015 Pan Am team won its second straight gold medal, led by Ernie Whitt. The roster featured current Blue Jays minor leaguer, Shane Dawson, Adam Loewen, Jeff Francis and Andrew Albers.
Obviously, Roy Halladay stands out on this list. Many wish he could have spent his whole career in Toronto. But, trading him was former GM, Alex Anthopoulos’, first job in an effort to stock the system and provide Doc a chance to win. And, he did. He had a great run with the Phillies, but it would have been nice if the Blue Jays could have been good enough to allow him to win in Toronto. Anyway, he will forever hold a spot in the hearts of baseball fans in Canada, which is why he will be enshrined.
* There may come a day when we don’t just have to see Doc in a Blue Jays uniform in our memories, or to throw out ceremonial pitches. Apparently, he is interested in getting back into baseball, and he drops a bit of a hint as to how that ‘thinking’ has been going:
Roy Halladay: “I do have plans to get back into baseball." Not sure what team or role. "Although I can say I have talked to the #BlueJays”
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) February 2, 2017
That would be a rather interesting endeavor for the former Cy Young winner. I mean, the influence and impact he could have on a young pitching staff is certainly valuable. His famous work ethic and focus alone would be worth bringing him aboard for. The beauty is that, in baseball, there really doesn’t even have to be a job opening for him. Like many other positions, the Blue Jays could just create some kind of title to have him hang out with the team and impart his wisdom. Think about the talented young pitchers the Blue Jays have coming up in the next few years…Imagine a Doc effect.
* Swithcing gears, Joshua Howsam took a look at how to fix Kevin Pillar‘s performance(s) at the plate. It is a well written piece over at Baseball Prospectus that defends the argument that the adjustment he could make that would help him the most is actually quite simple. Joshua argues that standing closer to the plate. By doing so, he would be able to hit those outside offerings, and pitchers wouldn’t go further outside for fear of missing the zone completely, wild pitches, etc.
* If you’re starting to think about your fantasy team for this coming season, Chris Towers (CBS Sports) offers up a look at some mistakes from last season that could help you decide what to do this year. I mean, every year, we all make huge mistakes in our fantasy pool, don’t we? We might make a huge trade and give up way too much for a guy we can’t help but root for in everyday life. Not that that ever happened to anyone in particular…cough…
Anyway, Towers suggests that Troy Tulowitzki was a mistake in 2016 because he fits into the “Ignored signs of decline” category. Well, that very well could be true, if you think about it. Or, you could consider the rough start he got off to and the fantasy hole that would have dug for owners. With a more consistent year, he would still be a good selection. Not first overall kind of stuff anymore, but solid.
* While the Blue Jays roster looks to be coming together and nearing the end stages of development, Tao of Stieb reminds us that the middle infield is not exactly a sure bet at this point. With the aforementioned Tulo and Devon Travis not likely to see a full season at their respective positions, the Blue Jays will need strong play from their bench. Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins will certainly fill in defensively, but the bigger concern is that the offensive production will take quite the hit. And, Tao lists several internal options that will not make the situation seem any better.
Perhaps, the Wild Card in this discussion is Lourdes Gourriel Jr. How quickly can he develop? How quickly can he make an impact on the big league roster? The short answer is: not quick enough. But, he does have a very outside shot at competing for some playing time in the near future. That said, it is not likely since it is unclear how he will adjust to playing in North America.
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