Jays From the Couch brings you the latest Toronto Blue Jays news & links. This edition: Bautista, Donaldson, Dickey & More!
The Toronto Blue Jays finally got their first win of the 2017 spring with a shutout of the Pirates 12-0. Not that the outcome of the game, or the score should really have an impact on your day, one way or another. It is Spring Training, after all. Though, as someone wise once tweeted:
— Jays From the Couch (@JaysFromCouch) February 28, 2017
So, let’s take a look at some things that matter way more than the score of yesterday’s game!
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* At Sportsnet, Mike Wilner begins the guesswork behind picking the Blue Jays 25 man roster for Opening Day. Apparently, this exercise will be a weekly thing. It’s not clear how much will change from week to week, but…
A couple interesting notes on Wilner’s guess have to do with the bullpen. He figures that Mat Latos will make the team out of the gate and serve in the bullpen, which is a bit of a surprise considering the options available in Mike Bolsinger and Gavin Floyd. That is not to say that Latos doesn’t provide depth, of course. If the club has all but given up on him as a starter, this might make sense. Wilner points out that the club will have over a week before it needs its 5th starter, so Liriano would be the next in line to start, or eat innings. So that means that Latos is not really being considered as a starter, at least in Wilner’s eyes.
Another guess of note is that Bo Schultz is on Wilner’s list. If Schultz is being given the nod, that means that guys like Glenn Sparkman are going to be exposed and possibly departing. That is not such a surprise, overall. But, it does suggest that Chris Smith, who we’ve been hearing so many good things about, are on the outside looking in.
Lastly, Wilner leaves Ryan Goins off the Opening Day roster. Again, that is not really a surprise, but would disappoint quite a few people. Of course, the Blue Jays infield, as good as it is, is quite fragile and Goins could see his turn come up any day.
* Over at CBS Sports, we hear that Josh Donaldson took some batting practice, which is a great sign that he’s returning from his calf strain. Obviously, the sooner he gets back into the lineup the better for Blue Jays fans. That said, there is little need to rush him. We’re just beginning March now and a month before the season even starts is not the time to enter panic mode. In fact, even if the season starts without him in the lineup, it is not the end of the world. A healthy Bringer of Rain is infinitely better than a rushed one.
That is why he is in no hurry to get back. Laura Armstrong of The Star shared Donadson’s comments on his recovery. While he is optimistic about his progress, the World Baseball Classic provides even more time for him to heal and he plans on using that time. So, while we want to see him in the lineup, fans will be more than OK with him and the Blue Jays taking as much time as they need for him to be…ready?…right as rain.
* Back to Sportsnet for minute. Emily Sadler brings us the remarks president, Mark Shapiro, had regarding the return of Jose Bautista. Obviously, you know he’s not going to come out and express anything but sheer joy that Toronto re-signed its legend. So, there is nothing Earth shattering in the comments, really. Shapiro goes on to say that Joey Bats is “positioned for a very good year”. Of course, that is Spring Training, non-specific, tire pumping that you would expect to hear. Now, here at JFtC, we already looked into what fans can expect from Bautista in 2017. And, depending on your definition of “a very good year” you might agree with Shapiro.
But, the more interesting take away from the comments the club president made were regarding a possible new nickname for Bautista. He says: “Jose is a player that has been, for a generation of Toronto baseball fans, maybe the single greatest provider of memories.” How does “The Provider of Memories” sound? Probably not likely to stick, but it is kind of fitting.
* Finally, more from Wilner (I know). This time, he shares the fond memories R.A. Dickey had form his time in Toronto. Aside from understanding the occasions where he was hearing boos rain down on him, he also had some philosophical (sockign, right?) insight into the frustrations fans might have felt watching him pitch:
You be the judge as to whether Dickey was better than just average against AL East opponents: W/L: 24-31, 3.90 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
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