Jays from the Couch brings you the latest news & links about the Toronto Blue Jays. This edition: Aaron Sanchez, John Gibbons & more!
Happy St Patrick’s Day! It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, but it’s just like riding a horse…or a bike…or… Anyway, while we’ve been enjoying the World Baseball Classic, and some meaningless Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training games, there have been plenty of other distractions to grab our attention. From player injuries to agents calling out ownership, there’s lots to get to in today’s Morning News.
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* It would appear that Blue Jays manager, John Gibbons, is about to get his contract extension. According to Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun, Gibby could be seeing a new deal any time now. Obviously, it is too early to know any more than that – length and dollar amount aren’t known, and dollars may never be known – but it is a good sign as the team looks to maintain some consistency after reaching their second straight ALCS.
Gibby’s comment on the contract situation are as you wold expect, laid back and humble: “I’ve got peace of mind. I’ve made a good living to this point. I enjoy my job. Everybody likes security, there’s no doubt. I think we’ll get something soon. Definitely.” For his part, GM, Ross Atkins says that he has become a big fan of everything Gibby brings to the table, so he wants to keep him around for a long period of time. So, perhaps, we can read a few years into that.
* Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson found themselves being able to get into some minor league game action on Thursday. While that sounds encouraging, we shouldn’t expect to see them return to the active roster all that quickly. As described in the linked Arden Zwelling piece, the training staff has been monitoring the two very closely and, while encouraged, are not pushing them further just to be sure they’re ready on Opening Day. Instead, they’ll take it day by day with the possibility of using the new 10 day DL to start the season. It is a very nice ace to have in the back pocket for a pair of significant players who very well could be ready to go soon, but could also use that much extra time.
* The Blue Jays made another roster move, of sorts yesterday by sending Reese McGuire to minor league camp:
C Reese McGuire assigned to minor league camp per #BlueJays
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) March 16, 2017
Moves like this are not exactly earth shattering, in fact, they really are just part of the package of Spring Training as it winds toward Opening Day. We will see much more of these as the days go on. McGuire is an intriguing part of this organization. He was part of the rather large haul haul the Blue Jays managed to get from the Pirates for Drew Hutchison. Along with Francisco Liriano and Harold Ramirez, McGuire came over to Toronto last summer. Now, he finds himself ranked rather high in the Blue Jays system and has captured the attention of a fanbase that is reluctant to acknowledge the age of Russell Martin.
* Over at BP Toronto, Andrew Munn states the case for Melvin Upton Jr.to take on the everyday LF job in 2017. And, admittedly, this is something that may not have crossed the minds of many people. It may not have even crossed the minds of the Blue Jays. It looks like Ezequiel Carrera will be given some playing time (regardless of logic, or whether he actually deserves it), so Upton Jr looks to be a platoon player, at best, this coming season.
But, Munn makes some good points about Upton Jr’s swing rates to suggest that he could very well see a return to form in his future. Simply, swinging at strikes and not at balls is what got back in a groove previously, and could work again. Now, it is no guarantee that something so simple would work, but it should be an idea that is treated with an open mind.
* Sigh, I guess we should probably talk about the whole “Aaron Sanchez” thing…
Over at Yahoo! Sports, Liz Roscher is harder on the Blue Jays than super agent, Scott Boras was. She lets into the club for not spending more on Sanchez. Basically, she thinks that the club has money and is being cheap. She also thinks that this move will come back to haunt them in the long run. I already touched on this story HERE, but the argument that a team makes a stadium load of money isn’t the most solid. Baseball is a business. Sanchez understands that, and whether he admits it, Boras understands it too. The bottom line is that Sanchez was offered more money, he thought it should be more, so he rejected the offer, so the club will give him the minimum.
It is not like folks don’t know how Atkins operates. He is not just going to throw money around. As well, knowing that rejecting the offer would mean taking the minimum, perhaps more consideration should have been given to the offer. Regardless of where you stand, the fact is that the argument is over a few hundred thousand, maybe, and it doesn’t change the fact that Sanchez will be a Blue Jay for a long time. Let’s just sit back and watch him work his magic. What goes into his bank account is between a small group of people, not the entire world.
* An interesting piece to follow the Sanchez debate with is this: Peter Gammons wrote (at Gammons Daily) that Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have done a great job of building a culture in Toronto. Now, we’ve heard many times about the analytical approach Shapkins brings to this organization, but the focus of Gammons’ piece is about the personal side of the game that has been a focus for this management team. The personnel changes made in scouting, development, etc show a focus on building relationships with players. Gammons explains that today’s baseball player cannot be treated like they were 20-30 years ago; they need to feel more respected.
Shapiro says: “To build an organization that can sustain its culture and build accountability and values in developing players is essential. The game is more than raw, simple talent, or numbers. So we’re trying to build, develop and win simultaneously.”
But, if you consider the treatment of the Sanchez thing, the focus on personal interactions may be still a work in progress.
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