Jays From the Couch brings you the latest news & links about the Toronto Blue Jays. This edition: Stroman, Schultz, Morales, Bautista & more!
Oh, boy! We are so close to Opening Day! After an eternity of Spring Training, the Toronto Blue Jays will start playing games for realsies. So, let’s take a look at the latest rumblings around Canada’s team.
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* Jays From the Couch took part in a session of Playing Pepper, hosted by Cards Onclave. They sent out a list of questions to a select group of those who cover the Blue Jays as part of their way of getting ready for the 2017 season. You can opretty much guess what some of the questions focused on: Who will replace Edwin Encarnacion? How would you rate the offseason? You know, the questions that those who do not follow the team regularly would want to know.
One of the questions, though centered around Marcus Stroman. The question asked if he is the staff ‘ace’. Generally, the consensus among those who participated is that Stroman would have to outshine Aaron Sanchez to do that. And, that is not even mentioning the fact that Toronto’s rotation has 3 other starters who are capable of being that ‘ace’ (it’s a loose term, anyway). Stroman has the arsenal of a small army to throw at hitters, but he will have some stiff competition in this context. And, we get to sit back and watch it all play out!
* The news for Bo Schultz went from bad to worse. Instead of missing 6+ weeks to repair bone chips, he will miss this entire season as, according to Sportsnet had Tommy John surgery on Wednesday. That is terrible news for a guy who was coming back from hip surgery a year ago. Just when he seems to be about to crack the big league roster, this happens.
While this is terrible news, it does make the bullpen picture clear(er). With Aaron Loup likely filling the second lefty spot, Mike Bolsinger is watching other competitors for the final spot drop off the race.
#BlueJays option RHP Dominic Leone and C Juan Graterol to minor-league camp. Bullpen race down to Mike Bolsinger, Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) March 29, 2017
Simply being out of options, Bolsinger very well could break camp with the team. Ryan Tepera could be next in line since he is not out of options. It is worth noting that Schultz is out of options also. Now, Bolsinger wouldn’t be making the team just because of his option status (even though a team would be silly to give away a guy for nothing, which is what waivers would do as Bolsinger would surely be claimed). He has had a good spring. So has Tepera. So, things being equal, options will play into the decision.
* If you’re interested in taking the trip down to Buffalo to see the Bisons (you should be interested, it is a great time) to see some young stars like Rowdy Tellez, or some guys who could be called up to Toronto, the Bisons have put out a guide to Opening Day for you. Here, you can get ticket info, see their special events, some giveaways, etc. The Bisons will celebrate their 30th season at Coca-Cola Field, so Opening Day will feature throwback jerseys that will also be worn throughout the year.
* Over at SB Nation, Grant Brisbee has a very interesting read about the pace of play in baseball. Using two games – one from 1984 and one from 2014 – Brisbee seeks to find out just what is behind modern games being roughly 30 minutes longer. The two games featured almost identical events, etc so they served to be good (not scientific) comparisons. After eliminating commercials, which would have been the first supposed culprit, he eliminated other suspects and found out that it is actual pace of play that is the issue.
The time pitchers take to pitch and hitters to hit has actually increased over the years. Again, he’s using just two examples to prove the point, but it is worth talking about. Players are taking more time to ‘gather themselves’ and actually play in today’s game. And, one could take this speculation even further. The reason players are gathering themselves (and why the quick pitch is such a bone of contention) is because of the amount of money (or potential money) tied up in their performance. Now, one could argue that context is everything and players back then were making a lot of money relative to the times, but…no. There is more riding on doing well, so you can’t blame players for taking that extra second…that add up to extra minutes.
*At FanRag Sports, Evan Davis dumps all over the Kendrys Morales signing. The title calls the deal the mist ‘meh’ of the offseason, but the piece goes on a Morales-rage fest. Apparently, Mr Davis is not convinced that Morales will be a productive hitter, thinking instead that he’ll hit into double plays and waste outs thanks to a lack of speed. That is not to say that Davis is wrong about the speed. Because he is very much correct. But, calling Edwin Encarnacion a trident and Morales a “very sharp pitchfork with a missing spike” is a bit much. But, we’ll see. Davis will be right, or he won’t.
* In the interest of staying professional, I’m just going to say that there was more from FanRag Sports. This time, Gary Phillips says that Jose Bautista needs to bounce back in 2017, and he has to do so without the help he had last year, which apparently, is going to be difficult. That might make sense. Yes, Bautista does need to bounce back. He missed significant time due to injuries that were not age related, which is a fact that is missing in Phillips’ piece.
But, that is not the worst part. Missing Encarnacion will mean that Bautista will have to do more heavy lifting. Phillips calls Toronto’s a “thinning lineup” because Edwin is missing, but also…are you ready?…Michael Saunders has also left. That’s right, Michael Saunders of the abysmal 2nd half. Apparently, without these two, Jose Bautista will have to be better and do everything himself. So…
A special shout out to Blue Jays Aggregator, where you can find a lot of great Blue Jays links, including some featured here.
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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.