Jays From the Couch brings you the latest Toronto Blue Jays news. This time: minor league deals, Josh Donaldson, Aaron Sanchez & more!
The Toronto Blue Jays have begun the ‘minor league signing’ portion of their offseason. That means you are bound to see plenty of news flash before you about signing players to contracts, but these aren’t exactly the type of players we’ve been waiting all winter for. No, these guys are going to be quite different. If you’re angry about these seemingly disappointing or insignificant signings, I suggest you have a listen to Episode 151 of the Jays From the Couch Radio podcast. It is rather relevant.
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* Let’s see…the Blue Jays have signed LHP, Craig Breslow, RHP, John Axford, LHP, Matt Tracy and RHP, Jake Petricka to compete for bullpen spots this season. Of the three, Petricka is the one that very well could be a factor for the big league club. He saved 14 games and picked up a hold in 10 more in 2014 and was worth 0.5 fWAR. In 2015, he saved 2 while holding 12 more. Limited to just 32 innings in 2017, Petricka will likely need to show that he is healthy in order to compete against the likes of Danny Barnes and Ryan Tepera for a righty job.
Axford is simply a depth move. IF he is over the shoulder issues that derailed his 2017, he might have an outside shot at cracking the big league roster. But, that doesn’t seem likely to happen unless something has gone terribly wrong in Toronto. Breslow shouldn’t be expected to win a job right away either. Sure, he’s a lefty, but the Blue Jays have built themselves quite a stable of lefty potions. With Aaron Loup all but guaranteed a job to start the season, Breswow will have to wait in line behind guys like Matt Dermody and Ryan Borucki. If the club feels Borucki is a starter and they’d rather keep him in that role in AAA, then Breslow may move up a spot…assuming he earns it. Tracy will have an even tougher time than Breslow given that he spent last year climbing the Twins system to rather pedestrian results.
* In other news, Nick Dika of BP Toronto has an idea of how to entice Josh Donaldson to re-sign in Toronto. If you’re thinking that the idea is ‘PAY THE MAN!’, you might be off track on this one. Obviously paying him what he wants is the easiest thing to do, but it remains to be seen if it is likely. Instead, Dika offers up what one assumes to be less than serious ideas like threatening to trade him to the Cardinals. Apparently, their choice in guest speaker at certain events might not be appealing. One can’t assume a player’s political leanings, though.
Dika does mention sponsorship deals in the Toronto area as a possibility for adding to his bank account. Considering his penchant for the game of golf, one wonders if there is something there for the Bringer of Rain.
* In quite possibly the understatement of the offseason, TSN‘s Scott Mitchell opines that Aaron Sanchez is the key to the 2018 season. I mean, Mitchell doesn’t really offer up any reasons for his statement. But, that doesn’t change the truth of it. 2017 saw the shadow of Sanchez make 8 starts for 36 rather disappointing innings. Obviously, the results are directly related to the blister that he tried to treat by hacking at the nail.
He’s started throwing and, assuming we never hear the word “blister” in 2018, we could be looking at something closer to his 2016, 15-2, 3.00 performance. Sanchez, could single handedly add 10 wins to the Blue Jays total, taking them from 76 to 86. Obviously, there’s a lot more that goes into such a record change, but you get the point.
* Responding to recent rumours (from Jon Morosi, so…) Andrew Stoeten has some thoughts on the Blue Jays’ interest in Andrew Cashner. Part of what makes it an interesting idea is that Cashner has had success limiting hitters’ hard contact on balls in the air. This kind of analytical view of adding a pitcher who immediately causes you to raise an eyebrow is exactly what we should expect from the Blue Jays.
Really, they are trying to find a buy low starter for their 5th spot. They don’t want to pay extreme value for someone, nor do they want to commit lots of years. Someone like Cashner very well could be had on a short term, low AAV deal, which would be great in the new world of ‘surplus value‘. If he has success, he provides plenty of value. IF he doesn’t, the money risked isn’t painful.
* Our friend, Doug Fox of Future Blue Jays, provides a look at the 2017 season of Jon Harris, who has found himself slipping in the eyes of certain minor league writers. The reasons for his struggles, according to Doug, were tipping off his change up thanks to a rather pronounced wind up that had his hands up over his head. If a hitter knows a change is coming, there is no “off balance” anymore.
* Rightfully, the Blue Jays will retire Roy Halladay’s number on Opening Day. As well, the club will wear a patch on their sleeves. Laura Armstrong of The Star shares the words Mark Shapiro had about Doc: “Through Roy’s values, pride, work ethic and perservereance, he epitomized what it means to be a Blue Jay. And while his legacy is clear, it goes far beyond the number on his back or his on-field accomplishments, serving as a shining example of how to live a meaningful life and positively impact others.”
* Also at The Star, Richard Griffin provides some travel tips for those looking to head to Dunedin, Florida to take in some Blue Jays Spring Training action.
* Finally, our good friend Keegan Matheson has launched his latest project. Baseball Toronto has opened its gates for the world. Keegan’s venture will provide “professional, independent coverage of the Toronto Blue Jays”. Keegan has allowed everyone in to look around before you will need to sign up for a subscription to continue to enjoy. We wish Keegan the best!
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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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.