Blue Jays Morning News: Trade, Roster and More!

Jays From the Couch brings the latest news and links about the Toronto Blue Jays. This edition looks at the roster, a trade and the Canadian Hall of Fame


Man, is it just me, or is Spring Training taking its sweet time to get here? The groundhog did not see his shadow, so that means he’ll hop in his TARDIS and we’ll wake up to baseball sooner than we thought, right? Until then…

There was a big trade on Tuesday afternoon as the Blue Jays got outfielder, Darrell Ceciliani from the Mets. OK, it wasn’t a huge trade, but it was something. Oddly, there were mixed reports over just how this trade would look as we heard different stories from each club as to whether he was coming to Toronto for cash or a player to named later, or a box of timbits and 2-4.

Initially, this deal doesn’t look like something to get excited about. In his first taste of big league action, 2015 saw him get into 39 games for 75 plate appearances that resulted in a 5.3% walk rate and a 33% K rate. Normally, with these kind of numbers, you might expect some power. He put up .074 ISO in 2015. But, he does have a history (in the minor leagues) of better pop. As a fielder, he put up 6 DRS and a UZR/150 of 37.6 splitting time in LF and CF. So, if anything, you know that if he ever does see time in the big leagues, he’ll be a decent enough defensive replacement.

This deal is a tad interesting because of the apparent depth in the outfield. Already, the Blue Jays have Michael Saunders and Dalton Pompey set to battle it out for the only job left on the big league roster. In Buffalo, the Bisons have Ezequiel Carrera and Junior Lake likely destined to start the season. Melky Mesa is currently the only OF on the Bisons’ roster. So, perhaps this deal doesn’t look so bad.

Over at the Vancouver Sun, Michael Hobson sounds off on Rogers for their spending ways. But, he takes a bit of a hitherto unheard of stance. He says that if the Blue Jays had not made the playoffs in 2015, Rogers would have demanded a fire sale and shed salary to (his arbitrary amount) $95M- a fairly sizable contrast from the current estimated amount.

While Hobson points out the difference in ownership of a team like the Blue Jays and, say, the Red Sox, he comes down harshly on an ownership that has appeared to have supported pay increases every time it was asked. Yes, the club avoided spending silly amounts on contracts like David Price‘s, but they also approved major trades that represented payroll upgrades.

Hobson is very critical of Rogers’ approach to winning. He tells us that the money made off a playoff push and a potential push in 2016 would have paid for Price’s first year. This might be true, but it is a fairly shortsighted view of budgeting for a competitor.

If you think that the leadoff spot in the Blue Jays lineup has been a subject that’s been beaten to death, you are not alone. But, that didn’t stop Bob McCown and Michael Grange from asking manager, John Gibbons about the hole in the lineup. We shouldn’t begrudge the question. It needs to be asked. And, it needs to be asked of Gibby. As it turns out, Gibby also feels there is a hole to fill.

And, while he loves the trade that brought Drew Storen to Toronto, he will miss the traditional leadoff hitter that Ben Revere was. Gibby did say, though that Troy Tulowitzki says he’ll hit wherever the club asks him to. If he has to leadoff, he would do it, even though he prefers to hit lower.

If you’re worried about the Blue Jays lineup, you likely will not be comforted by knowing that Josh Thole appears to be the backup for Russell Martin. With Martin seeming to need more and more days off, Thole could see more playing time than we’d like thought.

Over at Jays Journal, Keegan Matheson makes us feel a bit better about having Thole in the lineup. Keegan puts Thole’s bat in the context of other backups that have played for Toronto. Going back to 2011, the likes of Jose Molina, Yorvit Torrealba, Jeff Mathis, Henry Blanco and Erik Kratz have graced the backstop position. In other words, the bar for backup catchers has been set fairly low in Toronto.

Disha Shetti of Wisden India tells us that former Blue Jays farm hand, Boomer Collins is leaving baseball behind and heading to India to pursue cricket. Since the Blue Jays released him, he has turned his attention to learning a sport that may seem similar, but would be a harder transition than we think.

He was recruited by a guy named Julien Fountain, who is a former cricket and baseball player who looks for minor leaguers who may be ready to give up on the toil of following their dreams. Fountain explains it like this:

The money in baseball is absolutely heavily weighted towards the top – the major leagues,” Fountain tells Wisden India. “They sign these professional baseball players for their minor leagues and groom them to be ready to play at the top. But the downside of that is the money involved in these minor league teams is pretty disastrous.

There are thousands of such minor league players who are trying to break in, but only a handful of senior major league players retiring. So guys like Boomer get stuck in the minors, move around from team to team, and there comes a stage in their career where they are earning so little money that they are compelled to make a decision.”

Collins was moonlighting as a milk delivery man. We wish him the best as he takes on a sport that has 3 and 5 day matches.

A couple of historic figures in baseball in Canada are heading into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. The 2016 class will feature Pat Hentgen, a former Blue Jay and Cy young Award winner, and Dennis Martinez, a former Montreal Expo and 4 time All Star. The announcements of the Canadian HoF are always interesting since they do not follow the same (often silly) requirements and debate that Cooperstown does. Essentially, nominees are selected based on their impact on baseball in Canada. Seems simple enough, eh?


*Featured Image Credit: udo.d UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0



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