Blue Jays Morning News: Get Ready for the 2016 Season!

Jays From the Couch brings you the latest news and links about the Toronto Blue Jays. This edition looks at getting ready for the start of the season!

 

The 2016 season is almost here. There are just two exhibition games in Montreal separating us from the opening series in Tampa Bay! The weekend is bound to see the city of Montreal, starving for baseball, hopping. To get you ready for the season, here are the latest news and links from Blue Jays Land.

*Over at ESPN, Eric Karabell brings us the Blue Jays portion of his Power Rankings. He has the club at #6 and thinks they’ll finish 2nd in the AL East, which…yeah…I disagree. But, he does think they’ll return to the postseason, so there’s that. For some reason, the loss of David Price is still a factor in all of this and Karabell wonders if the rotation can replace him. Combined, he says the rotation will be worth 8.2 WAR, with Marcus Stroman leading the way at 2. I’m more inclined to think that he’ll land somewhere between the Steamer (3.4) and Fans (4.7) projections found on Fangraphs. Regardless, the piece says that the offense will carry this team as its greatest strength, which is something we already knew. Their weakness? According to Karabell, it is the rotation and someone will need to step up and become a star. Again, I’m not sure that is the case. They don’t need to win a Cy Young. The rotation just needs to be consistent. They’ll be just fine. Heck, Steve Simmons brings us a piece on Russell Martin and his belief that this club believes it is better than last year.

*Speaking of the rotation, Ken Fidlin (via the National Post) brings us an interesting idea: that Aaron Sanchez could give Stroman a run for his money. That thought is very intriguing. Sanchez says that he doesn’t think about his spot in the rotation, whether it is 5 or 3 or 1. And, really he has a point. The spot in the rotation doesn’t really matter that much. Instead, what matters is his effectiveness. Once an area of concern, Sanchez says his command is under control: “With the work I did in the off-season this year, everything seemed to come effortlessly with my mechanics. That was a big issue for me last year. I just wasn’t in the right spots to execute the pitch. This year I’m much more stable and stronger, able to get into those positions without even thinking about it.” This could be a very interesting season for Sanchez. Imagine a 1-2 punch of Stroman and Sanchez lighting up the American League. It is this optimism that could lead us to believe that the above prediction of 2nd place is too harsh.

*Switching gears a bit, over at Jays Journal, Keegan Matheson (who happens to be the co-host of our Jays Nest Podcast) pretty much tells you all you need to know about a recent rumor that says the Blue Jays are “in” on recently released (by the Orioles, no less) Miguel Gonzalez. Basically, after having such a terrible spring this year, he is likely to get a minor league deal and the Blue Jays do not exactly have a lot of room for a struggling starting pitcher. Now, it could happen if he realizes that he’d be headed to Buffalo and would be in line behind the likes of Drew Hutchison and the “long men” in the ‘pen, Gavin Floyd and Jesse Chavez. I can’t see the Blue Jays rushing out to get some kind of deal done, here. If the Orioles are flat out releasing him…with their rotation…pass.

*Here’s some positive news for you. Josh Beneteau of Sportsnet tells us that Edwin Encarnacion will be ready for Opening Day. He’d been dealing with an abscessed tooth at first and then an oblique injury. But, after taking some at bats in a minor league game on Thursday, he has pronounced himself ready to go. While it would be nice to have this team as close to full as possible, the oblique is not something to mess with. We’ve seen it linger and cause more time than expected in the past. That said, you can expect that if he’s not 100%, he will not start the season. It makes no sense to risk his long term health at the beginning of April. Also, while he may be ready to start the season, he’ll apparently do so without a contract extension. Looks like that’ll wait until the end of the season…gulp.

*Over at Blue Jay Hunter, Ian Hunter shares a video of Kevin Pillar testing out his throwing arm. And, it is pretty cool. The object of the tests were to hit targets at 2nd and 3rd off a groundball to centerfield. And then, for an extra challenge, they flew a target on a drone. He hit it on his second attempt. He looks to be ready for the season! Here it is:

Ian has a great idea for the All Star game, too. He says that this could be made into an event that could run alongside the HR Derby. I’d be all for outfielders hitting targets, both moving and stationary.

*All of this really should take a back seat to what will be happening in Montreal over the next 2 days. Playing exhibition games at the Big O for the 3rd straight year, the Blue Jays will face the Boston Red Sox. But, before 106, 000 people attend the 2 games, there will be an ExposFest event held. Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette brings us the story of Perry Giannias, who arranged a charity event that brings together former Expos players like Vladimir Guerrero, Jose VidroAndres Galarraga, Ellis Valentine,  Steve Rogers and Marquis Grissom. The purpose behind this is that Giannias thinks that the exhibition games in Montreal are nice and all, but they don’t really mean a lot. He wants to see a team in Montreal; a team they can call their own. As he says, they’re Expos fans, not Blue Jays fans. While it is awesome to see that many folks show up for 2 exhibition games, one has to ask if a major league team would see that kind of support for an entire season. Would they be able to maintain a large enough audience for a prolonged period of time?

 

 

 

 

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

 

THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER@JAYSFROMCOUCH AND LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE JAYS NEST PODCAST

 

 

Shaun Doyle

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.