Jays From the Couch brings you the latest news and links about the Toronto Blue Jays. This edition: Martin, Edwin, Dickey & More!
Ugh. What a gut punch this weekend was. It was a big series against the Red Sox that would have gone a long way to helping the Toronto Blue Jays take over the AL East. It was especially painful if, like me, you were surrounded by friends who cheer for the Beantowners. Meh. Who needs friends? Here is the latest in Blue Jays news and links.
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*At Sportsnet, Michael Grange offered up a bit of pressure for Russell Martin. Grange says that Martin will be the key to the Toronto Blue Jays getting through the next few weeks of what promises to be an all out fight for first in the AL East. But, it doesn’t really matter if Grange adds more pressure to Martin, which is the point of the piece. Martin does not cave into pressure, according to Marcus Stroman: “Win or lose, four hits, no hits. He’s an even-keeled guy. The pennant race isn’t going to scare him at all, he’s been through the ringer.”
And that is exactly what the club will need as they try and take back the division: calm in the midst of chaos. Jose Bautista echoed this when he spoke with Hazel Mae after the players’ meeting over the weekend. The importance placed on having been through a playoff fight will be paramount in the coming weeks. It is something that needs to take over as the club showed several signs of…not panic…but what’s the opposite of calm?
*Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun feels that Edwin Encarnacion will be in high demand this offseason. Yeah, that’s not really earth shattering news, obviously. Edwin is having a monster season at exactly the right time. It is a season that probably has the club management kicking themselves for not coming to an agreement before the season started so as to avoid having to pay through the teeth for his future services. This season is only serving to drive his price higher.
However, Simmons also chooses an interesting little comment to throw out there: “Blue Jays management has made no commitment — in terms or money, verbally or otherwise — to high-profile free agents, Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. In fact, management has done almost the opposite, pushing them away, putting off any meaningful talk until free agency begins post-season.” PUSHING THEM AWAY? The players (and their representatives) have to understand the business and the respective positions they were in. Imagine if the Blue Jays had agreed to “pay the man” and Jose performed the way he has this season. Imagine the reaction then. No, management did the right thing with their older players. Now, it will be interesting to see what that decision will end up costing them.
*At Sportsnet, Mike Wilner offers up some responses to questions he fielded. He leads off by fielding the demand for the Blue Jays to move R.A. Dickey to the bullpen. Basically, the argument from Wilner is that Dickey is the best 5th starter in the AL. He goes a long way to point that out. But, the real issue (which he touches on at the end) is that the knuckleball out of the bullpen is a mistake, Dickey, or not. The knuckleball offers up too many homeruns or passed balls for any team to trust it late in the game. It is for this reason that the answer is a firm “NO”, which Wilner probably could have just said and moved on.
Around the League:
*Over at BBSTMLB, Jen Rainwater tells us how Coco Crisp is still loved in Oakland even after the deal that sent him to the Indians a short while ago. Fans love him because of his love for the city. He talked a lot about wanting to stay in Oakland, which is unheard of. And, let’s be honest, they love him because they really got to know him, which is also unheard of since any player of quality is traded before ownership has to pay up to keep them.
*And, as frustrating as the season is for us, the fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, we can take solace in knowing that it could be much worse. We could be following the Minnesota Twins. That would be a fool’s errand since, as Matt Musico points out at Chin Music Baseball, there’s really only been one reason to cheer: Brian Dozier. The second baseman is hitting .279/.350/.576 with 38 homers, 32 doubles, 91 RBI and 92 runs.
*Over at Pirates Breakdown, Matt Shetler explores whether the Pirates should shut down their young pitching, or keep them going to fight for a playoff spot. The idea is that they have a lot of talented pitching and if the club feels they do not have a shot at the post season, even though they are still mathematically alive, then perhaps, they should protect said pitching. Typically, we think of that “are we in it?” decision happening around July 31st, but with such a premium on pitching, teams will always have to monitor their assets and debate whether to “go for it”.
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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.