Ramifications of Michael Saunders’ injury

Image via Elaine Thompson/AP

Image via Elaine Thompson/AP

With news of the Toronto Blue Jays’ starting left fielder, Michael Saunders, out until the All-Star break with a torn meniscus in his left knee, the injury bug has already bitten this team and it’s the first day positional players had to report to spring training! While it’s way too early to play the “throw in the towel, it’s all over” card, Toronto has to regroup…Continue reading→

Candidates for the Canadian Roster at the Pan-Am Games

Above is that of Maxx Tissenbaum.

Above is that of Maxx Tissenbaum.

Last week, JP Morosi of Fox Sports wrote about the potential American roster for this summer’s Pan-Am Games taking place in Toronto from July 10-26th. The roster is truly stacked – go ahead, and click on the link to have a look. As a result, I thought it would be interesting to delve into who the candidates would be for the Canadian roster. Keep in mind, eligible players must not be on any MLB club’s 40 man roster, and they would also have to receive permission to play in the tournament…Continue reading→

Growing The Game Amongst African-Americans

youth field the star ledger scott lituchy

Image via The Star-Ledger’s Scott Lituchy

The percentage of African-American players in MLB has declined steadily since the mid 90’s. It was 8.3 percent in 2013 and it is believed, according to Mark Armour of SABR, that baseball has suffered a decrease from about twice that – around 18 to 19 percent – which is what it was from the 70’s into the 90’s. In contrast, Latino players were at 28.3 percent; Asian at 2.1 percent…Continue reading→

When Will The Tigers Window Close?

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Detroit TigersThis is hardly scientific, but here’s an attempt to shed some light on when the Detroit Tigers current window of contention might close. I’ll look at a recent, strikingly similar comparable and look at the Tigers’ performance in relation to their payroll, and how they’ve currently been trying to fill out their roster.

There are a lot of parallels to be drawn between the windows of contention between…Continue reading→

Notes on Blue Jays State of the Franchise

The following are some notes from the annual Blue Jays State of the Franchise event held at Rogers Centre, which was streamed live online.

GM Alex Anthopoulos explained his offseason goals in “getting more durable” guys like Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson. He mentioned improving the defense was a priority and he accomplished that with the Michael Saunders and Martin acquisitions. He also wanted to change the mix of the club, saying “we’ve added [to the roster], we’ve gotten better.”

The projected lineup and rotation flashed on the screen showing the following:

Reyes, SS

Martin, C

Bautista, RF

Encarnacion, DH

Donaldson, 3B

Smoak, 1B

Saunders, LF

Pompey, CF

2B

And they had Aaron Sanchez penciled into the fifth spot of the rotation.

Anthopoulos made it clear however that “things can still happen,” that they’re still talking to teams about trades, there’s still free agents out there, so there’s a scenario where Sanchez could still end up in the bullpen as a late relief arm.

Buck Martinez reiterated to the fans in attendance and those streaming the event live online “don’t get too concerned about your team until opening day” pointing to the fact that potential moves could still be made to bolster the bullpen, even during spring training.

Paul Beeston said regarding grass being put in Rogers Centre, “We can get the sun, we can get the water,” it’s just the air currents that they’re looking into. Apparently, they signed a contract today with the University of Guelph to research this issue.

Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons said that reports on infielder Maicer Izturis are good, that “he’s in the best condition he’s ever been.” So that’s good because he’ll challenge to be the starting second baseman when the club heads north. Gibbons also reiterated that prospect Devon Travis will get a good look in the spring as well and he might just run away with it “if he’s ready”.

More from Anthopoulos, as he said “we’ve wanted Saunders for three years now,” as he mentioned how pleased he thinks fans will be of his “gold glove” defense in left field. He’s a “very excited” player to be on this Blue Jays team right now. The Mariners also claimed J.A. Happ on trade waivers (last August), so interest was there for the eventual trade to transpire between those two players.

Anthopoulos said that “Sanchez could have been our best pitcher last year” which is some high praise to put on a rookie, and yet very exciting for fans to contemplate for the coming season. He also made a Matt Harvey mention when talking about prospect Daniel Norris and what he can potentially bring to the team.

Beeston also shared that he spoke with new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred the other day about the Blue Jays hosting another All-Star game. “We’re going to put a proposal together,” he said. “We deserve it. It’s our turn!”  Quite right, it’s been 25 years since the last one in 1991 when Kirby Puckett hit a home run derby ball into the soup out in Windows Restaurant.

Lastly, Anthopoulos shared some insights on the Melky Cabrera negotiations, saying they talked to Melky early on in the offseason, and once again when the Saunders deal was on the burner. At that time, Alex was informed that Melky would be open to a three or four year deal, thereby implying that he was initially looking for five years. Ultimately, they were too far down the road with Saunders and they spent a fair chunk of money on Martin already. “Martin was a better fit,” Anthopoulos said.

Casey Janssen Signs With Nationals

janssen2 (2)Free agent reliever, Casey Janssen, has agreed to one year contract with the Washington Nationals. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports was the first to report it Wednesday morning with the contract being for a guaranteed $5M which includes a mutual option for 2016. The Nationals most definitely have added a quality reliever that will likely serve in a set-up role for closer Drew Storen, however with the fluidity of closers lately, Janssen could end up generating some saves… Continue reading→

Marco Estrada: Starter or Reliever?

marco estrada (2)Having dealt their fifth starter last year in J.A. Happ, the Blue Jays currently have an opening at the back of their rotation. While some people want stud prospect Aaron Sanchez to take that spot, or a free agent signee like Ryan Vogelsong or maybe even Chris Young, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi still thinks there’s a chance Marco Estrada may end up as the fifth starter depending on what happens with Sanchez.

By using shear logic, Estrada shouldn’t be anywhere near a pitchers mound to start a game as evidenced by… Continue reading→

Munenori Kawasaki Resigns with Blue Jays

kawasaki2The Toronto Blue Jays have re-signed fan favourite Munenori Kawasaki to a minor league deal on Friday with an invitation to spring training. This is the third year in a row where the Blue Jays have signed the infielder to such a deal and they’ve generally made good use of the relationship as Kawasaki has appeared in 178 games over the past two seasons. Known for his delightfulness, eccentricity and fun-loving personality… Continue reading→

A Primer on Blue Jays’ Pitching Depth

Liam HendriksThe need for the Toronto Blue Jays to bolster their relief corps this offseason has been well documented. Meanwhile, they’ve been pretty busy stock piling minor league free agents or claiming pitchers off waivers that have been designated for assignment.  Will any of these pitchers stand up and make a statement in 2015 à la Juan Perez and Neil Wagner, or are the Jays kidding themselves that any of these players are worth keeping around? Here’s an introductory look at the relatively unknown pitchers the Blue Jays have acquired recently. Thanks to Roster Resource for the list… Continue reading→

Top 10 Books in Baseball Literature

gehrig title

Immersing myself in baseball literature truly opens a window that plunges me into mostly times of baseball past, but also the present. This list is characterized by fascinating narratives – full of bigger than life characters and extraordinary stories of both major and minor league life – renewing ages of old and reliving the recent past. No other sport dominates the literature landscape quite like baseball, which to me, offers the opportunity to engross myself in the sport 365 days a year if I so choose. And believe me, I make every opportunity to do so especially during the offseason when sadly, no baseball games are played.

So, without further ado, here are my top 10 books in baseball literature… Continue reading→