January 24 2017 03:22PM
There is a massive amount that goes on behind the scenes of a baseball club that fans don't see, and so their relationship with the team, and their faith in the people running it, has almost everything to do with what's on the surface. During the season the results on the field will mostly dictate tenor of this relationship. In the winter it gets a little more tricky.
And especially at the end of a long and frustrating winter (with one notable and massive misstep), it can get difficult for fans to remember those months-ago successes. Their faith that the club is in good hands relies on what they're seeing and the organization's ability to project confidence heading into the season and to stay out of its own goddamned way.
This, and not for the first time in the Mark Shapiro era, is the Blue Jays organization failing to stay out of its own way:
January 24 2017 01:13PM
Sean Reid-Foley checks in at number 72 on Keith Law's top prospects list (which is being released in stages all this week) at ESPN.com -- not too far behind the Giants' Young Beedah. But let's not lament that, since Law's take on SRF is that "there’s No. 2 starter potential here, given his present stuff and command." I'll take the hell out of that, thanks.
"It's not hyperbole to say that his offensive upside rivals that of his father, who just missed election to the Hall of Fame by 15 votes," says MLB.com in naming Vlad Guerrero Jr. their third best third base prospect in the game. Which... is great, obviously, but maaaaaaybe we should tone down the comparisons and expectations and let him be his own thing? That's a hard ask, I know, and he's obviously carried this weight real well so far in his young life, but... y'know?
Ross Atkins Speaks Again: On Bautista, Business, and the Player Acquisition Strategy We've Been Dying to Hear
January 23 2017 03:59PM
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Ross Atkins' media blitz of last week has apparently carried over into this one, as the Jays' GM spoke with Naylor and Landsberg on TSN Radio here in Toronto on Monday morning, ostensibly as a follow-up to the José Bautista presser that took place over the weekend.
Bautista's event, which Arden Zwelling summed up excellently in his piece Bautista stays on-message in 'happy' return to Toronto for Sportsnet, was an exercise in spin that I didn't really want a part of. Atkins' comments, on the other hand, though hardly devoid of their own spin, offered some insight into how he views the business of baseball and how the Blue Jays operate -- and in at least one instance, hopefully, will operate.
They're comments worth looking at, in other words. (Though I'd be lying if I didn't say that my interest was piqued especially by the fact that Atkins said a couple things -- coincidentally, I'm sure, and only of interest to me -- that I've been saying for a long time.)
Let's dive in.
Jays Sign a Petit Deal That Reminds Us Ryan Goins Could Get Squeezed Off the Roster (Plus: Backup Catchers!)
January 23 2017 01:28PM
Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Let's get straight to the nut of this one. I probably wouldn't be writing a full post about the Jays' just-reported decision to sign infielder Gregorio Petit to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training if for one thing: the fact that Ryan Goins is out of options.
January 20 2017 02:38PM
Sean Fitz-Gerald has the answer to the question on every Blue Jays fan's mind over at the Athletic: Are Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez still cool?
Next week is "prospect week" for Keith Law at ESPN.com, and he primed us for it this week with his farm system rankings, which... aren't terribly kind to the Blue Jays. Although the team ranks 21st (up from 25 last year), he says that the depletion from the big Anthopoulos deals of 2015 and "a sudden shift toward a conservative draft approach in 2016, has strip-mined this system in a way that might make any recovery slow." Fingers crossed that the conservative drafting was about system-filling in the near term and won't last forever. Fingers also crossed on the big bright spot he singles out, too: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.