February 08 2017 07:34PM
Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Canada's roster -- if you can call it that -- for the WBC was revealed on Wednesday evening, and over at Sportsnet, Shi Davidi filled us in on the reasoning for a couple of big absences.
Michael Saunders, it turns out, will skip the event because he "needs to be in camp with his new team," meaning... he wants to be in camp with his new team. Or so one assumes. He's on a one-year deal, looking to solidify his playing time and have a healthy, productive start to his season, and being away from his teammates obviously isn't idea.
More interestingly, we're told that Russell Martin -- who was supposedly all set to play shortstop for the red and white -- is not able to participate because of "insurance complications related to his minor off-season knee surgery."
February 08 2017 03:35PM
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com writes about a pair of potential rule changes MLB is considering implementing for 2017: eliminating the need to throw four pitches for an intentional walk and raising the strike zone by two inches. The first one is pretty benign, but the second change would be massive, and because of that it seems unlikely that we'll see it. That's good news, because as Nick Ashbourne of Yahoo! Sports points out, a higher strike zone would be terrible news for Marcus Stroman. Though, actually, it would be awful news for a whole lot of the Jays' ground ball heavy pitching staff (and probably not great for those who like to work up in the zone earlier).
Another one from Nick takes a look at how the Jays are going against the grain -- perhaps exploiting a market inefficiency? -- by building a bullpen with a lot of finesse arms, rather than going the power-arm route.
Great stuff from Matt Gwin of BP Toronto, as he tells us that the time is now for the Jays to make a decision on Dalton Pompey. It's a notion that I don't precisely agree with -- I'd have no complaints if Pompey ended up back in Buffalo to start the year -- though the basic premise holds. There just isn't a whole lot more development that Pompey can get out of Triple-A, one figures. Ideally he'll look great this spring and force the Jays' hand anyway.
Elsewhere at BP Toronto, Mike Passador looks at what PECOTA has to say about the 2017 Blue Jays, which is not very good (as you'll already know if you saw the clickbait-y Bluebird Banter headline). To be honest, these projections are so hilariously low on the Jays' starting pitching that it doesn't even feel like they're worth discussing. This is not me being a homer: the five Jays starters combined are projected to just 4.2 WARP. I could write a whole thing detailing some of the reasons why -- Aaron Sanchez's short track record, Marco Estrada's FIP-busting ability to induce bad contact, too much pre-2015 J.A. Happ's mid-2015 rebirth -- but... meh. That's just silly.
February 07 2017 05:03PM
Photo Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Carter has signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the New York Yankees. This means we get to talk about Justin Smoak being paid $4.125 million for each of the next two seasons! A whole 2.5% of the Blue Jays' payroll!
The easy thing to think is that Carter led the NL in home runs last year, and Smoak is bad, so the Blue Jays are obviously dumb. The reality is not nearly so simple.
February 04 2017 10:47PM
Source: #BlueJays in agreement with free-agent reliever Joe Smith on one-year, major-league contract.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 5, 2017
Late night Rosembomb! Ken Rosenthal tweeted late Saturday night/early Sunday morning that the Blue Jays are signing right-handed reliever Joe Smith to a one-year, major league deal.
Don't look now, but it appears that we have an actually bullpen! And the season hasn't even started yet!
February 03 2017 11:49AM
Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
What would a Josh Donaldson extension look like? How about one for Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez? We talk extensions, the JP Howell signing, the left field mess, and so much more!