The Daily Duce: Thursday, February 25th



Before we get started, an announcement for those of you who have been searching for the RSS feed for the new site, which is… here’s the RSS feed for the new site. Happy RSS-ing!

Mark Shapiro addressed members of the media today, and though he (naturally) didn’t offer much on the Jose Bautista situation, he sure did throw down a bit of a gauntlet with respect to the club’s relationship with Dunedin. “There are realities that may be charming about our situation but charm is not going to bring wins,” he said (not wrongly) according to a tweet from Ken Fidlin. “We need a 365-day home for rehab and training that is state of the art that is a potential competitive advantage,” he adds. Not quite talking about the same thing, but feels kiiiiind of like a departure from how high he seemed on, at the very least, the location last month.

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes about the Jays willingness to go elsewhere, and tells us that Mark Shapiro admitted to having had “very preliminary” talks with the Braves about potentially sharing a new site — a possibility I ruminated on last week.

In a clip at Sportsnet, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! discusses with Jeff Blair the fact that the Blue Jays made Jon Lester, who eventually signed with the Cubs, a five-year, $125-million offer last winter — which at the time was the highest offer he had on the table (at least in terms of average annual value). This, it seems, would have been in lieu of signing Russell Martin, had it happened. And because they didn’t break “the policy” of offering more than five years (and didn’t guarantee him more than $155-million he eventually got from Chicago, for six years) they obviously didn’t get him. Nice try, though, I guess.

In another Sportsnet video, Josh Donaldson — who arrived in Dunedin today — takes a friendly shot at Mark Shapiro over the quality of Princeton football, which is Shapiro’s alma mater and where he played on the offensive line (!) in the late 80s. (Here’s a September interview with the Princetonian that touches on Shapiro’s football days.)

“It was impossible to watch young Blue Jays outfielder Anthony Alford take his cuts Tuesday morning and not come away dreaming on possibilities,” writes Ted Berg — the master  of the turn from camera one to camera two! — of USA Today after a visit to Dunedin. “With athleticism obvious from his stature alone and an audible whoosh every time his bat whipped through the zone, Alford smashed a series of drives that pelted or cleared the left-field fence on a practice field at Toronto’s facility, and made it easy to see why Baseball America recently ranked him the No. 25 prospect in all of baseball and the best in the Blue Jays’ system.” Yowza.

Ted also has an amazing piece on Jose Bautista and how little he’d like to talk to the media about Game Five of the ALDS, preferring instead his own direct line with the fans. He has more followers than Ted and the rest of the media down in Dunedin combined, he’ll have you know.

Speaking of Alford, has named him the top Jays prospect in their just-released top 30 list. Meanwhile, Ken Fidlin writes about Alford for the National Post, as does Cathal Kelly of the Globe and Mail.

Sticking with Kelly, he goes a slightly more subtle route than usual in taking his latest pointless and off-base shot at Mark Shapiro et al, suggesting that the leaked Jay Bruce rumours illuminate a troubling inability of the new front office to control the flow of information. Because, y’know, forget that it would likely have been a trade like any other had it not hit a medical snag, or that moves like the Storen-Revere trade or the J.A. Happ signing came out of nowhere, that the front office is still largely unchanged since Alex Anthopoulos left, or that lots of people heard lots of thing about the previous FO’s moves before they happened and that the “if you heard it it must be false” myth of the Anthopoulos era long ago needed to be put to death.

Kelly also talks to a leaner R.A. Dickey, while the Globe also gives us Melissa Couto of the Canadian Press talking about Josh Donaldson’s arrival in camp.

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun writes about Jose Bautista having made Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro’s decision on his future in Toronto easy by demanding more money than the Jays will possibly consider. You’ll roll your eyes at all the not-at-all-subtle histrionics about Jose’s ego, but it’s hard to say that his main thrust is otherwise wrong.

Elsewhere at the Sun, Ken Fidlin talks to John Gibbons about Marco Estrada, who the manager says will be eased into spring, as he arrived at camp with a bit of a stiff back (which the team says it’s otherwise unconcerned about), and he also talks with Chris Colabello about the upcoming season (with some nice stuff with Anthony Alford, too).

For the National Post, Fidlin talks to Drew Storen, who says he’s unconcerned about his role and willing to close or pitch earlier in games, and he also talks to Michael Saunders, who says 2016 is going to be a “redemption year” for him.

Elsewhere in the Post, Erika Gilbert looks at projections from BP and FanGraphs and tries to answer the question of whether the Jays will make the playoffs. Meanwhile, Scott Stinson writes that the Jays need to re-sign Jose Bautista or start the rebuild, which… uh… Scott’s great, but I’m preeeetty sure a lineup with Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin, and, say, Edwin Encarnacion is still going to be plenty competitive going forward.

At Sportsnet, Arden Zwelling writes about Jesse Chavez, who is happy to be back with the Blue Jays, while Shi Davidi looks at Troy Tulowitzki, who is finally feeling comfortable with his situation, and happy to have a full spring training to get to better know his teammates.

Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets to note that Domonic Brown is a Scott Boras client. Maybe it doesn’t mean a whole lot, seeing as it was just a minor league deal (and I’m not sure, off the top of my head, if the Jays under Alex Anthopoulos hadn’t maybe signed a small deal with Boras as well), but that’s perhaps a thing.

Arden Zwelling tweets that Troy Tulowitzki joined Ryan Goins, Darwin Barney, Chris Colabello, Kevin Pillar, and others in a long BP session yesterday, and gives us a great Tulo quote about beingg dedicated, how his teammates are gym rats, and how he thinks “these guys really own what they do instead of just hoping and saying, ‘oh, I hope I go out there and get a hit today.’ Guys here understand what makes them successful, and also understand at times when they struggle that it’s going to happen and that we can help each other get out of it.”

Arden also tweets a quote from Kevin Pillar, who marvels at Tulo’s work ethic and how it’s “refreshing to see a guy who’s been one of the best shortstops in baseball over the last ten years constantlyy working at being better and taking the time with younger guys to share some information and share thoughts. That’s a big thing that a lot of us bond over,” Pillar adds, “the competitive aspect, the mechanics, the hitting.”

Speaking of Pillar, great stuff from Melissa Couto of the Canadian Press, via Sportsnet, as she talks to the Jays’ centrefielder about a new workout regime that’s designed to keep him feeling better. “My focus is really to try to move like an infant child,” he says. Which… wait, what?

Stephen Wyno of the Associated Press, via the Globe and Mail, talks to Drew Storen about the trade, the troublesome end to his career in Washington (who traded for Jonathan Papelbon last summer, causing Storen a demotion he didn’t handle well), and how he thinks he’s stronger for it. OK, but does he know what “Netflix and chill” means yet?

Dexter Fowler has spurned the Orioles (over their policy of not giving opt-outs, or at least their refusal to give him one, since they would have had to give up a high draft pick to get him), and signed with the Cubs. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN wonders, via Twitter, if this means the O’s will go after Jay Bruce. Meh.He’d probably be really good with Baltimore. Unless he was terrible.

Greg Auman of Newsday has a nifty feature from Dunedin on everyone’s favourite Long Island native, Marcus Stroman.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tells us that Red Sox owner John Henry has looked at the results his club has produced over the last few years and figures that they need to deemphasize their reliance on analytics. LOOOOOL!

Jose Bautista should go public with his number, writes Jim Bowden of

Jon Heyman tweets that a scout tells him Jeff Hoffman reminds him of Noah Syndergaard. Trolololo…

Spring training is a special time for Tim Raines — the former Expos star who remains a Blue Jays instructor — writes Mike Nabors of

At Bluebird Banter, MjwW has a terrible opinion about the Jays front office you might want to consider reading. Or not.

Sneaker info site Nice Kicks tweets that Marcus Stroman, looking more Big Earl-ish than I think I’ve seen, has signed on to be the latest on Nike’s Jordan brand roster of athletes. Cool.

Mop Up Duty provides a big guide for those of you considering a trip down to Dunedin for some sunshine and spring training excitement games.

Now that he’s gone, part of me really doesn’t want to even touch the Jose Reyes case. The other part of me, however, knows that it’s important to not pretend that this stuff isn’t happening, doesn’t happen, and didn’t happen. Stacey May Fowles wrote a great piece for the Walrus back in November about sports’ relationship with domestic violence. And this week, Nathaniel Grow of FanGraphs looked specifically at the legal implications of Reyes’s indefinite suspension from MLB, which was handed down this week.

Lastly, a powerful video on Facebook from my good friend Pat Smith, in light of recent sexual abuse allegations of a former coach of the Ontario Blue Jays. “I felt compelled to create this video and discuss the topic, the culture, my experiences as well as offer support to those who may be victims of the abuse,” he explains. “If anyone needs to talk, I’m here for you. The whole community is. It’s my belief that an honest discourse here could be very healthy for all involved and the baseball community as a whole.”

      • TomW

        Welp Stoeten…Instead of responding that way as this is the new effing kinder format you could jump on down here with us underlings and be a little more gracious. Suggestion…and this may hurt but quit talking down to your people that have been supporting your previous sites. Surely you do understand that lovem’ or hatem’ the comment section of your site has made it what it is. You made the choice without consulting your loyal readers and there is nothing wrong with that. Yet I still notice you quest for money through another campaign that you have used for some time now. How about quit telling people how dumb they are and realize you made a choice….or come on down to the depths and tell us different.

        Edit : There will be mistakes in there but I just wont go back to correct

        • Hentgen

          You do realize that by wanting to be able to read entire articles on your RSS feed is equivalent to turning on adblock.

          And how dare someone point that obvious fact to you. Grow a thicker skin.

        • Steve-O

          Jesus, people. The guy needs to make a living. Page views and ads are how these guys get paid. It’s the world we live in now. Don’t be one of those people.

          Writers (or artists or whoever) putting their work online toil to give us the free content we enjoy, and we’re lucky that all it costs any of us is the 2 or 3 calories we burn clicking a mouse a few times.

          Threatening to turn on AdBlock because he hurt your fee-fees is not cool.

          And finally, Stoeten’s salty demeanor is a feature, not a bug. You need to grow thicker skin.

          • Dabbles

            “And finally, Stoeten’s salty demeanor is a feature, not a bug. You need to grow thicker skin.”

            lol that is a crappy feature, someone should have reported that in beta testing.

          • Cock Flakes

            Stoeten can be whatever he wants in his articles put if he is going to play in the comment section he should open to the same praise and insults as the rest of us.

          • J.M.

            I’ve always loved Stoeten’s writing, the way he approaches baseball, and this whole community that’s appeared around his websites. Even when I disagree with him, he’s generally very thoughtful and well argued. But something changed a while ago (maybe a year-two ago) where he’s become a lot more defensive and condescending when he interacts with the readership and it’s just generally not very pleasant and I don’t mind saying I don’t like it at all.

            But that being said, his response in this case is totally and completely justified. This is his job, how he earns his living, and the whining and complaining is just simply off base. Then again, I’ve not had much time for some of the people making these complains, so I’ll just leave it there.

          • noopi

            I second this. Anyone complaining about the method in which free content is delivered can only go so far in their criticism before it comes off as extremely entitled. In those cases, snarky responses are warranted.

            In cases where he’s confronting an opinion in the comments that doesn’t match his own, perhaps a little less Twitter and a little more thoughtfulness wouldn’t be a bad thing.

          • Cock Flakes

            That’s what I said except for I used sanctimonious Pr!ck to get my point across.

            Your are a FA now Noopi do you want to be my moderator? I will sent you my posts and you can make them PC for me.

  • Formerly the Smasher

    What are the Cubs going to do with Soler?
    They now have Fowler, Schwarber and Heyward in the outfield.

    Soler would look pretty great in Blue Jay Blue.

  • man_in_the_suit

    All this talk about Sanchez and his new found beefiness and all I’m remind of is when League came into ST a few seasons back like a walking bicep and messed up his mechanics.

    • Barry

      I’d almost forgotten about that.

      I think it was a somewhat different situation though, wasn’t it? As I recall, the difference was that during the offseason he put on the muscle, League wasn’t doing any throwing. He had a shoulder injury and the Jays told him not to throw until spring training, so he put on muscle instead, and the fact that he was putting on muscle and not throwing at all was cited as a reason his mechanics were messed up.

      I’m going by memory here and might have some of the details wrong, but I’m certain the combination of factors was at least put forth as a theory, if not given the total blame.

      • Petey14 (but not Pete Rose)

        This is my first time here, so be gentle. I think, that since he was training all winter with Stroman, Sanchez’ training regimen would have been well structured and strictly monitored. I have no worries, and I hope he gets a fair chance to compete as a SP.

        • Barry

          That’s an excellent point. The monitoring you refer to was impressive and involved testing flexibility, etc., and presumably was designed to avoid throwing off his mechanics.

    • guitar_davey

      That’s my only small apprehension. For all the “I worked out hard this offseason to build muscle/strength/stamina” stories, you also hear guys saying “I tried to pace myself this past offseason because in the past, I went too hard and wore myself out by season’s end.”

  • isabellareyes

    Don’t love that ‘Estrada’s got a stiff back but we aren’t worried’ thing. Reminds too much of other times when Jays players had a teeny-tiny unworrisome problem that turned into a nightmare…

  • fastball

    Cathal Kelly is starting to annoy me.
    I’m not sure if he’s contractually mandated to write a Jays’ story every week, and he’d rather not….or if someone actually does tinkle in his Corn Flakes every morning.
    Yes, Shapiro and Atkins are in charge now…and yes, AA maybe wouldn’t have done things like that, etc etc. But there seems to be a (very) thinly veiled jab at the Cleveland boys with practically every story lately.

    • DAKINS

      He’s been bashing Bautista for being a bad “leader” and putting the “leadership crown” on Donaldson’s head.

      I thought we were done with this nonsense. Ugh…..

      On the plus side:

      “Someone asked potential FA Edwin Encarnacion if he had a number in mind like Jose Bautista: “Yeah, I want to hit 40 home runs, 100 RBI…”

      All of the fire emojis

  • TomW

    A little input on what my thoughts are on the site so far and I am trying to be constructive :


    1: The quote thing is ok but needs a little tweaking .

    2: The polls are kinda fun.

    Negatives: (But still trying to be constructive)

    1: The entire site is a bit of a jumbled mess. Clean it up, ditch the white comment background.

    2: The ‘Trash it/ Props’ thing…ditch it all together it is dumb and for kids. Also you can hit them when not logged in.

    3: Let the followers of DJF/ have some say as I am pretty sure they have had something to do with the success.

    I will leave it at that for now…Go Jays and congrats Andrew on what I would assume is a AAV of 30 million plus with this new site.

  • Psmithy

    Why prospects lists should be taken for a grain of salt. Shane Dawson doesn’t even make the jays top 30. Meanwhile he was solid at Lansing and Dunedin last year against older competition and was an allstar last year in class A. I am not saying he’s a sure thing but he could at least fail his way into a reliever. As he’s been known to take speed of his fastball.(
    An Interview with Vince Horsman).

    Lott wrote about him last year. Toronto Blue Jays prospect Shane Dawson, pitching without a muscle in his shoulder, starting to show his true potential

  • mktoronto

    Oh, now I see how this works. I have to go and reclick on every article to see if anyone responded to me. The comment structure is a way to up page views. Well, if that’s what has to happen to feed Stoeten, so be it.

  • re. sanchez, he’s been throwing all winter, so he’s been acclimating his added muscle to his mechanics, under supervision, as he’s added said muscle.

    also, from the pics, it looks like he’s been adding mainly to his legs/core/back primarily; if so, i’m guessing that the impact to his mechanics would be fairly negligible.

    • noopi

      Maybe so, but you’ll concede that it’s a far cry from what we had on the old site with Disqus.

      Andrew specifically said he welcomes feedback so I don’t see anything wrong with pointing out possible improvement areas.

      • Bad Dabbler

        there is productive feedback..then there is whining. the people who are acting like the site is an affront to humanity are the ones im directing the comment to.

        • DuckSnort

          Agreed, its hilariously whiny in here…

          A smaller site merges with a larger one and the smaller community expects the larger one to change everything about it.

          DJF crowd is coming off like a bunch of babies to the rest of the Nation Network.

          Dont get me wrong every thing commenting wise was better with disqus…but come on people.

          • Philbert

            I kind of think that last line is all anyone is really trying to say. Other than a select few comments, the vast majority has been constructive.

            No one is suggesting the “larger community” to “change everything about it”. They’re offering advice to improve the current system.

  • Dabbles

    You know how Diqus used to auto update comments so you didnt have to refresh the page every 10 seconds to see if someone comments. I wonder if the reason for not using something like that is due to ad revenue. I assume revenue is based on page views and refreshing the page 10,000+times per game threat will increase page views dramatically (even if they are the same people)

    • noopi

      It depends on how the site is monetized. With Google’s AdWords (which links to sites like this, called the Display Network), merchants and advertisers only pay Google if someone clicks the ad, meaning the Display Partner only gets paid if someone clicks the ad. However, there are other ways to monetize that prioritize pageviews (called impressions) over clicks. Given that the comments are set up this way, I’d guess it’s impressions over clicks that they’re going for.

  • The Drunken Wolf

    Why is everyone fighting?!?!

    (runs into bedroom, slams the door, flops face down on the bed and covers head with pillow)

    Seriously though, there are going to be growing pains, things said in frustration, feelings hurt, but hang tight people.

    • noopi

      Victor Martinez is the only other comp I can think of, and he was older and didn’t have the same track record of success. For his age 36-39 years, Martinez got 4/68. Edwin, on a 4-year deal, would be getting paid for his 34-37 years. To that end, I anticipate 4/92 (to match Davis’ 23MM face aav, not including deferrals of course) with a fairly attainable 5th year vesting option to turn it into a 5/115.

  • ErnieWhitt

    I’m not sure if this has been floated already but I was thinking about the Bautista situation and there are a few advantages that Jose has given the Blue Jays in being so open and firm:

    1. The Jays know his number and know right now whether he is headed for free agency or not.

    2. If the Jays win, they have all season to figure out how they will replace him. This means they can assess all internal/external options with the benefit of a full season more data.

    3. If the Jays lose:
    a) they hold leverage on whether they qualify Jose, simultaneously hurting Jose’s market (albeit slightly), and receive at least some compensation in the form of a draft pick
    b) they can trade him prior to the deadline, thus removing the QO from Bautista (which may make him more agreeable to accepting the trade)and receive some sort of “Price-like” package to somewhat replenish the system

    4. What if Jose hurts himself? By waiting until year’s end the Jays could actually get a MASSIVE discount if other teams in the league see a declining power hitter moving towards his late 30s coming off of an injury.

    It seems to me that Jose’s method has actually made the decision making process so much easier for the Jays. If they don’t like the number as is, wait and see how the season is going at the deadline and play it like you assume he’s gone. He still has to put up big numbers for there to be a chance that another team will pay the huge dollars it seems he’s looking for.

    • noopi

      All I would say to this, beyond well said, is that him being traded mid-season is the absolute worst-case outcome, because that will very likely mean that the team is well and truly out of contention. You’re aware of this, of course, and a losing season may make him more amenable to waiving his 10/5, but that’ll mean some dramatic underperformances/injuries that may lead to further scrutiny of things beyond just what to do with Jose.

      My suspicion is that they’ve essentially closed the door on extending him and are going to extend Encarnacion, taking the pick for Jose and enjoying the both of them anchoring this monster lineup this year.