The Daily Duce: Monday, March 14th

ducetemp

Daily???!?

Naturally, Stacey May Fowles of the Globe and Mail absolutely nails why police action over impossible online threats to a 360 kg statue is an important story. “If the authorities are interested in using their resources to deter online threats,” she writes, “it would be far more meaningful to show up at the door of someone who terrorized one of the countless women for whom online abuse is a genuine concern.”

Quote of the month comes my way via @IAmTheRealGus, who passes along a gem of an amazing turd laid last week by our old friend Marty York. “Excellent points 2day from the great Goose Gossage about the out-of-control Bautista. Bang on. I predict awful season from Bautista in  2016.” [sic] LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!

At Sportsnet, Mike Wilner makes the case that Aaron Sanchez should be a reliever this year, which you may have read earlier, I don’t agree with. The thing I’d say about that is that it’s easy to get hung up who makes or doesn’t make it on the Opening Day roster, but what’s much more important is how the roster works for 162 games. That’s why maintaining roster depth by potentially sending Sanchez to Buffalo could work, and that’s why essentially locking him into a year-long relief role just for the sake of declaring his position set on Opening Day doesn’t make sense for me. It’s easy to go from starter to reliever — the other way around, not so much. If your aim is to add as much marginal value as possible, I’m not sure that not having Sanchez ready to step in if a starter gets hurt, or Floyd/Chavez/Hutchison can’t hack it, is the best way. He’s a starter for me until he proves otherwise or the bullpen really, really needs it. To start the year, though, there are more than enough arms they’ll be willing to take a look at.

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Jeff Blair trolls Jays fans but good in his latest at Sportsnet, listing ten potential MLB break-out candidates for 2016, and putting Anthony DeSclafani — he of The Trade — at number two on what is otherwise… a pretty confusing list.

More from Sportsnet: two great ones from Arden Zwelling, first on the Jays’ new High Performance department and another on Troy Tulowitzki and how he’s finally feeling at home with the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at the Jays’ complicated bullpen mix, as well as top pitching prospect Conner Greene, who talks about his first experience in big league camp. Shi Davidi talks with Anthony Alford. Blair looks at Russell Martin’s swimming routine. And the Tao of Stieb tries to find meaning in spring training.

Great stuff from BP Toronto, as Greg Wisniewski gives recognition to all the walks the Blue Jays hitters took last season, while worrying about the Jays pitchers’ projected return to normal after last year’s outlier in terms of low walk rate. (Of course, that’s an outlier over the four previous Blue Jays staffs, which weren’t exactly comprised of the same group. Maybe we can just chalk it up to Russell Martin and assume everything is fine!)

Elsewhere at BP Toronto, Michael Bradburn looks at Canada’s role in America’s pastime, while Dave Church re-examines the JA Happ contract now that we know what the rest of his free agent class ended up signing for.

At BlueJays.com, Gregor Chisholm talks to Marco Estrada, who took a big step forward on Saturday, with 35-pitch sim game that went well enough that he’s vowed to start the season in the rotation.

Elsewhere at BlueJays.com, Gregor tells us more about Randy Choate, as the LOOGY is now in camp, looking to grab a job in the absence of the injured Aaron Loup. And Mike Nabors talks college basketball with Jays players, as March Madness is almost upon us.

Interesting stuff from Zach Moser of BP Wrigleyville, as he looks at a familiar face and a familiar concept that folks in Chicago are discovering this week: Munenori Kawasaki and the idea of racial “mascots” in the game. The Cubs, as you might expect, are enamored with our old friend Mune, and last week for warmups put on headbands featuring the phrase “Just Win” in Japanese, and exercised to “Kung Fu Fighting” and “Gangnam Style,” which… y’know.

Jays In The House takes a look at Blake McFarland, artist. And he is…?

Bluebird Banter asks the burning question that’s been on all our minds: should the Jays take Andy Burns north? At least I think his name is Andy. Also… what? Seriously?

Keegan Matheson of Jays Journal is on top of Baseball America’s minor league transactions page, and spots that the Jays have picked up second baseman Alexei Casilla, who you may remember from his time with the Twins and Orioles. Meh. Replcaement for the Maicer Izturis much?

The Jays sent several youngsters back down to minor league camp over the weekend: Alford, Berti, Cole, Copeland, Dean, Fields, Jansen, McCoy, Tellez, and Urena, according to a tweet from Benny Fresh.

The Blue Jay Hunter catches that David Kaplan of Chicago’s ESPN 100 claims that David Price would have re-signed with the Blue Jays foZzzzzzzzzzzz…

Over to the Toronto Star, where Mark Zwolinski takes a look at where things stand in Blue Jays camp as we hit the halfway point of spring training, and also looks at Dalton Pompey, who seems sure to start the season in Buffalo, where he’ll need to work on his defence — something he struggled with last year, when he was rushed to the majors, John Gibbons admits. Kind of a lot of that going on under Anthopoulos, wasn’t there?

Pat Hentgen is transitioning into more of a player development role with the Blue Jays, writes Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun. He’ll be spending time with the Jays, but will also visit minor league affiliates over the course of the year, working in uniform and in a much more hands-on role than previous years, where he was more an advisor and a scout for Alex Anthopoulos.

Elsewhere at the Sun, Steve Buffery writes about AJ Jimenez, the long-time catching prospect who is still looking for his big league shot, and Bob Elliott talks to Rule 5 pick-up Joe Biagini, who’s quick with a quip, apparently. And in a tough bullpen competition, to boot.

Housekeeping: First, our RSS feed should be fixed now for those of you who’ve noticed problems with it. Second, did you catch those Game Threats this weekend? That wasn’t my work — it was Cam Lewis, our excellent new weekend editor! Give him a follow on Twitter at @cooom, if for no other reason than because I sure as hell won’t be arsed to tweet out a whole lot of weekend Game Threats this year!

Lastly, we go back to Bob Elliott, as he takes his annual trip to the grave of Tom Cheek, who he gives a yearly update to in the pages of the Sun.

    • Barry

      I’m not sure if “who is this guy” is a question or a comment, but if a question, yes, nowadays he is a twitter troll, and as far as I know unemployed. But he was once a much-loathed journalist who wrote for The Globe and Mail and other papers before spiralling downwards. Readers hated him and so did athletes (the early 90s Jays despised him). It wasn’t that he was Simmonsesque — he was accused of things ranging from plagiarism to fabricating rumours, few of which ever panned out. Fellow journalists loathed him and eventually no one would give him a job; there are few people who feel sorry for him being reduced to a twitter troll.

    • DAKINS

      He’s reverted to his natural form after losing any and all chances at a real job in journalism.

      It’s hilarious reading him on twitter, he’s the most obvious troll in troll history. There’s also that one guy that responds to every tweet and agrees whole-heartedly. It’s so sad when you have to make a fake twitter account just to have someone agree with you.

      My recent fav:

      “Here’s what I’d like 2 c from Tor fans this yr: Some self-respect, less worship of Jays, more respect 4 Argos. I bought Argo season tix 2day”

      ArgoLOLOLOLOLs.

      • Philbert

        The last (and only) time I ever looked at his Twitter account was surprisingly entertaining. It was shortly after the playoff started and a was pretty hilarious to see the switch from his repetitive “Jays suck because _____!” (fill in the blank with literally anything you want) to “How could those heartless Jays do this to the Argos?!?! The poor Argos!”

  • muleorastromule

    Look mom, I’m getting a little tired of this. I know you’ve retired now and you have a lot of time on your hands but I can’t have you monitoring everything I write on the internet.

    How am I supposed to analyse that dream about the ARod Centaur making love to the Hamburglar on a gondola in Venice if I can’t write about it? Knowing
    how you worry, you’ll probably think because of that, and 83 gigs of centaur porn, that I have some sort of centaur fetish.

    Well mom, I’ll have you know that I’m studying centaurs scientifically. Specifically, their sexual relations with popular fast-food chain characters. Turns out it’s a pretty underdeveloped field of study.

    So on the day I speak at Oxford about Toot’s face rash from Colonel Sanders’ beard you can stand over my shoulder as well. And on that day, I bet you keep your judgement to yourself.

    Sorry, this was supposed to be a post about Marty York.

  • TheRealJeffS

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but Jesus Jumped Up Christ, Marty York’s twitter feed is an absolute dumpster fire.

    However, it’s not his feed that concerns me – it’s some of the replies he gets that AGREE with him.

    *shudders*

  • Barry

    Lest we spend too much time giving a meathead more attention than he deserves, there are a couple of other articles in the Duce that I was drawn to.

    Stacey May Fowles is always a worthwhile read. Her perspective on the Rogers statue silliness is must reading.

    And Bob Elliott’s visit to Cheek’s grave is a tearjerker. It’s the kind of update I’ve imagined giving my father, who died a few years ago and would have loved the 2015 season. I even think his old-school heart would have warmed up to bat flips.

  • mktoronto

    I’m insanely excited about the High Performance department and I loved the in-depth interview Zwelling did with Mugford.

    And Stacey May’s piece = money.