Unless you like watching Brad Penny getting shellacked or Carlos Correa being scary awesome it was not a particularly interesting game Thursday between the Jays and the Astros (which must have been the reason I didn’t post a Game Threat *COUGH*), but I do have a few thoughts to share before we move on: One, AJ Hinch seems like a smart dude. Two, it’s always great to hear Alan Ashby. And three, what? No weed hats???
Speaking of ol’ Buns, his former partner, Jerry Howarth, writes a hell of a scorecard when he’s calling games, and Sportsnet shows us what has to be his most incredible one ever — from the most incredible game ever (no hyperbole), Game 5 of the ALDS. And it’s annotated with clips of Jerry’s calls of and thoughts on some of the most memorable points of the game. Great stuff.
Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Jeff Simmons passes along some quotes from Ross Atkins, who appeared today on Jeff Blair’s show on the Fan 590, and says that the club and Edwin Encarnacion are definitely having conversations still, despite chatter earlier this week that the two sides were at an impasse. Meanwhile, Blair writes about (among other things) the status of the Jays’ forgotten free agent, Brett Cecil, and Mike WIlner reviews Drew Hutchison’s situation after Wednesday’s outing.
According to a tweet from the Washington Post’s James Wagner, Rafael Soriano has decided to retire. So much for that. Steve McEwen of BP Toronto writes that Soriano was an early favourite for a bullpen spot and this might hasten Aaron Sanchez’s move back to the bullpen, which… nah.
Outstanding stuff from John Lott at Vice Sports, where he introduces us to Conner Greene in a feature piece on the Jays’ top pitching prospect.
Over at the National Post, Steve Buffery also writes about Hutchison’s situation, getting quotes from Hutch — who says the chatter about where he’ll end up is “irrelevant” because his process of getting ready for the season is the same regardless — and telling us that he’s not a forgotten man in the organization’s eyes.
Still with Buffery, but over at the Toronto Sun, apparently Edwin Encarnacion is recovering well from his injured oblique, stretching and loosening up on the field in Dunedin on Thursday. “Progress,” John Gibbons said. “The fact that he’s out there is a pretty good sign. They don’t think it’s a big deal anyway, but he feels better so that’s the report they give me everyday. I don’t think it will be too much longer.”
Elsewhere at the Sun, we get a look at Darrell Ceciliani, who is having a nice camp, and has certainly impressed Gibbons. He might have a chance to go north with the Jays as the fourth outfielder, Gibbers says, but given that — according to Bluebird Banter’s invaluable Blue Jays Option and Outright Status page — he can be optioned and his competition, Ezequiel Carrera and Junior Lake, can’t, I… uh… I don’t really see it happening.
An awesome piece from Mike Petriello of MLB.com looks at the luckiest moment, decision, or transaction in club history for each big league franchise. It’s subjective as hell, but it’s fun. And the ones for the Jays and the Texas Rangers both come from the same game. A great read.
Elsewhere at MLB.com, Gregor Chisholm looks at what a great thing the Blue Jays’ success has been for Canadian baseball. Gregor also informs us that Aaron Loup has begun throwing off flat ground, as he continues to recover from a strained flexor ligament in his left elbow.
Over at the Toronto Star, somewhere through the haze of the purplest prose you’ve ever read in your life, Rosie DiManno writes something about Michael Saunders.
The Star’s Mark Zwolinski checks in on the Jays’ feelings in the wake of the ridiculous flap between the White Sox and Adam LaRoche, finding support for the player. Troy Tulowitzki’s kid is around the club a lot, I know. Brett Cecil talks in the piece about how his six-year-old is around too.
Bill Baer of NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk gives us a preview of the 2016 version of the Blue Jays.
Rob Arthur of FiveThirtyEight writes an interesting piece about how new data is changing Sabermetrics, and then discloses that he’s a statistical consultant for the Toronto Blue Jays. How about that!
Parkes wrote the Blue Jays essay in this year’s Baseball Prospectus annual, but was sadly unavailable to fake his way through the Jays preview edition of Effectively Wild. But no matter — Joshua Howsam of BP Toronto stepped in and did a terrrific job.
Speaking of BP Toronto (again), Chris Sherwin takes a deep look at some of the underappreciated elements of certain Blue Jays’ hitting mechanics.
Jays Journal notes that John Gibbons, who was also apparently on Jeff Blair’s show Thursday, talked up Andy Burns, who looks like he will be a key piece of depth for the Jays this year, albeit while spending his time in Buffalo. The coaches there, Gibbons says, tell him that Burns is big league ready.
Lastly, for those of you who don’t have tickets to the Jays’ home opener (which for the first time in I-don’t-know-how-many years I don’t), you can come watch the game with Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, as well as Drew Fairservice and myself, because we’re having a FanGraphs meetup at the Firkin On King. It’s a ticketed event (you can get them through the link) because of space limitations, so it will cost $8, but includes a free Steamwhistle beer, meaning it’s practically free. Should be good!