The Daily Duce: Thursday, August 18th

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Daily??!?!?

The Blue Jays have fired director of scouting Brian Parker, and national crosschecker Blake Davis, according to a report from John Manuel of Baseball America. The timing makes sense, now that the draft and the subsequent signing period are over, and evidently those two didn’t mesh with what the new front office is looking for. Those are some important positions, so it will be interesting to see what Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins come up with.

In a nice piece on the firings from Gideon Turk at Blue Jays Plus, it was suggested that maybe they’ll look to Cleveland’s front office — however, as I noted when writing about Shapiro’s perception problem earlier in the season, he had noted around the time of the hiring of Andrew Miller that he was given small window to speak with a limited number of employees there, so maybe that’s not such a slam dunk as we think.

Did I just call it Blue Jays Plus? I meant BP Toronto. Elsewhere there we have a great piece from Kyle Matte on Marco Estrada’s incredible changeup, one from Evan Peaslee, who awesomely talks to the awesome Jason Grilli about his awesome passion for winning (awesomely), and one from Jenn Smith on Troy Tulowitzki 2.0 — a player who is maybe different than he once was, but still a superstar.

Speaking of Grilli, over at the Blue Jay Hunter, Ian has all kinds of Grilli fist-pump GIFs collected into one post. GrilliTheBest

Has Michael Saunders been a huge drag on the Blue Jays this season? It sounds crazy, as Saunders has been having a tremendous year, but that’s what a look into various “clutch” data by Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs shows. Saunders is having the least clutch season of any hitter in baseball since 1974, Sullivan tells us. He has the lowest WPA on the Blue Jays, despite his strong numbers, and has posted a 185 wRC+ in low leverage situations, compared to just a 13 wRC+ in high leverage situations. Odd!

In another one for FanGraphs, Sullivan looks at the AL Cy Young candidates, and while there’s no mention of J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez is certainly in there… among the indistinguishable candidates in this front runner-less race.

Elsewhere still at FanGraphs, David Laurila tells us about the thrice-surgically-repaired shoulder of Max Pentecost, who is doing well now and will make the move up to Dunedin just as soon as an unrelated injury to his other shoulder heals.

John Lott did an amazing thing last week, in that he wrote about Roy Halladay’s visit to the Rogers Centre and didn’t include anything about his comments on Aaron Sanchez and innings. Richard Griffin’s got you covered there, though, over in the Toronto Star — complete with a characteristic swipe at the Ricciardi-era front office, noting that at one point Halladay recalled what Griff termed “the pathetic ‘we’re headed in another direction’ shrug of management over his final years with the Jays.”

John also wrote a great one about Gary Sheffield and his client Tim Tebow, ICYMI.

Here’s an interesting one from Catch-22 on the Jays bobblehead culture, which… my god, the lineups. I do not get this at all, but some people seem into it, so good on ’em.

“I think that we can look at the way they both handled it post-game and their body language in their post-game comments — I thought both of them were very at ease. They didn’t seem tense, they didn’t seem like they were trying to hide something. Donaldson’s response was very clever. I thought that was an interesting and fun way to handle it,” said Jon Morosi in a Sportsnet piece about his reaction to Wednesday’s mini-dustup, and the body language of the participants afterwards, that I can’t possibly fucking believe actually exists. “Gibby, similarly, seemed very much at ease and matter of fact at his folsky best. I don’t think there was really anything that we’re going to see continue on.” Well that’s a goddamned relief!

Bernie Pleskoff of Today’s Knuckleball takes a deep look at the Blue Jays as he wonders if they can win the AL East. (Hint: they can).

Matt W. of Bluebird Banter looks at the new/old/new J.A. Happ and tries to figure out just what the hell it is he’s doing differently.

Lastly, damning stuff from Keith Law at ESPN.com on the Diamondbacks’ front office, including GM and former Blue Jays starter Dave Stewart. It’s as bad there as you thought it was going to be.