The Daily Duce: Friday, August 19th



Roster moves: Josh Donaldson’s thumb is still bothering him enough that he’s not going to play tonight. That would have put the Jays rather short on infielders, however they’ve sent Darrell Ceciliani back to Buffalo and brought up Ryan Goins. Goins will head straight into the fire, as neither Donaldson nor Troy Tulowitzki will play tonight in Cleveland, with Goins starting at short, Darwin Barney at third, and Ezequiel Carrera (who I like to call “Zeke)” in left. Not exactly an ideal way to start a big series, but not a whole lot you can do (plus, it’s not like the Jays have started a whole lot of their recent series ideally, but they’ve managed to win them in the end).

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According to a Barry David tweet, Tulo’s issue is his calf. He adds that Gibbons says both Tulo and Donaldson could play tonight if they had to, though Shi Davidi tells us that neither are available to hit tonight — they want to give ’em rest, I guess.

Hey, so a fine lineup for a game in which Francisco Liriano is pitching, I’d say! Go get ’em tomorrow, Jays!

Barry Davis also tweets that Kevin Pillar is on his way to Florida to continue to rehab and get into some rehab games, with the expectation being that he’ll return Tuesday. “Only thing new on Bautista is he’s feeling better,” he adds.

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Meanwhile: Richard Griffin tweets that the first adjustment to the Jays’ six-man rotation may be afoot, as he spotted Aaron Sanchez (who is supposed to be starting Saturday) in the outfield ready to throw a bullpen session. (He later clarifies that John Gibbons says the six-man rotation is still intact, and Sanchez didn’t throw).

Regardless of the clarification, Scott MacArthur suggests Sanchez will indeed at some point need to be skipped — and likely will have to be skipped a few times over the next several weeks. Scott adds that if Sanchez has only about five regular season starts remaining, maybe they’ll choose to get some of the skipping out of the way early in order to allow him to go a couple times in the last week of the season, when the Jays host Baltimore and then go to Boston.

Another interesting tidbit is that Gibbons has said, according to another tweet from Barry Davis, that Marco Estrada could throw an inning out of the bullpen on Saturday or Sunday. Estrada isn’t scheduled to start again until Wednesday. Hmmm. (Estrada threw just 59 pitches in his rain-shortened start on Tuesday, don’t forget.)

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John Gibbons showed up on MLB Network Radio today, once again clearing up the dugout kerfuffle that he was involved in, along with Josh Donaldson, earlier this week. Meh.

J.A. Happ was also on MLB Network Radio today, and according to a tweet from them, he told them that when the Jays came into the stadium today, everybody had a bottle of Tom Ford in their locker. Sounds Dark. Sexy. Indulgent. (It’s all courtesy Josh Donaldson, of course, according to a Shi Davidi tweet).

Speaking of Shi, he wrote today for Sportsnet about more front office turnover. In addition to the dismissal of scouting director Brian Parker and national crosschecker Blake Davis, which I wrote about yesterday, Shi reports that minor league field coordinator Doug Davis is on the way out. As with the other two moves, that’s fairly unsurprising, given the change at the top of the front office. However! Let’s not make the mistake of blithely assuming that this is Shapiro cleaning house to bring in “his guys.” Yes, he brought over a key lieutenant in Ross Atkins, who he thought was ready to be a full fledged GM and would benefit from some veteran guidance. And he brought in Andrew Miller to run the business side — largely, one assumes, because of the (seemingly excellent) job Miller did in Cleveland as a key figure in the renovation of Progressive Field and the upgrade of spring training facilities, both of which are huge tasks for the Jays right now, too. But as I noted on this week’s Birds All Day podcast, he also brought in Gil Kim from Texas (and, before that, Pittsburgh), Angus Mugford from IMG Academy, and promoted Tony LaCava and Joe Sheehan. It’s not just about recreating what he had in Cleveland! And, as I noted somewhat cryptically on Twitter, I’ve heard a couple things about the job Parker did that make the decision to move on seem understandable to me. Nothing wild, just stuff that makes me understand why it might not have been a fit. Bottom line: this isn’t stuff to get up in arms about! Like, not remotely so.

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Which is to say, I do not agree with the first comment on this post from Batter’s Box.

Speaking of that Batter’s Box post, though, one of the commenters included a link to a piece this week from Jays From The Couch that has a rather interesting quote from Dalton Pompey in it. Asked about differences between this regime and the previous one, he had this to say: “Yeah, I think it’s a lot different than when Alex (Anthopoulos) was here. When Alex was here I felt like it was more about – not that it isn’t a business overall – but he kind of treated everybody like a business piece. It was a lot different. I never really talked to him at all, but these new guys, I talk to Ross Atkins a lot and he’s really in tune with my routine and what I’m doing to prepare myself for the game and let the results take care of itself. There’s kind of a different mindset to what they do and I think that’s just because they came from the (Cleveland) Indians, where they are really big on development. It’s definitely helped me out a lot.”

And speaking of Shapiro and Atkins and their ongoing perception problem, Dan Grant of Same Page Team provides an excellent breakdown of what they’ve actually done since taking hold of the Jays’ front office, and frankly, it’s pretty some pretty impressive work. 

I cringe when I see a headline like “Rogers will need to raise Jays payroll next season” from an organ like the Toronto Sun, but in a piece today Ken Fidlin has done an outstanding, and fair, job of clearly outlining the basics of the Jays’ financial situation, of explaining what Rogers is asking of fans with the price hikes announced this week, and of raising the multi-million dollar question about where all the money the club generates is really going. (Also, he unintentionally highlights why it’s often problematic to think about payroll in terms of what’s coming off the books, by doing it the right way and actually looking at what’s on them — by which I mean, he points out all the raises due Jays players heading into next season, such as ones for Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin that combine to add up to over $10-million. In other words: don’t go assuming having R.A. Dickey’s $12-million off the books means that they’ll have that much elsewhere to play with!)

Great stuff from Keegan Matheson of Jays Journal, as he looks at how Anthony Alford has regained his status as an elite prospect after an injury-plagued start to the season.

At BP Toronto, Elie Waitzer has a great piece on how Marcus Stroman is “sliding” back to the front of the Jays’ rotation — i.e. by starting to ramp up his slider use, to good results.

Topical, given last weekend’s celebration: Post City looks at the five greatest Jays pitchers of all time.

MLB Trade Rumours has the details on the Rockies’ promotion of Jeff Hoffman. Never heard of him. Meanwhile, Troy Tulowitzki has his .302/.353/.552 for a wRC+ of 139 since the Jays began their series in San Francisco way back on May 9th.

SB Nation’s Red Sox blog, Over the Monster, talks a lot about a couple Blue Jays slugger, and even more about a big Blue Jays fan pipe dream, as they wonder if maybe Joey Votto could fill the shoes of David Ortiz as the club’s DH next season. As a ghoul, I truly think this would be a delightful end to all the drooling Jays fans have done for Votto over the years. Of course, as a Red Sox hater, might I suggest they replace Ortiz in house (Sandoval? Hanley?) and/or fire themselves into the sun?

Lastly, one more bit of Red Sox detritus, as the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier wonders why the Red Sox continue to stick with manager John Farrell, despite a bloodlust from the loudest portions of the fan base after ever perceived mistake.