The Daily Duce: Monday, August 22nd

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Daily??!?!?

Mike Trout seems to be happy to be on his way to Toronto, and though it means an up-close look at a once-in-a-generation talent, I can’t say the feeling is mutual! His shitty teammates, though? Can’t get here soon enough. Anyway, to wit:

I won’t give you a big pull quote, because you should just go read this whole thing: Austin Fagerstrom of FanGraphs on Aaron Sanchez’s ridiculous — like really, really ridiculous — sinker.

Elsewhere at FanGraphs, Eric Longenhagen talks about Jeff Hoffman (never heard of him) on the occasion of his debut for the Rockies. Warning: it’s a pretty positive report — no Schadenfreude here!

MLBTR recaps Nick Cafardo’s latest for the Boston Globe, and relays that Cafardo suggests the Jays were among the teams interested in outfielder Carlos Gomez before he signed with the Rangers — though it wouldn’t have been clear how he’d fit once Jose Bautista and Kevin Pillar were healthy. (There’s also a mention of the “toxic” Yasiel Puig, who nobody seems to want to take off the Dodgers’ hands. Depending on how the Jays’ off-season goes, I could still see him as a flyer they might take — though that’s a complete and total guess.)

In his recap of Sunday’s loss, Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com looks at Brett Cecil’s high leverage struggles this season, which have definitely been a thing.

Jays Prospects look at the fine tuned pitches and improving confidence that has helped 19-year-old right-hander Justin Maese become one of the fastest-moving prospects in the Jays system this year.

Over at Jays Journal, Michael McKee looks at how Roberto Osuna has been an historical outlier so far in his young career. Of couse, GROF would probably like to point out, “Roberto Osuna is the youngest pitcher to reach 47 saves because YOUNG PITCHERS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE STARTERS.”

Over at ESPN.com, Jim Bowden looks at several players who could move before the August 31st waiver trade deadline — including Colorado’s lefty reliever Boone Logan, who the Jays should definitely take a look at.

Anthony Castrovince of Sports On Earth writes an appreciation for the Jays’ pitching staff — and Russell Martin — which maybe doesn’t tell fans in this market anything they didn’t already know, but is certainly well-deserved regardless.

Similarly, Eric Mercer of BP Toronto looks at how J.A. Happ has been the Jays’ unsung hero this season.

In his MLB power rankings at SI.com, Jonah Keri places the Jays fourth, and then focusses on their struggles in one-run games — something that doesn’t look good on John Gibbons, though he certainly hasn’t had a lot to work with

Elsewhere at SI.com, Freddy Galvis of the Phillies, after a foul ball off his bat hit a young girl in the face over the weekend, says there should be more protective netting for fans at big league ballparks. He’s not wrong, of course. And — newsflash — those amazing seats behind the plate all have protective netting between them and the game; you don’t even notice it. In other words: spare the world your hot take if you’re against this!

Interesting: Rob Bradford of WEEI.com spoke with recently-acquired Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz about comments from a recent Boston Herald Q&A with Sox owner John Henry, in which he revealed that the commissioner’s office is investigating whether the Padres provided the appropriate medical records during trade negotiations with Boston (as was the case was their sending Colin Rae to the Marlins — a deal that had to be undone after Rae was injured in his first start for Miami). Pomeranz says he isn’t hurt, and so is a little confused by the matter (though the concern may have to do with the minor shoulder surgery he had last off-season). Thing is, fuck that! The Red Sox should have to live with that deal! Pomeranz has allowed eight home runs and 18 earned through just seven starts, for a 4.23 ERA, with a 5.21 FIP, and a strikeout rate that has sunk from an impressive 28% on the west coast to a fairly average 22% in Boston. Delicious.

Lastly, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Billy Butler of the A’s was hurt in a clubhouse altercation with teammate, and former Blue Jay, Danny Valencia. Valencia has been a superb hitter since being claimed by the A’s in the middle of last season. He posted a 143 wRC+ over 205 PA in Oakland last year, and has a 127 wRC+ this season, slashing an impressive .296/.353/.495 over 592 PA since being given away for nothing by the Blue Jays. And yet nobody really talks about it. This incident may shed some light on that, because I can tell you, behind the scenes and among those who cover the team, you don’t hear a lot of great things about Valencia. (Or, y’know, as GROF put it.)

Ian of the Blue Jay Hunter cites some of the rumblings that did get out into the media at the time, suggesting that the Jays were right for D’ing Valencia FA last year. It’s a good piece that goes deeper into the whole thing than I have, though I must caution about perpetuating the narrative that says the “Jays’ front office worked painstakingly during the 2014 offseason to change the clubhouse culture by bringing in revered leaders with a bevvy of playoff experience in Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson, and shipping out any supposed ‘bad apples’.” I’m sure the “culture change” thing is a little more than just a cute narrative, but let’s not forget that the far more important changes were going from Brett Lawrie and Dioner Navarro to a pair of top three talents at their positions. Let’s also not forget that, for all the big talk about culture, they kept Danny Valencia. Only for half a season, but it’s not like they didn’t know! And had Donaldson not been so healthy, and had Chris Colabello not emerged, are we so sure they’d have still gotten rid of him for nothing regardless? Let’s not give them too much credit. It wasn’t until he lost most of his utility as a roster piece that they could play the “bad apple” card.