The Daily Duce: Friday, September 2nd



As of this writing, the Blue Jays have yet to announce their rotation plans beyond tonight’s Marcus Stroman start in Tampa Bay against the Rays’ Alex Cobb. However, Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets that Ross Atkins told Jeff Blair this morning that the “most likely scenario” would be Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ on Saturday and Sunday respectively. That will mean at least 10 days off for Francisco Liriano, but I can sure live with that. And while it might mean Liriano, Dickey, and Sanchez next week against the Yankees, that would at least setup another run of Stroman, Estrada, Happ when the Red Sox visit for a huge series next weekend.

You can listen to the full Atkins segment with Jeff Blair at Sportsnet. “We talked to a number of teams about left-handed relief options” before the waiver trade deadline, he admits. In general he says, “there were several we thought were close, and evidently we weren’t because they didn’t occur.”

An outstanding one here from Michael Baumann of the Ringer, who reminds the audience down there that…uh… the Jays are still kinda fucking awesome.

Great stuff from Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, as he looks at an aspect of the Jays’ success that hasn’t gotten nearly enough ink: the players’ ability to stay healthy. Specifically, he looks at the club’s training staff, and what they’ve been doing to help keep players on the field.

Elsewhere at the Star, Brendan looks at Orioles closer Zach Britton, who he likens to a left-handed Aaron Sanchez, while ol’ Griff has a few curious ones. He lists, in order, the five players the Jays can least afford to lose (which… as much as I love Roberto Osuna, uh… second? really?). He also wonders if the Jays should be concerned about Osuna in September (hint: no). And, in one that is less curious, talks about the AL Cy Young race, which he thinks is unlikely to be won by a member of the Blue Jays’ rotation, despite their being the true backbone of the club’s success.

Interesting stuff from all around the league via Jon Heyman at Today’s Knuckleball. About the Blue Jays, in particular, he suggests Kendrys Morales could be a guy they look to if/when they need to replace Edwin Encarnacion this winter. He also mentions that one of the reasons it was believed Alex Anthopolous left the Jays last winter was that he wouldn’t have autonomy, and while the conversation about that has largely focussed on player personnel, Heyman notes that autonomy over front office staff may have also been a sticking point — something underscored by the recent turnover in the front office and on the player development side.

Is Josh Donaldson on a Hall of Fame trajectory? That’s a question asked this week by Bluebird Banter, the answer to which is: who cares? Josh Donaldson is great! And the Hall of Fame ought to be fired into the sun. If Donaldson, Bautista, Encarnacion, Carlos Delgado, etc., don’t quite make the HOF grade, that doesn’t take away anybody’s enjoyment of their careers one iota. A museum is great, and honouring the greats of the game is great, but the way the Hall works? Meh.

David Laurila of FanGraphs chats with Jays prospect Rowdy Tellez in a piece titled Rowdy Tellez: A future Jay and the Chip on His Shoulder. Don’t be frightened by the chip! Tellez comes off as confident, not cocky, and — more importantly — truly thoughtful about hitting and his game. A guy with no position needs to truly be able to hit if he’s going to make it in the big leagues, because the bar for offensive production is so high at DH and first base, but so far Tellez is making the Jays — both the previous regime who drafted him and the current ones in charge of his development — look awfully smart.

Elsewhere at FanGraphs, Schimpf alert! Craig Edwards looks at the phenomenon of the old rookie through the prism of 2009 Blue Jays fifth rounder Ryan Schimpf, who never was able to translate his double-A success to triple-A while in the Jays’ organization, but is having an utterly ridiculous year (.234/.353/.947) in the big leagues this season in San Diego. Daniel Rathman of Baseball Prospectus also talks Schimpf, noting that he’s getting plenty of extra-base hits, but not a lot of singles — largely because he’s got the lowest ground ball rate in the league.

Sticking with BP, some great stuff as always from BP Toronto, as Mike Passador praises marginal moves, Greg Wisniewski tries to find what the hell has gone wrong with Michael Saunders, Joshua Howsam looks at how J.A. Happ evolved into one of baseball’s best, while Elie Waitzer looks at the unbearable clutchness of Josh Donaldson.

Jonathan Mayo of looks at the Blue Jays who will be playing in the Arizona Fall League this season — a group highlighted by Anthony Alford.

Great stuff from Keegan Matheson of Jays Journal, who looks at how Joaquin Benoit has become Jason Grilli 2.0 for the Blue Jays.

It was absurd that the Orioles’ series with the Blue Jays this week was so poorly attended, but while many gleeful Jays fans — myself included — got a kick out of piling on the folks in Baltimore, this Washington Times piece suggests that the root of the problem isn’t with O’s fandom, but with an ancient owner — Peter Angelos — who remains badly behind the times. 

Our old friend the Tao of Stieb thinks big picture in his latest, and talks about how this year’s march to the playoffs is quite a bit different than last year’s.

Lastly, some sad news, as the Buffalo Bisons have announced that Celery is retiring, and will no longer be participating in the club’s Wing, Chees, and Celery race. Semper fi. [Salutes].