Daily Duce: Tuesday, January 24th

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Daily??!?!?

Sean Reid-Foley checks in at number 72 on Keith Law’s top prospects list (which is being released in stages all this week) at ESPN.com — not too far behind the Giants’ Young Beedah. But let’s not lament that, since Law’s take on SRF is that “there’s No. 2 starter potential here, given his present stuff and command.” I’ll take the hell out of that, thanks.

“It’s not hyperbole to say that his offensive upside rivals that of his father, who just missed election to the Hall of Fame by 15 votes,” says MLB.com in naming Vlad Guerrero Jr. their third best third base prospect in the game. Which… is great, obviously, but maaaaaaybe we should tone down the comparisons and expectations and let him be his own thing? That’s a hard ask, I know, and he’s obviously carried this weight real well so far in his young life, but… y’know?

Sticking with MLB.com, they asked their 30 beat writers to come up with the best free agent transaction in the history of the club they covered, and Gregor Chisholm went with Roger Clemens’ move to Toronto in 1997. A gutsy pick, but one that’s tough to argue (especially with the stipulation that they not choose any one-year deals ruling out Dave Winfield). Still, though… Russ Martin says hi. (Aaaaand the forthcoming back end of Russ Martin’s contract says hi to Russ Martin saying hi.)

Transaction news that I’m too lazy to choose links for because it’s already everywhere: Noted Jays killer Logan Forsythe has been dealt by the Rays to the Dodgers, which is good! Meanwhile, the Giants have come to terms with backup catcher Nick Hundley, who may have been on the Jays’ radar, while the Diamondbacks inked a minor league deal with Josh Thole, who definitely wasn’t. Meh.

Great stuff from Gideon Turk of BP Toronto on the release, and career, of Clinton Hollon, the Jays’ 2013 second round draft pick, who was twice suspended for testing positive for a drug of abuse — drugs that, Gideon points out, only minor leaguers (who lack a union) are subject to penalties for. 

Also great stuff: Mark Davidson of Beyond the Box Score looking at how Francisco Liriano turned his season around after being traded away from those notorious pitcher-fixers in Pittsburgh.

Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star tells us about accessibility advocate Andrew Sprague, who has filed a complaint about the Blue Jays with Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal. The club, the complaint says, won’t let him buy accessible seats online — something the other pro sports teams in the city allow. It sounds like obvious total bullshit from the Jays and something that needs to be changed. That said, maybe I’m an asshole, but the last paragraph of the piece gave me at least a little bit of pause about Sprague’s efforts, as it discloses that “Earlier this year Sprague filed a complaint with the National NewsMedia Council against the Toronto Star for inaccurately describing an ’emotional support dog’ as a service dog, and demanded a retraction of the article.” Forgive my ignorance if I’m missing something major about the importance of making that distinction, but… seriously??? “The council dismissed the complaint,” it adds.

Interesting piece from South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, profiling Jason Pare, the former member of the Jays’ front office who is now in charge of analytics for the Marlins. (Interestingly: he came to the Jays from Cleveland back in 2010 — almost like they had a good organization over there or something.)

Something called Last Word On Sports goes about as negative as you possibly could on the Jays’ reunion with José Bautista. The Jays “likely could have re-signed Michael Saunders for considerably less money,” is a thing that’s actually said about the guy who went 0-for-the-second-half. And “the Blue Jays also need to ask themselves how much Bautista can really contribute to winning ballgames at this stage of his career.” I mean, look, it’s no slam dunk that Bautista is going to be what we all remember of him ever again, but a .366 on-base and a 122 wRC+ in a year derailed by DL trips for turf toe and a knee injury — issues not mentioned once in the piece (i.e. two fewer times than his PR appeal for the Jays was mentioned) — are hardly the marks of a player limping over the finish line. He was still in the top third (barely) of qualified hitters by wRC+. 

Mild politics warning: but interesting stuff from Dirk Hayhurst as he grapples with the state of the political conversation in the United States right now. I’ll do you a favour and spare you my own thoughts on some of the particulars I might agree or disagree with, I’ll just say that I think having small town Ohio roots and being a big leaguer in Toronto and elsewhere has given him a unique perspective on it.

Lastly, Scott MacArthur tweets a link of a radio conversation that he had with ESPN Deportes’ Toronto-based columnist, Arturo Marcano, about the deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marté and lives of Latin American ballplayers. Arturo’s a great Twitter follow as well. Scandalous side note: He says that only five or six of the 30 MLB teams have what he calls “formal education programs” for prospects in their Dominican academies — players who are being signed at 16 and 17. I asked Arturo whether the Jays are one of the few he mentioned, and he said no, but that the last he checked was four months ago and it’s possible they now do have one. Let’s hope so. And if not, let’s maybe make a little noise about that.