A very intriguing nugget from Gideon Turk of BP Toronto in his piece on the Jays’ as-yet-unofficial agreement with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, as he lays this on us: “according to a club source, the team might end up going with prospect Reese McGuire in the role instead, hoping he shows enough in Spring Training to bring his fantastic defensive skills on board.” Well, then! Seems like they’d really be giving up on any future development of McGuire’s bat if that were the case, which doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you’d do to a 21-year-old who might look like an everyday player with even a little ability to hit. But maybe!
More good stuff from BP Toronto, as Greg Wisniewski says that it’s time for the Blue Jays to start thinking long-term extension with Josh Donaldson, and looks at how that might work. Hey, if Meddlin’ Eddie is throwing money around looking to buy goodwill, this is a hell of a place to start. The Bautista thing is only temporary, and next winter, with Bautista most likely gone for real, and Donaldson just a year away from free agency, the howls are only going to get louder. And as much as there’s risk there, and as much as we’re talking huge money, it’s not like they’d be adding to huge commitments already on the books: Donaldson’s first free agent season, 2019, has $54 million committed to Tulo, Martin, and Morales, but the year after that only Tulo is left on the books, and his salary drops to $14 million. A back-loaded deal risks overpaying an aging Donaldson for past performance, but who better to do that with? And when?
Over at Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at the free agent left-handed relievers still available for the Jays to pursue and… well… it looks like a list of free agent left-handers who would be available in late January. Woof.
Benny Fresh had earlier noted that the Jays are indeed keeping a couple of these names on their radar, specifically Jerry Blevins and Craig Breslow. Woof.
The Mets are a team that needs lefty relief help too, which is one of the reasons that they were looking for someone to take a guy (and a contract) like Jay Bruce off their hands. So it’s good news for the Jays on two fronts that Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes that the Mets now intend to have Bruce on their roster to open the season.
Keith Law has two Blue Jays among his top 60 prospects at ESPN.com, Anthony Alford — who had a “sideways” 2016, but can still make big progress this year — and Vlad Guerrero Jr., who ranks 48th, but will certainly move up in such lists pretty quickly if he continues to do Vlad Jr. things at more advanced levels.
Great stuff, as always, from John Lott, over at the Athletic, as he looks at the development of Jays pitching prospects Sean Reid-Foley and Connor Greene.
Jessica Kleinschmidt of FanRag looks at the Jays in the post-Encarnacion era, and figures that they can still be contenders — a sentiment I absolutely agree with. Bonus points for a Stacey May quote!
Interesting stuff from Paste and “the Secret Analyst” — who is not old friend Richie Fucking Football, it should be noted — as we’re given a glimpse into the often low-paying life of folks doing analytics for soccer clubs in England. A lot of parallels with what I’ve heard from people who do analytics in baseball, or any kind of front office work in baseball. There are obvious differences, too, but like here it’s an industry where the vast number of willing employees keeps salaries shockingly low.
Craig Edwards of FanGraphs looks at third base, the Hall of Fame, and the upcoming case of the GBoAT.
Pitch Talks announces that Jonah Keri and Tim Raines will be at an event in Toronto in April. Hall of Famer — and Blue Jays outfield/baserunning coordinator — Tim Raines, that is! The Rock!
Lastly, it’s genuinely getting close to that time! The Blue Jays tweet that they’ve loaded up the moving trucks and have all the gear necessary for Spring Training headed for Dunedin. Let’s do this!