The Jays have signed infielder Jonathan Diaz to a minor league deal, bringing him back to the organization that drafted him in 2006 after a year spent in Triple-A with the Yankees. What’s perhaps interesting about this how Diaz might be viewed as insurance for the potential loss of Ryan Goins on waivers, should it come to that this spring. Goins is out of options, and Diaz is… a poor man’s Ryan Goins. Translation: be sure to get a fried bologna sandwich when you’re watching him in Buffalo. (Diaz also spent a year in the Red Sox organization in 2013, so this his his third stint with the Jays. Also also: Uh… the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate hasn’t been Columbus since 2009??!?!?).
Barry Davis tweets that he’s no longer going to be broadcasting Jays games, and he’s scrubbed the Sportsnet references from his Twitter handle and bio. Sorry to hear that, even if I must admit missed the vast majority of his work because I watch almost always via MLB.tv. (Which is my chickenshit way of trying to avoid saying that he big-timed Parkes out of an interview with a player years ago and didn’t exactly grow in my esteem after that either. Not sure why I’d take it easy on him after being such a dick about Jamie Campbell — who it turns out is super cool! — for so long way back. Guess I’m just goin’ soft. Or I know now how it sucks to lose a job.)
Apparently Steve Simmons had word of Davis’s impending departure back in November for the Toronto Sun — maybe I’d have noticed it, too, if the first part of that piece hadn’t been trying so hard to stoke the fires of stupidity. (I wrote a Dumbing Down the Discourse about it, which… cue Simmons was right, they weren’t serious clowns, amiright?)
Interesting piece today from Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, as he looked at the league-wide projections for production at first base and noticed a rather striking theme: the teams expected to be worst at first base are all pretty damned good! Which… isn’t my way of saying that having Justin Smoak slated to get a bunch of at-bats is good — he’s still bad and the Jays should do better — but it’s certainly a sign that the club is, at the very least, not alone in viewing the position the way they evidently do.
Henry Druschel of Beyond the Box Score looks at the starting pitching projections on the Jays, how they almost uniformly expect the rotation to regress, and how the way they exceeded their projections in 2016 might provide a blueprint for how they’ll do so again this coming season. They’ll be fine! Uh… I’m pretty sure.
Back to FanGraphs, where Eric Longenhagen had a prospects chat that I haven’t quite made my way entirely through yet. One part I did see though was his answer to a question of which prospect is the best bet to make it to the majors before his 21st birthday. His answer: “Lil’ Vlad.” (Of course, Guerrero the Younger doesn’t turn eighteen for another six weeks, so don’t get too excited just yet).
Chris Henderson of Jays Journal talks about arbitration and looks at the fact that the Blue Jays appear to continue to be a “file and trial” team, and wonders whether they should be, with the case of Marcus Stroman due to be brought to an arbitrator soon. Chris balances the pros and cons well, though I’ve been led to believe that it’s not nearly as contentious a process as it used to be, and that the worry about upsetting players is mostly unfounded. They understand the business. Stroman will be fine.
Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com goes “around the horn,” looking at the characters who will populate the Jays’ outfield this season. This includes my favourite whipping boy of late, good ol’ Zeke! Love the personality and am OK with the glove, but man, oh man, he just can’t hit. And I’m gonna say it again! Gregor notes that Carrera “became a regular in September and he was able to hang onto the job deep into the playoffs,” which is absolutely true. Carrera hit .364/.389/.455 from September 20th until the end of the regular season, and then .303/.343/.515 in nine playoff games. That was great! But… uh… from the All-Star break through September 19th he slashed .114/.173/.186 over 76 plate appearances — good for a -9 wRC+. He is, unfortunately, quite bad.
Interesting comments from Lansing Lugnuts radio man Jesse Goldberg-Strassler regarding my talking about Ryan Borucki as a potential fit for the Jays’ lefty relief role: “I’m pretty sure we had Borucki at 92-94, touching 96. I’m expecting him in the New Hampshire rotation,” he tweets. “Expect anonymous names to make pushes,” Jesse adds, noting that “both Alonzo Gonzalez and Jose Fernandez were throwing upper 90s last year in A-Adv.” It should go without saying that Fernandez isn’t the tragically deceased Marlins pitcher. He is a lefty, though — Gonzalez is right-handed.
Great stuff from Clutchlings on what to expect from Reese McGuire this season — and again, the thoughts are he could certainly help the club in the big leagues.
Interesting video clip (of an audio clip) of Stephen Brunt talking to the Fan 590’s morning show about being with Marco Estrada when word of the #MuslimBan broke, and about being in the United States right now as people start to fully realize what the country has voted for. Worth a listen despite the program it appeared on.
Interesting piece from David Singh at Sportsnet on Russell Martin and his leading the way on customized cleats — i.e. sneakers turned into cleats by Custom Cleats Inc — which is a thing that players apparently do. (Josh Donaldson’s moon boots anyone?). I dunno… let me know when someone does this to a sweet pair of Rod Lavers.
Lastly, today in stealing my own tweets: the Jays tweeted a job listing for the club’s “activation team,” asking, “Are you enthusiastic, motivated, and would love to engage fans around our ballpark?” The weird thing is, the posting doesn’t specify “you must hate the wave,” which it obviously should. (Ugh. It was better on Twitter… probably. Also ugh: cue the Mark Shapiro kills attendance truthers, amiright?)