Roy Halladay will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Mary’s this summer, along with Vladimir Guerrero, along with “past Baseball Canada president Ray Carter, the 2015 Canadian men’s team that won gold at the Pan-Am Games and umpire Doug Hudlin, who will be inducted posthumously.” That list is from Ben Nicholson-Smith’s piece at Sportsnet, which focusses on Doc — who says he’s got plans to get back into the game in some capacity, and admits that he’s talked to the Blue Jays about it.
“Minor league instructor Roy Halladay: ‘run stairs until your spine is dust. Throw 95 with three pitches, develop a + change on whim’,” tweets our pal @DrewGROF.
John Lott of the Athletic writes about Halladay and the “boot-camp makeover” that led him to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (and, soon enough, to the other one under the sea).
Cleveland has signed lefty reliever, and guy lefty reliever obsessives have salivated over, Boone Logan, to a one-year deal. Cue nonsense! The Jays are reportedly looking for another right-handed reliever at around the same price they paid for lefty J.P. Howell. For them it makes more sense to use their budget dollars that way, rather than cutting down their ability to add a right-hander (within budget) because of the upgrade Logan provides over Howell. Cleveland, on the other hand, are in a position where they’re already all in for 2017, and where ownership seems to be allowing for added budget. They’re at the absolute peak of their win cycle and are behaving as such. No matter how much we want to always believe that our own team should be acting like, the Blue Jays aren’t in that spot and are trying to balance budget, present, and future. You hate to see a rival get stronger, but let’s skip the pining or horseshit pretending that Cleveland is only behaving differently because of Mark Shaprio’s departure. OK? OK.
Anywho, Logan signed a one-year deal with an option which guarantees him $6.5 million ($5.5 million this year, plus a $1 million buyout on a $7 million option), so… more than double what the Jays guaranteed to Howell. As the market suggests, Logan is the better get, especially based on 2016. But Howell is a fine bet for half the price, and for a team that has other places it would still like to spend some dollars.
One place they can no longer spend those dollars: Matt Belisle. The former Nationals reliever has signed a $2.05 million deal with the Twins, which seems like something the Jays should have considered, but I get why they didn’t. Belisle’s overall numbers in 2016 were buoyed by the fact that he was surprisingly effective against left-handers — though he got lit up in the split the previous two years. He was bad against right-handers, and wasn’t great against them the year before, either. So… meh. Would still like to see them add some small pieces though.
One of those other pieces might be — should be — in left field, but if the Jays do look to add there, Chris Coghlan won’t be the guy that they bring in. He’s signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, and while I don’t know if the Jays were in on him at all, I really think they should have been. I can’t say enough that I don’t think Ezequiel Carrera is a viable platoon option for Melvin Upton, and as much as the idea of Dalton Pompey winning that job is growing on me, giving him some competition with a history of hitting right-handed pitching well would have been ideal. They could still make a move for someone like Angel Pagan, but it looks more and more like the front office is happy with their options in left — at least relative to the cost of upgrading. They probably shouldn’t be. That said, on Coghlan, specifically, I get why he might have chosen the Phillies over the Jays, if we think the Jays were even interested. There certainly looks like he has a better path to playing time in Philadelphia than in Toronto, with Upton, Carrera, Pompey, Pearce, and Ceciliani in the mix (some to a greater extent than others). If I’m Coghlan, I want as much opportunity to play as possible, and that’s in Philadelphia.
That report on the Jays still looking to add after adding J.P. Howell comes from this tweet from Benny Fresh, by the way.
A pair from Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs, as he looks at team defence, showing us that the Jays have the fifth best projected defence in all of baseball right now (!), and also at Daniel Norris who — sigh — he believes is in the middle of a breakout. With bonus praise of James Paxton! “Even if Norris were done getting better, he’s just a higher innings count from being a No. 2,” he writes. And while it’s probably still too early yet, I can’t help but wonder if we’re approaching the day where it’s fair to wonder, “Uh… would the 2015 Jays have maybe made the playoffs without David Price?”
One more from FanGraphs, as Craig Edwards looks at the hard choices that might be coming for the Orioles if they stumble out of the gate this season, given that they currently have six regulars, worth a combined 8.3 projected WAR, slated to become free agents next winter, and then four more — including Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Zach Britton (assuming he’s not still sitting in the bullpen at Rogers Centre) — the year after. But before you get too full of Schadenfreude at the thought of a Baltimore rebuild, let’s not forget that the Jays are in a similar position themselves. This winter they’re due to lose Bautista (if we’re being honest), Estrada, Liriano, Grilli, Upton, Howell, and Barney — 7.7 wins per FG’s depth chart page — with Donaldson, Happ, Pearce, Smoak, and Loup due to hit free agency after 2018 (unless, for some God forsaken reason, they don’t buy out Smoak’s last option year). That’s another 10.3 in projected WAR hitting the market, too. It’s not all bad, though, for either team. “If the Orioles contend again this season, much of the above will be moot,” Edwards writes. “There will be no reason to concede this year, and they will need the 2018 class to remain in contention. Then, they will have little choice but to go all-in for the 2018 season in Machado’s last season before free agency. If they’re out of contention, though, they will have to make a very difficult decision.” Yeesh.
Back to Sportsnet, where our friend the Tao of Stieb wonders about the Jays’ middle infield depth. And in a piece from a radio hit, Alex Anthopolos has some kind words for former Dodger J.P. Howell, who the Jays signed moments before ol’ AA was on Prime Time Sports earlier in the week.
Interesting Canadian Press piece, via the Toronto Sun, on Josh Donaldson and his budding friendship with UFC fighter Stephen Thompson. In fact, Thompson wants Donaldson — who apparently knows his stuff as far as MMA is concerned — to be the one who hands him the belt if he wins his upcoming championship fight against… someone… at the March 4th UFC event in Las Vegas. As opposed to the March 1st through 3rd and 5th through 29th events, one assumes. (They’ve watered down their product with too many shitty cards, is what I’m saying.)
Speaking of Donaldson, Wilson Karaman of Baseball Prospectus give us an in-depth profile of the Jays’ third baseman.
Speaking of BP and in-depth, Joshua Howsam of BP Toronto gets into all kinds of good stuff to suggest that all it might take to fix Kevin Pillar’s bat could be rather simple: having him step closer to the plate.
Jays Journal wonders, based on a Morosi suggestion, if Chris Carter could be a fit for the Jays. In a word: No.
Clutchlings has an excellent look at some prospects to keep an eye on this spring — which is less about position battles than the piece I wrote earlier this week was, and more about the future. Plus it has more guys featured, actually mentions Glenn Sparkman, and they know their shit!
Shohei Otani won’t pitch at the WBC, though he’ll hit. Boooooooooo!!!!! CBS Sports has this version of a report that’s also everywhere.
I love this Reddit conspiracy theory: could Jose Canseco have taken extra at-bats under the guise of being his brother Ozzie when both played with the A’s in 1990? I want to believe. The top comment nails it though, I’m pretty sure.
Not Jays-related, but interesting stuff at Fox Sports from Ken Rosenthal, as he looks at ramifications — which are still being felt — from last summer’s botched Padres-Marlins deal (the one where Colin Rea turned out to be damaged good, and San Diego GM A.J. Preller ended suspended).
Lastly, would have had this up sooner, but got sucked into reading one of the craziest stories I’ve read in a while.