Shi Davidi of Sportsnet talks to the newest Blue Jay, Mat Latos, about his struggles over the last two seasons — related mostly to a knee injury suffered back when he was in Cincinnati (something he’s been vocal about the Reds’ mishandling of) — and what his role could be in Toronto, if he makes the team. Latos comes to camp on a minor league deal, and knows he’s going to have to earn his keep, which might mean pitching out of the bullpen — something he told Shi he found tough at first when he tried it in Washington last year, of the first time in his career, but that he grew to like. “And it wasn’t bad looking back and actually seeing 95 every now and then,” he adds.
It probably always starts out well with Latos, but then…
Speaking of bad pitchers, Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets that, in the course of exploring the market for depth pitching, the Jays had talks with Edwin Jackson. Yes, the Edwin Jackson. And, actually, it’s not as crazy an idea as it maybe sounds on the surface. Jackson’s fastball appears to have lost a couple ticks between 2015 and 2016, but that’s likely mostly because half of his appearances last season were as a starter, and in 2015 he was exclusively a reliever — and averaged 93.9 mph heat. WAR pegged him as replacement level that year, and probably fairly, based on his walk and strikeout totals, but he did manage a 3.07 ERA, a 3.82 FIP, and a WHIP (remember WHIP???) of 1.17. No such thing as a bad minor league deal with an invite!
I don’t usually embed tweets in these posts, but holy shit, I think I have to make an exception for this one. Troy Tulowitzki is your dad:
Troy Tulowitzki isn’t going to let you let him down, man. pic.twitter.com/LB4NXGwi2m
— Jonah Birenbaum (@birenball) February 16, 2017
Marcus Stroman is sporting a new look in camp, and John Lott tweets out a snap he took of — wait for it — the Jays’ best pitcher.
Another good pitcher that the Blue Jays have is Aaron Sanchez. Gregor Chisholm writes about Sanchy for BlueJays.com, and tells us that the days of worrying about innings limits for him are over. He’ll be treated just like any other pitcher this season.
Speaking of Sanchez, we go back to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, who spoke with the young ace about, among other things, his changeup — a pitch that Sanchez is hoping will take him to even greater heights in 2017.
Sportsnet’s Mike Cormack tweets an interesting tidbit from Shi’s piece: the fact that Sanchez finished 2016 with his weight back down to 206, after beginning the year at 225. He’s now back to 221. (Cue jerks saying that he bulked up all winter on his teammates’ salty tears.)
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs ranks the winter’s best transactions, and, of course, Cleveland’s masterstroke of a deal with Edwin Encarnación makes the top ten, placing ninth. Oh, and hey, what’s this? The Blue Jays’ re-signing of José Bautista ranks fourth! As it damn well should. “The Jays landed perhaps the best hitter on the market for $1 million more than Jeremy Hellickson cost the Phillies,” Cameron reminds. “A lot of short-term value with no long-term risk makes this a pretty great deal for the Jays.”
Outstanding stuff from Meg Rowley of Baseball Prospectus, as she gets deep into Adam Lind’s pants, which… is much, much funnier than it sounds. Did Adam Lind fart smoke? The world needs this investigated!
Kevin Pillar tells Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun that he wants to be known as “one of the best overall,” not just one of the best defensive centre fielders in the game. Hey, cool. I want to be known as a big league calibre hitter, too, but it ain’t gonna happen.
“Jays add Salty for seasoning behind the dish” reads the headline of Richard Griffin’s latest for the Toronto Star. Whoever titled that piece deserves a damn raise.
Elsewhere in the Star, Griff talks to 40-year-old Jason Grilli, who is still going strong despite his age (as long as you don’t, y’know, count his troubling ordinariness at the end of the 2016 season).
Robert MacLeod of the Globe and Mail looks at Marco Estrada and his new life in the slow lane, after a 2012 leg injury sapped both his foot speed and his fastball.
Jayson Stark of ESPN has one of those annoying ESPN Now things that features the Jays’ new lefty, J.P. Howell. “They just do what they want. Not worried about what people think,” Howell says of his new team and one of the reasons he chose to sign here. “That’s the way I like to live and play.” Alright! #TeamAsshole LE’S GO!!!
Lucas Silva of Jays Journal goes deep under the hood of Rowdy Tellez, as dissects the concerns that many of the top public prospect evaluators have about the young first baseman’s bat — and, in particular, his bat speed. A great read.
On the occasion of A.J. Jimenez’s release, Tammy Rainey of BP Toronto takes us back through the long, sad history of Blue Jays catchers of the future. (That Delgado guy at least worked out!)
Great stuff from Eephus at Batter’s Box, as he looks back on the lows and highs of the just-concluded off-season.
At Hum and Chuck, Joanna is still not over the loss of Edwin Encarnación, and can you blame her? Life goes on, but he was truly a special, fun player to watch.
Did we mention that the Blue Jays outrighted Chad Girodo this week? Because the Blue Jays outrighted Chad Girodo this week. They then invited him back to camp as a non-roster player. Girod-go get ’em, Chad!
Cole Shelton of Bluebird Banter goes about predicting the Jays’ Opening Day roster. For him, Mike Bolsinger is in, and Ryan Goins is out. I can’t say I disagree — though surely something will happen along the way that could change things, especially for Goins. If just about anybody needs to start the season on the DL, it’ll be hard not to see Goins grabbing their Opening Day roster spot (catchers excepted).
Nick Ashbourne of Yahoo! Sports plumbs the depths of the Jays’ roster to bring us five under-the-radar players to watch this spring. Jose Tabata and Juan Graterol alert!!!
Lastly, as I’ve been noting every time I do one of these lately, if you’re an aspiring writer looking for exposure for your Blue Jays content, I’d love to help you out in whatever small way I can. My advice: start your own site. Once you do that, send me the link (or if you already have one and I haven’t been linking it, send it too!). I can be reached at via email at firstname.lastname@example.org (I will respond… eventually), or on Twitter at @AndrewStoeten. I will put your site in the RSS feed I use when compiling these posts. I will read what you write. If it’s good, I will point people to it. If it’s consistently good, we can definitely talk about having you do stuff for us. If we agree to work together and I don’t have it in the budget at that moment to pay for it, you’re welcome to do some things for us anyway, and if its gets good traffic and demonstrates value, I’ll certainly be able to make a business case to bring you on for pay.