Daily Duce: Tuesday, February 21st

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Daily??!?!?

Sportsnet has a video with a ridiculous, clickbait-y headline, quoting Mark Shapiro, who says there is “some level of anxiety” on Josh Donaldson, given his injured calf. What anyone who actually listens to the comments will understand Shapiro means is that it’s not nothing and it’s not good — he’s not going to wave it off or pretend that the three week timeline we’ve heard will prove true and all will be good to go from there. All of this is true, but on the other hand: relaaaaaaaaaax. 

More from the “misleading headlines” file: Jays Journal has a piece about whether the Jays may not want to start Aaron Sanchez on Opening Day, which suggests that “if Sanchez doesn’t get the assignment,” the author’s belief is that it will probably go to J.A. Happ. The title of the post: Look for J.A. Happ to start Opening Day, not Aaron Sanchez. Uh….

More fun with headlines comes via the Toronto Sun, as Steve Buffery gives us: Mat Latos: Big arm or bad apple?

Elsewhere in the Sun, Buffery looks at Rule Five-er Glenn Sparkman, who has a shot at being this year’s Joe Biagini (only presumably, y’know, not uncomfortably unfunny).

We go back to J.A. Happ, as Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star profiles the 20 game winner — who, the title of his piece says, has “20-20 vision,” i.e. he’s hoping for back-to-back 20 win seasons. (Wins as in bullshit pitcher wins, that is, not the actually meaningful WAR kind.)

Elsewhere in the Star, Griff writes about Marcus Stroman, and his dislike for traditional media and his critics alike. I saw some people object to the fact that Griff called Stroman’s attempts to work around the genuine media and speak straight to his fans through social media as “Trumpian,” but… y’know… it pretty much is. In that really narrow way, I mean.

Robert MacLeod of the Globe and Mail also profiles Marcus Stroman, who is feeling good — and healthier in the surgically-repaired knee than he was last year.

Gideon Turk of BP Toronto has a project and he needs your help. He tweets that Kevin Pillar has said that he aims to be more selective this spring, and so, for the world’s benefit, Gideon is going to try to track that. Full explanation in this Google Doc!

Speaking of Gideon, at BP Toronto he writes about the “90th percentile Jays,” i.e. what the Jays would look like if everybody hit his 90th percentil PECOTA projection. Hint: they’d look extremely good. Hint, hint: it obviously ain’t gonna happen that way.

And speaking of BP, Patrick Dubuque writes over there about Justin Smoak and how Justin Smoak is bad and how Justin Smoak still being a thing is kiiiiiinda inexplicable.

Oh, look, it’s way too many items from BlueJays.com: a look at the Jays’ top 30 prospects; Russell is looking forward to relying on Salty; Devo is close to full health, and working with Taskmaster Tulo; Aaron Loup likes Glove Day (I don’t fucking know); Steve Pearce’s recovery from off-season surgery that we probably don’t talk about enough is going well; Kendrys admires his new club’s intensity.

Powerful, heartbreaking stuff from Joe O’Connor of the National Post, as he tells us about the amazing life and tragic death of Jake Eliopoulos, a Toronto area Blue Jays prospect who took his own life in 2013. Read it.

Back to Sportsnet, where they’ve pulled out 14 minutes of audio of Ben Cherington, the former Red Sox GM who is now in charge of player development for the Jays, on Jeff Blair’s Fan 590 show. Good stuff right here.

Less good from Sportsnet: Something something Edwin talking the Jays’ “hasty” decisions in free agency, which… are we not sick of this already? Yes, it sucks Edwin’s not back.

Aaand more Sportsnet, as Shi Davidi talks to reliever Joe Smith, who is ready to put a tough 2016 behind him, and Peter Galindo highlights another part of Mark Shapiro’s talk with Tim and Sid: his beard the fact that he says there’s “still some unknown” on the return date for Devon Travis.

The, uh… Verducci Effect is still a thing??? I figured SI would have stopped doing that seeing as it’s bunk, but apparently not! Watch out, Radioactive Man Aaron Sanchez! 

Craig Edwards of FanGraphs tries to explain just what the hell happened this winter to the market for sluggers. Not sure if you’ve heard this, but Edwin Encarnación and José Bautista got paid a lot less than people figured!

Elsewhere at FanGraphs, Eno Sarris makes Kendrys Morales setting a career high in home runs one of his 10 bold predictions for 2017, while Dave Cameron says the Jays’ signing of him (by jumping a queue that didn’t exist) was the second worst transaction of the off-season.

Opposing views from Bluebird Banter (sort of), as Kevin Papetti says that the Jays are looking for big things from Dalton Pompey, while Matt Gross says he has almost no chance to make the Opening Day roster, uh… because of Ezequiel Carrera and Melvin Upton?

Meanwhile, Mark Colley of BBB compares Kendrys Morales to Adam Lind in what seems to me like an odd, transparent attempt to shit on the Jays. Adam Lind was hot garbage last year and the idea that he has defensive value is comical. No, they shouldn’t have brought Lind back — nor, given their prior experience with him, would they have, I’m rather confident.

Over at the Blue Jay Hunter, Ian notices that the MLB Network ranked Josh Donaldson the third best player in baseball. I sure as fuck won’t argue.

Back to the Star, as they have a great one from Melissa Couto of the Canadian Press, on Russell Martin and his training in the pool with Paralympic swimming star Benoit Huot.

Jon Heyman tweets that Eric Gagne is offering to showcase for teams on back-to-back days, as he attempts to make a comeback. For real!

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 stoeten@gmail.com (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.

I’ve been a little slow responding to some of these, because email is trash and I hate it, but I assure you I will!