I already wrote my Brett Lawrie thing back on Friday, and didn’t feel it was worth repeating myself for a few extra clicks when word broke that the Jays are one of a handful of teams looking into the former Canadian Jesus and current unemployed utility infielder. I’ll still take a hard pass on that, thanks! Though — and I probably didn’t do this enough in the piece — I’ll acknowledge that if it was a guy with the exact same numbers and skill set and everything else, but he wasn’t Brett Lawrie, maybe I’d be a little more inclined to see if he can help this team than I am considering that it is Brett Lawrie. In a tweet on Friday I called him “Steve Pearce minus the lefty mashing, the righty mashing, the ability to play the outfield, and the capability for restraint.” That still seems about right to me. Hard pass.
Speaking of Lawrie: South of the 6 gives a big, “Nah, bro,” to the idea. Meanwhile, over at the Blue Jay Hunter, Ian looks at Lawrie’s career and its… y’know… spiralling… in the… uh… downward direction.
As of this morning, Jeff Blair of Sportsnet says that the Tampa Bay Rays seem to have the most interest in Lawrie, which would be a good move for everybody involved, especially those of us who would get to watch Lawrie in Tampa and not Toronto.
More from Sportsnet, as Benny Fresh tells us about Salty and Russell Martin working together nicely already, Tulo and Gibbons being impressed with José Bautista so far, and that the Jays were OK (and kept entirely in the loop) on Josh Donaldson’s trip with Aaron Sanchez to Las Vegas over the weekend, where he was slated to be in the ring put the UFC Welterweight title belt on his pal, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, had he won his fight against Tyrone Woodley. Thompson lost, despite almost certainly taking three of five rounds — if you could even call five minutes of two guys circling around the cage doing fuck all a “round” — and it was seriously for the best. In no way did I want to see Donaldson get sullied by that fucking dogshit fight more than he already was just be being there.
“Asked whether Donaldson got treatment for his calf strain in Las Vegas,” Ben adds, “Gibbons said ‘I’m sure he got plenty of massages out there.'” Gibby the best. (Oh, and by the way, Donaldson says his calf is feeling “way better.”)
More from Sportsnet, as Mike Wilner looks at Sunday’s game and the strategy John Gibbons employed in his usage of Aaron Loup in that one. Gotta test Uncle Loupy out with a little bit of pressure on, I guess?
Outstanding stuff from Chuck Wasserstrom at MLB Trade Rumors, as he takes us into the Blue Jays’ draft room… in 1997! That was the year the Jays took Vernon Wells, Michael Young, Orlando Hudson, and Mark Hendrickson, as well as a whooooooole lot of guys you’ve never heard of. The piece relies on the words of Tim Wilken, the Jays’ former scouting director, who was turfed at the start of J.P. Ricciardi’s regime, and ended up going to the Cubs for many years, where Wasserstrom also worked. Worth noting: my memory of all this is a bit foggy, and I never really knew any of it for sure, but it’s always been my interpretation that Wilken’s departure (among others from the old Ash- and Gillick-era scouting department) seemed especially disliked by the old school media folks of the day, emboldening their dislike for Ricciardi. (Not that it was ever going to be difficult for them to bristle at the guy who thought he was the smartest in the room, I don’t think.) On the other hand, that Wilken left the Cubs at the end of 2015 to join the Dave Stewart-led Diamondbacks is… uh… perhaps a blemish.
Speaking of executives, Melissa Verge of the Canadian Baseball Network talks to Mark Shapiro about his routine and about his beginnings in the game of baseball. Nice profile! Even if you’ll totally roll your eyes at his choice of morning shake.
Elsewhere at the Canadian Baseball Network, Bob Elliott makes his annual pilgrimage to Tom Cheek’s grave in Florida. Always a great read, and glad to see Bob back down in Florida in the spring covering baseball, even it’s not quite in the same capacity as we’re used to.
More Blue Jays memories, as Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star talks to former GM Gord Ash, now with the Brewers, who is impressed by the rise of the Blue Jays that we’ve seen over the last two years.
Something almost always seems just a little bit off when a tourist columnist comes in and writes about the team you follow every detail of, which is why I was so pleasantly surprised by John Perotto’s piece on the Blue Jays for Fan Rag, which was an excellent and uplifting read with some great quotes from Jays players on the club’s up-the-middle defence, and how it’s really what has underpinned their success these last two seasons. Give it a read.
Back on Friday, Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com looked at the club’s options in left field, but perhaps even more importantly than that, noted that while they’ve had interest in free agent Ángel Pagán, “a fit between these two sides doesn’t seem likely. Toronto is committed to its current group of outfielders who are competing for time, and the organization doesn’t want to interrupt that process by offering someone like Pagan a big league deal.” So you’re saying that, if he can be had on a minor league deal, there’s a chance??
Elsewhere at BlueJays.com, Maureen Mullin looks at how Tim Mayza, the young, hard-throwing lefty who is competing for a bullpen spot, could help the 2017 Blue Jays.
Speaking of Mayza, Clutchlings also takes a close look at what to expect from the pitcher who might be already on his way to becoming one of the best surprise stories for the Jays this spring.
More bullpen stuff as Ashley Weisdorf of Jays Journal looks at the Jays’ vast array of options competing for jobs there this spring, and somewhere behind a veil of linguistic tumescence, Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star talks to closer Roberto Osuna.
Eno Sarris of FanGraphs looks at David Price, who has held off surgery for the moment, but who maybe isn’t out of the woods just yet in terms of his health and its impact on his effectiveness. Eno’s piece zeroes in specifically on Price’s cutter, which abandoned him for much of 2016, and wonders if maybe we should have seen a potential arm injury coming. Now let’s all hope rest does him right and he turns out completely fine. No, really.
Jeff Q of Jays From The Couch tries to allay our fears about the possibility of Kendrys Morales being forced to play some first base (which will have to happen if someone like Donaldson or Bautista needs to spend some time at DH, as José did last season for a spell) — and he does a pretty damned good job of it.
Ryan and Michelle Geisen are a couple of big Blue Jays fans over at Good Read Magazine, and they each give us their all-time best Blue Jays lineups.
I’d maybe have put this higher up in the list if it weren’t for the fact that it was written by semi-sentient brand-conscious content-bot Darren Rovell, but it’s actually kinda interesting, as he tells us at ESPN.com that MLB has approved the use of equipment from a company called WHOOP that monitors reams of biometric data from players. Other leagues allow players to use the devices, but not during competition. Rovell explains: “The WHOOP device is meant to be worn throughout the day and night. It can be worn on various parts of the body, and it measures sleep, recovery and strain. Thanks to the 100 megabytes of data a day that is gathered, it allows a player and a team to monitor the current state of an athlete’s body heading into a game.” There are some obvious privacy concerns that could arise from a thing like this, so part of the deal is that teams can’t force players to wear the devices.
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.
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!