1

Daily Duce: Thursday, March 23rd

Daily??!?!?

Great stuff on the Jays’ MLB.tv issue from tech site Alphabeatic, as they not only give a timeline of last week’s confusion over the future of Canadian fans’ abilities to watch Blue Jays games without being blacked out by the service, but also speculate as to why it turns out Rogers may not be quite as draconian about this as it was feared. “It seems inevitable that the company will eventually move to enforce a blackout,” they say, but “on the other hand, Rogers hasn’t shown much commitment to streaming. The cable company shut down Shomi, the Netflix competitor it jointly owned with Shaw Communications, in November. It’s possible the same fate could eventually befall Sportsnet Now.” They also note that rumblings suggest that incoming CEO Joe Natale, formerly of Telus, “is a fan of the ‘pure-play’ approach, or sticking to telecommunications services rather than owning content and media.” In other words, maybe the landscape is changing in more ways than we think.

The arrival of Troy Tulowitzki “legitimized” the Blue Jays, or so says John Gibbons in a piece from John Perotto of Fan Rag, wherein we hear of how genuinely happy Tulo is to be in Toronto, after some well publicized initial trepidation. “I had forgotten just how much fun it is to win,” he says. So had a lot of fans in this city and this country, Tulo.

Elsewhere at Fan Rag, Jon Heyman notes that the Jays talked at some point with Pedro Alvarez, the rather bad high power, high strikeout first baseman (who might play in the outfield), before he ended up going to the Orioles. Holy shit, it’s almost like the front office sees the same things we do.

Great stuff from Travis Sawchik of FanGraphs, as he looks at the very Jays-related notion of whether early adopters of the uppercut — of whom Josh “Just Say No To Ground Balls” Donaldson is certainly one — are influencing their clubhouse peers.

Over at Sportsnet, Mike Wilner suggests that Marco Estrada’s performance on Wednesday may have set him up well to take the ball on Opening Day, April 3rd. Wilner also suggests that we might learn the Jays’ rotation plans as soon as this weekend. And in a separate piece, Wilner looks back at the good, the bad, and the weird we’ve seen so far from the Blue Jays’ spring training.

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Jeff Blair talks to Russell Martin about Roberto Osuna, who the Jays’ veteran catcher says is “still in the process of making adjustments in his routine” in order to stay as fresh as possible over the course of 162 games. “He’s had success in the last couple of years doing it his way. I definitely think he can do certain things maybe a little differently and make adjustments in how he prepares,” he says, “but it’s something that you learn as you go along.” Hmmm.

Still at Sportsnet, Arden Zwelling talks to Aaron Loup, who has had — believe it or be kind of a dick not — some encouraging results this spring. Arden also talks to Marco Estrada about making the cutter a bigger part of his repertoire this season, and over-sized catcher Mike Ohlman, who has had a nice spring and is going to end up… somewhere in the organization, I guess.

Corey Long of BlueJays.com looks at the way the Jays are considering using Jarrod Saltalamacchia this season, and how Aaron Sanchez is looking to use his changeup — a pitch that could give the 2016 AL ERA leader another dimension still.

Over at the Toronto Star, Mark Zwolinski also looks at Sanchez’s quest to harness that third pitch, and also — dun dun dunnnn — his emotions.

Zwolinski also tells us about Darrell Ceciliani’s dark horse quest to make the Blue Jays, and gives us another one about Marcus Stroman’s dominant Wednesday night — one that suggests that it’s Stroman who may end up being the Jays’ starter on Opening Day.

Elsewhere at the Star, Richard Griffin tells us that the John Gibbons’ contract extension always made sense for the Blue Jays. Damn right! GibbyThe… oh, you know.

Back to Stroman, as we go over to the Toronto Sun, where Rob Longley has a long look at Marcus Stroman’s sensational month.

Elsewhere at the Sun, Scott Mitchell takes a look at 10 Blue Jays prospects who could contribute to the club at some point in 2017. In other words: don’t expect to see Vlad Jr. on this list.

At Yahoo! Sports, Nick Ashbourne tries to scare us by suggesting that the Jays maybe shouldn’t get too excited about the bump Kendrys Morales is going to get from his move to Rogers Centre.

John Meoli of the Baltimore Sun talks to former Oriole, Steve Pearce. Money quote from Pearce about starting to get back onto the field as he recovers from a forearm injury: “I’m going to go between playing first base and DHing and then when my arm gets good, maybe I’ll get in the outfield.” Maybe!

Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated looks at each of the teams of the American League East and gives the one best reason to watch them. For the Jays, fresh off his MVP performance in the WBC, it’s Marcus Stroman. “The pint-sized–26-year-old righty still has the talent to be a frontline starter, and he brings a special energy to the mound every time he pitches that can both electrify fans and teammates and help move baseball into a more exciting era.”

Graham Womack of the Sporting News wonders if Josh Donaldson will play long enough to end up in the Hall of Fame. I guess for me that really depends: do you mean the Hall of Fame on the surface of the fucking sun or at the bottom of the goddamn sea?

Matt Eddy of Baseball America notes that the Jays have released Jake Anderson, an outfielder who — I shit you not — was the club’s highest paid draft pick in 2011, receiving a $990K bonus as a supplemental first round pick. The Red Sox took left-hander Henry Owens with the very next pick, Jackie Bradley Jr. five picks later, and four picks after that the Mets took Michael Fullmer (now of the Tigers). Uhhhh… swing and a miss, Jays. (Which, y’know, is how the draft works — relax.)

Interesting tidbit from Michael DiStefano of the Canadian Baseball Network, as he tells us that former first round pick Max Pentecost is getting close to actually, finally returning to his spot behind the plate. Pentecost, of course, after years of shoulder injury frustration (he last caught in a real game was July 24th, 2014) has been able to DH a little bit, but he’d be a much, much more valuable prospect for the Jays if he can make up for lost development time as a catcher.

Hey, and for some of our readers out west, you may want to check out this CBN piece, which provides a little bit of scouting info on what to watch this season for the North Shore Twins and the Okotoks Dawgs. Go Dawgs!

At ESPN.com, Jim Bowden must have written his WBC winners and losers piece before Wednesday’s championship game, because Marcus Stroman’s name doesn’t appear in it anywhere. Points for having Team Canada at the bottom of his “losers” category, though. Unfortunately. Ugh.

Back to FanGraphs, as the latest episode of FanGraphs Audio features Dave Cameron and Carson Cistulli talking all things Steve Pearce! And some things decidedly not Steve Pearce.

South of the Six is out here on an island, still wondering if Melvin Upton’s shoulder issue is a bigger thing than the Jays are leading on. I can’t lie: I’m intrigued by the thought.

A rambling drunk “John Gibbons” monologue? Never heard of a thing like that before. But Jays Droppings has got one in honour of the extension of the Jays’ manager, who they playfully refer to as “Gibbers.” 🤔

Interesting stuff from Jeff Quattrociocchi of Jays From the Couch, as he looks at a rather small sample of data on Kevin Pillar’s approach this spring, and perhaps finds some good things. Yeah… I’ll believe Kevin Pillar has become a fundamentally different and better hitter suddenly over the course of one off-season at the age of 28 when I see it.

Late addition: Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com looks at how Jays prospects are looking so far in camp.

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.