I normally wouldn’t lead off with a link of my own, but given that it’s Draft Day, I think it’s worth looking back on how I reflected on last year’s draft once the dust had settled. In the piece there are some spots where I certainly seem to be off — I suggested that last year’s college-heavy crop of Jays picks didn’t necessarily suggest a pattern emerging from the club’s new front office, but yet again they’ve been linked pretty heavily to college players — but some things worth considering. One of these is the fact that Bo Bichette claimed he’d “turned down” a couple teams (using his ability to go and play at Arizona State as leverage), but chose Toronto because he felt it would be a good fit. It suggests willingness toward pre-draft wheeling and dealing — which, as I noted in my earlier draft piece, there are suspicions the Jays may have done with Central Florida right-hander Nate Pearson. As a college player he doesn’t have the kind of leverage as Bichette did, but maybe? Also worth noting is the comment from Ross Atkins on big league bloodlines — and the club’s drafting of Bichette, Cavan Biggio, as well as a couple players (including top pick T.J. Zeuch) with less well-known relatives who were in the pros. The Jays, of course, have been linked to Larry Sheets’ son Gavin.
Elie Waitzer of BP Toronto says that Jason Leblebijian is the answer to the Blue Jays’ problems at second base, offering much more information about him than I certainly could. Though, as I noted in my Jays mailbag this week at VICE Sports, I’m not sure that the decision has all that much to do with him. Chris Coghlan’s time with the Jays certainly could be up at any moment, but my guess is that it will be Steve Pearce who takes his spot on the roster, once Pearce has completed the rehab assignment he’s currently on. They’d still be carrying eight relievers at that point, and so could drop one for Leblebijian, but I’m not sure they do that. And I’m really not sure they burn one of Barney or Goins, both of whom I think they really like, to do it. A team with Tulo and Devo up the middle can’t exactly go giving away too much middle infield depth.
Speaking of Pearce, Laura Armstrong of the Toronto Star reports that John Gibbons says that he’ll be back “definitely by next weekend.”
More draft stuff, as elsewhere at BP Toronto, Ewan Ross takes a look back at the Jays’ drafts under Alex Anthopoulos. As well as their first one under Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins — which, so far, looks pretty good!
More draft stuff still: Blue Jays From Away has a preview of the big event that’s going on as I type. Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star tells us that the draft is a crapshoot. Scott Mitchell of TSN.ca talks to the Jays’ head of amateur scouting, Steve Sanders, who is in charge of the club’s draft board, and focussed on re-stocking the cupboards.
Slightly draft-related: Jesse Goldberg-Strassler, the voice of the Lansing Lugnuts, writes for MiLB.com about Mitch Nay’s promotion. REMEMBER MITCH NAY? Apparently he was a Midwest League All-Star in 2012 and 2014, but has battled injuries since then. Yet another reason to probably not get too worked up about this draft stuff!
José Bautista taking second base on a walk: “the greatest thing”, or “HOLY SHIT THE GREATEST THING”?
Great stuff, as always, from Jays Droppings, as apparently it’s time to re-litigate the hiring of Mark Shapiro!
Joe Carter tells the Toronto Sun that the current Blue Jays wouldn’t beat his 1992 and 1993 teams. Uh… can someone please get Steve Kerr to respond to this. Also, here’s why Carter thinks that: “I think the biggest difference in the two teams are we were very good at playing small ball. We were able to do whatever it takes, meaning advancing the runners, bunting the guys over, stealing bases, playing good defence, fundamentally doing the right things and not just living off the three-run home run.” I say this with love and with respect, but fuck off, Joe Carter.
Elsewhere at the Sun, Rob Longley offers some thoughts on the Jays’ home run dependence (which… really? We’re going to make this a thing?), and also some takeaways from the club’s just-concluded west coach trip.
On a Sportsnet radio show, apparently Jon Morosi said that the Jays should be looking to add a rental arm like Jaime Garcia or Derek Holland because “especially with the uncertainty of Aaron Sanchez’s blister and his health, you add the pitcher if you can.” *eye-roll emoji*
Elsewhere at Sportsnet, David Singh has a great one on Pat Hentgen and his long and strong connection with the Toronto Blue Jays. #HentgenTheBest.
Jays Journal notes that several Blue Jays players took to social media after this weekend’s series in Seattle to thank all the fans for their support. It really is something else! Even if some Seattle fans ended up covered in (figurative) piss about the whole ordeal (and even if, remembering the invading hordes of Red Sox, Yankees, and Tigers fans at Rogers Centre in the mid-2000s, I can kinda relate).
Lastly, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs tells us that the worst of Rougned Odor is back, which is sooooooo delicious. New contract is going well, you say???