Daily Duce: Monday, June 19th


Interesting stuff from Jon Heyman’s latest AL Notes piece at Fan Rag: “Tampa Bay made a ‘creative’ offer to Tampa resident Jose Bautista that included options to make it a three-year deal. But ultimately, Bautista wanted to go to his baseball home in Toronto (and he had a greater guarantee there), where his best fans already reside. The Indians were the third team involved.” So… you’re saying he’ll be on the Rays next year?

Elsewhere at Fan Rag, Jonathan Bernhardt indulges in some positivity about the Jays for a change (sort of) as he wonders what they’d look like as trade deadline buyers.

In the wake of the Joe Smith injury, Keegan Matheson rightly notes that it may be slightly easier now for the Jays to find a place for Glenn Sparkman — the Rule Five pick who is currently on a rehab assignment. The Jays, of course, need to activate Sparkman and keep him on their big league roster, or else they’ll have to offer him back to the Kansas City Royals.

That says, Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet talks to Smith, who says he expects he won’t be on the shelf for long.

Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets that the Jays have signed their fourth round pick, shortstop Kevin Smith. Robert Murray of FanRag adds that the Jays have signed third rounder, catcher Riley Adams of the University of San Diego.

There’s no real need for anybody to go rushing out and writing a post about these sorts of signings this year, because as J.J. Cooper of Baseball America writes, just about everybody signs nowadays. In the piece he charts the decline of high picks failing to come to terms with their big league clubs (and notes the Jays’ failures with Young Beedah and Phil Bickford as famous examples — though there were other high picks the Jays didn’t sign during the Anthopoulos era as well). In 2011 (the final season under the old system), 8.5% of picks in the first ten rounds didn’t sign, last year that number was down to 0.6%.

More draft stuff, as Matt W of Bluebird Banter gives his early thoughts on the Jays’ 2017 draft: cue completely unfounded Ricciardi mongering about college picks! (Though, to be fair, there’s not too much of that). And elsewhere at BBB, Mark Colley chats with the Ice Cream Man, Jays draft pick, C/RHP Hagen Danner.

Great stuff from Kaitlyn McGrath over at the Athletic, as she has a wide-ranging chat with Dwight Smith Jr., who is enjoying being in the big leagues — as anybody would, I’m sure.

Related to Shi’s piece, interesting stuff from Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, as he sizes up buyers and sellers for the upcoming trade deadline, putting the Jays at the top of the group of teams on the bubble. The Jays right now have the highest playoff odds of the 12 bubble teams. It’s what he writes, though, that’s most reassuring: “there’s at least one playoff team here [among the bubble teams]. Our definite buyers tier only comprised of nine teams in a sport with 10 playoff spots, so even if none of the teams currently in strong playoff position have a second-half swoon, there’s a spot open for one team in this group. And usually, a team in strong playoff position in mid-June falls apart by season’s end, so in reality, we may see two or even three teams from this group end up in the playoffs.”

Elsewhere at FanGraphs, Eno Sarris looks at Marcus Stroman’s “rocking chair,” the pace-varying shimmy he sometimes does mid-windup, and tries to find a relationship between it and the step forward Stroman seems to have taken this year. Meanwhile, Paul Swydan tells us that it’s Parrot Season in Cleveland, which… ugh. Of course it is.

Speaking of Edwin, he was one of the 50 MLBers interviewed for an outstanding ESPN.com piece on baseball in Latin America, its big league players, their perspectives and their stories. Great stuff from Marly Rivera and a big group of reporters over there. (FanGraphs put up a post that basically was just: GO READ THAT ESPN PIECE. And it’s hard to blame them with gems in there like this one from Albert Pujols: “I remember once we were in the elevator at the All-Star Game and a woman was talking to Vladimir Guerrero in English. She said, ‘Hey, you don’t speak much English,’ and Vlad said to her, ‘I speak English with my bat.’” GOLD!)

Speaking of Vlad the Elder, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler of MiLB.com notes that he showed up in Lansing over the weekend to watch little Vladito do his thing. For some reason, this got me thinking: Vlad Sr. attempted to make an MLB comeback with the Jays in the summer of 2012. Vlad Jr. was signed by the club on July 2nd, 2015, but the rumour was out there long before that, and (from what I understand) in some of the biggest cases, a deal can be essentially in place a year before the signing date. So… the summer of 2014. Does one maybe wonder how on the radar young Vlad was around the time the Jays indulged his dad? (Probably not — he’d have been only been 13 then — but whatever, let’s wonder away!)

“You can look at the past couple of weeks for the Toronto Blue Jays like a period of procrastination for a student ahead of exams, and the club’s upcoming road trip through Texas and Kansas City like a final cram session before the testing begins,” writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. After this trip the Jays go into the All-Star break with dates against Baltimore, Boston, the Yankees, and Houston. Then they come out of the break with a ten game road trip through Detroit, Boston, and Cleveland. Big games. Big games.

Elsewhere at Sportsnet, our old friend the Tao of Stieb puts the Orioles atop the ranks of the Jays’ rivalry power rankings — though we’ll see this week whether the Rangers can do enough bullshit to regain first place. And Arden Zwelling has a great, lengthy one on Rowdy Tellez, scout Dee Brown (no, not that one), and his path from being a John Kruk-looking kid to the cusp of the big leagues.

More Benny Fresh, as he tweets that despite the fact that Bo Bichette was removed from Sunday’s game in the fourth inning, and has been pulled from the Midwest League All-Star Home Run Derby, nothing is wrong with the star prospect. The Jays are simply monitoring his workload. “Smart,” a Ryerson baseball coach Ben Rich tweets, “considering that single-A has fewer off days than MLB; three for Lansing since May 1 compared to six for the Jays over same time period.”

Speaking of Bichette, MLB Pipeline tweets that he’s among their choices for this week’s minor league team of the week.

Maybe one that looked a little better when it was written than it did after this weekend, but Mike Sonne of BP Toronto writes that Jays fans don’t need to be worried about Joe Biagini’s workload. It’s a good one, read it!

Somewhere deep within a mist of purple prose, Rosie DiManno has some words about the Blue Jays for the Toronto Star. I assume.

Ryan Mueller of Jays From the Couch wonders whether the Jays can afford to use Richard Urena as trade bait. The correct answer is, of course: if you can get something useful for him at the big league level, holy shit, you trade him in a goddamned second, is this really a serious question?

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats will wear poutine inspired jerseys during a game this summer!

Unlike the other stories you’ll hear today about adults getting baseballs, here’s a good one, a Jays-related one, and a heartwarming one for Father’s Day, from Graham’s Crackers.

Speaking of Father’s Day, I don’t do weekends (or much in the way of sentimental personal stuff) so I didn’t write anything about it this year, but I did share a memory of going to the 1991 All-Star game with my dad and my grandpa (from my mom’s side) in the Game Threat I wrote for last year’s ASG.

Adam Corsair of South of the Six writes about the optics of the Jays’ struggle to cross the .500 mark, while Ryan Di Francesco of Jays Droppings has a prayer from John Gibbons.Or to him, or about him… I don’t know.

MLBTR announces that Cleveland has acquired Jarett — or possibly Jared — Grube from the Jays in exchange for cash considerations. In other news, there was once a time where the Jays had Jarrett Grube (or possibly Jared Grube).

Lastly, schadenfreude time, as the Yankees announced today that top infield prospect Gleyber Torres — the key piece acquired last summer from the Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman trade, and a likely mid-season call-up — needs Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of the season. As he’s not a pitcher, it’s expected that he’ll be good to go next spring, but that’s still a blow to the dumb Yankees, and as much as one can’t take joy in a kid getting hurt… uh… this news certainly doesn’t hurt the Jays. MLBTR has some details on this one.