He May Lay Down His Crown, But Bautista Will Always Be King proclaims Greg Wisniewski’s title at BP Toronto. Go read it.
Elsewhere at BP Toronto, Mike Passador goes the silver lining route and looks at five things that went right for the Jays in 2017.
Speaking of the king (which… weren’t we?), over at the Blue Jay Hunter, Ian does some amateur lip reading on Bautista’s ejection on Monday night in Boston to find out just what he said to get himself ejected — and, of course, it’s glorious.
More from Ian, as over at the Sporting News he gives us 13 things that had to go right in order for José Bautista to become the José Bautista we know and love.
Great stuff from Bluebird Banter, as they share all kinds of reaction from Sunday’s emotional day at Rogers Centre.
Must-read stuff from last Friday, as Shi Davidi of Sportsnet had wide-ranging interview with Mark Shapiro, presented in two parts (one, two). It’s all worth a read, but here’s something for those worried about status quo to keep in mind: “Ross is going to be dealing with a variety of alternatives as it goes through that may not involve bringing the club back exactly as it is. That’s just the starting point. It’s unrealistic to think the club can be completely refashioned, but it’s not unrealistic to think that there could be things that change within the dynamic of the team.”
Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun has — surprisingly, given that it’s the Sun — a nice one on Chris Rowley, Jays starter and “former first lieutenant in the US Army,” who spoke on Monday about the national anthem controversy. Rowley nails it: “On its face, someone kneeling for the national anthem would be considered disrespectful when everyone else is standing. However, the majority of these athletes who are kneeling are doing so and explaining that they’re not doing it with any disrespect to the nation or to the people that fought and died for our country,” he said. “They’re doing it more to create awareness for social injustice that they see and want to enlighten. Their method of doing it is not up to me. That’s how they want to create this awareness and it’s obviously working.”
A bunch of great stuff from FanGraphs:
- In my online travels I often run into Jays fans who are concerned about the club’s left-handed bullpen depth, but this piece from Paul Swydan on the dearth of top notch lefty hitters on AL playoff clubs suggests that maybe we need to relax about that a bit.
- Eric Longenhagen wonders how big is too big for shortstop. Of particular Jays-related note, he projects how big a wide number of prospect shortstops will get, based on their age-17 weight, and probably the biggest of the group is Bo Bichette. Currently six feet even and 200 pounds, Bichette’s projected BMI jumps to 31 — higher than any current MLB starter. Something to consider in case you were ever wondering why scouts see him moving off the position eventually.
- Travis Sawchik has a pair of fascinating ones on the current state of the game, asking in one how clubs can plan for the future in today’s record home run environment, and another on how hitters can keep pace with the game’s ever-increasing velocity.
- Related to Travis’s pieces, and related to fans around here perhaps, is Craig Edward’s piece on what the explosion of strikeouts has taken from baseball. In it Craig wonders about some of the potential solutions to what he (I think rightly) perceives as a potential problem, and I think he hits (albeit briefly) on the right one: watering down pitching staffs through expansion. If throwing 100 mph is soon to be the next benchmark — as Sawchik posits in one of his pieces — that’s certainly one way to lower the bar a touch. Get your Expos gear ready!
- Lastly, Dave Cameron looks at José Bautista’s season, and wonders if this is the end of the road for the slugger. Which… yeah.
Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star has a nice chat with J.A. Happ about his season, Marco Estrada, the controversial 2017 baseballs, and how good the Jays’ rotation can look next season.
John Lott of the Athletic also chats with Happ and looks at his season. He also talks to Ross Atkins about Marcus Stroman, who the GM hopes will be able to continue using his athleticism on the mound — specifically in the form of his great pauses and hesitations, which have not always placed him on the right side of umpires this season. Elsewhere still at the Athletic, Israel Fehr talks to some Jays coaches about what they’ve seen so far from call-ups Richard Ureña and Teoscar Hernandez.
Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com looks at Teoscar as well, as the outfielder continues to make a strong case to be a part of the 2018 Jays.
Clutchlings has a great overview of some of the Jays’ key prospects and how they fared in 2017, as they choose minor league award winners for the Jays system.
Matt W of Bluebird Banter takes a look at the very rare phenomenon that is the Kevin Pillar Hat Trick — a home run, a walk, and a spectacular catch in the same game; something Pillar accomplished back in June against the Orioles.
Clayton Richard of Jays Journal wonders if José Bautista could return to the Jays next season as their DH, which… uh… no, he can’t. “The Blue Jays could look to move Kendrys Morales who is owed $23 million over the next two seasons, insert Bautista into the DH spot and use the money saved from the Morales contract to better the team elsewhere,” we’re told, which… uh… no, they couldn’t. Who taking on Morales without eating, like, all the money??!? Hint: no one. And the thing is, as disappointing as Kendrys has been, with a 96 wRC+ he’s basically been about a league average hitter this year — not good enough for a DH, but certainly better than Bautista’s season. José has a wRC+ of 80 and trails Kendrys by about 80 points of slugging percentage. FanGraphs’ version of WAR actually prefers Bautista by nearly half a win (-0.3 to -0.7), but Baseball Reference is very much higher on Morales, who is at -0.4 WAR to Bautista’s -1.8. I tend to believe the latter metric on this one, sadly. But even if I didn’t, the money thing makes it all a bit silly.
Lastly, Matt Snyder of CBS Sports writes that the Jays should trade Josh Donaldson and head in a new direction… um… just because or something. I mean… if a crazy boatload of prospects is out there for him, they really do have to consider it, I guess. But will that be there given that he’s only got one year left on his contract? I seem to recall the Mets doing pretty well in moving R.A. Dickey with one year left, but I’m just not sure the deal the Jays need will be there. Because it would have to be better enough than what they think they can get at the trade deadline to justify writing off the 2018 season before it starts. Not seeing it.