It’s been a week since Roy Halladay’s tragic death, and at this point I figure most people have found all the pieces memorializing the Jays’ legend that they’ve needed. So I’m not going to fill this Daily Duce with pieces remembering him. I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t pass along Drew’s outstanding work over at Ghostrunner of First on this tough topic.
In the Shi Davidi piece at Sportsnet that I used when writing about Shohei Otani, there were a couple additional non-Otani notes, most notably the fact that Atkins said that Bob Elliott’s report about the Jays forcing Roy Halladay to apply for a job, then not hiring him, “wasn’t accurate.” Atkins adds that the Jays “embraced him 100 per cent and wanted him to feel very much a part of the organization and there were multiple discussions to try to make that happen.”
I’ve pretty much said my piece about this stuff, but while we’re on the subject, a couple things about what Steve Simmons wrote about it over the weekend for the Toronto Sun. In the piece he calls the Jays’ response to Roy Halladay’s death “obtuse” and “distant,” criticizing the club for not having a press conference, not making people available to reporters to talk about Halladay, and for an “unemotional” and “poorly written” press release. And he tries to lend credence to these thoughts by pointing out that PR professionals he spoke to apparently thought so too! Thing is, I mean… I guess one could nitpick the wording of a press release and deem ourselves not adequately PR’d to. Or set imaginary bars about distance and emotion, then insist we can glean enough from a couple sentences and a few tweets to determine they have not been crossed. And I suppose we can pretend that Mark Shapiro putting his face all over this sad story, more out of a duty to avoid getting ripped for not doing it by writers like Simmons than anything else, ought to have meant anything to anybody. But that’s all pretty weird, isn’t it? Anybody can end up coming off as tone deaf when all that half their audience is trying to hear is absolutely anything that tells them they’re doing it wrong. And what gets me is that, when Simmons complains that the Jays “didn’t make anyone available to talk about Halladay,” does that change a thing from a fan’s perspective? It certainly makes it harder for media types to do their jobs, and maybe that’s a conversation worth having in private with the Jays, but should fans really care if media people had to track down ex-teammates for quotes themselves? Should fans care when the press box pop machine doesn’t run cold enough? I sure as hell don’t think so. And I don’t think it should drive the tone of the coverage of the team, either. But I think you’d have to be awfully naive — or too young to remember the J.P. Ricciardi years — to believe that sometimes it doesn’t. In this piece Simmons himself owns up to “constant annoyance with almost everything the Blue Jays do these days.” Fans deserve better.
Back to Sportsnet, where Shi talks to Ross Atkins, who doesn’t obfuscate when it comes to his club’s wants now that trade and free agency season is underway. “Our priority is complementing our infield in some way with versatility, someone that can not just play when needed, but someone who can potentially get 600 plate appearances across our infield in some form or fashion. That’s not necessarily going to happen, but that’s the type of value we’re looking for. As we prioritize that, then we’ll think about … that person also potentially complementing our outfield in tandem. Then we think how we’re adding to our pitching depth, starters and relievers.”
Meanwhile, Ben Nicholson-Smith talks to rival executives, and tries to gather from them a picture of what the Jays are out there looking for. The money quote in this one comes from Cardinals GM Michael Girsh, who explained that his team has “depth in the outfield to the point where it’s not even fair to our players to bring all of them back.” One obvious way to get an outfielder, and more, away from St. Louis would be to trade them Josh Donaldson, but… uh… on the other hand, let’s maybe fucking not.
Gregor Chisholm, in a piece at BlueJays.com, has some similar quotes to Shi’s ones, including this one on starting pitching: “We have to find a way, maybe in the form of a Triple-A starter, maybe in the form of a Major League-credible piece to the rotation. Maybe in the form of a couple pieces. Maybe in the form of someone that can complement our rotation or the ‘pen. But we definitely have to add pitching and I’m confident that we would be able to.” The addition of Taylor Guerieri via waivers from the Rays last week could be part of that puzzle, I suppose. One name that might intrigue, that’s going to make a whole lot of people dry heave? Francisco Liriano. He’ll come way cheap, he can give someone a run for their money for a rotation spot, or he could give Aaron Loup or Tim Mayza a run for their lefty relief spots. He could also be terrible, as we all know. But for the price he’ll likely cost, if he’s not your only option, I’d certainly take a chance on finding out.
Sticking with MLB.com, as Mike Rosenbaum looks at ten players who impressed in the Arizona Fall League, including T.J. Zeuch, “who has a chance to be a successful big league starter based solely on his sinker, a bowling ball of a pitch that’s product of his tremendous extension towards the plate and makes him difficult to barrel for hitters on both sides of the plate (think Aaron Sanchez or a young Rick Porcello).” That’ll play!
And now back to Otani, as Travis Sawchik of FanGraphs wonders where his best possible fit might be — and comes up with the Jays as one of the better possibilities. As I said in my earlier piece, Otani’s bat might especially be a fit for the Jays because of the fact that Kendrys Morales struggled so much last year as a left-handed hitter. You’d hate to make Morales too much of a part-time player, but he could certainly give up some at-bats against right-handed pitching — and so could Ezequiel Carrera, if the Jays were willing to play Otani in an outfield role, too. (Y’know, assuming Zeke remains in the picture).
Great stuff from Nick Dika at BP Toronto, telling us that, now that Alex Anthopoulos has landed in Atlanta, it’s time to stop comparing the Jays’ new front office with the old one.
Elsewhere at BP Toronto, Dave Church looks at a “blistering” and hopeful comparison for Aaron Sanchez, Rich Hill. And — shocking stuff — Gideon Turk explains why it’s time for the Blue Jays to trade Kevin Pillar.
Future Blue Jays wonders if a new team will change Alex Anthopoulos’s ways.
Elsewhere at Future Blue Jays, a nice report on Logan Warmoth, who checks in as their number seven prospect in the Jays system.
Scott Mitchell of TSN.ca gives us ten potential free agent targets for the Blue Jays — a bunch of higher-end, but still realistic names worth looking.
Over at Jays From the Couch, Shaun Doyle suggests that the Jays should go after Josh Harrison of the Pirates, though he adds that the presence — and AFL success — of Lourdes Gurriel could make things interesting.
Matt W of Bluebird Banter takes a look at the Jays various Rule 5 eligible players, and makes the case for who to protect.
Chris Cwik of Big League Stew tells us that the New York Yankees have “surprisingly” interviewed Eric Wedge — Wedgie! — for their vacant managerial position. I… uh… I guess he’s not opposed to getting back into the big chair. Watch your back, Gibbers!
Meanwhile, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports goes real deep in ranking this year’s crop of free agents, listing 184 of them! Some notable Jays memories in three of the bottom four spots on the list, with Emilio Bonifacio at 181, Colby Rasmus at 184, and Anibal Sanchez, who the Jays pushed very hard to land before he signed his disastrous deal with the Tigers, at 183.
And elsewhere at Yahoo, Nick Ashbourne looks at the ways that the Jays could help themselves via trade this winter.
Lastly, Toronto City Counicllor Joe Cressy passes along the Jays’ endorsement of the city’s proposal for “Rail Deck Park” — which surely must have something to do with providing the city with more affordable housing, right? *COUGH*. The Jays not only approve of the park, but are proposing having it extend beyond the current plan — instead of stopping at Peter St., they’d prefer it goes all the way down to the John St. footbridge, providing a bunch of great green space on the north end of the Rogers Centre. Perfect for sleeping when you get priced out of your downtown neighbourhood!
— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) November 14, 2017