Earlier this week at Fan Rag Sports, Jon Heyman wrote a post titled “Blue Jays Could Emerge As Dark Horse For JD Martinez.” I didn’t write about it at the time because, in addition to feeling like trash with a migraine, uh… the gist of the post is that the Blue Jays could emerge as a dark horse for JD Martinez. We’re not really told anything beyond the fact that he’d certainly be a fit, and that he’s “on their radar” and they’ve “considered” him. Not exactly words that should leave anyone breathlessly anticipating the Jays announcing a deal with the expensive slugger. In fact, words you could probably say about any free agent outfielder or infielder or catcher or starting pitcher or reliever. The Jays have considered them all!
Over at the Blue Jay Hunter, Ian says much the same, declaring in his title that the Jays landing Martinez is “one rumour that has almost no chance of happening.” He’s half right, I’d say. I wouldn’t go so far as even calling it a rumour, though.
Speaking of rumour mongering, here’s something Jon Trolololosi tweeted this week:
Source: #BlueJays have yet to make formal multiyear extension proposal this offseason to Josh Donaldson, who will become a free agent after 2018. In fairness, there is no urgency to do so right now; most logical window is during arbitration talks after New Year. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 20, 2017
If you’re going to add the “in fairness” bit, and spare folks like me the need to have to take a sledgehammer to this nonsense, why even bother tweeting this at all? Because… yeah, the time to talk about is later. Bonus points for being extra clear that they haven’t made a formal offer, which makes the whole thing that much more pointless — assuming the idea was to enrage Blue Jays fans and drive talk radio programming, which… it was.
Speaking of Morosi, he said some words on the Fan 590 which Sportsnet would like you to believe should be counted as newsworthy. Meh. (It’s about how, if the Jays are bad by next June or July, they’ll probably start gearing up to trade Donaldson, which would be a pretty big move. Riveting stuff.)
Future Blue Jays has a great one about the recently announced suspensions of several Jays players from their Dominican Summer League team, quoting some email responses he got from Ross Atkins on the matter, but also considering some of the difficulties clubs have when it comes to this stuff and young players — especially lower grade prospects looking to get an edge, particularly in Latin America, and sometimes their hangers on. A not unimportant point about this, and why it’s so important for the Blue Jays to get to the bottom of it: “Were they aware that what they were taking was against the rules? There’s a slight possibility they were, but what’s more likely is that they ingested those supplements after someone told them that they were fine.”
Elsewhere at Future Blue Jays, some comments from Atkins on the players added to (and left off) the 40-man roster this week, and a look at Nate Pearson, who they call the Jays’ number four prospect, and who is getting a lot of people excited already.
Speaking of the 40-man stuff from earlier this week, here’s a good one from Scott Mitchell of TSN.ca, who looks at how the players the Jays added might fit into the club’s 2018 plans.
Great stuff from Richard Lee-Sam at BP Toronto, as he looks at how luck — specifically bad luck — stopped the Jays from being better in 2017. In this case, it’s RISP luck, specifically. But, here’s the thing: the Jays were unlucky in a lot of ways in 2017 — in ways that have made it difficult for a lot of fans to grasp just how good a core is still there sometimes. For example, if Aaron Sanchez, Josh Donaldson, and the right fielder would have had the seasons in 2017 that they did the year before, and everything else about 2017 stayed the same, the club would have been eight or ten wins better, depending on which version of WAR you’re looking at. The Twins, who made the second Wild Card, had 85 wins to the Jays’ 76. Just sayin’!
Speaking of which, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com writes about the Jays, and how Donaldson is the key to their rebound.
Meanwhile, Jim Callis of MLB.com names TJ Zeuch the 18th best prospect to have taken part in the Arizona Fall League this year, saying that “he looked like a future mid-rotation starter.”
Elsewhere at MLB.com, Jonathan Mayo looks at what’s next for Kevin Maitan and the other prospects made free agents this week after the league came down severely on AA’s new team, the Atlanta Braves. (Was the punishment so draconian as to send a message to any teams contemplating circumventing the rules when it comes to Shohei Ohtani? No doubt!).
Mayo also looks at some of the AFL’s breakout prospects this year, including TJ Zeuch, and Jonathan Davis — a speedy outfielder who can take a walk and put up some good numbers at New Hampshire this year (as a 25-year-old). Hmmm.
More from the MLB.com suite of sites, as BlueJays.com tells us about the club’s brand new Winter Festival, which sounds similar to the old State of the Franchise events, only with a little more of an emphasis on “fun” stuff? And “experiences” maybe? Oh, and charging for admission. (Though the prices are actually pretty reasonable.) They’ll also be doing a Winter Tour event in Vancouver, it turns out.
And elsewhere at BlueJays.com, Gregor Chisholm looks at four players the club could lose in the Rule 5 draft.
Jays From the Couch wonders if Ross Atkins omitting Kevin Pillar’s name in a discussion about the club’s outfielders means that the outfielder is on the block. Buuuuuuuuut, since Atkins was really talking about his corner outfielders, and was certainly referring to Teoscar Hernández as the player with “a good month-and-a-half” in the big leagues. So, spoiler alert: it doesn’t.
Elsewhere at JFtC, the argument against Eduardo Núñez.
Eno Sarris of FanGraphs has a quick, interesting post on, of all people, Harold Ramirez. Just outrighted by the Jays, Eno notes that Ramirez still has a decent hit tool, but is just not a viable player because he hits far too many ground balls for a player with his below average speed. A significant change in approach is probably going to be necessary for him, Eno speculates, and he wonders if being outrighted is just the thing to spur it.
Elsewhere at FanGraphs, Jeff Sullivan has a good one on the coming of Ohtani, and Dave Cameron looks at the biggest potential free agent bargains this winter, and the biggest potential landmines (one of whom is the aforementioned Núñez).
Nick Ashbourne of Yahoo! Sports has in one place links to all his excellent pieces on who the Jays should target this winter, both in trade and through free agency.
Interesting stuff from Matt W. of Bluebird Banter, who earlier this week looked at the Blue Jays’ middle infield dilemma.
The Tao of Stieb offer his ideal outcome for the Blue Jays this winter, and it’s a pretty damned good one!
LATE ADDITION: Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports that Max Pentecost experienced pain in his shoulder, which caused him to be shut down early in the Arizona Fall League. This likely would have given the Jays even more confidence in leaving the young catcher off the 40-man, as they did when the deadline to protect players from selection in the Rule 5 draft passed earlier this week. Don’t take this as good news, though! Pentecost has had multiple shoulder surgeries — the primary reason he’s so far behind the development curve.
Back over a week ago the Globe and Mail let Cathal Kelly write about the Jays again. I didn’t rush to Fire Joe Morgan it, but goddamn I could have, because, as you’d expect, it’s preening nonsense. Hey, and speaking of ol’ Joe…
Lastly, if I hadn’t long ago stopped writing or caring about the Hall of Fame, I’d sure have had a field day this week with Joe Morgan’s letter, which encapsulated so much of what I find off-putting about this stuff. There would have been a lot of ground to cover in a piece like that! I mean, the idea of openly, actively, and with great hypocrisy campaigning to whitewash the history from a history museum is pretty appalling. Or it would be if I hadn’t given up on the institution long ago. Pointless, too. Morgan, and whoever is standing behind him, will never be able to erase MLB’s complicity, the players’ union’s complicity, and the media’s complicity in the so-called “steroid era,” pinning everything they dislike about it on a cadre of rogue cheats (many of whom are merely suspected of being such). Nor will he be able to wash the PED stink off his own era. Celebrate the game, warts and all. And instead of pleading for someone to think of the children who might actually learn the real history, think of the ones you’d prefer to keep ignorant with your Disneyfied museum and give your damn head a shake.