Jim Bowden of the Athletic bizarrely hands out grades for each team’s offseason so far, and yet somewhat amazingly, the piece has some actual value. No, certainly not in the pointless grading of an offseason that, in a lot of ways, has barely begun, but in some of the tidbits he adds. For example, he says that the Jays have indeed “discussed a possible extension with their best player, Josh Donaldson.” So that’s good! He also notes that the Jays have talked to the usual suspects of free agent outfielders and pitchers (Lynn, Cobb, Vargas), and suggests that the club could attempt to go big in one outfield corner, giving Teoscar Hernández the other job, which… could work. Though the nearly 40% strikeout rate he posted in September is a bit worrisome for a guy you’re just going to hand a job to.
Baseball Prospectus has come out with their top 10 Blue Jays prospects list, and it’s probably a little more conservative than some of the others we’ve seen recently — but that hardly means it isn’t glowing as fuck when it comes to the guys you’d expect. For example, Vlad Guerrero Jr. gets a 70 OFP (overall future potential grade — also sometimes called Future Value), but this is paired with a slightly more realistic “likely” grade of 60, which suggests he’ll be an “above-average hitting first baseman.” That’s maybe not the “.300/.400/.500 threat who can fill in at third” that the 70 grade suggests (i.e. if he truly hits his full potential), but it’s still obviously very, very good. Other things of note: “not a lot” of risk on Bo Bichette (who also has a 70 OFP, but comes below Vladito as a “likely” 55); Anthony Alford really just needs to stay of the field, they figure; Nate Pearson’s OFP 55 suggests “those really good Michael Pineda seasons (minus the injuries),” while his Likely 45 suggests “those really good Jim Johnson seasons (with more strikeouts)”; they’re higher on Conner Greene than some (perhaps conscious of not succumbing to “prospect fatigue” on him — something Ben Carsley notes could be an issue for fantasy players regarding Alford); “getting on the 40-man with his defensive skills probably leaves a long career as a third catcher even if most if the offense poofs,” they say of Danny Jansen, who we’re reminded got a “much-needed vision correction and recovered from lingering wrist injuries” before his 2017 breakout”.
Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com has a nifty look at the Jays’ depth behind Russell Martin, which is… not exactly ready for Opening Day, but it’s getting there.
More prospect stuff, this time from Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, who redrafts the top picks in the 2016 draft, and places Bo Bichette at number two. Not bad!
Mayo also offers some breakout candidates for 2018, including the Jays’ T.J. Zeuch. He “threw very well in the AFL,” we’re told. “His heavy-sinking fastball and repeatable delivery worked very well and he could move quickly to Toronto’s rotation.”
Another from MLB.com comes from Jon Morosi, who looks at how our old friend Alex Anthopoulos might look to swoop in for the two remaining decent players on the Marlins, Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto.
OK, so maybe there aren’t just two players left on the Marlins. Jays From the Couch looks at whether Dan Straily would be a good candidate for the Jays, which… he would! At the right price. Which is, of course, something other teams are going to have a say in, too. But yes, a piece like Straily, if he didn’t cost top prospects, would be a smart add. (Jays Journal looked at this a few days ago, too.)
MLBTR passes along a report from Korea’s Yonhap News Agency that says the Jays are one of 13 teams to have offered a contract (certainly a minor league one) to Korean first baseman Ji-Man Choi, who his 15 home runs and slashed .288/.373/.538 for the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017, but has been a poor hitter at the big league level. Meh.
Mark Colley of Bluebird Banter suggests forcing a position change on Troy Tulowitzki as a way to get him to refuse to play and get placed on the disqualified list… or something? Man, this offseason.
Speaking of there being shit all to talk about, Beyond the Box Score has a Jays-related trade retrospective piece… on the first J.A. Happ trade. Yowza.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Red Sox have offered a five-year deal to J.D. Martinez. He also reports that Eric Hosmer apparently has a seven-year offer on the table from the Royals (and one from the Padres). Neither is Josh Donaldson, but worth noting: Hosmer’s 2018 will be his age-28 season. Martinez will be in his age-30 season. The first year of Donaldson’s contract will come at age-33. The Jays should really be able to figure a way to do this.
Speaking of, a great one from Tammy Rainey of BP Toronto looks at how the Jays could fit a Donaldson extension in with their payroll.
Over at the Canadian Baseball Network, Bob Elliott writes about the Jays’ director of team safety, Ron Sandelli, who is… retiring? It seems?
All the way back to Baseball Prospectus, where Rob Mains looks at some tremendously poor mid-80s award selections, including a couple with Canadian baseball connections: the 1987 MVPs won by George Bell and Andre Dawson, despite both pretty clearly not being the best players in their leagues that year.
Over at the Blue Jay Hunter, Ian has some shots of Troy Tulowitzki at a Leafs game in Vegas this week… wearing a Golden Knights jersey. Giant *wank-off motion* in the direction of anybody who actually, literally got mad online about this. Fuck sakes, people.
Lastly, strap in for the greatest thing you’ll see all week:
— Rudy Gauer (@RockinRudyG) January 3, 2018