Daily Duce: Wednesday, January 24th


The BBWAA has announced its Hall of Fame selections for 2018, which will include noted Blue Jay dad (and one-time Blue Jay farmhand) Vladimir Guerrero! Congrats Vladdy! (Also making the grade are noted Toronto hater Chipper Jones, legendary character from the Dugout, Jim Thome, and guy who wasn’t good enough to be a starting pitcher but is somehow Hall-worthy, Trevor Hoffman. That’s right, no Edgar. SEE YOU ALL NEXT SUMMER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA!)

Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wonders why the Cardinals rushed into trading Randal Grichuk, as he shudders to think that fans of the club might watch him become in Toronto what he wasn’t able to in St. Louis.

Richard Lee-Sam of BP Toronto says that the addition of Grichuk means that the Blue Jays should trade Kevin Pillar, which… sure! As I said in my mailbag this week for VICE Sports, there are a bunch of permutations that could work either with or without Pillar. And with him eventually on his way out anyway (it’s Alford’s job, let’s be honest), maybe the time is now.

More interesting Grichuk trade reax, including one from Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs, who on one hand considers Grichuk’s depreciating value in an era where power is everywhere (Grichuk’s key, and perhaps only offensive skill), but on the other wonders if a change of scenery — and perhaps a doing the Justin Smoak thing, trading power for contact — can finally unlock all the talent he teased the Cardinals with over the year.

Another one from FG comes from Carson Cistulli, who calls Grichuk an average player, which means he’s above average for the Blue Jays’ outfield.

Elsewhere at Fangraps, Eric Longenhagen looks at what the Cardinals are getting in Conner Greene, which is… pretty much what we all already think: a tantalizing arm that might not ever quite get it together.

And from a Kiley McDaniel chat earlier today:.

Speaking of prospects, Bo Bichette is the number three shortstop prospect on MLB Pipeline’s just-released list, but the impressive thing isn’t so much the ranking, but the things that are being said about him. A 70 hit tool? And then this: “Much like his teammate and friend Vladimir Guerrero Jr., there seems to be no limit to Bichette’s offensive ceiling. His career-to-date points to a bright future as a perennial All-Star who could regularly compete for batting titles.” Fuckin’ eh. (Just, y’know, maybe don’t look at who’s number one.)

Speaking of Bichette, John Lott has a great one on the Jays’ number two prospect over at the Athletic, riffing on the youngster’s lack of knowledge of films from before he was born (holy shit, like 1997’s Titanic), which is something that isn’t much going to matter in his life, given the way Bichette can hit a baseball.

Elsewhere at the Athletic, Ken Rosenthal has some Vlad Guerrero Jr. talk in a piece about trading Christian Yelich — which, no, doesn’t say that’s a deal that’s being discussed, but notes that even though Yelich has a whole lot of cheap control left, and is a much more certain commodity than a prospect like Vlad, “the depressed state of the free agent market enables clubs to sign players at below-market rates and still keep their best youngsters.”

And one more from the Athletic, ICYMI, was my look late last week at Josh Donaldson, in which I try to project out what we can expect from him going forward, by using twelve players most comparable to him from age 27 to 31 (by my eyeballing of wRC+ and the defensive component of fWAR) since 1950. Believe it or not, the group is really fucking good! (Though their average from age 33 to 37, which are the years of Donaldson’s next deal, assuming he signs for five years, works out to something like $150 million based on current estimations of $/WAR).

Ryan Goins has signed on with the Kansas City Royals, which is about the most perfect move you could imagine for both sides, he said backhandedly. Jerry Crasnick tweets that it’s a $1 million base salary, with potentially another $825K in incentives.

Back to the prospects, where Future Blue Jays makes the case for Danny Jansen playing in the big leagues this year, arguing that he’ll probably learn more from Russell Martin as a mentor than playing in Triple-A, and will see plenty of time on the field, given that even 120 games for Martin seems like a stretch. Personally, I could see Jansen playing in the majors a bunch this year, but I’d be surprised if it happened right from the start of the season.

And more prospect-y goodness comes to us from our friend Ryan over at Jays Droppings, where he looks at the very young Eric Pardinho — who it may already be time to start getting excited for — as well as Nate Pearson, who suddenly finds himself pretty clearly the Jays’ best pitching prospect.

One more prospect one, as David Singh of Sportsnet talks to a pair of young non-roster invitees to the Jays’ big league camp, Jon Harris and Sean Reid-Foley.

Over at the Toronto Star, Richard Griffin talks to Devon Travis about — what else? — his health, and finds the Jays’ second baseman generally upbeat, but obviously frustrated about the last few years of his career, and not having an easy time hiding his emotions about it. Man, how awesome would a full year of Devon Travis be?

And one more from Griff, as he looks back on the career of the just (officially) retired Justin Morneau.

Back at BP Toronto we have Andrew Munn looking at Troy Tulowitzki and wondering if a bounceback season is possible. Hey, if just two or three WAR counts as a bounceback, uh… maybe??? Hopefully??? Fuck it would be nice to see the old Tulo for just a little bit.

Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com talks contract with Josh Donaldson, and finds the Jays’ MVP willing to be patient — which is a good thing, because apparently there hasn’t been much to report on the contract front as yet. As I wrote in that piece for the Athletic noted above, I think there might be some more clarity for the two sides when we see where the market for J.D. Martinez goes.

Speaking of Donaldson, the great Jonah Birenbaum of some site that definitely doesn’t do longer form content anymore spoke to him about carrying the load for the club. “I want to be that guy,” he says. Fuckin’ eh.

Melissa Verge of the Canadian Baseball Network talks to Ryan Borucki, who could very well be one of the Jays most important pieces in 2018.

Elsewhere at the Canadian Baseball Network, Danny Gallagher looks at some Jays and Expos who are among non-vested retirees looking for more money.

Victor Riancho of Jays Journal takes a look at some of the many names that remain out there on the free agent bullpen market.

The Buffalo News tells us about the Buffalo Bisons and their quest to replace a legend: Celery.

A weird one from WEEI.com as a couple Red Sox players discuss what was lacking with their club in 2017 — a sense of urgency and purpose that they think was fixed too late, after a players only meeting two games into the ALDS, which they would ultimately lose to the Astros. Yeah, uh… good luck with that! (No, not really.)

Lastly, I almost don’t even want to address this one, but I guess I have to: the story last week about Roy Halladay’s autopsy finding several alarming sounding drugs in his system at the time of his fatal crash. The report originated at USA Today, and while it makes a splashy headline, hopefully we were all able to take in this information like adults. Halladay pitched with fractures in his back at the end of his career and retired largely because of that injury, and so I don’t think it takes too large a leap to understand why he might have had morphine or Ambien in his system. And a 0.01 blood alcohol level means… he had a drink the night before? I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it. Let’s let the man rest in peace.

  • Nice Guy Eddie

    I read the futurebluejays article suggesting that Jansen should be in the majors. It’s too bad we don’t have futurebluejays making developmental decisions instead of guys like Ben Cherington, Tony LaCava, Gil Kim, Ross Atkins, Andrew Tinnish etc../sarcasm

    • Terry Mesmer

      > the futurebluejays article suggesting that Jansen should be in the majors

      There was a commenter on other sites advocating, on every single post, it seemed, that Jansen’s development should consist of him sitting on the Jays bench for 120 games in 2018 so he could be “mentored” by a guy who would be on the field, actually playing during those 120 games.
      I ran that guy off, and now I am going to heaven the very moment I ask.

  • ErnieWhitt

    The crazy thing about yearning for the old Tulo is that in 2014 he had (in an injury shortened season) one of the all time great seasons for a ss. That isn’t that long ago. I get that that’s exactly how age regression is supposed to work.. but damn.

    • Torontoguy

      And Tulo had a horrible hip injury after that which he never recovered from. He will likely bounce back a bit because 78 WRC+ is so pathetic but he’s also declining defensively so he’s going to need to hit better and better in order to maintain his almost no value.

  • Terry Mesmer

    > the youngster’s lack of knowledge of films from before he was born (holy shit, like 1997’s Titanic)

    Movies? Eh.

    I was born remarkably deep in the previous millennium and I haven’t seen Titanic…or ET…or the Star Wars prequels (thought I did see Hamill’s tour de force Corvette Summer in the theatre).

  • Jayme

    Shorter Jeff Gordon: “Why did the Cardinals trade Grichuk? [Lists crazy amount of Outfield depth]. I just don’t understand why they traded him.”

    Nice to see other cities have to put up with Toronto Sun-esque writers.

    • The Humungus

      You have to remember, the Cardinals haven’t won the World Series in 6 years, and have missed the playoffs in 2 straight seasons.

      These are long starved fans, and they couldn’t possibly handle a once highly-touted prospect succeeding elsewhere in exchange for a “middle reliever” and a prospect.

    • Steve-O

      Yeah, except in his defense, it’s not unlike the “trade Pillar” talk (prior to the Grichuk acquisition) – there’s a lot of unknown/unproven in what would replace him in the case of injuries or struggles. I get his point.

  • Steve-O

    I do like to read the other side’s take on a trade to see how they feel about it, but I have no idea if Jeff Gordon is the Post-Dispatch’s version of Steve Simmons, so it’s hard to tell if I should be more excited about this trade based on (what I perceive as) his melancholy, or more concerned about it.

    But, it did make me wonder if his concern over losing OF depth is a good correlation to the sudden surge of “trade Pillar” talk. Even if Pillar ends up as the 4th guy this year, it might be worth holding on to him as a known commodity until Alford shows he’s ready… which might not be until the 2019 season if we’re being realistic.

    I dunno. I’m not sure I’m being coherent. And maybe Teoscar is a better 4th OFer/bench bat option than Pillar is, anyway. Which of the two do we think nets a better return in a trade?

  • Re. the Halladay thing- I think most people would be surprised to know the number of people they know who are on sleep medication and/or opiates of some kind. These drugs are routinely prescribed by doctors. The “opioid” crisis that’s all over the news is a prescription drug crisis. And yes, let the man rest in peace.