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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Wilner: Blue Jays: Franchise in a positive state

Baiting the Public: We’re going to rebuild it our own way!

John Gibbons revealed his likely starting rotation, and it will be headed by the defending National League Cy Young Award winner, R.A. Dickey. Brandon Morrow will be next, followed by Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Ricky Romero.

It’s quite the fall from grace for Romero, who had been the Blue Jays’ Opening Day starter each of the past two seasons, but given his performance last year, it’s warranted. Romero wanted badly to be the glue that held together a rotation that was devastated by injury early on in 2012, and pitched through elbow pain so severe that he needed off-season surgery to repair it, which was reflected in his awful numbers last season. If he can return to his 2011 form, Romero could well be the best fifth starter in baseball history.

The only spots up for grabs on the Opening Day roster, given full health, are second base (Maicer Izturis has the clear edge in the battle for the everyday job with Emilio Bonifacio), back-up catcher (Henry Blanco will likely get the job over Josh Thole unless he appears to be completely done in the spring) and the last two or three spots in the bullpen.

... Beeston, who reminded both Anthopoulos and Gibbons of his promise at this same event a year ago of two or three playoff appearances in the next five (now four) years, also spoke again about the idea of replacing the playing surface at the Rogers Centre with real grass. Beeston said that his resolve is to put grass in the building, the question is when and how. He said he’ll work with the Argonauts to deal with their needs, as there are issues with moving the seating into football mode when there’s grass down, but that “it can be done” and that the goal is to have grass “sooner than later.”

Beeston was also asked about ticket prices, specifically how the Blue Jays can continue to hold them down given the 50 per cent increase in payroll, and his answer was that while he can’t promise that they’re never going to go up, he’s proud of the fact that there hasn’t been a ticket price increase for four years, and that it may be possible to keep prices at their current level for a few years if attendance increases to the level the Blue Jays hope.

Repoz Posted: February 06, 2013 at 06:09 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: February 06, 2013 at 07:32 AM (#4363653)
Shouldn't that be "positive province"?
   2. Greg K Posted: February 06, 2013 at 08:20 AM (#4363657)
Shouldn't that be "positive province"?

Not since Ontario qualified for equalization payments!
   3. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: February 06, 2013 at 08:30 AM (#4363659)
Happier than a moose covered in maple syrup wading through a bog of poutine. Mmmmm.....moose.
   4. formerly dp Posted: February 06, 2013 at 08:50 AM (#4363663)
The plan really does seem to have come together this offseason. The last time the Jays made this strong of a winter push, they nabbed Merced, Garcia and Plesac...I drank some Kool-Aid on that deal...

   5. Dirty Tom Rackham Posted: February 06, 2013 at 09:31 AM (#4363672)
R.A. Dickey. Brandon Morrow will be next, followed by Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Ricky Romero.


I don't know if there's any value to mixing up your pitchers between soft & hard and left & right, but if so, this is probably an ideal setup.

Of course, by April 20th it'll probably be something else because of off-days, rain outs, or injuries.
   6. formerly dp Posted: February 06, 2013 at 09:39 AM (#4363673)
That rotation has the potential for all sorts of awesomeness, especially if Romero can find himself again. Of course, Johnson and Morrow could easily spend good chunks of the year on the DL.
   7. Matthew E Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4363693)
The last time the Jays made this strong of a winter push, they nabbed Merced, Garcia and Plesac
God, I hated that trade. From the first moment I heard of it I hated that trade.

I think the Jays' last big push before this one was the off-season they picked up Overbay, Glaus, Burnett, and Ryan. Which... I don't want to say it didn't work, because all of those guys played well as Jays, but obviously it wasn't enough.
   8. formerly dp Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4363704)
God, I hated that trade. From the first moment I heard of it I hated that trade.
I don't think anyone expected Garcia to crater as quickly as he did-- his first year with the Jays was his last as a regular. Merced wasn't terrible but still seen as a disappointment. Didn't expect Plesac to end up as the best player in that deal.
   9. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4363705)
Blue Jays fan Brian Chick is less positive about the team, though not for baseball reasons.
   10. Matthew E Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4363721)
I don't think anyone expected Garcia to crater as quickly as he did
Oh, I did.

Before making this trade, the Jays had been unable to pick a second baseman out of a field of infield prospects: Domingo Cedeno, Tilson Brito, Felipe Crespo, Tomas Perez, and Miguel Cairo. I was hoping Crespo would get the job, because he was supposed to be able to hit, but instead they traded for Garcia and gave him the job. At the time I made the prediction that, within two years, Garcia would be out of baseball, but at least one of the prospects would be a regular somewhere. (I was right about Garcia but wrong about the prospects, although some of them did end up hanging around the majors for a long time.)

I was also pessimistic about Merced, who in retrospect was better than I thought he was, but thought that Plesac would at least be useful, which he certainly was.

One of the reasons I didn't like the trade was the long list of prospects the Jays sent to Pittsburgh, although none of them turned out to be that great. I think one guy ended up with a long but not overly impressive career.

I still hate the trade.
   11. formerly dp Posted: February 06, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4363734)
Oh, I did.
I had rose-tinted glasses on, I'll admit, but looking back, the fall does seem really dramatic.

One of the reasons I didn't like the trade was the long list of prospects the Jays sent to Pittsburgh, although none of them turned out to be that great.
Yeah, it ended up as the ultimate lots of smoke and no fire deal-- iirc, the Jays gave up a lot of talent that was especially young, even as prospects go, and it was weird that none of them developed at all.

I had a lot of hope for Crespo, too. It seemed like part of their problem was not wanting to commit to anyone long enough to live through early struggles-- the Bucs suffered through some tough times with Garcia before getting rewarded with a couple of decent seasons, and the Jays had those sorts of guys around.
   12. Greg K Posted: February 06, 2013 at 11:11 AM (#4363750)
Blue Jays fan Brian Chick is less positive about the team, though not for baseball reasons.

I'm not sure if I saw it in there, but there's a massive book/pamphlet full of photos from the 1992 playoffs the Jays sold. We've had it in our house for about twenty years, and this year at Christmas my brother was looking at it and said, "hey, that's Dad!"

One of the pictures was of the celebrations at the Sky Dome after game six (the game was in Atlanta, but they opened up the Sky Dome for Jays fans to watch on the big screen there). After the game my brother, dad, and I had run out onto the field. My dad was planning on grabbing home plate, but there was a cop standing on it, so he consoled himself with scooping up some dirt from home-plate - he still has it in a little jar. The one picture in this book shows my dad hunched over on his hands and knees scraping the dirt from home plate, which was pretty fun to see.

Any other Toronto folks watch that game at Sky Dome?
   13. Papa Squid Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4363828)
Well, there's sucking and then there's 1997 Carlos Garcia. Carlos Garcia is maybe my least favourite Blue Jay ever, along with one of the Homer Bushes. The Gord Ash era was truly the Dark Ages.
   14. Rusty Priske Posted: February 06, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4363861)
I am still trying to figure out why they would want Henry Blanco as back-up Catcher over Josh Thole... but if that is the biggest thing to worry about, we are doing pretty good.
   15. formerly dp Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4363884)
I am still trying to figure out why they would want Henry Blanco as back-up Catcher over Josh Thole... but if that is the biggest thing to worry about, we are doing pretty good.
This does not make a lot of sense to me either. I think Thole's a better hitter than he showed last year. Plus, he bats lefty, and owns a career .275/.345/.347 line against righties. Arencibia's at .216/.273/.415. I'm not expecting Blanco to last long in the majors.
   16. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4363899)
I think that, for a few years at least, Barry Bonds and Felipe Crespo were the only two Giants to hit home runs into McCovey Cove on the fly. So, you know, Felipe will always have that distinction.
   17. flournoy Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:36 PM (#4363915)
Craig Wilson was pretty good for a few years. Although as a Braves fan, my best memory of him is that of a player worse than Carlos Garcia for the Blue Jays.
   18. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 06, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4363949)
I'm not expecting Blanco to last long in the majors.

No kidding! He's the oldest non-pitcher currently signed to a major league contract. (Jason Giambi might return and strip him of that title)

Because Omar Vizquel was such a great contributor last year.

On a related note Darren Oliver has apparently retracted his unilateral demands to be paid more money, and will return to Toronto, as the second oldest player in the majors behind Mariano Rivera.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: February 06, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4364279)
I am still trying to figure out why they would want Henry Blanco as back-up Catcher over Josh Thole

'Tis a puzzler but teams do love their veteran backup Cs. You'll hear how Blanco is really good with the pitchers, is spending extra time with Romero, etc. Which would be good reasons to see if he'll be the bullpen coach.

Actually I am further puzzled. Thole is on a 2/$2.5 M contract and Blanco is signed for 1/$750,000. I know those are all chump change at this level but it's odd to have two backup Cs on guaranteed contracts (maybe Blanco's not guaranteed?). The trade was Dec 17, Blanco was signed on Jan 11. I assume Thole has at least one option left (looks like it) otherwise this makes no sense at all.
   20. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: February 07, 2013 at 04:01 AM (#4364745)
Besides Thole, Dickey told the Jays Blanco is the best receiver he's thrown to since becoming a knuckleballer. They had 8 games together at some point. They want to see what Thole can do with regular AB's before they stick him spot-starting with d0uchebag Arencibia.

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