Posted tagged ‘free agency’

Pending a physical…

January 17, 2017

Blue Jay fans rejoice.
Bautista is coming back.
More bats shall be flipped.

ER

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So I intended to write a well thought-out piece about Edwin Encarnacion signing with Cleveland…

December 31, 2016

…but then life got in the way. So I’ll just say this:

Truth is we’ll never know what happened during negotiations. All we have is speculation. I also can’t take anything the Jays and Paul Kinzer have said at face value. 

Looking back, I wish Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins were a little more patient and showed leanency. This wasn’t a subpar player; this was an integral part of the Jays’ lineup. They owed it to Edwin to not rush him and just caught things off. Yes, this is the business part of baseball, but the situation warranted a little flexibility.

In turn, I wish Kinzer focused more on his client’s needs than manipulating the process through the media. Did he honestly think stiring the emotions of the fan base would influence Shapiro and Atkins? He portrayed Edwin as a figure devastated by the fact he wasn’t coming back to Toronto. If the Jays weren’t part of the equation, then the Earth would be scorched. 

But again, it’s all based on speculation.

Now we have to move on and get use to Edwin playing for the Tribe. It is my hope that when we look back at Edwin’s illustrious time in Toronto, we fondly remember the great moments on the field and view his departure as a minor footnote.

May the parrot walk on forever. 

ER

Short, scribbled thoughts about Brett Cecil

November 21, 2016

I guess my earliest memory of Brett Cecil would have been around 2007-2008. All the bloggers were writing about two specific “prospects” in the Jays’ system: Cecil and Travis Snider.

He debuted in 2009 with a shaved head and wearing fancy sports goggles. There were some teachable moments.

There was a match against the Yankees where he threw a ball out of play, but forgot to call ‘time out.’ New York, being such savy veterans, took advantage.

Another time, he entered the dugout after a bad performance. It prompted Cito Gaston to walk over to the young hurler and have a heart-to-heart. Cito was calm and father-like with his message. It was critical, but also encouraging. It was something Cecil needed to hear.

Surley lost amongst the discussion of Cecil’s departure would be his strong 2010 performance. He started 28 games, posting a 15-7 record, with a 4.22 ERA and 1.326 WHIP. Had it not been for Jose Bautista’s incredible offensive outburst that season, Cecil would’ve been the best part of 2010.

However, things fell apart in 2011-2012. Cecil pitched poorly and it clearly affected him. Countless times he left a poor performance and threw a tantrum. Things were smashed and tossed, with plenty of profanity. I attended one of his starts in 2011 that didn’t go well. I followed him back to the dugout on the jumbotron. As soon as he started venting his frustrations, the screen quickly cut away to a video. It was as if the Skydome control room wasn’t familiar with Cecil’s tantrums, which had unfortunately became his calling card.

Ultimately, he was sent down to AA New Hampshire. It wasn’t as bad of a demotion as one would think. At the time, the Jays’ AAA affiliate was in the offence-friendly Pacific Coast League. It only made sense for Cecil to pitch with the Fishercats, where the results wouldn’t be skewed.

But things turned around in 2013 when Cecil successfully reinvented himself as a reliever. He had a sparkling 2.83 ERA and 1.104 WHIP. It was a performance that earned an appearance at the All-Star game. In a season that was ripe with unfulfilled promise and disappointment, Cecil and fellow reliever Steve Delabar were the lone bright stars.

While Delabar was unable to match his 2013 performance, Cecil has maintained his course. Yes, he had moments of imperfection. However, when things mattered the most, Cecil got the job done. Never forget the strong finishes he posted in 2015 and this past season.

Now he’s off to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals. I’m sad and disappointed to see him leave, but I certainly wish him the very best. I’m grateful not only  for what he did wearing a Blue Jay uniform, but to also witness him go from a young man full of emotion and blossom into a mature and professional veteran. His development happened right in front of us.

My lasting memory of Brett Cecil was after game three of the 2016 ALDS. Amongst the incredible euphoria, Cecil was on the field with his three little children and wife, Jennifer. As the celebration went on, Cecil lined up his children for a family photo. It was a wonderful moment and he couldn’t have picked a better setting.

ER


Episode 78 [Season Finale]: Highs, Lows and a Postseason Appearance

October 23, 2016

This year marked the 40th anniversary season of Blue Jays baseball, which turned out to be more than just a historic milestone.

Brendan Panikkar of BaseballHotCorner.com looks back at the 2016 Jays and what the off-season could entail.

Episode 78 Direct MP3 Download

…or…

***Thanks for listening to the fifth season of DNJT! Enjoy the World Series and the off-season.***

Hey! Why is everyone getting worked up about Joey Bats, contract negotiations, money and 2017????

February 25, 2016

Is it just me or is anyone else bothered with how some fans and media are focusing so much on what could/might happen next season when the current one hasn’t even started yet? Why stress out about the 2017 roster when the 2016 version is right in front of us and provides the opportunity to savour a lineup that includes Jose Bautista?

The Blue Jays should seriously consider hosting “Eckhart Tolle Day” at the Skydome this year. Maybe the team can even invite Tolle to throw out the first pitch to Josh Thole.

Much has been said about Joey Bats’ stance on negotiations, hometown discounts and alleged financial demands. And of course, this storyline is full of speculation and conclusion jumping. It reminds me of Chris Bosh’s final season with the Raptors.

Any smart Raptor fan knew if the team was heading in the wrong direction – and they were – the hard-working Bosh would sign elsewhere when his contract expired. At first, I wasn’t warm to the notion, but eventually made peace with it. So when CB4 chose the Miami Heat, I had nothing but admiration and respect for him. The same goes for Joey Bats.

I am eternally grateful for everything Bautista has done for the Blue Jays. Witnessing his rise from no-name utility player to All-Star slugger is something I will always cherish. If he and the Jays can work something out, that would be wonderful! If things don’t work out and he chooses to play for another team, that’s fine too. I’m okay with it.

Granted, I would prefer it if he didn’t sign with Boston or the Yankees. Personally, I’d rather see him play for a team in California or the Miami Marlins. However, if he chooses the Red Sox or Yanks, so be it.

It’s important to remember that Bautista – along with AA – is the epicentre of this current chapter in Blue Jays history. He was the shinning star when things were bleak and has excelled on the field. He also helped guide this team back to the promised land, culminating in a championship banner and hopefully, a couple more. Bautista has earned the right to choose how his contract is negotiated and its financial worth. Fans should/must respect that right, even if that means an unfavourable outcome.

But all of that is not important right now!!!

The 2016 season should be the sole focus. Worrying about what will happen after the 2016 season is pointless. So let’s give our attention to what’s in front of us and enjoy it. Let’s deal with the future when it’s appropriate; say, November.

Never has the expression “cross the bridge when we get there” been more prevalent for Blue Jay fans than now.

ER

Padre Morrow

December 19, 2014

Upon learning that Brandon Morrow signed with the San Diego Padres, a feeling of sadness swept over me.

Not too long ago, Morrow was expected to be the ace of the rotation. It seemed that prophecy would come true, as long as he stayed healthy.

And there’s the keyword: Healthy.

When Morrow was healthy, he was phenomenal. But when he was playing hurt or spending time on the DL, he was ineffective. This ineffectiveness is what ultimately disqualified him from the long-term plan.

My mind has stored a few Morrow memories. Of course, there’s the near no-hitter he tossed in 2010. But the majority of fond recollections come from the early months of the 2012 season.

Morrow was outstanding. It seemed like he finally found that perfect balance between velocity and accuracy.

I remember watching him dominate Seattle one April afternoon. From my perch in the 500s, I watched textbook off speed pitches that left the Mariners dumbfounded. If Morrow was a painter, then that game was a masterpiece.

He had a bright future, but it all came crashing down just a few months later.

It was June, 2012. Morrow was on the mound as the Jays began a three-game series against Washington. In the very first inning, he tore his oblique and was removed from the game.

That one single moment changed everything. He was never the same after that injury.

Foolishly, I wonder what would happen if I built a time machine, flew back to June 2012 and changed the – as Wilner calls it – space/time continuum. That means finding a way for Morrow not to get injured. Maybe things would’ve been different.

But that’s just crazy talk; and I apologize for that.

I do wish Brandon all the best in San Diego. Perhaps pitching in the National League is the missing piece of his MLB puzzle. And I hope he starts too.

It’s just a shame his time in Toronto had to end this way.

ER
 
 

Stay classy in San Diego, Brandon.(Photo: BlueJays.com)

Stay classy in San Diego, Brandon.(Photo: BlueJays.com)

Quick Thoughts on Russell Martin

November 18, 2014

I like it!

Russell Martin is a big upgrade from Dioner Navarro. The Canadian’s offensive numbers are better than Navarro’s. More importantly – as pointed out by Baseball-Reference.com – Martin’s career CS% is higher than Navarro’s (32% vs. 28%). Doesn’t seem like a big difference, but it certainly helps.

That’s not to say Navarro was a dud. The Blue Jays were very fortunate to get what they got from Navarro. Remember, this was a catcher who hadn’t played 100+ games since 2009.

So what happens to Navarro from this point forward?

He could be used as a trading chip or backup Martin, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

As for Martin, I look forward to seeing what affect his experience and leadership will have in the clubhouse and on the field.

A part of me fears he will under-perform, becoming a target for angry fans.

But there’s also a part of me that believes he will continue to produce like he has in the past.

So here’s hoping #55 will be nothing like a recent Blue Jay who wore that number.

ER


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