Posted tagged ‘Sanchez’

And now, a smorgasbord of thoughts and feelings as it relates to the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club

October 1, 2018

Give yourself a pat on the back. You got through a tough season.

  • Actually, I’m not upset about what happened this season. I went in with low expections and got what I expected: a team in transition; positive evolution and negative evolution, but evolution nonetheless.
  • Those first three weeks in April though; that was exciting and fun.
  • Love Gibby, but it was time to move on. His dismissal was unsurprising. Gibby took the Jays as far as he could. But the team is now moving in a different direction and the front office understandably wants someone new to lead said direction.
  • Couldn’t tell you who the new manager will be. I do know this: Some fans will love the new hire, some fans will hate the new hire and some fans will absolutely despise the new hire because anything orchestrated by Mark Shaprio and Russ Atikins will automatically ruin EVERYTHING! Oh, the spicy hot takes. 😉
  • I’m worried about Aaron Sanchez. Injuries have robbed him and us of two seasons. Right now, there’s a large chasm between 2016 Sanchez and 2018 Sanchez. I’m praying he closes that gap in 2019. He’s too good to be plagued with injuries.
  • Teoscar is a curious case. He was exposed defensively, but the kid has a pretty good bat. Here’s hoping he works on his defence during the off-season.
  • I was wrong about Randall Grichuk.
  • Loved what I saw from Rowdy Tellez. However, a small voice in my head is telling me not to get too excited about production from a September call-up. I hope that voice is wrong.
  • It feels like ions since Gift Ngoepe was part of the opening day roster.
  • My favourite moments from the season: 1) The incredible ninth inning comeback against Tampa Bay in September. 2) James Paxton’s no-hitter, despite that happening against the Jays.
  • One other moment that remains prevleant in my mind: Curtis Granderson’s walk-off homerun against Boston in April. This occurred days after the horrific van attack in North York. While Grandy’s blast certainly didn’t cure everything, it allowed us a short reprieve as we grieved.
  • I’m fascinated with the middle infield situation. Many candidates, but only a few spots. It will be one of the top storylines during spring training.
  • Time for some awards! Best hitter: Justin Smoak; Best starter: J.A. Happ; Best reliever: A tie between Seunghwan Oh and Ken Gilles.

Postseason is upon us. Cleveland gets my endorsement only because of the overabundance of former Blue Jays on their roster. Enjoy October baseball!

ER

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An ugly reality, but it is what it is

August 20, 2018

Struggling with writer’s block lately. So….some random thoughts:

  • Several times this season, I’ve found myself saying, “Oh, yeah. I forgot about Tulo.”
  • Josh Donaldson and Aaron Sanchez have both missed a signficant amount of time. If this was 2015-16, we’d freak out. Today, such a fact is met with a shrug. It is what it is.
  • Really? Just six games for Jose Urena?
  • I like Ryan Borucki because he models himself after Mark Buehrle. The kid starts his windup as soon as he gets the sign. He’s going to be a treat (hopefully).
  • There (probably) isn’t a single Jays fan who actually thinks Gibby will be back for 2019.
  • Remember, the Blue Jays are a team in transition. That means – if I can borrow the expression – things will get worse before it gets better. Hang in there. It’s going to be okay.

    And now…..back to my battle with writer’s block.

    ER

    Short, scribbled thoughts about J.A. Happ

    July 17, 2018

    I’m thrilled Mr. Happ is representing the Blue Jays at the All-Star Game. In a season that’s been on a steep decline since late April, there have been very few positive story arcs. J.A. Happ is one of those arcs.

    As he prepares to stand with the game’s best at Nationals Park, I’ve been reminiscing about his two tenures with the Jays.

    I’ve been thinking about the attempt to put him in the bullpen when he first arrived in 2012. Happ put his foot down and argued he was a starter. Ultimately, he was not wrong.

    I’ve been thinking about that scary night at Tropicana Field when a line drive struck the side of his head. He recovered, thank goodness.

    I’ve been thinking about how some freaked out when he came back to the team as a free agent. Getting Happ instead of resigning David Price was an outrage to certain fans.

    I’ve been thinking about Happ’s 20 wins in 2016. Yes, that stat is no longer a sexy accomplishment. However, that 2016 team would not have succeeded without the triple threat of Happ, Aaron Sanchez and Marco Estrada.

    I’ve been thinking about milk in a bag. 😁😁😁

    The first chapter was noteworthy and the second one – quite successful – will likely conclude before the end of the month. There might even be a third chapter.

    Regardless, I sincerely hope he makes a positive contribution wherever he winds up. Fingers are crossed for a World Series ring.

    ER

    Ironically, I share a similar opinion as Cathall Kelly. But I choose to be more respectful and less fatalistic.

    March 29, 2018

    Rest assured, this is not a critique of Mr. Kelly’s recent torpedo at the Blue Jays. These are just my thoughts for Opening Day. They’re pleasant, but not glowing.

    Anyway……Hello regular season.

    Whenever someone asks me how the Blue Jays will fare, I always like to give two opinions. 2018 is no exception:

    Subjectively, they’ll finish 162-0 and capture the World Series title.

    Objectively, if a number of factors work out on the positive side and they’re not heavily effected by injuries, they could compete for the second wild card spot. Otherwise, don’t make any plans for postseason baseball.

    We can crunch numbers and analyze everything to death. But nothing is 100% certain, especially for on-field performance. So like everyone else – whether they like to admit it or not – I prefer to go with my gut.

    And my gut says….there’s likely going to be a dip.

    I sense a transition process between the current 25-man roster and the sexy, young minor league talent everyone is excited about. It won’t be a linear transition, but one that’s u-shaped instead. Couldn’t tell you how long it will last. Maybe a few seasons, maybe more than that. But it’s going to likely happen.

    Ideally, I’d prefer if the transition began now. However, Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins feel they can put it off for the year.

    It’s not a terrible decision. Teams could pay more at the non-waiver trade deadline. And if the Jays are clearly not a contender by the end of July, my hope is that they would get a nice return for Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and a king’s ransom for Josh Donaldson.

    Therein lies one of the major storylines of 2018: What’s going to happen with the Bringer of Rain?

    I love Donaldson and very grateful for what he’s done on the field. However, I would be SHOCKED if he signs a long-term deal with the Jays.

    If there’s actually a dip or any form of rebuilding, it wouldn’t make sense to keep him. It also wouldn’t make sense for Donaldson wanting to stay if the next few seasons are going to be lean, with a lot of unknowns thrown in as well. Donaldson will be a free agent at the end of 2018 and he’s earned the right to field offers and seek out the best deal. It pains me to type this, but I just don’t see that happening with him and the Jays.

    In fact, the only players on the current roster that should remain with the club through any kind of transition is Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna and Devon Travis. That’s not a gurantee either.

    So let the Yankees and Red Sox have their fun, if it turns out that way. The Blue Jays are cultivating for the future and if Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette actually live up to their hype, combined with consistent production from Alford, Urena, Hernandez, Borucki, etc., then we are in for a treat. Heck, look at what rebuilding has done for the Astros.

    Of course, I could be completely off the mark. If the Jays actually make the playoffs in 2018, I will happily admit that I jumped to conclusion.

    It could happen. Part of me hopes it does.

    ER

    Spring Training Haikus! A February tradition (at least in my head) since 2016

    February 14, 2018

    This could be the last
    spring training for Donaldson
    in fair Dunedin

    The middle infield
    is giving me great concern
    due to its poor health

    Pray for the finger
    on Aaron Sanchez to be
    blister free and safe

    Joe Biagini
    Should remain in the bullpen
    where he’s suitable

    Fifth starter auditions
    shall take place in Dunedin.
    Where’s Brett Anderson?

    ER

    I took all my thoughts and feelings about Jose Bautista, put them in a slow cooker and this was the result.

    November 3, 2017

    For as much as we criticize JP Ricciardi – and it is warranted – the former Blue Jay General Manager does deserve high praise for acquiring two of the biggest impact players in team history: Edwin Encarnacion and the subject of this article, Jose Bautista.

    I was there on Sunday, September 24 and said goodbye to Joey Bats. No surprise, it was incredibly hard to hold back tears as he walked off the field, hugging his teammates and saluting the crowd. It was a beautiful send-off.

    A lot has been written about his tenure. Lists have been compiled and opinions have been shared. It’s hard to add something to an already large pile. But Bautista had affected many and here’s what his impact meant to me:

    One of my earliest memories of him is from June 2009. The Blue Jays were playing the Phillies and Bautista teamed up with Aaron Hill to hit back-to-back homeruns. As I watched him round the bases from my seat in the 500s, I observed the unique occurrence.

    “Look at that,” I thought to myself. “Bautista, the backup utility player, hit a homerun. That’s something you don’t see everyday.”

    Shortly a year later, Bautista bombs were going off regularly.

    To understand the importance of Bautista’s 54-homer campaign in 2010, one needs to remember the mood around Skydome at the time.

    Things were looking bleak; very bleak. The team had practically hit rock bottom. Actually, if there was a level below “rock bottom,” the Jays were there.

    A frustrating 2009 season ended with three straight losses to Baltimore and reports of a mutiny against Cito Gaston. AA took over general managing duties and in his first offseason, traded franchise icon Roy Halladay to Philadelphia.

    The calendar changed to 2010 and “Hustle+Heart” was used to soften the blow of uncertainty. The playoff drought was going to continue with no end in sight. Making matters worse, the team was averaging around 10,000 fans early in the season. The sight of a stadium only 20% full was hollow and made some wonder if this was the beginning of the end.

    But then Bautista started to hit homeruns and we all took notice. Suddenly, amongst the scorched ruin, a small, glowing spark emerged. Jose was that small, glowing spark.

    Suddenly, the fate of the team wasn’t a concern anymore. There was hope. There was promise; all thanks to that glowing spark. Sure, the Jays were far from a playoff contender; but at least we could turn on the television or go to a game and say, “I can’t wait to see what Jose is going to do tonight.” He brought excitement when things were looking bleak.

    2010 was also weird year for me. I guess one could call it a quarter life crisis. Certain doors closed and others opened. Through out it all was the stinging feeling of life not going the way I expected it go. In my head, I was failing at life.

    So when I saw that former back-up utility player – whose arrival to the team in 2008 brought an unenthusiastic “meh” from the fan base – become a superstar slugger, I invested every ounce of passion and emotion. I was at the ground floor of something special and unlike other important moments and players of Blue Jay lore, I was not going to take it for granted.

    One Friday evening, I was at Skydome for a match between the Jays and Cleveland. The weather was perfect that night. My friend and I sat in the 500s, behind home plate – one of my favourite sports to watch a game.

    Midway through the match, the Jays loaded the bases and Jose – already in the midst of his incredible season – came to the plate. There were about 19,000 fans in attendance and excitement began to grow.

    “I hope he hits a grand slam,” I thought to myself. “Please, I need this.”

    Then he connected for – I believe – his 36th homerun of the season. The crowd erupted! 19,000 fans sounding like 50,000 fans and I was one of them. I wasn’t thinking about my struggles and failures. I was smiling and feeling lucky that I was there and part of the experience. No anger or fear for the rest of the night. Maybe things will be okay.

    I am grateful for Joey Bats because he gave me an escape.

    From there, it all came together: Edwin’s rise to stardom, the big trades, the arrival of Stroman, Sanchez and Osuna, Donaldson’s MVP season. Yes, there were setbacks; but the prize of two exciting playoff runs was worth the pain.

    The batflip will always maintain it’s iconic status in Canadian sports mythology. The image of Bautista sending his bat to another galaxy will sit in the same category as Paul Henderson’s Summit Series goal in 1972, Sydney Crosby’s golden goal and of course, Joe Carter’s World Series winning blast.

    This chapter of Blue Jays history began when AA became the General Manager. However, the epicentre of the story revolves around Jose Bautista.

    Without Joey Bats, every moment and feeling never occurs. Just imagine what things would look like. All it took was a minor league catcher, an adjustment to his swing and some good fortune.

    Evolution caught up to Bautista the past two seasons. So since it’s likely the end, I thank him for everything he did for the team and the city.

    If the Blue Jays ultimately win the World Series in the next ten years, Jose Bautista would obviously not get a ring. However, he will have played an integral role in the journey.

    All the best, Mr. Bats.

    ER

    Short, scribbled thoughts about the fugly start to the regular season

    April 17, 2017

    Wish I could tell you it will get better. But the truth is I can’t. There are few guarantees in baseball, so I can only hope for the best and be positive.

    The Blue Jays will either figure it out or they won’t.

    You can push as many panic buttons as possible. You can demand they fire Gibby. You can beg for Rowdy Tellez to be called up. You can curse Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins for all entirety. You can refuse to purchase tickets. Just understand one thing: We have no control over the fate of the team. Like it or not, we have to let the process work itself out and show some – here’s a word you might not like – patience.

    Gregg Zaun sometimes criticizes certain fans for wanting instant gratification. It’s a theory I subscribe to as well. We live in a society that values anything quick and aggressive, while discarding items that are slow and can’t instantly capture attention. Baseball clashes with this kind of society; in the game itself and with the length of the season. The adage of the regular season being a marathon and not a sprint certainly applies to the Jays’ situation.

    The consensus couldn’t be clearer: There’s nothing fun about how this season has gone so far, especially after Sunday’s 11-4 dumpster fire loss to Baltimore. Greater concern is Aaron Sanchez’s blister problem and J.A. Happ’s elbow; issues that are incredibly alarming. Can’t forget the nightmarish offensive production either. So as much as it sucks – and it really does suck – there is nothing we can do, but to simply let things breathe. It might be painful, but it’s the right course of action.

    If that won’t work for you, consider this: If the worst thing in your life is a 2-10 baseball team, then you have a pretty good life.

    ER



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