No Friday Tweet Bag this week. Y'all are on vacation and/or melting anyhow, and no one even commented on last week's edition. The Tweet Bag will return when enough people beg me to do one. Instead, a few random bits of chaff gathered from hither and yon.
Falling Slowly for Kevin Slowey: According to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, the Jays have scouted the rehab starts of Twins' starter Kevin Slowey. This isn't the first time we've heard of such a thing, as there were previous rumblings in the Spring (and maybe even into last year.) But we'll admit to being a bit underwhelmed by the prospect of a fifth starter with decent control, but who has a hard time breaking 89 MPH with his fastball.
Slowey's career xFIP is 4.17, which isn't exactly sterling. He is essentially the Anglo version of Carlos Villaneuva (4.04 career xFIP), although it is an open questions as to whether if Villaneuva sticks around much longer.
A Casual Meander Through the Heath: It seems absurd to think that the Jays would give anything up for a brief rental on Padres closer Heath Bell, but as we tweeted last night, the Miguel Olivo deal to get additional draft picks provides some hint as to the method behind such Anthopoulosean madness.
Should the Jays somehow find a manner of extracting Bell from the Padres for something less than the value they'd receive for two early 2012 draft picks, don't go getting attached. Bell may still be an All-Star by reputation, but his strikeout rate has plummeted this year (from 11.06 per nine innings in 2010 to 6.69 this year.) His xFIP has jumped almost a full point (2.98 to 3.84), and hitters' contact rates are soaring against him this year (from 57.1% to 66.2% for balls out of the zone, and from 84.0% to 91.2% for balls in the zone.)
Take a soon-to-be 34 year-old Heath Bell with those sorts of declining numbers, take him out of the spacious confines of PetCo Park and drop him into the AL East, and you've got yourself next year's bullpen migraine.
Saving It for the Second Half : Rajai Davis' career OPS splits are both pretty stark, and very much in keeping with what we've seen so far this year. Davis has posted a .637 OPS (.288 OBP/.349 SLG) throughout his career in the first half, while cooking up a .757 OPS (.349/.407) in the second half.
Rajai's first half OPS this year clocked in at an ugly .621 (.264/.357), but here's hoping that the Seattle series (4-for-7, two doubles, four stolen bases) augurs well for the remainder of the year. It wouldn't change our view that Rajai should serve essentially as a fourth outfielder and pinch runner next year, but a productive Davis would add a different dimension to the Jays' offense over the balance of the schedule.
A Great Weekend for Canadian Baseball: We're not sure how someone could overlook it at this point, given all of the attention is has received, but make sure to tune into the Hall of Fame ceremonies this weekend. (1 PM this Sunday on all of Sportsnet's regions). It should be an extraordinary afternoon for Canadian baseball fans. With two essential pieces of the Jays' glory years in Robbie Alomar and Pat Gillick being inducted, it will give fans the chance to ponder those tremendous seasons, and reflect on how they came to be.
(And for more Roberto reminiscences, be sure to check out Chris Jaffe's piece over on the Hardball Times, which lists some of Alomar's greatest achievements with the Jays and elsewhere. A very fun piece.)
But we're also equally excited for the induction of former Expos broadcaster Dave Van Horne. Van Horne is a great raconteur, and we look forward to the chance to revisit the proud history of baseball in Montreal. Van Horne's was the play-by-play voice in my head in my very first days of playing baseball in whatever patch of mowed grass we could find in my neighbourhood.
Thinking of the Expos is a bittersweet task these days, but hearing Van Horne's assured baritone will certainly bring to mind those great teams from the early 1980's.