As the final seconds ticked off the clock to end this year's Super Bowl, our Twitter feed filled with the rejoicing of our fellow baseball fans. "Football's over and baseball season is here!"
We were fully prepared to jump into that packed Plymouth Reliant K Car of joy and awesomeness, until it struck us that there remain two full weeks until the Blue Jays' hurlers and receivers punch the clock for the first time in Dunedin. And moreover, there's nothing quite so anti-climactic as celebrating the start of the new season by watching video of a row of catchers squatting and stretching and maybe (if you're lucky) pitchers' fielding practice.
Oh sure, baseball is coming soon. But we want it now!
And since there's not much else going on, let's pore through a whole lot of nothing.
Oh Manny: Remember a couple of winters ago, when Manny Ramirez was the big, proven, middle-of-the-order bat that everyone wanted the Jays to go after, damn the consequences? How about we pour some hot water on those shrivelled old leaves and make ourselves some tasty ManRam tea? (That might be a terrible analogy. Just be happy that we didn't torture it with some added bit about scones to go with the tea, because that's just ugly.)
The Jays have more than enough depth between left field and DH, and Manny comes with all sorts of warnings on his label. Still, for a one-year, minor-league deal with incentives built in, we'd be more than happy to take a chance that Manny would eventually make his way to Toronto with the motivation to come back to the big leagues and hit. For all the talk about how Manny's career is over, it's worth noting that he posted a .409 OBP in 2010.
Let Manny sit on the sidelines for 50 games, see how the rest of your lineup shakes out, and if you need him, you bring him aboard and give him at bats. And if you don't need him, you pay him out and let him sign elsewhere, or you trade him. What's to lose?
Old Friends, Bound for Moving On: There are few Blue Jays over the life span of our blog who have befuddled us more than Camp, as we teeter-tottered back and forth between appreciating his occasional contributions and loathing the sight of him jogging in from the bullpen with his ill-fitting pants and silly socks. Now comes the news that Camp has packed his pantaloons and is headed for the west coast, signing a big-league deal with the Seattle Mariners.
Over his Blue Jays career, Camp walked a few too many batters (2.8 per nine innings), while not striking out nearly enough (5.5 per nine), and depended primarily on the kindness of his infielders, managing to induce ground balls more than 50% of the time throughout his four seasons. Through the bulk of his time with the Jays, we never trusted him in any sort of situation where the game may have still been close.
Just as we were ready to run him out of town on a rail, he had a decent-if-lucky 2010 campaign, posting a sub-3.00 ERA (versus an xFIP of 3.93) in 70 appearances. And if our foggy memory recalls that season correctly, Cito seemed to look to him first whenever a call to the pen was needed. Every damn time. With those stupid baggy pantaloons billowing as he ran to the mound. Like he was some sort of bullpen Mountie.
Why did those pants annoy us so?
Elsewhere, Mark Teahen got an invite to the Nationals training camp and...whatever. It doesn't really matter.
Syracuse Honours King Carlos: Last Friday, former Syracuse Chiefs great Carlos Delgado (remember him?) was inducted into the Syracuse Baseball Wall of Fame. The Syracuse Post-Standard has an interview with Delgado from that evening, and we have to say that seeing him made us happy and wistful all in one fell swoop.
We're not sure what the right time would be to invite Delgado back to Toronto. On a certain level, it feels as though he's put a fair bit of distance between himself and the city over the past seven years. But there's no one who is more deserving of having their contributions to the Blue Jays recognized and saluted than Carlos, and we hope that it happens soon.