Friday, January 30, 2009

An open letter to Scott Carson

Dear Mr. Carson:

Hi Scott. Is that a tad too informal? Can I call you Scott? I mean, we don't know each other, but I've been following your work on the parent company's website, and have probably heard many of your contributions on the broadcasts, even if those attention whores Campbell and Tabler don't give you the hat-tips that you undoubtedly deserve as the patented "third man in the booth." As an aside, what happens when you have a guest? Do you become the "fourth man in the booth?" But I digress (who am I, Jerry Seinfeld? Jesus.).....

I'm writing you this letter, Scott, because I wanted to ask you a question.


Why, in the good name of David Andrew Stieb, did you post that article earlier this week? Another "Doc is on his way out" blast....really? You don't think that bullshitty speculative angle hasn't been beaten - to - death already? Who are you, Dan Graziano? Look, I know it's been a slow offseason for news, but there had to be another reason. Was it to feed the lemmings already uber-pissed at Jays management? Was it's purpose to whip the casual fan into a fully lathered frenzy? If that's the case, then either way - judging by your reader comments - mission accomplished.

No, I think it was something far more sinister than that, Scott. I think you were trying to hurt me. You know it'll damn near rip the innards clear outta me if Doc leaves, whether it's via trade or free agency. I wish I could be more eloquent, but that's how I feel.

You see Scott, I, um...see the facts a little differently. I see that Roy Halladay has two years left on his contract. I see the Jays with a good young core with a chance to be great sooner rather than later. Growing pains in '09, maybe (probably?), but promising nonetheless.

I see a potential rotation - whether it's 6 months or a year down the road - being anchored by Doc, with proteges Marcum, McGowan, Litsch, and Cecil behind him (and let's not entirely count out David Purcey, Tampa killer). You can't win with that rotation? What's that? Not without any offense? Oh, so you don't think a core of Rios, Snider, Lind, Hill (assumption - brains unscrambled), Wells, and some relief at either first or third (with respect, Lyle and Scott) can score some runs? No? Not even down that same proverbial road? Well, I guess that's where we differ.

And I guess that's all we have left to say to each other.

The Ack.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dear Jillian Barberie, or Reynolds, or whatever

How's it goin'? We're doin' okay ourselves.

So listen: we've gotta talk. Now, we don't want you to take this the wrong way, because we're big fans. Really. When it comes to smokin' hot cougars from Burlington, you're definitely somewhere in the general vicinity of the upper half of our list.

And moreover, we think it's totally peachy that you lost all that weight through the twin miracles of Nutrisystem and childbirth. Good on ya.

But could you do us a favour and stop following us around the internet? Seriously, at least twice a day, you suddenly appear on our screen. It could be a baseball blog, or it might be a webring on commedia dell' almost doesn't matter. Because wherever we go, there you are in all of your blonde, bronzed, bikinied glory.

It's starting to freak us out. So be a sweetie and make it stop.

Many thanks,

The Tao

P.S. Say hi to Joe Buck for us.

A fond farewell to the Globe's William Houston

In a time before we became devotees of Brunt or Blair or Neate or the Drunks or the Ghostrunners, the one sports column that we couldn't miss was William Houston's Truth and Rumours in the Globe and Mail.

It could have been the goofy-scratchy cartoons that accompanied the column in those days, but more likely, it was the fact that Houston's focus hit us exactly in the sweet spot of our twin obsessions with sports and media. We always thought that Houston had the coolest job in Canadian media, which isn't to say that it was a piece of cake to do what he did. If you are going to step up and deliver critiques of the sports media, you have to be pretty damned sure that your own work is spot on and beyond reproach, and Houston delivered the goods with each and every piece he wrote. (Even the ones the ones that he wrote multiple times, like his "Women in Sportscasting" piece that ran every 18 months or so.)

Houston's work was absolutely vital over the past decade, as the media lanscape evolved rapidly in Canada. With three national sports networks and a slew of digital channels coming online, not to mention the sports radio boom (and in the case of the Team network, the bust), an almost incalculable number of sports websites as well as the faltering fate of the once-promising satellite radio enterprises, Houston has scribed about sports media in the most interesting of times.

With the news coming this week (via Neate, via Cox Bloc, via the Fan 590's Howard Berger) that Houston has accepted a buy out and will leave the Globe effective February 1, we're more than a bit sad at the prospect of not having the opportunity to read his incredibly well-reported, insightful and witty views on Canada's sports media.

Because, you know, if Bill's not there, who the hell is going to keep watch on the number of times Martine Gaillard misuses the term "literally" in the run of a broadcast? Or to call Mike Toth to account for...well...being Mike Toth?

We're hopeful that Houston's will continue to grace us with his knowledge in some other capacity. (If you need someone to walk you through using blogging software, we're happy to volunteer our services, Mr. Houston). But we would also respect the fact that maybe the man just wants to shut off all of the TV's, radios and computers in his house and catch up on his reading for a while.

Whatever the case, we want to thank William Houston for sharing his talent and his hard work with us over these past few decades. We hope to see you again soon.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Who is (or isn't) the lynchpin this year?

Our use of the term lynchpin in yesterday's post made us think back to a post from last year, where we asserted that Lyle Overbay's season was going to define the Jays' successes in 2008. It looks a pretty spooky in retrospect when we read this line: "If Lyle Overbay doesn't hit, we're screwed."

Not that we're passing ourselves off as Kreskin here. Now, if we had said "If Lyle hits into a million (or at least 24) double plays,we're screwed", then that would have been impressive.

We just looked back, and wouldn't you know, it was exactly one year ago that we made our bold assertion singling out the snaggle-toothed swatter of twin killing balls. So in the interest of symmetry, we're going to embark on our Second Annual January 28th Assessment of the Blue Jays' Offensive Lynchpin.

(And just for the record, you can spell it lynchpin or linchpin. We just prefer the "y". )

The Candidates Aren't: Marco Scutaro (because we doubt he plays more than 120 games this season); Rod Barajas (because he's not the kind of catcher that you depend on for offense); or Lyle Overbay (because there are no two-time winners in the Lynchpin Pageant).

The Candidates Could Be, But Likely Aren't: Travis Snider (because he's still 20 years old, and you don't depend on someone that young to carry your offense); Adam Lind (because he's going to have enough trouble keeping his head above water this year); Aaron Hill (because we're just going to go ahead and assume that his brains are still scrambled until he hits his 20th double of the season).

So, The Candidates (By Default) Are: Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, and Scott Rolen.

It might seem to be a bit of a stretch to include Rolen in this equation, except that his numbers in 25 games last September - after taking time off to get his shoulder right and adjusting his swing - were the best that we saw from the former All World third baseman. Rolen hit three homers, eight doubles, drove in 11 and slugged at a .523 clip. Accepting that 88 ABs make for a small sample size, we still think that an OPS in the mid .800's with 20 homers and 85 RsBI aren't beyond the realm of possibility. Numbers like that could really help spur the rest of the lineup.

As for Vernon Wells, we'd contend that he actually was the lynchpin last season. Playing in two-thirds of the team's games, he still managed 20 homers, 78 RsBI and an .840 OPS. But on a certain level, we wonder if looking to him as the offensive catalyst isn't a little too obvious. It would be like saying: "The Cardinals offense will do better if Albert Pujols has a good year." Well, no shit. Vernon is supposed to be the big bat for the Jays, and we don't think that's what we're talking about here.

Which leaves us with Alex Rios. In most categories, Rios slid back last year, seeing his numbers in homers, runs, hits, RsBI, on base and slugging fall behind his 2007 standards. (His numbers went up in stolen bases, but really, who gives a shit about stolen bases?) Looking forward to next season, we're hopeful that a full year under the tutelage of the Junta of Hitting (Cito, Gene Tenace and Dwayne Murphy) will result in, results for Rios. Whatever the case, you can be pretty certain that Rios will spend the bulk of the season hitting in the top four spots of the order, so the Jays will absolutely be relying on him to get on and get in at a better clip than last year.

The way we figure it, the Jays will pretty much depend on a better season from Rios if they are going to have any shot at making miracles this year. So we guess that makes him the Miss Lynchpin 2009.

Either him, or Jason Lane.

(Or Manny. Oh shit. Did we just go there?)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Greatish Jays: Mark Eichhorn

Somewhere in between the players who have their names plastered across honoured on the facing of the Rogers Centre and those who receive our own ignominious honour, there are those in Blue Jays history who have stepped up and left their mark, even if their moment in the sun was all too brief.

On that level, there are few Blue Jays who left more of an impression on us than Mark Eichhorn.

(And kudos Sven, who in the comments of our Kent Tekulve post a couple of weeks back correctly divined that we were a rabid Eichhorn fan.)

Eichhorn's career with the Jays started with a whimper, when he went 0-3 with a 5.45 ERA in seven starts with the team in 1982. After a few more years of scuffling around the Jays' farm system, Eichhorn rejigged his throwing motion from the standard overhand into the glorious pseudo-submarine, sling-it-hop-and-fall-off-the-mound delivery.

It really was a thing of beauty.

And while the delivery may have owed something to some of the submariners of the past (Tekulve and Dan Quisenberry, for instance), Eichhorn's motion was far less jerky and far more graceful than those. For a low-angle sidearm slinger, it looked pretty smooth, and it allowed Eichhorn to throw a slider that fell as suddenly and dramatically as the value of our mutual funds.

Aside from mere aesthetics, Eichhorn's 1986 rookie season with the Jays stands out as one of the most remarkable performances from any Toronto pitcher: 69 games, 157 innings, a 14-6 record with 10 saves, 166 strikeouts versus 45 walks, a 1.72 ERA and a .955 WHIP. And even though we think that the BBWAA is a bit of a joke, it's still worth mentioning that Eichhorn finished sixth in the Cy young voting (although we're assuming those were hometown votes), and third in the rookie of the year voting.

There's also this story about that 1986 season that makes us think that Eichhorn was pretty freakin' rad: Apparently, the Jays offered Eichhorn the possibility of starting one of the last few games of the season so that he could rack up enough innings to qualify for the ERA title, but the pitcher turned the idea down because he didn't want anyone to think he was sneaking in the backdoor to get it. That's nails.

(And as it turned out, he ended up throwing 4.1 innings on the last day of the year, pitching in both ends of a double-header against the Brewers. Double nails.)

Eichhorn pitched for two more seasons in that first stint with the Jays, with diminishing returns as runners began taking advantage of his deliberate motion to the plate. His 1988 season was punctuated by an ongoing attempt to speed up his delivery and improve his pick off move. Jimy Williams, as he is wont to do with everything beautiful and true in baseball, tried to make Eichhorn conform to his rigid and dull approach to the game.

It damn near killed us to watch it. It was like having two seasons of Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust, and then seeing him crushed down into Never Let Me Down.

Eichhorn was banished to Atlanta (where he kinda sucked) and spent some time with the California Angels of California, where he regained his form (posting a 1.98 ERA and .931 WHIP in 1991.)

In 1992, the Jays summoned him back to his home and rightful place, just in time for their back-to-back World Series runs. Over those two postseasons, Eichhorn tossed 4.1 innings of runless ball, and while he wasn't the bullpen lynchpin that he had previously been, he was still an effective relief arm, holding the lead and feeding the ball to Duane Ward on many nights.

Though he finished his career elsewhere (stints with Baltimore and back to Cali), we still can't picture him in any uniform other than the Jays'.

All of this adds up to Mark Eichhorn being a truly Greatish Jay. And besides all of this history and statistical nonsense: Isn't it wicked fun to say "Eichhorn"?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Great Big Giant Pasty White Hope(TM) stays hungry

Amidst a rather depressing week of downcast season ticket holder confabs and inscrutable front office firings, we're in dire need of a reason for optimism for this coming season. Which is why it warms our chilled heart to read this story from the Everett (WA) Daily Herald on Travis Snider's personal outlook for 2009.

Sure, every player worth his salt is going to come out and say that he's not resting on his laurels for the coming season. But there's something about Snider's tone (assuming we're reading this right) that gives us a bit of that hope thing that's been going around lately.

"J.P. told me, 'You had a good showing up here and we're proud of the way you handled yourself, but be hungry. Come in ready to compete.' That's always been my attitude toward these kinds of things, and I'm just excited to have the opportunity."

You stay hungry, kid. (Just lay off the barbecue.)

Now if only there was some inspirational story about Adam Lind's off season progress out there, we might be able to sleep well again.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's always sunny in Toronto

I don't know much about former Jays Assistant GM Bart Given, but I know he's probably had better days. A quick scan of the headlines this morning revealed that Given is no longer a member of the front office. If nothing else, it might be another notch in the power belt of potential-GM-in-waiting Alex Anthopoulos.

JP Ricciardi sent out this cheerful note via MLB's messaging system announcing his "departure":

"Please be advised that Bart Given is no longer an employee of the Toronto Blue Jays. Bart wishes to remain in baseball, and can be reached at this phone number. Thank you."

Hey JP, ease up on the superlatives, will ya?

Our winter of discontent continues, as the pattern of no news is bad news carries on in an infinite loop. Oh sure, JP says the team might free up some money if the right veteran falls into their lap....though Wilner says it would probably have to be for less than a million bucks. Yay.

In other news,'s Jordan Bastian also reports that the Jays might just be talking to a Japanese pitcher right now. He must be a keeper if there's zero buzz anywhere about this. Hip hip (come on everybody......).

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Tao's Word Association

In lieu of actual content (because some weeks, a man has to work to get paid), we offer the following word association quiz to which we subjected ourselves.

Corey Koskie
- Sad

Jeff Kent - Moustachioed douche

"...a black Blue Jays ball cap bearing the team’s new logo..." - Scum

Drunk Jays Fans - Fiery hot dicks (in the best sense of the term)

Troy Glaus
- Gimpy (even after he escapes artificial turf)

Scott Richmond - Ace?

Jason Frasor - Still here?

Jeremy Accardo - Mullet power!

Jose Bautista - Next year's surprise

Sleep - Much needed, though overrated

Monday, January 19, 2009

Guess who's back?

It's perpetual Jays farmhand and alleged PES user Howie Clark, who was signed as a minor league free agent by the Jays according to Baseball America.

(And now, we pause so that future anonymous commenters can begin losing their shit over the fact that the Jays signed Howie Clark and not Manny Ramirez. Annnnnnnnd...there. That should do it.)

Clark may well have another opportunity to discern the difference between an Alex Rodriguez squeal and Johnny Mac calling him off an infield fly. Then again, if Howie sees action at the Major League level at any point this season, the Jays are going to have bigger problems than A-Rod's poor sportsmanship.

Welcome back, Howie! We barely knew you were gone!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Who says the Blue Jays don't have a Price?

Let's say I laid out the following (career to date) minor league stat lines for you:

Prospect A: 109.2 IP, 109 K, 1.13 WHIP

Prospect B: 168.1 IP, 185 K, 1.12 WHIP

Now let's assume I told you that both were left handed, and Prospect B was actually a full year younger than Prospect A. Both were highly touted draft picks, with Prospect A going first overall in the 2007 player draft, and Prospect B arriving just 37 picks later.

If you were a fan of either prospect's team, it's safe to say you would (and should) be excited about the thought of either player in a big league uni, correct? And if you were basing a decision on the raw data (as presented above) alone, you'd probably even take Prospect B over Prospect A, no?

So humor me this: why is it that Tampa fans, and the baseball world in general, are sprouting a massive crop of boners for Prospect A (David Price), while Prospect B (Brett Cecil) receives middling "he looks like he can be a nice little player" buzz?

Now, I'm not a complete imbecile, and I know you need to look beyond minor league stats to predict future success. I know that David Price does have ridiculous stuff - though our guy Cecil is said to have a plus fastball, a NAILS slider, and a workable change (ie: he's no shitballer getting by on deception). I also know that Price has arrived, so to speak, by staring down the opposition in last year's postseason, while Cecil has yet to toe the rubber beyond AAA. But am I the only one out there who thinks that we might be, just maaaaybe, overlooking what Cecil can bring to this ballclub - either later this season or in 2010?

(....and yes, readers, I know that I covered this ground in the comments section a few posts ago, but the more I looked at it, the more confused I became regarding the disparity of attention given to these two. That, and it's mid-January with not a whole lot of earth shattering Jays news out there.)

Ricciardi vs Rogers
Lots of talk in the blogosphere these days regarding the team's lack of spending, and who's to blame for the do-nothing offseason strategy for the boys in blue,, pewter, and blue, err....the Blue Jays. Let's set the record straight, once and for all:

You might hate JP Ricciardi for any number of reasons, be it his trading success, his minor league building, his handling of the media, the fact that he makes more money than you while you remain convinced you could do his job much more effectively.....whatever. The simple truth is that it's not JP's call to not spend any money this winter - so if this is colouring your judgement of the GM, well, quite frankly, you're shitting down the wrong tree (yes, I did that intentionally).

You honestly think that he enjoys sitting out the offseason and watching coveted veterans sign at reduced prices?

Memo to the Beest
Get on with it already, man!

Friday Rock Out - GBV's Game of Pricks

Why the musical interlude?

Because it's the weekend. Because it's piss freezing cold. Because it's a good time to rock out with our cocks out.

Now get out, enjoy a tasty beverage and kiss someone you shouldn't.

Rock on.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Goodbye once again, CBC

The Globe's Bill Houston reports today that the CBC is begging off of broadcasting Blue Jays games this summer, thereby robbing us of another year of incomprehensible analysis by Jesse Barfield. Shucks.

Truthfully, we doubt that we'll miss the Ceeb's coverage at all. While we thought that Jim Hughson's play-by-play was probably the best of all the TV announcers, the broadcast itself always seemed a bit flat and detached. The fact that the network's coverage of the team was sporadic throughout the season meant that there was never the sense of where that day's game fit within the season's narrative. Strangely, that never seemed to be an issue with TSN, possibly because of Pat Tabler's presence in both the TSN and Sportsnet booths.

Moreover, it seemed at times with the CBC broadcasts as though Hughson was doing the play-by-play of one game while Barfield and Rance Mulliniks were off on a tangent and watching a totally different game. Maybe things just never gelled quite right between the three of them.

For Blue Jays fans, the impact will be minimal. The team will still have 145 games televised between TSN and Sportsnet, and Rogers will likely provide the MLB Extra Innings preview broadcast for the other 17. There's also the possibility, we suppose, that the MLB Network Canada / Baseball TV will pick up some of those extra games, although with the opposition's feed. The worst case scenario is that you're left listening to the radiocast, which is probably more of a blessing than a curse.

One last thought about the CBC walking away from Jays' broadcasts: They'll come back, eventually. They always do.

UPDATED, because we were so wrapped up in aesthetics that we forgot to mention this sticky little issue: Because of the CBC pulling out, the Jays will likely take a hit to their bottom line in the neighborhood of $2.25 million. So essentially, they'll have to find someone else to cover John McDonald's salary.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Speaking of Hall of Fame omissions...

As a wee tyke, our three favorite baseball players were Rod Carew, Rickey Henderson and Kent Tekulve.

Two out of three in Cooperstown on the first ballot isn't bad, is it? Now we just have to get started on our Veteran's Committee lobbying campaign to get Tekulve appropriately enshrined.

And a thought on Jim Rice
Scary, schmary. Dwight Evans was a better player than Rice was anyhow.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Tao's (Absurdly Obvious) Wandering Eye: Manny Ramirez

It seems like every time we mention some barely-above-replacement-level player who we think might be a fit for the Jays, we almost immediately get the same comments asserting how idiotic we are for wanting Scrubby McBencherson instead of Manny Ramirez.

Which, in itself, is kind of idiotic, because OF FREAKING COURSE WE WANT THE JAYS TO SIGN MANNY RAMIREZ!

Not at any price, mind you. But if Manny's value in the free agent market were to fall (supposing it has), and if a shorter-term deal could be struck and if that deal were at a reasonable per annum salary that wouldn't remove all of the team's payroll flexibility, then by all means sign Manny up and stock up on officially logofied Jays do-rags.

Then again, if Evanka Osmak had a pendulous ball-sack, they'd call her Evan.

The point to some of these time-wasting free agent pool excavations that we do on occasion is to find guys who we think might fit on the active roster and in the Jays' likely diminishing payroll structure. We thought that was a given, but apparently not.

Steve Simmons - Still an idiot after all these years
It's always a treat when our Google News alerts turn up something from Sun Media tree-killer Steve Simmons. Simmons' Sunday column is a craptacular thing of beauty, in which the tiresome hack fills the tabloid with more than a thousand words worth of meaningless speculation, thoughtless piling on and drive-by putdowns on any number of subjects.

This weekend, as per ususal, Steve-O drops in a gratuitous swipe or two at J.P. Ricciardi's expense:

"Shouldn't the Blue Jays at least pretend to be interested in somebody this winter, like a Ben Sheets? Couldn't they just fake it for our amusement?"

Absolutely, Steve-o-rino. J.P. should pretend to blow his budget to amuse you so that you have something to write about next Sunday. Lord knows that executives make their best decisions when they are trying to keep the baying jackals in the media entertained or at bay.

And moreover, we really appreciate the lack of context that you've provided in your snappy one-liner. (You must have been a big fan of Cracked Magazine's "Shut Ups" too!) It makes it so much easier for us to shape our opinion on J.P.'s inactivity this offseason when you neglect to mention that the vast majority of teams are also sitting back and waiting for the price of the remaining free agents to fall.

Why are Ben Sheets, Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Oliver Perez, Orlando Hudson, Orlando Cabrera, and Bobby Abreu still unemployed? Obviously because J.P. Ricciardi is a big stupid head who hasn't signed them all!

Fire J.P.! Hire Steve Simmons! Ignorance is stregnth!

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Tao's Wandering Eye: Ty Wigginton

Why Ty?

Because he hit more homers than any Blue Jay last year
He hit 23, for those of you who are counting. In just 386 at bats, by the way. And that's 39 fewer AB's than it took for Vernon Wells to hit 20.

Because he's played all over the diamond.
He could slot in at first (if Overbay is hurt or sucks), or at third (if Rolen is hurt), or in the outfield (if the magic just doesn't happen for either Adam Lind or Travis Snider). Or he could DH. Whatever, dude.

Because he's played in the AL East before
And he's posted an OPS of .891 versus the Red Sox and .831 versus the Yankees. If you're into that sort of thing.

Because he's lovably plump and he has a big cranium
Somebody's got to replace Kevin Mench's cartoonishly huge skull in the lineup.

Because we have an uncanny ability to ignore some glaring truths
Like the fact that Wigginton posted a 1.080 OPS in the former Enron Park and a .697 OPS everywhere else.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Here comes the MLB Network

The Globe's Bill Houston reports today that Rogers is well on its way to bringing Hazel Mae's oiled up gams to a TV near you.

Rogers is looking to package some requisite CanCon together with content from the recently launched (and much desired, in these parts) MLB Network to form Baseball TV. (Although we'd put money down that the name becomes MLB Network Canada by the time the channel launches.)

Before anyone starts bitching and moaning about the fact that we're not getting the original purely American feed, we'd note that the lattitude that Rogers has in their licence may actually make the Canadian version a better choice. Baseball TV is currently licenced to air 10% live baseball games, which would work out to about five live games per week. (MLB Network currently offers live look ins, like the Score's old Diamond Surfing feature.)

The Canadian content on the channel may actually be a boon to Jays (and Expos) fans if they include classic games from the Canadian franchises. Classic baseball is rarely seen on CTVglobemedia's ESPN Classic Canada (apparently, they can't squeeze it in between Classic Darts and Classic Pub Night).

We firmly believe that there is an appetite for more classic Jays games beyond the handful that we've seen repeatedly (World Series clinchers and what not.) For instance, we'd love to see the Jays' 1991 ALCS games versus the Twins again.

Houston concludes by repeating the speculation that the channel could launch in Canada in the spring, in time for the start of the season. While we would love to see some baseball over the winter to warm our hearts as we shovel out and trudge through snowbanks, it's probably better late than never.

UPDATE: If you want a sense of what the MLB Network has to offer, check out the panel discussion on the Jays homepage featuring Joe Magrane, Harold Reynolds and Al (Blisters on my Blisters!) Leiter. We don't even care if we don't agree with's just nice to hear guys talking baseball.

The Yankees have big bags of money, the Red Sox have big brains
We begrudgingly tip our cap to the Red Sox brain trust, who appear to be close to signing Rocco Baldelli (sorry GROF boys) and John Smoltz. There are all sorts of health risks with both of those players, but if they are healthy, they fit perfectly into the Sox 25-man roster.

To be honest, those signings (if they come to pass) would worry us more than the Yankees' spree and the Rays' signing of Pat Burrell.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hump day link dump

We're too busy feeling shame at not knowing about the various ailments of the Blue Jays pitching staff (and thanks to all who've pointed out what an idiot we are for not knowing...we bow to your superior knowledge). So in lieu of actual content, we give you a dump o' links.

- USA Today's Paul White breaks down the Blue Jays...isn't it a tad early for season previews?

- SI's Tom Verducci talks about the problems geezers will have in getting signed, and notes that the Jays would have been better served going with Adam Lind over Frank Thomas last year.

-ESPN's Buster Onley mentions that a number of Type A free agents might have difficulty being signed, as teams are unwilling to give up the draft pick to get them. (He also mentions Orlando Cabrera as a potential fit for the Jays, which makes us question his sanity.)

-The Ghostrunners have a post with lots of numbers about BABIP, which makes us dizzy.

-Mirror soccer scribe Oliver Holt ponders a visit to a New Hampshire Fisher Cats game last season, and wonders how anyone can throw their support behind a farm team.

-The London Freep mentions that Jerry Howarth, Joey Votto and (most impressively) wrestler Leapin' Lanny Poffo (a former Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling Champ!) will take part in the St. Thomas Sports Spectacular celebrity dinner. Proceeds go to the Special Olympics and the Elgin Association for Community Living, which are both pet causes of ours that we wholeheartedly endorse.

-More hometown press on McGowan, courtesy the Coastal Courier, in which Dusty mentions the mystical powers of Cito Gaston.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dusty Lambchops News!

The greater Savannah area was nutty-cuckoo with Dustin McGowan coverage over the weekend. The Jays' right-hander, decked out in MMA gear, gave a clinic to youngsters on how not to throw a curveball and how to use facial hair to express your innermost hopes and dreams.

The Savannah Morning News has the run down on the event, and mentions that McGowan was getting ready to ship off to Dunedin this week, although the Jays aren't letting him pitch for realsies until May.

Also, if you're hankering to see Peaches speak with his delightful aww-shucks Georgia underbite, Savannah's WTOC has video of McGowan answering some pretty lame questions.

Forget about his's Dusty's pancreas?
Incidentally, we noticed that both stories mention McGowan's type 1 which we were left thinking: Huh? Say wha? Did we miss something?

It's plausible that we have heard that McGowan has Type 1 diabetes before, but that it never registered with us. But we can't imagine why it wouldn't have struck us as important before now, especially given the sense of sudden anxiety we felt after we read this. (A search of our blog and the Drunks turned up nary a mention of his condition.)

Not that we want to overreact to the fact that McGowan has this condition, because others have dealt with it effectively over the years. (Journeyman pitcher Jason Johnson, for instance, wears and insulin pump on the mound.) But it raises concerns at the very least about his durability and the likelihood of him being good for 200 innings year-in and year-out.

Friday, January 2, 2009

James Deacon is a bit of a tool

Don't let the nerdy glasses throw you off. James Deacon, who scribbles inanities at AOL Canada (huh?) in between his appearances on Prime Time Sports, is indeed an idiot.

Maybe that's a bit harsh. We're sure that if you wanted someone to discuss his Argos season ticket package or his endless golf holidays, then Deacon is your guy. Sadly, that seems to be the extent of his sporting knowledge.

In his latest perfunctory posting, Deacon makes hi-freakin'-larious predictions for the coming year in sports, including a couple of ill-informed shots at the Blue Jays. To wit:

"August The greatest pitcher ever developed by the Toronto Blue Jays, Roy Halladay, wins his first start as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was traded by J.P. Ricciardi for a light-hitting shortstop, a left-handed reliever with elbow problems and a 2015 ninth-round draft pick. Halladay said he was nervous and took awhile to get control of the strike zone before settling down and throwing a complete-game, five-hit shutout. “I’m just glad to be on a contending team,” he told reporters."

This echoes an off-handed comment that made Deacon made with an incredible amount of self-assurance on PTS a few nights back. It was spoken with a tone that seemed to indicate that it was all but a done deal that the Jays would ship out Halladay as the first step in rebuilding the allegedly faltering and flailing franchise.

(And it should be noted that the Blue Jays won 86 games last season, two more than the 84 that the "contending" Dodgers needed to win the dreadful NL West.)

Setting aside the blatantly obvious fact that you can't trade draft picks in baseball (a fact that a national sports columnist should probably know if he wants to distinguish himself from ranting sports talk radio callers), the idea that the Jays would embark on such a rebuilding exercise by shipping out their most irreplaceable player defies any sort of logic. Deacon talks of this rebuilding concept as though it is somehow analogous to the way that hockey teams or basketball teams go about restocking themselves.

But shipping off your best pitcher in baseball and receiving anything approaching his value in return just doesn't happen anymore. Most teams would rather hold on to their asset and let him walk, thus assuring themselves of extra draft picks in the next year's draft rather than gambling on another team's prospects.

One need only look at the problems that the San Diego Padres have had in trying to trade Jake Peavy this offseason to see what a fool's errand it is to try to restock your system by trading your ace.

Let's hope that the wise and sage Mr. Deacon defers comment on the Blue Jays from here on out, and sticks to subjects that are closer to his heart. Like how if his beloved Argonauts are better than just two other teams next year, they can make a heroic turnaround and return to the CFL Playoffs!

Fun Facts on Fourth Place Teams!
Did you know that the Blue Jays' 86 wins were the most of any team that finished in fourth place since the introduction of the Wild Card? It's a fact!