Posts Tagged 'Blue Jays rumours March 2012'

Blue Jays Rumour Roundup – March 22, 2012

A few odds and ends, including a great one-on-one interview with Anthony Gose:

*Gregor Chisholm sat down with Anthony Gose and they discussed a multitude of topics, including:

The Blue Jays are letting you bunt again this year — what is that going to do for your overall offensive approach?

“It just adds something else to my game. Instead of an 0-fer night I might be able to scrounge up a hit or instead of going into a longer slump I can just break it with a bunt. Keep myself on base , I have to get on base because that’s my job batting at the top of the lineup, get on base, use my speed, score runs any way possible to help my team.”

*Baseball America ranked the 2012 Organizational Talent Rankings, with the Blue Jays ranking 5th.

Baseball America’s annual organization talent rankings evaluate the overall value of each system’s prospect-eligible players (no more than 130 at-bats, 50 innings or 30 relief appearances in the major leagues, without regard to service time). Baseball America’s editors determined the rankings, and Jim Callis wrote the capsules for each team.  The top five in order was the Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays. 

Here is what they said about the Jays:

5. TORONTO BLUE JAYS

2011 RANK: 4. 2010 RANK: 19.

IMPACT TALENT: The Blue Jays are loaded with up-the-middle talent in C Travis d’Arnaud and OFs Anthony Gose and Jake Marisnick. They also have plenty of high-upside, less-developed arms in LHPs Daniel Norris and Justin Nicolino and RHPs Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard.

DEPTH: In two-plus years on the job, GM Alex Anthopoulos has built the game’s deepest farm system. Under his watch, Toronto has been aggressive on trade market (d’Arnaud and Gose, as well as several big leaguers headlined by Brett Lawrie), in the draft ($22.6 million on bonuses in 2010-11) and internationally (four seven-figure deals, including $10 million for SS Adeiny Hechavarria).

2012 ROOKIES: Though the Jays have no obvious big league openings, d’Arnaud and RHPs Deck McGuire and Drew Hutcison could create opportunities for themselves by the end of the year.

*Baseball America also ranked the Toronto Blue Jays 4th in the ability to put talent into the major leagues.  Not surprisingly the baseball prospect factory known as the Tampa Bay Rays were number one.  Not only are there big payroll issues to deal with in the AL East but also efficient organizations.

Per the website:

“Below, we rank the organizations based on the talent that has passed through their systems since the end of the 2008 season. That includes both prospects who graduated to the majors or were used in trades, as well as those lost via waivers or the Rule 5 draft. A team gets credit only for players who spent time in its system (so no Austin Jackson for the Tigers) and anyone who was traded by one organization and reached the majors with another (such as Brett Lawrie) are counted with both.”

Here is what they said about the Jays:

4. BLUE JAYS. Lawrie looks like a superstar in the making, and Ricky Romero has justified being the sixth overall pick in 2005. Toronto also has hopes for J.P. Arencibia, Brett Cecil and Kyle Drabek, though it erred by letting Ryan Roberts and Sergio Santos leave as free agents.

Blue Jays Rumour Roundup – March 8, 2012

A few odds and ends from Jays nation:

-Sportsnet caught up with one of the Jays top prospects Anthony Gose.  They had a four minute conversation if you are interested to hear about his spring training thus far.

-Mike Cormack reported that Brett Cecil was a bit out of sync with his mechanics in today’s game versus the Yankees. 

The 25-year-old left-hander managed to pitch two scoreless innings in his second start of the Grapefruit League season, but struggled throughout with his balance on the mound, missing high with several pitches as a result.

Afterwards, Cecil said he is still struggling with some of his mechanics as a result of the near 40 pounds he shed during the off-season.

“I have to get the timing down a little more, with a little bit lighter weight and I talked to John (Farrell) about this. “My arm is a lot quicker than it was last year, so it’s a matter of getting the timing down to get everything to work together, all in one motion, all in one time”

-Jays manager John Farrell held a media scrum today and had quite a few musings:

On managing expectations for Brett Lawrie in Year 2:

“The one thing about Brett is, even for his age, he’s a mature kid,” said Farrell. “He’s got one thought on his mind and that’s winning. And while some of the accolades, the publicity, etc., to his credit, when you see his responses to questions in the media, he keeps things in the proper perspective.

“He knows he’s a good player and I think everyone that sees him play a game knows he can stand out amongst some of the best in the game. He’s an exciting young player, one that believes in himself and we mentioned this the other day, he’s part of the heartbeat of this team even at a very early age.

On Lawrie’s leadership role with this team:

“To me, leadership doesn’t have an age to it,” said Farrell. “He can be vocal in the clubhouse, he’s respectful to his teammates, respectful to the game and he’s one heck of a player.”

On whether Lawrie or pitchers have the upper hand, second time through the league:

“I guess that remains to be seen,” said Farrell. “The one thing that he showed in the 150 at-bats he had with us last year was his pitch recognition. And when he stays within his strike zone and doesn’t chase out of the strike zone, that’s when he can be a hitter with some impact in the game and that’s why at the age that he is, he’s got a chance to be pretty special.

“He believes he’s going to hit, he believes he’s going to play well, but that doesn’t cause him to short cut the work that he needs to do to be successful.”

On what could keep the Blue Jays from contending this year:

” We need some things to go our way,” said Farrell. “The greater number or higher number of innings pitched by our rotation, quality innings pitched by our rotation, is the one area that will allow us to make up the gap that existed at the end of last year.”

“I like our team, I like our lineup, I like our bullpen and I think we’ve got the people in camp and in our rotation to do just that, but some of the things that every team is going to have to rely on and depend on — health — but also how well our rotation pitches is I think, the tell-tale sign.”

On the Blue Jays’ offence:

“We return a team that scored the fifth-most runs in the American League and when you return a Brett Lawrie, the addition of Rasmus in centre, Johnson at second base and the natural progression of I think some of the younger players in their second year, I think it’s realistic to expect we’ll be an offence that can score more runs than a year ago,” said Farrell.

“We’ve got greater balance than a year ago. We’ve got, I think, a deep lineup. It’s a younger, more athletic group that I think gives us more options to do some things inside of a game.”

On what he hopes to see from Brett Cecil, Thursday and throughout the rest of the spring:

“The thing that we continue to hone in on is the consistent execution of pitches, particularly down in the strike zone,” said Farrell. “We’ve talked about it repeatedly, but we feel like the change in body composition will allow him to do it and then everything else becomes much more effective, particularly his changeup.”

On whether Cecil’s “dead-arm” problems from a year ago are now fully behind him:

“With every pitcher we monitor them arm-strength wise and we feel like the program and, really the framework for all of our starters will take that into account,” said Farrell. “There’s going to be peaks and valleys that every pitcher will go through, but we don’t have that as a focal point.”

On the performances of Drew Hutchsison’s and Deck McGuire Wednesday:

” I thought Hutch looked very comfortable,” said Farrell. “He went to a spot down and in on (Garrett) Jones after reading the reaction of Jones on the previous pitch.

“Deck — to his credit — he didn’t revert to just throwing, he continued to pitch, made some good pitches in some key spots. I think (it was) valuable experience in their first time out.

But another young arm that impressed him Wednesday was…

“To me the guy that was also impressive was (Ryan) Tepera,” said Farrell. “He gave up a home run, but he didn’t back away and fear the strike zone. He got the next six guys in order and showed good poise and composure on the mound.”

The 24-year-old Tepera, the Blue Jays 19th round selection in the 2009 draft and spent all of last season with single-A Dunedin where he posted a 4.43 ERA, 1.326 WHIP while averaging 5.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 27 games (23 starts).

-Fangraphs positional power rankings continued with the Jays ranking 27th for left field strength (or lack of) no matter who the starter ends up being, the Brewers and Ryan Braun ranked number one.

Designated hitter was slightly kinder as the Jays ranked 6th out of 14 AL teams as Fangraphs expects the group of Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Travis Snider/Eric Thames should be relatively productive.  Boston Red Sox come in at #1 with David Ortiz manning the DH spot.

-Ben Nicholson-Smith wrote that oft-rumoured SP Roy Oswalt might be willing to play anywhere this upcoming season, he was linked to thet Jays earlier in the offseason but he told the team he would not come to Canada.

Roy Oswalt spent most of the offseason telling teams that he’d prefer to sign close to his Mississippi home, but the free agent right-hander will now consider other opportunities. He’s telling clubs he’ll play anywhere, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (all Twitter links).

Oswalt said last month that he’s looking at a possible midseason return and the probable timeline for a deal hasn’t changed, according to Crasnick. By June Oswalt’s kids will have finished school, and a potential move would be easier on his family at that point in the season. Oswalt’s decision may depend on which contender needs pitching depth a few months from now, Crasnick writes.

Blue Jays Rumour Roundup – March 7, 2012

A few links and happenings for the Blue Jays today.

*The Blue Jays signed Dominican outfielder Andres DeAza, reports MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm.  The 17-year-old was passed over in last year’s July 2nd class.

*The Blue Jays signed right-hander Fernando Hernandez, who appeared briefly with the 2008 Athletics. The reliever has a 3.55 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in nine minor league seasons.

*Fangraphs has started to release its positional power rankings and here is a quick recap:

-Blue Jays ranked #16 at second base with incumbent starter Kelly Johnson, backup Luis Valbuena and Omar Vizquel as options.  The Boston Red Sox ranked number one with Dustin Pedroia firmly entrenched as the starter in bean town.

-The shortstop rankings with the Jays coming in at #3 with Yunel Escobar.  Number one was the Colorado Rockies with stud Troy Tulowitzki.

-Third base was another area of strength as the Jays ranked #8 with Fangraphs expecting big things from Brett Lawrie.  Number one was Tampa Bay Rays who boast Evan Longoria at the hot corner.

-First base was a weakness as the Jays ranked #20 with Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion.  Number one was interesting with the Cincinnati Reds ranking at the top with Canuck 1B Joey Votto.

-Centre field was a mess, Fangraphs had little respect for the Jays ranking them #28 with Colby Rasmus the starter and Rajai Davis a backup.  That is a little low in my opinion but fair enough considering how awful Rasmus was for most of 2011.  Number one not surprisingly was the AL East powerhouse Boston Red Sox with Jacoby Ellsbury coming off a career year.

I will continue to update as the series progresses.  I think it is safe to say people are sleeping on the Jays lineup a bit when looking at what the experts are projecting, the Jays could have an extremely potent offense this season.  Check out this post for a more detailed look at the lineup and expectations.

-MLB.com has a look at Brandon Morrow attempting to gain more consistency with his offspeed pitches.

-MLB.com also looks at Colby Rasmus, whom the Jays are counting on to rebound strongly in 2012.

Blue Jays Rumour Roundup – Spring Training 2012 Update

Well I have returned from a ten day scouting trip in southern Florida (aka fun and sun in the Bahamas) and am getting geared up for the Toronto Blue Jays 2012 season.  The spring training schedule has started and the Blue Jays have played three games thus far, I will be doing a daily Jays Spring Training roundup to highlite some of the big performances or interesting stories that are taking shape in terms of position battles (LF). 

I will also be updating the Jays prospects as some of them go to their first big league training camp with the hopes of either making the team or impressing the Jays brass (or both).

Let’s recap some of the big stories that have broken over the past week involving the Jays and their AL East rivals:

We obviously have to start with the big news that an additional playoff team has been added to each league and this is of course great news for Jays fans going forward.  I have already touched on this issue but it is worth revisiting.

For those wondering I decided to look and see how many times the Jays would have been a playoff team in the new five team format per league since they last made the playoffs in 1993.  They were actually close in a few years but would have only finished in the top five in 1998 (88-74).

To be fair and also put a bit of a positive spin on the above data as this on the surface doesn’t inspire confidence going forward.  The new rules weren’t obviously in place and if they had been I think it is safe to assume the Jays would have run their business slightly different and more aggressively trying to field a winning team to finish within that top five in the American League.

-The announcement was made on Friday March 2nd, 2012 at 1:15pm MLB has officially announced the expanded format. For 2012 only the Division Series will open with two home games for lower ranked teams, and continue with three home games for top ranked teams. This will cut down on travel time and make the Wild Card play-in game possible.

The Blue Jays may be the best-positioned of any team to benefit from the expanded playoff format, writes ESPN’s Jayson Stark.

The two East divisions boast seven of the top 16 fantasy pitchers in baseball, according to Mike Axisa’s rankings for Roto Authority.  The Phillies alone have three pitchers in the top seven, including Roy Halladay in the top spot.

-Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos joined Greg Brady & Jim Lang on Sportsnet 590 the FAN and said Kyle Drabek is opening up some eyes and starting to make strides. The 24-year-old right-hander walked 55 in 78 2/3 innings last year.

-Anthopoulos said the trade market is quiet now, though he expects out-of-options players to become available toward the end of the month.

-Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and assistant GM Benny Looper are well aware that trades they’ve made to acquire Roy Halladay, Hunter Pence, and others will eventually be painful, writes Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Amaro and Looper both discuss how difficult it was to part ways with players like Travis d’Arnaud and Anthony Gose. Amaro didn’t deny the November report that he attempted to re-acquire D’Arnaud.

-Not to get way ahead of ourselves but I had to take notice of Washington agreeing to terms on a new $100MM, six-year contract extension with Ryan Zimmerman, with a club option for a seventh year worth $24MM.  In conjunction with his current deal, the new agreement can keep the 27-year-old in the nation’s capital through 2020 if the option is exercised.  No-trade protection was said to be the final hurdle in talks and the new deal will provide Zimmerman with a full no-trade clause.

Given the early development of Jays 3B Brett Lawrie this might be great motivation for the youngster.  No worries Jays fans the team will be getting at least four to five seasons on extremely team friendly terms.

-The Yankees intend to lower payroll below $189MM by 2014, but GM Brian Cashman explained that the club will continue spending aggressively, according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter link). “We’re still the Yankees,” he said. “We’re still going to outspend everybody else. That’s not going to change.”

-The Pirates announced that they expect A.J. Burnett’s eye injury to sideline him until two or three months from now. The right-hander underwent surgery today after injuring himself in a bunting drill.

-Tim Dierkes has a quick glance at the 2013/14 free agent class, it is worth a read.


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