Tag:John Buck
Posted on: October 27, 2010 5:31 pm
 

Jays pick up Molina option

Jose Molina
The Blue Jays have picked up its option on catcher Jose Molina for 2011. Jordan Bastian of MLB.com says via Twitter the option was for $1.2 million, though Cot's Baseball Contracts says it's $1 million.

Unless the Jays plan to trade Molina, this is a pretty good indication Toronto is going to let John Buck leave in free agency and install J.P. Arencibia as the starter, with Molina remaining the backup.

Molina, 35, the middle of the three catching Molina brothers (Bengie of the Rangers is 36, Yadier of the Cardinals is 28). He batted .246/.304/.377 in 57 games last season.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 7, 2010 1:04 am
Edited on: October 7, 2010 6:50 pm
 

R.I.P. Blue Jays: Homer barrage falls short

RIP As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Now batting: the Blue Jays.

An 85-win season, just four games behind third place in the tough AL East wasn't supposed to happen after trading one of the game's best pitchers.

But it did. Roy Halladay went south to Philadelphia, tossed a perfect game and no-hitter, and the Jays ended up with a stable of prospects, none of which made an impact at the major-league level until the final weeks of the season.

And yet, the Jays made noise all season -- thunderous noise. The team bashed a franchise-high 257 home runs, third all-time behind the 1997 Mariners and 2000 Rangers. It wasn't enough for a playoff season, but you can't call the year a disappointment either.

WHAT WENT WRONG

There were two things that held the Jays back from an improbable postseason berth: an inability to draw a walk and starting pitching.

The Jays hacked at the ball all season long. Sure, it paid off with 257 home runs, but many of these solo shots could have been turned into multiple RBIs, or even if you sacrifice some power to get on base, in the long run more runs likely would have been scored. On offense, the two most disappointing performances came from two of the best hitters from the 2009 squad: Aaron Hill and Adam Lind. Hill suffered from an extremely unlucky batting average on balls in play which dragged his average down to .205, but maintained his power by bashing 26 dingers. Lind, 26, tumbled from 35 home runs to 23 and a .305 batting average to .237. If both had performed up to par, the Jays very well could have finished third.

Jose Bautista While the Jays boast a young, exciting starting rotation, there were growing pains. Brandon Morrow shook off a slow start to the season and eventually threw a no-hitter but still ended with a 4.49 ERA. Marc Rzepczynski posted a 4.95 ERA in 12 starts, while Brian Tallet, Jesse Litsch, Brad Mills and Dana Eveland all posted a total of 26 starts of an ERA around 6.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

An awful lot went right -- how about a career season from Jose Bautista for starters? Bautista (pictured right) jacked an amazing 54 home runs after a previous high of 16 (set way back in 2006) thanks to a slight change in offensive philosophy.

John Buck had a career year of his own, posting a .802 OPS while catching and is in line for a lucrative deal in free agency. Vernon Wells enjoyed a bounce-back year, ending at .272/.331/.515. The bad news: there is still $86 million and four years to go on his onerous contract.

Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil (pictured, below right) paired with Morrow to give the Jays a fantastic top three of starters 25 or under, while Shaun Marcum returned from a one-year layoff to post a 3.64 ERA. The rotation, especially if Kyle Drabek flourishes in the No. 5 spot, will give teams nightmares in 2011.

HELP ON THE WAY

Drabek was part of the package acquired for Halladay and made three late-season starts, hurling 17 total innings while whiffing 12 and walking 5 for a 4.76 ERA. The 22-year-old is considered a future mid-rotation starter if not more, and will battle for the No. 5 spot next season among a host of candidates.

Brett Cecil One such candidate is Zach Stewart, Toronto's preseason top prospect according to Baseball America . Acquired in the Scott Rolen trade in 2009, Stewart made 26 starts at the Triple-A level and impressed. Even if Drabek beats him out, Stewart is likely a top candidate to make his major-league debut at some point. Brad Mills, who collected a few starts in 2010, will serve as rotation depth while Josh Roenicke could be a major weapon out of the bullpen if he can firm up his command.

Catcher J.P. Arencibia was the No. 2 prospect for Baseball America and had a debut to remember. He went 4-for-5 with two home runs on August 7, but didn't do much down the stretch. He showed enough down on the farm that he will likely start the majority of the games in 2011.
 
EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

The Jays certainly have a right to set a goal of finishing third, and could push for the wild card. Most of the offense is returning, and while regression to the mean has to be factored in for Bautista, bounce-back seasons from Aaron Hill and Adam Lind should make up the deficit. The starting pitching will be one year older and experienced.

What may bite Toronto in 2011, unless moves are made to address the situation, is the bullpen. The Jays will likely pick up closer Kevin Gregg's options, but there's no guarantee Gregg repeats his most successful season as a closer. Top relievers Scott Downs and Jason Frasor are slated to hit the market and will likely not return, and the Jays are unlikely to shell out big bucks for replacements, instead choosing to go with internal replacements or low-cost alternatives.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

While the Jays have quite a few arbitration candidates to go before an actual budget can be predicted, they're likely to have at least $10 million, if not more, to spend in the free agent market that would get them to the 2010 payroll of $79 million. The priorities on offense are to find a first baseman as well as another bat that can play either second, third or right. With both Aaron Hill and Jose Bautista able to move to third, GM Alex Anthopoulous has flexibility when it comes to positions to chase.

Anthopoulous should focus on those who can take a pitch, with home run power secondary. First base/DH candidates who could fit in Toronto's budget (with Lind occupying the other position) include Jim Thome and Russell Branyan. Other candidates to play second, third or right are Bill Hall, Orlando Hudson, Juan Uribe and perhaps even Magglio Ordonez.

2011 PREDICTION

With Tampa Bay slashing payroll, the opportunity is there for Toronto to make a play for third -- and they'll try to do just that, but figure to fall just short, just like 2010. Poor Toronto -- if they weren't in the AL East, it'd be a near-lock to make the postseason.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. teams here.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 30, 2010 2:17 am
Edited on: September 30, 2010 12:00 pm
 

Jays honor Gaston with facial hair, win

Travis Snider Travis Snider's fake mustache was both ridiculous and awesome.

Using eye-black to imitate Cito Gaston's mustache, Snider led off the game with a homer and added an RBI single an inning later to send the retiring manager out with an 8-4 victory over the Yankees in his last home game. Snider's leadoff homer was the team's 245th of the season, breaking the team record.

"It's a great way to honor him and I'm proud to be able to say I played for him," Snider told the Toronto Star . "I couldn't think of a better night [for the record] to happen, to honor him and what he's helped us with."

Gaston was honored before the game. Gaston started his second stint as the team's manager in 2008, 11 years after his 10-year run with the team that included two World Series titles and four division crowns.

"You could just feel the electricity," said catcher John Buck. "That's how much Cito has meant to this organization, this team and all the players he has either managed, coached or played with."
-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 21, 2010 10:05 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2010 10:06 pm
 

Marlins on hunt for No. 1 catcher

Brad Davis The Marlins are dead-set on acquiring a No. 1 catcher in the offseason, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports .

John Baker has missed the majority of the year to injury and recently underwent Tommy John surgery. While Baker's agent said the catcher is "cautiously optimistic" about being ready for spring training, that's no sure thing. In addition, Ronny Paulino is in the doghouse after being suspended for 50 games (eight of which must be served at the beginning of 2011) and Florida is expected to look elsewhere before deciding whether or not to tender the arbitration-eligible Paulino a contract.

Yorvit Torrealba, Bengie Molina and John Buck will be considered for the opening, Jackson reports. Just don't bet on Victor Martinez joining the team -- both due to his subpar defense and large pricetag. Miguel Olivo, an ex-Marlin, could also be a possibility if Colorado doesn't pick up his option.

Other names that popped up were Jason Varitek, David Ross, Matt Treanor (another ex-Marlin) and Rod Barajas, but these players would only play part-time.

That leaves the No. 2 job to be won between Baker, Brad Davis (pictured) and Brett Hayes, with Paulino given the pink slip.

Another possibility to lead the Marlins is Ivan Rodriguez, who led Florida to the 2003 World Series. Although he is under contract with the Nationals for 2011, I-Rod has said he wants to finish his career in Florida, plus the Nats are suddenly deep in young catchers. The Nats and Marlins could link up in a trade, much like when Florida sent outfielder Josh Willingham north prior to the 2009 season.

 -- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: September 2, 2010 1:09 am
 

Forgiving Trop rewards Maddon

Joe Maddon
Joe Maddon basically rules. He's the smartest person you'll even run across, insightful, witty and educated. Because of all those attributes, he can do things like claim that Tropicana Field dodged a baseball because he apologized to it on Twitter, and people don't think he's a crackpot.

As you might remember, the Rays lost a game last month due to a ball hitting one of the Trop's catwalks, sending Maddon on a tirade about how it was proof Tampa needed a "real" ballpark. Maddon detailed on Twitter how he made his peace with the ballpark:
most recent whine was my getting on Trop roof, have since apologized to said roof and r now on much better terms, maybe best ever...
Wednesday night against Toronto, visions of the catwalk game came rushing back as a ball hit by John Buck with two outs in the ninth soared deep to left field. If it had hit the catwalk, it would have counted as a two-run, go-ahead homer. But it dropped into Carl Crawford's glove and the Rays won 2-1.

"I have made amends with the building, and I have promised not to whine again, and I think because of that, that's why the ball missed something," Maddon told reporters afterward. "It was going to hit something, but it missed something. I think I actually saw the catwalk move several inches to avoid that ball."

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 7, 2010 3:52 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2010 4:51 pm
 

Homer barrage for Jays, Arencibia

J.P. Arencibia
It's safe to assume J.P. Arencibia will never forget his first game as a major leaguer.

Toronto's catching phenom made a major impact in his debut, homering on the first big-league pitch he saw and later adding a solo shot as the Blue Jays played a highly entertaining game at home against the Rays. They hit eight homers in winning 17-11.

Tampa Bay starter James Shields tied a modern-era major-league record by giving up six home runs, all in the first four innings. According to Stats LLC, baseball's official stat-keeper, Shields is the eighth pitcher since 1900 to give up six in an outing.

Arencibia (pictured at right), called up Wednesday after John Buck was hurt, hit a two-run homer on a 93-mph Shields fastball in the second inning. He added a double in his second at-bat and a solo homer in the sixth. He was 4 for 4 in his first six innings as a big leaguer and finished 4 for 5.

Arencibia was the first Toronto player to homer in his first at-bat since Junior Felix in 1989.

The Rays had never given up more than six homers in a game. They also set a team record by allowing 48 total bases.

The Blue Jays have the major-league record with 10 homers in a game (all the more amazing because they only batted eight times) against the Orioles on September 14, 1987. Here is the box score from that game.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: August 4, 2010 3:30 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2010 5:24 pm
 

Toronto catcher Buck hurt

The Blue Jays are waiting to hear about the severity of a hand injury to All-Star catcher John Buck.

Buck was struck by a foul tip off the bat of Alex Rodriguez (who is apparently trying to ruin everyone's day today) in the fifth inning. He grasped his right hand in obvious pain and was attended by trainers before coming out of the game and being replaced by backup Jose Molina.

Hopefully it's nothing serious for Buck, who's having a really solid season (.277/.311/.502, 14 homers, 49 RBI). The good news, if you could call it that, is that if Buck does have to miss time it will likely give Jays fans their first look at top prospect J.P. Arencibia, who is lighting up Triple-A (.303/.360/.639, 31 homers, 79 RBIs) and knocking loudly on the big-league door.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: According to MLB.com (via Twitter ), Buck suffered a laceration of the thumb, X-rays were negative and he's listed as day-to-day.

UPDATE: Buck had three stitches in the thumb and has been placed on the disabled list. The Jays did not immediately say who would replace him on the roster, but Arencibia is a good bet.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.




Posted on: July 22, 2010 1:39 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2010 2:46 pm
 

Trade deadline sellers: Toronto Blue Jays

As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline looms, the CBS Facts & Rumors team will look at the biggest players leading up to the deadline. This week we'll look at the teams who will be talked about the most; next week will be the players who might be moved.

Alex Anthopoulos The Blue Jays have a winning record, and for a while it sounded as if they were going to load up and make a serious run at the playoffs.  But after taking a realistic look at the landscape in front of them – they are fourth in their own division – it looks like the boys up north have decided to punt. They already pulled off one trade, swapping shortstop Alex Gonzalez for younger model Yunel Escobar on July 14.

Record: 48-47, 12 games behind and in fourth place in the American League East. Seventh in the AL wild-card race, 9 ½ games back.
General manager: Alex Anthopoulos, first year
Expectations: Building. The Jays are in the frustrating position of being a decent, but not great, team in a division that includes a couple of payroll bullies. But as the Rays have shown, you can overcome that by building smart.
Payroll status: Opening day payroll was $62.7 million, 22nd in baseball. The Jays have about $44 million committed to contracts and pro-rated portions of signing bonuses for 2011.

What they have to offer

Scott Downs might be the best reliever on the market. The left-handed middleman has a 2.52 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings, and hasn’t given up an earned run since June 6. He had some neck and arm soreness just before the break but has been unrestricted since.

The Jays are apparently asking a lot for Downs, scaring away some suitors. But he’s likely to be a Type A free agent after the season, which means Toronto could get two first-round picks if he leaves as a free agent. Even saving the rest of his salary (about $2 million left for the year) doesn’t make it worth trading him if they can’t get at least that level of talent back.

Major-league home run leader Jose Bautista (.238/.354/.542) is looking like a very attractive quick fix for teams in need of power. He can play any outfield position as well as third base. But he doesn’t hit for average, he will get a big salary bump in arbitration next year, and the Jays are reportedly asking a lot for him. Still, the Giants, Braves, Tigers and White Sox appear to be in play.

Scott Downs Reliever Jason Frasor has been erratic this season (check out his ERA by month: April 8.38, May 0.82, June 6.75, July 1.35) but when he’s on he has shown the ability to be effective against righties and lefties.

First baseman Lyle Overbay (.251/.330/.412) is an impending free agent the Jays would like to deal, though there are better first basemen on the market and Overbay is making $7 million this year.

Catcher John Buck (.285/.315/.518) was an All-Star and is an attractive and cheap ($1 million left for this year) power option, and the Jays have prospect J.P. Arencibia waiting in the wings.

There are conflicting reports on whether Toronto is shopping closer Kevin Gregg, who has been reliable and has a manageable $4.5 million club option for next season.

What they want in return?

The Jays are reportedly asking for middle infielders, which is odd because they control both of their starters through at least 2013. Maybe they’re looking for someone they can convert to third base.

They could use some starting pitching prospects to throw into their mix, and if they trade more than one of their relievers they’ll need reinforcements there.

Predictions: Bautista goes to the Giants, who finally give in to Toronto’s demands. The Mets get either Downs or Gregg. Overbay goes and Buck stays.

-- David Andriesen

More trade deadline chatter -- Buyers: New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels; Sellers: Florida Marlins

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com