Tag:Toronto Blue Jays
Posted on: July 7, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 3:45 pm
 

Love Letters: The All-Star voting edition

Hot fun in the summertime. ...

FROM: Michael S.
Re: Weekend Buzz: Nice work on All-Star Voting

Are you out of your mind, Mr. Miller? Lance Berkman as a starting outfielder for the NL? He's a first baseman for ... sake! How about Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates? What are you smoking with your agreement with the Berkman selection?

Hmm, let's find out if I can see through all of the smoke from whatever it is I'm not inhaling: Berkman has started 62 games in the outfield for St. Louis this season, 19 at first base and two as a DH. So apparently, Mr. Michael, Berkman IS an outfielder. And I'm just high on life.

FROM: Frank D

Great job on your All-Star picks. I agree 100! You are by far the best writer on the site.

Don't tell that to Doyel. He just won a fancy award as the second-best columnist in the country and he might get his feelings hurt.

FROM: Thomas H.

So a team's position in the standings should factor into a player's inclusion in the All-Star starting lineup? These are INDIVIDUAL selections, not team awards. And how do you know that Rickie Weeks has made a better contribution to the Brewers than Brandon Phillips to the Reds? If you are going that route, then also include the contribution in the clubhouse, where Phillips is outstanding.

Your points are well taken. I'm a huge Phillips fan. Both he and Weeks are having great years. But on this one, I'm right.

FROM: John D.

Yankees at all positions -- second, shortstop and third. Shortstop, no Yankee should be selected. J.J. Hardy from the Orioles is better than Derek Jeter. How did you even become a sports writer?

First part of your argument is correct: A Yankee shouldn't be starting at shortstop. However, good as Hardy has been, you lose me with your second part. The correct answer is, Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera should be starting.

FROM: Adam S.

Adrian Gonzalez is the runaway MVP in the AL so far? You may want to take another look at Jose Bautista's numbers. Bautista's OBP is 63 points higher, his SLG is 85 points higher, he has more HR's, over 40 more BB's, more Runs, and fewer K's. Don't get me wrong, Gonzalez is having a great year, but I think Bautista has the edge right now, and I'm not sure it is even close. Other than that one argument, I enjoyed the article quite a bit.

I was overzealous (and careless) with my use of the word "runaway." You, sir, are correct. But given what Gonzalez has brought to the Red Sox, and given how he's propped them up into second place in the division, I'm still gonzo over Gonzo.

FROM: Capt. Hook
Re.: Padres resurgence could put trades on hold

Scott,

I'm not sure about your GM skills, much less your math skills, if you think San Diego's current resurgence will stop them from thinking trade. With 80 games left, if they go 56-24 (.700) and San Francisco creeps along at their current .586 over their remaining schedule, the Padres would win by one game. Well, playing .700 may be just a little far-fetched, ya think? Hmmm. Sell the farm, Padres, as the Fantasy of Mr. Miller is just that: A fantasy.

Come on now, read the entire column, not just the headline. I pinpointed the exact time the Padres will start to deal, about a week after the All-Star Game. All I said by pointing toward the Padres' current "resurgence" is that it will delay their plans to trade until later in July. I never suggested they would get back into the race. That would be silly now, wouldn't it?

FROM: Jason
Re. With Nationals, Davey Johnson ready to win again

I'm excited to see the Nationals hire Davey Johnson and think he's perfect for this team. I'm still in shock over the way Jim Riggleman left, but happy we got Johnson here!

How about the suicide squeeze bunt he masterfully called on Wednesday night? Guy is 68 years old and called it for the first time in his managerial career. He's a keeper.

FROM: Josh M.
Re.: Oft-injured Twins have limited options with Cuddyer

I can't see the Twins trading their highest-producing player. Michael Cuddyer has been the one guy who has been stable over the last few seasons. He is the most underrated player in the show. I don't know who they could trade for that would be better. I don't think they could get the power starting pitcher that they need. It would be a waste of a star player to trade him for some long-shot nobody.

Not only is he the most underrated player in The Show, he's the Twins most INVALUABLE player. Some really smart guy called that one way back during spring training in this column.

FROM: Jeff P.
Re.: Payroll deadline likely last straw for McCourts' regime

Scott,

I've been a Dodgers fan since 1960. Every cheap shot you threw at McCourt is well-deserved and earned. However, the parking lot beating had no place in this story. It doesn't hurt me as a Dodgers fan, but, as a compassionate human being, I hurt for the Giants fan and his family. I urge you to post a sincere apology and then refrain from such distasteful attempts of Andrew Dice humor.

Look, it was not a cheap attempt at humor, and yes, I'm sorry to those who were offended by that line. But the tragic parking lot beating this year is part of the overall body of McCourt's shoddy and irresponsible work as "caretaker" of the Dodgers. And I'm offended at being compared to a class-less, trailer-trash comic like Andrew Dice Clay.

FROM: Richard

MARK CUBAN, all that's right. Baseball don't like his type. Get rid of the CAR SALESMAN BUD SELIG. He did nothing about steroids.

Not sure that Mark Cuban is all that's right. But compared to Frank McCourt, a common house rat is all that's right, so I guess your point is well taken.

Likes: Mid-season, and the All-Star Game. Still, by far, the coolest All-Star Game in all of sports. Not even close.

Dislikes: Super 8. Just because today's technology can produce cool special effects, it doesn't always mean the more, the better. Just sayin'.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The moon beams we can dream on, when the working day is done
"And the stars we can wish upon, at the setting of the sun
"The sunsets we could cry over, put our troubles on the run
"But more than these miracles above, good people, we need love"

-- Eddie Hinton, Everybody Needs Love




Posted on: June 17, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 4:24 pm
 

Arencibia keeping Jays steady behind plate

Though the Blue Jays' youth movement hit a bump when Kyle Drabek pitched himself back to the minor leagues this week, it's not all bus rides and Motel 6's for the kids. Blue Jays' rookie catcher J.P. Arencibia continues building the foundation for a promising major-league career.

Arencibia's 34 RBI and .464 slugging percentage led all American League rookies, and his 10 home runs were second to the Angels' Mark Trumbo, as the Jays open a weekend series in Cincinnati.

But it's not just his offensive production that has impressed the Jays.

"From spring training to now, he's advanced by large steps," Toronto manager John Farrell says. "He's handling the pitching staff, his game-calling, his blocking balls in the dirt."

At 25, Arencibia, Toronto's first-round pick in the 2007 draft, has advanced to the point where he's caught more innings than expected. With veteran Jose Molina behind him, the Jays figured to break in Arencibia a little more slowly. But he's played in 52 of the Jays' 69 games, a workload that's been the combination of acumen and want-to.

"He loves to play," Farrell says. "I had to fight him early in spring training to come out of the lineup on certain days with the plan we had. He knew about the [schedule], but he wanted to play."

Not all has been smooth. Arencibia recently has been playing with a sore thumb, and that, too, will be a learning process. Professionally, he's never played in more than 116 games (2009, at Triple-A Las Vegas) in a season. The aches and pains and grind of a big-league schedule can take its toll, and the Jays may need to get Arencibia more days off later this summer.

But overall, the kid has looked like a keeper since he said hello last Aug. 7 by becoming the first player in the modern era to knock out four hits, including two homers, in his major-league debut.

"He's maturing as a player," Farrell says. "His conversations between innings with pitchers are right on the mark. They really are.

"He's handling both sides of it."

Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:56 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 10:48 pm
 

Love Letter: The Jose Bautista edition

KANSAS CITY -- So in my season predictions coming out of spring training, I picked Toronto fourth and included this line: "Jose Bautista hits 54 home runs again, I'll key in 'Oh Canada' and wake to it each morning next winter on my iPod alarm clock." As if anybody is supposed to take these things to heart. Well, ahem. That was back in March. Two months later, this is what I get from my man Chris. ...

From: Chris

Hi Scott,

Re. your comment on Bautista just before the season started, I live in Canada and have some great renditions of 'Oh Canada' I could send you so you don't have to listen to the same one every morning this coming winter. Peace.

What if I pick Vancouver to win the Stanley Cup. Could we call it even then, Chris?

Likes: Buck Martinez, former catcher and Toronto's outstanding television man. ... Another former catcher, Gregg Zaun, broadcasting for the Blue Jays. Zaunie is one of the good ones. ... Another helping of Arthur Bryant's burnt ends today. ... The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, as I wrote about the other day. Make it a priority if you get to Kansas City. ... Planet Sub downtown here. Cool vibe, great sandwiches. The tuna fish with bacon was a winner the other day. ... The Zac Brown Band's Knee Deep, with special guest Jimmy Buffett. ... The Kansas City Star. Excellent newspaper. ... Fountains everywhere you look in downtown KC. It really is very cool. ... The fans in Kauffman Stadium singing along loudly to Garth Brooks' Friends in Low Places in the middle of the sixth inning each night. Excellent.

Dislikes:
Aw, ran out of time in Kansas City and didn't get to tour the American Jazz Museum in the historic 18th and Vine District. Next time. And the All-Star Game is here next July. ...

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"No more pencils
"No more books
"No more teacher's
"Dirty looks
"Well, we got no class
"And we got no principals
"We ain't got no innocence
"We can't even think of a word that rhymes"

-- Alice Cooper, School's Out


Posted on: June 7, 2011 9:20 pm
Edited on: June 7, 2011 9:49 pm
 

Jose Bautista, catcher?

KANSAS CITY -- Baseball works in strange ways sometimes, as anyone knows who remembers that the game's all-time saves leader, Trevor Hoffman, started as a shortstop in Cincinnati's system.

Sometimes an astute coach suggests something early on in a player's development, and it works.

Back when Bautista spent barely more than a month with Kansas City in 2004, then-bench coach Bob Schaefer thought that just maybe ...

"I really liked him a lot," Schaeffer, who served under then-manager Tony Pena, says. "He was a third baseman-outfielder. He could run, but he didn't have great speed. He really didn't have a position.

"I told him one day that if I was manager, I'd talk to you about catching."

Schaefer grinned at the memory.

"He told me, 'I'm glad you're not the manager.' But his hands were good. I could see some bat quickness. He didn't know how to hit yet, but I liked his athletic ability."

Bautista, who was acquired by the Royals on June 28 that summer and then shipped to the Mets on July 30, remembers that conversation.

"I was in the cage one day," he says. "But there's no way. I know I was a rookie and a young guy and I probably shouldn't be saying where I should or shouldn't play, but I don't think a move to the backstop is something I would have agreed with or ever done.

"Especially as a Rule V guy, no way. I don't have the defensive ability or the game-calling ability that a catcher [should] have."

Bautista is very intelligent and athletic, so maybe he could have learned.

We'll never know. It was just one of those fleeting ideas during a very unsettled season for him.

And he's done OK for himself since.

"I saw him in spring training," says Schaefer, now a scout for the Nationals after a stint on Joe Torre's coaching staff with the Dodgers the past few seasons. "He gets tremendous backspin on the ball. It's not surprising, these home runs, because when he hits the ball, it keeps carrying.

"He just didn't know how to hit back then. He's learned how to hit."


Posted on: April 12, 2011 5:32 pm
 

Kyle Drabek isn't cooking yet, but he's close

First road trip of what should be his first full big-league season started pretty darned good for Kyle Drabek, Toronto's rookie right-hander.

Teammate and Los Angeles native Ricky Romero's father picked up a group of seven or eight Blue Jays upon their arrival in Southern California on Thursday night, drove them to his house and fed them home-cooked carne asada and shrimp ceviche for dinner.

A day later, Drabek held the Angels to one earned run over six innings in a 3-2 Toronto win.

"It's been great so far," Drabek says. "It's like a family here. It's a great atmosphere. It's a great team to be on. Everyone's together, it's a bunch of young guys ... this team can be really, really good."

Especially if Drabek, 23, soars to the heights many expect. The must-have player in the package Toronto received from Philadelphia in the 2009 Roy Halladay trade, Drabek will take the ball for a second time on Toronto's current trip Wednesday afternoon in Seattle.

So far, so good for the son of Doug Drabek, winner of the 1990 NL Cy Young award while pitching for Pittsburgh.

In two starts in 2011, Kyle is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA.

Over 13 innings pitched, he's allowed just two earned runs and seven hits. He's fanned 12 and walked seven.

"Obviously, we'd love to have Doc [Halladay], and we miss him and follow his continued success," Toronto second baseman Aaron Hill says. "But at the same time, we get a guy like Kyle, who knows? He may be a Doc one day.

"He's got unbelievable stuff."

The Twins saw it on April 2, when Drabek rang up his first victory of the season in a 6-1 decision in which he whiffed seven and surrendered just one earned run in seven innings. Then the Angels got a taste of it on Friday.

"He's got all the attributes you look for," first-year Toronto manager and former pitcher John Farrell says. "He's a very talented, bright young pitcher. He's getting established at the major-league level, and in addition to his physical abilities, whether it's power to his fastball or the ability to manipulate his secondary stuff, his competitive spirit is very strong.

"I think the one thing that's really emerging is controlling that competitiveness, and using it in the right way."

The Jays have seen his intense competitiveness, and part of catcher Jose Molina's charge is to help keep things under control during games.

Drabek says command of all of his pitches in general "is not where I want it to be, but it's a lot better than it was last year."

Specifically, his change-up, which he worked hard on all spring, is coming along nicely. He's already used it in a few 2-and-0 counts and found it can be a weapon amid his hard stuff.

"It's a good pitch," he says. "If I learn how to control it perfectly, it can get me back in the count. It's a pitch that will get me a nice ground ball on."

Between that and smoothing out other rough edges, Drabek and his father have been eyeing the schedule and looking for a chance to meet. Doug is a pitching coach in Arizona's system and this summer has been promoted to Class A Visalia in the California league.

"We get to Oakland once this year [Aug. 18-21] and it's only a few hours away," Kyle says.

By then, who knows where 2011 will have taken him? It's early yet, but Drabek already has advanced from his cup-of-coffee tenure last September, when he went 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA in three late-season starts. Another reason for the improvement: His coming-of-age two-seam fastball.

"You can list probably four above-average, major-league weapons for him," Farrell says. "It gives him so many ways to attack both left-handed and right-handed hitters."

On the mound, for now -- physically, at least -- Drabek looks nothing like his father. The mind's eye recalls grainy footage of Doug, unshaven and squirting tobacco juice, looking fierce as midnight. While Kyle is intense as well, he's still baby-faced.

"I can get pretty scruffy," he says, chuckling. "But I prefer not to right now.

"Maybe if I win a Cy Young award, I can get as scruffy as him."

For now, hey, he's just finding his way. At 23, he's still young enough to love a between-starts, home-cooked meal like the Romeros provided.

"It was a lot of fun. I wish we were going to Houston," Drabek says of his hometown, thinking of maybe returning the favor one day.

Pause.

"I'd have my mom cook. Or someone."

 

 

Posted on: April 10, 2011 8:25 pm
 

Dominant Weaver fans 15 Blue Jays

ANAHEIM -- With just two left-handers in their lineup Sunday, the Toronto Blue Jays were helpless against Angels right-hander and serious Cy Young candidate Jered Weaver.

And they're not alone.

Now 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA, the Angels' ace is racking up impressive starts like he racked up a career-high 15 strikeouts against the Jays in Sunday's 3-1 win.

"I'm just trying to keep my team in the game," Weaver said. "And if it takes a couple of strikeouts every now and then, then that's what it's going to take."

It's usually more than just a couple. Weaver led the AL with 233 punchouts last season and is off to a roaring start in 2011. The Blue Jays were overmatched from the start Sunday, unable to even get a hit against Weaver until Travis Snider's infield single in the fifth.

Weaver fanned seven Toronto hitters in the first three innings, 11 in the first five and wound up striking out Jayson Nix three times and Jose Bautista, Rajai Davis, Aaron Hill twice each.

Most importantly, after manager Mike Scioscia stuck with Weaver into the eighth, he issued two one-out walks with the Angels leading 3-1 before striking out Bautista to finish his afternoon.

Bautista took two balls to start the at-bat, then took called strike one and then ball three before a foul tip ran the count to full.

"The one pitch I tipped with my bat, that would have been ball four," Bautista said. "I couldn't hold on."

Bautista quickly made sure to say he was making no excuses and taking nothing away from Weaver. He was just beaten in the at-bat.

"You look at his numbers the last couple of years, he ranks with anybody," Bautista said. "Righty on righty, he's as good as anybody. He's very deceptive with that weird delivery that comes across his body.

"He's on top of everything, and he can locate all of his pitches. That's a good recipe for success right there."

Weaver's effort was especially welcomed by the Angels because it came after a 14-inning win Saturday night in which Scioscia emptied his bullpen and wound up using starter Dan Haren to work the 14th. Furthermore, it was the second time in four games the Angels' skipper had used every single one of his relievers in a game.

"Part of what you do [Saturday night] is because you know you have a guy like Weav coming up," Scioscia said. "Same with Haren. You know the guy is routinely going to get you to a point in the game."

Weaver became the first Angels pitcher to record 15 or more strikeouts in 16 years, since Chuck Finley did it against the Yankees on May 23, 1995. He was the first right-hander to do it for the Angels since Mike Witt on July 23, 1984, against Seattle.

"My command of the fastball was good, and the slider was better than it's been in awhile," Weaver said. "And matching up with a bunch of right-handers is going to play good."

"He pretty much did what he's good at, throwing strikes and mixing it up," Nix, the Jays' third baseman, said. "There are a number of things about him. He's deceptive, he's able to throw four pitches for strikes to both sides of the plate ... that's what he's usually able to do."

Posted on: December 15, 2010 1:11 pm
 

Love Letters: The Crazy Winter $$ edition

OK, here's the mail call from this week's monster Phillies/Cliff Lee deal -- followed by some reaction from the winter meetings and Adrian Gonzalez/Boston -- but I'm warning you New Yorkers:

I don't give a crap if Lee's annual salary in Philly will be more than it would have been with the Yankees. Plain and simple, he left nearly $30 million of guaranteed money on the table. There is no disputing that. So don't tell me that he really didn't sign with Philly for less money. Because he did. Period.

FROM: Jim
Re.: In the end, Lee chooses (Brotherly) love over money

Your sense of reality is as delusional as these baseball players. You make it seem like he is making such a big sacrifice. You have no idea what goes on in the real world, and articles like this are sickening to the middle class and upper-middle class people of this country. Gee Scott, Cliff made such a sacrifice. My heart bleeds for him. Write something with substance. Your article was ridiculous.

I have no idea what goes on with the middle-class people in the real world? Really? Let's see ... drove my daughter's car pool to school for the third day this week today. Driving car pool to schlep her and two of her friends to volleyball practice after school later today. Hauled the trash and recyclables out to the curb this morning for trash day. Helped nurse my wife following her hip replacement surgery for the past five weeks after returning home from covering the World Series (imagine, we don't have full-time, in-home staff). Signed off on my daughter inviting seven friends over Saturday for a Christmas cookie-making party. So what is all of this, the upper class? The poverty class? Sounds suspiciously like middle class to me.

FROM: Dave S.

It is heartwarming to see a pitcher follow his heart and go to a league that allows him to be a complete player rather than being pressured by the Players Union into taking the money from the highest bidder ... aka CC Sabathia.

Like at the end of the Grinch, when the old Grinch finally understands the meaning of Christmas.

FROM: Barry R.

I love your work. However, when will sports writers get this salary thing right? He is being paid more per year by the Phillies than the Yankees or Rangers offers. He gets to say that. If he works seven years, he'll make more than the Yanks and Rangers offers if he take a huge paycut in years six (which won't happen with the option) and seven. He's making more per year, and likely more overall than the other offers. He gets his cake and eats it too.

Thanks, and I love that you take the time to write. But Lee will turn 33 next season. He will be 38 when his first five years with the Phillies is up. Odds are overwhelming that he will not see year seven in this deal. And odds are whelming that year six might not ever appear given health issues.

FROM: Mike
Re.: Blockbuster deals make BoSox winners of winter meetings

The Red Sox right now look more blockbuster than Blockbuster. You are correct since Blockbuster is in bankruptcy.

Don't worry, no way a judge allows the Red Sox in bankruptcy court. Daisuke Matsuzaka works too slowly even for the courtroom. He'd slow the proceedings down so much, even a discussion of tax law would be a thrilling upgrade.

FROM: Tom B.

Like most media, you say Boston made out great. All they did was replace hitters of equal value. If I recall, they lost Victor Martinez and Adrian Beltre. OPS for these hitters was about the same as Gonzalez and Crawford. So Boston stayed even so far. The biggest edge Boston has is that Pedroia, Youlkilis and Ellsbury will be back. They added a lot of payroll and gave away some excellent prospects for Gonzalez. Conventional wisdom has it that Gonzalez will struggle, lose .050 on OPS due to changing leagues. The ballpark will help both a bit. From the standpoint of improving from where they started the winter meetings I could agree, Boston did the most. But compared to the Yankees -- and I am not a fan of the Yankees -- I say they are the poorest run organization in baseball and have been for years. All they did was get back to where they were. Thanks for listening and keep your column going. I do like it.

Very well-reasoned points, sir, and as they say, that's why they play the actual games. Right now, we're grading paperwork, essentially. When the schedule starts in late March, maybe you'll be proven right. But I think you're under-valuing Adrian Gonzalez. He's going from one extreme to the other -- from Petco Park, which severely works against hitters, to Fenway, which works for them. And his style of hitting is so conducive to Fenway -- all those opposite field shots that will bang off of the Green Monster. We'll see. And as far as Boston being a poorly run organization -- the Sox do have two World Series titles since 2004, which is one more than the Yankees and two more than they've had for decades.

FROM: Grant MacDonald

I love your sense of humor and presentation of facts. Boston has indeed walked away the winter winner. I am sorry my Blue Jays can't compete since the early 90's. It's a shame to see the greed affect the game. For teams who can't compete, fan base will dwindle and the team may have to move on. This is just sad!

I know. In some of these cities, last one out, turn out the lights.

FROM: Steve H.

To the San Diego Padres:

Thank you so much for the early Christmas present. We have all gotten so much more competitive overnight [without any of us having to do anything!].

Sincerely,
The Dodgers, Giants, Rockies and D’backs.

Next thing you know, these four will be sending a joint Christmas card.

FROM: Chris O.

The Gonzalez to the Red Sox trade is another reason why MLB is losing its popularity in the past 20 years, and the ratings show it. EVERY time there was an NFL regular season game against an MLB playoff game, the NFL game got higher ratings. Even Two and Half Men and Modern Family beat out Games 4 and 5 of the World Series!

I have so many friends who don't care about baseball anymore simply because the Yanks and Sox hoard the free agents every offseason from the small-market teams. ... The NFL has a salary cap, salary floor, and parity has brought its best ratings in over 20 years because every team has a chance, and you never see a small market teams like Indy losing Peyton Manning to the NY Jets or Giants to Free Agency. If I were a Padres fan, I would not even care about the team anymore, because if you can't afford your best player, what is the point of rooting for them?

I am saying this as a Phillies fan, because they have become the Yanks/Sox of the NL and they just go out and get guys like Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt from small-market teams to improve their team. Hopefully things change, because MLB is slowly becoming a regional sport for fans.

It is very difficult to argue with your points, Chris. And your last sentence is ringing more and more true with each postseason rating dive.

FROM: Justin H.
Re.: The era's best GM, Gillick a master of the decades

Sure he built winners, but I think a lot of people overlook the fact that when he leaves a team, they collapse because the team got old and Pat Gillick had gutted the farm system to build the major league club by trading prospects and giving up draft picks for signing free agents.

This happened with the Blue Jays, it happened with the Mariners, and it will certainly happen to the Phillies as their veterans age and I think you saw the first signs of that last year. Think about the Jays first, who was drafted or acquired to replace Joe Carter or Roberto Alomar, David Cone or Jack Morris? Then look at the Mariners, who was there to replace Edgar Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, Dan Wilson, Joey Cora, John Olerud, Jay Buhner, and Jamie Moyer? Now look at the Phillies, who is going to replace Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, and you could already see the effect of losing Brett Myers to some extent last year. You could say the Phillies are exactly like the Mariners were when they were winning but they are aging now and they don't have any youth sitting on that bench learning and they have traded away the farm to acquire players like Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt, and now have lost Jayson Werth, which will hurt them more than anybody realizes at the moment. Utley is hurt all the time now and Ryan Howard appears to be losing some bat speed and is prone to slumps and high strikeout streaks.

I think Gillick was great at taking teams with deep farms systems and decent major league clubs and using that to his advantage. You'd have to ask those fan bases if the winning for 4 years was worth the future. I'm sure in the Blue Jays and Phillies cases it is but in the Mariners case they did not win a World Series and are now in such a deep hole the end isn't in sight so I'd say it wasn't worth it for them. I personally think Pete Gillick is highly overrated.

You've hit on the knock on Gillick, that teams swirl down the drain after he leaves. But it's sort of like the "It's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all" thing, isn't it? Gillick helped give four cities -- Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle and Philadelphia -- some of their most exciting baseball in decades. Wouldn't you take that, however you can get it, if you're in those cities? And the flip side of that argument is, if Gillick wasn't the GM, there is every chance those cities never would have won during that time anyway.

FROM: Dbarv
Re.: Yanks, cut drama and give Jeter fair offer for an icon

IMO, Jeter is worth about 8 bucks an hour.

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch.

 

Posted on: October 25, 2010 6:11 pm
 

Farrell has what Jays need: Pitching knowledge

The Toronto Blue Jays interviewed something like six dozen candidates to replace Cito Gaston as manager ... and they wind up hiring a man who has managed nothing other than pitching staffs during his coaching career?

Moving to hire John Farrell as skipper is either going to be young general manager Alex Anthopoulos' most brilliant move yet ... or a crashing disaster.

In the AL East, with a Blue Jays team that fared better than expected post-Roy Halladay in 2010, there will not be any in-betweens.

As Boston's pitching coach the past four seasons, Farrell was the typical genius when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2007 and, well, not-so-genius in 2010, when most every pitcher other than Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz under-performed.

Still, he's got a strong background in player development in Cleveland, he helped develop young arms like Lester and Buchholz in Boston and that's exactly what the Blue Jays want. Even in the post-Halladay days, they've got a strong nucleus of young pitchers, guys like Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek.

Anthopoulos is overseeing Toronto's latest rebuilding project, and based on the Blue Jays' 85-77 finish in 2010, fourth in the AL East, it's moving along more quickly than anticipated.

But here's the key: Toronto, over the next two or three seasons, will move as far as those aforementioned pitchers will take it.

If they stay healthy and continue to progress, the Blue Jays may finally get over the hump and climb back into the upper reaches of the AL East.

If too many of those pitchers flat-line, then all 2010 was for Toronto was one more mirage.

I like that Anthopoulos is thinking outside the box, so to speak. No, Farrell does not have any managerial experience. Yes, he knows pitching. And given where the Jays are, and that the game is returning to an emphasis on pitching, this has a chance to be one of Toronto's wisest moves yet.

Time was, former big league pitchers were looked upon skeptically as future managers. But look at what Bud Black is doing in San Diego. That perception is beginning to change.

Obviously, it is imperative that Toronto hires a bench coach who has been a manager, a wise old coot who knows strategy and rules. That's the type of guy who can help Farrell, with his knowledge of pitching, make a major difference as the Blue Jays look to soar.

 
 
 
 
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