Winter Meetings Day 3 Tidbits

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Image: David Cooper/Toronto Star

The Blue Jays were quiet on Wednesday as they didn’t make any moves, although they were in on Luke Gregorson according to a John Heyman tweet before he signed with the Astros.  The game plan now for Alex Anthopoulos is to use the trade market to upgrade the bullpen according to a tweet sent out by Gregor Chisholm. AA also told Chisholm “We knew what the prices were in free agency and we weren’t prepared to go to that price point,”

It makes sense not to invest a huge amount of money into relievers as past history shows that relievers are a risky investment. It seems to me that the Blue Jays have learned since signing B.J Ryan to a big free agent contract nine years ago. The thing that does surprise me though is that there are bargains that could be had in the reliever market, yes most of them would be risk guys looking to bounce back from injuries or off years, but Jason Motte or Mike Adams.

Realistically though, I would hazard a guess that Anthopoulos is willing to wait into January if he is going to sign a reliever when he might get good value on a Free Agent Signing, perhaps Casey Janssen. Let’s also not forget that there is also a chance that Dustin McGowan could be back at a much cheaper price then the four million dollar option that was declined,

Anthopoulos did say that by going the trade route that they will not trade their young big league ready or close to ready arms for bullpen help. I suppose that a deal that involves Dioner Navarro will most likely include a bullpen piece coming back the Blue Jays way.

Anthopoulos also told Gregor Chisholm that they haven’t ruled out adding a second baseman through Free Agency, although it wouldn’t be a long term deal. So, there’s that. I think even AA knows that with the questions in the outfield that going into the season with what they currently have at second base isn’t going to cut it.

MORE ON BEESTON

Bob Elliott had more on the Beeston drama with his latest story in the Toronto Sun, saying that the person that made calls to Jerry Reinsdorf and Kenny Williams of the White Sox was Edward Rogers, the son of the late Ted Rogers. Edward Rogers who along with his sister are major share holders with Rogers but were banished from the day-to-day operations when Guy Laurence was hired on as Rogers new CEO last year.

This story just get’s weirder and weirder by the day, let’s hope that by the time the Blue Jays are ready to look for Beeston’s successor that they are at least ready to follow the protocol that is used within baseball when it comes to hiring people from other organizations.

The better question should be is why is Edward Rogers the one making the phone calls when he has zero authorization within Rogers to do so? Is he still bitter about being banished from the day-to-day operations of the company or a little bitter that he’s not the CEO? Someone at Rogers really needs to keep this guy away from a telephone and calling other baseball people when he has absolutely no authority to do so.

WINTER TOUR

The Blue Jays announced their schedule and locations for this years Winter Tour.

It starts in Toronto Jan 16th and 17th, It will involve an appearance on City TV’s Breakfast Television, a school visit in Oakville and an Autograph Session at the Eaton’s Centre on the 17th. Jose Bautista, Dalton Pompey, R.A Dickey, Todd Redmond and Aaron Loup are the players scheduled for the Toronto stop.

The Tour will also include stops in Calgary/Banff Jan 20-22, and Vancouver Jan 23 and 24.

The players scheduled for the Western Canada portion of the Tour are; Russell Martin (Vancouver only), Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Kevin Pillar.

 

 

Winter Meetings Day 1 Notebook

John Lott/National Post

John Lott/National Post

Yesterday’s rumours about the future of Blue Jays President Paul Beeston seemed to all but fizzle out after Bob Elliot reported today in the Toronto Sun that the Beest is staying on as President in 2015. Bob McCown added on his show today that Beeston would most likely stay on as they go through the process of finding his successor for the job, McCown even hinted that Beeston might stay on as an advisor to the club, stating this is about Beeston’s retirement and not him being fired. It’s from McCown so make of it what you will. There are more stories surfacing from the potential candidates that would succeed Beeston. Current Minnesota Twins GM appeared on MLB Radio’s Leadoff Spot and told hosts Steve Phillips and Todd Hollandsworth that while he was honoured to be in consideration, he stated that he doesn’t have the skill set to be President and would rather be a General Manager out watching baseball games. As for White Sox Executive Kenny Williams, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score in Chicago tweeted that the White Sox will not be granting permission for Williams to talk to Toronto. As for Dan Duquette, who was named in Buster Olney’s tweet yesterday, he appeared on MLB Network radio as well and said that he is under contract to the Orioles and is at the Winter Meetings to represent the Orioles. That and the fact that O’s owner Peter Angelos won’t grant the Blue Jays permission to talk to Duquette. JAYS ADD COLLABELLO The Blue Jays went back to the waiver wire on Monday to claim First Baseman/Outfielder Chris Collabello from the Minnesota Twins. Collabello who had a miserable year last year dealing with a thumb injury and could be a nice insurance policy if Justin Smoak doesn’t work out real well. Collabello also has options left and could end up in Buffalo if the Blue Jays don’t have room for him come the end of Spring Training. Collabello has a career line of 214/284/364 in 401 plate appearances. GIBBY SPEAKS Manager John Gibbons had his media scrum Monday night and had some interesting things to say. Gregor Chisholm has the full transcript here, so I won’t go over everything that was said but here is some of the more interesting things from it. When asked about the bullpen and possible closers and whether or not Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup would stay in their set-up roles Gibby had this to say;

Well, I mean ideally you get that closer that’s done it before. He’s been really good. Robertson is a guy out there right now that’s done that. But whether you can sign a guy like that, who knows. I think Cecil could do it. I think he had four or five of them last year. But still he’s untested in that. He’s pretty valuable coming in the 7th or eighth inning, too, but, what we’re able to acquire. There’s no question we need to strengthen the bullpen, that’s for sure.

When asked about if he sees Russell Martin hitting in the two hole in the line-up;

Yeah, Russell would probably be the ideal 2 spot for us. One thing about him is he’s a complete player, a real good behind the plate. And can really handle the bat. Might be an ideal spot. We haven’t figured that out yet. But we have time. But you look at our lineup, it’s pretty strong. Donaldson, another guy alluded to Russell, we didn’t know if we had a shot at him. That kind of happened real fast. I’m not sure we really pursued him from the get go, and everything started developing. But chance to acquire another All Star player.

Gibby was asked about if he would like the Jays to keep Dionner Navarro around;

I love Dioner, and picking up Russell, that’s of course that makes Dioner the odd man out as far as catching goes. But he did a great job for us. There’s definitely a place for us. He can flat out hit. I know there are teams that want him. I’m not sure where he’ll end up. If he’s here I’d love to have him.

On stretching out Aaron Sanchez in Spring Training to start and putting him in the bullpen if they need to;

Yeah, you could do that. And like I said, before, everybody is looking forward to seeing what he can do as a starter. We think he can be a real good one. Depending on how the bullpen shapes up, it could come down where we’re a better team in the bullpen, if we have to do that, we’ll do that. And time is still on his side to become a good starter, anyway.

When asked about the benefits of a change in the clubhouse;

Well, I don’t know. We don’t know those guys as teammates, those kind of things. Everything we’ve heard they’re both gamers. They’re great competitors. That will definitely help us. I don’t think the clubhouse was what cost us the last couple of years, we just didn’t play well enough. But you get some guys that have been proven winners, we talked before, this group, here, very few guys on the team, two or three of them have even been to the postseason of the you add a couple more guys, that can only help you. So we’ll see. Anytime you can sign a couple of All Star caliber players, you’ve got to do it..

When asked about Dalton Pompey being the Opening Day Center Fielder;

It’s not going to be handed to him. He’s got to compete and have a good Spring Training. But I think he was big the other question, we had no idea what he was going to do. But you don’t know what he’s going to do in the Big Leagues. This way we got to see it. It wasn’t like he was facing he was facing, as far as the pitching goes, the cream of the crop of the Big Leagues and did a nice job with it. That really kind of opened it up to everybody, maybe this guy is our guy quicker than expected. But he’s got to take the approach and show up at Spring Training, saying I’ve got to win this job.

And lastly, Gibby’s thoughts on the new turf and the old turf;

You know, that’s been brought up a lot about the turf there. To be honest with you, maybe I don’t hear it. I never really hear much complaining out of the players. I do know turf beats up your body, the give on it, the cushion or whatever it is. These guys don’t bitch and moan about the playing surface. This new stuff, I don’t know a lot about it, other than it’s supposed to be better. But really, there’s no excuse. So you live with it. If you need an extra day or two off, maybe you take that. I don’t think it’s really been an issue.

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Is Beeston Out As President Of The Blue Jays?

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It would seem according to Buster Olney that perhaps Paul Beeston is finally out as President of the Blue Jays. It shouldn’t come as a huge shock as there were rumours in the summer about Beeston possibly leaving his post as the President of the Blue Jays. Beeston’s contract with the club reportedly ended on October 31st.

It is interesting to see Dan Duquette’s name linked as a replacement as he is currently the Executive Vice President with the Baltimore Orioles and in the past has worked with the Boston Red Sox and the Montreal Expos.

It should also be noted that other candidates haven’t been named but one would wonder if perhaps current Blue Jay General Manager Alex Anthopoulos would get consideration for the position. AA who has worked his way up from working in the mail room for the Expos to his current post so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that a promotion to President would be out of the question.

It could also mean that this is a play-off or bust year for AA as his contract is up at the end of next season and there is no guarantee that a new President would bring him back beyond next year.

Interesting times indeed.

As for Beest, if this is finally the end all I can say is good riddance, and that he overstayed his welcome with the club, lets not forget that when he came back when Paul Godfrey left as the team President that Beeston was only going to play an advisor’s role in the search for Godfrey’s successor. In the end Beeston picked himself for the gig and ever since has been the talking mouthpiece for Rogers. The best move Beeston made in his second tenure was bringing back the blue in Blue Jays and bringing back the old logo with a few modifications to it.

The Saturday Notebook

Getty Images

Getty Images

With Melky Cabrera apparently on his way out of Toronto Sportsnet’s Bob McCown didn’t waste any time trashing Melky by saying that Melky was an issue in the clubhouse this past season. Not sure where Bob gets his info but it’s the first time I’ve heard any kind of inkling about issues with Melky. Then it could also be McCown making stuff up and seeing if the masses by it like the other gem he threw out during Prime Time Sports last night, saying that the Blue Jays lost a “not insignificant” amount of money this past year and that the bean counters at Rogers were pissed. I have a hard time believing that the Blue Jays lost money, not with the TV money that is out there now with the new TV deals in the US. Maybe Bob was just misinforming the masses by leaving out certain words that should have been mentioned as well. Perhaps in reality the Blue Jays were down on revenue, which is much more believable. Attendance was down in 2014 and the lack of activity last off-season did little to kindle the interest of the masses.

The other thing Bob doesn’t seem to get is if the bean counters at Rogers were truly pissed they would have ordered payroll slashed, which according to Paul Beeston isn’t the case, and they would not have gone out and spent 82 million dollars on Russell Nartin. It also brings up the other problem. Why do some in the Toronto media like to take shots at guys on their way out-of-town? Melky served out his contract and was pretty damn good in 2014 before the season ending hand injury in September. Melky earned his right to free agency and if the team doesn’t have the money to re-sign him or make a move that makes it apparent that they are going in a direction why take shots at guys on the way out? Yeah some guys probably deserve the odd shot taken at them on the way out but not every player that leaves town.

TORONTO BBWA AWARDS

Earlier in the week the Toronto Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association named their Blue Jays award winners and none of them came as a shock really. Jose Bautista was named player of the year, Mark Buehrle was named pitcher of the year. Melky Cabrera most improved and Casey Janssen wins the John Cerutti award.

TURF AGAIN?

Andrew Stoeten had an interesting post about the Turf at the Rogers Centre and the perceived inability to bring in Free Agents because of the turf. It now seems that Dalton Pompey is the newest Blue Jay to complain about the turf. Stoeten writes that Pompey was on TSN Radio 1050 and when asked about the turf’s effects on a player Pompey had this to say;

“When I was there for a couple days, I wasn’t even really playing at first, and I was just, you know, taking fly balls in the outfield and doing some drills, and I kind of felt like my hips were hurting a little bit — kind of felt like they were out of place — and it was tough on my body. And every time I dove on the turf, my body really took a beating. The next day I would wake up really sore and achy. That’s why, when I got there, Jose told me I’ve got to pick my spots wisely, and not dive all the time, and take care of your body on the turf, because it’s so much different than grass — because it’s basically concrete underneath, versus a real grass stadium where there’s the soil and the gravel and whatnot, so it’s easier to play on rather than turf.”

Stoeten then goes onto mention that according to Shi Davidi the new turf that is going in this winter is supposed to be much softer and thicker then the turf that has been used in the past few seasons.

Still though like Stoeten says in his post this is a problem and the more the players speak out about it the bigger a problem it becomes. Sadly the turf, regardless of how good this new turf is supposed to be, is still here until 2018 when grass is supposed to be in if you really believe Paul Beeston. Still though, the sooner the turf is gone the better we will all be.

And finally on this Saturday afternoon, we are looking for some input for our top 10 list of the top Blue Jay games of 2014, that will be put out between Christmas and New years and would really appreciate some fan input on the project.

A Look Back At The Brett Lawrie Era In Toronto

Getty Images

Getty Images

Brett Lawrie’s days as a Toronto Blue Jay are over.

It ended rather surprisingly last night as he was traded to the Oakland A’s in a package of prospects for Josh Donaldson.

To describe Lawrie’s time as a Blue Jay in a few words could be described as unfilled potential and injury prone. In the three and a half seasons in Toronto Lawrie missed 185 games due to injuries. Most of those injuries were freak in nature but he did suffer two oblique injuries, the last coming in his first game back from the DL in August.

Lawrie came to Toronto with a ton of upside and potential and busted onto the scene in the middle of the 2011 season. His high energy and hustle won him many accolades amongst the fan base and was soon one of the most popular Blue Jays. His 2011 season would end with a freak injury while fielding ground balls on the turf at the Rogers Centre as a ball caught a seam in the turf and took a weird hop right onto his right hand resulting in a fractured finger and his season was done.

The offence that Lawrie showed in 2011, albeit a short sample size, was never matched again during his next three seasons in Toronto. Lawrie hit .293/.373/.580 and had an OPS+ of 153. In fact his Average and On Base Percentage dropped in each season thereafter.

Coming into the 2012 season Lawrie had become one of the big marketing tools for the Jays as his Jersey sales rivalled that of Jose Bautista. The Jays also were hoping to make him one of the major centre pieces of the team. Lawrie went through the growing pains of a young and upcoming player, and one must wonder if he had been anywhere else other than Toronto that maybe he doesn’t struggle and is able to develop at his own pace instead of being thrust into being the Canadian playing in front of his home country.

Lawrie showed that he could be one of the elite defensive third baseman in all of baseball with his flashy plays and incredible range but his struggles at the plate and his lack of maturity, the helmet tossing incident at Bill Miller, didn’t help. In a way it was his own fearless play that in essence ended his 2012 season diving into a camera bay in Yankee Stadium and suffering a season ending injury.

His 2013 season didn’t start very well either as he suffered an oblique injury working out for the World Baseball Classic and then was rushed into the line-up after the Jose Reyes injury and showed some maturity issues yet again as he barked at Adam Lind and Luis Rivera after Lawrie thought Rivera should have sent Lind on a fly ball out in a game in May. Lawrie ended up with a stern talking to from Manager John Gibbons and Jose Bautista about it. Lawrie would end up on the DL again this time with an ankle injury that he suffered sliding into second base, an injury eerily similar to the one Reyes suffered earlier that season. Lawrie turned his season around at the plate once he started watching video with Edwin Encarnacion it also didn’t hurt that he was being mentored by Mark DeRosa during the 2013 season.

This past season Lawrie split time between third base and second base and was great defensively in both spots, but yet again he struggled early in the season at the plate although his power numbers set a career high as he hit 12 home runs in only 70 games. The injury bug would hit again in June when in a game in Cincinnati he got hit on the hand with a pitch and would spend the next month and a half on the DL, only to last three innings till his season ended with an Oblique Strain in early August.

Perhaps, it was the inability to stay healthy that was the final straw with Lawrie as Alex Anthopoulos had hinted that they needed their key guys to stay on the field and that a player’s health could be a key factor in an acquisition. Josh Donaldson has only missed six games in his time in Oakland. Maybe it was the inconsistency with the bat that grew tired with the club, but in the end you cannot say that Lawrie never gave it was 100 percent or went balls to the wall on every play. Yes, I will miss his hustle, but when you get a chance to get a player like Josh Donaldson you make that deal every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Good Luck in Oakland Brett!

The Sunday Notebook; The Leadership BS Again?

dickey

Oh look the media in Toronto are at it again with the leadership issues within the Blue Jays clubhouse. Mike Wilner was on the Fan 590 on Sunday talking with Ben Ennis (audio here) when he said that the Blue Jays clubhouse was awful last year and according to some it was “The most dysfunctional clubhouse they’ve ever been around” Well, isn’t that swell? Seems to me the media in Toronto sure likes to beat on the leadership drum, if it’s not the Blue Jays and lack of leadership, it’s the Leafs and their lack of leadership over a stupid salute. Yes, a salute. And people wonder why a lot of athletes don’t want to come to Toronto. Maybe if the media in Toronto weren’t beyond insufferable, well, the ones that seem to cover hockey and try to impose their views on baseball maybe just maybe we could quit talking about leadership. As Wilner says if the Blue Jays had won one more game a month they would have been in the Wild Card play in game and no one is bringing up the leadership or the lack there of.

Speaking of the Toronto Media, Ian Hunter at The Blue Jay Hunter went into detail of Jerry Howarth’s appearance on the Jeff Blair show on Wednesday. Hunter writes how Blair says that R.A Dickey and John Gibbons got into it a few times this past season. Then later in the interview Howarth drops these little tidbits about Dickey;

“R.A. is kind of a man unto himself on an island, and you don’t want that in your clubhouse. He gives you 200 innings, he goes out there and starts 30 games, that’s great; but you need more than that.

You need someone who is right there with his team, communicates with his team, listens, gets involved with his team; I don’t see R.A. doing that. For me, I can already see the team moving in a different direction.

You have to have people who are part of a 25 man roster, not a separate entity.”

Can’t say I disagree with Howarth about the island analogy, but I also don’t see the Blue Jays moving Dickey who still has two years left on his contract at a relatively team friendly deal.

My biggest issue with Dickey has been his perceived instance on having Josh Thole as his personal catcher. He’s never come out and actually admitted that and even said he was never asked in Spring Training when the decision on what catchers to carry on the roster, the Blue Jays kept three catchers on the roster but I digress.

Thole in his two season in Toronto has shown no other ability other than to catch the knuckleball. If not for Dickey on the roster than Thole would become nothing more than a waste of a roster spot. What is even more laughable is people like Wilner, who when asked about newly acquired Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin catching Dickey, mentioned that Thole could be better if he got more playing time. It’s not an argument that I would ever come close to agreeing with. Josh Thole is nothing more than a guy that can catch a knuckleball, nothing more, nothing less.

Getting back to Howarth’s beef with Dickey, it seems like every year the media picks on a player and then shits all over their leadership. Last year it was Jose Bautista and his so called negative influence and now Dickey. Lets also not forget that I never heard Howarth trying to run Roy Halladay out of town or Dave Stieb for that matter because they had prickly personalities at times.

Maybe Howarth and Wilner should focus on calling the games and leave the opinion and analysing to people like Shi Davidi and baseball analysts that know what they are talking about.

Welcome To The Russell Martin Era

getty images

getty images

The Blue Jays finally went out and spent money in the Free Agency Market and signing catcher Russell Martin to a 5 year 82 million dollar deal. The Martin signing is the longest Free Agent deal that Alex Anthopoulos has made during his tenure as Blue Jays General Manager. The Martin deal surpasses A.J Burnett’s five-year 55 million contract he signed in during the J.P Richardi regime as the biggest Free Agent signing in club history.

Sure the deal may be a bit of an overpay but it addresses an upgrade to the catching position that the Blue Jays could definitely use. Martin comes advertised as one of the best pitch framers in the game where he was third amongst catchers at generating strike calls, something that couldn’t be said for Dioner Navarro, Martin is also great at shutting down the opponents base stealers as he threw out 37 percent of would be base stealers in 2014. Martin is also considered one of the better catchers at calling a game, although I didn’t think that Navarro was all that bad of a game caller. Martin is also considered a great clubhouse leader, so there is that if you’re into the whole leadership thing that is often overblown in the Toronto media.

Then you have Martin’s offensive abilities to throw into the mix as well. Martin hit .290/.402/.430 last season with Pittsburgh. Martin hit 11 home runs and had an OPS plus of 136. Martin had a WAR of 5.5 as well. For Martin’s career he has a career line of .259/.354/.399 over a span of nine seasons.

With Martin on board it gives the Blue Jays three catchers on their roster again. It could mean that Josh Thole’s days as a Blue Jay would be numbered, a scenario many Blue Jays fans are hoping for as Thole’s lack of offensive production and who’s only role is being R.A Dickey’s personal caddy hasn’t justified him holding a roster spot in many fans opinions. Navarro who proved he was durable to last a full season in 2014 could be an admiral back-up catcher who could fill in if Martin were to go down with an injury. Navarro could also spend some time at DH or come off the bench as a late inning pinch hitter.

The other good news about this signing is that Rogers is finally showing that they are willing to spend money in the free agent market and with the Blue Jays being linked to other rumours on Free Agents it’s also showing that maybe they are ready to be active players in Free Agency. According to Jose Bautista in an interview with MLB radio last week claimed that the Blue Jays had 20-30 million to spend this winter. If that is indeed the truth then the Blue Jays still have between four and fifteen million left to spend.

The next step for AA is to fill holes at Second base, Left field, Center Field and in the Bullpen. I am quietly optimistic that the Blue Jays will fill those mentioned holes after this unexpected start to Free Agency.

Could Emilio Bonifacio Be Returning To Toronto?

Getty Images

Getty Images

So there was this little tidbit that came across Twitter yesterday and it’s actually rather surprising to see Emilio Bonifacio drawing interest from the Blue Jays. Has Alex Anthopoulos remembered how well Bonifacio’s first stint went with the team in 2013, which in case AA has forgotten, it did not end well.

Bonifacio proved pretty quickly that he couldn’t hit or play second place very well, in fact it came out last winter that he was spooked by playing on the turf. Which isn’t overly surprising to hear I suppose, players do have the Blue Jays listed on their no trade clauses because of the turf, or so we’re led to believe.

I Don’t know, maybe it might not be the worst thing in the world if AA was to bring Bonifacio back. I would think he could be had for a reasonable price I would also think that he would be considered more of the 24th or 25th man on the roster and would probably have a smaller role than his first go around. With his speed he would make a good pinch running option off the bench and with this weeks departure of Anthony Gose the Blue Jays could use some speed on the basepaths.

Bonifacio can also play all three outfield positions and in a pinch could fill in at short or second, the new turf may not be nearly as bad as the old turf. And speaking of Second Base the defensive metrics show that he’s at least passable there in a pinch. But most of all Bonifacio would be a good fit for a Blue Jays outfield that potentially is replacing Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus.

It may not be the craziest idea ever but if he comes cheap and isn’t expected to play more than a few days a week than I would be ok with Emilio Bonifacio coming back to Toronto.

Yep. I said that.

The Thursday Notebook

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Getty Images

The Anthony Gose Era ended Wednesday night as he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for second base prospect Devon Travis, who according to the Blue Jays website is their ninth ranked prospect. Gose came to Toronto in 2010 when he was acquired for Brett Wallace. Gose came as a speedy outfielder that was a good defender but wasn’t much with the bat. At one point he was considered the heir apparent for the center field job but as this past season went along it became apparent that he had fallen below Kevin Pillar and Dalton Pompey on the depth chart. As for Travis he is expected to be given a chance in Spring Training to compete for the second base job but probably starts the year in Buffalo. Ideally in a perfect world the Blue Jays could sign a veteran second baseman through free agency or acquire one through trade. The Blue Jays have shown interest in Howie Kendrick in recent days according to rumours, however, the Jays are listed on his no trade list so there is that. Another name that the Jays could be interested in could be the Angels’ Gordon Beckham who could be non tendered and be available. Alex Anthopoulos has been rumoured to be interested in Beckham in the past so it could be possible that it could happen. Bob Elliott tweeted out last night that the Blue Jays are in talks with former Reds hitting coach Brook Jacoby about the hitting coach vacancy on their staff. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi also tweeted out last night that Jacoby is described as a solid instructor and has a similar approach as Kevin Seitzer has. Who ever gets hired on as the Blue Jays hitting coach let’s hope they can last longer than one season as the Jays are going to have their fourth hitting coach in four years in 2015. It also came out Tuesday that Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t expect Melky Cabrera to return in 2015. In reality if they really wanted Cabrera back they should have got something done in the summer and not waited for it to get to the point where the highest bidder wins out. Bob Elliot also had some info on the Cabrera talks:

The Blue Jays obviously know what free-agent left fielder Melky Cabrera is looking for as both sides have talked. Cabrera had told friends that the Jays made a three-year $39 million offer. The outfielder’s agent is believed to be looking for a $50 million package. “We have a sense right of the likelihood is of signing him,” said Anthopoulos who says he is sensitive to not talk about someone else’s free agency or divulge negotiations. “When a player reaches free agency, you have to start preparing for contingencies because the likelihood is when players become free agents an overwhelming percentage don’t return.”

That offer seems a bit low if it is true, I said earlier in the summer that 3 years at 45 might be enough to get it done in the end but at this point it seems like the Jays won’t get Melky back unless the offer goes up. The Blue Jays released their Spring Training Schedule on Wednesday. They start their Spring Schedule in Dunedin against Pittsburgh and close out their Spring Schedule with a pair of games against Cincinnati at Olympic Stadium in Montreal on April 3rd and 4th. The Blue Jays have 33 games scheduled as well as three split squad games. For those of you that will making the March Break trek to Florida in March the Blue Jays only have a pair of games scheduled for Dunedin that week, March 18th and 19th against Tampa and Boston. And lastly on this Thursday afternoon, Bluebird Banter has put together a handy little guide on what Blue Jays on the 40 man roster have options and it also includes their outright statuses as well, it’s a must for any Blue Jays fan to bookmark so they can keep tabs on the Jays roster movement as this winter progresses.

Kevin Seitzer Leaving The Blue Jays For Job With The Braves

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Add another opening to the Toronto Blue Jays coaching staff as Atlanta Braves beat writer Mark Bowman is reporting that Kevin Seitzer has joined the Braves coaching staff as their new hitting coach. This news comes after the news a few weeks ago that the Blue Jays were reassigning Bullpen coach Bob Stanley.

Seitzer came with much fanfare when he was hired last winter as the Blue Jays new hitting coach and when the Blue Jays were on that hot streak in May Seitzer seemed to get a ton of praise for the work he had done as the hitting coach.

As the season went along and things went south the lack of success of hitters such as Colby Rasmus and Ryan Goins made some wonder if maybe all the praise that was heaped on Seitzer in May was just a bit much.

It does raise the question of just how much does a hitting coach affect a team. I don’t think it really does the Blue Jays offence hasn’t been the issue the last few years despite now looking for their fourth hitting coach in as many seasons. In reality much of it has to do with the players willingness to succeed as a hitter. A hitting coach no matter how good can’t turn every hitter into a great hitter, and this year it showed with Goins and Rasmus although some of Rasmus’ struggles were do to teams shifting on him.

When Seitzer signed he did so on a one year deal and Alex Anthopoulos confirmed to John Lott that the reason Seitzer is leaving is that they couldn’t work out a deal for next year.

Not exactly the best omen for the start of the off-season.

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