Archive for March, 2012

Developments

Wow. For days, nothing. Then big developments in Blue Jay Land. Thames wins the leftfield job. McGowan “day-to-day” with plantar fasciitis. Two Jays that I thought for sure would be helping the Jays all year, gone (for now). Poof.

I’ll get to the shocking and premature decision on the left field job in a second, but in McGowan’s case, how worried should we be? Plantar fasciitis (aka, Troy Glaus syndrome) has been known to sideline players for months, if not entire seasons. I’m no doctor, but apparently it’s inflammation of the connective tissue between the heel and bone…? Where’s Doogie when you need him. Anyhow, the Jays don’t seem overly concerned right now, so we’ll see. At least it’s not arm related — when I heard McGowan left in the 2nd inning due to a medical condition, I thought like everyone else — arm. Thankfully, no.

I think this means Drabek could make the team. Laffey didn’t do himself any favours today with his iffy outing.

As for the leftfield job, I’m surprised. Not that at the outcome necessarily (although I will admit, I was pulling for Travis), but because the Jays made the call with a week to go. I thought they’d let it play out a little more. I admit Travis hasn’t sounded/looked that good over the last few games and unfortunately, that’s when Eric decided to step up a bit. I’m not sure what this means for Travis Snider, but it could be the end of the line for his Jays career. You’d have to think he wants to be traded. And the Jays should know that his heart might not be in it for them anymore. Not sure what they can get for him right now, but with AA you just never know what he can pull off.

Tough for Snider — he did play well this spring. And he outplayed so many Jays that are going to make this team — Rasmus, Johnson, Lind … and yes, even Jose.

I was looking forward to cheering on Lunchbox from the cheap seats this summer. Now I’m not sure what the future holds for him.

 

Ticking down to the Season Opener

As I was getting on a plane to come home from a St. Paddy’s Day holiday in St. John’s Newfoundland, I grabbed a copy of one of those Baseball Predictions 2012 magazines — I find them all the same for the most part to be honest. Man, I miss that Bill Mazeroski one from my youth … And I got a pleasant surprise. I got really excited about the coming season. No, the issue wasn’t that great or insightful just as I expected (they still didn’t know where Fielder had signed), but what got me excited about the coming season was the retrospective of LAST season and the offseason.

The Cardinals improbable Championship — the last two World Series winners have gotten in the playoffs on the last day.

The Bosox collapse. And subsequent dirty laundry being aired.

Atlanta’s own collapse only overshadowed by the Bosox and the Cardinals crazy run.

The amazing way the Rays made the playoffs, catching the Bosox but also overcoming a 7-run deficit in the final regular season game to do it.

And right here in our own backyard as they say, the Jays amazing new uniforms and branding. It feels so long ago now, but it will be very exciting to see them take the field officially in a couple of weeks.

The revamped bullpen, anchored by a guy that apparently had one of the best “out pitches” in baseball last year, Sergio Santos.

The return of McGowan. Hopefully he continues to make strides.

And the realization that we’ll have a full season of Brett Lawrie to watch.

This is going to be exciting. And with the spring weather finally hitting Toronto, I’m starting to feel it’s getting closer. Yes, there are still a few question marks around this team — I’m still not crazy about our rotation after the top 2. It’s very unproven (Henderson Alvarez) or just downright uncertain (Who will make it out of the Cecil/Drabek/McGowan/Laffey) mix? Who will be in left? And what will happen to that odd man out that doesn’t get the job — do we finally give up on Snider? Will another team see Thames as an everyday player and trade for him? Can Lind protect Jose better this year? Will Farrell show he knows how to use a bullpen? Will Kelly Johnson and Colby Rasmus prove they really don’t suck (don’t count on it)?

Anyhow, my point is — I’m excited. And whether you’re just a Blue Jays fan or a baseball fan in general, you should be getting excited too. Our favourite sport is almost back and anything can happen.

Just look at last year.

 

LF. There can only be one.

Who will be the fifth starter?

Will Adeiny Hechaverria force a trade of Johnson?

Who will be the setup man in a bullpen full of good candidates?

Good questions all, but no story from the 2012 Toronto Blue Jays’ spring training camp is as interesting as the battle for the starting left fielder’s job.

In one corner, you have Eric Thames. 2011 Cinderella story. He came up in May and hit .262 with 12 HR and 62 RBI. He played in 95 games and was the starter at the end of the season.

And then you have Mr. Meats Don’t Clash – Travis Snider. Lunchbox. Bamm Bamm (a nickname I’ve tried hard to get going to no avail). Perennial prospect full of potential. And subsequent perennial letdown.

A platoon is unlikely since they both hit left-handed. So there can only be one.

This will be a tough call for John Farrell but hopefully, one of them will just outright outplay the other. Farrell has indicated that the job is Thames’ to lose so Snider will have to make it clearcut it seems.

Farrell has also said that defence will play a big part of the decision.

We’ll continue the Eric Travis watch here for the next few weeks.

Right now, Snider’s hitting .316 with a whopping 1.223 OPS in 7 games.

And Thames is no slouch at .294 and .898 respectively. Also in 7 games.

I’d have to say from the reports and from the few games I’ve listened to, Travis Snider is certainly doing everything right at the moment. Hitting for power (3 hr) and showing off some good defence (heard a great assist the other day). And an interview on the FAN 590 as always showed off what a mature mind is at work there.

Stay tuned. It’s just beginning.

 

 

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