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OK, so you believe you know exactly what move(s) every GM in baseball should make in order to be next year's version of the '03 Marlins or '02 Angels.

Now's your chance to prove it with Da Box's One Move Challenge. Read on, make a move, mock the moves of others ... play along.

A former Jay in Beantown? A Hall of Famer headed to Wrigley? A salary dump DeepInTheHearta? You betcha. It's all in the magic of the Hot Stove's ONE MOVE.
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Continuing the BBLVPAs after an unfortunate delay, today we are proud to bring you the Allan Travers Awards. As we said in the opener, if you don't know why these awards (the BBLVPA version of the Cy Young Awards), a glance at the entries for Al Travers on Baseball-Reference or the Baseball Library should clue you in.
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Thanks to R Billie for alerting us in another thread. Kelvim Escobar is among 35 players who wasted no time filing for free agency. This doesn't mean he's gone -- yet -- because he can still negotiate with the Jays, along with every other club. But it suggests that the "fair" offer J.P. currently has on the table isn't going to be enough to keep Escobar in Toronto.

Teams must offer salary arbitration by December 7, or they lose the right to negotiate with their former player until May 1. Players must respond by December 19. If they accept, the arbitration process is binding. If they decline, there's a window (until January 8) during which they can still work something out with their current club. From, here's the complete list of 230 players eligible to file over the next two weeks.
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The good folks at Rotohelp are running a series of post-2003 prospect reports on the major- and minor-league fortunes of each ballclub. Yesterday's edition concerned the Blue Jays, but it was rather disappointingly brief and, if I may say so, shallow: not much insight into the players closest to the majors and nothing at all on the prospects in the lower minors. Rotohelp spends more time on some franchises than on others, and it looks like the Blue Jays lost out this year. But I pass it on for your reading interest anyway. This is the first of what should be a number of such organizational overviews that will issue forth this off-season: the ones from Baseball America and ESPN will be the best of them until BP 2004 arrives and the Baseball Primates produce their excellent pre-season analyses.
That was seemingly all it took to cost Grady Little his job today, although it's questionable whether Little would have returned next year had he been asked. Not too many guys get fired after delivering 93 and 95 wins their only two seasons on the job. Never mind the White Sox; wouldn't Cito Gaston be a strong, commanding presence for the Red Sox position? I'd worry that an untested field boss like Glenn Hoffman would be simply overwhelmed by the forces inside the Boston clubhouse. Anyway, that's one manager down, more to come no doubt. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the Bronx next.
According to a story at, the Jays have re-signed Greg Myers to a one-year deal worth $900,000.

Terrific news, and I'm going for a drink in the middle of the afternoon to celebrate.
Those lovable Fish are on top of the baseball world. They are as unlikely as the Angels last year, maybe more so: built on speed instead of walks and homers, managed by someone old enough to be my dad.

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The Baseball America list of minor league free agents has been mentioned elsewhere, but deserves its own thread.

Last year, the Jays were very active shoppers in this bargain bin, trying to fill their fourth outfielder spot and improve their pitching depth. It was a quantity approach, but it produced some quality, as Josh Towers and Trever Miller turned out to be pleasant surprises. This winter, I don't expect as much activity, as there are fewer holes to fill in AAA and on the big club; the organization may even "lose" a familiar name or two. I'm sure the Jays will target a couple of players who have the potential to help in Syracuse, and will compete for jobs in Dunedin.

Rest assured that Keith Law, Tony LaCava and the pro scouts are way ahead of us; they knew who was likely to be on this list long before it was published. J.P.'s reputation for giving free agents a legitimate shot may pay dividends; guys who have interest from more than one team might choose Toronto as their best chance.
Maybe the last game of the year. Maybe not.

Josh Beckett tries to duplicate his 10-K 3-hitter and Andy Pettitte just missed a shutout in Game 2. I think both will be tested, and it will be decided by the bullpens, which means Rivera.
Tonight may be the last Blue Jay A Day Pre-Pre-Game Show, and Mike Wilner has a very special guest -- general manager J.P. Ricciardi. You can listen live to The FAN 590 online, and J.P. will be taking your calls right after the 7:00 update. As always, it's 416-870-0590 if you live in Toronto and 1-888-666-0590 for the less fortunate.

I won't be on the air tonight; I don't want to wear out my welcome. But you are reminded that Rob Pizzo, who produces the show, invited Batter's Box readers to identify themselves as part of the ZLC when calling in, and hinted at preferential treatment. That's because Rob and Mike know you guys are astute, passionate fans who will ask great questions.
The unorthodox Jack McKeon has done everything right so far in 2003, turning around the Marlins and guiding them to the brink of a championship. Tonight, he risks it all by sending his ace, Josh Beckett, to the mound on three days' rest.

The 23-year-old missed most of May and all of June with elbow problems, and has never started on short rest in his big league career. Though Beckett’s four-inning relief appearance against the Cubs was courageous, it was hardly awesome. The first four batters he faced hit the ball very hard; three to the warning track and one right at an outfielder. In his third inning of work, he got two more long outs and surrendered a home run to Troy O’Leary. There's no telling how effective he'll be tonight, or how long he'll last.

If this hunch works out, McKeon will be hailed as a genius. If it doesn't, he's painted himself into an uncomfortable Game 7 corner, with Carl Pavano, also on short rest, facing Mike Mussina. To me, it's like a boxer ahead on points in the late rounds trying to land a haymaker but leaving himself wide open for a knockout counter-punch. In other words, unnecessary and ill-advised.
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This is probably the first personal interview with Shannon Stewart I can remember seeing; Geoff Baker from the Star does a very nice job of visiting Stewart in his Florida home and chatting about the season just completed. Shannon comes off much as he always seemed: quiet, thoughtful, nice guy. I was surprised to learn he's still single; he shares a huge house with his sister and his parents live nearby. I've never known anything bad to say about Stewart, and this article confirms that. As to the matter of the MVP, well ... if Shannon really does take home that award, beating out A-Rod, Boone, Delgado et al, then there needs to be an emergency meeting of the BBWAA to (a) administer some severe thrashings and (b) decide once and for all what an "MVP" actually is.

Here's a question: where do people think Shannon will end up next year? Or put differently, who's in the market for a LF/DH who'll hit .300, OBP .365, score about 90 runs, steal maybe 15-20 bases at most, and lead off every day for about $6 million a season? Sounds like the Giants to me.
Thanks to Steve Z, the Blue Jays' biggest fan in Israel, for this link to a great interview with much-lamented former Jays broadcaster Dan Shulman in the National Post (and this related story in the New York Post). Dan, who now works for ESPN, seems ready to step into Jon Miller's shoes the day the latter wraps up his legendary career; as it is, Dan is already widely considered one of the best play-by-play men in the business. Jays fans will of course recall Shulman's time in the TSN booth with Buck Martinez, making the Jim Fregosi Blue Jays almost watchable. We'd love to have him back -- dear Lord, would we -- but I'm sure all Toronto fans wish Dan the very best as he rockets up the baseball announcers' ladder .
The real 2003 individual awards - the ones voted on by all the fans, not some small group of ancient writers - have been announced. These are the 2003 Internet Baseball Awards.
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And then there were two. After next season, the Ottawa Lynx (AAA International League) and Vancouver Canadians (Class-A Northwest League) will be the last remaining Canadian-based minor-league baseball teams. That with the news that the Edmonton Trappers have been sold to Nolan Ryan, of all people, and will be moved to Round Rock, Texas after the 2004 season. The team will become the AAA Pacific Coast League franchise of the Houston Astros, replacing the New Orleans Zephyrs; the Double-A Astros franchise currently in Round Rock will move to Corpus Christi. And what will become of the Expos' AAA farm team that currently occupies Edmonton? Start drawing your own dark conclusions about that.

It's a shame that yet another Canadian baseball team has gone to the US (Alberta lost both Calgary and Medicine Hat last year), but you can't really blame the PCL for wanting to abandon a city that's thousands of expensive air miles away from the bulk of its clubs' locations; even within their own Northern Division, the Trappers were grouped with Tacoma, Portland and Salt Lake City(?). And it could get worse. From first-hand experience, I wonder how much longer the Lynx will hang on here in Ottawa; they're way below the local sports-scene radar. It's quite possible that in five years' time, Toronto will be the only major- or minor-league baseball team in the country, and that would be terrible for the game in Canada.