Hey, these guys lost 111 games last year! This will be a piece of cake! Right?
Last Friday, just in time for the home opener, Ken Rosenthal broke the story that several Jays players were willing to defer salary so that the jays could sign Ubaldo Jimenez. AA and paul Beeston basically confirmed that in interviews. I wondered what impact that freeze had on the off-season. What transactions that we thought the Jays were in on, were they in fact no-where near? I assume AA became aware of his budget shortly after the season ended. As the season was coming to a close he was talking about adding starting pitching. By the winter meetings he was focused internally. But he never made that public, and all winter the fans thought that the Jays were all-in, and could add to the payroll for a playoff push. All off-season the Jays were thought to be waiting on Jimenez and Santana. Were they?
Remember that Rogers appointed a new CEO last year, one who has the reputation of a cost cutter. His arrival could easily have come with a directive, all budgets are frozen until I get to review the operations. I don't remember the exact date but the CEO did not meet with the Jays until early this year.
Dickie Thon hit a grand slam home run to give Lansing a 4-0 lead in the first game of a doubleheader. Later in that game, with the scores tied, Thon made an error that allowed the two winning runs to score. Lansing were shut out of the second game and were swept. Some of the young pitchers had tough days. New Hampshire also had a lead that the bullpen let slip away ruining an excellent start by Austin Bibbens-Dirkx. Buffalo were rained out.
The only win went to Dunedin. JA Happ started and was OK. The hitters exploded for 17 hits.
You have made your 2014 prediction, including the Blue Jays. You have read the Blue Jay round table. Now it is your turn to go on the record and tell us what will happen in 2014.
It is finally time for some Blue Jays baseball, for real. To get you ready for the season the roster answered some questions about the 2014 version of the Jays.
Better late than never, here are the results of the 2013 record prediction contest
. 2012's winner rpriske failed to repeat. Last years third place finisher came in third again. The second place finisher was fourth last year while the winner was 18th showing its better to peak than to be consistent.
It's time to go on the record with your predictions for 2014. You should know the drill by now and try and do better than last year.
And so the last week of spring training begins. This week includes a trip to Montreal before the team reverses direction and returns to Tampa to face the Rays one week from today. Things are looking better today than they did a week or two ago. Back then it looked like no-one wanted to be the fifth starter, now we have a competition. But first the news. Anthony Gose, Mike Nickeas, Chris Getz and Steve Tolleson were all sent down today. It will be interesting to see how Gose reacts to his demotion, he was unhappy last year to be sent down. Gose improved his hitting as spring training progressed and finishes with a 250 average. He needs to show some hitting skills in AAA. In other news Munenori Kawasaki will not be part of the team but he remains in camp. I assume that if he can catch on with a major league team the Jays will let him go. Finally Jose Reyes is going for an MRI on his hamstring. The Jays say it is just to confirm that nothing major is wrong but it doesn't sound good.
There has been a lot of talk of the 'good old days' lately - how a deeper bench is more useful than a bigger bullpen. But how true is that? Lets try to find out.
The rotation appears set now, Dickey - Hutchison - Buehrle - Happ - Morrow. Set that way so Morrow will start vs the Yankees in the home opener.
On Saturday it seemed as though Ervin Santana was about to sign with his new team. By 5pm that thought was gone. The news from last week suggested that Santana had sort of changed agents. He still has the same agent but the agent was no longer with the same company and the principal of the agency who had been calling the shots was now out of the picture. With that change the internet was alive with the news that Santana had decided to sign a one year deal with a team and the Jays were one of the teams that were rumoured to be interested. There was a flurry of activity on Saturday and then silence. There could be a decision in the next few days. Ken Rosenthal is reporting this morning that several of the Jays players made a come to the Jays sign and had a photo taken of themselves holding it before sending it to Santana. Santana is from the Dominican Republic, like many of the Jays players.
The first week of spring training was somewhat like the off-season, not much to report. The Jays won three games then lost two. The Jays will pay seven games this week before taking the next two Monday's off. This year the Jays have only one split squad day and that is a day when one of the games is against Canada's Junior team.
Things have gotten kind of slow around here so let's have some fun...
Spring training games start this week, on Wednesday to be precise. I know the game is on MLB Network, a channel that I can get, and it's free for now. The Thursday and Friday games are on Sportsnet 1 and regular Sportsnet respectively. Saturdays game is on the radio and Sunday's is shown on MLB Network on a delay. If you can get the MLB Network and Sportsnet you can see lots of baseball this week.
Elsewhere there is not much to report, the Jays do not appear to be interested in any free agents, Scott Boras thinks Rogers is a cheap owner, and the Jays added another AAA pitcher in Liam Hendricks. That transaction leaves Brett Morel in the waiver dark-zone.
Today was the first day of camp for pitchers and catchers. Sunday was physicals day and the pitchers will start their throwing programs tomorrow. The pitchers are alone for a few days until Thursday when position players are due to report. The first spring training game is a week from Wednesday, on the 26th.
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