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[NOTE : This marks the debut (and a test) for a new feature at Batter's Box, in which ex-Blue Jays are remembered by the Bauxites. We'll put up new threads for the offseason's other ex-Jays over the next few days.]

I find myself strangely affected by the departure of Tom Wilson, who was claimd on waivers by the San Diego Padres today after the Jays signed Chris Gomez.
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Thanks go out to Smirnoff, Glaswegian, and MatO for the heads up.

The Globe and Mail reports that the Jays have signed righty reliever Terry Adams to a 1-year 1.7 million dollar contract and shortstop Chris Gomez to a 1-year $750,000 contract. To make room for the two, Pete Walker has been desginated for assignment and Tom Wilson has been picked up on waivers by the Padres.
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With the old Hijack Central now well off the home page, I'll risk the wrath of the gods and post a new one.

I'll lead off... according to Baseball America, Alexis Rios has been named the MVP of the Puerto Rican Winter League. Rios hit .348 with 12 HR, slugged .684 and had 37 RBI (in 40 games). The slugging and RBI figures led the league.
It's official -- the newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame are former Blue Jay Paul Molitor and former Blue Jay nemesis Dennis Eckersley. The right results? Was there a blatant oversight? And whose hat will Molitor be obliged to wear? Let the debates begin!

And don't blame me ... I voted for Kodos.
As commish of the BBFL, I don't want to be too dictatorial. However I've decided to impose a little structure to this off-season, so we can get the ball rolling.
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The greatness of's Page 2 -- the bane of all sports fans who really should be getting work done -- has unabashedly (and without credit) ripped off The Sporting News' Annual Best Sports City rankings.

The Page 2 Crew simply asks the question, "Which pro sports city had the best year?" and says "We devised a scoring method, punched in the numbers and produced a winner."

The winner? Indianapolis. (Indianapolis??) Apparently it was a good year for the U.S. Midwest farm states as Kansas City and St. Louis were also in the top four. Toronto was the top-ranked non-U.S. city ... but don't get out your Cheer Club Banners yet. It was also the only non-U.S. city ranked, and the only non-U.S. city eligible to be ranked. has updated its rankings of how teams have improved this offseason. Philadelphia maintains its #1 status followed by Baltimore and Boston, while last place deservedly belongs to Pittsburgh, whose marquee signing is the illustrious Daryle Ward.

Toronto dropped from third to ninth in the new rankings. generally limits its comments to recent activity, offering the tepid observation that there’s “no harm adding a left-hander to the bullpen” in reference to Valerio de los Santos.
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Mike Gullo of The Minors First has released his 4th annual ranking of the Top 100 Minor Leaguers (Thanks to Steve Z, who initially linked to this in the Hijack thread). Mike describes his ranking philosophy as a little more results oriented than some lists and I do give slightly greater weight to the likelihood of players reaching their potential. I don't consider this just a list rating players' ceilings.
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Every so often, I like to pull out my old Abstracts and re-read an essay or two. My very favourite is the Kansas City Royals essay in the 1986 Baseball Abstract, in which Bill James recounts the history of major league baseball in Kansas City. His life has spanned that era, and the essay concludes with the local nine climbing to the pinnacle of the baseball world, beating the Blue Jays and Cardinals in two thrilling playoff series in 1985.

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Our new design, to be unveiled soon, will make Da Box easier to navigate, but we can always use a little help. By popular demand, we will be creating a Features page, listing articles of special interest. You know, those timeless posts that newcomers may have missed, and regulars might want to revisit.

Though many of the more than 1,300 entries in the archives had a limited shelf life, and a few are best forgotten, here's your chance to nominate other deserving threads. We're not issuing any awards, merely trying to compile a convenient directory of the articles you liked best.

For example, Dave Till's "Blue Jays Minor League Register," which records for posterity the Buzz Factor of prospects past and present, appeared in two parts: Hitters, A-K and Hitters, L-Z. Comments at the time included "epic," "awesome," "tremendous," and Dave's own modest description -- "bandwidth-choking." Consider it included.
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In a review of the year's predictions, good and bad, Richard Griffin takes the time to look back on predictions in columns of 2003. While one of these in particular is not as accurate as our resident Nostradamus' version, they stir interest. If there's one thing that we humans wish we could do, it's predict the future accurately.

In that spirit, here is your chance to show off your psychic powers: the Batter's Box Crystal Ball, 2004 edition.
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A few eyebrows were raised when the Jays hired former Marlin pitching coach Brad Arnsberg to be their pitching coach in Syracuse this year. Arnsberg was of course most recently the pitching coach of the Marlins, and he along with Jeff Torborg were blamed for the injuries to many of the Marlin pitchers, most notably AJ Burnett.

Now Arnsberg is going to be in charge of developing the top pitchers in the Jays system. Jason Arnold will likely start the season in Syracuse, but David Bush and Dustin McGowan aren't likely to stay in AA for more than half the season, if that.

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On the Official Site, there's an excellent recap of the 2003 season by Spencer Fordin. It's in chronological order, with dozens of links to the major stories.

This enjoyable look back at a roller-coaster year got me thinking, which is always dangerous. There were so many highlights for Jays fans, it's hard to pick one as the best, or even compile a top ten. So I thought I'd invite everyone to help. How do you compare great plays, such as Kielty's catch, to accomplishments that took four at-bats (Delgado's homers), four days (the sweep in Yankee Stadium) or an entire season, like Doc's Cy Young award?
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The Jays signed their replacement for Trever Miller: Valerio de los Santos, erstwhile Brewer and late-season acquisition by (who else?) Philadelphia. The 31-year-old Dominican was signed to a one-year deal for $850,000.
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Sure, Roy Halladay won some award named after an ex-pitcher. But he didn't win (okay, he wasn't even eligible for) the award named for an ex-pitcher. It's Boxing Day, and the final results of the inaugural Andujar "youneverknow" Award balloting are here.

Thirteen different players received votes; five of those received first-place votes. But the clear winner -- sorry, pre-season favorite John Halama; apologies, runner-up Scott Podsednik -- was Chicago White Sox ace Esteban Loaiza.

Details follow.
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