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The newest Jay, John-Ford Griffin, was interviewed by Spencer Fordin on MLB's official site.
Speaking of budding dynasties, or at least columns about them, my latest A’s garbage is up. With all due respect to the up-and-coming Blue Jays, they can’t match the A’s dynamite 1-2-3 punch at the top of the rotation, so I give J.P.’s former boys the slight edge in the next few years. Soon after I finished gibber-gabbering, I also checked out, once again, Gary Huckaby’s Hot Stove Heater for the Athletics, and I took another look at his projected batting order.

2B Mark Ellis
1B Scott Hatteberg
SS Miguel Tejada
DH Erubiel Durazo
RF Jermaine Dye
3B Eric Chavez
LF Terrence Long
CF Chris Singleton
C Mark Johnson/Ramon Hernandez
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Speaking of budding dynasties, or at least columns about them, my latest A’s garbage is up. With all due respect to the up-and-coming Blue Jays, they can’t match the A’s dynamite 1-2-3 punch at the top of the rotation, so I give J.P.’s former boys the slight edge in the next few years. Soon after I finished gibber-gabbering, I also checked out, once again, Gary Huckaby’s Hot Stove Heater for the Athletics, and I took another look at his projected batting order.

2B Mark Ellis
1B Scott Hatteberg
SS Miguel Tejada
DH Erubiel Durazo
RF Jermaine Dye
3B Eric Chavez
LF Terrence Long
CF Chris Singleton
C Mark Johnson/Ramon Hernandez
[More] (813 words)
Today was supposed to be a BB site maintenance day for me, adding links and working on the Lineup (authors) page, but now a friend is in need of tech support, and his fridge is well stocked with beer. So I'm tossing out a couple of items, and if there's no breaking news and nobody posts any manifestos, you're invited to make this a catch-all discussion.

As I've mentioned before, there's nothing wrong with Richard Griffin when he isn't blinded by his anti-Blue Jays fury. His recent basketball work is entertaining -- I agree that Rafer Alston's a breath of fresh air in a stinky season -- and this praise of Bud Selig, though contrary to my opinion, is certainly not offensive. However, instead of twisting or ignoring facts, as he usually does in an assault on J.P. & Co., he plucks misinformation out of thin air:

If Dusty (Baker, managing the NL in the 2003 ASG) wanted to annoy his former team, he could bring in, say, Mike Timlin to close out the win in the ninth.

Sure he could, Rich. If Timlin was an all-star (not bloody likely) or if he wasn't an AL pitcher.
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Here's my ESPN column, an early look at possible 2003 Jays draft day busts and bargoons. The fantasy correspondents there are volunteers, not obliged to start posting until spring training, but some of us are hard to shut up. I notice that John Gizzi's checked in on the A's, but Mick Doherty hasn't yet on the Yankees. Can't blame him; with an OF of Godzilla-Rondell-Bernie-Raul (the Boy of Summer sez White will play left-center field) and Juan Rivera as the rover, plus a 7-man rotation, it's hard to give fantasy advice. MED and JMG nominated an old Coach as 2002 Rookie of the Year and MVP among our peers, prompting their invitations here.

There are many fine correspondents; Scott Lucas is a regular visitor to this site, who's posted his view from Texas on Valdes and Thomson. Ed Matz (Mariners) also writes for ESPN: the Magazine, Thor Kolnes (Marlins) provides offbeat stuff and Giz-baiting, and Brad Doolittle handles the unenviable Royals beat gracefully. There will probably be some "help wanted" signs attached to a few teams (that's how I got the gig) and if you convince the staff you are qualified, there are precedents -- Mick sets lots of those -- for covering a team in another city.

Some of you may think fantasy baseball is a childish waste of time, and to you, I respectfully stick out my tongue and say, "so?"
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The middle parts of trilogies can be great hits or uncomfortable misses, so it's with the usual amount of trepidation that I present the second of my three-part look at the Blue Jays' farm system. Part One, posted back in December, reviewed the prospects (such as they were) at AAA Syracuse, while Part Three, due around late February, will look at the Blue Jays’ leading A-Ball prospects (I hope to have it completed before spring training games start March 1).
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As the BB hit counter clicks relentlessly toward 10,000, I'm scared -- this HTML-impaired geezer must modify the digits.com code and the mysterious Greymatter templates. If the site acts a bit strange, try to follow this advice, which I saw on TV late one night and adopted as a personal philosophy:

Trouble is temporary. Please stand by.

Of course, I am thrilled at the rapid growth of this forum, and at making so many great new baseball friends. At this rate, we'll need a sixth digit in the counter sometime during the 2004 season! We may also experience a change of address soon, as in our own domain and server. Stay tuned...

You have probably noticed the boring welcome message is gone, replaced by an Authors list in the sidebar. The next step is to create a new Lineup page, so if my co-bloggers would e-mail whatever personal information they want to share, we'll get that going, and add a "search by author" function to the site. On the other hand, it might be more interesting if Mick wrote John's bio, and vice versa.
A sharp-eyed contributor at FanHome noticed that there's some uniform-number switching going on with the Blue Jays. The official site's roster indicates the following changes:

Alexis Rios takes #15 from Tom Wilson, who adopts #9
Mike Bordick takes #16 from DeWayne Wise, who adopts #1
Jason Dubois takes #54 from Jayson Werth, who adopts #13
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Visitor admission to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame? Five dollars.

A "baseball bat chair" from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame Memorabilia online store? Two hundred twenty-nine dollars.

Inducting Pete Rose, who hit .259 in 95 games for the 78-83 1984 Montreal Expos to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame as an obvious PR grab?

Shameless.

Roy Halladay and Cliff Politte have both signed one-year deals.

Once again, the Jays have done the right thing by avoiding arbitration and letting players get on with more baseball-oriented concerns. Halladay will earn $3.825 million and Politte $845,000. Kent's prediction for Politte was almost right on the head - $55,000 off.

This leaves Stewart and Escobar as the outstanding arb-eligibles. These might not settle as easily, but there's hope yet.
So Bartolo Colon has been traded. Finally. The long-anticipated, long-rumored trade has happened, proving once again how senseless trade rumors are, especially the ones generated by professional journalists who know better but who operate under the umbrella of titillation, where hard facts come second. None of these experts had mentioned the White Sox as a possible destination, but voila! El Gordo lands in the windy city, and stocks in companies that make Polish sausages go up five bucks a share. What interests me most about the deal are not the players involved—obviously the White Sox gain the most—but the continued and bewildering tendency of major league teams to help, via trades, the New York Yankees, who, at last, present, and future check, don’t need anyone’s help, even if it is only in the form of an aging, injury-prone RH relief pitcher, the kind available in the minor leagues, the independent leagues, and your local Wal-Mart. Trading the Yankees anything, be it a back-up catcher or an extra baseball, is the equivalent of a country giving the United States a nuclear weapon. Speaking of empires, the recent branding of the Yankees as an “Evil Empire” elicits some questions: Are they really an empire? And, if so, are they an evil one? Or are they simply products of an economic model that increasingly makes less-and-less sense, that being free-market capitalism, alive and well in the baseball world? It is worth a closer look.
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According to the Star's sports media guy Chris Zelkovich, Tom Candiotti will do 30 games on Sportsnet this year as analyst. This is an excellent development; it means we'll only have to suffer through 90 games of John Cerutti, who is one of the main reasons the term "colour man" is rarely used any more.

"John has proved himself as a solid broadcaster and I look for both he and (play-by-play announcer) Rob Faulds to be even better now that they've had a year together," said Scott Moore, Sportsnet's vice-president of production.

You say solid, I say stiff.

One down, four to go. As reported in the Star, Chris Woodward has accepted a well-deserved raise. The Jays' starting SS will make $775,000 in 2003, a slightly more than 300% raise.

Nobody wanted to play Arbitration Price Is Right with me, so I win, but I had budgeted $600 K as a base and suggested bonuses for plate appearance thresholds. This seems like a fair deal, and I hope he plays well enough this season to join the millionaire's club the following year.

This just in: Woody has finished writing his 500 lines of "I will not swing at a 3-0 pitch," and J.P is pleased with his penmanship progress.

Bartolo Colon has been traded to the Chicago White Sox in a three-way deal involving the Yankees. The Expos receive Jeff Liefer, Rocky Biddle, Orlando Hernandez, and cash to pay some of Hernandez's salary.

Details are here.
The Batter's Box summit lunch today is almost as important, but in Arizona, the annual gathering of millionaires and billionaires may have a bit more on their plate. Topping the list is how to milk the most out of "their" team, the Montreal/San Juan Expos, before selling the bare bones of the franchise to a new crony in Washington or Portland. The committee that will ultimately decide their fate consists of Jerry Reinsdorf, Tom Hicks and Bud Selig, with the Commissioner's right-hand man (Bob DuPuy) and his daughter (Wendy Selig-Prieb) added, obviously for balance.

The owners, basking in the glow of victory in last year's labour skirmish, will also discuss the proposed changes to the All-Star game, a minimum age for bat boys, and other relatively insignificant issues. I've often wondered whether there are "off the record" discussions of serious matters -- how tight to wind the baseballs, or what kind of spin to put on allegations of collusion -- but I'm not expecting much real news out of Scottsdale, and I'll swallow what they do feed us with appropriate seasoning.