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The twittersphere is abuzz with the news that Frank Francisco has been activated and Jesse Litsch has been sent down to Las Vegas.  It appears that the preservation of a potential asset in Jo-Jo Reyes is taking precedent over putting the best team on the field today.
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The first real practice game is played today, after two intra-squad games on Thursday and Friday.  Brett Cecil takes the mound against the Tigers in a agme that is on the Fan in Toronto and might be available elsewhere on the Canadian network.  In a B game this morning the Jays beat Philadelphia 8-1 behind Scott Richmond, Chad Jenkins and Deck McGuire.
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Jose Bautista signed a $65 million contract today but the biggest news of the day for him was his elevation to the Batter's Box Banner.  Ricky Romero joins him in a tribute to the club leaders of the hitters and the pitchers.

We hope you enjoy it.

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Well, it's not official yet, but it seems pretty close - the Blue Jays are going to sign Jose Bautista to a 5 year deal worth $65 million, with a team option for 2016 worth $13 million. There's a press conference at 5 PM.

(Photo courtesty #2JB)
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The Globe and Mail says the Blue Jays and slugger Jose Bautista will have an arbitration hearing Monday, February 14.

As a quick reminder for our own Mick Doherty, I'm using the Arby's mascot as a symbol for arbitration!  ;D

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Word out of New York City is that long-time Yankee (and briefly, Astro) lefty Andy Pettitte will announce his retirement on Friday. No, really this time!

Pettitte, third all-time among Yankee pitchers in victories for the franchise (though including his Astro years, he tops Whitey Ford in career wins, 240-236), has endured some reputation-damaging PR over the past few years; he will get some Hall of Fame support, certainly -- pitching in New York and being MLB's all-time leader in post-season wins, even in the modern three-tiered playoff system -- will do that for a guy.

But does he belong in the Hall of Fame? There's a poll to that notion on ESPN SportsNation right now -- for the record, I am a huge Pettitte fan, but voted "no" -- and I am genuinely shocked that no less than 61% (sixty-one percent!) of the first 1800 or so votes cast came down on the side of Pettitte to Cooperstown.

Andy Pettitte, Hall of Famer? Really? A sturdy lefty with 240 wins, a 3.88 career ERA, 2251 K, a caeer ERA+ of 117, top five "Most Similars" are a NYC-heavy Boomer Wells, Kevin Brown, Bob Welch, Mike Mussina and Doc Gooden -- sounds to me like a really solid "Hall of Really Good" case, but not so much for a Cooperstown bust. Over to you, valued Bauxites ...

Thanks to valued baseball scribe Tom Tango's excellent The Book website for this head's up ... Rob Neyer, the finest feature writer/columnist has ever had, will be leaving his long-time home tomorrow for a new venture TBA. It's not precisely "Pujols to leave Cardinals" level news, but for baseball web-writers everywhere, it's durn close!

Neyer's note to fans and readers follows. Tango's note is here

A Quick Programming Note ...
By Rob Neyer

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Ken Rosenthal is reporting on Twitter that the Jays have traded Mike Napoli to the Rangers for Frank Francisco. Thanks to Bauxite chocolatethunder for the heads-up.
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According to Ken Rosenthal, the Jays have traded for Angels catcher Mike Napoli. Details to be updated as they come out.

The deal appears to be Napoli and Juan Rivera for Vernon Wells, as reported by Rosenthal and confirmed by Mike Wilner. We still don't know how much cash the Jays are sending over.

Mike Napoli steps to the plate against the Jays at the Dome August 21, 2009.  He would homer later in the game against Casey Janssen but the Jays would prevail over the Angels 5-4.  Interestingly enough, Vernon Wells also went deep in the same contest.
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The Blue Jays have signed Jon Rauch to a one-year contract at $3.5 million. There is a team option for 2012 for $3.75 million.
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