Tag Archives: Toronto Blue Jays

HUGE Pitching News and it’s all about REVENGE! Halladay a Phil! Cliff Lee Not! Lackey Moving Too!

14 Dec

FINALLY!  After the most boring winter meetings EVAH (unless you’re a Yankee fan or president of the Curtis Granderson Fan Club),  we’ve finally got some legitimate hot stove action.  And it’s all about pitching!

John Lackey (according to ESPN.com) has signed with the Red Sox further strengthening a strong rotation.  Perhaps more importantly weakening the Angels of Los Angeles or Anaheim or where ever…  Point is losing Lackey helps the Sox get better all while damaging the team that eliminated them in this year’s playoffs.  You gotta love revenge!

The bigger news though is a three team trade that has Roy Halladay going to the Phillies of all places.  And Cliff Lee leaving the Phils for Seattle.  Toronto, I heard, is getting prospects.

Has anyone ever been better in a short try out and then traded way quicker than Cliff Lee.  What happened?  His contract was reasonable and he’s just about as good as Roy Halliday, who I’m hearing is negotiating a long-term deal with the Phillies.  Maybe Lee embarrassed himself at the company holiday party??  Just a guess.

You’ve got to give the Phillies props for testicular fortitude, but it seems to me that Lee was already pretty good and much cheaper.  But, maybe this trade is about revenge, much like the Sox signing John Lackey.  The Phillies managed to snag the off season’s biggest pitching prize and in doing so kept both Halladay & Cliff Lee away from the Yanks. 

If it does come back down to the Phillies and Yankees next year, it will be interesting to see if Halladay can top what Lee was able to do in his first start against the Yanks.

As a Mets’ and Red Sox fan and the new president of the John Lackey Fan Club, hear’s hoping we don’t find out!

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Tonight, My DVR Killed The Red Sox!

11 Aug

Yes, I’m a Red Sox fan.  Yes, getting swept in the Bronx this past weekend was pretty hard to take, but my DVR made it even worse tonight.

Earlier this evening, I was watching a show called “Baseball Seasons” on one of the many sports channels my TV package includes.  My seven year old son, who all of a sudden is getting very into baseball, loves this show.  He’s very into history too and this show combines them both.  Each episode tells the story of one season in baseball history.

The episode we watched tonight highlighted 1993, in which the Toronto Blue Jays became the first repeat World Series Champions since the late 70’s Yankees.

Anyway, there I was happily watching the show with my seven year old when I start seeing scores at the bottom of the screen.  I forget that I’m watching a show recorded days earlier on my DVR.  I see the Red Sox losing to Roy Halladay and this year’s version of the Blue Jays.  To my horror, I also see the Yankees picking up a win.

I have no idea these scores aren’t live.  I think the Red Sox have now fallen 7 1/2 games behind the hated Yankees.  I pray that my son doesn’t notice the results as they’ll break his little heart.  Luckily, he doesn’t notice a thing, but asks lots of questions about 1993.

I answer all of his questions, put him and his sister to bed, hang out with my wife, and then it’s not til just a few minutes ago that I see that the Red Sox situation is in fact exactly the opposite of what I thought it was.

Tonight, the Sox in actuality bounced back against the Tigers, while the Yankees played and lost to those same Blue Jays I thought the BoSox had lost to.  All of a sudden, the Sox are only five and a half behind the Yankees rather than 7 1/2 out.

Hope springs a new.  And that’s what’s great about baseball.  It’s a cliche, but it’s true.  The baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.

In fact, the show I watched tonight reminded me of that.  In 1993, the Braves trailed the Giants by almost double figures at one point in their race for the NL West title.  With the addition of Fred McGriff, great pitching and some luck, Atlanta ended up catching San Fran and winning the division title by one game.  104 wins to 103.  (In those days, there was no wildcard, so the Giants just got to go home despite winning 103 ball games.  Ouch!)

Anyway, here’s the point.  The DVR could not kill my Red Sox.  There is a wildcard and there’s about 50 games left.  The Yankees and the Red Sox have a lot of games left.  The Sox have been injured and are beginning to heal.  The Yanks have been relatively healthy, but are an old team.

You see where I’m going with this.  Yes, Yankee fans should be very pleased with their team.  The Bombers are going to be in the playoffs.  They’ll probably win the division.

But, they’re probably not done with the Red Sox.  And that’s what’s great about this rivalry.

On The Other, There’s Roy Halladay, An Old Guy Who’s Worth The Investment!

21 Jul

I just posted my absolutely correct opinion that the Phoenix Suns made a huge mistake signing 35 year old Steve Nash to a two year extension that will run out when he’s 38.  38, is 214 in point guard years, especially when you’ve played in the Phoenix speed it up offense.

So, why then do I think Roy Halladay at 32 is worth everything you can throw at Toronto to get him?

It’s simple.  Pitching is an elusive art and betting on pitcher development is complete crap shoot.  I grew up a Mets’ fan.  I’m in my 40s (although still super sexy).  I lived through Generation K.

For anyone younger and less sexy than me, Generation K was a nickname given to three can’t miss prospects of the Mets back in the long ago 1990s.  All three guys were supposed to be future aces and the future looked damn bright on the mound at Shea.  Only something happened on the way to glory.  Not one of the three made it as a big league starter.  Injuries and ineffectiveness doomed all their careers.

Jason Isringhausen went on to have the biggest career of the three, but it wasn’t as a starter.

Anyway, the point is that predicting how pitchers mature is next to impossible.  So, as much as I tend to always favor youth when my teams are looking to make personal changes, for pitching I tend to take a bit different view.  For ace pitchers in particular, I’ve got a whole other mindset.

When Johan Santana was available.  I couldn’t believe the hated Yankees didn’t go stronger after him.  The Yankees held onto their allegedly talented young pitchers rather than dealing for the 30 year old and far from done Minnesota ace.  Where did it get them?  Out of the playoffs last year.

And that’s why for a team in contention, Halladay at 32, is worth whatever Toronto can be persuaded to take for him.   Whether a team in contention is built just for today or for the long run, there should be no hesitation.

Roy Halladay is the real deal.  He’s going to be an effective pitcher for years who may be able to put you over the top now.

What about that amazing prospect or prospects you’ll have to give up?  Well, if they’re pitchers, I wouldn’t worry too much. 

After all, I’m a Mets’ fan and even I can’t recall the names of the other two members of Generation K….

 

PS – OK, yes I can.  I just wanted to make a point and end with something snappy.  Why am I cursed with such a memory for sports?!  The other members of Generation K were Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson.

Here’s a bonus picture of them in case you thought I was making it all up:

Grading Baseball’s Latests Hits – 3 Managers Bite The Dust!

22 Jun

What a week it’s been for Major League Baseball fans.  Three managers bit the dust within moments of each other in some kind of crazy “tag, you’re it” manager firing orgy.  Does that last sentence make any sense?  No matter.  The point is baseball fans haven’t seen this much blood since Nolan Ryan pounded a head locked Robin Ventura into submission years ago.  (You’ll note – Mr. Ventura never again charged Nolan after that)

Let’s take a look at how much credit or blame the three teams deserve for the whacking of their head men:

New York Mets – Split Grade – A (for the move) / F (for the way it was handled) / C (for the aftermath)

Give them credit for being the first ones to the dance.  The Mets shocked their fan base by firing Willie Randolph while most of us slept back on the East Coast.  In fairness, most weren’t surprised by Willie being let go so much as how it was done.  Without wasting space here, let’s just say The Mets officially proved they can no longer be considered the classier of the two New York baseball teams in terms of how they handle manager dismissals.  Somewhere in baseball heaven, this is, of course, no relief to Billy Martin.

Randolph needed to go.  After last season’s choke job and being under .500 as a club for over a year while having one of baseball’s largest payrolls, that much was clear.  The Mets went to Jerry Manuel as a replacement and a solid one at that.  Manuel was once upon a time the manager of the year for the Chicago White Sox.  Since, his promotion, Manuel has won a couple of games and threatened to “cut” Jose Reyes, which got him a lot of negative publicity.  Given the Mets’ play over the last year, maybe it’s past time to let the players know they could be whacked too…

Seattle Mariners – Split Grade – A (for the move) / C (for McLaren’s replacement)

Second up on this week’s hit parade was Seattle’s John McLaren.  Seattle, with a relatively high payroll considering their market, was expected to do big things this year.   About the only big thing they’ve managed to do is lose and lose big.  By the time he was fired, Seattle was 25-47 and seriously threatening to become the first team with a plus $100 million payroll to ever lose 100 games in a season.  Now, McLaren won’t have the chance to guide his team into that record book.

For what it’s worth to McLaren, perhaps he can take comfort in the fact that Seattle let his boss GM Bill Bavasi go as well. It was obvious something had to be done about this season and it’s obvious this mess wasn’t all McLaren’s fault.  A long time assistant, McLaren took over last year when Mike Hargrove quit on the team.  Although Seattle won 88 games last year, you couldn’t help noticing that their play down the stretch was even worse than that of Willie Randolph’s Mets.  Seattle lost 15 of 17 and didn’t make the playoffs.  Ouch!

And for help the Mariners turn to?  Jim Riggleman.  Yes, Jim Riggleman a two time former manager who hasn’t been the top guy for a MLB team since 1999 (the last Millennium).  Give Seattle credit for finding a veteran hand to guide them through the rest of the season.  Plus, his career sub .500 winning percentage as a manager suits the team perfectly…

Toronto Blue Jays – Split Grade – (B- for the move) / (D+ for Gibbons’ Replacement)

As much as the Mets firing was greeted incorrectly as a surprise in many parts, the Jays’ firing of manager John Gibbons was a true surprise.  Gibbons was sure he was safe for this season.  Turned out, he was very wrong.  The bigger shock was the direction the team decided to move in post-Gibbons.  The past!

It’s clear Toronto has underachieved over the last few years.  They never have come close to seriously threatening the BoSox and Bronx Bombers’ domination of the AL East.  Maybe that brought on a pang of nostalgia.  How else do you explain the Blue Jays hiring Cito Gaston for a second act in Toronto?

Gaston’s first act was a success to be sure.  Two World Series titles looks fantastic on a resume absolutely.  That said, second acts rarely work in sports or in life.  It’s tough to reclaim past glory. 

Doubt that fact?  How do you explain these second term failures?  Joe Gibbs in DC.  Red Holtzman in New York.  And the second Sonny and Cher show (the one after they were divorced and bet you thought I was going to go for the obvious Bush joke!).

Cito Gaston, despite winning two titles, never was thought of as a top tier major league manager back in the day.  Incorrectly or not, that’s the lingering perception.  Since he ended his first run in Toronto over a decade ago, he’s never managed again.  This second act will determine Gaston’s legacy.  If he can right the ship and return the Jays to glory, then he’ll be thought of as a great manager.  If not, he’ll be thought of as, well, Cito Gaston, a guy who won two championships a long time ago.  Yawn…

PS – While Gibbons is gone for those looking for more blood, it might be good to keep an eye on Jays’ GM J.P. Ricciardi.  The GM has been on the scene in Toronto for some time and has failed to turn things around while recently embarrassing the organization for his comments on Reds’ player Adam Dunn.  Ricciardi apologized, but ultimately will he be “Dunn” in to?