Jays add Thomson and other notes

On Tuesday, Toronto signed 33-year-old right-hander John Thomson to a one-year deal worth $500,000. The contract also includes performances bonuses based on starts that could push Thomson’s salary up to around $4 million. Adding Thomson with an incentive-based deal is a good plan for the Jays. Toronto needs to replace the 180-odd innings that left with Ted Lilly’s departure and Thomson notched near or more than 200 innings in each of the 2003-04 seasons with Atlanta.

If he is truly over his history of injury woes — shoulder inflammation that cost him two months last year, a blister on his middle finger that sidelined him earlier in the season, mild elbow soreness near the end of last Spring Training, a more serious finger tendon injury that cost him three months in 2005, and surgery on his rotator cuff in ’99 — then this could be a bargain for Toronto. Should Thomson emerge as the No. 3 starter the Jays have been searching for, the Jays rotation could be in better shape than it was a year ago.

Also, if Thomson can successfully become the No. 3 starter, that would keep lefty Gustavo Chacin as the No. 4, which is where he is probably better suited. Thomson said he was under the impression that he was heading into Spring Training with a job to lose — not to compete for a job.

So if he pitches well, that leaves Shaun Marcum, Casey Janssen, Josh Towers and Dustin McGowan left competing for the last rotation spot. Marcum appears to be the frontrunner. Toronto was impressed with how he finished last season and he was more consistent than the other three pitchers. Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi has already stated that McGowan will most likely begin at Triple-A (Toronto secured that fourth option year for him). Towers could be a solid fifth starter if he can find his 2005 form, but who knows how likely that is after his 2-10 showing a year ago. Towers and McGowan will have to really show something this spring to realistically have a shot.


–All Thomson had to say on his conference call today was that a couple of reasons he chose Toronto was that he has been impressed with the outfield defense, which is led by three-time Gold Glover Vernon Wells, and the pitcher liked the prospect of pitching to catcher Gregg Zaun. In fact, Thomson did say both of those things. Thomson added some other unnecessary shots at the Mets and catcher Paul Lo Duca, though. New York was the only club other than Toronto to offer Thomson a Major League contract, but the starter liked what he saw with the Jays better:

"As far as just looking at Paul Lo Duca across the field, I’m not really into how he acts behind the plate," Thomson said. "I know a bit about Gregg Zaun and I know he wants to win and he’s not going to let anything get in his way to do that, and I like that. And then with Vernon Wells in centre field, I’m not really concerned about the outfield with him out there.  . . . Just watching the Mets outfield, if Cliff Floyd is out there it’s not a real good fit for him out there. He can hit the ball but as far as defence, he’s a little shaky. I just liked what’s happening in Toronto."

–The Globe and Mail’s Jeff Blair writes on his blog that, "The Blue Jays will invite [Robbie] Alomar to Toronto this summer to herald his induction onto the team’s Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre. The club wanted to do it this past season when the Philadelphia Phillies were in town for an interleague series between June 30-July 2 — Phillies general manager Pat Gillick and former president Paul Beeston were to be part of the ceremony — but couldn’t get all the ducks lined up."

Also on Tuesday, Toronto agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth $825,000 with reliever Jason Frasor, thus avoiding arbitration. Now, Scott Downs, Reed Johnson, Alex Rios and Lyle Overbay remain as the only unsigned arb-eligible players for the Jays. The Blue Jays have talked with the agents for each player and Toronto is considering the possibility of a multi-year deal with Overbay.

–One pitcher to pay attention to this spring is reliever Francisco Rosario. The right-hander is out of options and will be in the running for a bullpen job. Barring injury, B.J. Ryan, Brandon League, Jeremy Accardo, Brian Tallet, Downs and Frasor all appear to be locks for the bullpen. That leaves one open spot, which Toronto manager John Gibbons said could go to either lefty Davis Romero, newly acquired righty Geremi Gonzalez or Rosario. If Romero won the job, Toronto would have four lefties and three righties in the bullpen. If Rosario doesn’t get the job, he’d have to clear waivers before being sent to Triple-A Syracuse.

That’s all for right now. I hope everyone had a good holiday and a happy new year. I’ve booked my flight to Florida, rented my car and got my living arrangements all set up for Spring Training. Now, if only that reporting date could come quicker so I could be down south soaking up the sun.

Stay tuned for more…


  1. tkpage@hotmail.com

    I like the Thomson deal.If he has overcame his health issues,he could be exactly what the Jays have been looking for at a fraction of the cost.It is also a nice fit for Thompson as well.I like incentive laden contracts because the guy will pitch his butt off to make the maximum of his contract.If he breaks down,the Jays don’t have alot tied up.For those who are bummed that the Jays didn’t land the big fish,you will be happier at the trade deadline when the Jays have the resources and the cash to pick up some veteran help from a team thats out of it.Trading Rios,Lind or Johnson is only good if you get a Jon Garland or someone of similar caliber.There will also be some average arms available going into spring training that could be brought in for insurance.Shaun Marcuum will improve this year and with 1 year under his belt,will go on to win 10-12 games for the Jays.Roy,AJ and Gustavo should all bounce back from injury to get 3o-35 starts each with the majority of those being wins.Josh Towers will step up in the bullpen and be a quality reliever.By the end of the year, fans will be saying Ted who? Gil who? Hey,Could be just a dream but not impossible.

  2. wacey_13@hotmail.com

    Dear Baseball World,

    OK…I’m tired of it and I know I speak for others who believe that baseball should stand for it’s history and integrity…IF the commissioner of baseball DOES NOT do something to STOP Barry Bonds while the investigation is going on, then may the commissioner’s name be associated for the rest of baseball history for relinquishing the record of home runs by Hank Aaron a very worthy and MORAL player…

    If I were commissioner, BUT I’m NOT I would STRIP Bonds of at least 150 HR’s and suspend him UNTIL the Federal investigation against him is over…After the investigation the commissioner would be a hero for stopping what will be WORSE than the White Sox scandal…

    Like I have seen before at ballparks and it is TRUE, The Babe did it with hotdodgs and beer, Aaron did it character Bonds will do it with Drugs…

    Can’t ANYONE see, just look at the body shape and the statistics, he was NEVER the HR threat whom pitcher’s feared when he was with Pittsburgh and then at age 40 rejuvenation??? WAKE UP COMMISSIONER and BASEBALL WORLD!!! Look at career’s in baseball, NO ONE at the age of 40 had their career suddenly surge UPWARDS the way Bond’s career has and maintained that POWER…Yes, I’m talking about his POWER, he does have a good eye, because it does take a good eye to hit a major league baseball pitched to them, this is about the POWER enhancing drugs he’s been taking…

    EVEN Today, there is a story out how he tried to blame a team mate LAST year, 2006 for giving him amphetamines…Makes me ill…

    How much money Mr. Bonds DID you pay your trainer to stay quiet and NOT reveal what you have been doing??? You’re NOT liked by your teammates, you’re egotistical and care about one thing and it’s NOT baseball, It’s ALL ABOUT BARRY BONDS!!! The sad part is YOU CAN’T even do it with integrity…

    At least, Mark McGwire stepped down when baseball was going to take another look

    into steroids, BUT no one says anything about that… McGwire could’ve hit another 50 or maybe another 100 HR’s for his career…BUT knew what

    BASEBALL means to the people…

    Bond’s doesn’t care, and he shows it and states it, “I don’t care what other people think about me…” Why??? Cause it’s ALL about BARRY BONDS, and now he’s in so deep how could he gracefully back out??? 1) QUIT NOW BONDS…2) Tell and admit to the baseball world what you did…and 3) Out of respect for BASEBALL and all those who played the game with dignity and integrity, tell baseball to take 150 HR’s OFF your record…

    We lived with the asterisk before (poor Roger Maris) We can live with the asterisk again…

    For once Mr. Bonds, be a REAL MAN and come clean to the baseball world which already knows and are trying to find ways to keep the secret down…You should have been at the congressional hearings with Sosa, McGwire, and Palmeiro…Why??? Because you have done and WILL do more to harm to baseball than all of them together…

    When you passed The Babe, it made me ill…Babe helped build The Game and Bonds is helping to Tear it down…

    Watch and remember these words, “Barry Bonds will be the BIGGEST scandal EVER in baseball when it is said and done…”

    A True Baseball Fan…

  3. kilace@hotmail.com

    It’s a shame that Rosario could probably be the oddman out. If he could perfect a secondary pitch then he would most likely have more success.

    Quite frankly I’m worried about Tallet being in the bullpen. I don’t know if the guy could last in the bigs a second time around.

  4. donniehutton@yahoo.ca

    I was just looking over what the Jays have for a roster, its starting to look really good as far as I am concerned. I have no objections with the offense (who in their right mind should?). However I do wish we could have acquired a bit better on the pitching. But I know you dont always get what you wish for. However on the upside signing Thomson to an incentive contract is awesome…I think he will end up making a good solid spot on the rotation. My prediction for pitching on opening day…..#1 Halladay, #2 Burnett, #3 Thomson, #4 Chacin, #5 Marcum. I also think Towers will make a better impression this year. Although I doubt he will be back as a regualr starter, we will see more of him this year than we think. He will make a good comeback.

    It will be tough to pick the right pitchers come playoff time as I think we will end up seeing a great deal of most of them. YES, I believe the Blue Jays will make it, I am a true Blue Jay fan, I believe they will make it every year.

  5. grade_a_282@yahoo.com

    this is a good pickup. even if he doesnt perform that great, im sure if he stays healthy he will get a few wins with our lineup, and i also think its good to add a veteran arm to help mcgowan, rosario, towers, etc.

  6. bark@rogers.com

    “…Also, if Thomson can successfully become the No. 3 starter, that would keep lefty Gustavo Chacin as the No. 4, which is where he is probably better suited…”

    What in the world does this mean? How is Chacin “better suited” as the No.4? Other than one guy pitching on April 5 and the other April 6, those rotation slots are fairly irrelevant.

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