Sal's Pals coming back to TO

FasanoTORONTO – Sal Fasano is back. Well, the Jays signed him to a Minor League contract and gave him an invite to Spring Training at least.

It’s the same contract he received with Toronto last season and it means the Jays aren’t done looking for a backup catcher. On a conference call today, Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said that the club may look at some free agents or for a catcher via trade. No kidding.

But, Ricciardi did note that Miguel Olivo, who was recently non-tendered by the Marlins, was indeed on the Jays’ radar. Olivo isn’t great defensively, but he has a solid arm and can hit lefties — the criteria Toronto’s looking for in the catcher who will back up Gregg Zaun.

The Jays also officially announced the David Eckstein signing. He will hit leadoff and start over John McDonald at short — sorry Johnny Mac fans. Eckstein is declining defensively, though, so there’s a chance JMac could win the job again during the year, similar to last year when the Jays brought in Royce Clayton.

39 Comments

I would only hope that if Eckstein does struggle Johny will be awarded the starter’s role again. The guy is fantastic to watch (defensively) but as of today, I am happy with the Eckstein signing.

Nice to see Sal with the same contract as last year. As much as the guys like him I think there are better options out there as a backup. As a 3rd stringer though Sal’s an excellent choice.

Well, the good news is Fasano is back. If all he does is help out Diaz and Thigpen in AAA, the investment is well worth while-although I hope they keep him up here.

Interesting enough, Fasano loves hitting against left handers. He hit .327 with a .398 OBP in Syracuse, and most of his hr’s came off of lefties.

Olivio is a lot like Zaunie, hits for higher average against lefties but most of his home runs against righties. Olivio has a strong throwing arm, but you got to hope he catches the ball in order to throw it.

12 errors with 16 passed balls. Yep, I can see Burnett, Halliday, McGowan and Marcum really liking throwing to this guy. lol

The only thing worse, is if Eckstein is guarding 2nd base when Olivio throws. lol

Olivio is coming off a contract of $2 mill per year.

Both Fasano and Olivo seem like pretty poor choices. Olivo’s a sieve behind the plate and Fasano’s far from being, well, “spry”. But then again, there don’t seem to be a lot of options out there. And at least Sal’s a fun guy to cheer for.

With that said, thank the good Lord that the days of Jason Phillips have come and gone. Although I have to say, I miss his hilarious running style and his odd habit of sticking his tongue out while batting, running, throwing, and doing just about anything….

I really like Fasano and I hope the team finds a job for him when his playing days are done. I also wonder how much of Olivo’s problems are due to Florida’s pitching staff? Willis for sure has a tendency to let one get away from time to time. Given the kind of job security the Jays are offering, we may not have a lot of choice in who we get. I hope Diaz is ready sooner than later.

Im still going to sing Damian Millers praises.

This season the guy caught 446inning / 56 games and only had one passed ball, and he was catching the brewers who have a groundballing crew notably(suppan). He also has a super high fielding percentage. He’s great with the young kids too, guess who was the catcher for the A’s when then had the fab 3 ? Yep, Miller.

Olivio made 2 mill last year, Miller 2.25 — but as a 38 year old he wont demand a substantial raise like a 31 year old Olvio would.

Also him and Olivio have baseically the same caught stealing percentage.

Though Sal threw out 4 people last year, not many, but still us Toronto fans aren’t used to that. Suffice it to say we were wowed !

Dan Haren just got dealt to Arizona. Some good news for the jays as it means that the yanks or sox will not get him. Having said that, will this make the yankess get back in the Santanna hunt ? we shall see.

For what it’s worth i was listening to the fan yesterday and Bob Elliot said that he wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Lincicum for Rios deal comes back up again. He reasons with the thought that the giants have been saying that they need at least 2 bats all offseason long and so far they only have 1.

dave

Frankly, with Fasano having a knee operation, he should be healthy this year. If we really believe Diaz will be ready by June, my vote would be to pass on signing anyone else.

Besides Zaun likes to play a lot and Fasano can spell him for a game or so each week until Diaz is ready. In addition, Fasano knows Marcum, McGowan and Litsch from AAA. He also knows Halliday and Burnett from last year A new guy wouldn’t know any of our pitchers and by the time he figures them out Diaz should be ready.

If Diaz isn’t ready by June we could always pick someone up for the 2nd half if we’re in contention. If we’re not in contention, it doesn’t matter anyway.

I agree with you gsumner, and the Jays probably do too. If they can get another catcher or a decent arm on their terms, they will take him, but otherwise they will stay pat. They need to win 96 games this year, and the present crew can do it if:
1) they stay healthy-they don’t have the luxury of recruiting a Bobby Abreu if Wells or Rios goes down.

2)hit with men on base-especially in away games-hopefully Gary Denbo can fix this.

3)their young pitching staff has a repeat of last year-no Josh Towers syndrome please.

This is likely a make or break year for John Gibbons as well. If the team stays healthy and doesn’t contend, we will see a lot of new faces in the dugout in 2009.

Eckstein was dealing with a lower back and oblique strain last year. That could be a good explanation for his bad defensive numbers last year. If he is recovered im sure we will see a better showing this year. He might not be gold glove material, but he should be more than adequate.

toth i’d like to think that it is a make or break year for both John and J.p. I think J.p. does have what it takes to make this a real contending team, but if the results aren’t there this coming year, then i’d say it is time to fire him. Frankly, i’d give him another year if they finish within 3 games of a playoff spot.

What now who can you believe anymore Zaun says no clemens says no????????.”I SAY YES” Why would they release this report without some proof so how do you people see it “YES” or “NO.

I have to say that i’ve liked the way Roberts and Pettite have come out and admitted it, and then apologized. I’ll still cheer for guys like that.
Granted some apologies have to be taken with a grain of salt, but those 2 guys in particular seem sincere about it.

It’s the Zuan’s Glaus’ (silent type) and Clemons’ of the world that I don’t care for.

Roger Clements states he didn’t take steroids. So what did he think Macnamee was pumping into his butt with the needles Roger provided-Autologen?

Was the rocket getting a “butt enhancement?”

I’m with you enigma, I have more respect for the Giambi’s, Roberts and Pettites than I do for the guys like Clemens who continue the lie.

They named 85 guys-primarly from one or two sources. These guys didn’t buy $45 million dollars of this junk, which is what the drug store sold in a year.

I’d bet 75% to 85% of all players were on something. The more they deny, the worse it is.

If MLB sweeps this under the rug they will taint baseball forever,they have to punish all players involved no matter who they are,As for Zaun he is a cheater get rid of him the same for Glaus.

thegarry

I 100% agree with you that all players should be punnished. I also agree that we should get rid of Zaun and Glaus. But is it because they are cheaters? Or is it because they have foot injuries and do not put up big numbers. I mean would we react the same way if Halladay was on the list?

As much as I love our ace I would feel the same as for Glaus i belive he will hit around 290 40 HR 130 RBI’s
But he has to go.

Garry

The problem is, there’s a lot more than 85 guys who took this stuff-probably 75% of all players took it.

So if you do punish the offenders, we need to find out who ALL the offenders were first-and that isn’t going to happen.

If you can prove anyone used steroids you can and must punish them,
You can’t punish those you can’t prove it against.

Also you can’t punish those who do not play anymore but the baseball writers of america can.”HALL OF FAME”

We have to remeber this report is based on what two sources revealed. There is no solid evidence, even the cheques because they could have been for anything. Everyone should move on and focus on what we have now. Keep implementing the latest in steroid tests to players and realize that the past was a darker time in baseball and everyone was pressured to do it. Its sad but if you ask me all this steroid talk is being blown out way to late and more for ratings. just an opinion. dont hate. Love Glaus, and Zaun and until proven otherwise there all good in my books.

We have to remeber this report is based on what two sources revealed. There is no solid evidence, even the cheques because they could have been for anything. Everyone should move on and focus on what we have now. Keep implementing the latest in steroid tests to players and realize that the past was a darker time in baseball and everyone was pressured to do it. Its sad but if you ask me all this steroid talk is being blown out way to late and more for ratings. just an opinion. dont hate. Love Glaus, and Zaun and until proven otherwise there all good in my books.

It looks like congress will hold hearings in January on the baseball steroids issue and might call players to testify.

I hope they supoena each and every player named in the Mitchell report to testify under oath. I’d like to see how Roger Clemens and others who denied they used the stuff answer the questions asked by a congressional committee.

Of course if any of them lie, they could be subject to charges like Barry Bonds.

Will that happen? Well, McGuire whimpered, cried, mumbled and ducked the questions while Sosa and Palmerio stated emphatically they didn’t use the stuff-and these guys weren’t charged-only Barry Bonds. Funny how that worked out!!!

The truth is Sosa should be brought up on charges for his testimony at those hearings.

The only thing I remember him saying: “My English is not so good”.

BS, he’s been a ball player in America for 20 years and, though they generally let him off the hook, every media report I saw had baseball writers stating he speaks perfectly fine english.

Could we give the steroid thing a rest. So what if every player in the 90′s or earlier did them. I would. Here kid take some of this. What’s it do. Why it makes you run faster, hit the ball farther, and will heal up that shoulder probelm quicker. Is it illegal? Only in the Olympics kid. I will say that the need to set guidelines for the punishments. Like pick a year and anyone who used them after that is clear. Pick a substance, like perhaps maybe only actually steroids and not growth hormones?

Compliments Of SI.Com

CLEVELAND (AP) — Commissioner Bud Selig defended baseball’s drug-testing program Tuesday in the wake of the Mitchell Report, which cast a shadow over the sport by singling out some of its biggest stars as cheaters.

Selig, who last week pledged he would act on recommendations made in the 409-page report, insisted baseball has been proactive in identifying players who used steroids and other banned performance-enhancing drugs.

“I’m proud of where we are,” Selig said. “We have the toughest testing program in American sports. We banned amphetamines, which were a problem in our sport for seven or eight decades.”

***If he and everyone else knew amphetamines were a problem for the last 70 to 80 years, why did it take so long to ban???????

Hilarious!!!!!

We all know in the end very little will be done so maybe mcdannymartin is right forget the roids but can we.
Why not just worry about how the Jays are going to do this year,you know if they all come back healhy we will have one of the best clubs in the game….But one thing that upset me this year was the deal with JM why lie to him like JP did as far as i’m concernd JP has no credibility at all.

Garry

Honestly, I don’t see us finishing higher than 3rd place in the AL east and that is assuming everyone comes back healthy. If they don’t or if we have a lot of injuries, we could finish 4th.

I just don’t see us being as strong as Boston, New York, Cleveland, Detroit or LA. I also see Tampa Bay making a big move up this year.

So my bet would be Boston winning the division, New York 2nd, Detroit winning the AL central, LA winning the west and a dog fight for the wild card between NY and Cleveland.

Every year the Yankees are shoe in for a playoff spot, except for this year… How can a rotation of old Petite, Mussina and possibly Clemens with virtual rookies Hughes, Chamberlain and Kennedy as their rotation be a playoff team??? I can’t see it… and I like our rotation much better as well as our pen! The Red Sox however are a different story… They are solid from top too bottom. The Jays give the Sox a run only if the Sox have a pile of injuries.

rmatty Yea I can’t see the yanks getting into the playoffs this year unless they are able to grab Santana, and god forbid the redsox get him. The sox are also due for some injuries from last year, and we are due for a healthy season. But one never knows what can happen.

Oh check this out http://www.torontosun.com/Sports/Baseball/2007/12/19/4731851-sun.html this is an article about JP and all of his Good and Bad decisions that he made. I think the Bad out weighs the Good. But check it out and tell me what you think.

Freedom

I think Elliot missed a few trades. He dealt Hudson to Arizona for Glaus, which I’d rate as a good trade for both teams. He also dealt Dave Bush, Zack Jackson and Gross to Milwaukee for Lyle Overbay. Although, I didn’t like giving up Jackson at the time, he still hasn’t got past AAA, so I’d rate the deal as even. He dealt Kevin Cash to Tampa for Chad Gaudin-which I felt was a great trade-then dealt Gaudin off to his old friend Billy Bean and I can’t even remember who we got in that trade. It seemed like a gift at the time.

Elliot glossed over the drafting and signing of Travis Snider-who’s going to be a good one. I think that was a good move. I also think David Purcey, Rickie Romero and Brett Cecil will turn out to be good decisions.

The best trade of his tenure was Hillebrand for Accardo, and the worst move of his tenure was not keeping Chris Carpenter.

Although, I liked the signing at the time, I now believe signing Frank Thomas was a mistake. As much as I like the guy, I do not like a combination of him and Glaus running the basepaths.

I also hope he has changed draft tactics. I understand he needed to draft college guys initially to get guys to the majors as quickly as possible. As a result a lot of the guys he drafted were safe choices. I hope our draft focus is now predominately high school with prospects with high ceilings; and if they’re position players guys that can also run and throw-not just hit.

We also need to get scouts back into the Carribean and South America. Past Blue Jays teams had great players from this area, and it’s like we walked away from it.

Although, I do not like a number of the moves JP has made this off season, my biggest complaint with JP is what appears to be his undying faith in John Gibbons. I do not believe we will ever win a playoff spot as long as Gibbons is manager.

rmatty

Well, the Yanks are back into the Santana sweepstakes, so stay tuned.

Anything Steinbrenner has to say you have to assume the opposite is happening… I can’t stand the Yankees and hope he goes to Boston and thins out their prospects a little.

JP has done a decent job in my opinion… A couple great trades (Accardo/Hillenbrand and Overbay) and a couple dumb moves (Romero over Tullowitski) but under a restricted budget he has done a solid job.

As fans we have no choice…JP is the GM Gibbons is the manager for now.

Now for Debo the Yanks had a poor season with him as the hitting coach they got rid of him and they could hit again dont get your hopes up for this guy.

GOOD NEWS Wells will start working with a bat again.

gsumner if our starters are better than last year as i belive they will be i see us as the wild card even santana cant help them.

As for santana if Ted Rogers reads this blog why not sign him he will help the team plus the box office i’ll bet he brings in enough to pay himself you cant loose.

Although sometimes he makes me shake my head,JP hasn’t done a bad job overall.Trades and signings are always a risk as they are only as good as the players perform after they are made.If the guys you trade away excell and those you get **** then you’re a bum.If the vice versa happens you’re a hero.Some GM’s have the knack for it which requires a keen eye for talent but you also have to get lucky once in a while.As for Santana,I like him but the price is too high.Our top 3 starters can pitch with him on any given day if they bring their A game to the hill.Save the extra coin for rewarding Doc’s loyalty to the club and if McGowan and Marcum continue to get better we will evenually have to pay them as well.The Jays are a team that can’t tie up 20 mill in one guy who plays every 5 days.

Most times when Curt Shilling makes an entry to his blog or comments to the press, I think the guy just likes seeing his name in print and I do not like him.

However, I agree whole heartedly with his comments concerning Roger Clemens, in which he stated if Roger cannot clear his name, he should give up the 4 Cy Young awards he won since 1977 and his win record should stop at the 192 wins he won previous to that date.

In my opinion, if baseball continues to blacklist Pete Rose from the Hall of Fame for placing a legal bet on his own team, then how can they let Clemens, Bonds, McGuire, Sosa and all the other cheaters into the Hall without looking like hypocrites.

You can review the entire entry of Shillings blog at 38pitches.com.

Regardless of how you feel about these guys “allegedly” taking steroids the only thing against them is hearsay circumstatial evidence. Until a failed drug test is proved I don’t see how these guys can lose their standing in MLB.

What I don’t understand is how these guys didn’t fail tests when they were using substances like Deca-Durabolin. That drug can be detected in your system for up to a year. Worst drug to take when you SHOULD be drug tested is Deca and I can’t believe they were’t caught. Unless of course MLB is hiding something or these “stars” were somehow not tested properly.

Major League Baseball can’t treat it’s “superstars” any different from any other MLB player. Where this will play out for Bonds, Clements, etc., is in the how the Baseball Writers of America view their eligibility for the Hall of Fame. Mark McGwire should have been elected on the first ballot in other circumstances, but he received only about 1/3 of the ballots he needed. This could change over time, but it’s an indication of where the BWA stands right now.

We all forget that John Gibbons started off as a rookie manager with the Jays, and is still one of the lowest paid managers in Baseball. I like to remember that Ozzie Guillen chose him for his bench coach in the 2006 all star game when he could have had Joe Torre, Terry Francona, or any other AL manager. Last year, he had 12 players on the 40 man roster undergo surgery, and many others on the DL, and still managed to finish over .500 in the toughest division in Baseball. Not bad for a clown. Compare that to 92-93 when the Jays had the highest payroll in baseball, Joe Carter was the highest paid player, and Cito could photocopy his lineup cards for the week.

BTW gsumner, Pete Rose was suspended for betting on baseball, which is a far more serious offense than taking PEDs. That is why it carries a lifetime suspension, rather than just a few games.

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