Rios nearing deal

Dsc01288DUNEDIN, Fla. — While us scribes circled Alex Rios to discuss the extension he’s apparently near signing, catcher Rod Barajas stood in the background, sporting a wide smile and flipping through a wad of hundred dollar bills.

Rios indicated that the online report that has the figures at six-years, roughly $65 million, with an option for 2015 that could push it to around $80 million, was accurate. He also told me he expected the deal be be finalized in the next few days.

Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi didn’t make it sound like he was any closer to signing Rios than he was yesterday. He said the deal was not done, Rios concurred, and Ricciardi reiterated that there’s a "deadline" for getting the contract done before the first regular season game. I’ll have more on on this in a bit.

Other notes: The Blue Jays granted catcher Sal Fasano his unconditional release. … Catcher Gregg Zaun is nursing a sore right hamstring. … United States Immigration apparently lost Armando Benitez’s paperwork and the Blue Jays have to resubmit the application to obtain a proper working visa for the pitcher. … Word is that Reed Johnson is close to signing with the Cubs.

QUOTABLE: I was standing by Frank Thomas this morning, watching the Red Sox-A’s game in the clubhouse. There were some players down the hallway, watching the game inside the weight room. We could hear those guys react to a play before we saw it happen on our TV. I said to Hurt, "Those guys must have more of a live feed than we do." He quipped: "What, they’re closer to Japan?" Nice.

Today’s lineups:

TAMPA BAY (16-5-2) at TORONTO (9-15)
at 1:05 p.m. ET at Knology Park

Elliot Johnson, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Carlos Pena, 1B
B.J. Upton, CF
Cliff Floyd, DH
Eric Hinske, 3B
Jonny Gomes, RF
Dioner Navarro, C
Andy Cannizaro, 2B

PITCHING: Jason Hammel

Shannon Stewart, LF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Alex Rios, RF
Frank Thomas, DH
Rod Barajas, C
Hector Luna, 3B
Buck Coats, CF
John McDonald, SS
John Tolisano, 2B

PITCHING: Roy Halladay



    Our outfield looks set for years to come!!! Wells in CF Rios in RF and Snider in LF. I wonder if Snider could be used as a DH or would that slow his progression? I’m thinking two or so years ahead here… Snider DH with Lind in LF???

    Rios is a future MVP candidate and having him through is prime years is a great move by management.


    Good to see Coats back in the lineup (and opening day roster?). I hope he does well.

    I can envision the headlines following a Jays victory over the Yankees: “Coats all over Wang”, or “Wang struggles to get Coats out”…


    10 runs in the 5th and 5 errors for the game?!?! Ouch! Roy WAS cruising. I think Tolisano needs a little work on his throwing.


    I was pulling for the SanFran deal to get done however, since Alex is here I am glad that he will be here for what sounds like a good contract (market-wise). The guy has talent, no doubt. The fact that he’s a stud (according to my girlfriend) just makes it easier to bring her along to some games. It’s win, win lol.

    On another note how do you guys feel about Rogers Centre getting some World baseball classic games ? I am really excited about it and am hoping that the tickets wont be a lot more then a jays game. If they’re reasonabely priced i’d love to attend some games.


    Well, yet another humiliating loss, this time a 10-0 drubbing at the hands of the Rays. I keep saying this over and over and over, but this team is in trouble. Jordan keeps telling us it is only preseason. Someone should have told that to the Jays’ opponents who keep serving them one loss after another.
    I would not be surprised to see this team 10 games back in a hurry, once the regular season starts. My pick: 4th in the east, at best.


    So now Rolen’s injury could actually take a month to recover from. I hope this doesn’t end up like Lyle Overbay last year. He never really regained his timing/rythem when he got back from a hand injury.



    THE STARTERS AREN’T PLAYING FULL TIME YET!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tolisano made 3 errors… You may ask yourself who is this guy and you will find that, HE IS A MINOR LEAGUER. This is why spring games don’t mean squatt, because the ENTIRE TEAM isn’t playing yet.


    2 weeks before they pull the pin so to speak on Rolen and I’m assuming another couple weeks before he is ready to go. Probably won’t see him till late April early May now


    If I lived anywhere even remotely close to Toronto I would check out every game at the Classic!!!


    I hear what you are saying, but something must give here. Everyone else is using minor leaguers too! So does this mean that the Jays’ minor leaguers are poor quality compared to other teams’ players? This team has shown no evidence that it is ready to compete. If you are asking me to believe that when they start the season against NY, Boston, the Tigers, etc. they are going to start playing solid, winning baseball, I do not buy it for a moment. Everyone talks about momentum being an important thing for a winning club to achieve. Let’s start seeing it. Nobody for a minute believes that Thomas is going to start swinging the bat well in a couple of weeks from now, because he hasn’t been hitting all spring. Does the same thing not apply to the other players? I am sorry, but I think that the Jays are making a big mistake by deliberately refusing (if you are correct) to play competitive games a priori.



    So by your logic, Boston (with a spring record of 7-11) are in for a poor regular season? And Tampa Bay is going to run away with the A.L. East by continuing to play at a .773 clip? And Detroit and Cleveland are going to muddle along around the .500 level?

    I guess I see your point, but I just don’t think it’s time to panic and run for the hills just yet….


    Okay guys calm down. I was actually at the game today (and will be at the next two as well)and it really was Tolisano’s errors that cost the game. I know he’s a young kid (just 18) and he won’t be playing for us this year so it’s not that big a deal. By the way two of his errors were on 1 play! This was what should have been an easy double play that he mishandled and then threw into the seats (very Chuck Knoblauch!) all this while the bases were loaded. This opened the floodgates. One play I was a little concerned about was Overbay’s Bill Buckner style fielding in that same inning where he was looking at the runner at third before he caught the ball. I hope he gets that ironed out before the season opens but I guess it happens. Overall though the game was well played if you don’t include that 1 inning, and if you take into account the errors they should have been out of the inning with only one run scored (the solo shot by Gomes to lead off the inning, which was a no doubter by the way). Although the thing that worries me the most was they’re lack of ability to hit. This was a huge problem last year and except for Shannon Stewart, the hitting did not look good today. I also saw that someone made a comment about Thomas’ double today. I’d like to point out that he JUST made it in to second, and no slide either. Talk about a slow train coming! I’ll try to update some highlights from the next two games that don’t get mentioned in this blog. bye for now.


    I sort of see your point Burt.

    I don’t think your being as literal as people are taking you to be, but saying that, it can’t inspire confidence in people knowing that Rolen will be out for how long, Overbay really doesn’t seem to be hitting very well, and Vernon is not coming out looking like he did in 06.

    I am glad that Macdonald is picking up more hits, it’s just a matter of time before he takes the job from Eckstein, who is going to look bad as a shortstop now that Rolen isn’t there to pickup those grounders to his right.


    Actually, i just checked the stats, and i think id like to retract my statements about Wells and Overbay.

    JMac still rocks though !

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