Only 23 more days

Thumbnail image for bmtc.jpgThat’s how long remains until the Blue Jays’ pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Spring Training in Dunedin, Fla. Mark it down: February 14. That means it’s three weeks until yours truly hops on a plane and jets for the Florida sun, leaving the bitter cold of Toronto behind.

It’s been a while since I blogged and, well, I guess you could blame this winter of inactivity on the Blue Jays’ part. There hasn’t been a ton going on, with the exception of a few Minor League contracts (Matt Clement, Mike Maroth, Michael Barrett, Raul Chavez).

On Tuesday night, I did head over to the annual State of the Franchise event, which gives season-ticket holders a townhall type setting to hit the Blue Jays’ brass with questions. GM J.P. Ricciardi, manager Cito Gaston and interim prez Paul Beeston were all on hand for the hour-long Q&A.

Typically, this event has included a lot of questions about the ballpark — whether it’s concerns about concessions or renovations — or about ticket sales and other off-the-field topics. This year, the questions were nearly all about the roster or the budget, and the lack of moves made by the team this offseason.

Of note from the question-and-answer session:

–Ricciardi said the Jays did not agressively pursue slugger Jason Giambi because, A) it’d make the lineup too left-handed (what?) and, B) it’d take at-bats away from youngsters Adam Lind and Travis Snider. The latter would seem to be the main concern.

–It was revealed that, if healthy, Casey Janssen is likely the frontrunner for a spot in Toronto’s rotation. Ricciardi said that would leave Scott Richmond battling out Maroth and Clement for the fifth spot. Then again, the GM added that if a young arm (Cecil, Romero, Mills, for example) steps up in a big way this spring, they could fight their way into a job.

–Ricciardi said the Jays are stepping up their scouting overseas and noted that the club is even in talks right now with a Japanese pitcher.

–Ricciardi and Gaston both said they’d prefer a “catch and throw guy” for the No. 2 catcher’s job. That being the case, one catcher to monitor this spring is prospect Brian Jeroloman. He’ll be battling Chavez, Barrett and Thigpen for the backup role.

–The Jays didn’t ask Halladay to skip the World Baseball Classic, but the team doesn’t mind that he decided against taking part. Gaston and Ricciardi are both hoping the tourney can help hitters like Wells and Rios get off to a hot start, as was the case in 2006.

–Beeston emphasized that Toronto’s budget doesn’t have a limit. He said lowering the payroll to $85 million was “an organizational decision” aimed at helping the club break even financially. Once the club gets into a better financial state, it will be able to better afford high-profile players in future offseasons. With the current economy, and the injuries within the rotation, the club felt this season was better used as a way to get better footing financially, while also giving some young players some much-needed experience.

There was more, but for now, those are some of the highlights for you all to ponder and discuss. And, with the Jays offseason activity in mind, I leave you with this:

12 Comments

The Beatles want it, the Jays want it, heck I want it all the time. Lets just rob the Yankees on a road trip. Hold Steinbrenner for ransom … this is not a serious idea.

The Florida sun sure does seem nice. Yesterday must have been the first I’ve seen the sun in a month (the weather).

The Jays have had a pretty good left-handed/right-handed balance over the past couple of years. Where has that gotten our hitters? Rolen, Rios and Wells are pretty viable righties, so I don’t understand that.
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

JB, thank you for that u-tube video-it was great.

In an interview, on the Fan 590 with Bob McGowan, Jeff Blair from The Star stated Beeston told him “the days of Rogers losing $10-$20 million or more per year on The Jays is over. That comment suggests current Rogers management isn’t as gung ho on The Jays as Mr. Ted Rogers was. I assume that means Rogers doesn’t view the “Jays content” to be worth the investment. Unfortunate that new management doesn’t appear to have the foresight and long term investment view that Mr. Ted Rogers did.

Or maybe it’s also market reality for Rogers and they can’t sell the ads on Jays broadcasts at the same amount and frequency as previous years. That also must be the reason CBC dropped The Jays games, since tv networks don’t drop profitable venues-not these days.

One way or the other, I think only one shoe has dropped. Subsiduaries which are no longer considered to be “core assets” tend to get moved, particulary in a recession. Let’s hope when the other shoe drops, it’s supplied by someone in Toronto.

Two more lies from JP:

“Ricciardi said the Jays did not aggressively pursue slugger Jason Giambi because, A) it’d make the lineup too left-handed what?) and, B) it’d take at-bats away from youngsters Adam Lind and Travis Snider. ”
BS-both JP and Beeston have flatly stated, budget is the issue, not this crap JP is trying to feed us.

“–Ricciardi said the Jays are stepping up their scouting overseas and noted that the club is even in talks right now with a Japanese pitcher. ”
BS-so has there been another scout hired-nope. Has anyone of the other international scouts been moved to scout Japan. nope-check this out:
Miguel Bernard San Pedro de Macoris, DR
Robinson Garces Maracaibo, VZ
Rafael Moncada San Diego Valencia, VZ
Lorenzo Perezz Manoguayabo, DR
Luis Rodriquez Colon, Panama
Hilario Soriano Santo Domingo, DR
Greg Wade Queensland, Australia

Maybe JP was referring to that one Japanese pitcher he did sign. Are we about to see the return of Tomokazu Okha-you know the guy we brought in in 2007 that bombed. The one JP said he’d liked for a long time.

Paul Beeston, put a sock in this idot’s mouth, his continual bs and lies are becoming irritating.

BS-both JP and Beeston have flatly stated, budget is the issue, not this crap JP is trying to feed us.

——
It’s not about budget. The whole point of bringing up Giambi is the low dollar contract he signed. $6M is very low, even if you are trying to cut costs, it’s hard to not look at a contract like that.

So the 09 lineup will look something like this:

Scutaro ss
Hill 2b
Rios rf
Wells cf
Lind dh
Rolen 3b
Overbay 1b
Barajas c
Snider lf

I think a guy like Moises Alou would be a good RH bat off the bench that can spell either Lind or Snider when a tough lefty is starting. He has gotta be cheap anyways. And kills lefties.

Please JP – no trades, espcially for Cust.

How can Cust help this team,all he would do is take the bat out of Linds hands,I think Lind is better than Cust.
What i can’t understand is why is JP still the GM, he reminds me of the movie Liar Liar,This GM can’t seem to tell us fans the truth,he treats us fans like idiots when he is in fact the Idiot.

20 more days to go, GO JAYS.

The Jays fired assitant GM Bart Given.
JPs scape goat??????.

Guys there are many marquee free agents for 2010 which we could possibly pick up with the 15 million dollars we saved this year.

From notable pitchers there is John Lackey, Justin Duscherer (pardon my spelling), Rich Harden and Erik Bedard.

From Notable batters there is Miguel Tejada, Chone Figgins, Brian Roberts, Adam LaRoche, Aubrey Hufff, Adrian Beltre, Khalil Greene BUT there are way too many good outfeilders, Matt Holliday, Jason bay, Carl Crawford, Vlad and Mag Ordonez.

It sucks since we already have an abundance of OF, orelse I would have picked one of them up.

Who do you think the jays are gonna go after or should go after. I dont think Riccardi will be in charge then so?

I would like the jays to go after lackey or justin for that other ace, and figgins or tejada would be good, so would roberts but then hill would have to go to SS and I would love any of the outfeilders (not Vlad, too old now) but Holliday would be amazing.

Do you think Snider has the potential to be as good as Holliday or Mag Ordonez?
What do you think Linds Potential is?
How about Cecil and JP Arecibia, and Cooper?

I am not much of a minor league follower so if you could perhaps compare them to current MLB players, that might be helpful.

Cant wait till all the young guys are playing to full potential (if that ever happenss).

Travis Snider projects to be a solid 30 hr, 285 avg, and 100 rbi guy for years to come. comparisons. Jason Giambi (but a better fielder), Miguel Cabrera, or Travis hafner several years ago.

Arecebia projects to be a solid major league catcher with below average fielding but should hit for a high average. .275 avg. with 10-15 hrs a season seams about right. Comparisons- Kenji Johjima, Aj Pierzynski, or possibly Russel Martin.

Cooper is in the Lyle Overbay mold of solid average but average power for a first baseman. Could be a solid everyday player though.

I dont know what to expect of Cecil but the player who interests me is Romero. Is he a total flop or does he still have mid rotation potential?

Has anyone figured out why we re-signed Jose Bautista at $2.4 million per year?

We now have a overstock of middle infielders/utility guys with Inglett, Bautista, Scutaro and McDonald. One’s got to go, so why resign this guy and overpay him. If we dump him, we’ll have to pick up part of his salary? Makes no sense.

And didn’t JP just state he didn’t want Giambi because we’d be LH heavy and didn’t want to take at-bats away from Snider and Lind. So why would he even consider trading for Cust, a left hand batter that plays left field? Oh, I know, Jp has really always really liked this guy (although I’d bet JP’s never seen him and didn’t even know his name until Billie Bean called).
Such BS, it’s hard to believe these guys actually want fans in the stadium with this level of incompetent management.

Beeston said the Jays will not lose 10 to 20 mil. a season anymore,I wonder what he has up his sleave.
The route the Jays are taking this year will lower attendance not increase it,cutting the payroll will not do the job,Increase the payroll and bring in Manny and trade for Young or another big name shortstop and that may help fill the seats.

Beeston said he would like to see JP as the GM for many years yo come,PUKE.

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