TORONTO — I gave being a Raptors fan a try for one night and it didn’t work out so well, so I’m going to go back to rooting for my Bulls. I headed to the ACC on Wednesday and took in the Raptors-Magic game, which was actually my first time going to the stadium.
We had a good time, but when Juan Dixon is creating the most excitement there’s a problem. I tried to get the J-D-3 chants going in my section, but it wasn’t catching on like I had hoped. I also came inches away from acquiring a free t-shirt, but the concessions stand wouldn’t allow me to have a cap for my bottle of diet coke. As a result, I couldn’t jump like I would’ve been able to with a cap protecting my drink and the shirt eluded my grasp. Ah well.
Had a brief chat with Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi last night. I was actually at the gym when he called me back, so I got some odd looks while I was off in the corner conducting an interview while people headed in to the weight room. Anyway, even though the Jays have been linked to catcher Yorvit Torrealba in some recent reports, Ricciardi said the Jays aren’t going to go that route.
After talking to Ricciardi and Torrealba’s agent, it’s apparent that the catcher is likely to garner a multi-year deal, and probably as a No. 1 guy somewhere. The Jays are fine with Gregg Zaun as their starter, and the club doesn’t want to dish out a multi-year contract when Curtis Thigpen and Robinzon Diaz figure to be in the mix by 2009.
There’s still a chance that the Jays will bring back catcher Sal Fasano, which would give me someone to talk about Da Bears with for another season. Ricciardi didn’t deny that the Jays might have some interest in Mike Lieberthal, but he said Toronto hadn’t realy started talking to potential candidates. That will probably intensify as we get closer to the winter meetings.
Ricciardi said there’s also still a chance that the club may try Thigpen at a position other than just catcher. He’s played some first base, tried his hand some at second and maybe third base is in his future. Ricciardi said that issue will be discussed this winter, so Thigpen will have some clarity by Spring Training. Eventually, he and Diaz will be with the Jays. They both can’t catch.
Also, in regards to the A.J. Burnett trade report, which was slightly blown out of proportion, Ricciardi had this to say: "What’s happening is there’s nothing going on. There’s absoultely nothing going on and people are looking for anything to write. We know we’ve got A.J. for another year. If he decides to opt out after three years, or he decides to stay, we knew that going in. This isn’t something that all of a sudden popped up in our lap."
Well, there’s a little Jays update for you guys to chew on. Here’s some Winter League stats updates:
ARIZONA FALL LEAGUE
Travis Snider — .342, .986 OPS, 3 HR, 5 2B, 10 RBIs through 20 games
Sergio Santos — .261, 4 HR, 6 2B, 13 RBIs through 18 games
Ryan Patterson — .239, 2 HR, 5 RBIs through 19 games
David Purcey — 1-1, 1.59 ERA, 17 IP, 17 K, 8 BB, 12 H though five starts
Ricky Romero — 1-1, 4.22 ERA, 10 2/3 IP, 10 K, 5 BB through 8 games, 1 start
Jamie Vermilyea — 0-1, 16.50 ERA, 11 ER, 15 H, 6 IP
Lee Gronkiewicz — 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 1/3 IP, 6 K, 0 BB in 3 games
Hector Luna — .354, .415 OBP, 2 RBIs through 13 games
Azucareros del Este
Manny Mayorson — .364 (4-for-11) through 5 games
Tigers del Licey
Robinzon Diaz — .500 (2-for-4) with 1 run in one game
Bravos de Margarita
Ray Olmedo — .326 (30-for-92), 3 3B, 5 RBIs, 13 runs through 23 games
Cardenales de Lara
Ryan Houston — 1-0, 1.00 ERA, 9 IP, 7 H, 4 K, 5 BB through eight games
West Oahu CaneFires
Brian Jeroloman — .255, 1 HR, 8 RBIs through 15 games
You can keep checking on the Jays playing winter ball at MLB.com’s Winter Leagues page.