The Blue Jays were busy Friday morning ahead of the 1 pm deadline to exchange arbitration figures signing six players.
The Blue Jays came to terms on one-year deals with Brett Cecil ($3.8million), Steve Delebar ($850,000), Drew Storen ($8.375 million), Aaron Loup ($1.05 million), Drew Hutchison ($2.2 million) and Michael Saunders ($2.9 million).
The Blue Jays were unable to come to terms with Jesse Chavez and American League MVP Josh Donaldson. The Blue Jays offered Chavez $3.6 million while he asked for $4 million. Donaldson asked for $11.8 million while the Blue Jays offered $11.375 million.
In Donaldson’s case, I know it is part of the process of the arbitration system, but to the fans that have endured a disappointing off-season going to arbitration over $450, 000 to the American League MVP just reeks of pettiness from an ownership that have been accused of being cheap. Realistically Donaldson should win his arbitration case so in the end he will most likely will get his $11.8 million dollars.
The Blue Jays are still a File and trial team so there won’t be any deals announced with Donaldson or Chavez before their arbitration cases.
This is the last year of arbitration for Cecil, Storen, Saunders and Chavez who will all be Free Agents at the end of the 2016 season.
With the Arbitration deadline slowly approaching MLBTR’s Matt Swatrz goes into detail on Josh Donaldson’s upcoming Arbitration case. All told he figures that Donaldson is due for a $7.7 million raise from last years salary of $3.4 million. He compares Donaldson’s case to that off Chris Davis’ arbitration case in 2014 when he was awarded a record $7.7 million raise. Swartz argues that Davis’ 2014 wasn’t a MVP winning season and that Donaldson can use that argument to cement his case. Realistically we all knew that Donaldson was going to get a huge raise in 2016 and that is the one thing that maybe holding things up when it comes to player signings as they have to stick relatively to their budget.
Speaking of the budget, rumors are floating around that the Blue Jays are looking into Fernando Rodney. Rodney would be a good depth piece. If you take away his stint with Seattle last season where he was absolutely dreadful he’s been a fairly reliable reliever and has had some good seasons as a closer in Tampa. With the Blue Jays lack of depth in the bullpen I would like to think that Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins are smart enough to realize that an incentive laden type of contract offer for Rodney might just get a deal done. Sure, there are other names still out there but none with the track record that Rodney has had over the recent years, and as much as his stupid arrow he does after a save and his inability to wear his hat properly he would be a smart signing for the Jays.
It appears that former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has landed on his feet reportedly taking a front office job with the Los Angeles Dodgers. I wish him well in his new endeavor. I won’t be like some of the Blue Jay fans who hold AA’s departure at the feet of Shapiro. AA didn’t leave because of Shapiro, if fans really want someone to blame put it squarely on the feet of Rogers who mishandled the President job and replacement search with hilarity. While it seems that some fans have decided that they can’t move on from AA’s departure, may I remind them that the chapter on AA’s time has closed, just like it has with any other popular player, manager and executive. All it takes is another winning year for the Blue Jays and the fans will soon become fans of the new regime. Most were ready to run AA out-of-town at the All-Star break, how winning changes things.
With the Hall of Fame inductees now announced, it was interesting reading former Blue Jay Roy Halladay’s tweets renouncing P.E.D users from entering the HOF, Interestingly enough Roger Clemens accused Halladay of using amphetamines during his time in Toronto. It should be pointed out that Clemens was only a teammate of Halladay’s for one month. Halladay was a September call-up in 1998 which was Clemens last season with the Blue Jays, so I find it hard to believe that Clemens would have paid enough attention to a rookie call-up to see if or what they were actually taking. It should also be noted that Halladay never failed a drug test in his big league career so maybe Clemens should be keeping his mouth shut.
The first playoff game in 22 years didn’t go as planned for the Blue Jays as they dropped their opening game of the Division series 5-3.
The biggest storylines to come out of the game were the injuries. Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre left in the third inning with lower back stiffness, and on the Blue Jays side Josh Donaldson left after taking a knee to the head sliding into second base to break up a double play and then Jose Bautista left in the top of the ninth with a mild cramp in one of his hamstrings. The good news for the Blue Jays is that Donaldson passed a concussion test and should be able to go in game two, Bautista is also expected to go tomorrow as well.
The other storyline that the Toronto media talked to death about was David Price pitching on 11 days of rest. Greg Zaun went on and on about it saying in his mind that was the reason that Price didn’t pitch all that well. Price said afterwards that the 11 day rest didn’t have anything to do with it. Price said he just didn’t pitch good enough. To be totally honest it was the bottom of the line-up that did the damage as Robinson Chirinos had a two run home run in the fifth making it a 4-1 game for Texas, Rougned Odor was also a pain in the side for the Blue Jays as he was hit twice by a pitch and in the seventh hit a frozen rope to right field for a solo shot making it a 5-3 game.
On the positive side of things, Aaron Sanchez pitched a scoreless ninth inning and looked better than he had in the last couple of weeks. Brett Cecil also had a scoreless eighth inning walking a batter and striking out one. Jose Bautista would hit his first ever post season home run in the sixth of Rangers reliever Keone Kela.
For as much as I’ve been annoyed by Buck and Pat during the season I must say the Fox crew doing the game made me almost wish that Buck and Pat were doing the game. I didn’t care for Harold Reynolds go on and on about the turf causing Adrian Beltre’s injury when after a inning or two they realized it was an awkward slide into second base that was most likely the main cause. And if it wasn’t the turf it was the lights after they claimed that Ben Revere lost a ball in the lights when in the end it looked like he just misplayed the ball. The camera angle looked off, and I wasn’t overly impressed with Kenny Albert doing the play by play.
Pete Rose who is doing TV work for Fox made himself looking like a complete ass after criticising both Donaldson and Bautista leaving with injuries. Guess Rose has never heard of concussion protocols that are in place. As for Bautista’s injury if the guy couldn’t run like he should be able to then the smart thing to do is to get him out of the game. It made Rose look foolish.
Josh Donaldson helped cement his spot as the favorite for the AL MVP with not only his walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth, but his heads up play to tag Mikie Mahtook trying to get back to third base. As for the home run that ended the game, it was Donaldson’s third walk-off home run of the season and it’s his seventh of their career.
Kevin Pillar has had a great homestand at the plate, as he collected two more hits including a game tying double in the eighth inning. In Pillar’s last five days alone he has had a WPA of 1.137 and with all the other sluggers on this team Pillar’s offensive numbers this week have for the most part flown under the radar. Pillar almost made another amazing diving grab in the first inning on Brandon Guyer’s lead off triple.
Justin Smoak had himself a day, he was 3 for 4 at the plate he had double in the first inning to drive in the first Jays run and his two run shot in the sixth inning set the table for the comeback.
Mark Buerhle didn’t have his best stuff today but was able to last six innings and keep the Blue Jays in the game. It was most likely his final home start as a Blue Jay. Buehrle is smart enough to know that he might not be on the playoff roster and he even said after the game that the Jays should put whoever is throwing the best on the playoff roster and not what they have done. During his three years with the Blue Jays he has been a mentor to the young pitchers on the team and has been one of the team leaders, he has also pitched well during his time as a Blue Jay. It should not also be lost on people that for the three years he has pitched in Toronto he has done so with his wife and kids at home in the US to stay with the family pit bulls because of Ontario’s pitbull ban. That in itself deserves some major props.
Sunday was the Blue Jays 27th sellout as they reached a season total of 2,784,891 they averaged 34,504 per game it was their highest attendance since 1995. They had 36 games of 40k plus and 53 games of 30k plus.
Alex Anthopoulos acquired David Price for games just like tonight. And like every other start since he became a Blue Jay he did not disappoint. Price was dominant as he pitched seven shutout innings he allowed only two hits walking one while striking out seven. The only inning that the Yankees threatened when Price pitched was the third inning when Price escaped a bases loaded one out jam by striking out Alex Rodriguez and getting Brian McCann to pop out.
The Blue Jays were able to take advantage of Adam Warren and his Yankee teammates miscues in the first inning as they plated three runs in the first inning. Ben Revere led off the inning with a single, Josh Donaldson was hit with a pitch, Jose Bautista would hit a single to plate Revere, Donaldson and Bautista would move up on a wild pitch. Donaldson would score on a Encarnacion ground out. Justin Smoak would hit a double which would cash in Bautista. The Blue Jays offence would stay quiet until the seventh when they would add a run on a Russell Martin Sac Fly.
John Gibbons wasn’t messing around tonight as he pulled Aaron Sanchez after allowing the first two hitters to reach in the eighth inning. Brett Cecil was brilliant yet again, after allowing a single to Jacoby Ellsbury he struck out Brett Gardner, Rodriguez and McCann. I thought with the lefty heavy lineup that Gibby would have started the inning with Cecil. It does bring up the question though, is it time to re-evaluate Sanchez’s role in the bullpen? He may have gotten slightly unlucky on the groundball up the middle, but walking the first hitter he faced and then falling behind to Ackley didn’t help. With the way Mark Lowe has been pitching it is time to move him into higher leverage situations.
Roberto Osuna had a bounce back effort even though he did allow a home run in the ninth. I wouldn’t be to worried about it unlike some of the media members in Toronto that seemed to be awfully worried about the amount of home runs that Osuna has allowed. There have only been the two home runs that cost the Jays the lead , the other home runs didn’t matter to the outcome of the game.
The Blue Jays finished off their 10 game road trip with a 5-0 win in Atlanta, with the win the Jays extend their lead to three and a half over the Yankees. The Blue Jays start their final homestand of the regular season tomorrow night as they host the Boston Red Sox. Marcus Stroman will make his Rogers Centre debut while the Red Sox will send Rick Porcello to the mound.
Marco Estrada was brilliant tonight throwing eight shutout innings allowing three hits walking two while striking out four. Roberto Osuna finished it up with a scoreless ninth inning, it was his first appearance since the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader in the Bronx. Cliff Pennington had himself a night with a 2 for 4 night which included a three run home run in the Blue Jays four run fourth inning. Edwin Encarnacion joined the Blue Jays 30-100 club with a solo homer in the fourth inning, it was his 33rd home run of the season and it gave him 100 RBI on the year. Dioner Navarro and Ryan Goins had a pair of hits on the evening, Navarro’s one hit was a double that would have been a home run in most parks. Josh Donaldson, who had been struggling at the plate, hit home run number 39 on the season in the ninth inning.
The top of the Blue Jays line-up went 1 for 12 on the night, Jose Bautista had a pair of walks and Ben Revere led the game off with a walk. Kevin Pillar was the only other Blue Jay not to join the hit club.
I got nothing. It was one of those games. Although I suppose the mostly empty stands created for one helluva quiet listless ballpark. I can’t wait to see the Blue Jays back at the Rogers Centre in front of a sold out stadium.
The Blue Jays opened up their biggest series in over 20 years in a big way by hammering the Yankees 11-5. The win puts them two and a half games ahead of the Yankees. The Blue Jays will play a doubleheader tomorrow with Marco Estrada pitching in the first game and Marcus Stroman making his season debut in the second game while the Yankees will counter with Micheal Pineda in the first game and Ivan Nova in the second game.
The offence didn’t waste any time jumping on Yankee starter Luis Severino. Ben Revere led off with a double and Josh Donaldson showed why he is worthy of the MVP award by blasting a two run home run to give the Blue Jays an early lead, they weren’t done yet either, as Edwin Encarnacion scored on a Troy Tulowitzki single to make it 3-0 before Justin Smoak hit a two run shot to give the Blue Jays a 5-0 lead before the defence had to take the field. David Price wasn’t his best tonight but he didn’t need to be as he went five innings allowing a pair of runs on six hits while striking out seven. Brett Cecil had yet another scoreless outing going an inning and a third allowing a hit and striking out three. It was Cecil’s 26th straight scoreless outing which is now a Blue Jays record. Aaron Loup came on and worked a scoreless ninth inning striking out a pair, this may sound crazy but maybe, just maybe Loup could play himself on to the playoff roster for the Blue Jays, with only Cecil being the only lefty it might not hurt for the Jays to carry another lefty on the roster. Getting back to the offence every starter but Kevin Pillar got a hit and Ryan Goins was the only starter of the ones that got a hit not to record two. Russell Martin led the way with three hits, two of which were homeruns. The Blue Jays hit five home runs in the game as Edwin Encarnacion hit a two run shot in the fourth inning, to join Smoak, Donaldson and Martin in the home run category.
It was a curious decision, but John Gibbons electing to take Price out of the game after five innings was rather odd. I can see his reasoning to a point with it being a 9-2 game at the time and with the game seemingly well in hand you want to save some of the bullets in his arm and his pitch count was at 96 so I can see how Gibby was trying to avoid a 115-120 pitch night. But, with a doubleheader coming up tomorrow and a big lead I think I would have let Price pitch the sixth inning and then bring Hawkins in for the seventh with the game probably still out of reach and probably could have avoided burning Cecil and Mark Lowe in the game.
LaTroy Hawkins got hit hard again tonight, it seems like he’s giving up hard hits a lot lately, getting tagged for three runs in a third of an inning courtesy of Didi Gregourious’ three run shot in the bottom of the sixth inning. The scary stat about Hawkins recent outings, is that he has now allowed 21 baserunners in his last ten innings pitched.