Saturday, November 24, 2012

Toronto Meet DeMarlo Hale - your new bench coach

This doesn't sound like a huge maneuvre, but it is.  Hale is considered one of the top coaches in Baseball and has been on most GM's shortlists for Managerial jobs.  DeMarlo Hale served as the Orioles 3rd base coach this past season, is taking a job as bench coach for the Blue Jays.  He will be a great addition for John Gibbons and a huge asset for a coaching staff that lost Brian Butterfield who followed John Farrell to the Red Sox after nearly a decade with the Blue Jays.   Hale, who been the Red Sox bench coach for manager Terry Francona, joined Buck Showalter’s staff this past season after Francona had not been offered a contract for the 2012 season.  Showalter had a notion that Hale would be a flight risk potentially and was not surprised by the departure. Hale will head to Toronto to work under new manager John Gibbons, who was hired Tuesday for his second stint with the club.  Hale’s contract with the Orioles had expired, making a move possible. The Blue Jays had interviewed him prior to the 2011 season for the Managerial Job.
Losing Hale is a loss to the Orioles, who had hoped to have their staff signed by the end of this week. Hale, who also served as infield coach this past season, was well respected by coaches and players. He was one of Showalter’s trusted coaches when it came to pre-game preparedness.  DeMarlo Hale built his way up through baseball and is well regarded as one of the most prepared coaches in baseball.  He worked at the Bucky Dent Baseball School early in his career, before coming to prominence as a Major League Coach.

Baseball Reference Coaching Page - DeMarlo Hale

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Alex Anthopoulos hires puppet .... I mean Manager

I was startled to hear that the Blue Jays were considering bringing back John Gibbons!?@:( Unfortunately it happened!  After spending lots of time in my local Starbucks contemplating why they would bring back JG, I came to the conclusion that it must be for the simple reason that AA wants to control all aspects of the team.  All other candidates would have taken the GM's feedback into consideration  but that would be it.  This move is more about AA relationship with his manager than it is about the managers relationship with his players.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Melky Cabrera - Blue Jays new Left Fielder - Melkman

The Melkman is coming north.  The Blue Jays added the NL batting title winner, even though he declined to win the award as a result of his positive PED test.  This was quite an honorable thing to do and shows why Melky is a fan favorite and well like player amongst his teammates.  Melky Cabrera represents a huge upgrade in Left Field, his ability to switch hit will ensure there is a permanent option.  Last season started with Eric Thames and ended with Rajai Davis.  Davis was able to provide better defense and his ability to steal bases made him an option.  Unfortunately, Davis is at best a 4 or 5th Outfielder and the Melky signing may necessitate his being moved.  This also begs the question, who plays Centrefield? Gose or Rasmus? For the first time in the history of the Blue Jays, this should be a set lineup from day 1 in Spring Training.

Melky Cabrera understands the challenges of playing in the American League East, he came up with the New York Yankees.  He seems to enjoy the challenges of the game and is a clutch player.  In 2012, he was the All Star Game MVP and won the Giants Hustle Award.  His average of .346 was best in the NL. The real question is will his lack of being on the sauce(PED's) limit his performance.  Even if Cabrera returns to the 800 range in OPS production, this will be a huge improvement on previous years.  His defense is more than adequate, having covered Centrefield for the Yankees for 3+ seasons.  We are also confident that he wont make the same mistake 2 with the Performance Enhancing Drugs that derailed his 2012 season and cost him 50 games and a playoff birth.    The Jays are lucky to have this guy and should be considered favorites for the Playoffs if not the Division out right.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Blue Jays Get Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson

The Marlins have made a huge splash at the Winter Meetings, dropping some dead weight and bringing All Star Shortstop Jose Reyes and Pitcher Josh Johnson along with John Buck and Mark Buerhle. The Jays were able to shed talented SS Yunel Escobar, starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez, along with several top level prospects.  Escobar was a cancer at the end of the season and Jays are ecstatic to find a home for the slander-flipping Cuban.  Alvarez should turn into a quality Major League pitcher, but may be a couple years away from reaching his full potential.   The Jays land Josh Johnson who instantly becomes the ace of the staff, he has no hit stuff and provides the staple the Jays thought they had in Ricky Romero.    Jose Reyes is another prize, he instantly becomes the best middle infielder since Roberto Alomar.

 The Blue Jays are definitely making changes, bringing 5 legitimate major leaguers - Emilio Benaficio is one of the fastest players in Baseball.  He is considered an ideal top of the order guys and will create lots of run production for Bautista and Encarnacion.  John Buck who is also reportedly in the deal will necessitate more moves, with the moving of Jeff Mathism, Buck had his best year in 2009 with the Blue Jays and will be a wonderful back up to JP Arencibia if he stays with the club.  The Jays are loaded at catcher with Travis D'Arnaud thought to be on his way to the Majors.  Buck only has 1 yr left on his deal and will be a good fill in until 2014. 

The Marlins are taking some baggage with Escobar, but the rest of the players are all high level prospects.  Justin Nicolino is considered one of the Blue Jays top five prospects.  The hard throwing lefty spent 2012 with Lansing and dominated.  Most discussions for the Blue Jays with other teams have included Nicolino.  The real steal in this trade may be Jake Marisnick, the speedy outfielder is a potential 5 tool player with gap power that could progress into middle of the order power.  His potential is big - but given that Alex Anthopoulos needs to win quickly, this is a good move.  In Adeiny Hechavarria; the Cuban SS the Jays outbid all of baseball became superfluous with Reyes.  Deny was a pleasant surprise in 2012, building on his offensive performance the entire season.  He may be the Marlins shortstop in 2013, moving Yunel Escobar over to 2nd Base.  This may be the final stop for Escobar, his offense is limited and his defense is not good enough to out way the cancer he is in the clubhouse.  The Jays will be better just for losing Escobar.