The last week, in my opinion has definitely been the slow point of the off season. There is next to nothing happening that is newsworthy, but there has been lots of speculation. I'm glad spring training is starting up soon so we'll have something concrete to talk about! Here are your links.
Prospect Talk: Layin' Down the Law (and the Farrell)
The Drunks have a couple of summaries from Fan590 interviews of Keith Law and John Farrell. Law really likes Stewart and thinks he has starter stuff going forward and he likes Travis d'Arnaud as a high upside prospect going forward. Farrell says that there are five main questions that need answering through Spring Training.
Can Blue Jays' Jose Bautista live up to 2010 performance?
Morosi thinks that the Red Sox reported interest in Bautista indicates that they think he is primed for another good season.
Jays Bullpen Set to Make $19+ Million
According to Mop-up Duty, the $19+M bullpen will be the second highest bullpen in Jays history.
Rookies, Rookies, and More Rookies
The 500 Level Fan takes a look at historical rookie of the year voting. The last Jay to receive a vote was Gustavo Chacin in 2005 which doesn't compare well with Boston and Tampa of late. But, the future is looking bright.
Former big league pitcher Dennis Lamp's adaptability still serves him well
An ex-Jay working at a seafood counter - and he enjoys it. Lamp went 11-0 in 53 games (1 start) and 105.2 IP in 1985 for the Jays.
Stepping Up the Running Game
The Blue Jay hunter thinks that if the Jays step up the run game they could win a few more games. He uses 'extra bases taken percentage' and determines the Jays were 2nd worse in the AL last year (a baseball-reference.com stat). I agree with the conclusions, but this aside was a little off in my opinion:
Perhaps most surprising of them all is Travis Snider's lack of extra bases. I can't recall exactly when, but it was during a Jays Talk last season that Mike Wilner said something to the effect that Travis Snider was faster than Fred Lewis. If it's a race to who can eat 30 hot dogs faster, then yes ... Travis Snider is faster. However, if there is any truth in the numbers above, it indicates Lewis was in fact the better player at advancing bases than Snider.
This 'stat' is the perfect example of a small sample size type stat that we shouldn't be drawing conclusions from. Lewis had 40 opportunities to add to this 'stat' and Snider had 29 opportunities. The stat doesn't take into account how hard a ball is it, where it is hit, if a play was a hit and run, etc. I don't think you can say that one player is better at advancing bases than the other.
Around the League
The 20 Biggest Free Agent Deals Of The Offseason
Twenty free agents signed deals worth more than $15M this year. Three ex-Jays make the list. Ted Lilly is guaranteed $33M (10th on the list), John Buck's $18M was the 15th highest free agent contract this off-season and Scott Downs comes in at number 20 ($15M).
Stick a Fork in the Grapefruit League
Alex Remington at FanGraphs compares the Florida Grapefruit league with the Arizona Cactus League. More teams are moving to the Arizona league, and unless Florida shuts down the east coast teams, the Grapefruit league is in trouble.
Team Preview Schedule
Travis Reitsma at Baseball Canadiana is putting together team previews for the upcoming season so keep an eye out for those.
Rays sign Felipe Lopez
I would have liked if the Jays had signed him.
The Yankees Should Trade for Barry Zito
Jonah Keri figures the Yanks have money to blow, and they could use a 4th/5th starter, so why not look at a guy like Zito that won't cost any prospects?