Searching "fall back" gives us this picture of Kelly Johnson. - Jim McIsaac
The worst part of the year--the offseason--is offset by a 25-hour Saturday. Sorry, Saskatchewan readers, you probably didn't get that, or the title.
I really don't have much to write in terms of a preamble, so here are your Monday morning links!
The Esmil Rogers Trade
Blue Jays making long list of free-agent targets - Yardbarker
Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Blue Jays are interested in free agent pitchers such as Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse and Ryan Dempster.
Free Agency Preview: Payroll, Pitching, and Prioritization - House of the Bluebird
Matt Gwin looks at the free agent pitchers the Blue Jays may be looking at signing.
Blue Jays Free Agent Targets: Anibal Sanchez vs Edwin Jackson - Jays Journal
Kyle Franzoni looks at stats to see if the Jays should go for Anibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson. I'd go with Sanchez.
Free-agent fate weighs on Frasor's mind - BlueJays.com
Gregor Chisholm's interview with Jason Frasor about his free agency before the Blue Jays acquired Esmil Rogers. It is now more unlikely that the Blue Jays' appearance leader will return for 2013. He mentions how stressful it is to enter a market saturated with middle relievers. When this was posted, a bunch of people on Twitter reacted negatively to Frasor saying that his "two most enjoyable months in the big leagues were with the White Sox." I doubt that was a dig at Toronto and the Blue Jays--the White Sox were in the middle of a pennant race at that time, something that Frasor did not have a chance to experience in his nine years with Toronto.
Baseball free-agent list not spectacular but will produce big contracts and trades - FOX Sports
After seeing Brandon League getting signed for $22.5 million over three years, Kenny Rosenthal (good job on the quotation marks around "closer") writes that we could see very large numbers this offseason.
Dan Haren ends rumor-filled day as a free agent after Angels decline option - Angels.com
Dan Haren was watching the developments last Friday evening using his secret personal Twitter account. Alden Gonzalez describes how Haren reacted to the eventful evening.
Athletics, suspended Colon agree on one-year deal - The Globe and Mail
Bartolo Colon, currently serving a 50-game suspension after being tested positive for enhanced levels of testosterone, will be paid $3 million in 2013 (a $1 million raise from 2012) after signing a one-year contract with the Oakland Athletics. The stout pitcher was suspended in late August and missed the postseason.
D-backs coach Matt Williams to interview for Rox's manager job - DBacks.com
Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has confirmed that the "Blue Jays have kicked the tires about possibly interviewing" third-base coach Matt Williams, but the only team to have actually asked for permission is the Colorado Rockies. He managed the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League, where a handful of Blue Jays prospects were playing. Williams is a "limited partner" of the Diamondbacks, so I don't know how that would work if he goes on to manage with another team.
Decision on new Jays’ manager will depend on Anthopoulos’s gut - The Globe and Mail
Alex Anthopoulos will be letting his gut decide the next manager of the Blue Jays. Hey Alex, can you ask it to hurry up?
Prospects endorse new Marlins manager Mike Redmond - JaysProspects
Jared Macdonald spoke to several Blue Jays prospects about Mike Redmond's new job as the manager of the Miami Marlins.
Managing expectations - Sportsnet.ca
Scott Carson's article on how angry and nasty the Blue Jays fanbase has gotten this year. His evidence? Read the comments section on websites! Listen to Jeff Blair or Bob McCown! I don't think those voices are representative of the people who are fans of the team. I would think that most people have moved on from being angry at the Jays non-singing of Yu Darvish and Prince Fielder. What they Jays have to worry about this winter is not anger among its fans, it's apathy. Then Carson goes on to compare a bunch of managerial candidates by win-loss records.
Miscellaneous Blue Jays Related
Toronto Blue Jays Top 15 Prospects (2012-13) - FanGraphs Baseball
Friend of the blog Marc Hulet lists the Blue Jays' Top 15 Prospects for 2012-2013. As expected, catcher Travis d'Arnaud finishes at #1. Pitcher Roberto Osuna made the biggest jump, all the way to #4. Elsewhere on FanGraphs, David Laurila chats with Aaron Sanchez (Hulet's #2 prospect) about this past season. Also, former first round pick Deck McGuire spoke with Steph Rogers of the Toronto Observer about his disappointing season.
Pitching outside the box - Infield Fly
Greg Wisniewski over at Infield Fly has a wild, perhaps crazy, suggestion that the Blue Jays should think about having an eight-man bullpen with two setup men and two closers, alternating every game. I don't know if Casey Janssen or any other player will be happy with sharing save situations with someone else. In any case, I still hope that the Jays can shore up their rotation with one big signing or trade.
Blue Jays prospect Bryan Longpre hangs up cleats - JaysProspects
I wrote about Bryan Longpre's retirement in the last Blue Jays Bites, but April Whitzman took it a step further and chatted with him about his decision.
Interview with Kevin Pillar — Arizona Fall League Standout - QEW Connection
New Buffalo Bisons blog QEW Connection chats with Blue Jays prospect Kevin Pillar, who has been red-hot in the AFL this year. His Blue Jays teammates aren't doing nearly as well.
Hating on the Media- Jays don't need to contend ASAP - Jays Journal
David Schecter and Charlie Caskey ("A Game of Ifs") of Jays Journal write, drunkenly apparently, two pieces targeting the media narrative that the Jays must win this year. They pick on Stephen Brunt's article on Sportsnet, which is somewhat unfair. Yes, the title of the piece is "The Need To Contend ASAP" but Brunt was analyzing the situation from the point of view of the Blue Jays' image to the public, opining that to not carry over negativity to 2013, the Jays will probably sign a big cheque to someone. Now, I've written time and time again that the club desperately needs to release good news since almost everything has been negative ever since the Yu Darvish debacle. I'm not asking for irresponsible spending, but please, I'd like it very much to write an article on a big signing.
Toronto Blue Jays 2012 Report Cards - 500 Level Fan
500 Level Fan grades the 2012 Blue Jays. Few things I disagree with, but overall a good review.
Ricky's Tricky Injury Situation - The Blue Jay Hunter
Ian Hunter's take on the revelation that Ricky Romero pitched through pain in 2012. Ian thinks that it was a selfless move to try to help the team.
Around The League
The Year in Review II: Snakes and Ladders - Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Magpie looks back at 2013 using the game Snakes and Ladders-- identifying those teams that improved by 10 games (climbing the ladder) or declined by 10 (slipping down the snakes)--and run differentials. Then the article examines some tables of parks and scoring--the Rogers Centre was basically neutral for Blue Jays hitting last year (scoring 753 runs at home, 747 on the road). The Rockies scored 58% more runs at home than on the road, and the Mariners scored 236 fewer runs at Safeco Field than on the road.
Five off-season storylines to watch - Toronto Star
Brendan Kennedy reveals his top five most interesting offseason topics to watch.
Pitchers Worse Than Non-Pitchers at Pitching, 2012 - FanGraphs Baseball
Ten non-pitchers pitched in 2012, including Jeff Mathis who did it twice. They ended up giving up 9 runs in 12 innings pitched, and a FIP of 6.35 (bad). Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing, wrote about the five "real" pitchers to have recorded a worse FIP than this group of fill-ins. Spoiler alert: former Blue Jays prospect Zach Stewart is on the list.
Un bel honneur pour Denis Boucher - RDS
Félicitations! Former Blue Jays and Montreal Expos pitcher Denis Boucher has been inducted into the Quebec Baseball Hall of Fame. Also, take a look at this cool Montreal Expos-related GIF Craig Robinson's made. I'm a big fan of Craig's work and if you have never done it, please take time out of your day to look at his infographics at Flip Flop Fly Ball. You're welcome.