Ozzie Guillen speaks with Josh Johnson during a particularly difficult stretch in July when Johnson lost movement on his curveball. - Sarah Glenn
Blue Jays sign Luis Jiménez, Claudio Vargas, Rich Thompson, Juan Perez, and Eugenio Velez as non-roster invitees, and other Bluebird Links.
This morning the Jon Morosi reported that the Toronto Blue Jays have signed 1B Luis Jiménez to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Jiménez is a 30-year old minor league veteran who made his Major League debut last September with the Seattle Mariners, appearing in seven games after playing 962 in the minors. Jiménez will likely spend a lot of time in Buffalo next season, unless he wows the team in spring training. I was going to make a Randy Ruiz joke but the Tao scooped me on that one:
Luis Jimenez - 30 yrs old. 20 HRs, .907 OPS (.394 OBP) in Tacoma (PCL!) #RandyRuizRedux— Tao of Stieb (@TaoofStieb) December 11, 2012
In "The Best Unaffiliated Hitter, Probably," Carson Cistulli shows us that Luis Jiménez is leading the Venezuelen Winter League in the SCOUT+ metric this winter. Lookout Landing's Jeff Sullivan writes about him during his callup here, and again here in late October when he was outrighted and (later) elected free agency. I'll steal Jeff's gif of Jiménez flying out, because this is probably the only gif of him on the Internets (prove me wrong, folks):
From a Blue Jays press release, the club has signed four other minor league free agents:
- RHP Claudio Vargas, 34. He was a former Montreal Expo, so if he makes his Jays debut after former Expos teammate Maicer Izturis, he would likely become the final player to ever play for both teams. Vargas last played in the Majors with the Brewers in 2010.
- Another former Maicer Izturis teammate, RHP Richard Graeme Thompson, 28. He has played parts of six years in the Major Leagues, most of it with the Angels. Note that he is not former Blue Jays OF prospect Richard Charles Thompson.
- LHP Juan Perez, 30, who has played parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues. He strikes folks out: last year in AAA Nashville he recorded a 12.2 K/9 rate and in 2011 with Lehigh Valley he was at 13.1 K/9.
- 3B/OF Eugenio Velez, 30, a product of San Pedro de Macoris. The Blue Jays signed him as a free agent at age 21 in 2003 and he made it up to Lansing in 2005 before moving to the Giants organization for five years, making it all the way to the Majors. He's played parts of five seasons in the Show. He played the last two season with the Dodgers' and Cardinals' AAA affiliates, splitting his time between 3B and RF last season.
Here are your other Tuesday mid- (ok, late-) morning links:
Blue Jays Related
Follow-up on Josh Johnson’s Curveball - The Mockingbird
Jon jots a journal of Josh Johnson's curveball's journey in 2012. It seems that he was tinkering around with it all season, and after some experimental failure around the All-Star Break, he found a preferred grip and improved it throughout the rest of the season even as the National League started to make more contact with it. This post was spurred by a comment on his previous post, detailing all the other JJ pitches.
Reports From Instructs: Toronto Blue Jays (Pt 3) - FanGraphs Baseball
Kiley McDaniel takes a look at recent draftees Tyler Gonzales and Chase DeJong. Gonzalez is throwing a 91-93 fastball with a 11-to-5 slider with "average potential," but lacks a third pitch. McDaniel likes DeJong's potential a bit more, who needs to work on his delivery, but he has the chance for three better than average pitches.
Carlos Delgado on the Jeff Blair Show – Sportsnet 590 The Fan
New Level of Excellence inductee Carlos Delgado was on the Jeff Blair show at 10 am yesterday. Here is the direct audio link (mp3 file). Delgado recalls his 1993 callup, his preparation philosophy, his personality and love of travel, and reflects on his career. I haven't heard him speak for a long time. He seems like a great guy with a great mindset--perhaps some younger Blue Jays can learn from his attitude.
Carlos Delgado, 1995 Pinnacle, #390 I know I am... - Retro Jays Cards
Matthew Ross posted a 1995 Carlos Delgado baseball card, featuring King Carlos wearing a mesh top towering over the City of Toronto. Also note the lack of condos in the picture.
BIB 41: Winter Meetings Special - Back In Blue (video)
I was drinking brews with some Blue Jays buddies at Tall Boys Bar when the Back in Blue crew did their third live episode, so unfortunately I was not able to set up the live streaming on Bluebird Banter. But fret not, here you can watch the entire 30-minute episode!
What's next for Blue Jays? - Sportsnet.ca
Scott Carson asks "What's next for Blue Jays?" He answers, "nothing." Really there is no need to read this article, I've summarized it already.
Also, take a look at this cool Blue Jays Rubik's Cube Art! Hat tip to The Blue Jay Hunter on this one.
Around The League
The Double-Blessing Of Mid-Contract Player Options - Getting Blanked
After the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Zach Greinke to a six-year $147 million deal that included a player option after 2015 (by which time he would've earned $64 million plus another $12 million signing bonus), Dustin Parkes looked at whether player opt-out options in multi-year contracts benefit the ball clubs, comparing it to financing a car.
Final Payrolls - Biz of Baseball
Maury Brown will update this list next week with the 2012 figures. Currently contains the player payrolls for all Major League teams from 1999-2011. Handy thing to have to make line graphs!
Veteran reliever Grilli, Pirates agree on 2-year, $6.75 million deal - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
It's basically official, RHP Jason Grilli will not become the second Grilli to play for the Blue Jays (his father Steve pitched one game for Toronto in 1979). According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, Grilli turned down a bigger offer from the Blue Jays to re-sign with the Pirates. If this was true, that means Alex Anthopoulos is still unsure about the status of the semi-retired Darren Oliver, and that there may still be some room to spend a few million.
Taking the Dodgers to the Extreme - FanGraphs Baseball
Jeff Sullivan explores what it would be like if the Los Angeles Dodgers had unlimited resources in 2012. Would they have won the World Series?
Escape the Winter Blues 8-Bit Style - 500 Level Fan
Can't play MLB The Show or other baseball games because you don't have a gaming system? 500 Level Fan reviews Dusty Diamond's All-Star Softball, a SNES game from 1990, and includes a link to an emulator so you can play at your own leisure. I'd play it right now if I didn't have work--it sure looks fun to play as Zelda the Witch on a diamond situated on a cliff!
Out Of The Ballpark
Congratulations to Team Canada soccer player Christine Sinclair for being recognized as Canada's top athlete for 2012! It is because of her leadership of the Canadian women's soccer team that led millions across this nation to pay attention to the sport during the Olympics. I can't think of a better person to give this honour to.
Not sure if you'll qualify as an athlete if you do this, but you can volunteer to represent Canada (assuming you live here) as an MLB Fan Cave Dweller in the upcoming World Baseball Classic! The application (which includes an essay and a video) is due on January 11, 2013, and you have to agree to live in New York City during the tournament. You also agree to not sleep, because you'll be watching baseball throughout the day as it is played in different time zones around the world!