There wasn't supposed to be any baseball played today, but because the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers have identical win-loss records after 162 games, they will need to play number 163 against each other to determine who will get to go into the postseason. Of course, this was a situation that I had hoped for (actually I was hoping that the Indians would lose Sunday so we would get a game 164) because do-or-die baseball is fun.
Tonight, at 8 pm Eastern, we will see David Price starting against Martin Perez in Arlington. The winner will continue onto another one-off game against the Cleveland Indians to determine the A.L. Wild Card, and the loser will have to settle with the 22nd pick in 2014. The Blue Jays weren't able to spoil the Rays' postseason plans completely (with Cleveland and Texas winning, they could've eliminated the Rays win a win Sunday) but their comeback from 7-0 did use up a whole lot of the Rays' bullpen. But game 163 is considered a regular season game, meaning that both clubs can still use their expanded roster before cutting back down to 25 for Wednesday's Wild Card game.
We will be having postseason gamethreads here throughout the playoffs for your chatting pleasure. The games that have scheduled start times:
- Monday: AL Wild Card second slot tiebreaker (a.k.a. game 163) - Rays @ Rangers - 8 pm
- Tuesday: NL Wild Card playoff - Reds @ Pirates - 8 pm
- Wednesday: AL Wild Card playoff - Winner of Monday's game @ Indians - 8 pm
Blue Jays Related
Sartori leaving post as Blue Jays assistant GM - Sportsnet.ca
Assistant general manager Jay Satori is leaving his job for a top management job at Apple, so Alex Anthopoulos will be looking for a new analytical expert. Sartori didn't have a background in baseball, getting a degree in finance and management information systems. His statistical skills, and experience in arbitration and contracts will be a loss to the front office.
Blue Jays season recap: Top 10 mistakes - Toronto Star
The season recaps have started--and this was published on Saturday, before the season had even ended! Here, Brendan Kennedy looks at the top mistakes made by the Blue Jays this season. I agree with pretty much all of it, except that I'd drop "reviving Chien-Ming Wang" and add "general lack of preparation at defense"--why did it take so long for the Blue Jays to get their middle-infielders to work on turning a double play with Roberto Alomar? why did it take until the end of the season for the Jays to get Sal Fasano to work with J.P. Arencibia?
The Jays' good and bad of 2013 - Toronto Sun
Bob Elliott's "good and bad" list of the 2013 Blue Jays. My favourite line (even though the version at time of writing had a typo) was under "good": "Kawasaki’s two-run, walk-off double off Baltimore closer Josh [sic] Johnson, which make him as popular as Colton Orr."
Blue Jays Report Card - Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Any time someone releases a "report card" it reminds me of my most dreaded day in school.
Blue Jays seeking outside help for rotation - Sportsnet.ca
In his annual year-end press conference, Alex Anthopoulos mentioned the obvious, that his club needs to add to the rotation to improve for 2014. He also said that, even accounting for arbitration and options, the club will still "have a quite of flexibility" in the payroll. His comment about posting costs to bring over Japanese professional players also seem to hint that he is still concerned about the financial implications of bidding for negotiation rights.
Anthopoulos must look beyond rotation - Sportsnet.ca
Shi Davidi has another piece based on the Anthopoulos year-ender, this time focusing on factors beyond the rotation. He includes a quote from Casey Janssen about the importance of "character guys" and how the WBC disrupted the team's meshing process that was never completed due to various injuries.
Other needs mentioned included improvements at second base and catcher. No news there, but the end of the article featured some interesting quotes from the general manager: he may use the glut of relievers in trades, Lawrie will be a third baseman next year unless they acquire an "established and great player" to play there, a new stop-gap artificial turf will be installed in the next couple of season to replace the aging carpet, and how the front office has realized that playing defense on turf is different than on grass (well, about time).
Most interesting is his mention of Munenori Kawasaki's contract. I had assumed that Kawasaki, by virtue of his service time, would be under club control for the next few years, but apparently the contract they had agreed to this spring was not a standard one, and had a $1 million club option for 2014. He will be allowed to leave as a free agent if the club does not pick it up. Kawasaki still has one more option year so he can be sent to the minors next season.
Where do the Toronto Blue Jays go after another lost season? - National Post
John Lott looks at the Blue Jays' to-do list for the offseason, mentioning the often-cited problems along with several items that had to do with coaching. Mark DeRosa was quoted to saying that the coaching staff probably gave the players too much relaxation time in the spring without enough focus on fundamentals, and that young players were not being held to account for their mistakes. Like Lott, I do expect some changes in the coaching staff for 2014. I have a feeling that we won't see Dwayne Murphy back, but that's just a gut feeling.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos addresses team's needs - bluejays.com
Gregor Chisholm's take on the presser. Includes an embedded video of vignettes from the conversation.
R.A. Dickey reflects on first season with Blue Jays - Eh Game
Israel Fehr wrote about R.A. Dickey's first season as a Blue Jay, showing that he has improved his strikeout and walk rates since the All-Star Break, but his home run rate hasn't dropped. Dickey stated that his goal is to lower his walk rate so he would give up fewer multi-run homers.
Brett Lawrie’s defensive pride and baseball’s ongoing quest to quantify defence - The Eh Game
Fehr also has a piece on Brett Lawrie's stellar defensive skills. Lawrie takes a lot of pride in his defense, but hasn't figured out UZR, DRS and range factor yet.
Jays reliever Darren Oliver takes his final bow - Toronto Sun
One of the best parts about the Jays' last game is how Darren Oliver managed to head into the sunset on a high note, receiving ovations from fans and both teams as he trotted in, and striking out two in his perfect inning of work.
Blue Jays' DeRosa faces retirement decision - bluejays.com
Veteran present Mark DeRosa hasn't decided whether he has played his last game in the majors, pondering retirement after 16 seasons in the majors. I do hope that this gets resolved in a better way than the Darren Oliver affair. If he does retire to retire, not only would Brett Lawrie and Munenori Kawasaki lose their best friend (well everyone is Kawasaki's best friend) but Blue Jays fans will surely miss is walk-up song.
Silver linings amid a Blue Jays’ season of gloom - The Globe and Mail
The normally grumpy Jeff Blair tries to find the silver lining to the 2013 season. This read will make you feel better.
With 162 In The Book, Some Final Blue Jays Thoughts - Jays Journal
Kyle Franzoni recaps Sunday's events and puts together some overall thoughts of the 2013 season.
2014 MLB Draft Order - MLBTradeRumors.com
Charlie Wilmoth gives us the more-or-less complete 2014 amateur draft order, with only the 22nd and 23rd picks to be determined by tonight's tiebreaker game. The Blue Jays will be picking ninth (by finishing ninth-worst in the majors in 2013) and 11th (for not signing Phil Bickford this season). Both picks are protected, meaning that the Jays will not have to surrender any first-round picks (and their associated heap of bonus money) should they sign any free agent who had declined a qualifying offer.
Case made case to be signed - Canadian Baseball Network
The goal of Tournament 12, the national amateur baseball tournament that was held inside the Rogers Centre last weekend, was to develop Canadian baseball by allowing amateur players to play in front of scouts and recruiters. An early sign for success of the program is that the Blue Jays signed one of the participants to a contract right after the tournament. Saint John's Andrew Case, two years out of high school, threw a no-hitter in the semi-finals and wowed Blue Jays scout Jamie Lehman. Alexis Brudnicki has a pretty good feel-good story over about the signing over at the Canadian Baseball Network. It's incredible how one game can change a kid's life.
Tribute to the fans that rode the Toronto Blue Jays roller coaster of a season. - Toronto Star
Photos from the 2013 season. Lots of shots of fans to show the wide range of emotions felt this year.
Henderson Alvarez throws no-hitter, Marlins walk-off 1-0 - Fish Stripes
Our friends at Fish Stripes looks at Henderson Alvarez's improbable no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers. For some reason this was the Marlins' FIFTH no-hitter in their franchise history, which started in 1993. Rob Neyer looked at all the no-hitters that were clinched by a walkoff.