Are the Blue Jays Getting a New Turf This Season? - The Blue Jay Hunter
Yesterday afternoon I wrote about how the Rogers Centre may be furnished with a new turf. This morning Ian revealed that he also heard that something is happening with the turf, specifically that the groundscrew are replacing the sand layers with rubber in order to soften the field. Intriguing.
John Robertson, former Star Blue Jays columnist, dead at 79 - Toronto Star
A particular sad line in the obituary reads "Robertson led a campaign in the late 1980s to see real grass installed at the "domed stadium" that would become the SkyDome." Sigh. How many more men must die before it gets grass?
Blue Jays' president Paul Beeston unplugged - Toronto Star
Paul Beeston willingly allowed Richard Griffin to sit down in his office to have a chat about the Blue Jays last Friday. Among the usual stuff that we've already read millions of times this offseason, Beeston does a good job pissing on MLB Advanced Media's inane blackout rules (and indirectly endorses people to watch Blue Jays games in their offices).
Can Brent Morel (Or Is It Brett Morel?) Be A Poor Man’s Mark DeRosa? - Drunk Jays Fans
Stoeten gives some of his (somewhat long-winded) thoughts on the Blue Jays' waiver acquisition Brent Morel. I like his take of how he's a nice lottery ticket that can prove to be a good platoon partner for Ran Goins. Even if Morel does not make the team out of spring training, he's a good player to have on the 40-man roster as he still has an option year remaining.
Blue Jays likely to keep Dunedin as spring training home - Toronto Star
A largely unnoticed story from last week: the Blue Jays and the Astros are no longer looking to move in together probably because one of them figured out that the other steals food and never cleans the bathtub... Actually, the move was Nixed (in reference to Jayson Nix screwing things up) after Palm Beach Gardens residents complained about the traffic, construction, noise, light, kids, teens, adults, baseballs, and fun that would've come with a spring training complex. Going back home to Dunedin is not necessarily a bad thing for the Blue Jays--the threat to leave may be impetus for local politicians and business associations to make improvements. Dunedin is a really nice little town but Florida Auto Exchange Stadium needs major work to bring it up to modern standards.
Managing Replay: The New Market Inefficiency - Blue Jays Plus
Joshua from Blue Jays Plus writes about the use of strategy in manager's challenges and how John Gibbons's apparent "inherent understanding of run expectancy" could point to the fact that the Blue Jays might be able to take advantage of the new baseball rule, but somehow the lack of defensive shifts makes him unsure. I think this is a good piece for consideration but I don't think there really is too much to worry about with regards to the infield shifts hampering Gibbons's ability to toss the challenge flag at the right time.
Also: I am not 100% sure but I think the article's statement that "manager challenges are only allowed for the first 6 innings, after which point all replays will be at the umpires’ discretion" is incorrect. From all my readings of articles explaining the rules (I haven't seen a copy of the 2014 Official Rules online), I've interpreted it as saying that umpires can start to initiate a challenge of non-home run calls only after the sixth inning; managers who still have challenges left can challenge at any time (ie. their challenge does not disappear after the sixth).
What NFL coach challenges tell us about MLB - Sportsnet.ca
Also on the topic of challenges, Ben Nicholson-Smith writes about what baseball managers can learn from NFL coaches. Nicholson-Smith points out something important here that Joshua's article missed: the human factor. No manager would want to get on an umpire's bad side by repeatedly challenging routine non-game-changing plays just for the heck of it.
Is Blue Jays Colby Rasmus Worth Adam Jones Money? - Jays Journal
Kyle Franzoni compares A.L. East centre fielders, looking at whether Colby Rasmus is worth the six-year $85.5 million contract handed to Adam Jones in 2012. Rasmus has had his ups and downs but when he's on he's well worth a contract well north of Jones's. I didn't think there was too much of a chance of a contract extension happening this offseason--both Alex Anthopoulos and Colby Rasmus are probably interested in seeing what results come from the 2014 season. Unless Rasmus is expecting a big down year or the Blue Jays offer him a lot of money over a lot of years, he really has no reason to sign an extension now.
The Suddenly Popular Emilio Bonifacio - FanGraphs Baseball
We have not one but two Emilio Bonifacio articles this afternoon. Here Mike Petriello discusses how there is really a league-wide glut in middle infield depth two weeks from the start of camp and how Bonifacio may be most useful on the basepaths.
The Emilio Bonifacio Conundrum - Getting Blanked
Over at Getting Blanked, Jack Moore writes that while Bonifacio is deeply flawed, he can be useful when used in--and only in-- the right situation like as a pinch runner who can stay in the game to field. Also: did you know that Emilio's brother, Jorge, is a prospect in the Royals system?
Tracy McGrady may try second career as pro baseball player - Larry Brown Sports
Former Toronto Raptor Tracy McGrady is considering playing baseball now that his basketball career is over, and apparently has drawn some interest from the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The 2013 Skeeters had several former Blue Jays (or Jays prospects) on their roster: Ryan Langerhans, David Pauley, Jason Lane, Clint Everts, and Koby Clemens.
It's Officially Ours! - Left Field Brewery
Mark and Mandie, the husband-wife duo who own and run Left Field Brewery, are now officially owners of an old warehouse in the east end of Toronto where they will be building their new home. They will be showing off their space on February 22 with an Open House that will run from 2-8 pm. Anyone can attend for free, and they'll offer three of their delicious brews at $5 each. I hope to see you there.