The line up for tonight's Home Run Derby has been announced.
Carlos Pena joins Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge, Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and Twins catcher Joe Mauer from the Junior Circuit, and the National League features big league homer leader, hometown hero and All-Star centerpiece Albert Pujols of the Cardinals, plus Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres, Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder and Ryan Howard of the Phillies.
Can't say that the derby excites me all that much. Joe Mauer's name surprised me, I wouldn't consider him a big power guy, though he hits his share, but more of a line drive hitter. Looks to me like the NL has an advantage.
Mark Zwolinski in the Toronto Star looks at the Jays limping into the All-Star break. Looks like Scott Richmond should be ready to be activated after the break with one of the lefties in the rotation going to the pen. I'd imagine it would be Brian Tallet. Other bits:
Despite the talk, however, the Jays likely will stand pat come July 31. The club has shifted away from trading ace Roy Halladay, whose future in Toronto has been the subject of much speculation. But unless there is an offer they can't refuse, all the hype merely sets up the off-season, when Halladay enters the final year of his contract.
Gaston, though, has seen things over the past month that dampen the enthusiasm that built during a successful first half. "We talked last year and in the off-season about where we wanted to go ... we had a good start but we have to play better," he said. "I expect more out of them."
We have all said what a great batting coach Cito is, I guess now we will learn if it is true.
Bart Givens talks about B.J. Ryan's contract in his blog, he was there when he Ryan was signed:
Many are complaining about Ryan’s contract and stating they knew he’d get hurt because of his delivery. Yes the contract was huge – but it was part of a re-branding and rebuilding plan of the franchise to players, agents and fans. Without Ryan, there may not have been a Burnett, Overbay or a Glaus. Obviously the plan has not worked as we all had hoped. No playoff appearances being the bottom line. Although I’m biased – signing Ryan was the right thing to do. If he’d signed for $42 Million or $47 Million it wouldn’t have dramatically changed the next four seasons. As far as the assumption he’d get hurt because of his delivery…he does put a ton of stress on his arm but there are no guarantees of injury or health. There are pitchers with worse deliveries who avoid injury and those with "textbook" deliveries who can’t stay on the field. It’s the risk you take.
That may be right, but signing a free agent reliever for big money for 5 years never seems to pay off.
Speaking of Ryan: Chicago Cubs interested in former Blue Jay B.J. Ryan - MLB Daily Dish
All in all it would be a very smart pickup for the Cubs. It will cost them $600,000 to sign him for two years. Worst case he bombs out and they lose AROD's lunch money, but the best case is they get an effective left-handed reliever for really cheap.
Have the Cubs watched him pitch??
The Batter's Box talked to Jay's Director of Player Development Dick Scott about our farm hands, among other interesting bits:
BB: JP Arencibia is on the DL but he has not been able to handle AAA pitching yet. Is he going to be able to develop an approach, and patience, that will work for him?
DS: I think so. He will develop patience with time. He got to AAA after only one full season in the minor leagues under his belt and there are a lot of pitchers in AAA who have pitched in the big leagues or who pitched earlier this season in the big leagues so it's a good level for him and he has to make some adjustments and we would prefer for him to undergo adversity in the minor leagues rather than in the major leagues. He is making adjustments, he will be fine.
And the Drunks have 11 reasons to keep watching the Jays. I really agree with their number one reason, watching the young pitchers. Best part of baseball is watching young players develop.
Enjoy the day.
Late link addition:
Didn't see this until after I posted but Royals Review has a great Mad Lib for posters that we could steal and use here, just replacing Royals with Blue Jays. Go take a look.