After taking the last two weeks off, I am back on the grindstone starting today. The past two weeks have been fun (including our little meetup and standing-room-only screening of Knuckleball!) but it's about time to do something useful. I am looking forward to this Thursday evening when the good folks at Tall Boys Craft Beer House will be hosting yet another Blue Jays event, this time they will be showing Brandon Morrow's 17 strikeout one-hitter. I'll definitely be there! Here are your Monday morning links:
Blue Jays Related
Toronto Blue Jays’ DeMarlo Hale steps up as John Gibbons’ right-hand man - National Post
The Blue Jays' new bench coach DeMarlo Hale says all the right things to John Lott in his first official appearance as a Blue Jays coach during a winter baseball clinic at the Rogers Centre this weekend. He recalled that he really enjoyed interviewing for a managerial job in Toronto back in 2010, heaping praise on the Blue Jays front office. Hale also revealed that he and John Gibbons were fellow coaches and roommates in the Hawaiian Winter League (I'd love to be a beat reporter cover that!). He told Lott that he will prepare for each game as if Gibbons were thrown out... which will probably happen a handful of times next year.
Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista upbeat about his recovery (and the team’s too) - National Post
In the same clinic, Jose Bautista spoke with the media, assuring them that his injured wrist is back to 100% and that he'd be playing if games were going on right now. He has spoken to the newly acquired Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, and Melky Cabrera, saying that "they're stoked" and "can't wait to get going." You can find Brendan Kennedy's piece with the Toronto Star here.
Blue Jays' Jose Bautista: 'We're gonna be good' - Toronto Sun
Bob Elliott spies on Jose Bautista as he talks to kids at the clinic. Also reports that "Bautista was uninjured after being hit in the head with a whiffle ball by nine-year-old Jordan Korman-Moore of Markham." Jenny Yuen also reported from the Rogers Centre this weekend, catching Bautista reminiscing about going to similar camps in the Dominican Republic as a kid and working with Tony Fernandez.
Hockey Is Back, And Maybe We Should Care Or Maybe Not - The Tao of Stieb
The Org Guy thinks about what the re-starting of the National Hockey League will do to interest in the Blue Jays, and a bit about Alan Ashby's departure and the Darren Oliver wanting more money thing.
The Darren Oliver Dilemma -The Blue Jay Hunter
Ian's take on Darren Oliver, and he basically has the same opinion as I on this subject. There is an interesting comment from an Anonymous contributor at the bottom, saying:
"Let [Oliver] retire, then reach out to him in late May and see if he wants to play 4 months for 3mm. Oliver gets 3 extra months with his family and the Jays will not have broken precedent and still have Black Magic down the stretch and into the playoffs."
The reason why the commenter mentioned "late May" is that according to Major League Rule 16(a), a player on the Voluntary Retired List in the offseason may only return after waiting 60 days from the start of the next season, but must be reinstated before August 1. MLR 16(d) gives the player 30 days to get into a "condition to participation in championship games to the satisfaction of the player's Club" before they start to take up a roster spot. However, it seems that the player would not be allowed to play any minor league games as "rehab" during the reinstatement period (unless he is optioned or outrighted of course). However, Extended Spring Training should still be going on until mid-June and a player could be sent there to work back into shape before being added back to the 25-man roster.
2012 Draft Class - The College Seniors - Jays Journal
Charlie Caskey looks at the college seniors drafted by the Jays in June 2012.
Around The League
Ranking the top 10 bullpens in baseball - ESPN
In an Insider only post, Buster Onley ranks baseball's top 11 bullpens. The Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays top the list, with the Blue Jays are not being on the roll call. The AL East checks in with the Rays at #2, the Orioles at #4, and the Red Sox and Yankees as the "best of the rest." The Blue Jays' relief corps probably have too many uncertainties (although I don't think Casey Janssen is one) and too few situational lefties to make the list. How will Sergio Santos perform coming back? What is the status of Darren Oliver, and if he retires is Brett Cecil or Sam Dyson ready for that role?
Adam LaRoche, Michael Bourn top list of best remaining free agents - SI.com
Cliff Corcoran looks at the top five free agents left on the market and how teams are reluctant to sign them because they require giving up a draft pick, as well as the associated value in the bonus pool as compensation. Corcoran suggests that Adam LaRoche may fit well in Toronto.
Baseball Hall of Fame Voting Unfairly Tainted by Steroids - New York Times
Tyler Kepner, like Jay Jaffe, believes that no one will be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013. According to released ballots, steroid-tainted Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens do not have enough to move forward, and neither does the supposedly "clean" Mike Piazza. Oh well, more room for Tom Cheek this year. Kepner also reveals that New York Times journalists are not permitted to vote for awards--interesting.