Top Blue Jays prospects came and went this week, and now the annual Winter Tour has begun (they will be in Kingston today), there should be a bunch of interview-type articles that will pop up in the next week or so. Some already have so take a read through these links!
Stanley: Thrilled to join the Jays - Sportsnet.ca (Video)
New bullpen coach Bob Stanley joined Prime Time Sports after some phone troubles. In the shortened segment, Stanley said that he had always looked forward to be a bullpen coach after all his years in the Red Sox 'pen. Stanley talked about working with Pete Walker to work pitchers a little harder this spring training to get their pitch counts up before April. He views his role on the team as someone who works with the pitching coach to give advice, but possibly explain it in different ways to make sure a pitcher understands.
Gibbons: Stroman could make 2014 Jays team - Sportsnet.ca (Video)
John Gibbons is in Toronto and he talks about his team. One thing he said that sort of confirms what many of us think, is that Marcus Stroman is quite close to the big leagues and if the Blue Jays don't add any arms (50/50 chance, Gibby thinks), there is a chance the 22-year-old could make it into the pitching staff out of spring training. Gibbons also kept tabs on Aaron Sanchez, who he considers the franchise's top prospect, in the Arizona Fall League. Gibby was asked about this year's spring training routine, and he acknowledged that he has addressed pitcher workouts with Pete Walker. Gibbons isn't sure that the lack of preparation was the reason of the struggles, but as Stanley said, the Jays would like to push their pitchers a little bit more in the spring to get them stronger when the regular season begins. When asked about Dustin McGowan, Gibbons's plan is to "stretch him out a little bit and see how that goes," although he didn't sound too enthused about McGowan's prospects in the rotation, thinking that increased innings would increase McGowan's injury risks.
Fun fact: Gibbons mentions "dead hookers" in this segment.
Marcus Stroman with Mike Wilner (Audio)
Like everybody in Toronto in the past week, they started their conversation talking about the cold weather. Once they got through that, Stroman reminds us that he is still a kid, marvelling at the hugeness of the Rogers Centre.
Sean Nolin with Mike Wilner (audio)
Sean Nolin talked about struggling in his first (and only) start in the major leagues, saying that he might have been "overanxious."
Aaron Sanchez with Mike Wilner (Audio)
OK this is the third interview with prospects and it's obvious that one of the thing they were taught on this trip to Toronto was how to use cliches in interviews. Although, Aaron Sanchez did hint that he might be headed for double-A New Hampshire to start 2014 (like we thought).
Blue Jays prospect Jimenez resumes throwing - Sportsnet.ca
Ben Nicholson-Smith tells us that catcher A.J. Jimenez, who earned a spot in the Arizona Fall League before re-injuring his elbow, now feels good enough to throw again. Jimenez will most likely be the Buffalo Bisons' starting catcher in 2014.
Palm Beach County Administrator Talks Spring Training Plans - Blue Jays Plus
Gideon Turk updates us on the goings-on with the Blue Jays' potential move away from Dunedin. The original plans that were discussed throughout 2013 was to move into the facilities the Astros were building in Palm Beach Gardens. State and municipal money was secured, but apparently there were enough protests from the locals to halt the project. Turk suggests that Boca Raton may be the "most desirable landing spot" as it is still within Palm Beach County (probably meaning they won't need to go back to the state to get money). Although I loved my time in Dunedin the one year I went down, the stadium is really outdated and having their minor league complex so far away is really a hindrance to the camp. I don't give a rat's mouth where they move but let's get the Blue Jays some better facilities to work out in the spring.
Why Rogers and the Blue Jays Need Each Other - Blue Jays Plus
"Cheap Rogers" aren't going to short change the Blue Jays because the better the team does, the more people will tune into Sportsnet, Joshua of Blue Jays Plus argues.
Blue Jays in the Wild: Adam Lind at the Raptors Game (with Jesse Carlson and Steve Paikin!) - The Blue Jay Hunter
I'm a huge Steve Paikin fan--he has a great show on TVO and is one of the best debate moderators out there--but he has one, huge, flaw: he is a Boston Red Sox fan. So what was he doing with current Blue Jay Adam Lind (with a nice winter beard and a Megatron toque) and former Blue Jay Jesse Carlson? An equally valid question would be: what the heck is Jesse Carlson doing in Toronto?
MLB Network now available in Canada - BlueJays.com
Finally, finally, finally, MLB Network is now available in Canada. I only caught a few minutes here and there but they are really promoting the fact that they've arrived here. On Intentional Talk they showed a few Blue Jays clips, including Kevin Millar striking out with a pathetic swing, Munenori Kawasaki (of course), and that stunt Dan Plesac once pulled when he posed as one of the SkyDome grounds crew. Plesac, who was hosting the segment, gave a pitch about Toronto that the tourism board should be proud of.
One thing to look forward to is a Maury Brown article in Forbes on the deal between Rogers and MLB Network to bring the channel to Canada. Brown, if you were unaware, operates the Biz of Baseball website.
Roy Halladay Appreciation Day
Just a reminder that Bluebird Banter and Jays Days Beer Club are organizing a fun Roy Halladay Appreciation event this Saturday, starting at 1 pm. It will be held at Tallboys Craft Beer House on Bloor between Ossington and Christie. We will have a screening of a Halladay-Matt Garza duel from 2009, Halladay trivia, and Tallboys will be serving up some specials: $5 pints of Steamwhistle, and an 8 2/3 (damn you Bobby Higginson!) ounce "curveburger," which is a "smashed beef patty topped with crisp pork belly au jus."
There'll be good baseball, good food, good beer, good company. Hope to see you there.
Bisons Hot Stove Luncheon
This coming Monday, January 13 is the last day for you to register for the Buffalo Bisons' annual "Hot Stove Luncheon" featuring Blue Jays executives (Alex Anthopoulos and Paul Beeston, and Charlie Wilson were there last year), Bisons GM Mike Buczkowski, and pitchers Brandon Morrow, Dustin McGowan, Esmil Rogers, and Todd Redmond. Tickets are just $25 and doors open at 11:30.
"Shift Disturbers" Speakers Series @ Rotman: Nate Silver
Nate Silver will be giving a talk on his new book "The Signal and the Noise" at the Martin Prosperity Institute on the University of Toronto campus on April 17. Tickets are just $40 ($20 for U of T alum) and include a copy of the book. Get your tickets now!