Yesterday we saw another fine performance by a Blue Jays starting pitcher as Marco Estrada allowed but two hits and a run in 6.2 innings to help the Jays gain another game on the Twins and by the end of the night Toronto was alone in the second wild card spot. It's August 5 and four teams are within two games but damn it's a good feeling.
Prior to the last night game, we learned whether or not R.A. Dickey's recent roll of good starts were sustainable or not, that Aaron Sanchez and John Gibbons had been suspended, learned a bit about the Twins, and had a very lengthy discussion on whether or not the Blue Jays should've gone "all-in" this trade deadline (please continue it in those linked threads and not rehash it here). What shall we read and argue about today?
Inside the 48 hours that transformed the Blue Jays - Sportsnet.ca
Arden Zwelling gives us the blow-by-blow (well, at least the blows Alex Anthopoulos decided to share with him) story about the insanity that was last week in Blue Jays land.
Fun fact: Anthopoulos sent his family away to Portugal to concentrate on the trade deadline. Fun fact 2: I love Alex Anthopoulos.
"Anthopoulos and Gibbons broke the news to a teary-eyed Reyes in another. Reyes was quiet and emotional, not saying much other than asking who he had been traded for. Anthopoulos, ever vigilant about leaks, wouldn’t say. Reyes got up to leave, giving everyone in the room a hug before he went."
Blockbuster Anatomy: Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos on the Tulowitzki and Price Deals - Grantland
While Zwelling gave us details, Jonah Keri gives us this story in a very well-written narrative.
Fun fact: Anthopoulos didn't contact now former Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski about David Price for fear of offending him (as the Tigers were just a couple games behind the Jays) until he read some "Internet reports."
Key quote (from Anthopoulos):
"We had a lot of people within our organization who were not comfortable with the idea of getting Tulo and wanted starting pitching instead. They brought up the length of his contract, the dollars on his contract, the players we’d have to give up."
Did Your Team Blow It At The Trade Deadline? - FiveThirtyEight
Neil Paine and Nate Silver analyzes the trade deadline movements with their metric named after Doyle Alexander, the "Doyle Number." You can go to their piece for details about what it means but essentially it is uses true talent metrics to determine how a team should act at the non-waiver trade deadline, whether they should buy or sell. The Blue Jays were at a point where the worst move would've been to stand pat, and where adding more and talent effects a better-than-linear increase in expected World Series titles, so adding two top talents, in Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, made sense.
Seriously, go to that link and look at the last figure--it is much simpler to understand than my words. The only thing missing from this piece is a calculation of exactly how many "true talent wins" each club gained after the trades--perhaps they are going to do that in a follow-up.
Opportunity knocks for Blue Jays with Dombrowski - Sportsnet.ca [Autoplaying Video]
Shi Davidi writes about the possibility of Dave Dombrowski coming over to succeed Paul Beeston as the Blue Jays' president, noting his time with he Montreal Expos (where Alex Anthopoulos became his fanboy). Davidi points out two other possible destinations: the Red Sox and the Angels. Boston is a possibility (although a Boston Herald reporter wrote the interest is really just at a due-diligence level), but would someone with the stature like Dombrowski want to head to an organization that worships Mike Scioscia?
Blue Jays could make move to protect Russell Martin - Sportsnet.ca
It's sort of old news now, but Jeff Blair suggested that the Blue Jays may look to calling up knuckleball-catching specialist Josh Thole to catch R.A. Dickey through the end of the regular season in order to give Russell Martin a spell. Although having Thole in the big leagues takes up a valuable spot, rosters expand in three-and-a-half weeks and having a healthier Martin hopefully means a more productive Martin down the stretch. Blair also notes that the Jays were close to getting Ben Zobrist, a player who I love-hate (love for his greatness, hate for his greatness against the Blue Jays). At least the Jays won't see him again until the postseason.
Ratings and Attendance
People are starting to notice the Blue Jays, especially after their big push at the deadline. The Blue Jays broadcasts clocked in at 990,000 on Friday and Sunday and went above the 1 million mark on Sunday, according to Jamie Campbell. That's more than any other television broadcast in the country on Friday and Saturday. Wild.
If you are looking to attend any weekend games for the rest of the summer, take note: the series against the Yankees on August 14-16 is going to be packed. According to Stephen Brooks, Saturday and Sunday's games (with Sunday's game featuring a Barfield-Bell-Moseby triple bobblehead) are nearly sold out, and Friday night's game is now at over 40,000. Even next Thursday's day game against the Athletics has over 36,000 tickets sold.
The speedy former-postman Roemon Fields will be joining the Buffalo Bisons, getting a promotion from double-A. Fields is a speedster, having stolen 48 bases in short-season Vancouver last year (72 games) and combining to steal 28 in 40 attempts this year between Dunedin and New Hampshire. Fields, who was invited to participate in a few major league spring training games, is a potential September callup candidate to provide real speed off the bench. Could he be the Blue Jays' Terrance Gore?
Gustavo Pierre [PEE-arr-ay], the prospect the Blue Jays traded for John Mayberry Jr. last year, is back in the system after a trade with the Phillies for an unknown return (probably a small amount of cash). Pierre, an infielder most known for making 88 errors in 183 games at shortstop, was used primarily at third base for the double-A Reading Fightin Phils (their logo is an ostrich ready for fisticuffs) and hit a meagre .227/.258/.311 this season. The Blue Jays will be converting the 23-year-old into a pitcher. Re-stocking the farm!
Speaking of re-stocking, the Blue Jays have announced that they have signed minor league free agent RHP Chris Smith (assigned to Dunedin) and amateur free agent SS Ronald Concepcion (assigned to Dominican Summer League).
GIF of the Day
Trevor Plouffe gets ahead of himself
Bonus GIF: I spent my lunch hour on Tuesday watching the livestreaming of a Scrabble game with a few colleagues. Jesse Day destroyed Thomas Reinke.