The void filled by news of Jose Bautista’s signing has been once again left vacant, and we are back to the same old boring offseason. Here’s what’s new:
- Josh Thole has signed a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, ending a long tenure as R.A. Dickey’s personal catcher. Dickey, who signed with the Atlanta Braves earlier this offseason, has had Thole by his side since 2010. The following is an excerpt from “Blue Jays’ Josh Thole and R.A. Dickey are brothers in arms.”
- Per Jerry Crasnick, the Blue Jays are interested in catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who is currently a free agent. Saltala-whatever-it-is, who has the longest last name in major league history, is a major league veteran of 10 years and spent last season with the Detroit Tigers. He played in 92 major league games, collecting a on-base percentage of .284 with 12 home runs. Salty played 68 games catching (the rest are split between first base and DH), with an overall WAR of -0.2. Obviously, Saltalamacchia is not the most ideal free agent option (that honour goes to Dioner Navarro or Matt Wieters, in my opinion), but, at this point in the offseason, any catching acquisition would bode well for Toronto (aside from yesterday’s pick up of Juan Graterol).
- Although not Blue Jays related, a recent study by PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) has linked baseball performance to jet lag. Ravi Allada, a neurobiologist, took 20 years worth of MLB data and compiled comparisons from traveling east-to-west, west-to-east, and playing at home or away. In the end, Allada concluded that there was enough statistical variance between teams traveling west-to-east compared to teams traveling east-to-west to prove, or at least link, jet lag to a team’s performance. You can read a summary of the study here, or the full study here.
- The Blue Jays concluded their Winter Tour with a brunch at the Rogers Centre, following stops in Regina and Edmonton. In Regina, players checked in at a local school and held a baseball clinic to benefit the Jays Care Foundation, while Edmonton saw a local media session, a fan autograph session, a visit to a local hospital and a stop at an Edmonton Oilers game. This is the Blue Jays’ seventh annual Winter Tour. Did you get to meet any players this time around?