Things are finally moving and shaking in Blue Jays land, and we are so grateful to have things to talk about.
Here’s a fun bit of history on the Blue Jays newest outfielder:
When the Toronto Blue Jays were mashing in September of 2015, the St. Louis Cardinals were so desperate to get an injured Grichuk’s bat in the line-up that they played in him centre field, even though he couldn’t throw. Grichuk had been out since August 17th with a right elbow injury, so manager Mike Matheny and crew devised a plan for Grichuk to only lightly toss the ball to his teammates on either side. The plan was not a great one, as many Chicago Cubs took advantage of the recovering centre fielder - even Jon Lester managed to score easily from second on a single to centre. (h/t to a Redditor for finding this gem)
Grichuk joined the now-official new Blue Jay Curtis Granderson in a press conference call yesterday, and there were some fairly interesting tidbits. Grichuk appears to be well aware of his strikeout-to-walk ratio issues, and is actively trying to improve during this off-season:
New Blue Jay Randal Grichuk's been working hard on his plate discipline this winter. He bought a pitching machine that throws curveballs and sliders — he stands in the box with it set to random and tries to call out balls and strikes. He's also taking vision training courses.— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) January 23, 2018
Grichuk mentioned he would also like the opportunity to steal more bases in 2018:
Grichuk wants to run more with the Blue Jays: "We just didn't really get the green light or the steal [sign] in St. Louis that much." Grichuk's Statcast Sprint Speed is right in line with Kevin Pillar and Ezequiel Carrera.— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) January 23, 2018
Considering Ezequiel Carrera, Kevin Pillar and Devon Travis were the only three Blue Jays with above average speed last year, Grichuk should add some value there.
Curtis Granderson posted the loveliest video announcing his official signing with the team, and then proceeded to say this in the aforementioned conference call:
Curtis Granderson says he'll defer to #BlueJays decision makers when it comes to role/playing time. "It’s going to be up to them. They drive the ship. I get in line.”— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) January 23, 2018
Could he be any more likable?
In other news, MLB Network is alluding to a Jose Bautista bounceback next year due to his corrected vision:
"He finally took advice from friends and got his eyes checked. And his vision was really bad. Now has glasses/contacts". Peter Gammons talking about Jose Bautista #bluejays.— BlueJaysTwit (@bluejaystwit) January 24, 2018
Bautista’s agent, Jay Alou, did what a good agent should do and also claimed back during the Winter Meetings that the slugger had “found the issue with his swing last season”. Godspeed, Jose.
Just in case the hype over Vladdy Jr wasn’t through the roof as it is, MLBPipeline handed him their first ever “80” hit evaluation. I mean...
An 80 hit tool!? Yes, that's an 80 hit tool -- the first we've ever given out. #BlueJays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has the highest offensive ceiling of any @MLB prospect & is No. 1 on our Top 10 3B Prospects list: https://t.co/l1C5KRCAgL pic.twitter.com/gkU1fz4tb5— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) January 23, 2018
Pitchers and catchers report in three weeks. Hopefully the Blue Jays will have signed at least one other pitcher before then.