There is a bit of old friend news:
Alex Anthopoulos got a promotion from the Braves, he’s now president of baseball operations. And he hired John Gibbons as a national amateur scouting crosschecker. I’m glad Gibbons has a job in baseball, but I’d like it to be one where he isn’t hidden away.
Gregor Chisholm gives us a couple of opinions:
Of the non-roster invitees, RHP A.J. Cole is among those the #BlueJays intend to take a very close look at. He's getting some early buzz here in camp. Crowded 40-man roster plays a role here, but Toronto likes the velocity and he had decent numbers last year in Cleveland.— Gregor Chisholm (@GregorChisholm) February 17, 2020
Cole made 25 appearances for Cleveland, all of the pen. He had a 3.81 ERA. In 26 innings he allowed 31 hits, 4 homers, 8 walks and 30 strikeouts. FanGraphs says he averaged 94.7 MPH on his fastball last year. The bullpen is an open competition this spring. Having some guys that can throw hard might be a good thing, He’s only 28, I thought he was older.
It is also more than possible that the team will fill the last couple of bullpen spots with guys cut from other teams. Daniel Hudson was picked up at the end of camp last year.
The player who hasn't received much attention coming into camp, who has a legitimate shot of cracking opening day roster is Joe Panik. No, not to start at 2B, but to add another back-up IF to the bench. Under that scenario, Drury would occasionally see time in OF too. #BlueJays— Gregor Chisholm (@GregorChisholm) February 17, 2020
Panik has only played second base in the majors (with nine innings at first base). He did play some short in the minors, but that was back in 2013 and before. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t play a few innings there in an emergency, but I wouldn’t want to see him do more than that.
I think a lot of the choices on the utility infielder and 4th/5th outfielder will depend on whether Rowdy Tellez earns a job this spring and if it is the full time DH spot. If he doesn’t make the team, the DH spot can be shared around more and there will be room for an extra infielder or outfielder.
Randal Grichuk on CF:"kinda got thrown into the fire, so to speak, in center..... I think just with anybody, more reps, you're going to be better, and pull out your best.. definitely feel a little bit more comfortable knowing now, instead of the day after KP(Pillar)got traded.— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) February 17, 2020
This I agree with. I always think it is unfair to have a player spend all spring working at one position and then put him in a tougher position during the season. It seems to be setting the player up to fail. I remember the Jays doing that with Edwin Encarnacion. One year, all spring long he was to the the first baseman, then, the weekend before the season starts, he’s suddenly the third baseman. And they were surprised when he failed.
I don’t understand how you get the job of baseball commissioner without having a better grasp on PR than Rob Manfred seems to have. His performance yesterday only made things worse for the Astros. When he says ‘the players have been punished enough, I could see it in their eyes when they apologized’, that’s just stupid.
Setting aside that I don’t think many of the Astros have really apologized. They have alibied. They’ve made silly excuses. They have recited things their PR people told them to. But apologize? Not so much. They tell us they didn’t cheat last year, but don’t suggest why they suddenly saw the light. I can’t imagine cheating and getting away with it (and winning a World Series) and then deciding to stop doing it out of the goodness of your heart.
But, Mr. Manfred, pretending that you can read things in people’s eyes is just telling us you had a preconceived notion and you going with it. I get you want us to believe that, but we need more than ‘there was a look in their eyes’.
His suggestion that there will be stronger penalties for hit batters seems to be taking sides (not that I want to see players thrown at). If you thought that the punishment for hit batters was good enough last year, then it should be good enough this year.
I agree with this:
I was offline doing dad/homemaker things all afternoon and just caught up on Manfred's press conference.— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) February 17, 2020
Immature. Peevish. So out of his depth that the echo sounder just goes
There is a nice new scoreboard in Dunedin.