Dirk Hayhurst revealed yesterday on his official website that he will not be offered a 2011 contract by the Toronto Blue Jays.
This announcement isn’t exactly surprising, considering the Jays have added plenty of external bullpen options this offseason (Winston Abreu, Carlos Villanueva, Brian Stokes, Sean Henn, Mike Hinckley, Chad Cordero, and the apparent signing of Octavio Dotel) to replace Kevin Gregg and Scott Downs, and when factoring in existing internal candidates, there’s not a lot of room for another reliever.
That being said, it was nice to keep thinking that Hayhurst was going to be back with the Blue Jays in some capacity in 2011. To find out the whole story about the decision, check out Hayhurst’s entry on his website where, in his unique style, he offers his take on the situation.
For anyone that isn’t familiar with Dirk Hayhurst, if you look at his statistics alone, you will be easily puzzled as to why he is popular among the Blue Jays fan base. He was a harmless waiver claim by the Blue Jays at the end of the 2008 season only to be released four months later, and the Jays re-signed him to a Minor League contract prior to the 2009 season. He went on to post a 3.75 ERA in 57.2 innings for Triple-A Las Vegas, which earned him a promotion to the Jays, where he posted a 9.1 H/9, 5.2 K/9, and 2.78 ERA in 15 games. He missed all of the 2010 season recovering from surgery.
With the countless relievers that have quickly come and gone from the Blue Jays organization (recent names like John Parrish, Bill Murphy, Ty Taubenheim, and Victor Zambrano to name a few), what makes Hayhurst so different?
His outgoing, unique personality is shown through his heavy online involvement with Baseball America, Facebook, and Twitter (@TheGarfoose). He gets involved by responding to fans on his website, and he’s on Twitter connecting with people (not solely communicating with his teammates who also use the service). He contributes periodically to his hometown newspaper, The CantonRepository, and is a motivational speaker as well.
Hayhurst’s writing drew so much praise that it enticed him to write his first book, The Bullpen Gospels. Do yourself a favor and pick up the book. Even if you have read it, read it again, or pick up another copy (or your own copy if you don’t already have it) and give it to a friend. It’s one of the most interesting and unique books one can read, and it will surely generate laughs within the first twenty pages (on top of the 320 pages after that).
He is also well known for his comical creation called a Garfoose, which, according to Hayhurst, is a “fire breathing, magically empowered, indestructible, wifi enabled, half giraffe half moose”. It’s a topic of conversation for many, especially those who have met Hayhurst personally, and the autographs he signs even contain sketches of a Garfoose.
Hayhurst may have only pitched in 40 games between Triple-A and the Majors during his two year stint with the Blue Jays, but he drew a lot of attention to the Jays as an organization as a result of his efforts away from the diamond.
Best of luck to you in the future Dirk!