Jays Jots: Yunel Escobar, Jose Bautista, Manny Ramirez, Pat Borders

Here are some links, with a new look, to get you by until this afternoon, including a look at the Rays’ 2011 draft after Rafael Soriano signed with the Yankees. Check back later today too, as we get back to our Top 50 prospects countdown by unveiling #29!

Room for More – The Tao of Stieb
The Ack over at The Tao ofStieb takes a look at a 2011 bounceback candidate who a lot of fans seem to forget about: Yunel Escobar. I have to agree with him that it only seems reasonable that Escobar should improve off of his .696 OPS in 60 games with the Jays in 2010.

Manny Signing in Toronto – Sportsnet Radio Fan 590
Yes, it’s no longer just the Fan 590 anymore, as Rogers has put its’ stamp on another brand, with the radio station now being called Sportsnet Radio Fan 590. Primetime Sports with Bob McCown looks at the idea of Manny signing in Toronto. Advance about 3/4 of the way through to get past all of the stuff about the NHL All-Star game. Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada and Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star are part of the discussion panel.

Blue Jays Mailbag – Toronto Star
Speaking of Richard Griffin, his latest edition of the mailbag is up. Topics include Adam Lind preparing for first base in Florida, Jose Bautista at third, Fred McGriff in the Hall of Fame, and the Jays retiring Roberto Alomar’s number 12.

Stoeten Answers Richard Griffin’s Mailbag (Again!) – Drunk Jays Fans
As always when Richard Griffin posts his mailbag now, Andrew Stoeten over at Drunk Jays Fans chimes in with his own entertaining answers.

Bautista Should Cash in on Breakout Year – National Post
Jeremy Sandler from the National Post takes a good look at Jose Bautista‘s possible upcoming arbitration case. Just for kicks, check out another article here, where he believes the Jays get a first-round pick from the Angels for signing Scott Downs, and thinks the Jays should (have) sign(ed) Rafael Soriano, trade for Michael Young, and sign Willy Aybar

Five Teams Are Interested In Manny Ramirez – Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com
According to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com, the Blue Jays are one of five teams interested in free-agent slugger Manny Ramirez. This comes one day after Scott Boras was talking about Manny and some of his other clients to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. MLB Trade Rumors offered this about Manny signing in Toronto:

Despite speculation that Ramirez could be a fit in Toronto, where former Red Sox coach John Farrell will take over as manager, it isn’t a likely match. In fact, Crasnick suggests Farrell’s familiarity with the slugger could make the Jays less likely to sign Manny.

Will Vernon Wells Be Any Good Next Season? – Bluebird Banter
Bluebird Banter takes a look at what to expect out of Vernon Wells in 2011 and what he has done since 2006

Cardinals To Sign Batista, Snell – MLB Trade Rumors
Former Blue Jay Miguel Batista recently signed a Minor League contract with the St. Louis Cardinals

Minor League Transactions: Jan. 1-10 – Baseball America
According to Matt Eddy from Baseball America, former Blue Jay and 1992 World Series MVP Pat Borders was finally released by the Los Angeles Dodgers

Incredibly, Borders played professionally for a quarter century—every season from 1982, when he was a sixth-round pick by the Blue Jays, through May 26, 2006, when the Dodgers placed him on the restricted list. There he stayed until this month. Borders played catcher right up until the end, getting behind the plate 23 times in the minors in ’06 at age 43. His 1,015 games caught in the big leagues ranks just outside the top 100 all time.

Mets Sign Raul Chavez – ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin (Via Twitter)
The New York Mets signed former Blue Jay catcher Raul Chavez to a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training. Chavez spent all of last year with the Las Vegas 51s, hitting .210/.260/.320 in 55 games.

Breaking Down the
Rafael Soriano Deal – ESPN.com’s Keith Law
Keith Law offers his take on the flabbergasting 3-year/$35M contract that Rafael Soriano got from the New York Yankees, which includes the ability to opt-out twice. Law goes into detail about just how the deep 2011 draft looks for the Jays AL East rival Tampa Bay Rays now:

The Soriano signing and Oakland’s deal with Grant Balfour give Tampa Bay an unbelievable haul of picks in the 2011 Rule 4 draft, which is shaping up as one of the best amateur drafts in recent memory. The Rays will have three first-round picks, seven sandwich-round picks (potentially eight if Chad Qualls signs a major league deal with San Diego), and back-to-back picks near the end of the second round. That’s 11 of the first 60 picks and 13 of the first 90 for a team that drafts well and commits money to signing top picks.

-JM

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Tags: Adam Lind Fred McGriff Jose Bautista Manny Ramirez Miguel Batista Rafael Soriano Raul Chavez Roberto Alomar Tampa Bay Rays Toronto Blue Jays Yunel Escobar

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