Here at Jays Journal we like to keep you up to date with breaking news, statistical analysis and opinion pieces on the players, staff and front office of the Toronto Blue Jays. But in the sports world the steps your opponents take on their team have an effect on your team, for better or for worse. That’s why I bring you a new weekly feature where we look back on what took place among the other 4 AL East teams and deconstruct it to show you what it means for the Blue Jays.
It’s the AL Feast: Week 1!
New York Yankees
-The big news of the day is that Vernon Wells will be traded to the Yankees. Making a return to the AL East, Wells looks to be a replacement for current LF Brennan Boesch. If you needed to know just how desperate the Yankees are, in 262 PA in 2012 Wells produced a wRC+ of 88 (league average being 100) and an OPS of .682, and in 529 2011 PA’s Wells had a wRC+ of 78 and an OPS of .660. As well, at age 34 Wells looks to add youth to an old, decaying Yankees lineup. I’m sorry, but no joke will ever be good enough to compete with the Angels paying a huge chunk of a $42M contract to not have Vernon Wells play for them, nor will it beat the idea of having Vernon Wells as a starting left fielder in the AL East. We’ll keep you posted as the story develops.
-USA Today reports that the Yankees have agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with Chien-Ming Wang. No stranger to the Yankees organization, he won 19 games back to back in 2006-2007 and came second in Cy Young voting before suffering a foot injury in 2008 running the based in an interleague game. He’s made it hard against the Blue Jays back in the day, but now comes to the Bronx Bombers as pitching depth in case of injuries to the starting rotation. It could be worse; the Yankees could have signed Kyle Lohse.
-Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that Derek Jeter is likely to start the season on the disabled list. On a team that already has Curtis Granderson, Mark Tiexiera and Alex Rodriguez on the DL, the Yankees get weaker and weaker by the day. Consider the fact the Blue Jays will play 10 of their 18 games by mid-May and A-Rod, Tex and Grandy will still be on the DL and it gives the Jays an early opportunity to beat their divisional opponents and establish themselves as AL East favourites. The Yankees now have over $80M in injuries on the DL to start the season. Amazing.
Tampa Bay Rays
-The Tampa Bay Times report that Jack Cust has been released from the team. A once capable hitter, he smacked in at least 25 HR’s between 2007-2009 and draws a lot of walks and strikeouts. His fielding is less than stellar, and his base running is even worse. He should provide a very affordable DH option if a team direly needs it, but I doubt he’ll be taken by any AL East team.
-Over at Rays Colored Glasses, Editor Robbie Knopf looks at the pressures Wil Myers would face if he started off the season at AAA. He only needs to be on the team for about 3+ weeks to safely avoid Super 2 status, giving a financially-weak Rays team an extra year of team control. For Blue Jays fans, the hope is that he needs to stay down there for longer, or if he starts the season in the majors it doesn’t go too well. Never count out the Rays, even after the loss of “Big Game” James Shields, as I believe they will be the Blue Jays’ toughest opponent in the AL East this season.
Boston Red Sox
-Stephen Drew has resumed baseball activities, but has not return to the field, after sustaining a concussion on March 7 from a pitch to the head. “I never knew what a concussion really was,” Drew tells boston.com. Lack of rudimentary knowledge aside, he might not be ready to start the season, however, leaving the Red Sox to start the season with Jose Iglesias. Blue Jays fans know firsthand how delayed certain players can be recovering from concussion symptoms, as Aaron Hill was out for 4 months of the 2008 season recovering from his head injury.
-Staying with injury news, NESN is reporting that Jacoby Ellsbury left today’s game with a heel injury, and will be reevaluated on Monday. Ellsbury spent most of 2010 on the DL with rib injuries and half of the 2012 campaign with shoulder injuries. The Red Sox can’t afford to have too many stars injured, as that same problem plagued them last year and was ultimately responsible for what made them a 5th place team in the AL East.
-The Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles will in fact keep their September 5th home game, and will not concede to the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens will have to start their season on the road, and it shows you just how much of a baseball town Baltimore is now that they showed such promise during their 2012 campaign.
Once the regular season starts, we will be closing out these segments with the weekly and overall AL East division standings. Be sure to check back around 5-6 PM Eastern Time each Sunday until the end of the post-season to get your fill in our weekly AL Feast report!