Shi Davidi at Sportsnet writes that the Blue Jays will pick up Casey Janssen‘s $4 million option unless “Alex Anthopoulos takes sudden leave of his senses”. Janssen set a team record for save conversion rate in 2013 with 34 saves in 36 opportunities. The previous mark was set by “The Terminator” Tom Henke who was good in 34 of 37 chances in 1992. Davidi references the big free agent money handed out to Rafael Soriano ($28M/2 however half is deferred until after 2018 season), Brandon League ($22.5M/3 with vesting option for 4th year) and Jonathan Broxton ($21M/3) and says Casey would most likely double his rate and term if he were to hit the open market. Janssen may not have ridiculous stuff but he’s proven to have the necessary make-up to be a reliable closer and I agree that his $4 million for his services is still a bargain and necessary if the Blue Jays plan to compete in 2014.
Jeff Blair at the Globe and Mail tells the Blue Jays that there are no shortcuts to winning. He writes that Toronto should study the success model of developing pitchers used by the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are now reaping the benefits of taking the proper time with not only top prospect David Price but also later round picks Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore and Alex Cobb. Rays manager Joe Maddon says part of the formula is a focus on fastball command but is also a “big believer in the change-up and curveball.”
“The slider and cutter are nice pitches – when you can’t throw a change or curve.” – Joe Maddon
Ben Nicholson-Smith at Sportsnet shares that Anthony Gose is “trying to get away from baseball”. Gose says he has no interest in other sports and wants to take a break to clear his mind until spring. Gose says his focus is playing baseball at the highest level and wouldn’t mind playing the role of fourth outfielder, which would come with limited at bats. He does have a nice skill-set for the role since he’s a plus defender and base runner but after he moped around in Buffalo for most of the year it raise concerns he could become restless over time. At least him and Colby Rasmus are buds.
Chris Toman at BlueJays.com writes about a promising young Canadian baseball player Gareth Morgan. One coach says he if he puts together a good spring “he’ll be the first overall pick”. That may be going a bit out on a limb but at 6’4 and 215 pounds with good speed many consider him to have a higher ceiling than Brett Lawrie. Toman also writes that Morgan draws comparisons to Jason Heyward and Domonic Brown. Two years ago the right-handed Morgan was ranked as the third best high school prospect in North America by Perfect Game scouting service (h/t Bob Elliott, Canadian Baseball Network), which was the highest ever ranking for a Canadian prospect. Big League Futures has him ranked 44th overall on their most recent 2014 MLB Draft rankings last updated September 9, 2013.