Here are some of the news making the rounds these last few pre-spring training days:
- The arbitration hearing for Jose Bautista is set to take place on Monday, Valentine’s day. Will cupid’s arrow strike the two sides in order to bring a long-term deal to fruition, or will it miss them entirely and allow for the hearing to take place? If the latter holds true, the Jays-Jose relationship will surely change forever. Just to recap, Jose is seeking $10.5 million, the middle point is $9.05 million, and the Jays want to settle at $7.6 million. Surely there’s a chance that a 2,3 or 4 year deal gets done here. If not, he may become the best trade piece the Jays have at the deadline, because there’s no guarantee that they could retain him for 2012 if he has another monster season. The countdown to the hearing begins!
- The Jays made a pretty decent “safety net” addition to their depth chart by adding 1B Ryan Shealy. He’s a big guy, at 6’5″ 240 lbs, who has yet to get a full-time gig in the majors but has some alright stats in the minors. His career stats in the majors thus far, at age 30, is 545 ABs, 26 doubles, 19 HRs, 94 RBI, 46 BB, 150 SO, and a .268/.331/.424 line. Not bad overall, aside from the strike outs. What’s even more encouraging is his career line versus RHP (.304/.359/.476) that shows his utility to be an effective backup plan to Edwin Encarnacion or Adam Lind if either should go down to injury. At worse, he would make a decent bench option, but should spend the majority of 2011 in AAA Las Vegas, answering part of the question of who will play 1B there in 2011.
- Gregor Chisholm has a great piece on Travis Snider and his attempt to become an everyday player from 2011 onwards. The best quotes from the article are from Snider, which once again solidifies Alex Anthopoulos as a classy guy that understands people more than anything else:
"“I’m very thankful for the relationship that Alex and I have been able to develop,” Snider said. “He has always been approachable, very easy to talk to, and we’ve had a great line of communication in the past two years since he has taken over.” “Their goals and their plans for me have been very clear. They want me to be a part of what they’re doing here, but there are a lot of things that have to take place. I’m excited to have that opportunity, and any time your GM backs you like that, it’s definitely a confidence booster.”How great is it to hear that? As we found out with the John Buck situation in 2010, where J.P. Arencibia’s playing time was limited due to a promise made by Anthopoulos to Buck that he’d get starter playing time with the Jays, the Jays GM is a man of his word and will tell players how this are, and how they will be. What a concept, and a refreshing one to say the least! I expect big things from Snider in 2011, something that I’ll point out in our 2011 Jays Player Profile."
- Albert Pujols talks are not going well at all. Will he decide to take his show elsewhere in 2011 and allow a trade to happen if he sees that a deal is not going to happen? Food for thought.
- Gregor Chisholm also took a look at Dana Brown and his opportunity to interview for the Mets GM job. He’s currently a special assistant to Alex Anthopoulos, also has Expos roots, and is likely to get more opportunities of the sort in the future. He’s yet another quality person in the front office of the Blue Jays. Great quick read.
That’s all we have for now! With spring training around the corner, we anxiously await the beginning of the season and can’t wait to see who ends up where in the minors, who will be pushed closer to The Show and who will be held back. Great stuff!