Blue Jays Morning Brew: John McDonald, The Lineup & More
The Toronto Blue Jays have announced the date for players to report to Spring Training.
Pitchers and catchers will report on Feb 23 with everyone else due on the 27th.
You guys, this is actually coming soon! For a while there, it felt as though we’d never see baseball again. It’s been a long winter…and a quiet one lately. But, let’s see what else we can scrounge up for today’s Morning Brew.
There’s been a lot of talk about the recent announcement that former Blue Jays infielder, Father’s Day hero and all around great person, John McDonald is retiring. Blue Jays fans are quite familiar with his hustle and 100% effort in playing the game of baseball. But, if you ask him, Johnny Mac admits that it may seem odd that he made a 16 year career out of being a slick fielding, light hitting utility player. This piece by John Lott at the National Post does a good job of going through the news of McDonald’s retirement.
Next: Who Are The Best Third Basemen in Blue Jays History?
For me the following quote from the man himself was interesting: “It’s amazing how far your tree branches in baseball extend at the end of your career. At the beginning of your career, you’re like a tiny stick in the ground. At the end of your career, especially when you’ve played as long as I have, those branches reach pretty far.” It is those branches that are now reaching back to him. Apparently, Johnny Mac has had several conversations about what he wants to do next. He is leaving it open to just about anything including coaching, radio and TV. Maybe Buck Martinez should watch his back.
In a piece by Brendan Kennedy at The Star, the 40 yr old, John McDonald lists his top 3 career moments. His first hit, his last hit and of course the Father’s Day home run in 2010 were his choices. That was truly one of my favorite Blue Jays’ moments to date. It brought a tear to my eye. Here’s a refresher:
I don’t want to flog this horse too much, so I’ll finish up the stuff on John McDonald with this. He joined the Jeff Blair Show on 590 The Fan to discuss his decision, etc. Check it out.
To quote Monty Python, “And now for something completely different”. We turn our attention back to the current roster. At Sportsnet.ca, Ben Nicholson-Smith breaks down the projected starting lineup to assess the risk level at each position. Not surprisingly, the Blue jays have a lot of risk up the middle. We keep hearing that for a team to be strong, they need to be strong up the middle; catcher, pitcher, 2nd, SS, CF. While catcher is a position of depth right now with Russell Martin and Dioner Navarro, second is not.
Ben N-S would start Maicer Izturis at 2B with Ryan Goins to back him up with Devon Travis marinating in the minors. This issue has been dissected and the result is always the same- it’s not good. As well, Dalton Pompey is questionable since he has only collected 43 plate appearances at the big league level. And, don’t even look at the bullpen. The rotation seems OK as it is. But, winners are not built on “OK”.
Pete Schwichtenberg of RantSports.com looks at the recent rumor that the Blue Jays are interested in Ichiro Suzuki. He states the case for why Ichiro would be a good, no perfect fit in Toronto. He points out that the potential of Jose Bautista, Dalton Pompey and Michael Saunders is quite sexy. But, after that there isn’t much back up in case of injury, etc. Of course, he neglects to consider Kevin Pillar.
But, he points out that Ichiro hit .284 last season and stole 22 bases. He didn’t get a full season’s worth of at bats, but those days are over for the 41 year old. He could bring a veteran presence who can pass on some good approaches to at bats. He could also bring some speed. The problem is that he’s going to have take a lot less than he’d expect to fit in to Toronto.
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Michael Hobson’s blog, The Fan View at The Vancouver Sun discusses fan frustration with the mixed information we’re having to make sense of regarding the payroll and how much there is to spend, etc. If you have feelings of frustration toward Rogers Communications regarding this issue and want them validated, you should check out this post.
And, sticking to the West Coast of Canada, we check in on Charlie Caskey’s Your VanCs latest episode where he is joined by MLB Pipeline’s Bernie Pleskoff to cover a wide range of Blue Jays related issues. It’s a good listen. Check it out.