Blue Jays Morning Brew: Spring is Coming!


Here’s what’s been going on in Blue Jays land lately:

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training this week!

Shi Davidi tells us that there are 4 question marks that surround this club as they head into the 2015 season. Davidi suggests that these issues facing the club are pretty much the same as when the season ended. He lists the rotation depth, the bullpen quality, which many would have pointed to as being concerns.  Then he suggests that there are areas that are concerning that do not involve 2B or CF; they are yet a new hitting coach and clubhouse turnover. Will the 4th hitting coach in 4 yrs be able to develop some consistency? And, will the roster turnover be beneficial to the clubhouse negativity that we’ve heard so much about? But, here’s a novel idea: You know what breeds good clubhouse energy? Winning. Period. 

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

Over at an ambitious task was undertaken and they developed their list of the Top 200 Prospects in baseball. The sheer volume of work that went into something of this magnitude is impressive, to say the least. In all of their sifting of information, Kiley McDaniel ranked 8 Blue Jays. Here they are: Daniel Norris (17th), Jeff Hoffman (67th), Aaron Sanchez (70th), Dalton Pompey (80th), Max Pentecost (93rd), Roberto Osuna (119th).

After #142, McDaniel says there is no clear separation form one guy to the next, so he then just names the remaining prospects, of which Devon Travis and Sean Reid-Foley are included. Regular readers of this site will not really be surprised by the names on this list. What stands out though, is the position Blue Jays prospects hold. Given what we know about these guys, it must say a lot about the state of prospects around baseball. The game seems to be in good hands.

At The National Post, John Lott tells us why Josh Donaldson lost his arbitration case against the Blue Jays. Essentially, Donaldson’s side overplayed their hand. When looking at the two sides ($4.3M offered by the Blue Jays and $5.75M requested by the player), the arbitrators look at comparisons in service time and accomplishments. Two comparisons for Donaldson were Kyle Seager and Todd Frazier. Both have similar time in and are hitters with power.

But, Donaldson is clearly better. He felt he deserved more. But looking at their contracts they are getting paid closer to the Blue Jays’ $4.3M offer. Seager just signed a huge 7yr/$100M deal, but his first year’s salary is $4.5M. Frazier just signed a 2 yr deal. His first year? $4.5M. When you look at the $5.75M asking price, the panel would be more likely to side with the Jays. Had Donaldson asked for something less, say $4.8M, he may have been more successful. Thus the gamble that is arbitration.

More from Toronto Blue Jays News

At The Star, we’re introduced to Eric Lyons. He’s the one who will be leading the research into the “Grass Project” by University of Guelph. They’ll be spending time looking into the types of grass that could grow in the Rogers Centre as well as how that would impact the building itself. The building was never meant to house living, breathing plant life. It will need some work. It will be interesting to see what the final bill on all of this will be. The study alone costs $600K. The installation, retrofitting, etc is going to be pretty hefty. Good thing there is a youth movement coming. Players won’t cost as much.

Finally, Brad Lefton of The Star tells us that Munenori Kawasaki has started an improved workout regime. Apparently, his goal is to increase his range of motion in his hips to allow a better base for improved defense and better at bats. In typical Kawasaki fashion, he offers some insight to make us laugh:

"“I’ve been really working on my lower body — not my butt, but the area around my hips and hip joints. The idea is to increase the range of motion so I have the foundation to make better plays on defence and take better at-bats. The result might be a bigger looking butt, but you should stop looking there and watch the way I am moving now.”"

Kawasaki’s goal is to make the Blue Jays’ decision difficult. He’s signed a minor league deal, but he plans on pushing for the big league club. With Maicer Izturis, Ryan Goins and Devon Travis ahead of him, he’ll likely be headed to AAA Buffalo, but we all know that we could very well see him in games at the Rogers Centre this season.

"“I’m so happy and grateful because I can continue learning the plays I want to make. Of course, I want to play in Toronto. But if I have to go to Buffalo that’s fine, because I can work on it there, too. I love baseball. That’s it. I love baseball and Toronto has offered me the chance to keep learning and working on things I couldn’t do in Japan. For that reason, I love Toronto.”"

Next: Are There Signs of Kevin Pillar's Bat Improving?