Toronto Blue Jays news and notes for December 24th
The Holiday season is arriving just in time for Blue Jays fans.
Just in time to muffle the cries of Edwin Encarnacion’s departure with some combination of food, drink, family, and friends … in whichever order you choose (though I have some suggestions).
To those of our readers celebrating a Holiday this season and those who aren’t, all of us at Jays Journal wish you the very best as we (mercifully) hit the homestretch to 2017.
Hundreds of thousands of unique readers pull up a chair to Jays Journal each month, and we sincerely appreciate you doing so. Here’s to a 2017 that’s even better.
In Blue Jays news, Encarnacion hindsight continues to dominate the airwaves and rightfully so. Here are some news and notes — even some non-Encarnacion ones — that you might have missed.
The times… they were good
The eight years that Edwin Encarnacion spent in Toronto were full of moments to remember, from the hat trick to the walk-off home run in the 2016 Wild Card and many more. Our Braydon Holmyard rounds up some of the best here in a piece for Sportsnet.
Edwin off the field
Bob Elliot wrote this piece back in 2014 on Edwin Encarnacion and the bond he shared with two young Blue Jays fans off the field.
Stroman’s contract situation
Marcus Stroman, like many players about to enter their more expensive arbitration years, is a candidate to sign a moderate extension that buys out his final years of arbitration and stretches in to his free agent years. Danny Gallagher explored that idea here for the Canadian Baseball Network.
This is becoming a trend across Major League Baseball that you can expect to see more of. This off-season, the Phillies locked up Odubel Herrera and the Diamondbacks extended Ender Inciarte with similar strategies.
For the Vancouver Canadians’ home site, Rob Fai wrote this piece on Kevin Pillar and his rise through the Blue Jays’ minor league system to become one of the game’s best defenders in centre-field.
Bautista gives back
Jose Bautista recently paid a visit to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, which you can check out here. Known as a prickly personality on the field, Bautista is making great memories for some young fans off of it.
Jon Harris is coming off a very successful season in the minors where he posted a 2.71 ERA between single-A Lansing and high-A Dunedin. Brian Crawford of Jays Prospects caught up with Harris to discuss some of the adjustments that helped him most, including a move from the first base side of the rubber to the third base side.
“The change helped a lot,” Harris told Crawford. “Before the transition the ball stayed in the zone a long time. Now I’m throwing behind the hitter and the ball is coming in at an angle. It’s helped a lot with deception and sharpness of them. It’s also helped me locate my pitches better having them break to the spot, instead of trying to throw right to the spot.”