Toronto Blue Jays news and notes for Tuesday, January 17th
Jays Nest Podcast, Episode 104
The latest episode of the Jays Nest Podcast — which you can find right here — was recorded just hours before reports of a Jose Bautista reunion set Twitter ablaze. Thankfully for you, there’s still plenty else to listen in for!
Shaun Doyle of Jays From the Couch and I are joined by our friend Michael Wray to reminisce on the good times of old and the uncertain times of today. The bulk of our discussion orbits around the Blue Jays bullpen and Toronto’s current “window”, which is a definition that changes daily.
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Russell Martin: (WBC) Shortstop?
There’s a very good chance that Blue Jays’ catcher Russell Martin is the starting shortstop for Canada at the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Martin has unique athleticism for the catching position, and made a couple of cameo appearances at second base in 2016. John Lott of The Athletic has a great story on the situation here.
“I guarantee you, nobody’s going to have more fun than me if I’m playing shortstop in the WBC,” Martin said.
The worry from Toronto’s side is that their 34-year-old catcher, who is due $20 million each of the next three seasons, could be injured playing the position. On the other hand, sticking Martin behind the plate isn’t the most comfortable spot, either. Martin was originally drafted as a third baseman before being converted to catcher.
WBC Wild Cards
The biggest story on team Canada might not be Martin, Joey Votto, or Freddie Freeman. Instead, it could be Ryan Dempster and Eric Gagne, both of whom are making very unexpected comebacks. Shi Davidi has the full story here for Sportsnet.
Dempster, 39, last pitched at the MLB level in 2013 but has resumed throwing and is planning to face more live hitters soon. Gagne, 41, has made a single start in Indy ball each of the past two seasons but hasn’t faced a major-league hitter since 2008. He famously won the Cy Young Award in 2003, racking up 55 saves with a 1.20 ERA.
The Blue Jays are very, very unlikely to have such good fortune with their starting rotation’s health in 2017. That’s not pessimism, it’s just playing the odds. For the Toronto Star, Richard Griffin looks at some of the team’s secondary options including top prospects Conner Greene and Sean Reid-Foley.
Greene, 22, has added some weight this off-season and is looking to further improve his changeup.
“I look at Marco, I look at Aaron (Sanchez) and I like to try and take pieces of everybody’s game and say, ‘How can I apply that to mine?’ ” Greene told Griffin. “But Marco’s changeup is an incredible pitch. He just sells it — sells it out of the hand — and it’s a swing-through changeup. That’s what I like to pride myself on, my changeup. Hopefully I can develop it to be nearly as good as his.”
Get caught up on the top-30 prospect list so far…