Jay Bird Watching Podcast Recap: WBC, Flawed arb process and the birth of Spring!

Philadelphia Phillies v Toronto Blue Jays
Philadelphia Phillies v Toronto Blue Jays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

This is a recap of the Jay Bird Watching Podcast featuring hosts Craig Borden, Jason Lyons, and Ken Alfred. This week, the crew was joined by Jays Journal writer and editor Eric Treuden.

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Papelbon slams Jays' chances?

The first subject that was tackled was retired pitcher Jonathan Papelbon’s absurd comments about the Blue Jays, and their lack of action this offseason. The brash former hurler, best known for his time with the Boston Red Sox, said that Toronto lacks any pitching depth beyond Kevin Gausman and that the team would be lucky to finish fourth in the AL East.

Bo discusses the arbitration process

The quartet then bats around the topic of Bo Bichette and his new three-year contract. The young star has been vocal about his distaste for the player arbitration process.

Jason weighs in on how the exercise of the third party awarding a contract based on the cases made by the team and player can damage the relationship between the two sides. 

The somewhat confusing arbitration process was explained and Craig also provided some history as to how player arbitration came to be. 

Spring Training tidbits 

With players reporting to camp this week, George Springer’s excitement about roaming around right field and newcomer Daulton Varsho’s impressive athleticism were dished on. 

The new-look outfield, with Springer, Varsho, and Kevin Kiermaier has the potential to be one of the best defensive outfields in 2023 considering all players are capable center fielders. 

We had an intriguing question in the chat, Jays have 12 position players locked in. Who will be the 13th, Grossman, or trade for a fourth outfielder?

Eric was prescient in pointing out that, although the fans may have a hunger for a trade, there are some internal candidates that could fill in that role, including Nathan Lukes and Wynton Bernard.

The newly-bearded Yusei Kikuchi, currently the “clubhouse leader” for the fifth starter’s spot, went around the horn. Mitch White and perhaps top prospect Ricky Tiedemann are other possibilities for the final starting job. 

The advantages of many players showing up to camp early was discussed, as well as the team finally getting to take advantage of a full spring at their newly-built facility. 

World Baseball Classic - Pros & Cons 

The World Baseball Classic is a thrilling (and rare) event that treats us again this year. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is part of a stacked Dominican roster, which is both exciting and scary for Jays' fans.  

Both Eric and Jason agree that the positives are greater than the negatives there and watching Vladdy compete in meaningful games earlier than usual could have him hit the ground running once the season starts. 

A free-flowing conversation about the collective exuberance over the tournament ensued. The Canadian roster, featuring Freddie Freeman and Otto Lopez, and the powerhouse American squad will be two interesting teams to watch. 

Name that Blue Jay

Craig tried to lob a softball to Ken, but he must’ve been looking for a heater after being baffled by the first two menacing clues. After guessing Ernie Whitt twice, Ken inevitably went “old faithful” and blurted out Kelly Gruber. Bingo. 

Eric ended the show by pulling the string on the Nate Pearson hype train whistle. Choo-Choo. 

dark. Next. This is Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s path to success in 2023