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Toronto Blue Jays: Possible Weaknesses Going into 2013

The Toronto Blue Jays are well on their way to a successful 2013 campaign.

At least, that’s what the unbiased Vegas ratings are saying, honoring the Blue Jays as 8-1 favorites to bring the World Series back north of the border. 

General Manager Alex Anthopoulos has been pressured for years to make a significant move to bolster the team’s chances.

With the acquisition of Colby Rasmus, and the emergence of Brett Lawrie, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, it seemed to be a good first step. 

This offseason, Jays nation has had more than enough to talk about, and a playoff buzz has been circulating in the city. 

Yet with the triumph of being obvious trade winners this winter, the Blue Jays are not guaranteed a championship, and may not even be guaranteed a playoff spot. 

Their chances might be better than they have been in recent memory, but there are still a few questions to be asked, and a few potential weaknesses to adhere to.

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MLB Trade Rumors: R.A. Dickey Trade Would Solidify Toronto Blue Jays’ Chances

It would appear the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets have agreed on players for an R.A. Dickey trade, but according to Jon Heyman of CBS, stranger things have happened than a trade like this falling through. 

But should this deal go through, Dickey will be the final addition to a Blue Jays squad that catapulted itself into a playoff contender. 

The key Toronto player involved in this trade is top prospect Travis d’Arnaud

If you’re not familiar with who he is, d’Arnaud was the cog when the Blue Jays traded Roy Halladay in December 2009. 

Last season he hit .333/.380/.595 in an injury-shortened season. But regardless, he is in fact scheduled to make his MLB debut in 2013, and he seems to have all the tools necessary to make for a solid big league catcher. 

R.A. Dickey is the reigning NL Cy Young winner, and at 38, it’s difficult to tell whether his knuckle ball will continue to break over the plane of the plate for seasons to come.

But alas, there’s no reason to believe it won’t because 2012 wasn’t Dickey’s only quality season. 

Since 2010, Dickey’s had a record of 39-28 and an ERA of 2.95 in 616.2 innings pitched. Not to mention he’s the proud owner of a 1.15 WHIP and two consecutive 200-plus-inning seasons. 

In hindsight, the Blue Jays made it seem as though they were looking for a fifth starter. The misconception, though, was that the pitcher was to be a fifth-in-the-order calibre pitcher. In Dickey, Toronto is on the verge of snagging an ace. 


Although the Blue Jays have lost blue chippers Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino and now possibly Anthony Gose and Travis d’Arnaud, this is a case where they have to take risks to win games. 

With the Boston Red Sox trying to sort things out and the New York Yankees getting old and creaky, the time for Toronto to spend money is now. 

Not only do they have a mixed dynamic of power and speed in the batting order, but in Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero and possibly Dickey, Toronto has a chance to win every time one of those pitchers take the mound. 

Assuming the team stays healthy and plays consistently, they will be tough to beat. And although the odds are already in their favor, the only thing left to do is go out and play. 

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Toronto Blue Jays 1st-Rounder Suspended 50 Games, Jose Bautista Done for 2012

In the latest sports scandal, Toronto Blue Jays 2012 first-round draft pick Marcus Stroman has been suspended 50 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, according to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi.

Stroman released the following statement shortly thereafter:

“Despite taking precautions to avoid violating the minor league testing program, I unknowingly ingested a banned stimulant that was in an over-the-counter supplement. Nonetheless, I accept full responsibility and I want to apologize to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, my family, my teammates, and the Blue Jays fans everywhere. I look forward to putting this behind me and rejoining my teammates.”

The 21-year-old Duke alumni was viewed as one of the more advanced minor league pitchers. Stroman compiled a 3.26 ERA with 23 strikeouts and a .219 opponents batting average between Class-A Vancouver Canadians and Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats. 

This is a major blow for the Blue Jays in an already disastrous season, as Stroman was projected to make an impact with the big club as soon as next season.

The news was released on the same day as that of Jose Bautista‘s season-ending wrist surgery. The Jays’ slugger will miss 4-5 months, but is expected to make a full recovery by spring training.  

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Toronto Blue Jays: J.P. Arencibia and Travis D’Arnaud Will Trigger Changes

In the wake of signing backup catcher Jeff Mathis to a contract extension through 2015, the Toronto Blue Jays are in a bind for 2013 over whether to start J.P. Arencibia or prospect Travis d’Arnaud behind the plate.

Although that might be the initial reaction of fans and foes alike, that isn’t the problem at hand.

According to the National Post’s John Lott, Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos insists that Toronto can fit both Arencibia and d’Arnaud “into the everyday lineup.”

From a hitting standpoint, this makes perfect sense. Arencibia‘s .242/.279/.466 slash line merits some credit. It’s also a major step in the right direction from his .219/.282/.438 numbers in 2011.

Prior to his injury, Travis d’Arnaud was tearing it up in Triple-A, disseminating Pacific Coast League pitching with a .333/.380/.595 line. If it weren’t for his ailment, d’Arnaud would definitely be in the Blue Jays‘ lineup today. 

So again, from a hitting standpoint it makes sense to have them both in the lineup, but what about defensively? 

By extending Mathis’ contract, he is a sure-fit backup for years to come. So that means either Arencibia or d’Arnaud will catch for the big club, but they won’t back each other up.

“Both of their bats are good enough, and big enough, that they’re everyday players,” Anthopoulos said. “If Travis doesn’t get as many reps behind the plate, that’s fine. His bat is just a unique bat. He has a chance to be a middle-of-the-order impact bat.”

We’ve already established that they can both hit, but to say that d’Arnaud not getting his reps behind the plate is “fine” doesn’t seem fine to me at all. 

There’s a way to nurture a 23-year-old behind the plate, and sticking him with the job of designated hitter doesn’t make any sense. 

Then there’s the domino effect. 

If both men can fit into the lineup as DH and catcher respectively on different nights, where does someone like Adam Lind fit into the puzzle?

Since the breakout of Edwin Encarnacion in 2012, Toronto has welcomed him with open arms, signing him to a lucrative deal keeping him with the club until at least 2015. From once being booed by the home crowd in 2011, Encarnacion has silenced his critics this season with a .996 fielding percentage at first base, committing only 2 errors in 539 chances.

So surely Adam Lind won’t be playing first base, and reverting back to the outfield is also out of the question with up and coming prospects Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra headlining the list of young watchmen out there.

But back to the dish.

J.P. Arencibia and Travis d’Arnaud are both great catchers—good enough to start for most any ball club in the MLB. It’s true that you can’t have enough good players, but where they play can factor the outcome of their progression. 

In a report by’s MLB Insider Shi Davidi, Arencibia is slated to be the everyday catcher next season. So does that mean d’Arnaud will be stuck with part-time duties behind the plate and full-time duties at DH? Maybe. But if that’s the case, a possible trade might be in order this coming offseason. 

The stock for Adam Lind isn’t very high right now, but it surely is for J.P. and Travis, and don’t for a second think other GM’s haven’t noticed the golden predicament that Toronto has itself in right now. 

It would appear that only one thing is concrete for next season: Jeff Mathis will be the backup catcher. 

But until then, the likelihood of trading Adam Lind, J.P. Arencibia, Travis d’Arnaud or anyone else is still up in the air.

“Who knows what the offseason’s going to bring?” Anthopoulos concluded. “It’s amazing how quickly things can change.”

Things can change very quickly indeed, but if they don’t play their cards right, Toronto might miss out on an opportunity that could come back to haunt them in the very near future—and everyone is waiting to see what happens next.

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Toronto Blue Jays Sign Catcher Jeff Mathis to 2-Year Extension

According to CBSSports, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed veteran catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year extension worth $3 million with a $1.5 million club option through 2015. 

Mathis, 29, had spent the majority of his career with the Los Angeles Angels before being sent to Toronto in 2012. In his career he’s batting .196/.256/.312, but he hasn’t been in MLB for eight years for his bat.

Mathis has been key behind the plate for the Blue Jays this season ever since the injury suffered by J.P. Arencibia, maintaining a .997 fielding percentage to go along with an A.L.-leading 39 percent rate of throwing out potential base stealers. 

With the signing, Toronto has opened the door for discussion about the starting job behind the dish in 2013.

With highly touted prospect Travis d’Arnaud on the verge of cracking the big club’s roster, much is to be said about whether he or Arencibia will be traded this offseason for potential pitching help. 

Arencibia is batting .242/.279/.466 in 2012, but is currently on the disabled list recovering from a fractured hand.  

Coming into 2012, d’Arnaud was the Jays’ No. 1 prospect, and he hasn’t disappointed, batting .333/.380/.595 for Triple-A Las Vegas. He was ranked 19th on MLB’s preseason prospects list.

This offseason just got a little more interesting for Toronto, a team who is hoping to put together a championship caliber team in the very near future. 

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Mike Trout Still Has a Lot to Prove to Major League Baseball, but Not by Choice

Mike Trout is going to be the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year, but before anyone jumps the gun, keep in mind that Trout isn’t the first ROY, and won’t be the last. He still has a lot to work on before being mentioned in the same breath as Mickey Mantle or Ken Griffey Jr. 

Don’t get me wrong, Trout is a five-tooler. He runs like the wind (first in the bigs with 36 stolen bases), hits for power (21 homers), hits for average (tops in the A.L. with .345 avg.), wows us with his defensive skills (this explains it all) and has a cannon for an arm (I don’t have a video, but trust me on this one).

But regardless of those numbers, Mike Trout still hasn’t proven himself to be one of the best players ever. That’s not his fault, though. He hasn’t had the opportunity to play a fruitful 15-20 year career, yet.

Is he one of the best rookies of all time? Maybe. But it’s up for debate if he’s THE best rookie. If it were up to me, that honor would go to “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in his 1911 rookie campaign.

Jackson had a 9.9 WAR (via fangraphs), batted .408/.468./.590, finishing fourth in MVP voting, behind Hall of Famers Eddie Collins, “Big” Ed Walsh and Ty Cobb. And he did it at a respectable 24 years old. 

But alas, this isn’t a history lesson; just food for thought.

Mike Trout has been compared to the likes of Mickey Mantle, and being mentioned in the same sentence as the legend is remarkable on itself, but let me remind you of one thing: He has yet to complete a full season in the majors. 

In 90 games, Trout has proven to us that he can pad his stats in a very short amount of time, but at the end of the day, having one great season doesn’t mean you’ll have ten more just like it. 

What will really make him a superstar is whether or not he can maintain consistency at the MLB level for years to come. The bar has been set very high for Trout, because no one is thinking about this season anymore, but instead, they’re thinking about the impact he’ll have on baseball in the future. 

There is a possibility that Trout steamrolls opposing pitchers in his rookie season, then falls off the truck and never lives up to it again; he wouldn’t be the first.

In 2008, Geovany Soto was the National League rookie of the year, batting .285/.364/.504 (not Mike Trout numbers, but bear with me). He has yet to come close to those numbers again, ultimately resulting in his trade in 2012.

This is a small example, but all I’m saying is don’t be surprised if pitchers figure out Trout’s tendencies in 2013, forcing him to make adjustments and testing his mental capacity. 

From a physical standpoint, he could be a 10-year all-star if he keeps this up, but in reality there is one major difference between major and minor leaguers. Major league ballplayers are consistent.

Minor leaguers might have the talent, more talent than their major league counterparts, but they can’t make adjustments and stay consistent enough, ultimately forcing them to ride buses for the remainder of their careers. 

A lot of people are asking, “is there anything Mike Trout hasn’t done?”. Well, it’s the one thing he has no control over: have an illustrious career.

There is no way to predict a home run king, or an all-time hits leader, or someone breaking the stolen base record, because although the talent might be there, it’s not all that’s required. To be a legend, you need to have mental grit, you need to stay healthy, you need to be smart and you have to, above all, stay consistent and let your playing do the talking. 

Joe Jackson batted .300 every season following his rookie year except for once (.272), going out with a .382/.444/.589 slash line in his final season of baseball in 1920, after being banned in the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal (where he batted .375 with 12 hits, the best of the series’ and committed no errors).

If Mike Trout can play stellar baseball for years upon years to come, I’ll eat my words. But for now let’s enjoy the Mike Trout show, because just like everything else he does, this may never happen again.

For him, or anyone else. 

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San Francisco Giants: Why Buster Posey Should Win the 2012 National League MVP

Buster Posey has been a grinder for the San Francisco Giants this season, and a player who deserves the National League MVP Award.

Since he broke into the big leagues in 2010, where he batted .305/.357/.505 and ran away with the Rookie of the Year Award, Posey has been an instrumental part of the Giants lineup.

Not only does he call a great game, but he brings a youthful energy to the squad, an energy that’s hard to maintain.

Buster Posey is hands down the most important player on a Giants squad inches ahead in the N.L. West pennant race. 

Why? Because he’s their backbone.

Before the enthusiasm Bryce Harper and Mike Trout brought to the game, Posey showed the world he’s able to carry a World Series team on his back. 

His presence on the diamond is electric, so it’s not a shocker San Francisco missed the postseason last year after losing Posey 45 games into the season.

But alas, he’s back and better than ever, setting career highs in every major hitting category. And if he hasn’t already, he’s on pace to have the best season of his young career.

Thus far he’s batting a blistering .328/.394/.542 to go along with 17 homers, 23 doubles and 41 walks.

But above all, there are two statistics that stand out most about Posey: his 41 RAR and 4.2 WAR.

In simpler terms, the Giants are a better ball club with Posey in their lineup, from both an offensive and defensive standpoint.  

Although guys like Melky Cabrera and Andrew McCutchen will headline the MVP crew, don’t be surprised to hear Buster Posey’s name called, because he’s been climbing to the top of a lot of hitting categories.

And he hasn’t even played 100 games yet.  

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Toronto Blue Jays: Hechavarria Called Up, Cecil Demoted, Rasmus and Lawrie on DL

The Toronto Blue Jays have made big changes after a 15-inning marathon that resulted in a 5-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics. The A’s walked off for a major league-best 13th time this year.

The Blue Jays have called up Adeiny Hechavarria from Triple-A Las Vegas, who will most likely play third base after Brett Lawrie left the game with what is said to be ribcage tightness.

Hechavarria had been tearing it up in the Pacific Coast League, batting a scorching .312/.363/.424 to go along with 63 RBI, 38 walks and a .961 fielding percentage. He is widely regarded as the best defensive player in the Jays system, and one of the best in the PCL.

It’ll be interesting to see how he performs in the bigs, as the PCL—and Las Vegas in particular—is widely known for being a hitter’s league. Hechavarria has a tendency to fall behind in the count, which might hinder his ability to get in a good hitter’s count. So facing A.J. Griffin will be a good test for him to start his MLB career. 

Nonetheless, Jays fans have been anxious to see how he performs with the big club, as he is a key part of the Blue Jays’ very bright future. 

Colby Rasmus also left last night’s game with a groin injury. He’ll be on the disabled list for a few days meaning the outfield will consist of Anthony Gose, Moises Sierra and Rajai Davis. 

The Jays have demoted lefty pitcher Brett Cecil after yet another sub-par pitching performance, giving way for southpaw J.A. Happ to join the rotation. 

On the season, Cecil is 2-4 with an inflated 5.72 ERA in nine starts, and has yet to find a groove in 2012.

The Blue Jays also designated pitcher Andrew Carpenter for assignment.

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MLB Trade Rumors: The Miami Marlins Know They’re Stuck with Josh Johnson

The Miami Marlins are doing the opposite of trying to sell Josh Johnson. To ask for an organization’s top prospects in return for a guy who’s been battling health issues is one thing, but he hasn’t been the World Series champion pitcher we still try to envision him as. 

The asking price for Johnson is high, unreasonable and irrational for most every team in the majors. 

According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Marlins are asking for players comparable to Jurickson Profar and Travis d’Arnau to get the trade talks going.

Josh Johnson is not worth the Texas Rangers‘ and Toronto Blue Jays‘ major league ready, No. 1 prospects—plain and simple.

Unless the Marlins are willing to lower the price on JJ, there’s no way any team is going to bite. The Rangers and Angels have reportedly backed out from trade talks involving Johnson because they feel the price tag is too high. But if the price comes down, Texas is willing to talk. 

Another issue is Johnson’s home and away split. He is definitely a better pitcher in Miami (5-4, 3.35 ERA) as opposed to his awful numbers on the road (1-3, 5.48 ERA).

Is Josh Johnson a sub-par pitcher? No. But he is not as high-priced as the Marlins organization is trying to sell him as. His 2012 numbers aren’t as attractive as his 2009-10 numbers, when he was a combined 26-11.

Since then, he’s 9-8 and has struggled with injuries.

Will JJ go at this year’s trade deadline? Possibly. According to Danny Knobler of, the Marlins want more for Johnson than the Los Angeles Angels gave up for Zack Greinke.

If that isn’t an indication of what the Marlins are trying to do, I don’t know what is.  

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The Best Toronto Blue Jays Trade Deadline Moves of All Time

The Toronto Blue Jays have had their fair share of spectacular trade deadline moves in the past.

Whether it was acquiring players for a long-term goal, or maybe picking up a guy to help them make a World Series push, the Jays have done it all.

That being said, they’ve also made some pretty abysmal calls from the management side, but let’s be honest—which team hasn’t?  

With the trade deadline inching closer and closer, we take a look back on Toronto’s best deadline acquisitions—the ones which had the most impact, and the one’s that helped the ballclub exactly the way they needed to. 

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