Seen & Heard – Jays Talk Edition

April 4th, 2015 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Jays Talk Edition
business of sports

photo credit: Canadian Press


by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail


Good morning sports media observers. With the start of the baseball season I thought I would devote this week’s column to a bunch of big and small baseball stories, rather than the usual hard hitting amateur media criticism that fills this space. We will get back to that next week. Of course, if there’s something you want to talk about, feel free to bring it up in the comments. OK, let’s play ball!


Jays Media Roundtable


The 2014 Jays season started off strong before eventually going up in flames after the all-star break, with the team sputtering to a mediocre 83 wins. This was 5 games off the pace needed for a wildcard spot and 13 games behind the division winning Orioles. Over the last 10 years, 95 wins was the lowest win total needed to win the AL East. Since the 2 team wildcard format came on board in 2012, 91 is the average number of wins needed to get in to the playoffs that way. So the Jays need to get to 90 wins to have a good shot at making the playoffs, and at least 87 to have a chance at playing Meaningful Games in September (TM, Bob McCown).


The question with which Jays observers are left is whether the roster changes made this off-season are likely to yield a 90 win season. As the 2015 season gets set to unfold, I reached out to some Jays experts to play a round of Better, Same, or Worse with this year’s roster. This is a game I play whenever someone tries to convince me that this Jays team has a shot at the playoffs. I’m open to being convinced, but you have to be able to make the case on more than just hope and hype.


Joining me this week are Ben Ennis of Sportsnet TV and radio, Scott MacArthur from TSN radio and web, and Gregor Chisholm of MLB Advanced Media/ If you’re not already following these fine baseball folks on Twitter, you’re missing out. Here are their answers to my questions about the 2015 Jays.


The rotation will be better if …


BE: Drew Hutchison, Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris stay healthy. For a team that ranked 22nd in starter’s ERA a year ago there are plenty of reasons to believe that Hutchison can take a step forward, but there will be growing pains for Norris and Sanchez.


GC: Aaron Sanchez is able to command his secondary pitches for strikes and fill the void left behind by Marcus Stroman. Last year’s success came primarily with one pitch and he’s going to need more than that in the rotation. Whether he can throw the curveball and his new slider for strikes will determine how his year goes.


SM: Daniel Norris (more likely) and/or Aaron Sanchez emerge as an AL Rookie of the Year candidate; Drew Hutchison builds off his strikeout per inning, 184IP season of 2014.


The rotation will be the same if …


BE: Norris and Sanchez are bouncing back and forth between AAA and Toronto. Which isn’t out of the realm of possibility by any means.


GC: Sanchez and Norris battle consistency problems all year.


SM: R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle achieve their career norms but the rest of the rotation suffers some minor attrition, forcing spot starts from some of Marco Estrada, Felix Doubront or Liam Hendriks.


The rotation will be worse if …


BE: They have to rely on the Pu pu platter of Randy Wolf, Johan Santana, Todd Redmond and Marco Estrada to make more than 20 starts.


GC: Anybody gets hurt for a significant period of time. There is almost no depth after the starting five and this team will be in trouble if Marco Estrada or the slew of marginal veterans in Triple-A have to eat up significant innings as starters.


SM: The kids struggle with command on more nights than they’re good, age catches up to Dickey and Buehrle.


Most likely outcome?


BE: Sanchez and Norris are good, but not great, but the Jays live and die with their offence


GC: Better than last year, but not great. I think Hutchison will take a big step forward and Norris is a dark horse candidate to receive at least some hype for rookie of the year. I have less faith that Sanchez will find similar success as a starter but the Blue Jays will ride it out through the highs and lows because there aren’t any viable replacements.


SM: I think Norris could be an AL ROY candidate but other than that, likely more of the same.


The bullpen will be better if …


BE: Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna continue to throw strikes, look like Major Leaguers and stay healthy.


GC: As Ben mentioned above, the bullpen really comes down to how Osuna and Castro perform. If they are ready to take this big step then this group of relievers should be pretty good. There was a glaring need for reliable set-up men from the right side, in theory that’s what these two are.


SM: Brett Cecil or, if he struggles early, someone else emerges as the trusted closer. Osuna and Castro thrive as two 20-year-olds and Osuna, along with Estrada and Loup, provide the bridge work from the starting staff to the late-game relievers.


The bullpen will be the same if …


BE: Castro and Osuna can’t throw strikes, Steve Delabar is back in the Majors before May and the mop up men need mop up men.


GC: The rookies struggle and eventually get replaced by Delabar and Chad Jenkins. Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup will be reliable and that should help this group avoid being a total disaster no matter what happens with Castro/Osuna.‎


SM: Cecil struggles like Janssen did in the second half of last year and Castro plays the role of Sanchez.


The bullpen will be worse if …


BE: Nearly impossible. The Jays’ bullpen was 25th in ERA last year, issuing the 8th most walks in MLB, while only having to pitch the 17th most innings.


GC: It would be hard to struggle more than this group did last year but one way it happens is if a couple of guys in the rotation go down. That would press some of the fringe starters in the rotation and creates the need for even more innings from the bullpen.


SM: Cecil implodes, Castro and Osuna aren’t ready and the depth (Delabar, Jenkins) comes up and doesn’t stem the tide.


Most likely outcome?


BE: Alex Anthopoulos rues not addressing his leaky bullpen in the off-season, Brett Cecil loses the closer’s job before May and they have to make a desperation move in-season.


GC: Cecil and Loup will do fine but at least one of the rookies will struggle and get sent down before too long. Similarly to what Ben said, the lack of additions to the bullpen won’t go over well and adding someone else to the bullpen will become a talking point well into the middle of the season. For what it’s worth, I think Castro will be solid, I have less faith Osuna is ready.


SM: This one’s up to Cecil. If he can close, the rest of the ‘pen will organize itself.


The line-up will be better if …


BE: Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion stay healthy all year. It’s been said before, but this team has the potential to be the most potent lineup 1 through 5 in the Majors.  If Dalton Pompey picks up where he left off last September and Devon Travis fulfills his offensive potential, this lineup is deeper than people expect.


GC: The Blue Jays stay healthy. This will sound repetitive after Ben’s answer but it’s the truth. Donaldson over Lawrie/Martin over Navarro are two major upgrades and Saunders over Melky Cabrera won’t be nearly as much of a downgrade as a lot of people think. This team would have to fall apart at the seams for the lineup not to be a major asset in 2015.


SM: Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson all play full seasons and combine to hit 110 home runs. Justin Smoak hits right-handers enough to justify keeping his bat in the lineup; the bottom of the order gets on base enough to turn over the lineup with runners on base for the boppers to cash in.


The line-up will be the same if …


BE: Pompey and Travis are meh, but everybody else hits. Let’s not forget, this team was 5th in MLB in runs scored a year ago, and they missed Adam Lind and Encarnacion for long swaths of time.


GC: Smoak, Travis and Pompey all struggle. Even if this happens I think there’s a chance the lineup could be better — if the core stays healthy — but there are still reasons for concern with the bottom three. I actually think Pompey will be fine but I have doubts about Smoak. He does have 20 home run power but he typically doesn’t offer much else and that’s a concern.


SM: Parts of the middle of the order experience injury and miss some time but are otherwise productive.


The line-up will be worse if …


BE: The 6 through 9 spots are a train wreck. There are plenty of question marks about the bottom of the lineup against righties.  Does Justin Smoak just need a change of scenery?  Are youngsters Kevin Pillar, Pompey and Travis ready for full-time work in the Majors?


GC: Everything completely falls apart. Reyes’ hamstring continues to be an issue and at least one of Bautista, Encarnacion and Donaldson miss a significant period of time.


SM: The middle of the order can’t stay on the field; Pompey and Travis aren’t ready to contribute on a daily basis; Smoak and Saunders show that who they were in Seattle is who they will be in Toronto.


Most likely outcome?


BE: They’re just as good as their impressive offence in 2014, and they need to be, because there are enough question marks with the relievers.


GC: The final numbers last year were strong but I think they’ll be better in 2015 and more importantly the club will be more consistent with the bat. So much of last year’s production came during May and everyone knew it wasn’t sustainable. I think Saunders will be a very underrated piece when he returns, Pompey will be solid in center but the Blue Jays will need to address 1B/DH at the deadline and possibly second base as well.


SM: Smoak’s key because if he can hit, he’ll play first base and that should be good for Encarnacion’s longevity. Even if the answer is “the same” the Jays should be fine offensively. They’ll be better, though, because they have Donaldson.


The defence will be better if …


BE: Justin Smoak hits enough to warrant playing first base against righties. Jose Reyes had a brutal year defensively in 2014 and as much as Josh Donaldson can pick it, his arm is erratic at times.  Smoak’s long reach should save plenty of throwing errors from the left side of the infield. The outfield defence should be great with Kevin Pillar / Michael Saunders, Dalton Pompey and Jose Bautista, while Russell Martin’s glove is elite behind the plate.


GC: On paper, this team should be much better defensively. This kind of goes without saying but Martin is one of the best in the business and he’ll go a long way in cutting down the running game and also getting the most out of the pitching staff. The outfield defense is also significantly better by eliminating Cabrera’s lack of range and the subtraction of Rasmus, whose head clearly wasn’t in it last year.


SM:The outfield will be better. Reyes finds the tonic for his ailing legs and rediscovers even a little bit of range; Smoak hits enough that he’s regularly at first base and is able to pick throws in the dirt.


The defence will be the same if …


BE: Edwin Encarnacion has to carry the load at first base. His defence isn’t Juan Francisco bad, but he isn’t Mark Teixeira either.  Devon Travis isn’t supposed to be much of a defender, but I’ve been impressed by the little I’ve seen of him in Spring.


GC: ‎The infield defense offsets the gains made behind the plate and in the outfield. Travis looked okay at second base this spring but we don’t know how he’s going to react on the turf. Even if the claims about this surface being slower than ones used in the past are true, it still won’t be as slow as natural grass and that exposes a player’s lack of range even more.


SM: Reyes’ legs are barking all year, Travis plays a middling second base and the Jays struggle up the middle.


The defence will be worse if …


BE: Danny Valencia, Steve Tolleson and Ryan Goins see time in the outfield.  The Jays have experimented with different looks in left field, but it shouldn’t matter if superior defenders Kevin Pillar and Michael Saunders do their job.


GC: I don’t think there’s any way it can be worse. Even if Martin goes down, Navarro will be there so essentially that becomes 2014 all over again. Reyes can’t be any worse than he was last year. Kawasaki got a lot of time at 2B last year and we all know he’s not known for the glove.


SM: Reyes can hardly move, Travis’ reputation in the Detroit system comes true on the speedier turf in Toronto, Smoak can’t hit which necessitates playing Encarnacion at first base, Russell Martin gets hurt and Dioner Navarro is forced to assume regular catching duties.


Most likely outcome?


BE: This team’s defence is vastly improved by the addition of Smoak and the outfield is regarded as one of the best in the Majors. When Bautista take at bats at DH, you could see three legit centrefielders across the outfield in Saunders, Pompey and Pillar.


GC: Overall it will be significantly better because of the OF and C but the infield defense is a concern and it’s going to cost them some games this year.


SM: The defence will be better.


The bench will be better if …


BE: Josh Thole spends the entire season in AAA and they go with a seven man bullpen. Danny Valencia and Steve Tolleson are legit lefty-mashers and Dioner Navarro is a nice option to pinch hit against all comers in the late innings.


GC: The Blue Jays actually move quickly and put together the proper 25-man roster. Goins should be on the team as a back-up IF to spell Reyes once a week at SS. I understand the premise of starting the year with an eight-man bullpen but it can only last for a series or two before changes have to be made … A full year of Danny Valencia starting against lefties should help, Navarro as a back-up C and possible pinch hitter is another useful weapon.


SM: There are four people regularly available to manager John Gibbons. If Michael Saunders and Kevin Pillar, one of whom will be sitting when the other starts in left field, are productive; if Dioner Navarro is on the bench as a backup catcher, not a regular DH; if Ryan Goins is on the team almost right away and his bat comes up with the odd crucial hit to supplement his strong glove play; if Danny Valencia gets ABs as a pinch-hitter against tough lefty relievers and does damage.


The bench will be the same if …


BE: They trade Dioner Navarro and Thole becomes the backup catcher. Thole has some decent on-base skills, but generally swings a wet newspaper.  He plays every R.A. Dickey start and that’s it, essentially eliminating a pinch-hitting option.


GC: The Blue Jays dump Navarro for nothing. I know a lot of people don’t agree with me but this team is better with Navarro on the bench. Yes Thole works well with Dickey but he doesn’t offer anything with the bat. If the Jays are going to be contenders, Martin will have to catch Dickey in meaningful September games anyways so that’s a partnership the club should stick with.


SM: Nobody stands out and bench players are used in the options game, moving between Toronto and Buffalo to facilitate the needs of the pitching staff (seven or eight-man bullpen)


The bench will be worse if …


BE: The Jays go with an eight man bullpen. I get the desire to have an extra long man when you’re dealing with young starters, but a 3 man bench extremely handcuffs John Gibbons’ late-game strategy.


GC: Maicer Izturis is healthy but not starting. If Travis remains the starting second baseman, there is simply no place for Izturis on this team. He made sense when the Blue Jays planned to platoon him with Ramon Santiago but with Travis around it’s no longer feasible. Tolleson is a similarly redundant piece.


SM: Danny Valencia starts hitting left-handers like he does right-handers; Ryan Goins comes up, enters games late for defensive purposes but can’t hit in limited at-bats; Dioner Navarro and Josh Thole somehow become the catching duo


Most likely outcome?


BE: Dioner Navarro is traded and Josh Thole is the backup catcher. A few short starts for the young pitchers requires an extra mop up man in the bullpen, but the Jays have some nice late game speed on the bench with either Pillar or Saunders.


GC: Navarro will stay put and on the whole the Blue Jays bench will be better. I have no idea what’s going to happen with Izturis though because there simply isn’t any trade value there


SM: The bench, as currently constituted, is encouraging. If Ryan Goins doesn’t start the year with the team, expect him to join it sooner rather than later.


Win total with this roster?


Ennis88. This team self-immolated in the final months of last season, but proved that the offence can compete with anybody in baseball.  There are arguments to be made that it’s even better this season, but the pitching is the great unknown. Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris have the pedigree to be successful, but there’s usually in-season adjustments to be made for young starters, let’s see if they can make them. The nightmare scenario sees the starting pitching cancelled out by a horrific relief corps, which can break a team’s spirit.  I wouldn’t say it’s likely, but certainly possible considering the lack of personnel additions to a horrific bullpen in 2014. Ultimately, I see the Jays as a fringe playoff team in a down year for the American League East.


Chisholm85. The Blue Jays will remain in contention for most of the year but it’s unrealistic to think the five starters can remain healthy all season and ultimately I think that will lead to the club’s downfall. At the very least, though, it should be an interesting season because as much as I can pick apart various aspects of the Jays roster, the same could be done to every team in the east. 


MacArthur88, which may be enough to win the division.




A million thanks to all three for chatting with me. Here’s hoping for a fun season. What do you think Jays fans? Has AA done enough to get you to come down to the Dome this year?


Jays Essentials


The Associated Press recently published a handy primer on the stats that form the core of modern baseball analysis. If you’ve been hanging on to RBIs and pitcher wins, now just might be the right time to step into the 21st century. You can still use your eyes for intangibles like hustle and grit, but use these for the rest.


Sportsnet deserves a lot of credit for investing in even more baseball coverage. For this season they have added a weekly podcast called At the Letters, hosted by underused Sportsnet writers Arden Zwelling and Ben Nicholson-Smith, and produced by Sam McKee. Great to see some fresh voices getting a chance. Their new podcast joins the only slightly more recently established TSN offering The Blue Jays Report featuring Scott MacArthur and a rotation of co-hosts.


If you’re not already following John Lott, do it now. In addition to his great and always professional reporting, he posts a lot of his own photos from the games. He’s not a regular on the radio, but I’m hoping that this season brings us more of his analysis.


The Jays blogosphere is pretty big and there are lots of good options. The National Post hosted a pre-season roundtable featuring a bunch of good bloggers you should also follow. (Side-note: when I host a roundtable with bloggers who don’t publish their real names, I get yelled at. When the National Post does it …)


If you have not followed the team’s moves this off-season, Brendan Kennedy at the Star has you covered with a nice piece profiling each of the players who will be in New York for opening day.


Quick Baseball Hits


If you’re feeling nostalgic for the 2014 Jays, Jeff Simmons has a piece for on the current fates of the players who are no longer with the team.


Derek Jeter’s Payers Tribune website has been making news lately, due to David Ortiz’s charged missive at Dan Shaughnessy, and the latter’s response. Jose Bautista, or someone close to him, penned a long piece on the Dominican youth development system and the lack of resources available to the 97% of players who never take a swing in the big leagues. It’s a fantastic piece. I’m glad to see Jose take an active role in making the working conditions better for those less fortunate than him. More on this in the next item. As we head into a season filled with uncertainty, let’s all remember to enjoy the time we have with Joey Bats.


With the start of the baseball season some groups are actively working to keep the spotlight on the arguably exploitative compensation minor league baseball players receive. Like other sports, baseball relies on the minors to develop major league talent. Unlike other sports, baseball’s development cycle is very long with many levels, and so MLB teams employ thousands of players whose main function is to serve as fodder for the guys with real talent. An increasing amount of attention is now being paid to who feeds the fodder. Michael McCann at lays out the issue.


Lastly, the Oakland A’s are hosting a Pride Night this season. This has prompted some people to protest and demand refunds. Eireann Dolan, girlfriend of A’s pitcher Sean Doolittle, has stepped up and offered to buy those tickets and give them away to LGTB organizations. This is a fantastic response to an increasingly shrinking segment of society. Warning: if you read the linked Yahoo article, DON”T READ THE COMMENTS.


Low Hanging Fruit


  • TSN Drive’s Leafs draft review segments have been very enjoyable radio. Congratulations to Zach Sommers on the fine production work, and to Dave Naylor on the well executed concept. I think they are up to 2006, so if your life is missing depressing Leafs facts then tune in to TSN Drive this week.


  • I didn’t catch much of Brady Walker PM but I’m told there were no calls during the first show. This is a good start. Tim&Sid listeners, what did you think?


  • If you only listen to one PTS interview this week, make it Monday 5pm with Bob Ryan. Bob, Brunt and Ryan did a great talking through the Ortiz/Shaughnessy story.


  • I was just thinking the other day that Steve Simmons had really cleaned up his Twitter act as of late.




thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)


  1. Sam says:

    When Mckenzie comes on with Naylor, Naylor always “welcomes him back to the show”. It’s an awful crutch especially when Mckenzie is on every freaking day! Naylor should go right to the question like McCown does most of the time.

  2. Don River says:

    Brady and Walker looked like they wanted no part of being on TV.

  3. RichieD says:

    I think it’s pretty simple. T&S did a TV show on radio. B&W do a radio show, that gets put on TV. I dunno what I prefer but it’s obviois BW know way more about sports

  4. Dogpounder says:

    “As we head into a season filled with uncertainty…”

    Like every season.

    For every team.

    Enjoy the games. AA has put a very competitive team together that could very well win the division. Take yourself back 10 years and then re-read that statement.

  5. Neil says:


    I fully agree with your assessment. I thought I was the only one that noticed Naylor’s constant need to plug the show. I think this speaks to a couple of things, the first being that Bob is more of a natural radio guy and feels very comfortable with all his guests, Two, Naylor seems like a by the book guy i.e. for all Naylor’s guests he says welcome to tsn drive. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Bob say welcome to prime time sports to any of his guests. I don’t think radio is a good fit for Naylor.

  6. Sam in Scarb says:

    Agreed Tim & Sid did a radio show yet also played to the tv cameras.
    B & W look like they are doing a radio show and being held hostage at gun-point at the same time.
    Even tho robbers will wait far too long be prepared for more Poker coverage 1-4

  7. Daniel says:

    I feel optimistic about the Jays, but I do have some concerns (as does everyone).

    One of the real fortunate things for the Jays is that the AL East just doesn’t look all that great right now. I think if this Jays team played at a time when you had elite Yankee and Red Sox teams, plus the upstart Rays, nobody would really give this team a shot. But they look like a pretty good team in a pretty bad division. Reason for hope at least.

  8. Daniel says:

    Another reason for optimism re the Jays …

    Even if this season doesn’t work out – lets say they win 85 games and miss the playoffs. Obviously that’ll be a huge disappointment, and you don’t want to waste Bautista and EE’s good years…

    BUT … with Stroman, Sanchez, Norris, Hutchinson, Osuna, Castro and Hoffman, there’s just SO much high ceiling young pitching. The possibility of inexpensive, elite young pitching really gives the Jays an amazing advantage from 2016 to 2020 or so if even a couple guys pan out like you hope.

  9. Neil says:

    Everyone keeps talking about the jays and their young arms, when Yankees dominated the 90’s there were no young arms. I’m not sure why people talk about the jays young pitching as though this is the be all end all. Oakland always has young arms as does Tampa yet this never translates to a world series product. Please people lets see what the young arms are befor we start talk about these guys like their a pitching staff of Clemens, Koufax and Nolan Ryan.

  10. Daniel says:

    @Neil – Really? Oakland and Tampa Bay as negative examples? Those teams have consistently made the playoffs (with tiny payrolls) over the past few years. Teams make their whole blueprints off their success.

    The Yankees doing well without inexpensive young pitching ≠ inexpensive young pitching is not valuable. The Yankees can outspend everyone. Plus Pettite and Rivera were pretty good.

  11. Neil says:


    At the end of the day it’s all about money, nonetheless money does not equate to being smart. Last year Oakland took on a ton of salary because even a budget team like Oakland understands to win it’s all about money, however Oakland in taking on salary had a Brain cramp when they traded their best hitter. It’s all about money it’s just as much all about brains.

  12. Neil says:


    can you tell me how many teams in the last twenty years with all this so called high ceiling pitching won world series with it ?or came close? One other thing, Does the Rogers propaganda machine have you under hypnosis?

    Careful they might slip you a crappy bundle that you will sign under such deep hypnosis.

  13. Dogpounder says:

    I don’t know why I read the comments sometimes.

  14. Zebb says:

    Too bad the Lanny McDonald interview was before the Rob Ford appointment.

  15. Alex says:

    Naylor still seems stiff on the radio. I think its part of the show’s charm. But i only listen depending on the guest host (yes for arthur or feschuk, no for simmons) or if Reid is the co-host of PTS that day.

    I wonder if 590 going super heavy on the Jays is a corporate mandate, a desire not to talk Leafs or some combination of the two.

  16. Daniel says:

    “can you tell me how many teams in the last twenty years with all this so called high ceiling pitching won world series with it ?or came close?”

    I mean … probably every single team that’s won had high ceiling pitching on it. I don’t really know what you mean.

    If you mean having a lot of pitchers without much experience, the Cardinals went to the World Series two years ago with something like 10 rookies on the team in the playoffs. The Royals had Ventura last year, he was a rookie and their second best starter probably. I think Bumgarner was 20 or something when he won his first WS. It’s not really hard to come up with examples..

  17. mike (in boston) says:

    Griff has a nice write up on the current youth movement.

    The thing that drives me nuts about this year’s roster is the lack of a development philosophy. 20$ million would have bought you a good starter and a high leverage reliever. But it also would have bought you time with Sanchez/Norris/Osuna/Castro/Travis. I’m really sceptical that these guys wouldn’t be better major leaguers with even 2 months in AAA. I think that they would be. The current strategy is high risk for not much of a reward. It’s a long season and guys get hurt. Why not bring guys up in accordance with merit as roster spots open up.

    The short answer is probably that there wasn’t $20 million available. That’s a whole other discussion though. Why spend so much on Martin if you’re not willing to go all in while JB and EE are in their prime?

  18. WestDale Rocks says:


    “can you tell me how many teams in the last twenty years with all this so called high ceiling pitching won world series with it ?or came close?”. Not all of the teams below won, but they all made the playoffs and most certainly “came close”:
    Braves in the 90s
    2002, 03 A’s
    2003 Cubs
    2011 Phillies
    Yankees numerous times in the past 20 years

  19. Neil says:

    @Westdale Rocks

    The Yankees did it with high ceiling turned veteran guys Hideki Irabu, Orlando Hernandez, David Wells Blue Jays- Juan Guzman, Dave Stewart, Todd Stottlemyre etc
    My point is that there is too much excitement for guys that have done completely nothing at the major league level, they have proved nothing except that they have good pitches. In most cases the Yankees and Boston went with what they knew had proven track records and that philosophy paid dividends in terms of championships. There is Zero guarantees with the jays young crop of pitchers cause they have not faced anything substantial. I remember all the hype surrounding un proven guys like Travis Snider,David Percy, Kyle Drabek and even Brett Lawrie Percy not even in the league, Snider is just barely hanging on, Drabek picked up off waivers by white sox from blue jays Lawrie traded from the jays and now on his 3rd team in 4 years or some like that. Just way to much hype over unproven players. Shows how much this city is starving, We get excited about potential as oppose to results. Just the way Robbers, I mean Rogers likes it.
    Rogers knows they are having a hard time selling a winning product, so they market the hek out of potential. Remember people when does potential ever get to be an old trick if for twenty years it’s rarely worked. Hey WestDale Rocks
    Phillies fans love their star power if they go young and unproven they better hope that the potential shines right of the top because Philly fans across major league sports are brutal
    Cubs are a storied franchise they always make money, it’s not just about baseball in chi town, A’s don’t get fans maybe it’s time for some real proven names and a consistency of deep playoff runs in Oakland, Oh ya no star power no fans, no fans no new stadium. You guys have all been dupped by the Robbers false hype machine online, on radio and on tv.

  20. Daniel says:

    @Neil – I think the hope is that a couple of these guys pan out. I don’t think anyone expects they all will, or that we really know exactly what to expect from them. It’s just promising, generally.

    Re the drinking the Rogers kool aid stuff – I’m a big Jays fan and definitely totally biased on them. But thinking the team might be good is hardly a crazy thought. Rosenthal, Morosi and Keri all picked them to win the division. A couple other ESPN guys too.

    Ultimately who knows. We’ll see.

  21. Daniel says:

    @Mike – I agree with you that I can’t believe they didn’t get SOMEONE for the pen. I get it’s unpredictable, but I would feel so much better if they had added someone with a track record back there.

    I don’t have a problem with the Martin splurge though. Even if he’s average offensively, I think he’ll benefit all the pitchers quite a bit.

  22. Dan says:

    I’m not a Jays fan, but I always look forward to the first Jays home broadcast of the season from Sportsnet to see how crappy their coverage remains compared to other RSNs in the league.

    Looking forward to seeing those horrible virtual advertisements that are only done by SN and the same old, tired camera angles they’ve used for years, and not a slow-mo camera to be seen.

  23. yaz says:

    Who cares what B&W looked like on TV? If Tim & Sid were on TV from 1-4 PM and not on Radio, they would have been unemployed 2 1/2 years ago. Radio ratings drove their success and will do the the same ( or not ) for B&W. Of the 3 hours of B&W they compete for 2 hours with a solo Hayes with the moribund TSN signal. #noproblemo

    I listened to a lot of B&W the first week, a lot of Raptors and Jays talk for obvious reasons. I understand the Leafs stink but wouldn’t it have been more interesting to have Casey Bailey or Sill or even Colton Orr on instead of Nick Leddy from the Islanders ( Apr 1, 1pm). Leddy was about as engaged as a toddler being forced to say thank-you and give a kiss to his grandmother for a birthday gift. It was like Leddy was riding in his car and listening to another radio station while he treated B&W like a background nuisance. I understand 590 has to ‘promote the NHL’ but they shouldn’t have let their producer or whomever foist this terd on them early in their show. I’m sure the Apr 2nd tilt between NYI & CBJ got a big ratings boost from Leddy’s interview about his ‘new contract’ ( announced Feb. 24 ) It was like listening to paint dry. Forget about no callers, how about no player interviews? Otherwise the show was good with few changes.

  24. Neil says:

    I feel bad for those that cheer for the jays or any other Canadian sports team. The cold hard fact of Canadian sports teams is they are the only team of their sport in their country and will never be a national attraction to any of the major U.S sports networks or advertisers and the leagues are well aware of this. The leagues just I would say push for series that involve two teams with a massive following from their respective metropolitan areas(in the U.S). i.e New York, LA, Chicago, etc.

  25. Neil says:

    Sports teams in Canada should be deemed as non-winning organization in non winning organizations it’s all about fun, equivalent to the concept of non profit organization that is not about profit but based on goodwill. Canadian fans should put entertainment first and winning Ahhhhhh out of your thoughts. It just wouldn’t make sense for the sports league controlling Americans and their enormous American fanbase. All this analysis around Canadian teams and how they will fear during each season just makes me laugh. It’s all about The Bruins vs New York or Pittsburg vs L.A

  26. Mike (In Boston), thanks for posting the picture from the Big O of the fan imploring baseball to find a way to bring back the Expos.

    I was at Saturday’s game, with over 50,000 others, and have been an active member and volunteer of ExposNation, doing what I can from Toronto to keep momentum going.

    Considering that before Gary Carter’s passing I would have given major league baseball returning to Montreal either through relocation or expansion no chance at all, we have come a long way.

    1. MLB’s new commissioner, Rob Manfred, said in the past week that Montreal had successfully passed the first test toward a return of baseball to the city: demonstrating great interest.

    Earlier this week, he said the city would also need “a firm, committed-to plan” for a new stadium.

    2. Montreal’s new Mayor Denis Coderre, who attended the game wearing an Expos hat, is just one of many Montreal baseball fans hoping to bring another team to the city. So the all-important civic support is there.

    3. Mitch Garber, CEO of a division of casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp., is looking at resurrecting the Montreal Expos. According to the report, he’s part of a group including fellow Montreal businessmen Larry Rossy, CEO of Dollarama Inc., and Stephen Bronfman, executive chairman of the private investment firm Claridge. So the money is there to help finance a stadium down the road. IMO Bell Media makes the most sense with the loss of hockey for the next 10+ years, so they can be the Rogers equivalent with the Jays in Montreal. Some possible unification of the parties above can possibly occur.

    Nothing will happen overnight, as the Rays have a lease until 2027 and it is bulletproof, plus even with low attendance and indifference in Tampa, they are still making money with the tv contract in place. I am looking at expansion down the road, with a commitment to a team granted once the new park is a go, with the ownership group in place. Maybe 10 years from now it will all come together, but that is still better than never.

    Still Raptors Devotee, but prior a huge Expos Devotee.

  27. Alex says:

    Wilner at his most homeriffic today

    “Batista/Edwin/Donaldson are not only one of the best 3/4/5 combos in baseball, but maybe in baseball history.”

    Also, Jerry said they were playing in Fenway Park.

  28. Mike S says:

    My favourite story about evaluating the potential of young Blue Jays was several years ago when McCown said that he thought Travis Snider & Adam Lind could combine for at least 70 home runs that year

  29. The Londoner says:

    Steve Simmons on TSN The Reporters on describing goaltender Jimmy Howard, said that he’s “just a guy”. Apparently Steve is taking a page from Bob McCown’s expert analysis.

  30. d says:

    If bautista/encarnacion/donaldson all have the seasons they are capable of then ya.. it could be the best 3-4-5 ever

  31. Antonio says:

    Despite the roster improvements the Jays have made, “Gibby’ will manage to screw things up by the all-star break. Trust me. This team wont make the playoffs – again.

  32. Warren says:

    d, I hope you’re suggesting these guys are potentially the best BlueJay 3-4-5. Not thinking under any rosey scenario they’d be better than Ruth, Gehrig & Meusel.

  33. Mike S says:

    The Leafs & Raptors both play tomorrow night and 1050 has the rights to both games…………they have decided to keep the meaningless Leafs game on 1050…………meanwhile the Raptors are playoff-bound and their game is being moved to 1010…………I guess I sort of understand this decision but I still find it amusing

  34. Alex says:

    Does 1010 have a better signal? People seem to often complain about 1050’s signal here.

  35. Mullah_Kintyre says:

    Oh, FFS. Grandpa techno-phobe McCown made me laugh last hour when he expressed an inexplicable notion that big screen TVs may be on their way to disappearing because younger people tend to make more use of smaller screens on portable devices. No, Bob, they won’t become a thing of the past, even if traditional TV channels do eventually disappear. You know, a lot of them young-uns have already been using modern big screen TVs for a few years now to watch entertainment from the internet, eh? Ever heard of “Netflix”, Bob?

  36. Ian says:

    Thanks for doing the Jays roundtable, Mike. It’s been interesting to see that the beat writers, bloggers and such are pretty much in a consensus that the Jays will win around 85-88 games. I guess the real question id whether the division will be soft enough this year so that a mid 80’s win total will be enough to take the AL East crown.

  37. Rob in Aurora says:

    It’s funny how people’s perspectives can be so different. I find the Leaf draft review to be completely negative and unlistenable. Naylor’s know it all nasally voice is so appropriate for that segment. The damage was done long ago, TSN 1050 are just filling time. Naylor seems to delight in running the organization down at every opportunity. Yes, Dave, they’ve been awful and they are awful now – we get it. I find Naylor to be the weakest personality on TSN. He has to go. The co-hosts and guests carry him – he can pull off an interview, but he always sounds nervous and he constantly interrupts people as if he is desperately afraid to lose an argument and look foolish. Question: The guy from Buffalo that is on twice a week. Is there not a Canadian that TSN can employ? Its not like the Buffalo guy is famous or noteworthy – There has to be a Canadian that can do that job – – just a thought.

  38. mike (in boston) says:

    Rob in Aurora – I totally agree with you about Tim Graham of the Buffalo News on TSN Drive. He’s perfectly fine as a co-host, but there is no reason why anyone in Toronto would care about his opinions. Why not give Scott Stinson or Cathal Kelly or Sean Fitz-Gerald or any of the other local columnists a chance?

    I had the same issue when original FOB Jim Kelley (RIP) was on PTS. I understand that once upon a time he was an opinion setter in Buffalo, but that didn’t make him credible on the Jays or the Raptors or big sports business stories. He drove me nuts as a co-host. He had the Shannon-esque tendency to be a know it all whenever he was on.

  39. mike (in boston) says:

    thanks Ian – I think there is a good basis for the belief that the defence will be better and that this, along with Martin’s game calling and pitch framing skills, will drag the overall pitching up. Assuming the offence maintains, that gets you more than 83 wins, but I doubt it gets you up to 90. No one saw the Orioles winning 96 last year or Boston winning 97 the year before, so I’m not buying the argument that says the division will be weak enough to be won with 88.

    As I said in response to Daniel, I think there is a real interesting discussion to be had about the organizational philosophy of letting “stuff” pitchers sink or swim in the majors. It goes against conventional wisdom that you need to craft your secondary and tertiary pitches in the minors. This year will be a good test. If it goes bad, it is going to look really bad. But if it works, then AA will look like a genius.

    Lastly, how awesome is it to watch Travis Snider hit well? I loved watching him play with the Pirates, and I’m thrilled he’s now having success with the Orioles.

  40. Mike S says:

    Tim Graham is TSN Drive co-host once a week because he is a FON (Friend Of Naylor)

    Last year Dave Hodge used to be co-host twice per week………..I like Hodge so I thought it had potential but in my opinion it never really worked………….I guess they felt the same way because Hodge has not been co-host at all this year

    Jeff O’Neill was also co-host once a week last year……….they stopped doing that this year, but I think that had more to do with O’Neill’s increased role on the TV side

  41. dogpounder says:

    I think it’s important to have the perspective from someone across the border.

  42. dogpounder says:

    …and the “Blame Gibby” narrative is tired, baseless, and without merit.

    Brings down the level of baseball discussion in this town… which for the most part outside of Wilner and Ennis, is already low enough.

  43. Alex says:

    Classic good news, bad news on PTS today: Brun treturns, but a cox segment and a zaun segment.

  44. Neil says:


    You cheerleading for Wilner?????????

  45. dogpounder says:


    More like pooping on the rest of the baseball coverage in this town. Quality, not quantity.


    Is anyone having trouble with podcasting 1050 shows on mmobile? Every new segment that starts also autoplays a video at the same time with audio. Terrible. Annoying.

  46. alex says:

    The 1050 podcasts are back to not downloading. I think naylors show has not shiwn up since friday.

  47. Nan Young Lee says:

    “BCE Inc. has ousted Kevin Crull as president of Bell Media after he attempted to interfere in news coverage of a recent regulatory decision at networks owned by the company.”

  48. Neil says:

    All the Telco’s dictate the content that is put out there by the media entity of the business. Kevin Krull was one of the unfortunate ones to get caught by blowing his own cover. Any Major business that sells a service that also owns a media company is very deceiving to say the least. This doesn’t surprise me that he quit or got pushed out. it’s a PR nightmare for Bell.

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