Seen & Heard – Thursday, July 4, 2013

by Rob G

How do you open a post on a day such as July 4? I could go with a cliched (insert smarmy sports voice here) “Boy, we sure had some fireworks today here in Toronto!”, or perhaps I open with a tongue in cheek “Good evening folks, not sure why I’m posting tonight, as not much happened today”.

Quite a day, from J.P. “I bust my butt” Arencibia’s “pouring his heart out Dr. Phil moment”, to Mikhail Grabovski’s not so surprising (to most) buyout by the Leafs, to a significant trade between the Dallas Stars and the Boston Bruins involving the centre the Leafs should have had (tongue placed firmly in cheek).

You know the Arencibia story has legs when the radio competition is talking about it on their drive home show. Not that you can always count on lucid reflection from Steve Simmons on most subjects, but that’s beside the point. Really, this is much to do about nothing. There was a ton of local media coverage on this, but the biggest takeaway for me is for a 27 year old catcher that is darn close to being defined as a veteran in MLB, Arencibia needs to get some thicker skin. This is a non-story on the surface, as the alleged negative nellies (Gregg Zaun and Dirk Hayhurst) are doing nothing but reporting what is factual. This all goes away the minute Arencibia starts performing to expectations. Until then, expect what you’ve been hearing.

One final thought. Arencibia was playing the “I’ve worked my tail off” card today. He also played other cards – Hayhurst and Zaun being mediocre talents, and he threw in a dash of Zaun allegedly (I use that word, not Arencibia) using PEDs during his career. The last card – they don’t understand how hard it is now that they aren’t major leaguers anymore. Give me a break. Time for Arencibia to grow up – listening to him this evening not back off his stance reminded me of a petulant, dim-witted teenager. He asked that that while it was understandable that there is criticism, there should also be positive feedback. Other than the 11 game win streak, there hasn’t been a ton of positivity to spin. You’re a big leaguer – act like one!

The Toronto Maple Leafs acted on their second opportunity to buy themselves out of a terrible contract when they put Mikhail Grabovski on waivers. With a cap hit of $5.5m per year, most of the media understood why the Leafs made the move, but I was shocked to see as much negativity towards the buyout as I did on Twitter. This was a terribly ill-conceived contract by former GM Brian Burke, and Nonis did the right thing by removing this albatross. Unfortunately, there are no GMs dumb enough to put a waiver claim on him.

Finally, the Bruins and the Stars quickly made us forget the earlier news of the day with the significant trade they made. Interesting how quickly Tyler Seguin fell out of favour in Boston, but with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci ahead of him on the depth chart, the Bruins couldn’t keep that cap hit on a 3rd line centre who was not thrilled with a move to the wing. Peter Chiarelli was smart enough to take control of the situation to cash his chips in and maximize the value he could get for Seguin. Of course the next question on the local airwaves will be whether that changes your opinion on the Kessel trade. Anything to fill an hour in on the radio!

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