The End of the Cooper Era in Toronto

News has surfaced that the back injury that David Cooper suffered in the offseason may actually be worse than first expected. Surgery is likely required, so the Jays did what any good employer would do with an injured worker – completely cut ties and released him from his contract. Aside from the injury and obvious backlog at the first base position – with the surging Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind looking for a possible platoon – did the Jays have a good reason to let go of their 26 year-old former 17th overall draft pick?

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Josh Thole: The Hidden Gem in the Dickey Trade

Seven players were involved in the recent Mets/Blue Jays trade, but most fans have been distracted by the big names that were exchanged by the two teams. One of the pieces that may be another shrewd pickup by Alex Anthopoulos, similar to Emilio Bonifacio in the Marlins trade, is catcher Josh Thole. It may look like a throw-in on paper – just being involved because he’s caught R.A. Dickey’s unique knuckleball before and makes less money than John Buck, but there may actually be a future for him with the team.

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Kevin Ahrens: Bust or Late-Bloomer?

If you’ve researched or followed Toronto Blue Jays prospects in the past couple of years, chances are pretty good that the name Kevin Ahrens has come across your radar. His name recently appeared in Marc Normandin’s article about interesting players that will be available for the upcoming rule 5 draft. He was the Blue Jays first pick – 16th overall – in 2007, in a draft that featured a plethora of future MLB stars. Names like David Price, Matt Wieters, Madison Bumgarner, Jason Heyward, and Jarrod Parker were all selected in the same round as Ahrens. Current Blue Jays J.P. Arencibia and Brett Cecil were also taken in that draft, both being selected later than Ahrens. While all of those players listed are making an impact at the major league level, Ahrens has faltered in his development. Starting in the Gulf Coast league in 2007 as an 18 year-old, he is now 23 and has not yet reached double-A New Hampshire. Why is he struggling? What is wrong with the former top prospect, and should the Blue Jays be worried about losing him in the rule 5 draft?

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Gibby’s Impact on the 2013 Blue Jays

The best or “correct” way to manage a baseball team has been argued about since the early beginnings of the game. Most statistical-minded folk will lobby for a manager that bunts and steals bases infrequently, while more traditional fans will claim that those are integral parts of becoming a successful team. This debate has been in the forefront for some time in Blue Jays land, as they continued on the quest towards a new manager. Surprisingly, Alex Anthopoulos has decided to bring back an old face in John Gibbons – which now opens the floodgates for public opinion all over Twitter and the blogosphere. But how does the new (or old) John’s managing philosophy stack up next to the previous manager, John Farrell? Here’s one way to break it down:

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The Shortstop Situation: Comparing Jose Reyes and Yunel Escobar

Despite the many moving parts involved in the major blockbuster trade that was pulled off by the Marlins and Blue Jays, one of the main focuses of the deal will be the change at shortstop. Putting opinions of the players aside, the Blue Jays move from Yunel Escobar to Jose Reyes at shortstop is being seen as an improvement in the batter’s box and on the base paths, but somewhat of a downgrade on defence. If you take a look at the statistics over the past two seasons, that is generally true.

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What to do with Adam Lind?

Following the 2009 season, it looked like Adam Lind had cemented his spot as the Jays’ first baseman for the foreseeable future. Hitting for a .305 average, with 179 hits, 35 home runs and 114 RBI, Lind had his first real breakout season in the MLB.

The following season though, every stat went down except for strikeouts and, oddly, triples. But that’s beside the point. What I’m trying to say is that Lind hasn’t shown that he’s capable of reproducing a season like the one he had in 2009.

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Encarnacion: Snubbed by MVP Voters?

The NL and AL MVP voting results came out today, with Buster Posey of the Giants and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers coming out on top. While the NL MVP race was moderately interesting, the most heated debates were over who should take home the AL MVP.  Many cases were made for Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout, who had perhaps the greatest rookie season ever in MLB history. Most mainstream media outlets took a “new school vs. old school” spin on the situation, due to Cabrera being a rare “triple crown” winner. Trout took top honours in many of the more “new-fangled” statistics – as many of the members of the BBWAA would put it – such as the big, scary WAR. Trout was also unquestionably better defensively than Cabrera and played the first month of the season in AAA, but the triple crown turned out to be too much to overcome. Miguel Cabrera is your 2012 American League MVP.

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