Curtis Granderson signing gives Blue Jays depth, ability to add more16.01.2018.
More importantly, it doesn’t preclude GM Ross Atkins from further additions and the club is believed to still be looking to another outfielder to a group that includes Kevin Pillar, Steve Pearce, Ezequiel Carrera and Teoscar Hernandez, who could also open the season at triple-A Buffalo.
The Blue Jays’ guarantees for 2018 are now up to either $146.5 million or $147.4 million, depending on whether an arbitrator rules for or against the club when it faces off versus Marcus Stroman and Roberto Osuna. Once the salaries for 0-3 service time players are factored in, they would have an estimated $15 million to spend on a payroll of $165 million.
Besides another outfielder, the Blue Jays want to beef up their starting pitching depth and add a reliever or two, as well, likely of the inexpensive, value-play variety.
How the roster puzzle shakes out right now is unclear, although as things stand and assuming health, the Blue Jays could feature Russ Martin, Justin Smoak, Devon Travis, Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson in the infield, Pearce, Pillar and Granderson in the outfield, Kendrys Morales at DH, with Solarte, Diaz, Carrera and Luke Maile on the bench.
Whether there’s enough bounce back there to upgrade the AL’s least productive offence in 2017 is open to debate, and something to keep an eye on is what happens with Pearce and Morales, since keeping both on the roster creates a bit of a logjam.
Another concern is that Granderson will play next year at 37 and is coming off a 36-game stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers to end the 2017 campaign in which he slashed just .161/.288/.366 with 33 strikeouts in 132 plate appearances.
Still, for the season, he posted a combined .775 OPS, hit 26 homers and walked 71 times in 527 plate appearances over 147 games with the New York Mets and Dodgers, and is known for being a very good teammate.
Granderson plays all three outfield spots, as well, providing coverage across the outfield and buying time for the Blue Jays to let Hernandez and fellow prospects Anthony Alford, Dalton Pompey and Dwight Smith Jr., develop at triple-A Buffalo, should they so choose.
That’s a significant difference from this past season, when the Blue Jays sent 25 different players to the disabled list 31 times and often scrambled to simply cover themselves in games. They ran through 60 different players – 50 per cent more than an entire 40-man roster – underlining how they were forced to make things up as they went along.
Insulation is good, but there’s a need to add some impact, as well, especially for a team seeking to rebound from a dismal 76-86 campaign. The Blue Jays look like they’ll start the 2018 season on a sturdier foundation, and have both the resources and opportunity to add more style to their substance.
Home Field Advantage For Brewers-Rockies Series Decided By Predetermined Schedule
In a total disregard of the records of each ballclub, as well as wins and losses in head-to-head competition, Major League Baseball will determine home field advantage for an upcoming series between the Brewers and Rockies based on a scheduled that was drafted several months ago, and will play all 4 games at Colorado's Coors Field.
"Home field advantage should be given to the team with the best record, aka the best softball bats - as reviewed here—it shouldn't be decided randomly around a table in some conference room five or six months in advance," said Kyle Platz, a longtime Brewers fan from Poinette, Wisconsin. "Not only does that diminish everything the Brewers have accomplished so far, but to play each and every game in Denver—without even a chance of going back to Milwaukee—is unjustifiable. Home field advantage because it's the Rockies turn? Next (Major League Baseball) will probably stop keeping score as if the players were five-year-olds so they don't hurt anybody's feelings."
An MLB spokesman says they plan on experimenting with other criteria to more fairly determine home field advantage in the future, including best looking uniform, newest stadium, biggest stadium, and city that has the best Mexican restaurants.
Amid reports they've been cheating during a number of home games at Rogers Centre, GM Alex Anthopoulos, manager John Farrell and other Blue Jays officials outright deny that the hidden cameras strategically placed all over the stadium are being used to steal signs.
"The series of tiny, nearly undetectable, high resolution hidden cameras in Rogers Centre in no way indicate that we are attempting to steal the opponent's signs," said Anthopoulos, insisting that most major league ballparks have hidden cameras pointed toward the field of play for security reasons. "We want to keep Rogers Centre as safe as possible. It's not our fault the areas most vulnerable to a security breach include the opposing catcher just as he is giving the pitcher signs, the 3rd base fastpitch bat (most favorite) and the visiting dugout—especially where the other team's manager is sitting."
If the Blue Jays happen to learn another team's signs from seeing them repeatedly on hidden cameras used only as a safety measure, it is merely a coincidence, says manager John Farrell.
"So what if our security staff learned (Red Sox manager) Terry Francona touching the bill of his cap, his ear, his cap again, and then is nose is indicating a hit and run, and passed that information along to me. If some psycho runs out of the stands and attacks him, we can catch the dirtbag on film."
The secret microphones in the visiting dugout, clubhouse and manager's office, as well as the bed bullpen phone are not used by the Blue Jays to gain any type of competitive advantage either, Farrell added.
Man Snags Foul Ball By Alertly Dropping Baby
Kyle Gilmont, 30, from Tucker, Georgia was able to catch a foul pop at the Braves-Cubs game on Friday night when he alertly let go of Parker, his 9-month old son, in order to give himself a better chance to get his hand on the ball.
"When I saw the ball off the bat, I knew it was coming right at me, but I'd have no chance at it if I was still holding onto the little guy," said Gilmont of his 20-pound son, who was severely cutting down on his opportunity to "make a play". "So I let my first born fall as gently as possible down to the Turner Field concrete beneath the seats, leaned as far as I could to the right, stretched over a couple people and made the catch. Not many fathers and sons can share a moment like this—catching a foul ball with Parker at the game is something I'll treasure forever."
In the excitement of hauling in a foul ball at a Major League game, thanks to his expensive BBCOR bats, Gilmont forgot to immediately check on his son to determine if he had suffered any injuries, and instead was bragging to everyone in his section that he didn't spill a drop of his beer.
Cubs players, coaches, management and fans celebrated a monumental achievement for the franchise on Saturday, when a first inning double by shortstop Starlin Castro gave the team its 3000th hit since it began play as the Chicago White Stockings in 1876.
"There is so much joy with this moment, but there is some relief too," said Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, who thinks his club may have been pressing for 90 or 95 years in pursuit of that elusive 3000th hit. "Now that we got that (hit) out of the way, we can get back to playing the championship level USA baseball our fans became accustomed to in the early 1900s."
The game was stopped for several minutes as Castro was mobbed near second base by his teammates amidst a raucous ovation as fireworks were set off into the Chicago sky.
"It's a dream come true to do this in front of the home fans," said Castro, getting showered with champagne during a postgame celebration, still grinning from ear to ear. "I never would have imagined that I'd get the Cubs 3,000th hit in only their 135th year of existence."
With Castro's double, the Cubs join a select 3000 hit list that already includes 29 other team Major League Baseball teams, as well as 28 individual players that accomplished the feat all by themselves.