My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories:
All this talk about John Buck striking it rich on the free-agent market with a multi-year deal seems far-fetched. Sure, the Jays catcher hit 20 homers this year, but he’s a .243 career hitter who’s average defensively. I appreciate that he had a good season with the Jays in 2010, but I’ll be surprised if anyone offers him more than a two-year deal.
We’ll find out today, but my guess is that the Jays will decline Kevin Gregg’s $4.5 million option for 2011. Yes, he had 37 saves this season, but he walked far too many hitters and boasted a 7.90 ERA on the second day when asked to pitch on back-to-back days. In my view, Jeremy Accardo, currently miffed at Jays management, is as good as Gregg, with a smaller price tag.
I was saddened to learn that Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson is now in a hospice due to “complications from dementia.” Watching the legendary manager interact with fans at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007 has been one of the highlights of my tenure at the museum. Anderson arrived at the museum the day before his induction and promptly began shaking hands with the guests. The visitors that day were absolutely thrilled.
The Colorado Rockies declined Jeff Francis’s $7-million contract option for 2011, making him a free agent for the first time. Hampered by injuries in recent years, Francis may still be retained by the Rockies on an incentive-laden deal.
One Canadian connection that I failed to point out during the World Series is that Texas bench coach and baseball lifer, Jackie Moore, had coached previously for both the Toronto Blue Jays (1977 to 1979) and Montreal Expos (1987 to 1999).
Here’s hoping the Jays re-sign Canadian Shawn Hill, who’s arbitration eligible, for next season. The Georgetown, Ont., native would make an excellent middle reliever for the club. He’s also one of only two Canadians to register a win for both the Expos and the Blue Jays. The other is Denis Boucher.
I remember that glorious induction day in 2007 as well. It was Vintage Sparky. “My dad was a painter, not the Van Gogh type, he painted houses.” He gave the funniest radio,and tv interviews I’ve ever seen in Detroit because he always had fun with the journalists. On that day in 2007 I got a photo with him that is on my desk today. He is in my thoughts and prayers
Also feel the same about Sparky. We must remember him as he once was. We all need to appreciate the here and now because one never knows what is in store for us.
Surprised and saddened to hear about Sparky Anderson. Not that it should ever happen to anyone, but he’s only 76.
Your way of delivering fact and opinion — including the bad news — is always appreciated, Kevin.
From Devon Teeple:
Very enjoyable article Kevin,
Sad to learn of the passing of mr. Sparky Anderson. He is truly one of the greats.
Regarding Jeff Francis, I find it very difficult for him to continue making the money he is accustomed to. Like you said the contract might be heavy on bonuses.
Shawn Hill has the stuff. He has ever since 2004 when he shutout Cuba for 6 innings in the Olympics while needing Tommy John! If he can stay healthy he could be a number 3 starter for the Jays.