My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories:
I’m not writing this to bash Derek Jeter, but those of us who follow the Toronto Blue Jays know that John McDonald is the best fielding shortstop in the American League.
If reports that the Padres will listen to offers for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and closer Heath Bell are true, then I hope Alex Anthopoulos is on the phone to San Diego GM Jed Hoyer. Two of the Jays’ most pressing off-season needs are a first baseman and a closer.
I’m sick to death of listening to Blue Jays fans describe Frank Thomas’s tenure in Toronto as a complete bust. People forget that in The Big Hurt’s first season with the club, he hit 26 homers, knocked in 95 runs and owned a .377 on-base percentage – all of which led the Jays. He had 11 RBIs in 16 games in 2008 before the Jays released him. I’ve never been more disgusted with Jays fans than I was in Spring Training 2008 when Thomas was booed relentlessly, yet when he left the Spring Training games in the fifth inning (as is customary for regulars), fans would run down to ask him for his autograph. The hypocrisy was stunning. Despite the cat-calls from the stands, Thomas obliged autograph seekers, signing longer than any other Jay. As far as I’m concerned, Jays fans missed a chance to embrace a legend. When baseball pundits reflect on the steroid era, Thomas, the only player who agreed to be interviewed for The Mitchell Report, will be remembered as one of the top players. In my book, he’s a surefire, first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Aside from his 54 homers in 2010, the remarkable thing about Jose Bautista is that if the Jays had left him in right field for the entire season, he might have won a Gold Glove. He is that good defensively.
Has there ever been a better ambassador for the Blue Jays than Pat Hentgen? This man will do wonders for the young pitchers as the Jays new bullpen coach in 2011.
I was happy to read that former Jays GM Pat Gillick and former Expos Al Oliver and Rusty Staub will be considered for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the veterans committee that is looking at expansion era candidates.
Sad to hear about the passing of longtime Yankees executive and George Steinbrenner confidant Clyde King. King also pitched for the Montreal Royals from 1948 to 1950. He won 17 games for the club in 1949.