My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories:
The last team I would’ve expected to throw $18 million at John Buck was the Florida Marlins. I was wrong in an earlier column when I stated that no one would offer him more than a two-year deal. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the season Buck had for the Jays in 2010, but he’s a career .243 hitter, who’s a tad above average defensively. The Marlins dramatically overpaid for his services.
Thank goodness the Jays didn’t acquire Dan Uggla. The last thing the Jays need is another all-or-nothing power hitter, and from the reports I’ve heard, Uggla’s fielding would’ve made Jays fans long for Edwin Encarnacion.
I wonder if Tom Henke, Duane Ward and Mark Eichhorn might consider coming out of retirement? With Scott Downs, Kevin Gregg and Jason Frasor potentially leaving, Alex Anthopoulos’s biggest off-season task is to re-shape the bullpen. I’m not convinced, however, that a team will be willing to ante up two compensatory picks for Frasor. The veteran right-hander may end up accepting an arbitration offer from the Jays.
Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers are debating whether or not to offer arbitration to Canadian catcher Russell Martin. Coming off a hip injury that limited him to 97 games in 2010, Martin hopes to regain the form that made him an all-star in 2007 and 2008. The Dodgers are also concerned about the drop-off in the East York, Ont., native’s offensive numbers over the past three seasons. Martin made just over $5 million last season and if the Dodgers offer him arbitration, he’ll likely receive a small raise.
I’m not sure what more Canadian Shawn Hill could’ve done for the Jays this season to earn a contract with the club in 2011. In four starts with the Jays, he recorded a 2.61 ERA. The Georgetown, Ont., native was also 6-2 with a 1.61 ERA in 11 minor league starts. At the very least, he would’ve made a nice, middle reliever for Toronto. He was released by the Jays on November 15.
The more I read and hear about Roberto Alomar, the more I hope he isn’t the first player to enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame wearing a Blue Jays cap. Plenty of additional disturbing information is included in this ESPN article written by Mike Fish: http://is.gd/hiHOa
Adam Morrissette, from Baseball Canada, shared in a press release that Stevensville, Ont., native Nick Weglarz is ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization. Though his season was cut short by a thumb injury at the end of July, Weglarz, who will turn 23 in December, hit a combined .285 with 13 home runs and a .390 on-base percentage between stints in Double-A and Triple-A.