My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories:
Congratulations to Joey Votto on being named the recipient of the Lou Marsh Award, as Canada’s top athlete. I’m still sour that Larry Walker didn’t win this trophy in 1997, when he put together one of the best seasons in big league history. I remember writing a scathing letter to the editor that was published in the London Free Press that year that criticized the choice of race car driver Jacques Villeneuve. I contended that a race car driver was not an athlete. My letter received some spirited responses. I still think Walker should’ve won, but the race fans who responded to my letter were right. I was ignorant about the athleticism involved in maneuvering a car around a track at such high speeds. Those fans convinced me that race car drivers are, indeed, athletes.
I’ve only met Russell Martin twice, but I could’ve predicted the charismatic, fun-loving Canadian catcher would sign with the Yankees. He just seems like a New York kind of guy.
New Brunswick native Matt Stairs has inked a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals. Stairs began his big league career with the Montreal Expos in 1992. If the stocky slugger cracks the Nats roster, it will be his record-breaking 13th different major league team (12th organization).
Good thing I’m not a betting man: I was fairly confident that Victoria, B.C. native Rich Harden would be pitching in Seattle in 2011. Now Troy Renck of the Denver Post is reporting that the injury-prone right-hander is close to a deal with the team he started his big league career with – the Oakland A’s.
Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is charming and energetic, but his policy of remaining tight-lipped about transactions can be frustrating. It’s good to know, however, that he’s not willing to trade Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider for Zack Greinke.
Let’s put our trust in Anthopoulos for a second and pretend that he’s planning to add a first baseman, a closer and a few other bullpen arms. If he does this – and this is admittedly a big if – the Jays could contend for second place in the American League East in 2011. Think about it: the Red Sox – with the addition of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez – have to be considered the front-runners. Outside of C.C. Sabathia, the Yankees’ starting pitching is a mess and the Rays have lost Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and Joaquin Benoit and are also likely to be without Grant Balfour, Rafael Soriano and Jason Bartlett when the 2011 season begins. In my view, second place and a wild card spot are there for the taking.
It’s looking less likely that Toronto native Jesse Crain will be the next closer for the Blue Jays. ESPN Boston’s Gordon Eedes reports that the Red Sox are going hard after the Canadian right-hander. The Jays won’t win a bidding war with the Bosox.
My dad, Ralph Glew, has once again graciously offered to sell some professionally graded Toronto Blue Jays cards on eBay to raise some money to help pay for some of the administrative costs of keeping this blog going. He is offering rookie cards of some of the greatest players in Jays history, including Dave Stieb, Carlos Delgado and Tony Fernandez. Please visit his auctions here and bid often: http://shop.ebay.com/bluejay040777/m.html