My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories:
For years I’ve been hearing that former Blue Jay Orlando Hudson is a great teammate. If that’s the case, why does he switch teams so often? And why can’t he land a lucrative, long-term deal?
A good sign for the Toronto Blue Jays: The Yankees are desperate enough to pursue the injury-prone Freddy Garcia (4.64 ERA for White Sox last season) for their starting rotation.
If three-years and $13 million is all it took to sign Toronto-born reliever Jesse Crain, I’m not sure why the Jays couldn’t have anted up for the hard-throwing righty. The price tag seems reasonable for a pitcher who could’ve been the Jays closer.
With that said about Crain, I do like Carlos Villanueva’s 2010 strikeout totals. Acquired quietly by the Jays from the Brewers this off-season, the 27-year-old right-hander fanned 67 batters in just 52-2/3 innings this past season. It was by far the best strikeout-to-innings-pitched ratio of his career. Villanueva could be a candidate to close for the Jays in 2011.
With that said about Villanueva, reports indicate that Kansas City Royals closer Joakim Soria is available. I’d like to see the Jays make a run at the 26-year-old closer, who recorded 43 saves in 2010 and will make less than $3 million in 2011. Soria has been one of the most reliable closers in baseball over the past four seasons.
With that said about Soria, I still don’t understand why the Jays didn’t take a flyer on Victoria, B.C. native Rich Harden, who officially signed with the Oakland A’s yesterday. The deal was reportedly a one-year contract for $1.5 million, plus incentives, a pittance for a pitcher who I believe could be the next Kerry Wood or John Smoltz.
I’m one of the select few who’s happy that the Jays re-signed Edwin Encarnacion. He took a pay cut to return to the Jays and I like the idea of him being spot-started at DH and first base. I still don’t understand why Encarnacion (21 homers in 332 at bats last season) was so roundly criticized for his lack of hustle last season, while Lyle Overbay (20 homers in 534 at bats), who rarely ran out ground balls, remained a fan favourite.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting that Canadian left-hander Jeff Francis is drawing interest from the Mets, Nationals, Pirates, Rangers and Yankees.
My dad, Ralph Glew, has once again graciously offered to sell some professionally graded Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos cards on eBay to raise some money to help pay for some of the administrative costs of keeping this blog going. This week he is offering rookie cards of Larry Walker, Matt Stairs, Aaron Hill and John Olerud. Please visit his auctions here and bid often: http://shop.ebay.com/bluejay040777/m.html
Great information and well-written, as always. Happy holidays, Kevin.