My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
If I’m Paul Beeston, who represents a powerful voice on the Major League Baseball competition committee, I’m pushing for divisional realignment. If the Jays were in the American League Central, they’d be two games out of first place. But in the ultra-competitive American League East, they sit fourth, 12 games behind the division-leading Red Sox.
Yes, Colby Rasmus has gone 0 for 12 to start his tenure with the Blue Jays, but acquiring the five-tool, 24-year-old without parting with a core young player or a high-ceiling prospect is another excellent move by Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos. On top of his 30-homer, 30-stolen base potential, Rasmus is also a fine defensive centre fielder. Something you couldn’t say about Corey Patterson and Rajai Davis.
And for the record, right-hander Zach Stewart was no longer considered a high-end prospect. With a 4.20 ERA in Double-A New Hampshire this season, he had taken a step back in his development and his stock dropped considerably. Most scouts project him to be a fourth starter.
I was sad to hear about Hideki Irabu, who committed suicide in his California home this week. Most remember the former Japanese phenom for his controversial tenure with the Yankees, but he also made 14 starts for the Montreal Expos in 2000 and 2001.
The Oakland A’s almost swapped Rich Harden (Victoria, B.C.) to the Red Sox yesterday, but the deal fell through when the Bosox examined his medical records. The Canuck right-hander, whose career has been riddled with injuries, missed the first three months of this season with a strained lat muscle, but is 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA in five starts since his return.
Another injury-prone Canadian, Erik Bedard (Navan, Ont.), is also rumored to be on the trading block. Interest in the Mariners lefty cooled, however, after he was shelled for five earned runs in 1-1/3 innings in his start against Tampa on Friday. It was his first appearance after missing over a month with a strained knee. The Red Sox, Cardinals and Yankees all are reported to have some interest in Bedard.
MLB Trade Rumors also reports that Jeff Francis (Vancouver, B.C.), another Canadian southpaw, is drawing some interest on the trade market. Despite a dismal 4-11 record this season, he owns a respectable 4.38 ERA in 22 starts for the Royals.
Canadian legend Matt Stairs (Fredricton, N.B.) was designated for assignment by the Washington Nationals on July 26. This appears to be the end of a storied 19-year big league career for Stairs, who belted the second-most home runs (265) by a Canadian. He also owns the big league record for most career pinch hit homers (23). If this it for Stairs, they can start shining up a plaque for him at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys. His first year of eligibility for the Canadian shrine will be 2015.