My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
Look on the bright side Blue Jays fans: The Rangers may have outbid Toronto for Yu Darvish, but the Jays outbid Texas for 41-year-old left-handed reliever Darren Oliver (sarcasm intended).
The Washington Nationals’ decision to deal four top prospects to Oakland for the wild but effective Gio Gonzalez evokes memories of the Expos’ deal for Bartolo Colon on June 27, 2002. To land the portly ace, the Expos parted with three top prospects named Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips.
Interesting stat of the week: Former Jay Reed Johnson was hit by a pitch (11) more than twice as many times as he walked (5) in 2011 while with the Cubs.
Until I read that Jack Morris’s career WAR (a statistic that measures how many wins a player adds above what a Triple-A replacement player at their position would contribute) was lower than former Twins starter Brad Radke, I believed the longtime Tigers ace should be in the Hall of Fame. Now I’m not so sure.
There was no finer man in Canadian baseball circles than Randy Echlin who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer on August 12. It’s a nice gesture that the Canadian Baseball Network has decided to name their annual award for the top Canadian minor league hitter after the former judge. Brett Lawrie (Langley, B.C.) and Taylor Green (Comox, B.C.) were named co-winners of this year’s award.
Toronto Sun reporter Mike Zeisberger wrote a nice tribute to Bob Elliott, after Elliott was named the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s J.G. Spink Award recipient for 2012. In the tribute, Zeisberger includes an interesting tidbit about the Blue Jays’ 1993 trade deadline activity. Prior to officially acquiring Rickey Henderson from the A’s, Blue Jays GM Pat Gillick had also worked out a deal with the Mariners for Randy Johnson. Gillick backed off on the Johnson deal when the Henderson swap was finalized, but it’s still fun to imagine The Big Unit pitching in Toronto.
I know, imagine Randy with the Jays! Think we would have signed him longterm!?!?
Reed Johnson hit .300 AGAIN last year. Good thing we kept Shannon Stewart!
I was hoping the Jays would add Johnson this off-season. I know they have too many outfielders, but they need a decent bat off the bench. I think Johnson could have provided that. Thanks for the comment, Scott.
Honestly, Johnson’s numbers are always bizarre. He’s one of those guys people just think is a hard-noser, diving for balls, etc. But the man can hit. But in fairness, Stewart was a hitting machine at times. But my favourite (of these types of hitters)? Frank Catalanotto hands down.
From Devon Teeple:
The Jays are contenders, they got Oliver!!
Morris in the Hall doesn’t make much sense, he was the best of the 80’s but his numbers aren’t up to par with other Hall inductees. You’ll read it soon, but perhaps he was a in a decade where the pitching wasn’t that good.
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Morris’s 3.90 ERA is ugly, but his three World Series rings are impressive. I used to be wowed by his win total until I did some more reading about how win totals can be deceptive. Thanks for the comment.
Speaking of 80’s pitchers, you had a type that you don’t really see as much nowadays. The tall righthanded inning-eater who was good but not great, but not terrible either. They’d start 36 times year after year, have records like 17-12, then 14-15, then 13-15 and so on. Their name was Jim Clancy, Mike Smithson, Kevin Gross, Bob Forsch, Rick Rhoden, Bill Gullickson etc. The 80’s were full of those pitchers.
Then there were the Saberhagens, Stiebs and Welches who would have great years followed by indifferent years. People like Lamarr Hoyt and John Denny were winning Cy Youngs. Yet compare it to the late 90’s hitting explosion when ERA’s went back to 1930 levels.But then the best of the star pitchers were phenomenal, Johnson, Maddux, Glavine, Pedro etc.
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