My weekly observations about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
With the acquisition of knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has acquired the 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner (Dickey), the player with the NL’s highest batting average in 2012 (Melky Cabrera, .346) and the 2011 NL batting champion (Jose Reyes, .337) this off-season. Not bad at all.
A throw-in in the Dickey deal, Vancouver-born catcher Mike Nickeas will likely start the season with the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, but if he’s promoted during the season, he’ll become the 19th Canadian to don the Jays’ uniform and the first Canuck catcher.
My poor, fellow baseball-loving friends have heard me rant far too frequently about why former Montreal Expo Tim Raines should be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Rather than listen to me, please visit this site: http://raines30.com/ and decide for yourself.
There was good news and bad news on the Toronto Blue Jays broadcasting front last week. First, the good news: Jerry Howarth is a very worthy winner of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Jack Graney Award. The bad news is that he may be losing his broadcast partner, Alan Ashby, who’s rumored to be close to landing a gig in the booth with the Houston Astros.
Former Blue Jay and North Vancouver, B.C., native Scott Richmond has signed a one-year, $600,000 deal with the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization. The 33-year-old right-hander, who pitched parts of four seasons for the Jays, won’t be available to pitch for Canada in the World Baseball Classic.
The Blue Jays quietly signed former Montreal Expos hurler Claudio Vargas to a minor league deal last week. The six-foot-four, 235-pound right-hander hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2010, but if he does crack the Blue Jays relief corps, he’ll become the 56th player to suit up for both the Expos and Blue Jays.
Raines day will come for both Hall’s of Fame!
It would be great to have Mike Nickeas as the backup catcher in the big leagues.
Must not be too many Expo players still around.
Thanks, Scott. Yes, I hope Raines gets into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame soon, too.
From Devon Teeple:
More great information Kevin!
Talk about a hell of a off-season for AA.
All the best over the holidays!
Thanks, Devon. All the best to you over the holidays as well.
Even though he is Vancouver born, Nickeas is not really Canadian. His father was a soccer player for the Whitecaps, he grew up in New Jersey and internationally has already represented the U.S. and Great Britain.
Yes, I hear what you’re saying, Matt. Probably the same type of argument could be made for Jesse Crain. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!