Tagged: Cliff Lee

Roy Halladay is no longer a Blue Jay

My favorite player is now (not yet officially) a Phillie.  I’ve been preparing myself for this.  Now, I’m not going to do what everybody thinks that I am going to do … “AND JUST FLIP OUT” on this blog.  All I want to know is ‘who is coming to the Jays?’   Who is coming? 

Apparently, the Jays will be able to land prospects from both the Mariners and the Phillies in the three-way-deal.  The Mariners get LHP Cliff Lee from the Phillies, making up for the injury ‘bust’ that was LHP Erik Bedard.  Lee and King Felix should give the Mariners a pretty awesome rotation going into 2010.  

The names being thrown around are Phillipe Aumont (Canadian pitching prospect), Michael Taylor (a Top 50 minor league prospect) and some catcher that I’ve never heard of before Travis d’Arnaud (a very young catcher that spend last season in A-ball).  Though, we might not get any of these guys as nothing yet has been confirmed!  So don’t take my word on it all yet!

*UPDATE:  The players mentioned my not, in fact, be the players that are confirmed in the deal.  These guys have just been thrown out there.*  Strike everything I said about Aumont!  Apparently, a much better pitching prospect named Kyle Drabek is in the deal??  I’ve striked-out Aumont!  Taylor and Drabek in a deal for Halladay is more of what I expected would have come our way.     

Michael Taylor is 3-4 years older than Aumont, and d’Arnaud.  Despite this, he was selected in the same draft as both of them.  Funny how the draft can work out that way.  d’Arnaud and Aumont
were both first round picks, where Taylor was picked in the fifth
round.  What does that tell you?  That Aumont and d’Arnaud are probably
more intriging prospects right?  That is absolutely NOT the case! 
Taylor found his stride much earlier, hitting .330 and above, in both
single and double A ball the last two years.  Taylor got a whiff at AAA in the International League last season, and didn’t fair bad hitting .282 in 110 ABs.  Taylor hasn’t shown
outstanding power in the minors, however, he seems to be a dynamic
hitter that can also contribute with a high .On-Base Percentage.  MILB
ranks Taylor #20 overall for prospects currently in the minors.  He is
pretty much the ‘center-piece’ prospect in this deal, in my opinion.  The other two are more mid-level guys that might pan out.  Six foot six inches tall, Taylor looks to have the skills to play in the bigs.  If he doesn’t, man does he have a lot to live up to!!!!  The question with aquiring Taylor is are we getting the right guy?  Ranked #24 in the minors is another Philadelphia outfield prospect named Dominic Brown.  Current reports say the Jays could acquire either of them, whichever they prefer?  Brown is a younger player that might develop more fruitful than Taylor? 

Kyle Drabek is a young man that the Jays have coveted from the Phillies ever since the trade rumours started.  I know that he had an unbelievable season last year playing for AA Reading.  Drabek combined a 12-3 record with a 3.19 ERA between mid-A and AA ball (the majority of which was played in Reading).  He was the 18th overall pick in the 2006 Draft.  Minor League Baseball has him listed as the #26 prospect currently in the minors.  If he was only one spot lower, I could say the Jays got two players in the Top 25.  Darn!  Oh well, I’m happy the Jays got him because he does seem promising, and he was the front office’s ‘man’ throughout this whole thing!           

When I first saw Aumont pitch in the World Baseball Classic for Team Canada, I was very impressed with his arm.  The young man, who was an 11th overall selection in the 2007 draft, has MLB heat!  What he didn’t have, in my opinion, was great command.  He is still a young guy, but from what I saw, the command was very poor.  Command issues probably factored into Seattle converting Aumont into a minor-league-reliever for 2009.  I fear Aumont may only be catorgorized as a pitcher with ‘closer-potential.’  Not the worst thing, but not nearly as great as the expectations that were layed on him being #11 pick.  Regardless, the Jays get a strong arm, in Aumont, that can grow in the system.  If he is the one included in the deal? lol!  Too early to call at this point!

As I said earlier, I hadn’t read or heard about Travis d’Arnaud until today.  He was a first-round pick, so the Phillies must have seen something in him to pick him that high.  d’Arnaud had an average year in A-Ball last season, but did very well in (SS) short season ball.  Young catching prospect, but nothing to get crazy about at this point.

My Favorite All-Time Blue Jay is Roy Halladay   

So, I didn’t really flip out, or make this post unbearably depressing for both me and you.  I also didn’t mess up, using the name **** Erectus again.  That is good.

From here on, I willing be cheering for a team that I respect much less than before.  For me, Halladay gave the Jays an identity.  We had a dominant ‘ace’ that in years from now could easily be considered a ‘Hall of Famer’ in my opinion.  He was the envy of many teams, players and coaches.  For a team that has been struggling since 1993, it was a lone joy rooting for Halladay as he pitched, and watching win in ‘big games’ time and again.  He is truly a master on the mound.  His presence … regal.    

I envy the Phillies right now, because ‘the man’ (Halladay) is going to absolutely pulversive and obliterate National League hitters. 

I will end with a glimpse back to all the Photoshop work I’ve done on Roy Halladay over the years.

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‘The Cito Effect’ in Full Effect

The Blue Jays have gotten out to an amazing start this season on the backs of a strong and surprising offensive output.  Adam Lind leads the league in RBI’s at this point, and the Jays have hit the most homeruns in the majors to this point.  Who would have thunked it???  Go Blue Jays!  I’m a homer, I’ll admit it! 

The pitching has, for most part, been solid behind a stellar bullpen.  With the exception of Brandon League and B.J. Ryan, the other notables in the pen (i.e. Scott Downs, Jesse Carleson, Brian Tallet and Jason Frasor) have picked up where they left off last season as one of the best pen’s in the league.  The starting pitching has surprising held their own despite some very high doubts coming into the season.  Newcomers Ricky Romero and Scott Richmond both got wins in their starts, and Roy Halladay has started the season 2-0, with a win over 2008 questionable Cy Young choice Cliff Lee in Cleveland the other night. 

Going into the opening week series against Detroit I got to opportunity to meet one of the better bloggers on MLB.  The famous ‘Happy Youngster,’ a guy that has made somewhat of a name for himself catching balls in Milwaukee.  He got 5 balls in Toronto, as the empty batting practice crowd gave him many opporitunities. 

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I wore my Paul Molitor Brewers jersey to honour a great Brewer/Blue Jay that spent so many years in Milwaukee and had a couple very valuable years in Toronto for a Blue Jay World Championship team in 1993. 

After the game, me, Happy and my friend Charles took to Alice Fazooli’s (a nice restaurant near the Rogers Centre) on Adelaide Street in Toronto.  (Bam!  I want money!)  We had a good time talking baseball, among other things.  The highlights of the conversation included: border security, Teddy Higuera, the future fantasy value of Alicdes Escobar, Molitor and baseball’s caught during games.  Charles showed his amazing baseball knowledge, and shared his story about the only time he got a ball at game.  It was such a big moment for him; however, he unfortunately was obligated to give the ball he caught to a young man sitting near him.  That is just one of those moments where you have to ‘suck it up.’  I’m sure he will get another one.  My first ball was a foul ball hit off catcher Joe Oliver’s (then a Brewer) bat, pitched by Cleveland Indian Denis ‘El Presidente’ Martinez on a trip me and my dad took to Cleveland.  I’ll never forget it, as there was a man next to me resentful that I caught it because he said he’d been going to Indian games for years and never a had a shot at catching a ball.

Other than that, the Blue Jays played absolutely amazing in the first two games of the season.  Both games I was in attendence.  Here are some photo highlights of those games.

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Although Halladay didn’t pitch particularly well on Opening Day, he did get himself a win.  Thus, here I am pointing to my Halladay jersey indicating that indeed – he is the man!!

 

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I find it amusing that between pitching changes out three outfielders Vernon Wells, Travis Snider and Alex Rios observe the crowd.  They try to get some amusment over a long and somewhat boring pitching change I guess. 

 
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You’ll notice in the corner of the outfield a bunch of paper airplanes.  Opening day saw a lot those thrown on the field as usual, but a new one came out that I’ve never seen before: BASEBALLS!  Some very disrespectful dummies through baseballs onto the field and almost caused the Jays to forfeit the game.  They almost ruined my entire trip in the process.  Sometimes those Toronto fans, if you can even call them fans, get on my nerves.  Jim Leyland took his team off the field.  You can’t blame him at all for doing it.  You also can’t blame team President Paul Beeston for banning beer sales at the last game.  It is just a very bad situation if you are a Jays fan.  I hope this kind of thing stops, it makes me embarrassed.               

This is How We Chill! From 2003 Till ….

Too much school right now!  I’ve been writing essays about boring stuff, instead of blogging lately!  It is actually hard for me to determine what is more productive?  If I write this essay, I can get a degree?  If I post on this blog, I will be happy?  I wish baseball blogging, or writing, was a University program, lol!!  Here is a taste of what I’ve been doing.  CAUTION:  You might burst into a deep sleep upon reading!

This paper will examine the explanations put forth for the overall lack of unionism and lack of workplace human rights in East Asia.  The lack of unionism in the region, with regard to degradation of human rights in the workplace, draws on one distinct explanation.  This explanation focuses on the organized tactics of spatial labour control that seeks to manipulate organizing threats of migrant workers in East Asia.  The topics that will be studied, pertaining to this explanation, include migration, labour’s lack of political inclusion, the structural spatial control of labour, and the physical space that is manipulated by East Asian corporate elites.  The idea of organized spatial control presented by Philip Kelly includes the following to explain crucial labour topics that contribute to the overall manipulation of human security in the workforce: 

constructing the individual as an autonomous unit of negotiation; constructing the workplace as a container for dispute resolution; establishing the industrial estate as a denationalized and desocialized space; constructing spaces of national sovereignty and imagined national/ethnic community; and, the distancing of homeplace from workplace through the use of migrant workforces.[1]

Enough of that!!!!  Back to baseball!!

In this post, I wanted to dissect every MLB teams ‘staples,’ briefly since 2003.  A ‘staple’, as known by many who take global political economy, is a single product that defines the economic standing of a region/country of the world.  For instance, the ‘old south’ of the United States had ‘cotton’ as their staple, the Maritimes of Canada has ‘fish’, and Japan has ‘electronics’.  I compare this to players on current MLB teams.

Many teams have the same type of ‘staples,’ as players in their organzation.  Although in past years, these players might not be the best players on their teams.  In my opinion, many of them can be percieved to be accountable for a club’s success or failure.

So lets take it back, and look at the players that have stuck with their clubs since 2003 until recently!

Starting with … surprise! surprise!

Toronto Blue Jays 2003 – Roy Halladay, Alex Rios and Vernon Wells

Almost no other team is as relevant to the 2003 ‘staple’ theory than the Blue Jays.  The success of the Jays hinges on these players.  The BIG word regarding them however is …  INJURIES!!!  It is hard to argue that these three players are NOT a strong nucleus to build a team around.  Many will argee that these past years have seen the Jays go through a lot of bad luck with injuries, specifically regarding these staples!  In 2005, Halladay was anchoring the Jays to a serious wild card run when Kevin (flippin) Mench smacked a ball of Halladay’s ankle ruining that year.  Halladay has also had some arm trouble in past years.  As far as Vernon Wells, I ask what year hasn’t he cause instability in the Jays lineup because of injury?  He simply is our only legitimate threat in the lineup, and he is often either on the DL, or playing not because of injury.  The Alex Rios project has seen it’s share of inconsistancies.  The talent is there, but for some reason, you get the feeling we haven’t seen fully what he can do in a year.  He can look like he is going to hit 40 HR’s then not hit one for 2 months?  So case and point, the Jays have gone as these staples have gone.  Very inconsistant, because of injury and what have you.  Characteristics of a slightly better than mediocre team, which is what they have shown since 2003.  Too much rambling on the Jays, sorry I couldn’t help it they are my team. 

Boston Red Sox 2003 – Jason Varitek, Manny Ramirez and Tim Wakefield

Ortiz did not start the 2003 season with Boston, but he was definately an early turning point for the team that won in 2004.  Manny and Ortiz are what made Boston so strong!  They are staples in themselves, instilling fear in the middle of that order.  Without them, no 2 World Series would have been won.  I would argue that life without Manny will be different for Boston, however, they are in the process creating their own ‘staples’ now with Pedoria and Youkilus.  Varitek and Wakefield have been steady contributors.  They give the team an identity.  Varitek has arguably been the best catcher in baseball from a leadership perspective, and Wakefield might not get amazing numbers, but having him in the rotation is always something that teams and hitters have to prepare for.  These staples have made Boston achieve great success since 2003.  Tek and Wakefield will continue to do this, as Boston transitions out of the Manny/Ortiz (might be showing decline with injury) years.

Chicago White Sox 2003 – Paul Konerko, Joe Crede and Mark Buehrle

I’ll try to make this shorter.  CWS won the World Series in 2005.  They did it with great pitching that year (particularly from Buehrle).  They also did it with hitting the long ball!  Konerko and Crede definately exemplify that philosophy!  Those players produced a ‘staple’ of success for Chicago in that year, and also last year making the playoffs.  The AL Central is a tightly competitive division, so it is hard for any team to see constant prolonged success in that race.

Cleveland Indians 2003 – C.C. Sabathia, Travis Hafner and Cliff Lee

2003 was the year that these young players in Cleveland started to develop, and they did develop to guide the Indians into a 2007 playoff run (stopped by the Red Sox).  Hafner has been hurt and inconsistant replacing Ellis Burks (old name) as the cleanup hitter in 2003, and Lee wasn’t that great until this year.  These were strong and young ‘staples’ that helped Cleveland to a lot of success in 2007, and 2006 when they came close the playoffs.  Losing Sabathia will hurt, however!

Detroit Tigers 2003 – Fernando Rodney, Brandon Inge and Nate Robertson

All these players were backups, or in the bullpen in 2003.  Detroit had to reinvent themselves, and that led them to the World Series in 2006.  Like I said before, in many cases these ‘staples’ may not be a team’s ‘best players’.  These players all had ‘career years’ in 2006, and were great for Detroit in the playoffs.  Proving my point once again, as the ‘staples’ go, so does the success of the team.

New York Yankees 2003 – Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Hideki Matsui, Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina

A lot of them, huh.  Arguably, what has made the Yankees so successful over these years is the fact that they have these steady guys (staples) on the club!  Before this season, 13 straight playoff appearances, but have fallen victim to other hot American League/National League clubs.  However they do it, in 2003 they did it with Robin Ventura, Raul Mondesi and Nick Johnson also in the lineup, they do it!  The look of the Yankees become quite different without the presence of many of these players. 

Oakland Athletics 2003 – Mark Ellis and Eric Chavez

Hard to have a staple on a team that reinvents itself that much!  In 2003, Mulder, Hudson and Zito were the strength of that team!  Mark Ellis is a steady player at second base, but Chavez has been a big dissappointment for the A’s.  They signed him, which is amazing for the A’s just in that fact, but it backfired as injuries have plagued him.  I thought Chavez was going to be a very promising player for years to come, it looked that way.  He fell off, the A’s fell off!  Maybe Beane will never sign anyone to a big deal ever again!

Seattle Mariners 2003 – Ichiro Suzuki

A great ‘staple’ to begin with, although he hasn’t been as amazing as he was in some years,  Ichiro is the face of the Mariners.  The point here is that it is only Ichiro!  He needs the support of other ‘staple’ players, to help.  Edgar Martinez was there in 2003, but he was far too old already.  Brett Boone looked promising, but that was all drug induced.  They haven’t had solid players that they could fill positions with and call ‘staples’ in years!  ‘Staples’ are what characterize the Mariners lack of success in this case.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2003 – Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli

They were the Devil Rays in 2003, so I can call them that.  Crawford is an absolutely electric player on the field!  Signing him to a big deal was definately the right call, and as soon as the Rays got a better supporting cast around him, they succeed.  Baldelli’s injury plagued career has set the Rays back in past years.  The Rays drafting with the 1st pick, has made them able to develop new ‘staples’ that they NEED to hold onto in order to succeed further.  Crawford was, by far, a standout player for years before 2009. 

Texas Rangers 2003 – Michael Young, Hank Blalock and Joaquin Benoit

Pretty difficult when the only solid staple on your pitching staff, is not solid or a staple at all.  The Rangers can always hit and score runs, Michael Young has definately been a big part of that, but the pitching is terrible.  Chan Ho Park was their ACE in 2003.  Blalock looked promising, but injuries have kept him from doing anything great.  The Rangers were very troubled in the years leading up to now, their ‘staples’ were not sufficent and lacking in talent, especially in the pitching staff. 

Minnesota Twins 2003 – Justin Morneau

2003 was Morneau’s first year, and while he, Tori Hunter and Johan Santana were the ‘staples’ of some Twins’ playoff teams, they find themselves in the situation of having to be more cost efficient.  Morneau will keep the Twins competitive in the AL Central, as they have been, but the Central is usually a toss up every year, as to who will win?  Can’t argue with the Twins, they usually play great baseball every year and are in the hunt, too bad the playoffs haven’t been kind to them!  “At least they make the playoffs,” says a disgruntled Blue Jay fan!

Kansas City Royals 2003 – Absolutely Nobody!

I really feel for the Royals, always having to reinvent themselves.  In 2003, the Royals had Carlos Beltran, key word HAD.  But even if they resigned him to be a staple, would they be any good?  Probably not, is the sad answer.   This is their rotation in 2003! 

1. Runelvys Hernandez 2. Darrell May 3. Miguel Ascencio 4. Shawn Sedlacek 5. Chris George

Haven’t even heard, or remember, the last two guys.  Sadly, those type of players have become their ‘staples’. 

Baltimore Orioles 2003 – Brian Roberts, Melvin Mora and Daniel Cabrera

All these players were not in the O’s starting lineup/rotation in 2003, they were just developing.  Roberts is a fine player, but the others are simply mediocre.  Again, their problem exist with the pitching staff, which is very inconsistant and does not have a significant ‘staple’.  They’ve been a very mediocre club and so have their ‘staples’.  You can’t tell too much looking into their ‘staples’. Sidenote:  ex-Blue Jays Cy Young Pat Hentgen was on the Orioles in 2003, along with other ex-Jays David Segui and Tony Batista. 

Anaheim Angels 2003 – Garret Anderson, Scott Shields, Francisco Rodriguez and John Lackey

After the year the Angels won the World Series, they only have four players remaining from that era today.  An excellent vetern hitter, two guys that have anchored what is arguably the best bullpen in baseball year in and year out and a very solid starting pitcher.  Since 2003, the Angels have done a lot of tinkering around these guys, like adding Vlad and getting rid of Eckstien, Glaus and Erstad.  However, the strength of the Angels has always been their bullpen, and you can’t think of a more solid hitter for the team, than Garret Anderson!  All these guys were staples of some very good Angel clubs, that often were featured in the playoffs.

 

Agree?  Disagree with the 2003 staple theory?  The NL next post!        

       

                     

 

        

  


[1] Phillip Kelly, “Spaces of Labour Control:  Comparative Perspectives from Southeast Asia,” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 27 no. 4 (2002): 398.