Tagged: Team Canada

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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Justin Morneau Team Canada … World Baseball Classic … Can You Dig IT???!!!!

Today, Justin Morneau was the first official name added to Team Canada’s World Baseball Classic roster.  I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty excited for the event that will partially take place in Toronto (i.e. first round games).  With Morneau on the _41397418_baseball_416.jpgteam, ‘Big Ern’ former Blue Jay catcher and current Blue Jay bench coach Ernie Whitt coaching the team and Jason Bay likely to follow, Team Canada looks to be strong going into the tournament.

In the last World Baseball Classic, it was incredibly obvious that only a few teams were taking the tournament seriously, notably Cuba and Japan.  Team U.S.A better have gotten a wake up call with their poor performance in the prior event.  Their lack of enthusiasm, however, created a touching Canadian patriotic moment for me in the last WBC. Canada was actually able to beat Team U.S.A on the arm of the once promising Baltimore Oriole prospect Adam Loewen.  He pitched shutout baseball against the likes of Vernon Wells and Mark Teixeira, to name but a few.  It was a monumental victory for baseball in Canada.  I thought that it would take at least 10 more games before Canada would beat the U.S., but it didn’t, it happened so quick.  Adam Loewen will never be forgotten as the man that made it happen. 

Where is Adam Loewen now you might ask?  Well, he has given up on pitching altogether.  He is now in the process of converting into an outfielder in the Blue Jays farm system – a la Rick Ankiel.  He wasn’t exactly the likeliest of players that would achieve this; however, no matter what becomes of him, he is a legend in my mind for winning that game.

Hopefully, this year Canada will have a pitching core that will feature Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster, Erik Bedard, Jeff Francis, Scott Richmond and Eric Gagne to go along with the runner-up MVP (seems like he is always in the running for it, if not winning it) Justin Morneau.  That may be hoping a little too much.

March 7th, mark it on your calendar, if you already haven’t.  This will be the next meeting of Canada versus the U.S.A. in the WBC.  Hopefully I can go, and hopefully Canada will put up a good showing.  Team U.S.A has to be the odds on favorite to win every time, every game practically.  This time around, I would like to see them playing with as much pride, and passion for the game as the Japanese and Cubans did last time around.

I agree with many that argue the WBC is a suspect indicator of a nation’s talent in baseball.  Their reasons are valid.  They include:  1. Baseball is a marathon that cannot be determined by single games (i.e. series of games are needed) 2. The fact that the tournament is situated in March, when most MLB players are cold and not in ‘prime’ playing form 3. Some nation’s pro leagues do situate themselves to be in ‘prime’ playing form by the time of the event and that gives them an unfair advantage 4. This is one I hate personally!!  Motivations are suspect because players are concerned with their contracts, team loyalities and risking injury.

Number four is valid.  It is just a shame that money can have so much power over things that are great.  With all that being said, it is still a tournament, there are teams taking it seriously and there are still bragging rights for the victor.  As a fan, I make it my duty to throw all those negatives away, and give credit, where credit is due.  The Japanese unloaded their best on the baseball world three years ago.  They had great pitching and played scrappy, disciplined baseball.  You can’t understate the way they played.  You just can’t!  They gave great regard to the tournament, they love and play the game passionately, they played hard, they won and they deserved it!  They also deserve to be called the ‘world’s greatest nation at playing the game of baseball.’  Can a team deny them of that this year?  I think they can, but will they?  I can’t wait to see.