The Jays invited a number of bloggers to this years State of the Franchise event. I’ll have more on this development later in the week. For now, here are a few of the highlights from the address.
Note on Format: Bulletpoints are paraphrased comments from Jays personnel. Any text below a bulletpoint is my commentary.
- When discussing Kelly Johnson, AA mentioned Kelly’s OPS during his time with Toronto.
Ok, it’s not the most advanced metric going but I’ll take it from an MLB GM.
- Numerous mentions from AA regarding high ceiling players
- Beltran wasn’t interested in playing DH or playing on Turf
- Turf was later cited as a reason some players won’t come to Toronto.
If that is truly the case (outside of Beltran), the Jays need to come up with a solution ASAP.
- Jays offered two players “more years, more dollars”.
This surprised me. Perhaps there is something to the winning environment argument. Or it could be the turf. Or it could be Canada. Perhaps a dislike of Booster Juice? I expect the rumour mill to go into overdrive regarding the two players (Beltran is likely one of the two)
- Mentions “World Draft”
A world draft has been batted about for a while now. With the CBA’s shift to limit spending outside of Japan, this is a real possibility, although this could be logistical nightmare. On the bright side, I’d love to see how a Boras type would exploit the system.
- AA mentioned McGowan as the oldest regular and used the word rotation.
Does this give Dustin an inside track on the 5th slot in the rotation or is this just AA talking? 2012 Jays rotation could be Romero/Morrow/Alvarez/Cecil/McGowan
- Claimed the Jays max out FA contract offers at 5 years, with no exceptions.
I’m not buying it. If the Jays were in on Yu Darvish I doubt they would have settled at 5 years after ponying up the posting fee. Although technically that’s a little different than a standard free agent contract. However, if the right situation were to come along I can’t see how the Jays could stick to this policy. Clayton Kershaw would be an example.
- Interleague may switch up home park rules, letting the pitcher hit in the AL & allowing the DH in NL parks.
I can’t see AL teams going for this. If I have a DH that brings fans to the park (Prince, in the near future ARod), why in the world would I be willing to forgo any additional gate revenue by having the pitcher hit at home? Fans may be curious for a few seasons but the shine will eventually wear off.
- Kevin Cash was named as an advance scout for NL opponents.
- Farrell takes about bringing effort, “hustle” into the teams culture.
- Omar would be a mentor to Yunel, Lawrie & Johnson and would play 3B, 2B, SS if he made the club. However, he still has to earn a role.
This in itself gives Omar an inside track. He’s also a world class bunter, which could come into play during interleague games.
- If the season started today, Yunel Escobar would be the leadoff hitter. Farrell explained that he preferred OBP in front of Jose Bautista.
Nothing earth shattering. It’s nice to see Farrell acknowledge OBP over speed at the top of the lineup. Using this logic Johnson or Rasmus may be able to earn the #2 slot in the order with a productive spring OBP. Both are LHB and offer greater OBP upside than the Thames/Snider combo.
- John likes defined roles in the bullpen. He said that he didn’t show enough faith in bullpen pitchers and should have given pitchers more opportunities within their prescribed roles.
- When asked about a young arm that may end up in Toronto sooner than expected, John raved about Drew Hutchinson.
He shared a story about Drew pitching vs Philly and showing “composure”. Hutchinson advanced from low A to AA in 2011. With a strong AA showing, along with the Jays’ aversion to pitching prospects in Las Vegas, Drew could indeed be on the fast track to a mid to late season MLB debut.
This SOTF was all about reiterating the team’s current philosophy. A few impatient fans voiced their opinions but I would say the majority of the crowd is on board with the current plan, at least for another season. With that said, if the Jays are under .500 this season, 2013′s SOTF could turn ugly.