Jeff Blair writes at Sportsnet that Jeff Hoffman wasn’t just the object of the Orioles’ interest this off-season, and that the Atlanta Braves asked to start a package with last year’s ninth overall pick earlier this off-season, before he was dealt to the San Diego Padres (even though I’m pretty sure Upton has a no-trade clause, which by rule of baseball law — seemingly — means the Jays must be on it). According to the piece Hoffman is already throwing bullpens (only fastballs, though), and Alex Anthopoulos lays this on us: “He should be in games in April, getting stretched out to start, and he should be activated to be with a team in early May. He has looked great.”
In the same piece, Blair also writes: “I hate to tell you this, but the whole Paul Beeston/Dan Duquette exit waltz is not over yet.” Ugh. Can’t it be? Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun is on the same page, figuring — as Blair does — that “we’ve seen enough of these situations to realize that the Jays could be using their new hard-line stance as a form of posturing for future negotiations.” Encina suggests that “the Jays might be banking on the idea that the damage has already been done to Duquette’s future with the Orioles, that lingering doubt in the Warehouse about where Duquette’s heart is will fester until the club sees no other choice but letting him out of his deal.” Fun stuff.
Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at comments the possibility of baseball returning to Montreal, given these comments from new commissioner Rob Manfred to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times: “I think Montreal helped itself as a candidate for Major League Baseball with the Toronto games that they had up there last year. It’s hard to miss how many people showed up for those exhibition games. It was a strong showing. Montreal’s a great city. I think with the right set of circumstances and the right facility, it’s possible.” Do it!
One more from Sportsnet has Michael Grange looking at Russell Martin and the art of the steal… of strikes.
Interesting piece from Josh Rubin of the Toronto Star, who wonders about the falling loonie’s impact on Canadian sports teams. MLSE admits to hedging in order to help ease the damage of currency fluctuations — the Jays declined to comment, which is, of course, entirely in character for them.
In the National Post, John Lott argues that a good prospect is a deserving price for an executive like Dan Duquette, taking the minority view on the matter… or… well… the minority view among Toronto fans — and only among Toronto fans when they’re they ones being asked to give up the prospect, not when they were shouting “Pedroia!” and “Buchholz!” during the Farrell mess. He’s right, in other words.
I mentioned it in but it certainly bears repeating that Bob Elliott’s Toronto Sun piece buglefuck Eddie’s clumsy approach of Ken Williams earlier this winter is worth a read. Related to that, Steve Simmons wonders where Guy Laurence is in all this, and why he hasn’t removed BFE from the day-to-day operation of the Jays the way that he has from other aspects of the company. Simmons also quotes a scout that says Hoffman is better at this stage than Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman were, which… OK, on Stroman that’s impressive. On Sanchez? Hoffman is only six months younger, and Aaron is about to start his sixth season as a pro. So…