7:45 pm Central
I have the feeling we’re not done for the night quite yet.
It was a pretty quiet day, BlueJayically. We basically spent it waiting to see if the deal with the Giants would go down, and so far, it hasn’t. It’s funny, I’ve talked to a lot of people about the possibility of trading Rios for Cain or Lincecum (I prefer Cain, as mentioned), mostly reporter-types, and it’s been a pretty even split down the middle of people who say the Giants would be crazy to trade one of those pitchers and those who say the Jays would be crazy to trade Rios.
I think that even though Rios is really good, and has a sky-high ceiling, it’s easier to find a corner outfielder than it is to find an arm like Cain’s, or even Lincecum’s, though I wouldn’t do Rios straight up for Lincecum.
Anyway, at least there were scheduled things to do today. There was the managers’ luncheon, where the reporters get to have lunch with the manager of the team they cover (who knew?). It was a lovely chicken pasta, and a good time was had by all.
After spending a couple of hours with John Gibbons, we got to sit down with him again, in the media workroom, for his official managerial availability. Every manager has to do one, except Joe Torre, who didn’t show up the last few years when he managed the Yankees, and isn’t here again this year.
I’ll go over what Gibby discussed, and then the J.P. scrum, though I’m changing the format from what I’ve been doing the last couple of nights.
The Gibby availability:
The most interesting things the skipper had to say, I thought, were:
A) Marco Scutaro was brought in at least partly to serve as Troy Glaus insurance. Gibby said that he believes Glaus is healthy, but in his words, “who knows”, and Scutaro will be a better option than the Jason Smith/Johnny Mac combo of last year if and when Glaus goes down.
2) Gibby doesn’t believe that Casey Janssen is a better fit in the rotation than in the bullpen, which has him in complete disagreement with JP on that score. If moving Janssen takes away from the strength of the ‘pen, the move “doesn’t make any sense” to Gibbons. He also said he really likes Litsch in the 5th spot.
C) With the roster set up the way it is right now, there is no room for Adam Lind on the big club, and
4) Gibby wouldn’t answer the question about how he thinks he’ll put the line-up together, because he wants to wait until things are set. Though he said they could be set. But maybe not.
Gibby also talked about his role in the suite where the front office sits and talks about moves. Basically, he says, he gives his input, and it doesn’t always agree with J.P.’s opinion, but in the end, the GM is the guy who makes the decision.
He mentioned that he’s aware the Jays and Giants have been talking, but not for a couple of days, but he added that sometimes these things take a while to develop.
He also said that there’s no team better than the Tigers right now, and that he has to stop worrying about the Jays being too right-handed because Detroit is just as much so, and “Jim Leyland isn’t bitching about it.” Truth is, if the hitters hit the way they can, it doesn’t matter that there are so many righties.
Gibby also seemed resigned to the fact that there’s not much he can do about the team’s inability to stop the opposition from stealing bases almost at will, and didn’t appear to be too thrilled about his job security. Not that he’s upset with the front office for not extending him, not at all, but when asked about his hold on the job, he gave the stock answer along the managers are hired to be fired line. He also said, though, that he won’t change his style of managing at all – that would be phony.
Lastly, Gibby informed us that he’s been told that B.J. Ryan is expected to be good to go just like everybody else when the bell rings in Dunedin in mid-February.
Highlights of the J.P. scrum:
They picked up Buck Coats to compete for the 25th spot on the roster. J.P. called him a great outfielder with a bat they like, and they’ve had their eye on him for a while. The Jays claimed Coats when the Cubs put him on waivers last season, but the Reds got him because they had a worse record.
No team has called the Blue Jays to ask about trading for A.J. Burnett or Troy Glaus.
J.P. wouldn’t go so far as to say that the ball is in San Fran’s court on the Rios deal, or that they had made a final offer on the matter, but he thinks the Giants are weighing other options. He also said he doesn’t like the idea of trading a good, young everyday position player for a good, young starting pitcher, but thinks that’s the going rate for good pitching in today’s baseball.
He said he’s not worried about Gibbons going into the last year of his contract without an extension. In fact, J.P. said it could work in Gibby’s favour if he has a good year.
And the Jays are in conversation with Paul LoDuca about being a back-up to Gregg Zaun. LoDuca is a year younger than Zaun, almost to the day, he whales on left-handed pitching and is apparently a great clubhouse guy. He threw out 19% of the runners who tried to steal on him last year, in case you were wondering.
I’m wondering how it would sit with LoDuca to be a back-up, and add to that a back-up to a guy he probably perceives as not as good a player as he is. After all, LoDuca has been a starter basically his entire career, his lifetime batting average is 36 points higher than Zaun’s, and his OPS is 20 points better. I’m surprised he’s willing to move to a back-up role without letting the winter play out a little longer.
His signing looks like it’ll come soon, though, probably before the Jays leave Music City.
Finally, the Jays have until 8:00 AM Central tomorrow to clear a spot on their roster if they want to be active in the Rule 5 draft. I’d say it’s about a 50-50 shot that they make a move.
That’s it for tonight, unless Rios gets traded or Dookie signs a one-year deal (Jays won’t go any longer for a back-up C). Now it’s off to P.F. Chang’s! Woo-hoo!!!
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