8:00 PM Ship’s Time


I had been planning that my next blog post would be more of a travelogue than about too many things baseballic, but then I got a phone call from The Fan’s Zack Cooper while I was wandering around the casino at the incredible Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in The Bahamas.  Evidently there was a rumour swirling around that the Blue Jays had signed Carlos Delgado, which had to be false.  It took me about five minutes of Bahamian texting to confirm that there was nothing to it, but even without that, enough stuff happened today that I thought I should throw something on between the dinner buffet and the evening Movie Music Trivia contest.


Late last week, Alex Anthopoulos went public with the Jays’ new policy on signing players who have filed for arbitration – basically it was that there’s a dateline in the sand, that if you get to the point where you’re going to file numbers, you’re going to a hearing.  Lo and behold, it worked, with the final group of players getting their names on contracts today (I’m not going to go into much detail – I’m paying 40 cents a minute for internet access here).  The Jays also signed free agents Jeremy Reed and Steven Register to minor-league contracts with invites to Spring Training.


Reed I have liked ever since he hit .400 in Double-A – I think it was for the White Sox but, again, 40 cents a minute.  It was a while ago, though, and the shine is definitely off his bat, but he is a very good defensive outfielder and will definitely give Joey Gathright a run for his money in the race to either platoon with Jose Bautista, be the fourth outfielder or be the fallback in case Travis Snider has to start the year at AAA.  I like Reed over Gathright, basically because the former has been known to take a walk, even if his offense hasn’t really translated well to the majors.  Register is another depth arm – the Jays have added a couple of those recently.


I’ll have something else for you on Thursday or Friday.  We’re spending tomorrow at sea on the way back from Nassau to Cape Canaveral, then coming home on Thursday.  Suffice it to say that Atlantis is incredible, Carnival Cruise Lines leave something to be desired, relative to Princess (on which the family cruised last winter), Rob Pizzo would be very happy with my performances so far in the onship poker tournaments (the Blackjack tournament is tomorrow) and although I was very excited to see the ship’s Main Show last night – since it was a tribute to the fantastic music of the 1980s- the fact that the show took its name from the title song to an extraordinarily forgettable Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling flick should have been a clue as to the quality of what I was about to see.


Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome, but they, along with the 25 or so in the hopper, won’t be answered until Friday at the earliest.

38 Responses to “It’s Better in the Bahamas”
  1. 1.

    Mike, I don’t know why, but today Mr Cheeks popped in my head, and I can’t stop replaying his call of the home run off Carters bat in my head.

    If it’s not too much, could you maybe share one of your favorite memories of, as far as I am concerned, Mr. Blue Jay, Tom Cheeks.



    MW: First of all, his name is Tom Cheek. I have so many favourite memories of Tom, but one of the best was when we were both in the Blue Jays’ dugout on the day he was going to be honoured. I was there the moment he looked up to the Level of Excellence, saw a tarp covering one of the spots and realized that they were going to be putting his name up there. His reaction of shock and genuine disbelief is something I’ll never forget.

    - Rob Bell
  2. 2.

    Hey Mike. Quick baseballic question. If a hitter reaches base on an error or a dropped 3rd strike, it doesn’t improve his on base percentage… correct?

    MW: Correct – it counts against him as an out.

    - Matt in BC
  3. 3.

    Hey Mike,

    Being a man of power and influece I’m hoping you can help me out. I’m thinking that we should organize a ballgame between the BBWAA…perhaps NL versus AL. I would certainly pay the price of admission to watch these so called “experts” take the field and show their skills.

    I’m growing tired of hearing all people who did not vote for Roberto Alomar say that they assumed he would be elected to the HOF…even without their vote. Some even going as far to say that he was the best second baseman of all time.

    As an added twist I think that spitting should not only be allowed but encouraged.

    Your thoughts?

    Brad Teel

    MW: I know you’re joking, but there’s no need for a person to actually be able to do something at an elite level in order to understand and have an informed opinion on it.

    - Brad Teeling
  4. 4.

    Hey Mike,

    Glad you’re having a good time on vacation. I have no baseball questions/comments. The family is considering a cruise this spring and based on your comments above, you would recommend Princess Cruise Lines?

    I, too, am disappointed that you would get excited over a musical show entitled “Over The Top”…

    MW: The show wasn’t called “Over The Top” but yes, I’d recommend Princess over Carnival. I’ve never been on Royal Caribbean or Norweigan or Holland America or any of those other ones, though.

    - Wayne in Scarborough
  5. 5.

    “I like Reed over Gathright, basically because the former has been known to take a walk”

    Gathright’s career walk right is actually slightly higher than Reed’s (1 per 12.2 AB vs. 1 per 12.5 AB). Reed’s career OPS+ is much better (80 vs. 68) and a good reason to prefer him to Gathright.

    Neither are good enough to be adequate 4th outfielders but might make passable 5th outfielders on teams that could afford to carry them.

    MW: Thanks for clearing that up.

    - Chuck
  6. 6.


    Glad to hear the Delgado rumours are false. I was quite surprised to hear the news on the update when just a couple days earlier it had been ruled out by A.A. as not a vialbe option for the team.

    It would have been a nice feel good story but that’s it. At the end of the day I would still rather have Overbay at 1st and Lind DHing rather than Lind at 1st and Delgado hitting.

    Hope the vacation was Grand!

    - Ian
  7. 7.

    Weird–my wife and I just came back from a cruise to the Bahamas. The Atlantis resort totally blew us away; we’re a bit cynical so we didn’t expect much. It was cold on our cruise, but we went with Celebrity and had a pretty good time (the food is supposedly among the best), though I think next time we’ll try to find a time of year where the boat isn’t 98.9% old people from Pennsylvania (not that there’s anything wrong with old people from Pennsylvania per se).

    MW: Atlantis blew me away, too. I’m going back as soon as I can!

    - André
  8. 8.

    over the top?

    MW: That was the movie, but not the song.

    - Paul O
  9. 9.

    Didn’t Jeremy Reed once play for the Mets?

    MW: Yes.

    - Jeremy
  10. 10.

    What do you mean forgettable???

    “Over the Top” was fantastic! Best movie ever!

    Unless your a fan of movies. HA!

    - T.J.
  11. 11.


    Would it be possible that the Jays have something worked out with Delgado pending a few things happen? Lets say they have a contract offer on the table for Delgado but they say they need move Overbay first. Meanwhile Delgado can continue to search for other options. But once an Overbay deal is reached they call Delgado to see if he is still available securing a left hand bat to platoon with either Ruiz or Dopirak at 1B or DH. They hopefully get prospects for Overbay and still would have a veteran LH bat. Then say Delgado is healthy for the year they can trade him at the deadline to a contender for some more prospects. This would make room to give Wallace his first taste of the bigs. What do you think about that? A little crazy I know..

    MW: No.

    - Denny
  12. 12.

    Are you saying you didn’t like Over the Top? Lincoln Hawk would be disappointed.

    MW: Did anyone like Over The Top?

    - Steve
  13. 13.

    Mike hope your time away from home went well.
    When Merkin Valdez was designated for assignment to make room for Huff, I thought the jays had to make a run for him. Valdez was a 3 time future allstar and was once a top prospect for the Giants to get him for only cash seems like a great deal to me. Valdez throws 98mph to go along with what is suppose to be an above average change and a below average slider and curve. It’s great to see the Jays take a chance on him. As for his role next year, Valdez should be in position to earn a role in the bullpen in the spring.
    Anyways Mike hope to hear you on the radio very soon.

    MW: I know what you mean, but it’s weird to see someone referred to as a “three-time future all-star”. This is a very good low-risk, high-reward gamble for the Jays.

    - Adam
  14. 14.

    I’ve heard good things about Merkin Valdez.

    MW: I almost used a prospect pick on him in the Fat Elvis league, but that was about six years ago.

    - Domenick
  15. 15.

    My bad Wilner, i didn’t know you were on vacation. I hope you had a good time.

    MW: Thanks, I guess.

    - Bobby
  16. 16.

    Wilner, i’m not impressed.

    I just ordered the Over the Top soundtrack from Amazon. That flick has it all . . . it’s a wonderful study of the bond between father and son . . . it’s a tale of the struggle of the good-hearted poor against the ‘it’s all mine’ wealthy . . . it’s a lesson in the consumption of motor oil.

    You OBVIOUSLY have forgotten the film. I say, go back to your Breakfast Clubs and Pretty in Pinks Mr. Wilner. Go back and enjoy while I sit back and enjoy one of the greatest arm wrestling movies of all time.

    Take me higher, frequent flyer!

    MW: Really, you said all that needs to be said with “one of the greatest arm wrestling movies of all time”.

    - Beau
  17. 17.

    I miss baseball,

    your best guess.

    who of these three is with the jays come opening day?
    downs, frasor, accardo?

    MW: All of them.

    - Dano
  18. 18.

    Perhaps you could ask the captain to drop you off in The DR & Puerto Rico so you could catch some winter league action !

    MW: That would have been fun, but not exactly on the way.

    - tomas
  19. 19.

    This obviously would not happen, but if the Blue Jays were to sign BJ Ryan to pitch this season would they have to pay him twice?

    MW: Yep.

    - Eric
  20. 20.

    Hey Mike,
    It’s been clear the Jays have been dangling Overbay on a hook for some time. What are some reasonable trade possibilities out there for someone like him?
    Personally I think it’s hard to imagine they would get something good for him in return. Just getting rid of the 7 million owed seems enough.


    MW: Any team that could use a first baseman would be well-served to pick up Overbay. As for what’s out there, I think that AA would move Lyle if he could do better than the sandwich pick they’re likely to pick up for him if he leaves a free agent, considering the Jays do have options at first for 2010. But Overbay is a lot better than you think he is.

    - Stavros
  21. 21.


    Care to explain to me why Travis Snider is competing for a job with Joey Gathright? AA has some nice moves so far, but that’s just an embarassing statement. The #5 prospect in all of baseball at the beginning of last year has to compete with Jeremy Reed for the Opening Day roster? WHAT? You may call this over-reacting but it’s just pathetic on the Jays part. How many days a week this year is Snider going to sit because of Bautista? What about Wallace when he comes up in July? He’ll probably rot on the bench too with Overbay not being able to be moved. How much power does Cito have with this organization exactly? Are we going to be seeing Gathright lead off and play RF because he has speed? Good god. I thought batting Millar clean-up numerous times last year was egregious but continually hindering the development of elite prospects in favour of pathetic retreads is far far worse.

    MW: Remember, Snider is only 22 and he has options left. I don’t think it’s a good idea to do anything but hand Snider an everyday spot in an outfield corner and let him play, but there’s more than one way to approach things. Maybe Alex doesn’t want Snider to think he’s being handed anything.

    - Renegade
  22. 22.

    Hypothetical situation. If Halladay pitches into his late 30′s and remains relatively healthy and puts up 105W 60L and finishes his career with a 253-136 record and a 3.60 ERA, would he have a better chance at the Hall of Fame then Smoltz’s current numbers if he retired today. Smoltz has a 213-155 record with a 3.33 ERA and ofcourse the 154 saves. Halladay would finish with far more shutouts and complete games. Halladay currently has a 1.20WHIP and Smoltz has a 1.17WHIP. To me I don’t think it is a debate but people do over rate saves.

    MW: It’s apples and oranges. Smoltz is in, period, and a lot of it has to do with what he’s done in the post-season as well as the years he spent as a dominant closer.

    - Domenick
  23. 23.

    Hi Mike,

    I was very impressed with Randy Ruiz last year. I firmly believe if given full time playing time he can hit 40 home runs in a season. What is your take on it and where does he play on opening day?

    MW: I don’t think Ruiz is going to be given an appropriate chance at an every day job by the Blue Jays. I was very impressed with him, too, but I think 40 homers is more than a bit of a stretch.

    - Moti
  24. 24.

    Hey Mike. How about that… The Leafs are worse than the Blue Jays were last season!

    MW: When is the last time the Leafs have had a better year than the Blue Jays?

    - Matt in BC
  25. 25.

    Hey Mike,
    I read that Reed Johnson was signed by the Jays to a Minor League Contract. Is that true?



    MW: Nope – and the link you’ve attached agrees with me. It was Jeremy Reed.

    - Byron
  26. 26.

    Geez – if John Smoltz gets in the HOF ahead of Blyleven there should be some kind of Congressional investigation. I think Smoltz proved how easy it was for a star starter to pile up those one inning saves; if memory serves he wanted to go back to starting because it was more of a challenge. Dennis Eckersley also stated that it was much harder to be a starter than just to come in and pitch the last inning ( and about a third of the time “protecting” a three run lead)…

    We were lead to beieve J.P. tried to peddle our stalwart firstsacker last year – no takers. This year A.A. is apparently trying again, with no success. This begs the question: What is the matter with those other 29 GMS? Don’t they recognize what a productive force this guy is in the lineup?

    Anyway, the prediction here is that – beause no one else wants him – he hangs around BLuejayland and actually does better than anticipated (simply because he will be playing for likely what will be his final contract),at which point some team might surrender a prospect for him. But by the All-Star break if he reverts to form and doesn’t contribute then surely they should release him and see if SOMEONE in their system can give them more production at an “offensive” position…

    MW: We obviously have different opinions as to what is productive.

    - Ken
  27. 27.

    hi mike is BJ Ryan going to play for a team this year,

    MW: In the major leagues? I doubt it.

    - jays fan from the start
  28. 28.

    Hi Mike,
    this is a simple baseball question and I don’t know why I couldn’t figure this out until now being a big baseball fan. My question is:
    How is Slugging % for a hitter calculated?
    I thought it was any extra base hits divided by total hits?

    MW: It’s total bases over at-bats.

    - Jay
  29. 29.

    Early season thoughts on the Rays this season? What is their rotation going to be? Can they compete?

    MW: I haven’t had a single thought about the Rays this year.

    - Nick
  30. 30.

    Speaking from a my own experience, and from just coming home from a recent cruise. I can say without a doubt that Royal Carribean cruise lines is the best. a little fancier then carnival with a more mature crowd if you catch my drift. Not as many young families. I’ve been on the two as well as Princess and royal carribean is the best for sure.

    On a side note.. IMO I think that the jays are only a shortstop and speedy feilder that is smart defensively with a good on base percentage away from really competing. If the jays could find a good/great young shortstop prospect to come in a year or two that’d be sweet. Maybe consider Travis Snyder as trade bait. I’m not saying do it, but listen to whats out there.

    MW: They’re listening to everything, I guarantee it, and they’d love to find themselves that kind of young shortstop.

    - Jays4Life
  31. 31.

    going back to my last post to you awhile back.
    ya i didn’t really dig the depechers either or even the smiths all that much but just mentioned them cause’ they seemed to have a considerable
    amount of critical acclaim back then & thereafter. sound was a littlev too dark fo rmy taste.
    but the furs & simple minds. that was good stuff out at the time.
    that richard butler was a pretty happening dude no doubt. and 2 very good movie soundtracks there i’m thinking.
    but not in the same league as the short & tall guys song with the incredible joe d. baseball reference. that one is still the best to this day i’m thinking. that ain’t a stretch i’m pretty sure.
    but how about another from back then. obscure to some but great nonetheless. and a huge huge influence on the duraners. much more than the ususal suspects such as bowie, ferry or bolan. musically & most definitely image wise.
    david sylvian & japan…..
    not enough o’s in smooth for that guy michael.
    you know there stuff i’m guessing.
    great voice. ever hear their version of i second that emotion by smokey? brilliant no doubt.

    - darrell bishop
  32. 32.

    Cruises: passengers are either ‘newly wed or nearly dead’…hopefully you are the former, even if only in spirit.

    Here’s to some enjoyable moments in 2010 for the Blue Jays, as contending seems unlikely, even like last year ’til mid-May.

    - Mel
  33. 33.

    hey mike. its been a while since ive posted here.hope you and your family are doing well this offseason. i have two questions. 1)how long will it take for the jays to give halladay his spot on the level of excellence at the rogers centre? is this an after he retires deal? because i think when the phillies come to town this june(or maybe its july, i dont remember) they have the perfect chance to make it happen. 2) did you ever collect baseball cards as a kid? im starting to regret not doing this. i have a buddy of mine who recently had his collection valued at about 10 grand…not bad for a hobby wouldnt you say? take care mike…

    MW: 1 – Definitely not until after he retires. 2 – I didn’t really collect baseball cards when I was a kid, though I still have a set of 1989 Score cards hanging around somewhere (Gregg Jefferies rookie card!!). I had a terrific set of hockey cards that my mother threw out (Gretzky, Bourque, Messier rookies, etc.)

    - trevor b
  34. 34.

    Mike, this is what I think the Jays’ lineup out of ST should be:

    vs LHP

    RUIZ 1B
    HILL 2B
    BUCK C


    vs RHP

    HILL 2B
    BUCK C


    Hopefully Hill can earn some walks. Hopefully, The Manager will be persuaded by AA (or SOMEBODY) to put Overbay at the top of the lineup vs RHP. Hopefully they see McCoy’s value (can play almost every position, high OBP, fast). Hopefully they realize that Ruiz deserves a shot. Hopefully, they allow Snider to play every day.

    What do you think?

    MW: Honestly? I think you’re dreaming, as they say, in technicolour.

    - andy mc
  35. 35.


    when MLB went on strike in 1994, Tom and Jerry filled in the gap with a fantasy series between the best Blue Jays and the Best Expos.. which I remember that the expos won.

    I’ve always tried to get on the air when Jerry takes questions, but never have time.

    I remember sitting in my parents basement, listening to these games with my eyes closed and just.. enjoying it.

    I know you’re busy Mike, and when you talk to Jerry you always have stuff to talk about, but If you ever have a chance to sit down for 10 minutes and talk about it with him, I’d love to find out how they did it. I can’t find any reference on the web anywhere, but I remember this happening.

    If there is a copy of those games in the FAN archives, I’d pay good money to listen to those again.

    The big push to get Tom onto the Ford Frick ballot got me thinking, is there any way to listen to old games from 10, 15 years ago? This might be excessively nerdy, but in the howling winter nights of February when I’m slogging my way through research or writing papers listening to an old baseball game might just hit the spot.

    Thanks Mike. I hope you understand the compliment when I say that you are a true baseball (and music) nerd.

    MW: I do appreciate it, and I know I’ll forget to ask Jerry because I’m not going to see him for a month and a half, and there are those pesky Olympics in between. I have no idea how you might get to listen to old games again, unfortunately.

    - Sam McLean
  36. 36.

    I have always taken your word when you have defended Ricciardi’s drafting as Jay’s GM but I was researching a website that listed the top 413 prospects and I’m not impressed. I assume that Travis Snider and Brett Cecil don’t qualify as prospects or they would be on the list. I think it’s sad that Arencibia at 165 was the highest Blue Jay on the list that J.P. selected. Am I being too harsh? I acknowledge that his peers were impressed with what he got in the Rolen trade.


    34. Brett Wallace
    43. Kyle Drabek
    115. Travis D’Arnoud
    141. Zach Stewart
    165. J.P. Arencibia
    235. Brad Mills
    240. Chad Jenkins
    251. Josh Roenicke
    259. David Cooper
    264. Henderson Alvarez
    317. Jake Marisnick
    366. Justin Jackson
    370. Kevin Ahrens
    393. Brad Eamus

    MW: Again, none of this stuff matters until five or ten years hence. Go back and look at Baseball America’s top ten prospects for each team in 2002 and see how many of them actually made it.

    - Domenick
  37. 37.

    you know what i’m hoping for most this upcoming yr. for the toronto blue jays….
    a full season of the pitchers on this team being healthy.
    not just for the fact it would be an incredibly nice change from the last few previous campaigns but more so just to be able to properly assess what this team has in hand here going forward.
    what a grand notion that would be i must say…..
    marcum, mcgowan, this new morrow kid, litsch on his eventual return. good health to cecil, romero, rzep, richmond, purcey, ray, as they all inevitably will be asked to stretch out their innings pitched should they make the team.
    and downs, accardo, fraser, tallet,carlson, roenicke, hopefully no health hiccups there either..
    am i missing anyone but more importantly michael, is that really too much to ask?
    don’t answer that…..

    MW: It is. But if they’re all healthy, you won’t get to see a lot of them, because there won’t be room.

    - darrell bishop
  38. 38.


    Please don’t dismiss Over the Top. It had one of the “greatest” scenes ever. Sly telling his kid that when he gets ready to arm wrestle and he turns his hat backwards it’s like a “switch”. “Awesomeness” has followed for my group of friends with this phrase in all circumstances (most involving drinks) over the years. Just sayin’!

    MW: Glad to hear there was some redeeming value.

    - Tim
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