Now that the Blue Jays' season is over, management must immediately look into ways to improve the roster.
It is obvious that we do not know what the future holds. Will the COVID-19 pandemic be a thing of the past or will it always be present and with what consequences? Will we be entitled to a full season or even a shortened schedule, whether it's 90 or 120 games?
Regardless, the Jays need reinforcements. And not just with supporting players.
It will absolutely be necessary to have a better staff of starting pitchers, especially in the 3rd, 4th and 5th men who will be able to assist Ryu and Matt Shoemaker or perhaps Taijuan Walker. It will also be necessary to find a formula to fill the absence of Ken Giles. Anthony Bass is solid, but he needs to be better supported than with Font, Yamaguchi and Waguespack.
I know that behind the scenes, we are thinking of turning young Nate Pearson into a reliever, but I do not really subscribe to this project. He's a starting pitcher and this change could hurt him immensely. Will have to see if Jordan Romano and Julian Merryweather will be 100% recovered.
In receivers I'm ready to give Danny Jansen another chance while youngster Alejandro Kirk is full of promise, but he needs to hone his learning with a season at AA and AAA level, before returning to the majors. Reese McGuire does not seem to be the solution.
And hiring a receivers instructor, Russell Martin for example, if only for training camp (he has a residence in Dunedin), would be a positive gesture. Especially to make them forget to have a knee on the ground and also to improve their technique in order to counter the steals of goals.
We will also have to find a third baseman. There is no way to go back Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Travis Shaw is not the solution. If Jonathan Villar finds the desire to play again, it could allow Cavan Biggo to permanently transfer to the hot corner.
At first base, a healthy Rowdy Tellez and a slimmer, more determined Guerrero could make an interesting duo while sharing the role of hitter of choice.
On the outfield, the trio of Gurriel, Grichuk and Hernandez, assisted by Jonathan Davis, seems solid to me.
Finally, the hitting coach, be it Guillermo Martinez or Dante Bichette, should find a way to teach a better way to hit the fastball that has caused them so much trouble in 2020.
The list of 40
When the Blue Jays unveiled the list of 40 playoff-eligible players, there were a few surprises.
Notably the exclusion of Derek Fisher and the addition of Brandon Drury.
I've always argued that Fisher's presence with the Jays only served to justify the deal that sent Joe Biagini and Aaron Sanchez to the Astros. He posed no threat at bat and his defensive weaknesses were glaring.
As for Drury, the Jays had offered him in the draft and no team had acquired him.
Loss of a friend
He was only the shadow of the hitter who had slammed 15 home runs and produced 41 points in 2019. His best asset is his versatility.
Two weeks ago, we learned of the death of the man who had the reputation of being a great scout in addition to being a good friend. Gary Hughes passed away at the age of 79 after dedicating his life to baseball.
For more than 50 years, the sympathetic fellow could smell talent for miles and miles around.
It wasn't very long in the bosom of the Montreal Expos, but just enough to recommend that team management sign contracts with guys like Delino DeShields, Marquis Grissom, Cliff Floyd and Rondell White, to name only those. I always took great pleasure in sitting down with him at the baseball winter meeting and letting him explain to me why he was going to recommend this or that transaction to the team in order to correct certain shortcomings.
As Jackie Robinson put it so well: “A life does not matter, except the impact it may have had on others.”
And Gary Hughes has left an undeniable impact on people, wherever he has been.
How to make friends
When Dallas Keuchel was hired as a free agent by the Chicago White Sox in December 2019, he found himself in a team he knew little about. So he took a pretty original way to make friends! During training camp, he invited all the players to the majors camp, all the locker room attendants, equipment, secretaries, stick attendants, all instructors and management for a good meal. . There were 125 of them, accompanied by their wives and friends, to enjoy a good steak. The bill: around $ 25,000 !!!
The kiss thief
Morganna Cottrell, a busty blonde with body measurements 60-23-39, has built a reputation for stealing kisses from baseball players. It was in 1969 that she decided to jump on the field to go kiss Pete Rose, of the Cincinnati Reds. Then it was the turn of Nolan Ryan and George Brett, and an almost endless list of “victims”. Morganna has been arrested 19 times for jumping onto the pitch without permission.
Jim Bunning, gamer and politician
Former pitcher Jim Bunning has shone in both baseball and politics. He threw for 17 seasons, especially with the Tigers (9) and the Phillies (6) before hanging his glove. He was the first pitcher of the 20th century with at least 1,000 strikeouts and 11 wins in both major homers. He then made a career in politics in his home state of Kentucky, being elected to the Senate, before being elected to the United States Senate for two terms.