Wholesale Toronto Blue Jays Jerseys

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays

With just a couple of months until the 2018 Blue Jays season (we open the season March 29th. That’s two months on the calendar, 4 years in Tom perceived time.), I thought we’d take a look at the Blue Jays 40-man roster, one at a time, try to figure out where they fit and see what the important question is for each.

First on our list is Anthony Alford.

You all know the story. Picked by the Jays in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft. He ‘fell’ to the 3rd round because he was committed to playing football at Southern Miss. He was a two-sport athlete in high school, winning Mississippi’s Mr. Football and Mr. Baseball awards.

In 2012, he played quarterback for Southern Miss, a pretty big deal for a Freshman. Poor play and personal issues (assault and gun charges can fall under the umbrella of personal issues, right?) cost him his role on the team and he transferred to Ole Miss. There he changed from a quarterback to a safety. Baseball soon became a better option.

Anthony has been working hard to make up for lost time time, and he made it to the majors, playing 4 games for the Blue Jays in 2017, before breaking a bone in his wrist. Life sucks sometimes. When he recovered, they sent him back to Double A.

Anthony had a super minor league season, playing mostly in New Hampshire, with a handful of games in Buffalo and Dunedin, hitting .299/.390/.406 with 5 home runs and 19 steals. This off-season he played in the Mexican Winter League, hitting .352/.386/.505 there, with 8 steals in 26 games. I don’t know that he really has more to prove.
Where does he play this year?

Personally, I’d be shopping Kevin Pillar, trying to get a pitcher, and I’d be handing the center field job to Anthony. Anthony is going to be 24 in July, I think it is time to see if he can do it. He’s a top prospect, let’s not bounce him up and down until he’s no longer a prospect.

And, I’d rather trade Pillar while he has value, instead of waiting until he has no value. I think that Alford is going to have his job at some point, so let’s do it now. Trust that he’s going to be good. Sometimes you just gotta have faith. Pillar’s bWAR has been following a bad trend: 5.2 in 2015, 3.4 in 2016 and 2.8 last year. I’m not sure I’d want to see the next stop in that progression. He’s still a good player, I’d think we could get something for him. I’m worried he’ll have a bad season and not longer have trade value. Of course, Pillar could put it all together this year and make me look stupid.

In reality, Alford is likely to start the season in Buffalo and wait there for an injury.
Will we see him in Toronto?

Oh, of course. At worst he’ll be a September call-up, barring injury. More likely there will be an injury in Toronto and he’ll come up. It’s also possible that the team falls out of the playoff race and they trade off guys to make room for Anthony. But, we will see him at some point.

The better question is ‘will he stay up?’ And the answer is ‘I hope so’.

He is the type of player we say we are wanting for the Blue Jays: Athletic, fast, does more than hit home runs (but I am hoping that some power develops, he’s strong and has a quick bat, home runs should come. And, if not, I still think he’ll be a good player). I’d love us to have someone who would be exciting to watch on the basepaths. Exciting in a different way than Kendrys Morales is exciting on the basepaths, where you are wondering if he will make it to the next base before we fall asleep.

I want Alford to be the top prospect who actually makes it, starting a trend.

Cecilrosa asked ‘who will be the next Blue Jay to get 20 steals?’ I’d love it to be Alford and I’d love it to be this season.

Wholesale Washington Nationals Jerseys

Washington Nationals
Washington Nationals

 

 

 

The latest rumors last week had the Washington Nationals as the “team most heavily engaged in trade discussions” with the Miami Marlins for their 26-year-old catcher J.T. Realmuto, according to Sirius/XM host Craig Mish.

FanRag’s Jon Heyman too reported on Twitter that the Nationals were at least, “… among teams trying to reel in [Realmuto].”

Realmuto reportedly requested a trade after watching the Fish deal big pieces of their roster away as part of a rebuild under new ownership this winter.

This afternoon, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro is reporting that, “[t]he Nationals are one of the clubs most interested, and they may also be the favorites to land the rising star,” while noting that Washington is not the only team in the mix for the four-year veteran who is relatively affordable and under team control through 2020.

According to Frisaro, at least a dozen teams have inquired about the Marlins’ talented backstop’s availability.

One sticking point, which Frisaro touches on again today, has been the Marlins’ interest in the Nationals’ top prospects should any deal go down.

GM Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Nats’ front office are reportedly unwilling to trade either of their top outfield prospects, Victor Robles or Juan Soto.

“According to multiple sources and reports,” Frisaro wrote today, “… the Marlins covet either of Washington’s top two ranked prospects — outfielders Victor Robles and Juan Soto.”

The Nationals, however, are, according to Frisaro’s sources, still unwilling to include either player in any potential deal.

“Sources say neither prospect is available,” Frisaro added, “… and the Nationals instead are open to a package that would center around shortstop Carter Kieboom and right-hander Erick Fedde.”

Kieboom, 20, is the Nationals’ 2016 1st Round pick, who was ranked 90th overall on MLB Pipeline’s list of the top prospects in the organization when it was released this past weekend after putting up a .297/.396/.493 line with 16 doubles and nine home runs in an injury-impacted campaign in the Nats’ system in 2017.

Fedde, the top pitching prospect in the organization, and one of two pitchers who is thought to be an option for the fifth spot in the Nationals’ 2018 rotation, debuted in the majors this past season.

The 24-year-old right-hander, who was a first round pick by the Nationals in 2014, in spite of the fact that he underwent Tommy John surgery before the Draft, put up a 3.04 ERA, a 3.24 FIP, 2.88 BB/9, and 8.63 K/9 in 56 1⁄3 IP at Double-A Harrisburg and a 4.76 ERA, a 3.54 FIP, 1.32 BB/9, and 6.62 K/9 in 34 innings at Triple-A, with 15 1⁄3 IP for the Nationals (9.39 ERA, 7.20 FIP, 4.70 BB/9, 8.80 K/9), struggling in his first exposure against big league hitters.

Realmuto finished the 2017 campaign with a .278/.332/.451 line, 31 doubles, and 17 home runs in 141 games and 579 plate appearances, over which he was worth 3.6 fWAR.

Will the Nationals, who dealt three pitching prospects to the Chicago White Sox in the Adam Eaton trade last winter be willing to trade their top pitching and infield prospect as part of a package to bring in Realmuto? Do they need to add catching or are you as convinced as the Nats seem to be that Matt Wieters (who is back on a 1-year/$10.5M contract) is a candidate for a bounce-back season after struggling offensively in 2017, and top backstop prospect Pedro Severino is ready to share duties with Wieters?