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The Blue Jays Payroll 2013: A Reader’s thoughts On The Jays Part 7 of a 7 Article Series

Wednesday, September.12/2012

Note from Chuck Booth:  Sometimes at the Reports, we are fortunate to have someone take out some serious time to write a huge-detailed explanation of their thoughts on a piece we have written about.  I was blown away by the enthusiasm of one of these such readers.  Alex Mednick and I started back and forth on the piece I wrote about the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays and I suggested that we should give his analysis a full appreciation by posting it in a guest column for him,  So this is Alex’s guest column:

Alex Anthopoulos has fixed a lot of the problems that J.P. Ricciardi left him with. It will take a few more years to see the club reap the benefits of the stock-piled talent coming from the replenished Minor League System.

Alex Mednick: (Special Guest Writer):

Update after the Nov.13 Trade with Miami:

Man, I gotta say…The move with the Miami Marlins made by the Blue Jays shows that management want’s to play ball.  Signing Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle give the Blue Jays two bonafide front-end starters to add into the mix in 2013.  With a healthy year from Johnson and Morrow, you’ve got to guys with electric stuff going 1-2, and Buehrle is about as solid of a #3 any team could wish for.  Romero in the number 4 slot, takes a lot of pressure off of him to bounce back, and even if he can simply perform at 90% of what he is capable of…it’s a pretty sight for the Blue Jays to have this kind of rotation in the AL East.  Management definitely quieted some dubious fans and put it’s money where it’s mouth is!  

The signing of 29 year old Jose Reyes gives the Blue Jays a superstar shortstop up the middle for the next 5 years.  A guy to lead off who gets on base and steals 40+ bases a year will be very nice to set up the table for Bautista, Encarnacaion and Lawrie.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if the Blue Jays still added some more pop to the lineup by trading for an offensively minded left fielder or DH.  

The Blue Jays inherited a lot of salary from the deal, but only parted with a few prospects from their deep farm system (Nicolino…one of the Big 3 pitchers, Hechevarria, and Marisnick).  They now have Bonifacio and Izturis at 2nd base who are nearly identical players and can deal from a sudden strength there in a emaciated 2nd base market…and they have a plethora of catchers in another thin market, that they can trade.  Not to mention the remainder of their extensively talented farm system which they can use as trade bait.  

I don’t think the Blue Jays are happy with expecting Adam Lind to bounce back, and I’m unsure whether they are comfortable with Gose/Rasmus in CF either so I would expect them to bring in another outfielder or DH.  They already have incredible speed on the basepaths between Gose, Lawrie, Bonifacio, Reyes and Davis.  

They may still go after ANOTHER pitcher in the mold of Edwin Jackson, but it is doubtful that they want to spend any more money on the rotation after acquiring Johnson and Buehrle.  If they did anything it would likely be via trade, but why when they have Drew Hutchinson, Kyle Drabek, JA Happ and a bunch of other great 5th starter possibilities laying in wait?  They are more likely at this point to use trading chips for offense/and or bench players.

The Blue Jays finally made a bold move that shows they recognize that with their current players/contracts/core and the current health of the AL East…the time to strike was now…we couldn’t continue to wait for a rich farm to develop and then harvest.  Who would have ever guessed that the two front end starters we required this offseason would come in a single trade? Out of nowhere! And we knew that Yunel Escobar was on the trading block, but we never would have expected to have a Super Star like Jose Reyes at SS for the next 5 years?  I know the Blue Jays inquired on Reyes last year during the offseason, but wow…All we can say is “Thank you Mr. Loria”.

I really enjoyed your analysis of the Blue Jays future (for that blog click here ) along with your digest of the various possibilities and directions that may chose going forward.

Furthermore, you hit the nail on the head: When Alex Anthopoulos  inherited this team from J.P. Ricciardi, he was merely a protégé of a failed, and over-hyped GM (Ricciardi), who was the protégé of Billy Beane…possibly also “over-hyped”. If Anthopoulos learned anything from his time working under J.P. Ricciardi, and his time sweeping floors in Montreal it may have been this: “While some people may quantify your value based on perceived potential, it is best to quantify yourself on what you have actually done”. Therefore, Anthoploulos wasted no time making moves and proving to all of Canada (along with most of baseball) that he truly is a Ninja. Somehow, someway…he was able to convince the Angels brass, and the ChiSox to fill in the holes that Ricciardi had dug with contract extensions to Vernon Wells and Alex Rios (respectively).

For Part 1 of a 7 Part Article Series:  The Toronto Blue Jays Franchise 1977-1993, click here

For Part 6 of the 7 Part Series:  Blue Jays 2013 Team Payroll Click here:

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Can Canada Support a Second Baseball Franchise in Vancouver?

Friday, June.01/2012

Newly renovated BC Place Stadium with $600 Million Dollars in upgrades, re-opened on Sept.30/2011 and features a 100 by 85 retractable roof. The lights also illuminate different colors both inside and outside of the building. The stadium could be converted to meet MLB specifications.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- At first look you might not think that Vancouver could support a Major League Baseball franchise, but there are a few things to consider.  With a surrounding area population of 2.5 Million, it is one of the biggest cities in the USA or Canada not to have a team. Of course when you are looking at the viability of a franchise submission/or relocation, you must look at the facility that the baseball would be played in.  With newly renovated B.C Place Stadium-(see http://www.bcplacestadium.com/,) and its $600 Million Dollar Renovations, it is one of the most impressive structures in North America now. 

The building itself is estimated to be worth over a billion dollars.  It’s clear, retractable roof, with an incredible look to detail inside the building with 22 inch stadium style seating has all of the modern amenities that a new age fan would want.  The facility features several new Skyboxes for corporate suites, and brand new concession stands that would be an extremely good revenue generator. The stadium’s surface is made up of Field Turf, and could be converted to meet baseball specifications.  This stadium is a turn-key situation unlike any other in North America when it comes to a baseball ready facility.

Major League Baseball has gained in popularity over the last 20 years in the Lower Mainland with turning out MLB’ers like Larry Walker, Jeff Francis , Ryan Dempster and Brett Lawrie all coming from this area.  Also in Canada, you have 3 TV networks that have an all-sports format in www.thescore.ca, www.tsn.ca and www.sportsnet.ca that would gladly love to fill content on their networks by bidding for television rights on a new baseball team in Canada.  There are enough talented sports personalities to fill in solid coverage. Read the rest of this entry

Garrett Maines Interview: Jays Catcher Prospect- on that Minor League Grind Just Tryin to be Showbound!

Sunday February 26th, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:   When you think “Blue Jays catcher”, the names Arencibia and d’Arnaud. Arcencibia is the Jay’s power hitting major league catcher, who has quickly become a fan favorite in Toronto. Travis d’Arnaud is one of the Jays top prospects in the minors- and actually, one of the top prospects in the game, regardless of pitching. With the Jays as an organization having some of the best catching talent in baseball, we are ready to throw more names in the mix. Back in December, we interviewed Jays catcher George Carroll. Well, the Toronto Blue Jays have a serious catching factory going, as we were lucky to get some time to speak to catching prospect, Garrett Maines. 

Drafted by the Pirates in 2009, Garrett chose to finish in school and finish his degree (way to go Garrett!) In 2010, Garrett signed with the Jays, after playing a season of indy baseball. After getting his feet wet in the Gulf Coast League in 2010, Garrett made it to Canada in 2011…playing for the Vancouver Canadians of the NorthWest League. Garrett really delivered in his 2nd professional season. He showed good pop, with 4 home runs in only 27 games. He hit .263, with a .337 OBP and .500 SLG, helping lead the Canadians to a league title. Clearly, this kid has some serious pop in his bat! Now going into 2012 and coming off a championship year, Garrett is hungry for more. After a hard offseason of workouts and preparations, Garrett is ready for 2012. Ready to take the next steps in climbing up the Jays organization ladder. Ready to work hard, offensively and defensively in becoming a solid all-around catcher. Remember the name Garrett Maines- this Jays prospect is going places! And if you need some quality baseball bats, give Garrett’s grandma a call. He comes from a serious baseball family! Today on MLB reports, we are proud to feature our exclusive interview with the man behind the mask, Garrett Maines:

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Steve McQuail Interview: Blue Jays Prospect and the New “King of Cool”

Sunday January 8, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  We welcome today to MLB reports Blue Jays outfield prospect, Stephen McQuail.  But you better call him Steve (wink)!  A very personable young man, I have really enjoyed speaking to him leading up to this interview.  He is not always the easiest guy to get a hold of- he basically lives at the gym and batting cages! At 6’3” and 240 lbs., Steve could be just as easily entering a Mr. Olympia contest or UFC match as he would a baseball diamond.  The kid is ripped! A New York native, Steve’s father is a retired NYPD detective. Can you imagine growing up in that household? I doubt Steve got very much past his parents! But all kidding aside, it did instill a very strong work ethic within this baseball prospect. For as hard as he works and trains during the offseason, he still finds time to keep a winter job at the same time. Working Pedestrian Management in New York City? That is a huge grind. But for a ballplayer working to achieve his dream, it is part of the path that he has chosen. As glamorous as many fans envision the life of a professional baseball player, Steve is proof that the road to the majors is a hard one. It involves sacrifices and dedication. Steve wants this as badly as any prospect that I have ever spoken to. That drive should take him very far in the baseball world.

A 30th round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2010 MLB draft, Steve McQuail has shown strong play already.  In his professional debut, Steve played for Auburn in the New York-Penn League.  A league with a good track record of graduating talent, Steve tore up the league at the tender age of 21.  He hit 6 home runs in only 50 games, with a .272 AVG, .341 OBP and .456 SLG.  Just for good measure, Steve popped 12 home runs in 60 games this past season as a member of the Vancouver Canadians. With power in his bat and rated as a top defensive outfielder, Steve McQuail has game folks. So now that we know the background, let’s meet the man himself.  Speaking to Steve, I not only learned about his career and journey, but also his mindset. Steve expresses very well what makes a ballplayer tick and what life is like on and off the field. If the Blue Jays are looking for well-rounded players on its future roster, they have a perfect one lined up in Steve McQuail. When I heard the name- I right away thought of Steve McQueen. Getting to know Mr. McQuail- I am definitely ready to bestow upon him the McQueen moniker of “King of Cool”.  Enjoy the nickname Steve. You deserve it.

 

MLB reports:  Welcome to MLB Reports, Steve. A pleasure to be speaking to you today. First question: who was your favorite baseball player growing up, that you most idolized and patterned your game after?

Steve McQuail:  I think it’s almost impossible to grow up in New York City and not idolize Derek Jeter. He is the definition of the words clutch, confident and hard-working. If I could possibly go about my game and life like he does, I’d be a special type of person.


MLB reports:  Which current MLB star do you most admire and why?

Steve McQuail:  I’m thankful to be a Blue Jay because I get to witness first-hand how the big league guys work. If you saw a cage session with Jose Bautista, there’s no doubt in my mind that you’d leave saying “Oh, no wonder he hits absolute taters.” His work ethic and perfect practice translate into the game atmosphere like I’ve never seen before.


MLB reports:  Reflecting on your career to-date, what are your proudest accomplishments on the baseball field?

Steve McQuail:  I have done some good things on the field in my life up until now, but the moments that stick out the most are those that I get to share with my friends and family. The final home game in Auburn in 2010 I was able to go 5-6 with 2 bombs for a group of my friends that took the 5-hour drive from Long Island. This year in Vancouver, I was able to hit a home run in 5 consecutive games, including a walk-off bomb for my parents, grandparents, sister and girlfriend. Sharing my success with the people I love the most is what it’s all about!


MLB reports:  What are your goals going into the 2012 season?  

Steve McQuail:  My goals for the 2012 season are all attainable without relying on chance. I’m striving to play everyday, like there is no tomorrow. If I strive to hit the ball hard 5 times a game and have quality at-bats, I will help my team win and be successful. (Editor’s note: One of the best responses to this question we have received in some time. Steve is very mature beyond his years.)


MLB reports:  When you first found out you were drafted, what was going through your mind?  What round did you expect to be drafted and what was the process like signing with the Jays?

Steve McQuail:  I had no idea what round I would go… if I even went at all. The only thing I remember was that I turned the computer on 12:30 in the afternoon and didn’t move from my couch until I heard my name get called in the last round of the day (30th) at around 7:45p.m. I was elated, excited and starving because I hadn’t eaten all day. Signing with the Jays wasn’t a problem at all. I was on a plane in 3 days and out on the field before I knew it. (Editor’s note: Now THAT is commitment. I love this kid!)

 

MLB reports:  What do you consider your greatest baseball skill(s)?

Steve McQuail:  I consider my bat to be my strongest asset. Though, since playing pro, I’m working to get my defense as superior or more as I adjust to the outfield.

 

MLB reports:  How do strikeouts and walks figure into your game?  Do you see any of these items changing over time and to what degree?

Steve McQuail:  Strikeout-to-Walk ratio is basically one of the biggest parts of my game that will help me excel deeper through the organization. This season was rough for me, as I did A LOT of swinging. Seeing more pitches and developing a better plan at the plate will help me define my identity as a hitter. Believe me, I am confident the strikeouts and walks will even out as my career continues.


MLB reports:  Long-term do you see yourself as an outfielder? How important is “D” in your game?

Steve McQuail:  I absolutely see myself in the outfield in the future. I pride myself in my defense, with arm strength and the ability to move. I’m a big but lean guy at 6’3” and 240 pounds. I strive to outwork the lighter “speed” guys because I know it will only make me a better player.


MLB reports:  What do you need to do in order to be successful in this game?

Steve McQuail:  In order to be successful in this game, I have to create consistency through practice and experience.


MLB reports:  If you had to look into a crystal ball, when do you see your expected time of arrival in the big leagues and what do you think you need to do most to get there?

Steve McQuail:  I can’t worry about a time frame to get to the show because ultimately it’s something that I cannot control. The only things I can control that will help me on my way are my attitude and work ethic. These will translate into good play and a positive mental outlook which is a necessity during the grind of the Minor Leagues.

 

MLB reports:  Has pro ball been everything you expected it to be thus far?

Steve McQuail:  Almost every little kid has a dream about playing professional baseball. You create pictures and instances of how it’s gonna be when you get there. For me, it was dead on.

 

MLB reports:  What do you do for fun when you are not playing baseball?  Best friend(s) on the team that you most hang out with and what do you guys like to do to chill?

Steve McQuail:  Off the field, I would say my number one hobby is lifting weights. But that has kinda taken a backseat since getting drafted because I just don’t have enough energy! But I love to relax, no matter where it is. It could be my bed, the beach or an air mattress on Marcus Knecht‘s living room floor. I say Marcus’s floor because he lets me and Matt Nuzzo crash with him in his sweet condo about a month before spring training. You can find us at the beach, movies or playing Call of Duty for hours and hours.


MLB reports:  Do you have a favorite pre-game meal?

Steve McQuail:  I’m not superstitious about a specific pregame meal. I am superstitious about having my Dre Beats on 45 minutes before game time.

 

MLB reports:  Final Thoughts?

Steve McQuail:  I’d like to give a shout out to the Vancouver Canadians. The front office, staff, fans and my host family (Mark, Sue, Carl and Megan) allowed me to have the best summer ever. Hopefully everyone can see me at the Rogers Centre one day. But until then, I’m gonna enjoy the ride.

***Thank you to Steve McQuail for pulling out of the gym long enough to speak with us today on MLB reports!  You can follow Steve on Twitter (@SteveMcQuail). Steve LOVES interacting with his fans, so please feel free to send him any questions/comments you have.  Or just wish him good luck on the season, as he would appreciate your support!***

 

Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Interview with Jeremy Barfield: Oakland A’s Prospect Extraordinaire

Monday December 26, 2011

 

Jonathan Hacohen:  Second generation ballplayers are all over the major leagues these days.  Strong blood lines and baseball influences help these young men continue their fathers’ legacies.  But some become part of a baseball family and create a strong impact on the game.  That is the case in the Barfield household, as father Jesse and his sons Jeremy and Josh are all active in the baseball world.  Jesse Barfield played from 1981-1992 with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees.  Jesse was a gold glover, all-star and silver slugger during his major league career.  Oldest son Josh plays second base in the Phillies organization.  Now, emerging into the scene is Jeremy Barfield.  The younger brother of Josh, Jeremy is 23-years-old and has recently completed his 4th professional season.  Ironically, Jeremy got his start in Canada, playing for the Vancouver Canadians in 2008 (the country of origin for Jesse’s career).  Originally drafted by the Mets in 2006, Jeremy opted to attend college instead.  The A’s then selected Jeremy in the 8th round of the 2008 draft and he has been climbing the organizational ladder ever since.

Jeremy’s greatest strengths are his cannon for an arm in right field and strong pop at the plate.  Standing 6’5″ and weighing 240 lbs., Jeremy is built like a tank.  He definitely has the physical tools to succeed in the game.  Speaking to him on several occasions, I definitely respect his commitment and focus on baseball.  This is a very grounded young man who has the right perspectives on the game and life in general.  Jeremy Barfield is mature beyond his years and will be knocking on the A’s door very soon.  I talked to Jeremy about growing up as a Barfield, his development and future in the game.  As he continues to develop and refine his baseball skills, I can foresee that the youngest Barfield will quickly become a fan favorite in Oakland.  It will not be long before people approach Jesse Barfield and ask: “Hey…aren’t you Jeremy’s dad?”  

Featured on MLB reports, I am thrilled to present my interview with Jeremy Barfield.  Oakland A’s Outfield Prospect:

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 MLB reports:  Welcome to MLB reports Jeremy.  It is a pleasure to be speaking with you today.  Starting off:  who was your favorite baseball player growing up, that you most idolized and patterned your game after?

Jeremy Barfield:  Ken Griffey Jr. was by far my favorite player.

 

MLB reports:  Which current MLB star do you most admire and why?

Jeremy Barfield:  I don’t have a favorite player anymore

 

MLB reports:  Reflecting on your career to-date, what are your proudest accomplishments on the baseball field?

Jeremy Barfield:  In 2008 while in the Northwest League, I hit a game tying grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning on an 0-2 count.

In 2009 when playing in the Midwest League I had a 3 home run game.  I almost hit 4 but the centerfielder brought it back from over the fence my last at bat.

 

MLB reports:  What are your goals going into the 2012 season?

Jeremy Barfield:  I am setting my sights as high as possible. I want to play in the Major Leagues.

 

MLB reports:  When you first found out you were drafted, what were your reactions?  What was the process like being drafted originally by the Mets in 2006 and the A’s in 2008?  What made you decide to finally sign with the A’s?

Jeremy Barfield:  I was actually half asleep  and didn’t really understand what happened, but when I came to I was very excited. After not signing in 2006 I made sure that I was going to sign this time around. I knew it was a great situation with Oakland since they rely so much on homegrown talent.

 

MLB reports:  What do you consider your greatest baseball skill(s)?

Jeremy Barfield:  My throwing arm and that I have a high rate of contact at the plate.

 

MLB reports:  What facets of your game do you most wish to improve upon?

Jeremy Barfield:  I want to be more consistent with my swing. More consistency means more power.

 

MLB reports:  How do home runs and walks figure into your game?  Do you see any of these three items changing over time and to what degree?

Jeremy Barfield:  I don’t go up to the plate looking to walk. Home runs are great but it’s all about production. Michael Young is a prime example of that. I’m sure as I get older I’ll hit more home runs and I’m not concerned about walks. Those come with a good hitting approach.

 

MLB reports:  How much of an influence was your dad on you growing up? What did you learn from your dad that has shaped you as a baseball player?

Jeremy Barfield:  My dad was instrumental for me in becoming the player I am today. And the real question you should be asking is what DIDN’T I learn from my dad. He taught me everything I know.

 

MLB reports:  If you had to look into a crystal ball, when do you see your expected time of arrival in the big leagues and what do you think you need to do most to get there?

Jeremy Barfield:  Hopefully within the next year or two. I need to be consistent- that’s all.

 

MLB reports:  If you were not playing professional baseball, you would be ____________

Jeremy Barfield:  Working for a graphic design company.

 

MLB reports:  What do you do for fun away from the ballpark?

Jeremy Barfield:  Play video games and watch movies.

 

MLB reports:  Which of your teammates are you closest with – any good stories?

Jeremy Barfield:  My roommate LHP Trey Barham. Our love for late night Whataburger is unmatched.

 

MLB reports:  How close are you with your brother Josh?  Is there a good healthy baseball rivalry going?

Jeremy Barfield:  Very close. We live together in the offseason. Since we’re so different as ballplayers, we don’t have much of a rivalry going.

 

MLB reports:  Given that your dad was a successful major league player- do you find that you have added pressure to prove yourself?  Tell us your experiences of being a 2nd generation baseball player.

Jeremy Barfield:  When I was younger, people used to say I was overrated and that my dad was the only reason I was playing. I just let my play on the field stop all that nonsense. They quickly realized that my talent on the field was for real.

 

MLB reports:  Final thought:  When fans think of the name Jeremy Barfield, what images do you want them to associate you with?

Jeremy Barfield:  Trendsetter extraordinaire!

 

Thank you to Jeremy Barfield for taking the time to join us today on MLB reports.  We highly encourage our readers to post at the bottom of the article any questions and/or comments that you may have for Jeremy.  

You can also  find Jeremy Barfield on Twitter (@Baseclogger).  He may be a MLB prospect extraordinaire, but yes- he does answer back!

 

Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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