December 24-30, 2012 in Review

Week in Review

It’s been a relatively quiet week on the Blue Jays front, which is not surprising given the holidays. This tends to be a quiet time across MLB, although seven years ago, it was the Jays that made a seasonal splash with the December 27, 2005 acquisition of 3B Troy Glaus and a prospect in exchange for 2B Orlando Hudson and RHP Miguel Batista. Of note, the prospect in that trade was none other than then-shortstop Sergio Santos. While twice hitting 20 HRs in the minor leagues, Santos struggled defensively and was released by the Jays in 2008, before making the conversion to pitching.

In his mailbag column, beat reporter Gregor Chisholm reports that lefty relief specialist Darren Oliver is leaning towards retirement. If you recall, the Blue Jays hold a $3M option for 2013. Oliver, who turned 42 in October and made his MLB debut in 1993, has transformed himself from a failed starter to a very reliable reliever, posting ERAs better than 3.00 in each of the past five seasons, including a 2.06 mark in 2012. He’d be a key component of the 2013 bullpen, but if the recent Jays acquisitions aren’t enough to entice Oliver back, the team will likely turn to converted reliever Brett Cecil and the pleasantly surprising Aaron Loup. Cecil is out of options, and despite his struggles, he’s always been tough on lefties, holding them to a .232 / .288 / .369 (AVG / OBP / SLG) line over his career. He could potentially thrive in the role of a LOOGY (Lefty One-Out GuY).

Blue Jay-for-a-day Mike Napoli agreed to a three-year, $39M contract with the Boston Red Sox in early December. However, a troubling physical exam revealed an issue with his hip and the two sides have yet to agree on terms that address the Red Sox concerns about his health. Rob Bradford reports that a ‘mystery team’ has expressed interest in Napoli, and there is a case to be made that Napoli’s strong numbers against southpaws (career .273 / .381 / .529 vs LHP) would make him an ideal fit for the Jays. He could platoon with Adam Lind at DH and spell both J.P. Arencibia and Edwin Encarnacion behind the plate and at first base, respectively. I wouldn’t count on it though – Napoli’s price tag is likely higher than the Jays wish to spend, and he’s not likely to settle for a part-time role. (via MLBTR)

Paul Lukas, via his excellent Uni Watch blog at, reveals new batting practice caps for each MLB team, including the Blue Jays. In addition to BP, the alternate caps are worn throughout spring training. Gone are the foolish stretch panels along the side of the caps, but also absent is any semblance of the Blue Jays logo. Instead, they’ve opted for a lone red maple leaf. I get that the Jays are ‘Canada’s Team’, but this seems like a strange choice in branding to me. Ricky Romero seems to agree:

Lastly, I hope you’ve all been enjoying Sportsnet’s replaying of the 1992 World Series in its entirety. In addition to the nostalgia, what I’ve most noticed is the difference in physical stature and uniforms of the players. It’s only been twenty years, but man, guys are a lot bigger these days. While it’s unlikely we’ll see another Tom Henke, with his wire frame eyeglasses (how is that intimidating?), I yearn for the days when players wore uniforms that actually fit themselves.

I warned you this was a slow news week.


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