Monday, July 29, 2013

Blue Jays Plus Podcast - Episode 19

On this week's podcast we discuss Todd Redmond's surprising recent performance, Colby Rasmus' emergence as an elite level centerfielder, and Adam Lind turning back into a pumpkin.  We also talk the numerous pitchers coming back on rehab.  Finally we have a thrilling interview with "The Garfoose" himself, Sportsnet analyst Dirk Hayhurst

0:00 to 0:15 - Injury//Rehab Updates
0:15 to 0:20 - Todd Redmond
0:20 to 0:25 - Adam Lind
0:25 to 0:32 - Colby Rasmus
0:33 to 1:01 - Dirk Hayhurst Interview
1:02 to 1:05 - Weekly Preview

Download - Episode 19

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blue Jays Plus Podcast - Episode 18

After a triple shot of podcasts last week, we're back to our standard one show this week. 

This week we talk about Brett Lawrie moving back to third base, then spend the majority of the episode looking ahead to the Jays options going into the trading deadline, and then we inviteBaseball Prospectus's Chris King to the show to discuss Jays prospects in Florida, on both their Dunedin & complex league teams.

Music this week is by the great Dire Straits, helmed by one of the most underrated guitarists of all time in Mark Knopfler.


0:02 to 0:10 - Brett Lawrie moving back to third base
0:10 to 0:13 - R.A. Dickey & Mark Buehrle's "overrated" comments
0:14 to 0:19 - Roster moves
0:19 to 0:51 - Trade Deadline preview
0:52 to 1:11 - Interview with BP's Chris King
1:11 to 1:14 - Weekly Preview

 Download - Episode 18

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Blue Jays Plus Podcast - Episode 17.3

In our 3rd episode of the week, we settle back into our old formula, and do a more conventional show.

In the main section Chris & I talk about Brett Lawrie's transition to 2nd base, Steve Delabar in the All-Star game, AJ Jimenez in the Futures Game, & Roberto Osuna's continuing injury problems.  Then we interview podcast favourite Zach Mortimer about the Phil Bickford situation.  When we come back from the interview, I wax poetic about the new FX show "The Bridge", and finally we do our weekly preview.  Its great stuff as always.

0:01 to 0:19 - Brett Lawrie to 2nd base
0:19 to 0:21 - Steve Delabar in the All-Star Game
0:22 to 0:27 - AJ Jimenez in the Futures Game
0:27 to 0:31 - Roberto Osuna's Injury issues
0:31 to 1:17 - Zach Mortimer Interview
1:18 to 1:21 - Ewan talks about The Bridge
1:21 to 1:28 - Weekly Preview

Finishing up our Wrassling themed music this week you'll hear the "Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase's music coming in (in honour of what Phil Bickford will never be), coming out of the Zach Mortimer interview you'll hear "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's theme due to Rowdy Tellez, and closing out Europe's Final Countdown, which was current WWE star Daniel Bryan's theme on the independent circuit.

The only non-wrestling music we used, was Red Rider's "Big League", which is going to be Zach Mortimer's theme song going forward.

Next week we'll be looking ahead to the Trading Deadline.  Join us wont you?

Download - Episode 17.3

Monday, July 15, 2013

Blue Jays Plus Podcast - Episode 17.2 - Hitter Grades & Ben Lindbergh

Continuing our Mid-Season specials, we move today onto our mid-season hitter grades.

After Chris and I are finished breaking down the 14 hitters we talk about, we conduct a very fascinating interview with Baseball Prospectus' Ben Lindbergh about catcher framing, and the improvements JP Arencibia has made in that realm.

Continuing our musical theme of the week, we use more pro wrestling theme music, this time using Ric Flair, Mr. Perfect, Hulk Hogan & Cactus Jack's theme songs.  The reason for this will be explained tomorrow, when we do our "normal" show.  Keep an eye open for that Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

During our interview with Mr. Lindbergh we refer to a few articles which you may want to check out for your own enlightenment.

1 - An article from Mop Up Duty, that lists JP Arencibia as the 4th best framer in baseball this season.  As we mention the methodolgy in this study is very flawed, but worth taking a look at regardless.

2 - An article from Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs that lists JP Arencibia as the 4th most improved.  This one is more believable, and the methodology seems stronger.

3 - Lastly, Ben mentions many times in the interview a piece that he published at Grantland about framing earlier this year.  Its a very long piece, but if you're interested in the finer points of this new element we are now able to analyse this is the perfect primer.

Blue Jays Plus Podcast - Episode 17.1 - Mid-Season Pitcher Grades

So as we head into the All-Star Break, us at the Blue Jays Plus Podcast, have decided to take a look back at the season to date.  The way we decided to do this, is to grade each of the players who have made an impact on the team thus far.

This means since we are going through each of the players, that means we've needed to break up the show into three parts.

In part 1, we hang grades on all the pitchers, and then Chris sits down with Shoulder & Elbow expert Eric Cressey.

Tomorrow we'll be back with an interview with Ben Lindbergh, and grades for the hitters.

Wednesday we'll be back with our "Normal" show, with BJP favourite Zach Mortimer talking about the Phil Bickford situation.

If you're interested in more from Eric, check out his website (

Also, all the music for this week (on all 3 episodes) are professional wrestling themes.  The reason for this will become clear when we talk to Zach Mortimer on Wednesday.

Episode 17.1 - Download

0:00 to 0:34 - Pitching Grades
0:34 to 1:04 - Eric Cressey Interview

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Blue Jays Plus Podcast - Episode 16

In this week's episode we talk to Ben Badler of Baseball America about the Jays actions in the international signing period.  Then in the main segment we discuss JP Arencibia's idiotic comments, 3 1/2 Blue Jays making the All-Star team, draft pick Clinton Hollon's UCL injury, Roster Moves and the Weekly Preview.

Music this week is from Rush's seminal live album Exit...Stage Left, featuring going out with Neal Peart's epic 2 minute long drum solo.

0:01 to 0:23 - JP Arencibia's comments
0:23 to 0:33 - Roster moves (Chien-Ming Wang's demotion//9 man bullpen)
0:34 to 0:38 - Clinton Hollon injured!!!
0:38 to 0:46 - All-Star talk
0:47 to 1:16 - Ben Badler interview
1:16 to 1:26 - Weekly Preview

Download Episode 16

Friday, July 5, 2013

The 5 Names That the Blue Jays Should Go After:

1.       Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros

We all know the Houston Astros are not going anywhere in the next few years and we also know that the Blue Jays desperately need a second baseman as Emilio Bonifacio/ Maicer Izturis has combined for a slash line of .219/ .255/ .323 leading to a grand OPS of .578 which is obviously not acceptable if the Blue Jays want to be a contending team and while Toronto has been linked to Chase Utley as a potential solution, AA probably won’t go after someone that has already been in the public eye for so long and he will likely want to target someone younger and with controllability beyond this year, so Jose Altuve seems like a sleeper that the Jays could pounce on if Houston makes him available.

2.       Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP, Seattle Mariners

       Iwakuma has quietly become one of the best starting pitchers in baseball over the past two seasons compiling an ERA of 2.88 with a sparkling ERA+ of 130 spanning from 2012-now. Another plus could be that we could add (and potentially replace) the awesomeness of the JAPAEEEEZE on our team with Iwakuma alongside fan favourite Munenori Kawasaki. Seattle isn’t going anywhere this year with Texas and Oakland clogged up at the top and the Angels still above them (even if they are the biggest disappointment in baseball to this point in 2013) an with Iwakuma pitching the way he is, Alex Anthopoulos and Co. would take a look at bringing in another Japanese north of the border.

3.       Salvador Perez, C, Kansas City Royals.

While there may be some controversy as to whether the Royals would even consider moving one of    their many young, controllable, high upside players like Perez, that could be a reason for them to do such a thing. The Royals have many young hitters that figure to be a part of the next Royals team (including Sam Gallagher, promising young catcher), even with them trading top prospect Wil Myers along with right hander Jake Odorizzi, southpaw Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for “Big Game” James Shields and Wade Davis. Even with this trade, the Royals still need pitching and a fair amount of it. Ervin Santana has been great and Jeremy Guthrie has been himself, both could be moved as well ahead of the 31st of July if the Royals continue to fall out of contention. Again, this whole scenario is reliant on the Royals becoming big-time sellers and being overwhelmed with an offer for their young catcher, but considering the apparent immaturity Brett Lawrie has taught JPA of late to take zero responsibility for his poor performance, it may be time to move in another direction behind the plate.

4.       Cliff Lee, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies

      The next two are also tough decisions because Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. insists that many of his aging veterans that are past their prime and past helping Philly win another championship are not up for sale with him hoping to squeeze out one more good run from his current core. I am just not sure how much longer you can continue with this mindset if you are Amaro Jr. as you have several assets that helped you a few years ago find postseason success but now are beginning to trend downhill fast which means that if he doesn’t accept that he needs to replenish the youth lost in the Hunter Pence, Roy Oswalt and Roy Halladay deals (among others) then the Phillies could become Yankees 2.0 which wouldn’t make the City of Brotherly Love so loving. Cole Hamels was handed out a huge contract last year and Amaro Jr. seems to believe that him along with 34 year old Cliff Lee can be cornerstones of the next Phillies rotation, but with age creeping up on Lee and the rebuilding or retooling process that is set to take place that is likely going to ta longer than a few more good years of Lee, now could be the time and should be the time to start fresh in Philly.

5.       Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies

      Another Phillie on this list, Utley is a target for the Blue Jays as well as Lee. Could they both come here via trade, sure, although highly unlikely, but Utley is an option that if the Blue Jays are not able to pry Altuve or another younger, more controllable second basemen away from another team, the Blue Jays could pounce on. It is being reported by the fine folks at that if Utley is made available, then Toronto would be one among a few teams interested in the 34 year old second basemen. What could end up happening is something similar to the R.A. Dickey trade where a deal is made but not complete until the player that the Blue Jays are receiving signs an extension to ensure more than a two month or one year rental. With a slash line of .282/ .349./ .521 leading to an OPS of .870 which is more than 300 points higher than the Blue Jays’ current second basemen, who also happen to own the worst offensive production in the league. This seems to be a good fit, but in order for this to work, the Blue Jays need to get back into contention because if Utley is traded to Toronto and then walks in Free Agency, we don’t even receive draft pick compensation for him as he was traded midway through the season.
      Make sure to follow me on Twitter @NMTBell and BlueJaysPlus @BlueJaysPlus

      Nicholas Bell

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Blue Jays Plus Podcast - Episode 15.2

Its a day late, but since we gave you over an hour worth of a quality interview I think we can be excused.

Since we broke the interview off, this episode just features Chris and I talking about...

- the roster moves of the week, featuring us both being confused by many moves.
- an injury update on Sergio Santos, Adam Lind, & Brett Lawrie
- breakdown of the Jays struggles within division
- discussion of the Jays Canada Day uniforms
- analysis of this year's entries into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (Tim Raines, Tom Cheek, Rob Ducey, George Bell & Nat Bailey)
- and finally our look ahead to the upcoming week.

Music this week
Coming in is the intro to "A Slanted Tone" from the fantastic Canadian hardcore band Fucked Up.  In my opinion their album David Comes Alive from 2011, is in my opinion the greatest album that has been put out this decade.  They manage to blend not only the harsh vocal style of frontman Damien Abraham, but also intricate and wide ranging musicality, which you rarely see in the genre.  I couldn't recommend them enough, even if you dont like punk music (like I dont), they aren't really a punk band, just a great one.

Going out I was planning on using another Fucked Up song, but couldn't choose, so I decided to go with "Top of the World" by west coast rap group The Rascalz, featuring Jamaican legend Barrington Levy.  Just an outstanding track.

Hope you enjoy it.

(Right Click to Download)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Blue Jays Plus Podcast - Episode 15.1

On this week's show we planned to have Baseball Prospectus's Zach Mortimer back for about a half hour to talk about their preseason top 50 prospect lists.  However we wound up talking to Zach for over an hour.  Since I know that the length of the show has been a selling point for some of our listeners, I decided rather than tack on our usual stuff on top of that, I would divide it into two parts.

Today is part 1, which is just the interview with Zach, hopefully Chris and I will be able to record the rest of the show tonight, or tomorrow, and get that out as well.

In the interview, we discuss...

- The two Jays prospects ranked in the top 50 list, (Aaron Sanchez, & Roberto Osuna)
- The four main prospects that the Jays dealt away in the summer (Noah Syndergaard, Jake Marisnick, Travis d'Arnaud, & Justin Nicolino)
- The two best Canadian prospects currently in the minors (Jameson Taillon & James Paxton)
- The only Jays prospect on the Futures Game roster (AJ Jimenez)
- A prospect roundup on some Jays guys (Franklin Baretto, Anthony Gose & Kevin Pillar
- Finally I run a theory that Kiley McDaniel has posited on his podcast (Linked below) called the "Black Swan Theory" to Zach.

Our music this week, is entirely Canadian (in honour of Canada Day)
Intro - Thompson Girl by the Tragically Hip
Into Zach - Big League by Red Rider
Outro - Suddenly by The Sheepdogs

Download (Right Click Link)
Episode 15 - Right Click to Download

Kiley McDaniel's Marginal Prospects episode where he discusses "the Black Swan Theory" -