Monday, August 10, 2009

Rios jettisoned by Jays; heads to White Sox

After days of speculation, the Toronto Blue Jays have simply walked away from Alex Rios allowing him to be claimed on waivers by the Chicago White Sox. The Jays completely wash their hands of the underachieving Rios, not having to pay any of his $60 million in salary over the next 5 seasons.

It would have been nice to acquire a player or a prospect for Rios, but getting out from under the hefty deal proved too tempting for J.P. Ricciardi. Consider this quote from the Jays General Manager: "This allows us to get out from under a contract and do more to address our club"

This season, the 28 year old Rios hit .264 with 14 HR and 62 RBI. He represented the American League twice in the all-star game with his best season coming in 2007, where he smacked 24 HR and drove in 85 runs.

Presumably, the Jays will dip into the minor leagues to call up top prospect Travis Snider, who is hitting .487 with 5 HR and 16 RBI in his last 10 games, or purchase the contract of veterans David Dellucci, Buck Coats or Aaron Mathews.

A sudden twinge of compassion for Vernon Wells

Walking home from work a couple of days I got to thinking about the Blue Jays season, and suddenly I had a startling revelation. In fact, it was so downright shocking that I was convinced it would pass in a matter of seconds. Then, after that failed, I figured if I slept on it I would return to sense. The only problem is, it still hasn't happened.

I felt a twinge of compassion for Vernon Wells. Why? I don't know. I've ripped him for the better part of two years, so why the sudden change of heart? The guy was pathetic for much of the season, destroying our chances of competing for a playoff spot. I know I should despise him for this, but I'm failing to do so.

Is it simply because he has blasted 2 long flies and driven in 8 runs the past 5 games, including a couple CLUTCH (a word never previously associated with V-Dub) hits? But he still hits .189 with runners in scoring position and is only now picking up his play when we're long out of post season contention.

I can't explain this phenomenon, and also I'm unable to decipher why I don't feel the same way about Alex Rios. Maybe Wells has been beaten up so much that he is now entering full blown goat status. Knowing my history, I tend to latch onto that sort (see: Josh Towers, Russ Adams, Brandon League)

I want this feeling to go away, but I can't shake it. Save me! Why do I not hate Wells?

Halladay FINALLY receives run support in victory

It's about damn freaking time the Blue Jays scored some runs for Doc Halladay! With the team giving him little run support it's no wonder the guys wants to skip town. In his previous 8 trips to the hill, he received an average of a paltry 2.6 runs, which resulted in just 1 victory for the 2003 CY Young award winner.

Sunday, the Blue Birds bats were out in full force, smacking three dingers, piling up 7 runs to aid Halladay in his 12th win of the campaign. Despite the low run support and 4 losses in the recent span of bad luck, the Jays ace has logged at least 7 innings in every contest.

What is most impressive about Halladay is his professionalism in handling trade speculation and his desire to compete hard even though the Jays are long out of the post season contention. Did you see him get angry at himself for giving up runs early in the game? That's why I love and respect him so much; despite the fact the Jays are out of it, and he could be coasting while playing out the string, he is still as fired up as he was in early April when the team was winning ball games.

Whether we keep him for next season and beyond, or if he goes to another organization, the team he winds up on is going to be ecstatic how dedicated and competitive he is.

Should Overbay or Millar hit clean up?

When Scott Rolen was dealt at the trade deadline the Blue Jays have been in search of a cleanup hitter to fill the void left by the 14 year veteran, receiving mixed results from both Lyle Overbay and Kevin Millar.

The 37 year old Millar had struggled, posting just 1 hit in 7 at bats prior to his breakout performance Sunday, where he went 3 for 3 with a home run and 2 RBI. The quality game was a shocking surprise, considering his average has dipped from .350 on May 1st to .236, driving in just 17 runs during that span.

Meanwhile, Overbay, who has started in the cleanup spot in 5 of the 8 contests following the deal, has hit for a solid .357 clip (5 for 14), but has just 1 RBI to show for it. Overbay has been non existent offensively, driving in a measly 3 runs since June 23rd after racking up 18 RBI in the previous 17 games before his swoon.

This is why the Jays need to rebuild this organization. If we are even alternating between these two guys in the cleanup role, we obviously aren't a strong enough team in the ultra competitive American League East.