The latest from Toronto…
- Russell Martin reflects on a tough year in an interview with Sportsnet.ca’s Jeff Blair, and needless to say, the veteran catcher is hoping for better things in 2019 for both himself and his team. Martin hit just .194/.338/.325 over 352 plate appearances this season, an unimpressive slash line that could end up being his final number, as Martin has barely played in September due to the Jays’ desire to give playing time to younger catchers Danny Jansen, Luke Maile, and Reese McGuire. Martin has seen additional time at third base this year and even performed spot duty as a shortstop and left fielder, though in regards to his future as a catcher, “I’d like it to be a competition and force [the Jays] to make a decision” in 2019, he said. Martin is owed $20MM next season, his last under contract, though he isn’t likely to receive more than a backup catcher or overall utilityman role since the Blue Jays are in rebuilding mode.
- Blair’s piece also includes the notable item that the Braves had interest in Martin last offseason while trying to find a trade partner for a Matt Kemp deal. Atlanta ended up sending Kemp to the Dodgers in a fascinating five-player trade that had major salary ramifications for both teams, and resulted in a big on-field impact as well in 2018, as Kemp enjoyed a comeback season and Charlie Culberson and Brandon McCarthy both contributed to the Braves’ NL East-winning campaign. Last winter, however, the Braves were simply trying to get Kemp off the books, and it’s interesting to wonder what type of “bad contract swap” could’ve been cooked up between the Braves and Jays, particularly with former Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos running Atlanta’s front office. If Martin had ended up a Brave, he likely would’ve seen a lot more third base time this season, as the Braves already had Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki as a very productive tandem behind the plate.
- “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston,” Ken Giles tells The Toronto Star’s Rosie DiManno about his first eight weeks in a Blue Jays uniform. Giles came to the Jays as part of the controversial deadline deal that sent Roberto Osuna to the Astros, and continued his season-long trend of excelling in save situations but pitching poorly in non-save appearances. While his results may not have differed, Giles said his comfort level is much higher in Toronto than in Houston, as “it was like the communication was lost” this year with the Astros. “I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place,” Giles said. The Blue Jays, by contrast, “stayed patient with me. I said, hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable….Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that.“
- Giles projects to be the Jays’ closer in 2019, though the bullpen as a whole will need some attention this offseason, Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith writes. Toronto is expected to look at adding veteran relievers in trades and free agency to bolster a unit that could face a heavy workload next season, given that the Jays will be planning on a young and inexperienced starting rotation. As well, veteran additions (as well as incumbent relievers like Giles) could also be turned into trade chips at the next July deadline, such as how the Jays have dealt the likes of Seunghwan Oh, Joe Smith, and John Axford over the last two years.
Stupid article. Russell Martin would have played 3B with Atlanta? He would have been cut just like Bautista. Camargo did fine.
Why wouldn’t they just cut Kemp then?
the article says that he would have seen more time at 3rd. Doesn’t mean he would have started and played over Camargo. It means that he would have played more 3rd base than Catcher.
the feelings mutual Giles
I would have been ok if the Astros just released Giles. He’s a loose cannon and overall dipshit. Plus he’s not very good.
Hes a great talent who was put in a place that he wasnt comfortable lol. He was just fine in Philly
So he’s only good on poor performing teams and with little pressure?
Fine in Philly and kicking ass in Toronto
My son has a 2017 WS poster that has 6 players, and 1 is Giles. Every time I see that I remember how the Astros won in the playoffs despite him, not because of him. Hinch stood by his closer in the offseason, and even through the first half of this season. Even after Giles punched himself in the face. It wasn’t until Giles cursed his manager on the mound for taking him out of a game he was getting hammered in that they finally demoted him. Even then Hinch took the high road. Now Giles says he’s happier. Lol Well, Astros fans are happier, too. Good luck trying to win in Toronto while your former team is making another WS run.
I think that was Giles probably. it was his first time ever playing in a team that actually won, and it couldn’t handle the pressure, so of course he’d be happier playing in a non contender again and have all that pressure be absent
yep, I definitely think that was 95% of the issue to be honest… can’t handle the pressure
He would not have been cut like Batista, there’s a matter of $20M owed next season whereas Jose’s contract was this year only.
Giles has pitched decent for the Jays, but they should not have reacted as hastily as they did based on fan pressures in moving Osuna. The kid is one of the best closers in baseball, and trading him before having any real evidence as to what happened in his domestic case was unwise.
I’m a Canadian, so I don’t mind saying that we have become so concerned about offending anyone in our country right now that the answer to any controversy, warranted or not, is to overreact and just give in and apologize.
The last Indians series here a couple of weeks back is a perfect example. We all already know that Chief Wahoo is gone at the end of the year, yet we still force the Indians to remove him from the sleeves of their jerseys.
Save a copy of this post just in case it gets removed.
Giles has great stats – not. Most major leaguers can hit a fastball even at 100 mph. Might be better with the Jays because of the lack of pressure.
The 90s called and they want their put down back.
Lol! A 90’s insult for using a 90’s term.nice.
This was one guy that the Pittsburgh Media never brought up much when the Pirates failed to re sign him after 2014. It lasted through 2015 but when he tailed off making huge money, the media guys plaiN forgot about him. Not allowed to say the Pirates front office did the right thing……
That was also back when Pirates fans understood they can’t just throw money around and have to be smart with their dollars. Now look…
They brought in Cervelli, who played well in 2015. I guess they could move forward from Martin.
The Astros were playing at a high level and needed Giles to produce. He wasn’t and was not acting like a professional. He’s gone and now Houston has the best bullpen in baseball along with some young pitchers who are producing at a high level. Sorry YOU couldn’t produce Ken, good luck in Toronto.
I like that Giles actually opened up. He’s obviously a head case. It’s good that he’s gone.
Well yes Ken, of course a non contending team is going to have the time to baby you despite poor performances.
Matt Kemp homered for 1,000th RBI on his 34th birthday.
3-for-4 and homer turned game into an early 2-0 lead, and two-run single made it 8-0. (Dodgers won 14-0)
Go Kemp!!! (No clue why everybody hates this guy)
Kemp is a quality ballplayer except when he is hurt. It is a double whammy for him, being hurt affects his mood and those around him, probably affects his motivation too. When he is healthy, Kemp is a rockstar.
Bluejays fans have no idea what the slash line is for a mlb catcher these days. Listen to the 590, everyone calls in nearly every single day always complaining about how the back up catcher is batting .205. Ive heard this since the Greg Zaun days. With that said Martin has been not good this year. But everyone knew that when he got signed the last year or two were probably gonna be really bad. That’s what you get when you sign free agents.
Now Martin still has a decent OBP so there will be someone willing to trade for him next deadline, especially in a era where position flexibility is sought after. Are the jays going to have to eat like all of his money? Yes probably
If the backup catcher could hit he’d be a starter. Jays fans cannot grasp that.
Just curious, could Toronto have suspended Osuna after his MLB suspension? Have him miss the rest of 2018 and potentially brought him back in 2019?
They could have but he’d have appealed. MLB should have suspended him for the rest of the season but they can’t put their proverbial money where their mouth is.
So…. he hasn’t been convicted of anything, and hasn’t had his day in court, but you think MLB should have suspended him for the whole season??
Yeah you’re right. His partner probably just fell down the stairs and that’s where all the bruising came from. Silly Davidcoone. How dare you suggest such a logical thing
Where is this picture? I haven’t seen one picture/video of the lady.
In other words; Giles couldnt handle the pressure of being on a contender. Yeah, he’s got closer’s makeup. Good friggin riddance.
We likely are not contending next year. But we also dont need to tank for a top 5 draft pick.
I would like to see them shop Smoak Pillar and Travis. Get back w/e pitching prospects we can get. Let the kids play a full year (or after may in vlads case)
We can feild
2b. Guerriel jr/drury/diaz
Ss. Tulo/Gurriel jr/Diaz
Of. Any combination of McKinney Hernandez Grichuk Smith jr Alford and Davis. First 3 likely starters
C. Jansen / McGuire
Sp Sanchez Stroman Borucki Reid-foley Pannone
Bench Diaz Drury Morales Martin and one of the other 3 OF above (would still love pompay to get a final shot)
BP still has Giles to close Tepera to set up and Biagini and Barnes who have all been above average at certain times the last 3 years plus Mayza for our lefty out the pen
That just leaves a few BP additions and some SP depth for the inevitable injuries that will occur.
I cant imagine any big FA deals. It makes no sense.
We then get to look forward to
Sp. Nate Pearson TJ Zeuch and Eric Pardinho
Inf. Bichette Biggio Smith Groshans and later Orelvis Martinez (being compared to a young Beltre)
OF. We dont have much in the OF that isnt already on the cusp of the majors right now ( listed above) but players like Biggio are being asked to learn RF and LF in anticipation their bats can play
If all goes right. We could compete for a last wild card spot. But I mean everything needs to go right. If it goes badly. We then trade Sanchez Stroman and Giles before the deadline to get players that fit better with the young new core coming.
Blair and AA go way back to the Expos days. I believe Blair when he says Martin was discussed with Atlanta. Add to the fact AA overbid on Martin the first time around, wouldn’t have been shocked to see him attempt to deal Kemp to offset the salary.
Giles is shaky. No pressure closer. Jays need him to perform early next year to deal him. It’s all about building his worth at this point.
Martin’s value is to mentor the catchers. Jansen, and if they put McGuire on the team. Could carry all 3 but don’t see that happen. More likely McGuire starts in AAA.
So Giles refused to listen to Astros brass and Astros media/fans and plays the pity-me card. Then says he is glad to be gone so he can work on his pitches … all 2 of them. The difference is that Houston is competing for a WS ring and needed a closer that could do his job instead of punching himself and cussing out coaches.