8:41 PM EST, Fri January 28, 2022
5 hours ago
Assessing the 1986 Blue Jays drafts

Assessing the 1986 Blue Jays drafts

A pitching heavy draft with college whiffs at the top but salvaged by a future Cy Young winner from Michigan In 1985 the Toronto Blue Jays finally ascended to the promised land, breaking through to win the AL East with 99 wins. The only downside to that was picking last in the following year’s draft (three spots behind the Cardinals who won an MLB-best 101 games thanks to the mechanics of ordering). 1986 was also the last year of the both the January drafts, and the regular/secondary phases. Starting in 1987, there was just one consolidated June draft. June...
11 hours ago
Happy Birthday Lyle Overbay

Happy Birthday Lyle Overbay

Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/ Former Blue Jays’ first baseman Lyle Overbay turns 45 today. Lyle came up to the majors with the Diamondbacks. He played a handful of games in 2001 and 2002 before making the Diamondbacks out of spring training in 2003, after being listed as Baseball America’s 65th best prospect. He didn’t do great and was sent back to the minors after playing in 86 games. In December 2003, they sent him to the Brewers as part of a ten-player trade. The big-name, going to the Diamondbacks, was slugger Richie Sexson. Sexson only played 21 games for the...
Jan 27, 2022
Happy Birthday Ken Huckaby

Happy Birthday Ken Huckaby

Former Blue Jays catcher Ken Huckaby turns 51 today. Ken was a 22 round pick by the Dodgers in the 1991 draft. He was in the Dodgers system for seven seasons, making it to Triple-A. Then he bounced from the Mariners, Yankees, Diamondbacks and finally landed with the Jays. Out 2002 season started with Tom Wilson (not the hockey player nor the member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) sharing the catcher’s job with Darren Fletcher, but Fletcher was having a lousy year and retired in the middle of it. Huckaby played in 88 games, the most he had in his six seasons. It turned out to...
Jan 26, 2022
Assessing the 1985 Blue Jays drafts

Assessing the 1985 Blue Jays drafts

The Jays found one important future piece in an unlikely place In 1984, the Toronto Blue Jays continued their rapid ascent up the ranks of the American League, taking the step from respectability to bona fide contenders. Although they finished 15 games behind the 104-58 Tigers juggernaut, 89-73 was good for the second best record in the American League. For that purposes for drafting however, that meant picking second last in 1985 (despite only having the fifth best record in baseball due to the mechanics of the ordering). There was one stroke of good fortune however. While the...
Jan 26, 2022
Wednesday Bantering: Ortiz to the Hall of Fame

Wednesday Bantering: Ortiz to the Hall of Fame

Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Happy Wednesday. I had a few days away from the everyday world. I went up to see my mom and sister and some friends. Unfortunately, I missed seeing my son because he had been exposed to Covid at work and wasn’t feeling well. He tested negative on one of those rapid tests, but the test was likely wrong. The topic of conversation, with everyone, seemed to be mental health. A friend’s dad passed, which brings up things even when you know it is coming. And, of course, the whole pandemic has turned up the...
Jan 25, 2022
Yesterday in history: Jays “settle” for Tom Henke

Yesterday in history: Jays “settle” for Tom Henke

Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/ It worked out for the best that the California Angels had priority in the January 1985 free agent compensation draft 37 years ago, Major League Baseball held the last of four largely ill-fated free agent compensation drafts that were conducted from 1982 to 1985. Famously, the Toronto Blue Jays plucked Tom Henke from the Texas Rangers, obtaining an instrumental piece of their future contending teams in the shutdown closer at the end of the bullpen that they had long sought. What isn’t usually mentioned is the huge stroke of good fortune...
Jan 25, 2022
Announcement: A new commenting system is coming to Bluebird Banter

Announcement: A new commenting system is coming to Bluebird Banter

Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports Coming Thursday, comments will look different. Hey everyone. I’m Tanya, and I oversee all of our baseball communities for SB Nation. This Thursday will be a big day for our community: we’re moving our comments to a new platform, developed especially for SB Nation. All of our MLB communities will be moving to the new platform, and I’m excited about the change. Some of you may already be familiar with this new platform as it rolled out to our NFL communities in 2020 and to many of our soccer sites and our NHL and NBA communities last...
Jan 24, 2022
Assessing the 1984 Blue Jays drafts

Assessing the 1984 Blue Jays drafts

Photo by Ronald Martinez/ Lacking a 1st rounder, they made gambled on upside in the 2nd and found a longtime MLB player in the 3rd Building on the strong above-.500 finish to 1982, in 1983 the Toronto Blue Jays achieved two franchise firsts. At 89-73, they both avoided the cellar and finished above .500 for the first time while flirting with contention and even leading the division in late July before a swoon knocked them out for good (ultimately finishing 4th nine games behind Baltimore). Looking to continue that momentum and move closer to the top of the pack, the...
Jan 24, 2022
Monday Bantering

Monday Bantering

Photo by Rich Schultz/ I’ve been taking a couple of days off from the world. I’m in Edmonton, visiting my mom and sister, friends and having supper with my oldest boy tomorrow. And there has been little for baseball news. It doesn’t seem like there has been any movement in the talks between the Players and the Owners. I’d call it depressing, but there are many other things going on that are more depressing, I don’t know that this should crack the top 10. Just get it done. Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers have the latest here. This comes close to news: I want to...
Jan 21, 2022
Today in Blue Jays History: Vernon Wells Trade

Today in Blue Jays History: Vernon Wells Trade

Photo by Abelimages/ Eleven years ago today, Alex Anthopoulos managed to trade Vernon Wells, something that I figured was pretty much impossible. The Angels took Vernon and his rather large contract in exchange for Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli. We were: shocked. And then giddy. It took a couple of days before we could look back at Vernon’s time with the Jays. At the time of the trade, Vernon was owed about $86 million over the next four years. His salary was to jump from $15.7 million, in 2010, to $26.1 million in 2011. So it was the perfect moment to trade...
Jan 21, 2022
Assessing the 1983 Blue Jays drafts

Assessing the 1983 Blue Jays drafts

It yielded no direct impact for the Jays, but one player worked out and spawned a long chain of future Jays In 1982, the Toronto Blue Jays sniffed respectability for the first time, being above .500 in the second half. Ironically, 78-84 still left them tied with Cleveland for the AL East cellar, so while they were out of the top five spots for the first time, at 9th overall they were still drafting much higher than a team within spitting distance of breakeven usually does. June Draft Drafted/signed: 23/16 (70%) High school/college: 10/13 (5/10 and 11/13...
Jan 20, 2022
Happy Birthday David Eckstein

Happy Birthday David Eckstein

Photo by: Nick Laham/ David Eckstein turns 47 today. Eckstein had a ten-year MLB career. One of those seasons was with the Blue Jays. Well, 2/3s of one. After the 2007 season, with the Jays finishing, once again, in third place, J.P. Ricciardi figured the way to make up the 13 game difference between our Jays and the Red Sox was to add ‘proven winner’ Eckstein. I’m exaggerating some, he also traded Troy Glaus to get Scott Rolen. And added Rod Barajas, and an ageing Shannon Stewart. Eckstein was going to give us that bit of grittiness that the team needed. He was...
Jan 19, 2022
Assessing the 1982 Blue Jays drafts

Assessing the 1982 Blue Jays drafts

Photo by Focus on Sport/ Another whiff at the top, it’s not a Borders-line call to say but all’s Wells that ends Wells with Key finds later on For the third time in their five years, the Toronto Blue Jays finished with the worst record in baseball in 1981. But once again it came in an odd numbered year, meaning that the National League had the first pick in the subsequent year’s draft. 1981 was the year of the two month strike, and it was truly a tale of two seasons. In the first half, the Jays went an abysmal 16-42, progressing to a respectable 21-27 in the...
Jan 19, 2022
Three Blue Jays on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects List

Three Blue Jays on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects List

Photo by Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Baseball America has released its top 100 prospects list. There are three Blue Jays on the list. The Jays on the list: #7: Gabriel Moreno They say he’s shown “premium hitting ability, growing power and plus defense”. And that he’ll give the Jays ‘another young homegrown All-Star”. Last year he was 12th. #62: Nate Pearson “Pearson’s repeated injuries and inconsistent control make him a potential reliever rather than a starter, but he has excellent stuff.” Last year he was #55. #75: Orelvis Martinez “He is...
Jan 18, 2022
Happy Birthday Brett Lawrie

Happy Birthday Brett Lawrie

Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/ Brett Lawrie turns 32 today. It seems like he should be much older. It seems like so long ago that we were talking about his potential. We thought we had a Canadian-born star in the making. We picked him up from the Brewers in trade for Shaun Marcum, on December 6, 2011. We thought we got the better part of the deal (Brett was #40 on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list), but the trade didn’t work out for either team. Brett came up to the Jays in August 2011, after a couple of injuries in Triple-A slowing his ascent to the majors...