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Chase Anderson Jersey

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Breaking as of November 4th, 2019, right-hander pitcher Chase Anderson has been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Milwaukee Brewers will receive first basemane Chad Spanberger in return.
After spending the last four years with the Milwaukee Brewers, it was reported on Monday morning from Robert Murray of the Athletic that Chase Anderson was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. Some were shocked about the trade news of Anderson, while some weren’t as much surprised with this news.

Anderson began his major league career with the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2009 when he was a ninth round pick in the 2009 MLB draft. His major league debut with the Diamondbacks was May 11th, 2014 where allowed one earned run in the five innings he pitched, giving him the win. His first year as a major league player, he posted a 4.01 ERA with 105 strike outs.

January of 2016 brought Anderson to the Milwaukee Brewers, 2017 being his best season where he posted a 12-4 record and 2.75 ERA. His 2019 season wasn’t as great with a 4.21 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and a .240 AVG. Although traded, he did have an $8.5 Million option for the 2020 season, and a near $9 million contract option for the 2021 season, but it seems that the Brewers were looking to trade Anderson in hopes to spend the money that was spent on him on another player in their club.

Who’s coming to the Brewers?
The Brewers acquired Chad Spanberger is exchange for Anderson, who was a sixth round pick by the Colorado Rockies in 2017. He spent last season in Double-A where he posted a .237 AVG, 13 home-runs, 59 RBI’s, and a .707 OPS. An unknown name to some, Spanberger could most definitely bring some good fire to the team to help them go towards a successful 2020 season.

NEXT: Mike Moustakas 2019 season report card

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It is unsure on the contract details in regards to this whole trade, but, Brewers fans wish Anderson the best of luck as he heads to north of the border.

Roger Clemens Jersey

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This is the award he badly craved, making no secret of how satisfying it would be, and honestly – how much he truly believed he deserved it.

It took eight years to win his second American League Cy Young Award, but this one was the sweetest for Justin Verlander, earning the honor when most pitchers his age are retired or washed up.

Verlander, 36, became the oldest pitcher to win the Cy Young award since 42-year-old Roger Clemens in 2004.

“It would mean a lot to me,’’ Verlander told USA TODAY Sports in September. “Not just because of my age, but having gone through being at the top of my game, to going down and being hurt, and having people count me out, to getting back to where I am now.

“It gives me some perspective. I am enjoying it more. Not just the age, but having gone through at being atop of my game to going down and being hurt, and having people count me out, to all of the hard work to getting back to where I am now.

“All of that does allow me to appreciate the success a little bit.’’

And, yes, there is the revenge factor. He believes he should have won the award last year, too, instead of Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay. He thought he was robbed three years ago when Boston Red Sox starter Rick Porcello won the Cy Young award when he finished second, prompting future wife’s Kate Upton’s famous Twitter comment.

“A couple of those years hurt a lot,’’ Verlander says.

NL CY YOUNG: Mets ace Jacob deGrom goes back-to-back

In 2019, Verlander won 20 games for the second time in his career.
In 2019, Verlander won 20 games for the second time in his career. (Photo: Kevin Sousa, USA TODAY Sports)

Verlander, 21-6, 2.48 ERA, and Cole, 20-5, 2.50 ERA, became the first teammates to finish first and second in the Cy Young race since Hall of Famer Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2002 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Verlander and Cole also joined Johnson and Schilling as the only teammates to reach 300 strikeouts in the same season.

Verlander received 17 of 30 first-place votes, with the other 13 going to Cole.

And their former Astros teammate, Charlie Morton, finishing third, pitching his first season with the Tampa Bay Rays.

AL ROY: Astros budding slugging wins award

NL ROY: Historic season earns Mets slugger the award

Verlander, who had three Cy Young runner-up finishes since winning the Cy Young and AL MVP awards in 2011 with the Detroit Tigers, led the AL in victories, opponents’ batting average (.172), innings pitched (223), and WHIP (0.80). He also became the oldest pitcher since Johnson in 2004 to throw a no-hitter, the third of his career on Sept. 1, against the Toronto Blue Jays. Only Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan (7) and Sandy Koufax (4) have more no-hitters.

An old-school pitcher, Verlander is an outlier in today’s game. When you ask him what statistics he loves, it’s still victories. It’s still earned-run average. It’s still innings.

“I think wins are important,’’ Verlander says. “You ask any starting pitcher. You go out there and pitch seven innings, give up three runs and lose, you don’t feel as good as you do when you give up three runs in seven innings and win. As much as people want to shy away from the wins and losses, it definitely means something to us.

“I started to amass a good number of them. It comes with being healthy, throwing 200 innings, being out there for your team, covering the extra innings your bullpens doesn’t have to. When you do that, that’s how you get those extra wins.

“That’s how you get 13 to 15 wins instead of 10. That’s how you get 17 to 20 wins instead of 13 to 15. Those extra innings, those matter.’’

Verlander, who has pitched at least 200 innings in all but one season since his rookie year, also takes tremendous pride in the amount of innings he pitches each year. He has lead the major leagues four times, including this season.

“You can’t put a number on it because people can’t quantify how valuable it is,’’ Verlander says. “Just saving the bullpen, the impact those extra innings have, and what that means.”

If you want to go slightly more advanced, Verlander says, he loves WHIP. He had the third-lowest lowest WHIP by a starting pitcher since 1900, trailing only Pedro Martinez in 2000 (0.74) and Walter Johnson (0.77) in 1913.

“I think WAR is a pretty fickle number for starting pitchers, but the WHIP, that’s our job, to limit baserunners,’’ Verlander says. “The batting average against is a nice stat, but if you’re walking three or four batters per nine innings, the way batters now count a hit as good as a walk for OPS, those walks might as well be hits.’’

This season was just another page in his Hall of Fame résumé, becoming only the 18th pitcher in to reach 3,000 strikeouts. He reached that milestone in the fifth-quickest amount of games ever.

And isn’t it ironic that in the year Verlander was the most outspoken pitcher about baseballs being juiced this season – giving up nearly twice as many home runs (36) than during his last Cy Young season (19) – he still was the best in the American League.

Verlander would love to topple one more barrier before he retires, proving, yes, that it really is possible for a pitcher to still win 300 games.

He has 225 victories, and would have to pitch until he’s at least 40 to accomplish the feat, but it’s on his bucket list.

“People can say whatever they want,’’ Verlander says, “but I’m just going to keep my head down and keep pitching. There’s a lot of work behind the scenes. I do a lot more work now than I ever did before. It’s not just in the gym sweating my ass off, it’s the maintenance, knowing my body, and always kind of adapting and changing.

“I don’t know if I can do it or not, but I’m sure the hell going to try.’’

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After two balls opened the battle, the 21-year-old leadoff hitter fouled off seven consecutive pitches — a mix of four-seamers and sliders — before Pruitt issued ball three. Then came another pair of foul balls before Bichette crushed lucky No. 13, a Statcast-projected 393 feet away to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.

Bichette’s leadoff HR on 13 pitch
Bichette’s leadoff HR on 13 pitch
00:51
Sep. 5th, 2019
It marked Bichette’s ninth home run and second career leadoff homer. His first came on Aug. 20 against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

Bichette finished 2-for-5 on the night, and has hit safely in 10 of his past 11 games — he has a .329 average with 17 RBIs in 34 career games.

“I keep waiting for him to struggle a little bit because he’s only human, and he keeps doing what he’s doing,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “It’s been fun to watch. I’ve been in the front row watching this kid break record after record. … It’s amazing what he’s doing.”

The second inning nearly brought more of the same. Bichette stepped into the box with two on and two out and forced Pruitt to throw another eight pitches — including one ball and four that were fouled off — before grounding into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. Just facing Bichette alone caused Pruitt to throw 21 pitches in his first two innings.

The right-hander needed 50 pitches just to get through two frames.

In contrast, Toronto righty Trent Thornton held the Rays to one earned run (three total) on four hits over his 4 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old also fanned four to move to 127 on the season, which tied him with Jerry Garvin (1977) for third-most strikeouts by a rookie in Blue Jays history.

“I felt really good,” Thornton said. “I felt like I was able to execute the majority of my pitches tonight, and that’s the best my changeup’s felt all year. Just when baserunners get on, I have to do a better job of limiting damage and getting out of the inning quicker, instead of elevating my pitch count.”

By the time the fifth inning rolled around, the Rays had moved ahead, 2-1, and Pruitt’s pitch count was in the high 70s. Still, the third time indeed was the charm for Tampa Bay’s starter, as Bichette jumped on a first-pitch slider and grounded out to short.

While Pruitt won that battle, Bichette also marked the last hitter he’d face for the night, freeing up the Blue Jays to work on the Rays’ bullpen.

“I threw an entire inning to [Bichette],” Pruitt said. “Then the third time, he swung on the first pitch and I said, ‘Why couldn’t you do that the first two times, man?’”

Once Pruitt was out, Bichette was rewarded for his efforts. He pounced on reliever Oliver Drake in the seventh inning, clubbing a two-run homer that tied the game at 4 — Bichette’s second career multihomer game (the first one was Aug. 20).

Bichette’s game-tying 2-run homer
Bichette’s game-tying 2-run homer
01:26
Sep. 5th, 2019
Bichette also became the fifth Toronto rookie to hit double-digit homers and 12th on the team.

The sixth inning brought with it another rookie boost, as Cavan Biggio was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and later stole second base. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drove him home on a line-drive single to deep centre field to bring the Blue Jays to within one run, 3-2, for his 60th RBI.

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The manager’s job opened up for Cito Gaston just as it always does in baseball — somebody else got fired.

On May 15, 1989, the Blue Jays fired Jimy Williams after the team had put together a 12-24 record.

General Manager Pat Gillick said the team had high hopes when Williams took the job three seasons earlier.

“We thought Jimy was maturing as a manager, we thought that he was fitting into the [manager's] seat very well, but sometimes the best-laid plans, they don’t work out,” he told reporters after firing Williams.

To fill the manager’s job, the team looked to Gaston to take over on an interim basis.

Will Cito stay?

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Will Cito Gaston stick as manager?
31 years ago 1:12
Marty York talks to Midday about the odds of Cito Gaston taking on the Jays’ manager job on a permanent basis. 1:12
Gaston had been the team’s hitting coach since 1982 and was well-liked by players. And after one day on the job, the team was 1-0 under his watch.

But some doubted he’d be able to hang onto his new role for very long.

“I think Cito is a capable man. He does command the respect of the players — I think he can motivate them — he knows baseball and I would like to see them remove that interim tag,” sports journalist Marty York told CBC’s Midday the day after Gaston had been named manager.

“But from my understanding, the only way they’re going to do that is if he should win every game during his stint as interim manager. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

The Toronto Star was just as bleak in its assessment. The paper reported the Jays would name a permanent manager within 10 days but said “Gaston isn’t on the short list of candidates.”

By the end of April, the team announced Gaston would be keeping his job until the end of the season.

‘No sense in worrying’

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‘No sense’ in worrying about the past
30 years ago 0:28
Cito Gaston seemed unfazed by the pressure as the Jays chased a playoff bid near the end of the 1989 season. 0:28
The Jays under Gaston, in fact, would continue to improve through the 1989 season. And as the end got closer — with a possible, but still uncertain playoff bid in sight — the pressure didn’t seem to be getting to their manager.

Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, (foreground), and infielders Tom Lawless (left) and Rance Mulliniks watch from the dugout in the final moments of American League Championship Series game Wednesday, Oct. 5, 1989 in Oakland. (Eric Risberg/Associated Press)
“There’s no sense in worrying about things that are in the past … being concerned about ‘em is only going to cause you a problem as far as worrying about ‘em,” Gaston told CBC, just a few days before the season wrapped.

“To me, at this time of year, you want to just stay as relaxed as you possibly can and not worry about things that happened two days ago or last night because that’s over with and you can’t do anything about it.”

Toronto finished with an 89-73 record, winning the division on the second-last game of the regular-season schedule.

And that meant the Jays would play in their first playoff series in four years.

The Blue Jays wouldn’t make it to the World Series that year, as the Oakland Athletics defeated them in just five games in the American League Championship Series.

But the Jays would make repeated and highly memorable trips to the post-season in the years to come.

2 World Series championships

Cito Gaston, shown in front right-hand corner, is seen celebrating the second Blue Jays’ second World Series win in 1993. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)
From 1991 to 1993, the Jays would win three further division titles under Gaston. The team also won back-to-back World Series championships in 1992 and 1993.

Toronto Blue Jays newly-appointed manager Cito Gaston watches warmups before a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh Friday, June 20, 2008. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)
Gaston would continue to manage the Jays until the last week of the 1997 season.

He made a comeback in 2008, when he took on his old job after John Gibbons, then in his own first stint as a big-league manager, was fired by the Jays.

The team was 35-39 when Gaston took over. They finished their season with an 86-76 record.

Just like the first time around, Gaston was hired on an interim basis. But he would end up managing the team through the end of the 2010 season.

His career record as Blue Jays manager through two stints and 1,764 games stands at 913-851, according to statistics listed on the team’s website.

To date, no other manager has taken a Blue Jays team to the World Series and no one has spent more games — or won more games — as the Toronto bench boss than Gaston has.

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Well, that’s a good question and a fair one. On a day to day basis, I’m not too concerned about the positions. The objective should be to get all your best bats in the lineup as often as possible. Playing a player in their second position or rotating them around isn’t a bad thing. Assuming they’re not a huge detriment defensively, of course. And Moustakas isn’t that at any of the three positions he’s played over his nine-year career.

Up until 2018, he was exclusively a third baseman and had no playing time at any other position. I guess this sort of feeds into another conversation and the growing need for position players that have a few homes around the diamond. The days of players playing one position are dying, aside from the more premier guys in our game. Flexibility is key. It’s why Brandon Drury is even still on this roster. Plus with all the profound shifts we see in-game, a player’s overall fielding tools are more critical. Familiarity on the diamond is essential, too, but I don’t expect anyone on this team to pull a Will Ferrell any time soon. Two or three different positions is enough — more than one at the minimum.

In 2018, Moose saw 35 innings at first base with the Royals, and the results were encouraging. He started 2019 playing second base every day for the Brewers and then made the switch back his usual home of third base at the beginning of May. His stats at both positions were very close to breaking even. He’s a glass-half-full, half-empty type defender. But the versatility that he showed has value.

I know, I know, you’re screaming at me that the Blue Jays already have someone to play third and second base in Cavan Biggio and Guerrero Jr. Well, let’s talk about those players. Vladdy’s defence was a talking point in 2019, and many were left wondering not if, but when his move to first base will happen. I’m not at that point yet. I think he has one of the best arms in the league from the hot corner. Limiting that asset at first so quickly would be a shame.

The main criticism was his conditioning. And it showed in the fielding metrics as well as the number of games he played. Again, I’m not as worried about it as others are, but I can see the concern. Here’s him working out with the gang last month – looking good, Vladdy!

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I have confidence in him. But if for whatever reason he’s not able to play the field full time, then Moustakas is head over heels a better option than Drury.

Now, Biggio is interesting because although he primarily plays second, he comes advertised as being able to play a corner OF spot as well as first base. I’m not suggesting a full-time switch at all. His defence at second wasn’t fantastic, but it was passable. In 735.1 innings, he produced -1 DRS and -0.2 UZR/150. The fact that he can play a few other spots on the diamond is valuable. Whatever composition that gets you the best possible lineup is the one you should roll. But again, as long as it’s not at a huge detriment.

Mike Moustakas isn’t Kendrys Morales, by any means. The DH spot should be used to rotate these guys around and keep them in the lineup while resting their legs. They just aren’t making any more of Nelson Cruz or David Ortiz, unfortunately.

To summarize, if they can find 447 PA for Drury and 143 between Richard Urena, Alen Hanson and Breyvic Valera, then they should have no problem adding Moustakas to the mix.

Overall, hearing names like Moustakas tossed around is a reason to be optimistic. The team has nowhere to go but up, and the front office seems set on adding to the MLB roster. How much is yet to be seen, but baby steps are better than none.

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The Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams that have met with free-agent catcher Yasmani Grandal according to ESPN’s Marly Rivera.

It’s unclear how many teams the Blue Jays are competing against on the Grandal front, but Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Tuesday that the Milwaukee Brewers want to bring him back for another season. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported last week that “all signs point” to the Cincinnati Reds making a “serious run” at the switch-hitting catcher.

Grandal, 31, is one of the top prizes on the free-agent market and currently occupies the No. 9 spot on TSN’s top 50 MLB free agents board. He had the best season of his career last year, slashing .246/.380/.468 with 28 home runs and 77 RBI in 153 games while being recognized as one of the top defensive catchers in the game. He also appeared in 20 games at first base (startinff 16) in 2019.

Prior to spending last season with the Brewers, Grandal played four years with the Dodgers and three with the San Diego Padres. He was named to the National League all-star team last year as well as in 2015.

The Jays are no stranger to making big splashes in free agency behind the dish, signing Canadian Russell Martin to a five-year, $82 million deal prior to the start of the 2015 season. Martin went on to play a crucial role in the Jays playoff runs of 2015 and 2016 before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last off-season.

The Blue Jays went with a trio of Danny Jansen, Luke Maile and Reese McGuire behind the plate last season but didn’t get consistent production from any of the three from both sides of the plate. McGuire finished the year with a nifty .299/.346/.526 slash line but saw his OPS drop considerably when facing left-handed pitching (.924 against righties, .685 against lefties). Despite 13 home runs from Jansen, neither he (.207), nor Luke Maile (.151) was much of a factor at the plate.

While Grandal is without question one of baseball’s best catchers, general manager Ross Atkins made it clear earlier this week at the GM Meetings that the Jays are prioritizing pitching this off-season.

“First and foremost, for us, we want to make sure we address every pitching need, every pitching opportunity and consider that before we lunge at the positon player market. Pitching could impact our financial flexibility.”

The Jays finished last season at 67-95 in 2019 to miss the playoffs for the third straight season.

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Juan Guzman turns 53 today.

Juan Guzman was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He was signed as an amateur free agent in 1985 by the Dodgers. The Jays traded Mike Sharperson to LA for him. One of the better trades in Jay’s history. Pat Gillick was a terrific GM.

Juan was called up to the Majors in early June of 1991; the Jay’s rotation was a bit of a mess behind the top three of Stottlemyre, Key and Wells. Dave Stieb was hurt and Denis Boucher didn’t pan out and would be soon traded to the Indians along with Glenallen Hill and Mark Whiten for Tom Candiotti and Turner Ward.

Juan made his first start June 7th and stayed in the rotation the rest of the season. He was great, going 10-3 with a 2.99 ERA. He had 123 strikeouts in 138.2 innings, gave up too many walks (66) but kept the hitting to a minimum (98). He was equally great against left-handed batters (holding them to a .201 BA) as well as right-handed batters (.193 BA). He was second in the AL in Rookie of the Year voting to Chuck Knoblauch. We lost out in the ALCS to the Twins that year in 5 games. Guzman had our 1 win in game 2 of the series.

The next year he was in our starting rotation all season, though he missed most of the month of August with a strained back muscle. He was great once again with a 16-5 record and a 2.64 ERA in 28 starts. He struck out 165 in 180.2 innings, still giving up too many walks (72) but held opponents to a .207 BA. He was selected to the All-Star team and pitched a shutout inning in the game.

More importantly, in the first of the Jay’s back-to-back World Series wins, Juan won each of his 2 starts in the ALCS win over Oakland. In the WS he started game 3 but didn’t get a decision, giving up only 2 runs in 8 innings of a game the Jays won in the bottom of the 9th.

In 1993 we won the World Series again and again Juan was a big part of our success, he was 14-3 in 33 starts with his highest ERA in his career to that point, 3.99. He still walked way too many, 110 in 221 innings. He also gave up more hits than he had in the past, giving up a .252 BA, which is pretty good still but not near as good as he had been his first two seasons. The trouble was a drop in effectiveness against left-handed batters who hit .282 against him, while righties hit just .223. And he was third in the league in strikeouts. He received a Cy Young Award vote. Two other Jay pitchers finished ahead of him in the voting, Duane Ward and Pat Hentgen. Jack McDowell from the White Sox won the award that year. Unfortunately, the writing was on the wall for his arm as he was allowed to throw 120 pitches or more in 12 starts. Cito was never gentle with young pitchers.

Once again won his two starts in the ALCS, this time against the White Sox, but Dave Stewart won the Series MVP for his two wins. Really they had very equal series, Stewart gave up 3 runs in 12.1 innings, Guzman 3 runs in 12 innings. They each gave up 8 hits, Stewart walked 8, Guzman 9, Stewart struck out 8, Guzman 9. Juan also made two starts in the World Series, getting a no decision in a game one win and taking the loss in game 5.

Juan was lousy the next two lockout/strike shortened seasons with ERAs of 5.68 and 6.32 and a combined 16-25 record. He still walked more than a batter every other inning but he was giving up more than a hit an inning as well.

But then in 1996 he found the touch again, leading the league in ERA at 2.93, winning 11 and losing 8. He really cut down on his walks, walking less than a batter every 3 innings. He also pitched better against lefties (.224 BA).

1997 was an injury filled season for Juan, he only made 13 starts with a 4.95 ERA and a 3-6 record. In 1998 Guzman made 22 starts for the Jays before being traded to Baltimore on July 31st for Nerio Rodriguez and Shannon Carter. Yeah we didn’t get much for him but then he didn’t do much for the Orioles before they traded him to the Reds on July 31st, 1999. He made 12 good starts for the Reds then signed with the Rays as a free agent before the 2000 season. He made 1 crappy start for the Rays and his shoulder was wrecked. That was the end of his career.

Juan had a pretty good 10 year career finishing 91-79 and a 4.08 ERA. He struck out 7.5 per 9 innings. He was wild, walked way too many and led the league in wild pitches in 1993 with 26 and 1994 with 13. He was slow and deliberate on the mound. He was very poor at holding runners. He threw a sinking fastball, rising fastball, slider and curve. Bill Mazeroski said he had “Incredible stuff and he’s just wild enough for hitters to have that in the back of their minds’.

He also had the cool jheri curl.

Juan Guzman’s place among Jay pitching leaders:

bWAR: 6th (21.0)

ERA (>500 IP): 18th 4.07

Wins: 7th (76)

Hits/9IP (>500 IP): 6th (8.14)

Strikeouts/9IP (>500 IP): 9th (7.63)

Games: 28th (195)

Innings: 6th (1215.2)

Strikeouts: 4th (1030)

Games Started: 6th (195)

Walks: 4th (546)

Wild Pitches: 1st (88)

Happy Birthday Juan. I hope you have a good one.

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Carlos Delgado turns 47 today.

Carlos Delgado was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The Blue Jays signed him as an amateur free agent in 1988, when he was just 16. He went through the Jay’s minor league system as a catcher. He quickly became our top prospect; he hit 30 home runs in Dunedin in 1992 at 20 years old and then 25 the next season at Double-A Knoxville.

Carlos got called up to Toronto at the end of the 1993 season, our second World Series winner, but only got into a couple of games. The Jays gave him a ring anyway. The next season he started the year with the Jays. He played most of the games for the first couple of months, playing left field. Things started well, he had a 1.028 OPS on April 24th with 8 home runs, but it went downhill from there. He was sent back down to the minors in early June. He was hitting .215/.352/.438 when he was sent down. Cito never has had any patience with young players, it would have been nice if some patience was shown here. Bill James said that he would be an MVP candidate by 2000. He turned out to be an MVP candidate several times.

In 1995 the Jays brought Delgado up at the end of April but Cito used him mostly as a pinch hitter and he didn’t hit much in the 25 at bats he was given that month (it was more important to keep Joe Carter’s .300 OBP in the lineup) and was sent back down. They brought him back up in September and he did play more but still didn’t hit much.

Finally in 1996 Carlos got to stay up with the Jays for the full season, DHing most of the time, he hit .270/.353/.490 with 25 homers and 82 RBI. After the season the Jays traded John Olerud to make room at first base for Carlos.

Over the first couple of months of the 1997 season Joe Carter played first base and Carlos DHed but by late May Delgado took over at first and played there for the next 8 years. He had a great year hitting .262/.350/.528 with 30 homers and 91 RBI.

In 1998 Carlos played first base full time and his numbers took another big jump. He hit .292/.385/.592 with 38 homers and 115 RBI. He got MVP votes for the first time in his career and finished 5th in the league in slugging average.

He had another great season in 1999, hitting .272/.377/.571, setting a new career high in homers with 44, RBI with 134, runs with 113 and walks with 86. He won his first Silver Slugger award and finished 12 in MVP voting. He tied George Bells single season team record for RBI. He would have set a new record but he missed the final 10 games of the season, breaking his tibia fouling a ball off his leg.

In 2000 Carlos played in all 162 games, led the league with 57 doubles. He hit .344/.470/.664, had 41 homers and set a new team record with 137 RBI. He also took 123 walks and led the league being hit by pitch 15 times. He made the All-Star team for the first time, came in 4th in MVP voting, won the AL Hank Aaron Award (for best hitter) and was the Sporting New Player of the Year. He also got his second Silver Slugger award. Carlos finished 4th in the league in batting average, 2nd in on base average, 2nd in walks, 2nd in slugging and first in total bases.

His .664 slugging average is the Jays single season record .344 BA and .470 OBP are both the second best in Jay history. That season is also the Jay season high in total bases, doubles, walks, extra base hits and runs created. He was AL Player of the Week twice and had a 22 game hit streak. He was one of 7 Jays to hit 20 homers and one of 3 with 30.

Delgado played in all 162 games again in 2001. His numbers dropped off some from the year before, hitting .279/.408/.540 with 39 homers, 102 RBI and 111 walks. Pretty decent for a down season. It was his 4th consecutive season with over 35 HR and 100 RBI. He also stole a base for the first time in his MLB career.

His numbers fell off a bit more in 2002. He hit .277/.406/.549 with 33 homers, 108 RBI and 102 walks. He finished 4th in the league in OBP, 8th in slugging and 4th in walks. Carlos was the first Jay to hit 30 homers in 6 consecutive seasons and 100 RBI in 5. He missed a game August 4th to snap a streak of 432 consecutive games played. Then went on the DL for just the second time in his career, later in the August, with a stiff back.

Carlos had a bounce back season in 2003, hitting .302/.426/.593 with 42 home runs and a new career and franchise high in RBI with 145 which also led the league. He made the All-Star team, got the Silver Slugger award and came in second in the MVP voting. He finished 2nd in slugging, on base, home runs and walks.

It was his 7th straight year with 30 home runs, 6th 100 RBI and 5th with 100 runs. Among other achievements, he had 97 RBI at the All-Star break and 4 home runs in a game on Sept. 25th. HE reached base 334 times, setting another team record.

2004 was Delgado’s last season with the team, he missed about a month of the season with a strained rib cage and missed getting to 100 RBI for the first time since 1997. He still had 32 home runs and hit .269/.372/.545.

After the season Carlos was a free agent and the team decided not to try to sign him. JP was trying to cut salary and Carlos made $19.7 million in 2004. He signed a 4 year contract with the Florida Marlins. I felt that Carlos got blame for the team not making the playoffs. I find bad organizations (and often fans) will blame the team’s best player for the team’s short comings. We heard enough of that during Jose Bautista’s early years with the team.

After one season with the Marlins, they decided to cut payroll and traded Delgado to the Mets for Mike Jacobs, Yusmeiro Petit and Grant Psomas. Carlos played for the Met for 4 seasons, making the playoffs for the first time in 2006, losing out to the Cardinals in the NLCS in 2007.

Carlos retired with a .280/.383/.546 batting line and 473 home runs in 2035 games. He was one and out on the Hall of Fame ballot, only getting 3.8% of the votes in 2015. He deserved better.

Rob Neyers ‘Big Book of Baseball Lineups’ lists him as the best Jay first baseman. It also calls him the worst defensive first baseman in Jay history too. Considering John Mayberry played first for us too, that’s saying something. He’s right, Delgado was never much with the glove, but I don’t think we ever had a better hitter.

Carlos was awarded the Roberto Clemente Award in 2006 for ‘good play and strong work in the community’. He does work for many charities in Puerto Rico.

He has had his moments of controversy. He protested the war in Iraq by not standing during ‘God Bless America’ (he was ahead of his time). He said ”I just feel so sad for the families that lost relatives and loved ones in the war. But I think it’s the stupidest war ever.”

He is married and has a son and a daughter.

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The Angels announced Tuesday that Hall of Famer Tony La Russa has joined the organization as a senior advisor to the baseball operations department.

“I’ve admired Tony for a very long time,” general manager Billy Eppler said in a press release announcing the move. “As our paths have crossed over the years, Tony and I discussed the potential of working together and we’re excited to finally get that opportunity. Adding his knowledge and experience will be an invaluable piece to the success and continued development of our baseball operations efforts both on and off the field.”

La Russa, 75, has spent nearly six decades working in professional baseball as a player, manager and front-office executive. He played parts of six seasons in the Majors from 1963-73 and, in 1979, embarked on a legendary managerial career that would eventually lead to his enshrinement in Cooperstown. A four-time Manager of the Year winner who has six League Championships and three World Series rings on his resume, La Russa managed the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals to a combined 2728-2365 record across an incredible 33 seasons in the dugout.

He more recently had a less successful run as the Diamondbacks’ chief baseball officer, working alongside since-fired general player-turned-agent-turned-manager Dave Stewart in Arizona from 2014-17. La Russa resigned from that post after the D-backs dismissed Stewart and brought in current general manager Mike Hazen. He subsequently joined the Red Sox as a special assistant to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski prior to the 2018 season. He’d reportedly been expected to remain in the Boston organization but will instead now tackle a new opportunity with the Angels organization.

In his new role with the Angels, La Russa will “assist in all areas of baseball operations including Major League player evaluations and minor league development,” per the Angels’ announcement.

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PHOENIX — With an eye on the future of the Blue Jays, questions remain about some of the organization’s up-and-comers, as well as what direction the club will continue to take as it moves forward.

In this week’s Inbox, we take a closer look at the successes of a couple of Toronto’s prospects in the Arizona Fall League, as well as how the Blue Jays approach to Elvis Luciano could shift what some other clubs might do in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft, and where the expectations might be for a potential return on closer Ken Giles.

A late addition to the Scottsdale Scorpions roster in the Arizona Fall League, Julian Merryweather has appeared in two games, throwing one inning in each outing. He’s shown impressive command and increased velocity — crediting the rehab process — as he’s continued to make his way back from Tommy John surgery.

“All that downtime that you’re taking for your arm, you’re able to put in work in other areas of weakness,” he said. “So whether it’s mobility or strength, the strength and conditioning aspect has gotten so good now that guys are coming back so much stronger and in better shape and moving better. That’s a huge reason for it, so it’s the double-edged sword of knowing you might be throwing harder but your arm might not be ready for it at a certain stage.”

The 28-year-old right-hander is expected to make two more appearances before the fall season comes to a close and has felt great so far as his 20-month comeback from Tommy John continues. Merryweather originally returned to the mound in June, throwing two innings for rookie-class Bluefield and four innings for Class A Advanced Dunedin five days later. But after another couple of days, he came to the realization that his arm might not have been completely ready.

“I felt fine for the four innings, had good velocity for all four innings, didn’t see a crazy drop, so that was a good sign,” Merryweather said. “It was just the recovery phase, I wasn’t prepared for that, I guess. A couple days later it was like, ‘Wow, this is not great, this does not feel great right now.’

“I thought, ‘Oh no, I tore it again,’ and everyone has their dramatic thoughts like your life is over, but once the training staff checked it out, they knew there was nothing wrong with the ligament … but it was definitely my arm telling me it was not ready for the amount of workload it was. So we’re doing things differently this time to prevent that from happening.”

Beyond his time with the Scorpions, Merryweather will proceed with regular offseason activities, and is likely to head to Triple-A Buffalo out of Spring Training, where he was slated to land before his arm derailed him in June. — Alexis

What’s your perspective on Jackson Rees and his progression through the Jays system — could you see him starting in New Hampshire in 2020 knowing his history of injuries and [trouble] consistently throwing strikes based on how much his pitches move?
– Jon C.

Jackson Rees has been one of the most impressive hurlers in the Fall League over his small sample size of 7 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old right-hander has appeared in six games and allowed five hits, walked one and struck out 12 over that span, showing impressive stuff and earning a roster spot among the Fall Stars.

After making his way to Dunedin this season and finding success in the Florida State League before dominating with the Scorpions, a natural progression for Rees could be to head to Double-A New Hampshire out of Spring Training, if the undrafted free agent signing continues his dominance ahead of the ‘20 season. — Alexis

What the Blue Jays did with Luciano should be a model for other organizations, especially those without realistic hopes of contending in ‘20. Yes, most teams enter a season eyeing at least an outside run at a Wild Card spot, but a quick glance at the Astros and Nationals shows just how wide of a gap exists between the good teams and the great ones.

For Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins, the entire process of selecting and rostering the 19-year-old Luciano was about the rarity of the opportunity. Young, athletic right-handers with multiple pitches that profile at the Major League level don’t grow on trees. This is about quantity as much as quality, too, and the Luciano experiment ended with the Blue Jays adding a high-upside arm for free, in baseball terms.

I’d argue that Major League Baseball in 2020 caters particularly well to Rule 5 picks, even before the 26th roster spot gets involved. Versatility is valued highly by some clubs, and the opener strategy — or bullpen days — means that teams are burning through plenty of relievers over the course of a season. If you have a spot for a seventh right-hander or second utility player, why not roll the dice on someone who could provide long-term value?

Other organizations noticed what the Blue Jays did with Luciano, so it will be interesting to see if the appetite for risk increases across the league this December. — Keegan

“What should the Jays expect in a Giles trade and could it land them a decent OF prospect? Maybe [someone] like Brandon Marsh?”
– Craig P.

Let’s give Atkins the first word on this, as he was asked about Giles during his year-end media availability.

“We’ll weigh what it means to have him versus what it means to trade him for some other value,” Atkins said in early October. “He makes a significant contribution, so we would have to factor in that subtraction if we were to trade him. Thinking about it from a strategy standpoint, he’s been exceptional. He had an incredible year, so he’s not someone that we would have to say we are open to trading. I’m sure there will be significant interest in him.”

There’s an argument to be made that the Blue Jays could keep Giles into the season, wait for a new closer to emerge by July and flip him at the Deadline. That’s a risk with a 29-year-old reliever who throws gas, though, as a down year is always lurking just around the corner at baseball’s most volatile position.

Finding a comparable trade is difficult, given the shifting value of relievers. This would not be another case of Aroldis Chapman for Gleyber Torres, who was baseball’s No. 24 prospect at the time, with the Yankees.

This past July’s Shane Greene trade from Detroit to Atlanta might be closer in line to expectations. The same goes for the Marcus Stroman deal, where the Blue Jays acquired a pair of pitchers who ranked outside of the MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects but were highly regarded. A prospect on the edges of the top 100 would make sense to lead a package, and the Blue Jays have plenty of groundwork laid if they choose to explore it actively. — Keegan