- Frank Thomas being released (apparently) so early in the season might be a sign of what the Jays will do with their payroll after this season or next. It's also a clear indicator there is urgency.
Thomas' $10-million option is the smoking gun, obviously. Pete Toms predicted on Opening Day that whether Thomas' getting his minimum 376 plate appearances he needs to activate his 2009 contract would be the funnest story of a baseball summer in Toronto, but Frank didn't even survive the spring. (Make no mistake, wherever he lands -- Seattle, Tampa Bay -- he will start hitting. That's a given.)
The major off-season story with the Jays will be how big a payroll the Rogers bean-counters authorize for 2009, '10 and '11. It's possible they'll see a team that's spent its way to the middle of the AL East and shut the tap off; like Baseball Prospectus 2008 noted, owner Ted Rogers is bound to ask, "What am I paying for?" if there's no Game 163 this season. Cutting salary would probably hasten the departure of Godcciardi, as some wags have dubbed Paul Godfrey and J.P. Ricciardi.
The stripped-down Jays could go with younger players, retreads and a few second-tier stars and still get the 22,000 diehards. The size of baseball crowds in Toronto tend to hinge most on the weather, the day of the week, and the geographical promiximity of the visiting team, anyways, so being the AL answer to the Florida Marlins is in the realm of possibility.
- There seems to be some confusion over whether the Jays are on the hook for the balance of Thomas' 2008 salary. (Hat tip to P.T.)
- This should flare up some Barry Bonds talk. It's only natural to wonder if it's happening in Seattle too, given the way the Mariners are hitting. The Mariners' big outfield prospect, Wladimir Balentien, was injured in a Triple-A game on Saturday.
Some of the Seattle fans are making the people Wilner puts up with on a daily basis seem patient and rational.
- Shame on the former Manitoba resident who forgot that Orioles closer George Sherrill played in the indie leagues with the Winnipeg Goldeyes in 2002-03. His manager then, Hal Lanier, is in the Can-Am League now. His manager now, Dave Trembley, managed the Ottawa Lynx. See how it all comes full circle?
- UPDATE: Catcher Pete Laforest, the Gatineau native, drew his release from the Philadelphia Phillies organization over the weekend. (The UORB had the pickup.) Our Ottawa Rapids only have one catcher signed so far... just sayin'.
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