Toronto Blue Jays Also Going Retro with New Logo, Uniforms (Picture)

Everybody’s doing it.  The latest MLB fad appears to be rocking old school uniforms.  On Friday, the Blue Jays said out with the new and back with the old, much like the Mets did earlier this week when they unveiled their new retro look for 2012.  Check out Toronto’s 2012 uniforms and logo, courtesy of Hardball Talk:

Once again a win in my opinion.  The Jays’ last uniforms were a little too new school, especially for a franchise that has won World Series rings in the past.  Their fan base isn’t quite as hopeful that the new uniforms will rescue the team in the way Mets fans are hoping, but Toronto could certainly use a boost in the AL East.  We’ll see what types of magic powers these old school uniforms will hold come April.

White Sox Believed Blue Jays Were Stealing Signs on April 13th, 2010

ESPN published a report Wednesday detailing accusations that the Toronto Blue Jays were stealing signs. They cited four players who told them about the Blue Jays’ methods for stealing signs. According to the players, the Jays had a man dressed in all white sitting in the center field seats. The man would put his hands on his head when the pitch was something other than a fastball. Having this information would eliminate some of the guess work that goes into hitting at the Major League level and provide an advantage at the plate.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous dismissed the claims saying they’re stupid and that there is no truth to it. Catcher J.P. Arencibia and former CF Vernon Wells laughed off the report. Right fielder Jose Bautista dismissed the report and confirmed it was the White Sox who had made the accusations detailed by ESPN.

Thanks to the detective work of Steal of Home, we are confident the game in question has been identified. On April 13th, 2010, the Chicago White Sox believed the Toronto Blue Jays were stealing signs. Here’s what happened that game.

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Toronto Blue Jays 2011 MLB Preview: Big Changes Lead to Big Questions

Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox the top World Series favorites. We’ve already looked at the NL Central and NL East and this week we will analyze the AL East teams not based in New York or Boston. On Monday we looked at the Tampa Bay Rays and today we’ll cover the Toronto Blue Jays; Wednesday: Baltimore Orioles.

The Unknown: Toronto Blue Jays

Off-Season Moves: Toronto had about as busy an off-season as any team in baseball, most notably trading away center fielder Vernon Wells — and all but $5 million of the $86 million he’s owed over the next four years — to the Angels for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera. Napoli was almost immediately sent to Texas in exchange for right-handed reliever Frank Francisco. Along with Wells, the Jays lost last year’s primary left fielder, first baseman and catcher in Fred Lewis, Lyle Overbay and John Buck, respectively.

Outfielder Rajai Davis (pictured below) was acquired from Oakland for two minor leaguers as an economical replacement for Wells. They also traded rightie Shawn Marcum to the Brewers in exchange for highly-touted second base prospect Brett Lawrie. Finally, Toronto appeared to do as much as possible to bolster the bullpen, signing righties Chad Cordero, Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch.

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Blue Jays Trade Shaun Marcum to Brewers, Sets Up Deal for Zack Greinke?

Shaun Marcum is a very good American League pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays who reportedly was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday night. There were no indications that the Blue Jays were looking to deal the right hander who has just over three years of major league service time and made just under $1 million last season.

Marcum emerged in 2008 going 9-7 with a 3.39 ERA in 25 starts before hurting his arm. He had Tommy John surgery and missed all of the 2009 season, but he bounced back with a 13-8 record and 3.64 ERA this past year. Marcum is turning 29 years old and seems to be an asset and centerpiece of Toronto’s pitching rotation, begging the question: why would they want to trade him?

The only answer that makes sense is that the Blue Jays are preparing to make a deal for Zack Greinke. Greinke is sick of playing for the non-competitive Kansas City Royals and wants out. Though he has a no-trade clause, he reportedly is willing to accept a trade to any team. Rotoworld has been all over the Greinke trade rumors and pointed out that the Blue Jays have been making a push for the Cy Young winner.

It’s quite likely that trading Marcum for minor league prospects is a precursor to a Zack Greinke trade. Whether the Blue Jays intend on flipping some of the players to KC or keeping them to re-stock their system we don’t know, but one of the two must be the case. Why else would they trade a valuable player like Shawn Marcum?

UPDATE: The Brewers likely gave up second baseman prospect Brett Lawrie in the trade.

Warning: This May Give You Goosebumps

I’m a tad late getting to this, and many of you have probably heard it by now.  However, I wanted to share this little story with any of our readers who haven’t heard it.  It’s one of those that will pull at your heart strings and maybe even give you a little perspective.

Last week, Toronto Blue Jays infielder John McDonald lost his father, Jack McDonald, to liver cancer.  From what I read, Jack was a very well-liked person and a respected official for baseball, basketball, and football in the Connecticut area.  John and his father were extremely close, and before Jack died he told his son to hit his next homer for him.  John told his dad that that wouldn’t be easy, considering at the time of their conversation he had hit only 13 home runs in his 12-year career.

On Saturday, John returned to the Blue Jays after an 11-day bereavement leave. He appeared in his first game back on Sunday, which just so happens to have been Father’s Day.  Skipper Cito Gaston put him in the game in the ninth inning as a defensive replacement.  When John got up to bat in the bottom half of the inning — his first at-bat since returning from being with his family — you can probably guess what he did.  He belted a homer over the left field wall and rounded the bases pumping his fist and fighting back tears.  Here’s what John McDonald had to say about the homer:

“We had talked about the type of player I am before I came back,” McDonald said, “and the fact that I don’t hit a lot of home runs. He said, ‘Hit your next one for me.’ So the fact that I got that out of the way quick was nice.”

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John Gibbons’ Grandma Predicted Future

Pretty much anytime you hear of a manager throwing literal punches at one of his players, you know he doesn’t have a very good grip on things. I’m actually surprised Gibbons lasted this long. The Blue Jays have a good team, though their lineup has underachieved. There have been criticisms of Gibbons that he didn’t use his excellent bullpen enough. My retort is that when you have starters as good as Toronto’s are, you probably wouldn’t use your pen too much, either. Anyway, my favorite part of this news, aside from Cito Gaston being brought back, is that Gibbons’ grandmother was all over this news two months ago:

For manager John Gibbons, one nice thing about the Toronto Blue Jays’ current road trip was the opportunity to visit his 96-year-old grandmother, who lives a few miles north of the city, in Beverly, Mass. But there hasn’t been much else nice happening for Gibbons lately. Heck, even his grandmother knows that. Upon seeing him, her first question was, “Are you going to be fired?”

That was in April. Now, finally, almost two months later, he’s finally been “relieved of his duties.” What the heck is up with that expression anyway? Relieved from his duties? What, was it a burden? Was he taking a leak while working? What does relief have to do with it? How bout this one: he was FIRED because he was underachieving. I like that a lot more. And now Cito Gaston’s back, which makes everything worth it.

Frank Thomas Did Not do Steroids or HGH

With the Mitchell Report out and much of the congressional hearings over, it has come to our attention that Blue Jays DH Frank Thomas was the only active player to speak to Senator Mitchell while the investigation was being conducted. Even though the Union isn’t happy about that, I am, and so is Frank. The Big Hurt had some pretty strong words to defend his choice to speak with Mitchell:

For me, I’ve always been my own man. No one’s going to tell me not to talk to anyone, especially when I’ve got nothing to hide.

“There were a lot of guys who wanted to speak out,” Thomas said. “I’m glad I did speak out, because if I didn’t I would’ve been on that list of ‘Wouldn’t talk to George Mitchell.’ That would’ve put a stain on my career and I’m not going to let anyone stain my career.”

“It’s obvious now that there were a lot of guys involved with steroids and HGH. I’m shocked, because I played in that era and had to compete against it. But I’m shocked there were so many guys involved.”

I like everything about what Frank said. I’m glad he spoke out because he faced the man straight up, and there’s no better way to prove you have nothing to hide than meeting with the man face-to-face. It’s also pleasing because now we have at least one stud from the 90s that we can say did it cleanly without a question or hint of doubt. Much like PostmanR who directed my attention to the story, this makes me happy as a guy who’s always liked the Big Hurt.