Well, that escalated quickly. And then it sort of deescalated.
Mike Saunders, new left fielder acquired from Seattle, spoke extensively about being thrilled to bits about being a Canadian playing for the only MLB team in Canada. Also, about being wanted after being jerked around by the Mariners. I was feeling a little annoyed about the failure to re-sign Melky Cabrera, but many people tried to convince me that Saunders was a decent replacement (in a numbers balancing sort of way) for less money. I wasn't particularly satisfied, but I got over it and was ready to see what Saunders could do.
Saunders then promptly tripped on a sprinkler head shagging fly balls and bunged his knee up real good. Like, "out till the All Star Break" good. This happened three days into camp. The injury was so fluky that it felt a little like the baseball gods hate Mike Saunders. And because of our association with Mike Saunders, the baseball gods hated all of us. And things were dark.
I had concerns about the depth of the team (which is a legitimate concern) and I was thankful, at least, there were no sprinklers in the Rogers Centre that could be used to punish us. That's right, in a dark moment, I lost my mind and was thankful there was no grass. I wasn't the only one who went insane. People on sports radio were actually questioning why Saunders was already at camp. I don't know what they were expecting, exactly. Should he be cryogenically frozen until an appropriate time and have this totally freak injury happen sometime in March?
Yesterday, there was good/bad news on the Saunders front and I learned something about knee surgery. Saunders tore the cartilage in his left knee. That's bad. It was so damaged, that instead of repairing it (and keeping him out until the All Star Break), they just removed 60% of it. Doing that shortens his recovery time to mid-April. That's good. Unfortunately, removing cartilage could lead to arthritis later on down the road. That's bad.
I know next to nothing about knee injuries, but I'm assuming that the fact that Saunders, because had cartilage damage anyway and will have the regular wear and tear on his knee that comes with being an aging pro-athlete to contribute, the likelihood of arthritis whether he got cartilage removed or not would be pretty great anyway.
In other news of broken bodies, the Jays signed former Cy Young winner Johan Santana to a minor league deal with some fun incentives if he makes starts with the big league club.
I think there are two things going on here. If the press surrounding the team is accurate, the Jays are trying to work on the clubhouse dynamic. Josh Thole, who caught Santana with the Mets, basically thinks he's the best.
“First off, I think as a person he takes the cake,” said Thole. “He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever played with … He also has fun and he keeps the clubhouse loose and keeps the guys having the camaraderie. He really brings it together.”
They also look a little like they might make out in that picture above. It's very snuggly. Thole caught Santana's no-hitter a few years ago, so there might be a lot of love.
The other thing Santana brings is that changeup, which according to Anthopoulos is still there, is pure filth. The changeup is my favourite pitch, because I think it's just mean. Even if Santana sticks around long enough to give changeup tips to the baby Jays, I think it'd be almost worth it.
“The stuff was still good in the winter,” the GM said.”The changeup’s still there. He’s a great competitor, a great athlete. And it’s a minor-league deal, so we really don’t have anything to lose.”
Anthopoulos also called Santana "cerebral", which is nice, too. Although, what is he going to say, "We allocated funds to a guy who has a lot of issues. Not only is he injured a lot, but he's a mouth-breathing idiot who is also kind of an asshole."
As Stoeten highlighted the other day, Keith Law had some things to say about Dalton Pompey on the Baseball Tonight podcast:
I do hope for Toronto that this means Dalton Pompey ends up on the Major League roster from day one, because I think he’s ready, and I think he gives them a couple of things they need: good defence, baserunning value, and he’s one of their better on-base threats — particularly outside of Joey Bautista. They need somebody at the top of the lineup to get on base for them, and I really think his plate discipline, his calmness at the plate, is unusual for his age, and I think he can contribute right away, even if it’s just in those limited way.
Bonus points for calling him "Joey" Bautista. Isn't it nice to talk about baseball again? Pompey could be a big star in this town in an unprecedented local boy way. And I'm really, really looking forward to it.
If I had a dollar for every time Cal worked me over, physically, I'd be a pretty wealthy guy.
Ripken's legend in Baltimore and in the wider baseball community is well-known, but are we really surprised Ripken is an asshole? Is this new information? I remember reading David Wells' book from the 90s and he basically said Ripken was a bully that took advantage of dudes where he could.
Speaking of Ripken, lost in the shuffle over the winter was the story on Deadspin wondering just what the hell happened when Cal Ripken's mother was kidnapped in Maryland in 2012. This isn't to say that Ripken had anything to do with the kidnapping of his mother, but it was a weird story that I had completely forgotten about. In my research, I discovered that Buck Showalter's mom was also robbed at gunpoint in her home in Arizona. Seriously, stop robbing baseball moms. The Showalter story features this choice quote about the dog that lived there, “That dog didn’t stay around much longer,” Showalter said. “Didn’t do a very good job.”