Jays could be in wild-card heaven
By BOB ELLIOT, QMI Agency
|The good news for the Toronto Blue Jays from MLB commissioner Bud Selig is that an extra wild-card team will be added in each league. (STAN BEHAL/QMI Agency)
The question has been asked of Blue Jays officials since the season ended.
“Is this the year to spend and make a run at a post-season berth?”
Of course there has never been an answer.
And there wasn’t one as the general managers and owners meetings came to a close in Milwaukee on Thursday.
The good news for the Jays from commissioner Bud Selig is that an extra wild-card team will be added in each league.
Selig, however, was uncertain whether the extra berths will be added in 2013 or next season.
It all depends upon the completion of a new basic agreement with the players’ association.
At the World Series Selig said extra wild-card berths could be added if a new agreement was completed by the American Thanksgiving (next weekend). However, if all parties agree by the winter meetings (Dec. 4) there should be time.
Now, the “is this the year?” question can’t be answered until a new agreement is reached.
And it won’t be answered until the Jays land a free-agent or make a deal that betters the Jays’ chances.
At least the Jays will be able to fatten up playing the sad-sack Houston Astros, who will move to the American League West in 2013.
EXTRA CHANCE: How many times would the Jays have missed out on the playoffs the previous 18 years if the two wild-card format had been in place? Exactly one. The 1998 Jays under manager Tim Johnson with Cy Young award winner Roger Clemens, sluggers Carlos Delgado, Jose Canseco and Shawn Green was the only year ... Who missed out the most? The California/Los Angeles Angels who would have grabbed the second wild card four times. The Seattle Mariners, Oakland A’s, Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins missed twice each ... The Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox missed out once each. The 2007 race would have ended in a tie between Detroit and Seattle ... The Jays’ latest chance at the wild card came Aug. 12, 1999 under manager Jim Fregosi with a half-game lead in the wild-card over the Red Sox. But the Jays then faded, losing eight of nine.
MANAGERIAL MOVES: After Robin Ventura and Mike Matheny — both with zero managing or coaching experience — were hired by the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals respectively — Dale Sveum became a red-hot property. After all he managed 12 games for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008 when owner Mark Attanasio hit both the panic button with 12 games remaining, firing manager Ned Yost. Sveum suddenly had two dates to the prom with managerial offers from both the Chicago Cubs and the Red Sox. Sveum chose the Cubs. He had coached third in Boston for two seasons starting in 2004 and was booed for getting runners thrown out ... The Cubs ideal tandem was Texas Rangers pitching Mike Maddux with brother Greg Maddux as his pitching coach. But Mike didn’t want to leave the Rangers.
WHO REMAINS?: The Red Sox are now looking at former Rangers and New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine who was not on their original list ... The Sox told Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin he was out of the running. Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo, Gene Lamont and Sandy Alomar Jr. had been in the mix.
PITCHED BATTLE: The Yomiuri Giants, the Yankees of Japan, are having a family feud according to the Mainichi Daily News. Yomiuri GM Hidetoshi Kiyotake, 61, blasted team club chairman Tsuneo Watanabe, 85, for intervening in the selection of the coaching staff. Watanabe fired back, saying, “(Kiyotake’s) actions violate the duties of a director as laid out under company laws.” Besides being the CEO Watanabe is boss of a newspaper publishing company, the Yomiuri Shimbun Group, where he serves as editor-in-chief. Kiyotake was once a reporter for the group’s flagship paper ... Teams in Japan are named after owners not cities like in North America. So, this would be comparable to Bob McCown and Nelson Millman of the Rogers Communications Blue Jays squabbling.