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Ferguson: A closer look at the Jays' second base situation

Scott Ferguson
9/28/2012 12:08:33 PM
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Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays only had the pleasure of watching Roberto Alomar ply his trade at second base for five seasons. In that short span, Alomar laid the ground work for this Hall of Fame career as he lead the club to three division titles, two American League Championships and back to back World Series victories.
 
Alomar set the bar so high, it's hard to think of anyone now or in the future who could even come close to filling his cleats. That brings us to today, where Kelly Johnson will almost certainly be moving on at the end of this season as a free agent.  While he's a decent enough fielder, Johnson just couldn't hit consistently enough and struck out far too much.
 
It won't be easy to fill that void at second though. Obviously, the likes of Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia are untouchable. The Rangers' Ian Kinsler has six more guaranteed years on his contract worth $75 million plus an option year.
 
The Brewers Rickie Weeks bouncing back from an sub-par 2011 campaign is the Brewers nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, so he's not going anywhere.
 
Astros budding young star Jose Altuve had a day declared in his honour by the Mayor of Houston this past week.  The Reds Brandon Phillips is a keeper as well.
 
Two ex-Jays are having very good years in the National League with Aaron Hill at excelling with the Diamondbacks and Marco Scutaro with the Giants.  Dustin Ackley is having a down year with Seattle, but probably isn't available.
 
So the pickings are pretty slim, unless you continue to build from within. One other possibility might be Jemile Weeks, Rickie's younger brother who seems to have fallen out of favour with Oakland.
 
Jemile's stats fell way off this season from what he did a year ago, and at one point this season he was farmed out to Triple-A.   He is a lead-off hitter with some stolen base ability, which is two items the Blue Jays could use.  Who knows, he could even turn into a Brett Lawrie type pick-up, if the A's are willing to move him.
 
Failing that, the Jays most viable option would be moving Adeiny Hechavarria to second.  That would likely mean that Yunel Escobar, with the "Eye Black" controversy behind him would be sticking around at shortstop.
 
The only upside of that would be the Jays would have more money to spend on starting pitching, which is clearly their biggest need anyway.

It's still a little worrisome when you consider the lowly Cubs probably have a better middle infield combination with Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro than the Jays do.

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The Detroit Tigers overtaking the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central has to be the Yankees worst nightmare.  They've met twice in the ALDS in the last six years, and the Tigers won both times, 3-2 last year and 3-1 in 2006.

The way things are set up this year, the first two games of the best of five should they meet would be played at Comerica Part, the last three at the new Yankee Stadium. The way the Tigers pitching staff is clicking right now ( as long as Max Scherzer's shoulder is OK), the Yankees could easily go home down  2-0  facing either  Doug Fister or Anibal Sanchez who are both pitching their best ball of the season right now.
 
Staying with Fister, on Thursday afternoon, he set the American League record by striking out 9 Royals in the row.  The MLB record is held by Tom Seaver, then of the New York Mets, who struck out the last 10 Padres of the game in a 2-1 victory over San Diego in April of 1970. One of the 10 he struck out was former Blue Jays' manager Cito Gaston.

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Milo Hamilton a Hall of Famer and one of the last of the old guard, ended his incredible career as a Major League play by play voice this week in Houston. After 28 years behind the "Mike" with the Astros and almost 60 years in total calling big-league ball, his final game as a full-time  announcer came in Houston's final  home game, a 2-0 victory over St. Louis.
 
I say Full-time because Milo intends to do other work for the club next year and might even return to the booth for guest appearance or two next season.  Milo may be 85-years-old , but he could still probably call another season or two.
 
The Dodgers great Vin Scully who turns 85 on November 29th, will be back next year for his 64th season in the booth. The tradition continues.



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