Sunday, March 30, 2008

Weekend Roundup

Today is Alex Rios Contract Extension Day--JP's arbitrary deadline for a deal--and it is with great fear and trepidation that I check the news to see if this thing has got done or what. At the bargain price Rios has apparently agreed to extend for, 6 years at $65 million, it would be a Shakespearean tragedy to see this thing get caught up on some form of no-trade clause. If Rios does in fact end up going year to year until declaring free agency, rest assured that he will not be had for so little...

McLeod reported yesterday afternoon that JP had yet to hear back from Rios' people. Yesterday Bastian reported that Our Great Leader was getting pretty chippy on the subject:

"We've talked about this enough," Ricciardi said Saturday when asked about the Monday deadline.

If a contract extension is not reached by Monday's pregame meeting, the deal won't get completed until the end of the season. When asked about the status of talks, Rios was uncertain.

"They're still talking," he said of the negotiations. "I guess we're close ... I think."

Weak. Doesn't he know that the unwashed masses of Jays fandom need a piece of good news to make up for the loss of Casey Janssen and the flukey injury to Scott Rolen? So selfish, JP, never thinking of us.

Fidlin at the Sun checked in this morning and still nuthin'. If it doesn't get done today, JP is still saying he won't reopen talks until after the season.

(Fidlin also notes that Stairsy is still bothered by a sore hip and will not be playing in the season opener tomorrow at Yankee Stadium. It'll be interesting to see if that means Shannon Stewart hits in the two hole against Chien-Ming Wang, a prospect that displeases me for some reason. And Shaun Marcum, the starter for Friday's home opener, absolutely stunk up the joint in his final spring tuneup against the Yankees AAA affiliate.)

Tony Massarotti at the Boston Globe wonders why the Jays are offering Rios so much money in the first place (say what?), but then presents the rather curious observation that there was a precipitious decline in homerun production from AL outfielders last year. Seriously, not a one hit 30 dingers. Have we turned back the clock to 1989, when 36 Fred McGriff dingers was good for the league lead? Well, not exactly. More likely just a blip in the radar, but still, interesting.

So there you have it, folks, absolutely nothing to report on the Alex Rios front. I'll check in later tonight if there's any good news to pass along.

The weekend series against the Phillies gave us an idea of what lineup Gibby will use until Rolen gets back. Take it from here Jeremy Sandler:

David Eckstein and the left-field platoon of Shannon Stewart and Matt Stairs, Alex Rios will bat third, Vernon Wells fourth and designated hitter Frank Thomas fifth.

Against right-handers Lyle Overbay will bat sixth and Aaron Hill will bat seventh, with the two flip-flopping against lefties while Scutaro will hit eighth and the catcher’s spot will be ninth.

If you didn't catch it in yesterday's Globe, here's Blair's season preview. McLeod curiously picks the Rays to finish second in the AL East (whatever!). Here's Griffin's crappier, wronger preseason prediction article. He too thinks the Rays could pass our side this year, too. Seriously, fuckers, what are you smoking? What, you want more Griffin? Ok, here you go. And this, in Wilner's soothing dulcet tones, is a more agreeable read.

ELSEWHERE:

* Not content with North American domination, the Bosox are apparently cooking up some sort of business arrangement with Bobby Valentine's Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan. Long story short, the deal would give the Beantowners even greater access to Japanese manpower to further butress the cash advantage they already have in the amateur draft and the crooked, inherently unfair posting system. Never fear, though; Bosox brass will be the second ones up against the wall after the revolution begins. Guess who's first?

-- Johhny Was

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