This has to be about the best compliment Alex Anthopoulos could have received for the job he's done rebuilding the Blue Jays over the off season; Boston GM Ben Cherington saying the Red Sox organization is going to have to re-examine the way it does trades after being beaten to the punch by the Blue Jays on at least one major deal, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
The Red Sox also wanted Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson from the Marlins, but in some way were outflanked by the Jays in that mammoth deal that also landed lefty Mark Buehrle, catcher John Buck (later traded), and super utility man, Emilio Bonafacio.
Cafardo also wondering aloud if the Jays might be interested in one of the few big name free agents left on the market; speedy centre fielder Michael Bourn. He speculated the Jays could trade Colby Rasmus and then sign Bourn, who has stolen over 40 bases five times in his seven year career.
The rumour, while interesting, doesn't make too much sense from a Jays standpoint. As much as he tailed off in the second half last year, Rasmus is still under club control for this season and next and just signed a one-year deal worth $4.675 million to avoid arbitration.
Bourn, a free agent and a Scott Boras client, wouldn't come cheaply and Rogers has given every indication through Anthopoulos the club is through spending in this off season, with the payroll coming in at around $120 million for 2013.
The most shocking story of the weekend concerns the plight of Cardinals manager and former Blue Jays catcher Mike Matheny. Trying to establish himself away from the game back in 2008, he and a partner went heavily into debt to purchase a parcel of land in what was a good location for development. Then came the real estate market crash and Matheny found himself in over $10 million of debt. He lost his dream home and his family was forced to move in with the in-laws. Matheny still owes in the neighborhood of $4 million and the courts have ruled he must make restitution to the bank that loaned him the money in the first place. Fortunately, he still has his job managing the Cardinals.
Baseball lost two giants of the game over the weekend and two of the 64 living Hall of Famers. Earl Weaver, "the Earl of Baltimore," passed away at age 82 while taking part in an Orioles fan cruise aboard a luxury liner.
Weaver was one of the great characters of the game and an incredible manager whom I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing in the early years of the Blue Jay.
Yes, he had some incredible Hall of Famers on his roster over the years including Cal Ripken Jr, Eddie Murray, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer, but Earl's record was incredible. In 12 of his 17 years, his teams won 90-plus games, and of those 12, he had five seasons of over 100 victories.
The Blue Jays, although they have won two World Series, have never had a 100 victory season, though five times they did break 90.
Earl Weaver was also the O's manager for the only forfeited game in franchise history. It happened on September 15th, 1977 at Exhibition Stadium. It wasn't the greatest of nights and in anticipation of heavier rain, a tarp had been placed over the Blue Jays bullpen mound down the left field line. It was anchored down by bricks or rocks. The O's were trailing 4-0 through four-and-a-half when Earl decided to pull his team off the field. He was convinced the tarp and the rocks were a hazard to any of his fielders trying to make a catch around that mound in foul territory. Home plate ump Larry Barnett called it a forfeit when Weaver refused to play on. The game went into the books as the shortest in Blue Jays history at an hour and five minutes.
The other great one who left us was Stan Musial. Stan "the Man" carved out a niche in St. Louis Cardinals baseball that will never be equaled. Three times he was named most valuable players in the National League and he helped the Cardinals to three World Series titles.
Unfortunately, no matter how great he was, Musial was over-shadowed for the most part by the great American League debate over who was the greatest between Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. All three played the bulk of their careers before the golden age of television. Imagine if they were all playing today?
Nearly two years ago in Washington, President Barack Obama presented Stan Musial with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honour a civilian can receive, for his contributions to society.
As great an athlete as he was to all who knew him, Stan Musial was an ever better person.