The second most shocking thing about the Vernon Wells trade — after the Angels actually agreeing to it — was the fact that it left the Blue Jays with only $17.4 million in payroll commitments for 2012. The conventional wisdom when that news started to spread was that all of that freed-up money would be used to lock up 50-homer-man Jose Bautista. If that’s the plan, it hasn’t been made operation yet, because as Jon Paul Morosi reports, the Jays haven’t even approached Bautista with an offer yet.
Not sure I would either. I’m prepared to admit that the changes in Bautista’s swing in 2010 led him to achieve a new level of homerly-goodness that he will sustain for some time, but I’m not sure I’d wager a multi-year deal on it. If I was writing the checks in Toronto, I’d like to see another season of big power from the guy before grabbing the pen. Yes, that’s a gamble too inasmuch as Bautista will be a free agent after 2011 and could go anywhere, but who’s to say this isn’t 1961 Norm Cash or 1973 Davey Johnson we’re talking about?
It may cost the Jays the couple extra million they’re going to have to pay if they lose their arbitration case. It may cause Bautista to look for employment elsewhere in 2012 if he goes crazy again. But really, I’d be loathe to give the guy a multi-year deal after what could very easily be the best year he’ll ever have.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: