While Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris have chimed in, none of this “Clay Buchholz is cheating” talk is coming from Blue Jays players or management. And it probably won’t. The Blue Jays don’t want to go accusing someone of cheating and then have their own dirty laundry aired.
The Red Sox, for instance, still seem to think the Blue Jays are stealing signs in Rogers Centre games. This was something that first came up a couple of years ago and eventually spurred an ESPN Outside the Lines investigation that found four players willing to say they’ve witnessed someone in the center-field stands relaying signs to hitters. Orioles starter Jason Hammel said last year that he thought something shady was going on.
Of course, the 2013 Red Sox, more than any other team in baseball, know exactly what was going on with the Blue Jays in 2011-12, given that they now employ Toronto’s former manager, John Farrell, and third-base coach, Brian Butterfield. And while those two haven’t spoken up about anything like sign stealing, they’ve continued to employ the method the Red Sox first used in 2011 of having the catcher give multiple signs to the pitcher with no one on base. It’s something they’d have absolutely no reason to do unless they thought someone in the field of view — such as behind the center-field wall — was watching.
Corey Dickerson of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn’t a super huge guy or anything, but he’s going to be smaller this year: he told reporters today that he’s lost 25 pounds. He attributes it to a new diet and a workout regimen and says it’ll help him with his running, swing and throwing.
Dickerson had a down year in 2016, so if losing 25 pounds is something he thinks will work for him he’s got nothing to lose. Of course the best way for him to improve his numbers is to convince the Rays to trade him back to Colorado, but that’s not likely.
As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.
We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.
James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:
Spring training is less than a month away, folks!