THURSDAY IN ORLANDO
It’s been a busy day already in Orlando today. The Rule 5 Draft took place this morning and the Blue Jays took SS Jason Smith in the Major League portion of the draft. Below is a copy of the Blue Jays press release on Smith.
SMITH, 28, spent the 2006 season in the Colorado organization playing for both the Colorado Rockies and Colorado Springs Sky Sox (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League. He was signed this past off-season (Nov 12) by the Chicago Cubs as a minor league free agent. The 6’3″, 200 lb., left handed hitting infielder batted .263 (26-99) with five home runs and 13 RBI in 49 games for the Rockies, while also posting a .291 average (41-141) with nine doubles, five triples, four home runs, and 23 RBI in 41 games at the AAA level in Colorado Springs. The native of Meridian, Mississippi has appeared in 166 Major League games covering the past six seasons (Cubs 2001, Tampa Bay 2002-03, Detroit 2004-05, Colorado 2006), and has played at all four infield positions over that span.
The Blue Jays did not lose any players in the Rule 5 and did not make any selections in the Minor League phase of the draft.
Also in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 former SkyChiefs catcher Josh Phelps was selected by the New York Yankees. Phelps who spent all of the 2006 season with the Governor’s Cup Champion Toledo Mud Hens had already signed a Minor League Deal with the Baltimore Orioles for 2007 but now will be added to the Yankees 40-man roster.
One would think that the Yankees, who did not resign Craig Wilson, are bringing in Phelps to compete with Andy Phillips for playing time at first-base and DH. With Damon, Abreu, Giambi, Matsui and Cano all hitting from the left side, Phelps could provide the power from the right side the Bronx Bombers are looking for.
After losing out on Ted Lilly yesterday it appears the Blue Jays have also lost out on the Gil Meche sweepstakes. ESPN’s Steve Phillips is reporting that Meche will be signing a 5-year deal with the Royals pending a physical.
The Blue Jays are now expected to target Jeff Suppan and Mark Redman for their starting rotation. If the team is unable to sign one of those guys the team would look to Shaun Marcum, Casey Janssen, Francisco Rosario, Dustin McGowan and Josh Towers as possible 4th and 5th starters. Rosario and McGowan are both out of options while Marcum and Janssen have options remaining and could return to Syracuse with out having to be designated for assignment. The Blue Jays however may look to get another option year for McGowan (similar to a redshirt) because he missed a year due to an arm injury. The Jays did the very same thing last year with Rosario.
New SkyChiefs president Ron Gersbacher and team mascot Scooch appeared on Bridge Street this morning with Rick Geary and Julie Abbott. Gersbacher donated two 2007 season tickets for Bridge Street’s efforts in raising funds for the Children’s Miracle Network. Also while on the show it was announced that the SkyChiefs are holding a special gathering next Monday, December 11th for a major announcement.
The team has been teasing media members this week with clues to what the press conference is about and while on the air handed out today’s clue a conductor’s hat.