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1) Rumors about Jeff Samardzija being available and the Jays perhaps considering making a play if they are in contention near the end of July. The reported price for the Jays was Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. Would you make that deal? The Blue Jays are in first place in the AL East. Read that again! The Blue Jays are in first place in the AL East!! I have visions of thousands of people outside of Rogers Centre just like there were for the Raptors outside of the Air Canada Centre. How much fun would that be? The AL East will be won by a general manager; not by players or managers this year. Who will make the moves that will give his team the advantage to separate from the pack? When is the last time we saw the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays as vulnerable as they are this season? This is the best chance in the last two decades that the Jays have to win the division. When I was in the front office of the New York Mets, John Gibbons was a manager and coach in the farm system there. When I got the Mets GM job it was Gibbons who made a statement that impacted me tremendously. He said, "Go for it. You dont know how long these jobs last or how many opportunities you will get to win, So Go For It!" That stuck with me and when I had chances to be a playoff team I did what I needed to do to get there and win. That included trading away some very good prospects to bring in winning players. I never regretted trading away prospects in years I made the playoffs. I searched "Toronto Blue Jays" online and went to the Jays Wikipedia page. Interestingly, the chronology of the Jays history is broken down by the era of the general manager. There is the Pat Gillick era, Gord Ash era, JP Riccardi era and now we are in the Alex Anthopolous era. It is time for Alex to write his legacy for his era. Go For It Alex! Prospects can get general managers fired. We all have waited for top prospects to impact our major league team and have seen many of them fizzle away. This is the year to go for it. Trade away what it takes to get Jeff Samardzija. He is darn good. If it takes both Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez then so be it. Do it now. Dont wait. Get Samardzija for as many starts as you can. He is still young and in the prime of his career and you control his contract next year as well. Dont wait until the trade deadline. Be the team that people are trying to catch at the deadline. This is the year that will define the Alex Anthopoulos Era. I hope he goes for it! 2) Did you like the decision to send Stroman back down to continue starting in AAA, or should the Jays have kept him to help the struggling pen? It was definitely the right decision to send Stroman down to the minors to assume his spot in the starting rotation. It is the best thing for Stroman and the best thing for the Jays. Stroman pitched like a youngster in his first stint in the majors. He got knocked around a bit coming out of the bullpen. He isnt an obvious solution out there. He has more value going back to AAA as a starter in case he is needed in Torontos rotation. The main reason he needs to go back to AAA and start though is for marketing purposes. He is a chip for Samardzija or any other starting pitching deal that the Jays will consider. Toronto needs Stroman to go down and pitch successfully at AAA so another teams scouts and general manager can dream about him in their rotation. It is not a matter of IF Stroman will stick in the big leagues, it is just a matter of WHEN and with WHOM. 3) The Jays swept the Red Sox, who fell to 20-26, 4th in the AL East. Whats wrong in Boston with the champs? This is an interesting question because in some way it means that we are surprised that the Jays could sweep the Red Sox. The Sox clearly have issues but in detailing those I dont want to take away from the Jays who outhit, outpitched and out defended the Sox. The Jays won by playing Blue Jays baseball the way the team was built to play. The Red Sox are struggling and those struggles are indicative of some serious issues. They are not nearly the team they were a year ago. In 2013, the Red Sox led the AL in runs scored by a wide margin (+57 runs on second place Detroit). They also were in the upper half in pitching with their starting rotation ranked fourth in the league. This season not much is going right for the Sox. They are ranked a respectable sixth in the league in pitching but only because their bullpen is significantly outpitching their rotation. The starters have a combined 4.50 ERA which is ranked 12th among the fifteen AL teams. The Red Sox find themselves trailing in games quite often since their starters give up early runs. That ultimately impacts the quality of the at bats of the hitters as they feel more pressure to produce. The offence is the biggest issue for the Sox. They average 5.26 runs per game in 2014 and just 4.04 per game this year. That tells you all you need to know. The Sox won 97 games in 2013 because they could score in any number of ways. They had great team power (fifth in HR) and great team speed (third in stolen bases). This season they are 10th in HR and 14th in stolen bases. This is a team wide struggle and is most prevalent against right-handed pitching. They are just 10-20 against right-handed starting pitching whereas they were 65-43 last season. Certainly the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury to the Yankees couldnt have been this substantial or is it? Consider that Ellsburys stat line last season vs. right-handers was .328/.374/.489. Plus he stole 39 bases in those games. The Red Sox are barely on pace to steal that many bases as a team this season. Ellsburys replacements in CF, Grady Sizemore (.233/.307/.344) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (.209/.313/.279) are not doing much to make Red Sox fans forget about Ellsbury. It is not solely the loss of Ellsbury that is hurting the Red Sox against righties: Davis Ortiz is significantly less as well but that may be tracked back to Ellsbury too. Without Ellsbury on base in front of Ortiz he is getting much different pitches to hit. The Red Sox need much better starting pitching if they are going to win the division. They are also going to have to find a catalyst offensively (and it wont be the recently signed Stephen Drew) and they are going to need David Ortiz to have his best season ever. I thought Ellsbury was significantly overpaid by the Yankees but maybe he was worth it….to the Red Sox!!! 4) When we were kids growing up, we all played baseball and at times imagined ourselves as major league players. I have four boys and love to ask them what they want to be when they grow up. "I want to be a baseball player," says one. Another says, "I want to be a football player." During basketball season I get, "I want to play in front of Raptors fans." Another son says, "I want to be a baseball analyst." He is my favorite. Most sports fans at one point or another dreamed of playing professionally. When we grow up we all want to be general managers. We call in to talk radio shows with opinions about players and trades and free agents. It seems like such a great job doesnt it? The first two months of this baseball season has made me remember the pain of being a general manager. John Steinbeck wrote in his 1937 novel Of Mice and Men, "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." Well isnt that the truth. You all want to be a general manager but there are days that I would have rather been raking the field than making decisions about the team. So often in baseball you can have the right design and configuration of your roster but stuff happens: injuries, underperformance, marital problems, etc. There are so many unpredictable variables that can impact a teams results. The Dodgers started the season with the best one-two punch in baseball with Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, but Kershaw hurt his back and has missed time. The As and Rays started the season with great young starting pitching depth but both have two starters out from elbow surgery. The Pirates and Indians both made the playoffs last year with very young teams. They came in to 2014 expecting their young players to take another step forward and to be competitive again for a playoff spot. Both clubs are struggling. Werent those fair expectations? Heck the Red Sox won the World Series last year. Even though they lost a player here and there they should still be among the best in baseball…right? The Nationals were a very popular pick to represent the NL in the World Series this year. They have been just mediocre, but who would have predicted that Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman would miss weeks of the season and that Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez would spend time on the DL. It is the most frustrating part of being a general manager. Your thinking and decision-making can be spot on yet the results can completely collapse. So much happens that cant be predicted. Stuff that is completely out of your control. I am breaking out in hives just thinking about it. Having been in the room when my kids were born I have always wondered why women go back for more after having one. It hurts so much why would anyone want to do it again. Women say they have "selective memory." They have the ability to move away from the pain and only remember the joy of childbirth. I guess being a GM is kind of like that too. The anguish of seeing your plans blow up before your very eyes can be painful. Yet GMs go back for more year after year. As for me…no more kids please! Custom Utah Jazz Jerseys . Not only that, when Julian de Guzman first stepped on the pitch for Deportivo de la Coruna he became the very first Canadian to play in Spains top tier. Tony Bradley Jersey . Playing in his fourth major league game, Polanco broke a tie in the 13th inning with his first homer, helping Pittsburgh to an 8-6 victory over the Miami Marlins after the Pirates had a ninth-inning meltdown. http://www.officialjazzauthenticstore.com/. Tony Parker had 33 points and nine assists and San Antonio never trailed in a resounding 116-92 victory over Portland, bullying the younger Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. Karl Malone Jersey . Kuznetsov, who was selected by the Capitals in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, has been playing for his hometown team Chelyabinsk Traktor of the KHL. Jeff Hornacek Jersey .com) - Eric Fehr and Marcus Johansson each registered a pair of goals, as Washington spoiled the head coaching debut of Peter Horachek by picking up a 6-2 victory in Toronto on Wednesday.BUFFALO, N.Y. - Connor McDavid shined on a stage built for him by scoring a goal and adding three assists in the Erie Otters 8-4 victory over the Niagara IceDogs on Wednesday night at Buffalos First Niagara Center.Tonight probably with more fans and more people watching, he was a little more driven to really put on a show, Otters coach Kris Knoblauch said. But you get that from him every night. He wants to be the best player. Tonight was no different.McDavid, the projected No. 1 pick in Junes NHL draft, added to his Ontario Hockey League-leading point total, reaching 32 in his 11th game of the regular season.Its not a whole lot of thinking that youre doing, the 17 year old said. If it is thinking, oftentimes youre going to get kind of caught. It just has to be all instinct and thats something that I think I may have. Its just creativity and looking to try different plays.Kurtis MacDermid and Alex DeBrincat both scored twice for Erie (9-0-1), while Troy Donnay, Shaun Bily and Patrick Murphy chipped in with a goal each. Devin Williams made 15 saves for the win.Jordan Maletta led Niagara (2-8-0) with two goals, while Graham Knott and Cody Payne also scored. Brent Moran started in the IceDogs net, stopping 19-of-25 shots in 32:51 of work. Stephen Dhillon turned aside 11-of-13 shots in relief.McDavid, the Otters captain, was the main draw for an Erie home game played two hours north in Buffalo as many Sabres fans turned out to see the player they hope their team will have the chance to select.McDavid jerseys filled the crowd of 11,391, mostly Erie ones with a couple Sabres sweateers as fans sought to get a jump-start on the mania.ddddddddddddI think the guys on our team didnt feel any pressure, said centre Dylan Strome, who had two assists. If theres one guy that had to feel pressure, I think everyone knows who it was, and I think he played pretty good tonight.In the first period, McDavid assisted on two goals by linemate Debrincat and one by defenceman MacDermid. The third goal earned the most attention, as McDavid almost single handedly generated it by protecting the puck and gliding around a defender.I was a little bit fortunate to one-hand it around the guy, McDavid said. If I didnt make it I dont think Coach would be too happy about that. I was kind of fortunate, but it turned out to be an OK play I guess.The Newmarket, Ont., native scored his own goal in the third period on a pretty play. It was his 10th goal of the season.The Otters scored as many goals in this game as the Sabres did in their first six games of the NHL season.---ATTACK 6 COLTS 1OWEN SOUND, Ont. — Ethan Szypula and Chris Bigras both scored twice as the Attack routed Barrie.Thomas Schemitsch and Daniel Milne had goals for Owen Sound (6-3-3) as well.Brendan Lemieuxs short-handed goal was all the offence the Colts (6-4-1) could muster.---GREYHOUNDS 7 WOLVES 2 SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. — Tim Gettinger and Sergey Tolchinsky had two goals each as the Greyhounds raced past Sudbury.Jared McCann scored and added two assists for Sault Ste. Marie (9-2-0), while Gabe Guertler and Gustav Bouramman added singles.Danny Desrochers and Pavel Jenys replied for the Wolves (1-10-0). 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