Players justified in deadline disappointment

* Bob Elliott says that current Blue Jays players -- including Jose Bautista -- who complained that management didn't do enough before last Thursday's trade deadline have a legitimate beef. That and more in Elliott's notebook. .... 2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in Minors Canadians in college summer ball …. Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent

By Bob Elliott

Over the years, we’ve heard players complain about late buses and early buses, playing in the rain and rain delays, being underpaid and others being overpaid, an umpire’s wide strike zone and a narrow zone.

We’ve heard complaints about a lack of playing time. Once, a backup moaned about playing too often. And maybe the best of all, Doyle Alexander complaining there was “too much” post-game traffic at Exhibition Stadium.

But when the current Blue Jays complained about management not adding more than a platoon third baseman in Danny Valencia at Thursday’s trade deadline, they were legitimate complaints.

There was a $20 million US bump in current contract built into this year’s budget, a commitment made in January of 2013.

Yet, at the end of this spring at the annual Jays and Rogers Communications pep talk/banquet, players were told that if they were in contention, cash would be made available to add players.

That didn’t happen.

The Jays talked about adding third baseman Chase Headley, but asked the San Diego Padres to pay all of the $4 million US owed.

They had battled to win 10 of 11 to finish the month -- without Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie and Adam Lind.

They had a right to complain.


Part of history: If you were one of the 35,696 fans at the Rogers Centre Wednesday July 23 you were there the night the Red Sox season turned. Boston won the series opener 14-1 to move to within five games of .500. The Red Sox were buyers, according the general manager Ben Cherrington ... The Jays won Tuesday 7-3 behind JA Happ. The Red Sox were still buyers ... The next night Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia each singled and David Ortiz took R.A. Dickey pitch off Robbie Alomar’s name on the level of excellence for a 3-0 lead. The Red Sox were buyers ... Jose Reyes singled, Melky Cabrera walked, Jose Bautista doubled in a run, Colby Rasmus bounced out knocking in Bautista and Josh Thole doubled in a run in the home half. Tie game. A Ryan Goins triple keyed the two-run sixth and the Jays win ... Following the 14-1 win, Boston dropped eight of its final nine games of the month becoming sellers, moving three starting pitchers from their World Series winning team.

From the room: Former Boston righty Luis Tiant stopped by to see Jays’ bullpen coach Bob Stanley, his former Red Sox teammate, at Fenway Park. Stanley visited Hall of Famer Jim Rice and Tiant before a game at Fort Myers in the spring of 2013. “Hey Rice,” Tiant said, “Stanley blew 30 of my wins, enough to keep me out of the Hall of Fame.” ... Tiant won 229 times in his 19-year career, going 13-8 for the 1978 Red Sox, as closer Stanley was 15-2. Said Tiant: “Of his wins 11 were mine, games he gave up the lead.” ... Stanley laughed, admitting there might have been a few games where he “gave up a flare, a bloop to tie it, we’d score five and I’d vulture the win.” ... Stanley said Tiant had a habit if he gave up no doubter to straightaway centre, he’d turn and yell “GO FOUL! GO FOUL!” ... One day left fielder Carl Yastrzemski didn’t move as Tiant allowed a mammoth homer over the Green Monster. “You’re showing me up, at least pretend that the ball may stay in the park,” Taint told Yaz in the dugout. Next long bomb Yaz made a slight glance.

Good one gone: When the Atlanta Braves became America’s Team, thanks to Ted Turner’s Superstation TBS, Ernie Johnson, Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren were in the booth. They were good when the Braves were bad. The Braves would be losing 9-1 late and Skip would say: “Ladies and gentlemen, if you patronize our advertisers, you have our permission to watch something else.” ... Every time a ball was fouled back, Skip would say, “caught by a man from Chickamauga (Suwanee, Marietta or Chattahoochee).” Van Wiren asked if he could try on the next foul ball. “Decatur” Van Wiren said. Skip quickly said “Norcross, look at the way he walks.” Van Wiren apologized, saying only Skip had the gift ... Van Wieren. 69, died Saturday following a battle with cancer.

Dot dots: San Francisco Giants scout John Castleberry, who signed Etobicoke’s Joey Votto with the Reds, recalls the first baseman’s workout day at Cinergy Field in 2002. Castleberry pointed to Hall of Famer Johnny Bench and asked Votto if he knew who he was (Votto did), watched Votto jump in and do a Ken Griffey impression for Griffey and hit gap to gap line drives. “I knew we had a player,” said Castleberry. ... Outfielder Demi Orimloye of Orleans ran a 6.5 60-yard dash at the East Pro Showcase and had three hits as the Phillies Scout team started with two wins in its first three games at NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse ... Jays’ run differential for the month of July was plus 14, eighth best in the AL giving them 44 more scored than the opposition, behind the A’s (162), Angels (90) and Mariners (53) ... The Rangers, on Tuesday, joined the 2000 Indians, 2002, 2008 and 2009 Padres and 2012 Jays as the only clubs since 1901 to use 32 or more pitchers in a season ... This holiday weekend will see the OBA declare champions of the elimination tourneys.

Scouts wonder: Why do so many people talk about the Houston Astros (second last after three-straight last-place finishes in the division), the Chicago Cubs (last a fifth straight year) and the Red Sox (last for the third time in four years), being smart organizations? ... The San Diego Padres are considering A.J. Preller, assistant GM of the Texas Rangers (who sit last), assistant GM Mike Hazen of the Red Sox (who sit last), Billy Eppler, assistant GM Yankees (two games over .500) for the vacant GM job. “Would an NFL team go to a last-place team?” asked one scout. Kim Ng, of the commissioner’s office, is in the running and would be the first female GM in American pro sports.

Odds are: Bodog Sports has the updated, post-trade deadline odds of the Jays winning the AL East at 13-10, behind the Baltimore Orioles at 5-4. The Jays have the fifth best odds at 17-2 to win the AL. The Oakland A’s are the 9-5 faves, followed by the Detroit Tigers (5-2), Los Angeles Angels (11-2) and the Baltimore Orioles (8-1) ... Jays odds of winning the World Series have been dropped to 14-1 from 18-1 two weeks ago. The A’s are the 4-1 World Series faves, ahead of the Tigers and the Dodgers both at 5-1.