By Bob Elliott
It was the moment of no return in talks between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago Cubs in early January 2011.
The Rays were about to send right-hander Matt Garza, plus minor leaguers Fernando Perez and Zac Rosscup to the Cubs for Sam Fuld, plus minor-leaguers Hak-Ju Lee, Robinson Chirinos, Brandon Guyer and Chris Carpenter.
“The way I remember it,” said one scout, “the analytic department wanted Carpenter -- not the guy who used to pitch for the Blue Jays and St. Louis, he was with the Boston Red Sox. Scout Jeff McAvoy told (general manager) Andrew Friedman not to make the deal -- unless Chris Archer was obtained.
Friedman grilled McAvoy on why Archer was the better prospect. McAvoy believed in Archer, whose make up was “off the charts” and eventually Friedman believed in McAvoy.
Archer was included and he starts against his pal David Price Saturday afternoon. The two met in 2007 at Vanderbilt. Price was an All-American and Archer had been drafted. Archer introduced himself.
“You know Archer is a little bigger but when it comes to athletic ability and charisma, he and Marcus Stroman are very similar pitchers,” a scout said.
Archer makes his 33rd start this season Saturday looking for his 13th win. He’s 32-31 in 91 career starts.
His mentor, Price, makes his 11th start of the season for the Jays looking for his ninth win. He’s 103-56 in 212 career starts.
Breaking bread: Blue Jays outgoing president Paul Beeston had breakfast with incoming president Mark Shapiro Friday morn.
Did you know: Yogi Berra had 358 career homers tied with Carlos Lee for 84th place on the all-time list. In other words Berra was three behind Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio (361), who is 81st, two behind Gary Gaetti and one back of Johnny Mize.
Observing the Jays “The thing about the middle of their lineup is that Jose Bautista has far better pitch recognition that either Josh Donaldson or Edwin Encarnacion,” said one scout. “You saw it the other night against the Yankees.”
Donaldson struck out to end the ninth with the bases loaded, Encarnacion struck out to end the eighth with the base loaded.
“Bautista’s a .250 hitter with 36 homers and a .370 on-base mark,” said one scout. “We’d take that.”
Rogers records: Tuesday’s audience peaked at 3.46 million viewers at 10:17 p.m. in the bottom of the ninth inning, with the game tied and Russell Martin at bat and Wednesday the average audience was 1.95 million tuned as Marcus Stroman, Martin and the Jays 4-0. We think those are good numbers ... So why in the third inning did we notice the TV with a split screen, part of the tube was Jays-Rays September baseball, the other part was Maple Leafs-Buffalo Sabres pretend (pre-season) hockey.
Fielding Contenders? Don’t look now but shortstop Ryan Goins is the leader at shortstop in defensive runs saved despite making only his 43rd start at short on Friday.
SABR’s John Dewan is one of the 12 voters for the Fielding Bible awards. The leaders and the contenders for that honor and the Gold Glove awards, with their DRS totals.
Catcher _ Fielding Bible: Buster Posey (14). AL Gold Glove: Tyler Flowers (12), Jason Castro (11), Caleb Joseph (11). NL: Posey (14).
First base _ Fielding Bible Award: Paul Goldschmidt (16). AL Gold Glove: Mark Teixeira (5), Albert Pujols (4), Miguel Cabrera (4); NL: Goldschmidt (16), Adrian Gonzalez (9), Yonder Alonso (9).
Second Base _ Fielding Bible: Ian Kinsler (19). AL Gold Glove: Kinsler (19), Logan Forsythe (7), Carlos Sanchez (7); NL: Dee Gordon (13), Addison Russell (9), Danny Espinosa (9)
Third Base _ Fielding Bible: Nolan Arenado (15). AL Gold Glove Adrian Beltre (18), Manny Machado (15), Donaldson (9). NL: Arenado (15), Todd Frazier (10), Matt Duffy (10)
Shortstop _ Fielding Bible: Andrelton Simmons (22), AL Gold Glove: Goins (8), Francisco Lindor (7), J.J. Hardy (6), NL: Simmons (22), Brandon Crawford (22), Nick Ahmed (20).
“The biggest surprise since I’ve been watching the Jays is that Goins has showed everyone he is an every day shortstop,” said one major-league advance scout.
Back in the saddle: Hall of Famer Pat Gillick, an executive with the Philadelphia Phillies, is the founding father of the Chico Heat in the new college summer loop, the Great West League which begins play next summer in California and Oregon. Besides Chico, the Lodi Crushers, Marysville GoldSox, Medford Rogues, Portland Pickles and Sacramento Squadron. Former Jays scout Wayne Morgan, who signed Terry Puhl when working for the Houston Astros, is the Chico director of player recruitment.