Several major-league clubs, including the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels, contacted the Blue Jays yesterday with trade offers for Shea Hillenbrand, sources have told Metro.
The amount of interest in the malcontent has pleasantly surprisedthe Jays’ braintrustand I’m told a trade likely will be completed on or before the weekend, with young pitching likely en route to T.O.
The Jays’ bossmen became fed up with Hillenbrand Wednesday, when he protested his exclusion from the lineup by writing “Sinking Ship” in the clubhouse. GM J.P. Ricciardi and his assistants weren’t aware until Wednesday night of Hillenbrand’s earlier antics — that he tore a Canadian sticker off his cap on Canada Day and also ripped his jersey after being taken out of the Canada Day game— or I’m told they would have attempted to trade him back then.
Even though manager John Gibbons had chewed out Hillenbrand earlier this season, calling him a “cancer” and a “coward,” he and the players kept Hillenbrand’s volatile behaviour to themselves. They made some sort of pact to refrain from sharing the actions with either the media or the Jays’ front office.
But that sticker stunt in retrospect is unforgivable.
The Jays are Canada’s only major-league franchise and thus represent all of us. With that sticker removal, he stuck it to all Canadians, including those who’ve been paying his $6-million US salary.
So he’s out, making a weird season for the Jays even weirder. I mean, it hasn’t exactly been a joy ride, eh?
The Jays are competing, all right, but the terribly punyattendance figures in Toronto reflect a disturbingly negative mood. Fans such as Clive Pinnock are downright irked.
“Besides the fact that half the Toronto media is in the employ of Ted Rogers, how is it that Gibby and Ricciardi have gotten such an easy ride from you guys?” Pinnock wrote in an e-mail to me yesterday.
“What a debacle the Jays’ middle infield has become since the (Orlando) Hudson trade! Apparently, J.P. will unload Vernon Wells, too. What does J.P. have against Gold Glove winners?
Compared to J.P.’s signing of A.J. Burnett, (former Raptors GM) Rob Babcock is looking like a genius for drafting Rafael Araujo. Yet Babcock was run out of town like a Salem witch.... After the Jays got swept by the Rockies and Marlins earlier this year, it was obvious that this ship was sunk. Hillenbrand got it right.”
Perhaps, but I can’t knock the Jays for unloading him. They have enough trouble without him and his tirades.
Marty York’s column appears Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen for Marty on The ROCK 94.9 FM, Monday and Friday at 8:40 a.m.