The location at Fansided and Jays Journal are both gaining momentum and the lineup of writers is excellent. The MLB side is very new (August 09) but it does seem like we'll be a force to be reckoned with. Also, the entire site will be getting a new look sometime in the near future, so some great things are in store at Fansided.
The Jays are the newest team to look at Aroldis Chapman as an option. They have slightly under $63 million spent thus far, so a bid of $25 to 27 million would not be out of the question. The question is, does he want to play in Toronto knowing they're in full rebuilding mode? I'm pretty sure that most players coming in from other countries look at the Jays as a last alternative, so the money would have to be significantly greater than that offered by other teams. So what have other teams offered thus far? Well, the amounts rumored are simply that, rumors, and no years were disclosed in rumors, making the amounts a little more arbitrary. Still, we can look at what the total means for the Jays in terms of getting in on the bidding.
LA Angels: preparing to make an offer - should be more than these amounts if they're expecting to have a chance at getting him
Let's say that for argument's sake the amounts are for 5 years. I'm using this number based on what was initially rumored to be sought for in terms of a $50 million 5 year contract - which seems a little ludicrous. We're currently edging towards offers of 3-4 million per season for a pitcher who could end up in the bullpen. Scott Downs is set to make a salary within this amount in 2010 for comparison, which indicates that this value seems the most accurate if he end up there. However, there is no way that these amounts are what Aroldis and his agents will settle for. Chances are greater that once the Yankees and Angels get involved, the salary will be closer to 6-8 million per season. The total would become somewhere in the vicinity of $30 million to $40 million. The Jays do have $25 to $27 million available if they want to remain below $90 million for 2010, and could increase this to $37 million by dealing both Scott Downs and Lyle Overbay.
I understand the fact that Alex would be interested in a young pitcher and that he wants to get involved in Dice K like competitive bidding. It doesn't cost the Jays a player, doesn't put the future of the franchise in jeopardy by committing an obscene $80 million plus to most #1-2 pitchers that hit the FA market, and would allow him to move a SP should he work out if signed.
Did Jays scouts like what they saw? If they did, why haven't the Jays made a formal offer? After watching Alex work for the first 2 months of his tenure, we can say that he moves decidedly, so I'm guessing the reasons are these: the agents sought either too many years or too much money and the Jays want to see where the market leans and outbid based on this amount. The Jays could do well here if they land him, but I also hope that if they do sign him, it isn't money sunk on a relief pitcher that sucks up close to 10% of our budget yearly.
As a happy Jays fan, looking forward to a promising new year, I have the following holiday wishes:
Solve the SS position long term for the Jays;
Get a Vernon Wells trade done, with a good return that included a long term CF;
If Wallace is truly going to play 1B, trade Overbay and Encarnacion and get a long terms 3B.
I don't think it's too much to ask for after having watched Alex work his magic in the last 2 months. Whether or not these wishes come true, I'll be satisfied knowing the focus going into 2010 will be on baseball, and not on Roy Halladay.
Alex Anthopolous took over at the helm for the Jays a mere 2 months ago, and already his impact can be felt throughout the organization. A Summary of his transactions in this short period of time are as follows:
Late October (pen addition)
Claimed RP Sean Henn (28 yrs old) off waivers from the Orioles
November (fixed the infield, protected the right players, and added depth + speed)
Signed SS John MacDonald (35 yrs old) to a $3,000,000 2-year deal
Signed SS Alex Gonzalez (32 yrs old) to a $2,750,000 1 yr deal with option for 2011
Protected both 1B Brian Dopirak and SP Reidier Gonzalez by placing them on 40-man roster
Claimed INF Mike McCoy (28 yrs old) (who stole 40 bases in AAA in 09) off waivers from Colorado
Claimed INF Jarrett Hoffpauir (26 yrs old) off waivers from the Cardinals
Claimed RP Zechry Zinicola (24 yrs old) as rule 5 from the Washington Nationals
Signed C John Buck (29 yrs old) as a FA from the KC Royals (quickly) for $2,000,000
Signed C Raul Chavez (37 yrs old) to a minor league contract, which gives the Jays flexibility to have him in AAA and depth at C
Signed OF Joey Gathright (28 yrs old) to a minor league contract as OF depth
Resigned 3B/OF Jose Bautista to a $2,400,000 1 yr deal, avoiding arbitration
Signed SP/RP Lance Broadway (26 yrs old) as a FA
Traded SP Roy Halladay (32 yrs old) and $6,000,000 to the Phillies in return for OF Michael Taylor (25 yrs old), SP Kyle Drabek (22 yrs old), C Travis d'Arnaud (20 yrs old)
Traded OF Michael Taylor (25 yrs old) to OAK in return for 1B/3B Brett Wallace (23 yrs old)
Signed FA C Ramon Castro (33 yrs old) to split time with John Buck
Traded RP Brandon League (26 yrs old) and OF Yohermyn Chavez (21 yrs old) to Seattle in return for SP/RP Brandon Morrow (24 yrs old)
Alex is also responsible for letting Marco Scutaro and Rod Barajas walk, instead of resigning them, which has or will net the Jays the 33rd, 45th, and 68th overall picks in the 2010 draft.
As related to 2010, when you add up the money sent to the Phillies, and the signings of Buck (2m), Gonzalez (2.75m), MacDonald (1.5m), and Bautista (2.4m), and subtract it from the salary they save from dealing Doc (9.75m), the Jays end up with $1,150,000 less in salary even with the addition of a starting SS and C.
When Alex took over, the Jays were weakest at SS, C, and in being held up by a potential Doc deal. In 2 months, he's taken care of all of those things, has added young and projectable players that fulfill exactly what the Jays needed this offseason. He's not done yet, obviously, but as we head into the Christmas break, we can rest assured that the Jays are finally headed into a new direction. Once filled with youth, excitement, and the potential to grown into something magical in the very near future.
I'm not sure we can write this rotation into stone yet since Alex Anthopolous seems willing to deal what he has to in order to go get the pieces he wants, but I'll post what the Jays may field as a rotation to begin 2010.
1 - Ricky Romero (25): stats for 2009, 29 GS, 178 IP, 141 Ks, 4.30 ERA, 1.522 Whip (14 IP in minors)
2 - Shaun Marcum (28): stats for 2009, did not pitch due to injury (15 IP in minors as rehab)
3 - Brett Cecil (22): stats for 2009, 17 GS, 93.1 IP, 69 Ks, 5.30 ERA, 1.650 Whip (49 IP in minors)
4 - Brandon Morrow (25): stats for 2009, 10 GS, 69.2 IP, 63 Ks, 4.39 ERA, 1.579 Whip (55 IP in minors)
5 - Marc Rzepczynski (24): stats for 2009, 11 GS, 61.1 IP, 60 Ks, 3.67 ERA, 1.321 Whip (88 IP in minors)
Possible 2010 additions during the season: Zach Stewart, Kyle Drabek, Scott Richmond, Jesse Litsch, Dustin McGowan, Reidier Gonzalez, and Luis Perez.
Out of the rotation listed above, only Romero has the potential to go over 200 innings this season, therefore the Jays have quite a task ahead of them in dealing with inning counting. While they do have depth and returning starters part of the way during the season, they'll have to be careful to not overuse some of their young pitchers. The total innings pitched in 2009 for those listed above are: 192 IP for Romero, 15 IP for Marcum, 142 IP for Cecil, 124 IP for Morrow, and 149 IP for Rzepczynski.
The likeliest scenario is that Marcum will head to the pen once Jesse Litsch returns in July in order to make sure he doesn't re-injure himself. Zach Stewart, Reidier Gonzalez, and Kyle Drabek could get calls in September once Morrow, Cecil, and Rzepczynski are shut down and rosters are expanded. Still, even with all of this the Jays now have a ton of promise in their rotation and I do hope they leave it as is without adding what is called an "innings eater". In the case of the Jays, this kind of addition would be an "opportunity killer"in my opinion.
I really do like what Alex is doing with the assets he is adding, and maybe it's just me, but does anyone else think he was the voice in the old GM's ear saying the Jays should grab these guys? From what I can recall, the Jays had been linked to these players over and over again in 2009, but nothing was ever worked out for them. It could be that Alex was the one who was pushing for them while the old GM liked what he had and wanted to win now while sacrificing the future. If this is in fact the case, then could other old rumours become reality? The Jays had been linked to Brandon Phillips, Chad Billingsley, and Fernando Martinez in the past. Could these be the next targets for Alex? I'd love for them to get all three, and it could be that Alex is able to take advantage of the fact that all three are desperate to do something to prove to their fans that they want to win. If even one of these players could be brought to Toronto, the Jays overhaul would be a work of wonders. In particular, could Vernon Wells and other pieces be sent to the Mets in return for Fernando Martinez? I'm not sure, but if Alex's short history has taught us anything, it's that anything is possible.
I wrote an article at Jays Journal about the trade, and am certain every blogger out there will have an opinion on the trade. You have to believe it was dreamed up during the Doc dealings, where the Jays most likely voiced their preference of Morrow in a deal, and you can't blame them. He's young, cheap, under control through 2013, and has potential as a starter. While some wonder if the Jays will start Morrow or place him in relief, I think the fact that they're willing to deal both Brandon League and a prospect for him tells us he's going to get a chance to start and was priced accordingly in a deal.
League, meanwhile, gives the Mariners a nice 1-2 punch in the pen and provides some insurance for Aardsma, should he falter in 2010.
It was a very trade by Alex "The Great", and he's definitely living up to his name thus far. I love the deal and do hope they give Morrow a chance to start. Nothing says a change of speed in the rotation like a guy who can hit 100 MPH with his fastball!
The post Doc trade and pre-Christmas offensive position depth chart is as follows:
C: John Buck - Ramon Castro - Raul Chavez - JP Arencibia
1B: Lyle Overbay - Brian Dopirak - Randy Ruiz - Brett Wallace
2B: Aaron Hill - Jarrett Hoffpauir - Mike McCoy - Brad Emaus
SS: Alex Gonzalez - John MacDonald - Mike McCoy - Jarrett Hoffpauir - Jose Bautista
3B: Edwin Encarnacion - Brett Wallace - Jose Bautista
LF: Adam Lind - Jose Bautista - Mike McCoy
CF: Vernon Wells - Mike McCoy - Jarrett Hoffpauir
RF: Travis Snider - Jose Bautista - Mike McCoy
DH: Randy Ruiz - Adam Lind - Brian Dopirak - Jose Bautista - everyone else
What does this depth chart tell us? Well, first it tells us just how useful Mike McCoy, Jose Bautista, and Jarrett Hoffpauir are going to be off the bench. I posted about Mike McCoy's wealth of experience at all positions at Jays Journal at FanSided.com. It also tells us that the Jays are fairly well set all over the diamond, but will have to move Lyle Overbay if they're going to give Brian Dopirak or Brett Wallace a chance to earn the 1B spot in 2010. With the 3 guys behind him holding the power that the Jays desperately need, it shouldn't be long before he finds his way out of Toronto.
Although LF is fairly well set overall, and I do expect Mike McCoy to get lots of playing time there due to his speed and coverage in the OF, the Jays could definitely use a new RF in order to shift Travis Snider to LF full time. I'm not sure if the Jays will be on the lookout for a new RF on the FA market, or whether they want to acquire one through trade, but the fact that the 40-man roster is full would tell us that the trade option may be most likely.
Any ideas on who the Jays could target to fill the RF spot?
I have decided to complete work on two sites for the near future. You can follow some of my work here, and some on http://jaysjournal.com/
I'm just getting some things setup there and getting used to a new format. The side is known very well for Football and other sport blogging, and is just entering the Baseball blogging world. Check us out when you get a chance!