Holiday Wish List

As a happy Jays fan, looking forward to a promising new year, I have the following holiday wishes:

  1. Solve the SS position long term for the Jays;
  2. Get a Vernon Wells trade done, with a good return that included a long term CF;
  3. 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.

Happy Holidays everyone!


Two Months of Moves Under Alex "The Great" Anthopolous

*List Updated as of 23 Dec 09

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.

Jays Pen - Updated Edition

I posted an update version of the Jays pen and my expectations with the players we currently have at Jays Journal post League trade. Check it out!

Jays Rotation, For Now

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.


The Jays Nab Morrow from M's

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!


What the Depth Chart Tells Us

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?

Blue Jays Daze Expanding to FanSided.com

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!


Alex Anthopolous Chat Info

I'm pretty certain every Jays blogger will be sifting through the chat AA held with fans a short while ago. I picked up on 3 very telling points that I thought I'd share, and enjoyed getting to know exactly what direction Alex sees the team going in from here on out.

Here are the 3 points that stood out in my mind:

1. When asked about whether or not he'd include some top-end pitching talents like Cecil in a trade, he responded with "Our young pitching is very sought after and though we'd like to keep all of them I'm very open to moving any player if it can make us better in other areas."

Translation: we have some pitching depth and would be open to dealing some in order to resolve our issues elsewhere. I would like to think that Alex would be more open to dealing Ricky Romero than Bret or Marc, but you never know. It's interesting that even after dealing Doc, he's open to moving a SP. On a similar note, later on in the chat, he added that the organization view Zach Stewart as a SP and with a ceiling as a #3 starter. I guess that would make him a #1 starter on our staff. And he later adds that the Jays need to resolve the left side of their infield, with Brett Wallace viewed as an above-average 1B defensively.

2. When asked about his thoughts on Aroldis Chapman, Alex responded with the fact that the Jays had sent 2 scouts to watch him pitch last Tuesday. He added that "we will be on top of every amateur player that is available".

Translation: Too bad the session went so well that he'll be priced out of our range, because we would have loved to come out with a surprise offer. If he had shown mediocre stuff that needed polish, and his price had remained in the 5 - 15 million range, the Jays may have wanted to move in. But there's just no way they could be expected to fork out 30-40 million for the Chap.

3. My favourite, he was asked about keeping quiet instead of speaking to the media and the fact that some U.S. networks seemed to be more effective in getting information about ongoing negotiations. He responded with "It's important to me that I treat everybody fairly and also extremely important that I don't lie to anybody. That being said, with the nature of these jobs it's very difficult to be completely candid. So, if I'm faced with lying or not commenting, I'll choose to not comment every single time. Also, over the years that I've been a part of trade talks, I've seen a lot of trades fall apart because of reactions to reports in the media. I certainly understand that there is interest from the fans and the media is just doing their jobs but from my perspective, it makes it easier to do my job which is to make the best trades and signings that we can."

Translation: Suck it up everyone, it's not going to change, and it makes me a better GM. I really do believe that the way the previous Doc negotiations were handled fell through the way they did simply because every time a team was rumoured to be offering players X-Y-Z, their fans and media threw fits and talked about the "rental" of a player. Dealing through the media just isn't smart. I'd say that some GMs are so uncomfortable dealing without knowing how their fans and media will react, that they actually leak the information out themselves and react accordingly. Either have the kahunas to make the deal, or don't, but either way it has nothing to do with the fans or media until the deal is done. Then it can be dissected as much as possible.

I'd also like to add that at the end of his response, Alex say "it makes it easier to do my job which is to make the best trades and signings that we can." We. It's a terms that has not been used very much in Jays language in recent years. The old GM seemed to have it his way or the highway, and it was detrimental to the efforts people under him made to gather information on players, imo. Alex has a team concept in terms of finding talent and weighing options, and I do believe he;s made a ton of smart choices so far, including leaving the media and us fans to wait for news of trades and signing until they actually happen.


How Great is Brett Wallace?

When I started tgathering information about Brett Wallace  (picture from stltoday.mycapture.com) and his minors career in hopes of learning more about the player who may help bring the Jays to a new level, I wondered about who had the same kind of background. Big guy, plays 3B in the minors, but not expected to stick there because his D isn't up to par. Someone who hit for power and average and made jumps early at each level. The closest guy I could come up with was none other than Ryan Braun.

Ok, first and foremost, both are outstanding minor league player careers. They stand out across the board, and it's almost eery how similar their stats are at the same age. There's just 1 GIANT difference. Brett Wallace is always facing higher competition and coming out with the same results Ryan Braun did at that age. That, my friends, is extremely impressive. Here's a comparisson of what each player accomplished in the minors up to the age of 22, Wallace's current age.

Ryan Braun 21 - Rookie (41 AB) and LoA (152 AB), .352 average with a total of 68 hits, 18 doubles, 10 HRs, .393 OBP, .632 SLG, and 1.025 OPS, and 11 walks to 40 strike outs. Flg %.891
Brett Wallace 21 - HiA (153 AB) AA (49 AB), .337 average with a total of 68 hits, 13 doubles, 8 HRs, .427 OBP, .530 SLG, .957 OPS, and 19 walks to 39 strike outs. Flg% .952

Ryan Braun 22 - HiA (226 AB) and AA (231 AB), .289 average with a total of 132 hits, 31 doubles, 22 HRs, .357 OBP, .514 SLG, and 0.871 OPS, and 44 walks to 100 strike outs. Flg %.890

Brett Wallace 22 - AA (128 AB) AAA (304 AB), .293 average with a total of 156 hits, 26 doubles, 20 HRs, .367 OBP, .455 SLG, .822 OPS, and 47 walks to 116 strike outs. Flg%.954

In terms of size, Braun is listed at 6'2 and 200 lbs, while Wallace is listed at 6'1" 245 lbs. He's a hefty guy in comparison, but when you look at their fielding percentages, the last of the stats I listed each time above, Wallace is a much better defender than is let on. He's no gold glove winner, but he is adequate at 3B. Alex Anthopolous has indicated that they view him as a 1B, so that's most likely where he'll end up. The position, however, may be the only place these 2 differ (and in speed, obviously).

If Wallace can continue to "outpace" the progress that Braun made when he jumped to the majors and surprised everyone, the Jays are in for a good time. If they can get 30-40 HRs with a .300 and above average from Wallace, and add the performances they believe they can get from Hill, Lind, and Snider, they've got something cooking! When you add the fact that all of them put together will cost the Jays less than 10 million a year for the next 3-4 years, it's time to start thinking about who they'll need to "go get" to make the Jays a real stronghold in the AL East. In no way am I saying Wallace is the reincarnation of Braun, since those are some big shoes to fill. What I am saying is that he may even be better than Braun, a bold statement, but one I believe is supported by what he's done to this point. He's a gigantic bat for the Jays to grab, and that's something us Jays fans may live to enjoy for a long time to come.

Lyle Overbay Destinations

I think the Roy Halladay Blockbuster is getting plenty of coverage at this point, so I'm going to shift gears and look at where Lyle Overbay (picture from Ezra Shaw / Getty Images) could wind up now that he has the following guys threatning to take his spot: Randy Ruiz, Brian Dopirak, Brett Wallace, David Cooper. Overbay has $7 million remaining on his contract and becomes a FA after the 2010 season. Here are the best 3 possible destinations I could come up with:

  1. Atlanta Braves - Sure, we can dream about getting a return like Yunel Escobar from the Braves, but we'd have to give up a whole lot more than 1 year of Overbay to make it happen. Although, you have to wonder if they'd consider it with Alex Gonzalez and a good prospect included. I seriously doubt it, but you never know. It is possible we could get 2-3 prospects in return, but if we're looking to fill either the CF or SS voids, they're not the best tango partners. They do need a guy like Overbay though, since they're looking for a good bat at 1B that can hold the spot for 1 season. Afterwards, they plan on passing the position to AA prospect Freddie Freeman. Possible return: OF Brandon Jones, SP David Francis, and SP Cole Rohrbough.
  2. New York Mets - Although they're considering bringing back Delgado, Overbay makes a lot more sense for the Mets. He's younger, a better defender at this point, and a lot cheaper as well. He could be extended at some point should the Mets be happy with his production. Possible returns: SS Reese Havens and SP Dillon Gee.
  3. Seattle Mariners - This team makes the most sense. They want to win this season and love to get guys who play great D. Also, having resigned Jack Wilson through 2011, they're pretty set at SS. The Jays could sweeten a deal with Scott Downs and a prospect, and land a top-prospect like Carlos Triunfel from the Mariners in the process. Adding Downs to the M's pen provides depth and experience they need that would cost them more on the open market, and adding Overbay gives them a much better defensive infield.
Overall, the only other teams I can envision wanting to pay a price for Overbay are the Orioles and the Giants. However, I do believe the 3 teams above will be willing to pay more, and once all of the paperwork and announcements are don for the Halladay deal, I'd look for this deal to become a priority for AA and the Jays.


Two Other Aspects to the Doc Trade

 Part 1: Bonus and Development Savings

There is an aspect to the "yet to be announced" deal that seems lost on many who judge the content that the Jays are getting in return.If the Jays had waited it out, not received what they wanted, or even accepted a deal from the Yankees that included only Montero and lots of lower level prospects, they would of been on the hook for a ton of money. The picks they would have claimed in the draft would have cost them:

  1. Bonus money of approximately $2,500,000 for the high level picks they were going to get if they didn't sign Doc;
  2. The development costs of them going through at least 3 levels at a minimum. All of the coaching, instruction, medical costs, insurance, ect.. I have no clue how much money can be considered the average in terms of developing a player, but I can safely guess that it's well above $1,000,000. So, if they got 2 picks for Doc, then the cost to get that player to the Jays for these costs is $2,000,000 at a minimum. If he gets hurt, has Tommy John or other type surgeries that delay his progress, it could easily double. 
  3. So, altogether, the Jays would have to wait 3-4 years, and spend around $4,500,000 just to get the chance to see whether or not the players pan out.
  4. Instead, they chose to let other teams pay those costs, and sent $6,000,000 to the Phillies in order to get players they know have what it takes to play in MLB. So, in reality, they sent Doc and $1,500,000 to the Phillies in return for these more assured returns and agreed to take on the costs of developing Travis D'Arnaud. 
I've read posts from other sites and around MLB that state how the Jays didn't get fair value in this deal. I say to them, who could have done better? And what would they have gotten in return? This would have to be credible returns that other teams were willing to give up. No made up fairy tales. I'm fairly certain there were none, including everything the Angels offered and anything the Yankees wanted to offer.

Part 2: The Cubs

The Cubs want to get better. The Cubs need to get better. The Cubs have the biggest headache in all of MLB in Milton Bradley. Should, and this is a major should, but should Alex decide to ask the Cubs for Starlin Castro and be willing to take on the Milton Bradley headache (and possibly release him thereafter or trade him to a team some time in 2010), would the Cubs be willing to move Castro? The Jays do have some key pieces that they could offer the Cubs. I'm thinking of pen guys like Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, Brian Tallet, and also have the newly acquired Travis d'Arnaud as a trade chip. Could Alex even expand the deal to involve Vernon Wells and eat some salary, doing what some believed to be absolutely impossible?

The Cubs are desparate to get rid of Bradley. I'm thinking of something in the lines of sending to the Cubs - Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Travis d'Arnaud, and another high ranked prospect in return for Milton Bradley and his ridiculous salary (which the Jays can afford to pay with money saved from the Doc deal), and Starlin Castro. The Jays could eventually release Milton altogether if they don't like his attitude, but either way they'd resolve their SS problem for the very long term.

The Cubs could go sign one or two FAs to replace Bradley in the OF and to help out their pitching with the money saved in a deal. They also have another 4 very highly ranked SS prospects in their system (BA ranked 5 SS in their top 10 for 2010). So, let's say they use the money (plus a little more) to sign one of Justin Duscherer, Ben Sheets, or Eric Bedard. How much better would that make the Cubs? They could add an OFer like Rick Ankiel to take over CF and provide some pop lower in the lineup, or go with Orlando Cabrera who could give them more production at SS.

Summary for the Cubs if they picked Bedard and Ankiel to sign thereafter - they give up Starlin Castro and Milton Bradley, they get Rick Ankiel to play CF and add Erik Bedard to their rotation, plus Scott Downs who can set up in their pen, Brian Tallet who can be long -relief or spot starter, Travis d'Arnaud who is a top catching prospect, and another prospect from the Jays. It's totally crazy, but it makes some sense at the same time.

It's far-fetched, but I do believe that AA will be looking to move pieces to fill the SS gap we have in the minors. Lyle Overbay or Edwin Encarnacion could be on the move very soon as well, but the Cubs are pretty well set at 1B and 3B.

Dawn of a New Era Redux

Beep Beep Beep, back that truck up!! There are rumors circling that the Jays will flip Michael Taylor right away, once acquired, and pick up Brett Wallace!! Well, if you read my post below, I asked how Alex would fill the 3B problems the Jays have and was assured he'd deal with it quickly based on his short track record. Well, it seems he keeps listening to my questions and answers them one by one! Adding Bret Wallace makes a ton of sense, and if you're worried about why Oakland would deal him soon after acquiring him, it's because they plan on using Adrian Cardenas at 3B and Jemile Weeks at 2B. And, unlike the Jays, they're filled up at 1B (the possible move position for Wallace who has just about average D at 3B) long term with Chris Carter coming up in 2010 and Daric Barton as a backup.

The "Redux" 2011 lineup.

 2B - Aaron Hill
LF - Yohermyn Chavez
CF - Vernon Wells
 DH - Adam Lind
3B - Brett Wallace
LF - Travis Snider
C - JP Arencibia
1B - Brian Dopirak
SS - Alex Gonzalez

1- Ricky Romero
2- Bret Cecil
3- Marc Rzcepczynski
4- Shaun Marcum / Zach Stewart if Shaun not healthy
5- Kyle Drabek

Assuming Chavez is ready by then, it looks like a very potent lineup. Wallace hit 20 HRs in 543 AB with a .298 average last season over AA and AAA while also dealing with getting traded halfway through the season. Neither of the deals are a certainty yet, but the Jays are active, aggressive in getting what they want, and filling the right holes. So I ask you, could Travis d'Arnaud also be traded for a SS from another club?

So far, however, if the Jays do get Brett Wallace (top 2 prospect in Oakland), Kyle Drabek (top 2 prospect in Philadelphia), and Travis d'Arnaud (4th prospect in Philadelphia), it looks like a great deal. With the alternatives being: 1) waiting to the deadline and being offered minimal stuff for 3 months of service or nothing since Roy's agent indicated he would not allow a trade at that point, or 2) getting the draft picks and waiting 3+ years for them to develop, this deal is pure genius by Alex and the Jays.

Dawn of a New Jays Era

I'd like to start off today's post with a statement: Roy Halladay was brought up right. His parents did an outstanding job. Here's a guy who could of gone through this trading ordeal two or three times, but he decided instead to extend with the Jays because he thought "maybe we can win". They could not, so he politely asks for a trade, extends with that team at a reduced "discount" rate - something most top 5 pitchers would never dream of doing because their greed blinds them - and allows the deal to happen. In doing so, he allows the Jays the opportunity to quicken the process of rebuilding without him, since they get players close to MLB ready instead of draft picks, and it also gives him a chance to win sooner. Thank you Doc, and thanks to your parents for raising you the right way. Thanks for the 11 years of professional, dedicated, and outstanding work. You'll be missed by all Jays fans and players to be sure, and hopefully will be recognized some day with the retiring of your number. You have my vote.

 Now, I certainly hope all of the Jays young guns were taking notes during this entire ordeal, and I mean all of them. How he went about things, dealt with the media, prepared each day, his training regimen, I hope it all sticks in their minds so that they get a chance to become great as well. As of this moment, the rumored added pieces of Kyle Drabek, Michael Talor, and Travis d'Arnaud (ranked 2,3,4 as Phillies prospects this off season by BA) add depth to the Jays and should allow for one hell of a pitching staff in the not too distant future.

I have one question for you all: How in the world did Alex Anthopolous have the time, never mind the inclination, to go out and sign C Ramon Castro while all of this 3-way dealing was going on? Couldn't it have waited? It now looks like since he's been signed to a major league contract and Raul Chavez got a minors deal, that Raul will be headed to AAA in support of JP Arencibia. Nice move which provides depth at a very cheap rate and allows for the growth of a young player who could become great!

Here's our 2011 lineup without all of the other expected trades Alex is likely to make. It looks well balanced to me, although it lacks speed and a lead off hitter.

2B - Aaron Hill 
RF - Michael Taylor
LF - Travis Snider
DH - Adam Lind
C - JP Arencibia
CF - Vernon Wells
3B - Edwin Encarnacion
1B - Brian Dopirak
SS - Alex Gonzalez

When you consider the fact that all of the guys 1 through 8 can hit 20+ HRs per season, it looks pretty good! But....What I don't get, is that with the pieces available from Seattle, why take d'Arnaud instead of a guy like  SS Carlos Triunfel? Or even their 3B Alex Liddi who tore up HiA this past season (although in High Desert, which always boosts stats). We have nobody that is close to ready to take up those positions, although judging from how quickly and effectively Alex has operated, that should be addressed when necessary. What I like about adding Taylor is that he allows Snider to shift to LF, a much better spot for him. What I don't like, it leaves Wells in CF so long as we gulp up his contract. Michael Taylor will produce like a Mike Cameron in terms of power and speed (25/25) but will do so while hitting for average, which makes him a future star. I'd like to see him develop into a Torii Hunter or Jayson Werth caibre player, who do everything well defensively and offensively.

The 2011 Rotation:

1- Ricky Romero
2- Bret Cecil
3- Marc Rzcepczynski
4- Shaun Marcum / Zach Stewart if Shaun not healthy
5- Kyle Drabek

Others: Jesse Litsch, Scott Richmond, Dustin McGowan (may head to the pen), David Purcey, Brad Mills, Reidier Gonzalez, Zach Stewart, Luis Perez

I love the potential of that rotation. When you add the fact that by then Henderson Alvarez and Chad Jenkins should be knocking on the door, it makes me smile like a kid in a candy store!

So, what does that leave Alex with to fill our 3B and SS deficiencies? He has the extra starters from the list above, as well as pending FA relievers (after this season) of Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, Brian Tallet,  Jeremy Accardo, Shawn Camp, as well as Lyle Overbay. These names provide us with a ton to speculate about and the rest of the off-season to wonder who will be traded where, if traded at all. Alex may decide to keep Frasor and Camp, but the remainder, along with some starters, may be on the move very soon.

Alex also has the following picks to work with in 2010 draft: 11th, 33rd (for losing Scutaro), 38th (failure to sign James Paxton), 50th, 67th (will be official when Lackey signs, we get this pick instead of 29th from Boston), 69th (failure to sign Jake Eliopolous), 82nd, and 102nd (for failure to sign Jake Barrett). They'll get one more pick in there (30-40 range) when Rod Barajas signs elsewhere. That gives Alex a total of 5 top 50 picks, and 9 top 100 picks. Remember, there are 30 teams in MLB, so if things were split evenly, the Jays would get 3 picks in the top 90 instead of the 9 they'll have in 2010. That's a ton of talent to add to any team's minors system and one that Alex Athopolous is making sure he'll be ready for by spending a lot on scouting and development.

Alex's accomplishments in such a short period are outstanding and I tip my hat to him. Within 2 years he will be responsible for a very competitive and exciting team. The Toronto Blue Jays finally have direction and thankfully it comes from the top. It's the dawn of a new era, and one I'm very thankful to be able to witness.
Thank you Alex "The Great" Anthopolous.


Doc Taking Physical in Philadelphia with Agent in Tow

 11:00 Update: Kyle Drabek is the chosen pitcher coming to Toronto, if you believe the word on the street. That in itself is a massive upgrade from anything the Jays had been offered before. I understand Micheal Taylor as the second piece in the deal since Drabek is included.....but why add another catcher? Wouldn't Aumont or Triunfel, or even one of Saunders or Gillies (both Canadian) make more sense since they're weak spots for the Jays? I don't know, but the newest "stories" have all prospects going from Seattle to Philly, which is "to me" obviously the one portion of the deal. I'm still holding out hope that one more piece from Seattle will be included to the Jays package, but it's looking like Drabek-Taylor-one more is going to be the deal.

 9:50 Update: Some things seem to be sorting themselves out, but I'll believe the true pieces when I see them. Latest update is as follows: Phillies get both Doc and Phillipe Aumont, Seattle get Cliff Lee and Joe Blanton from Phillies, and the Jays get Kyle Drabek, Micheal Taylor, Travis D'Arnaud, and Carlos Triunfel. There is also some money flying around, but that's pretty much it. Don't worry, it will change - just updating the latest!

8:15 Update: Oh the Chaos! Now there are reports of SP Kyle Drabek (from a Philly source, which should be more credible) going to the Jays, and Carlos Triunfel being included from the Mariners. Normally I'd say I was hoping for them to tell us who is in and who is out, but it's way too much fun watching grown up professionals throwing names to the wall in the hopes that some will stick. Crazy. Well, at least they get paid for it!!! This is how bad it is at this point. Jonathan Mayo actually put this out on Twitter "No true confirmations on prospects heading to Jays yet. It could be Aumont and maybe Saunders or Triunfel from M's; Brown plus 1 from Phils." Now, I'm no rocket scientist, but it sounds like he just made that up and threw it out there to get some names in the flow. Maybe he's right, maybe he isn't, but it sure makes me laugh.

 8:00 Update: Ok, now things are getting out of hand. We now have news from the American Press that Domonic Brown, J.A. Happ, and Joe Blanton all took physicals today, presumably because they're being considered in deals. I say deals, because this doesn't mean that they're going to the Jays or Seattle. How these would fit into all of the names we've heard is beyond me, but obviously if the Phillies asked Brown to take a physical, they'd be willing to part with him. It could be possible that the teams involved are not even sure yet how things will work exactly. It's not uncommon for teams to put a deal in place and decide on pieces along the way. That's how the "player to be named later" came to be. That won't be the case this time around, but you have to believe that the conversation are fiesty and the name calling is out of control! Let's hope for a clearer picture by tomorrow.

 6:20 Update: Catcher Travis D'Arnaud is reportedly included in the deal. He was recently ranked as 4th on BA's rankings of the Phillies prospects and played 2009 in LoA. They noted his power and the fact that he had the most doubles in the SAL league. He would be a nice depth addition to a very deep position for the Jays with Carlos Perez, JP Arencibia, and Sean Ochinko all representing very skilled backstops. There's still a ton of debate about the pieces included. Some are saying Micheal Saunders is in, but Brandon Morrow is out. If the Jays are only adding Phillipe Aumont, a reliever, as picthing components of the deal....is it surprising and a little disappointing? After hearing names like Joe Saunders, Clay Buchholz, and Kyle Drabek rumored as pieces in the past...it sure is. But, if it's in favor of making the Jays potent and cheap offensively, I like it.

5:45 Update: I have no idea whether the next two players are going to the Jays or the Phillies, but the deal only makes sense if they go to the Jays. The players so-called "in play" by the sources are SP Brandon Morrow and OF Michael Saunders, who is also Canadian. 

This would break down what we know so far as follows: 

Phillies get Roy Halladay and cash from the Jays
Mariners get Cliff Lee from the Phillies
Jays get Micheal Taylor from the Phillies, and Micheal Saunders, Phillipe Aumont, and Brendon Morrow from the Mariners.

Wow, talk about blockbuster. There may be more, but you have to think these guys were inspired by the blockbuster worked out at the winter meetings by the Yankees-DBacks-Tigers. All of this has yet to be confirmed, but I like the way it's shaping up. The Jays would receive real value that would put its mark on the franchise for a long time at a very affordable rate. All components are top 5 players in their respective team rankings of prospects and all have very high ceilings. I may have to send Alex Anthopolous a gist basket for this one. Alex "The Great" has possibly now earned him name.

 5:20 Update: Two of the pieces coming back to the Jays may already be confirmed, with sources saying Of Michael Taylor and SP/RP Phillipe Aumont are part of the deal.

Phillipe Aumont is a big boy at 6'7" 200lbs and hails for Hull Quebec, adding some Canadian content to the Jays. I can already see the Jerseys coming off the rack in Quebec. He was drafted as a SP and was made into a RP by Seattle thereafter, so it's unclear whether he could or would want to return to starting, but he's potent either way. He had 18 Ks in 12 IP in the AFL this offseason and 59 in 51 IP during the season in HiA and AA and maintained a decent 3.88 ERA. He could be part of the bull pen by mid-season and I'll have to do some considering on order to assert where he sists in the Jays top prospects. Rest assured, it will most likely be a top 10.

Micheal Taylor, also a big boy at 6'6" and 230lbs, is a 5 tool outfielder who has grown in the shadow of the more heralded Dominic Brown as part of a lethal duo of prospect OF. Between AA and AAA last season, Taylor had a .320 average over 428 AB, 20 HR and 21 SB, and a .395 OBP/.549 SLG/.944 OPS line that looks very promising. He immediately becomes the best Jays OF prospect and will look very good in the lineup sometime soon alongside Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, and Travis Snider. The fact that the Jays have control over him for a very long time at a very affordable rate makes him a gem in the deal.

Although it pains me to say that the Doc saga will come to and end fairly soon, since it goves people something to write about, it seems that Doc is just about to become a Philadelphia Philly. The word is that Lee actually could be involved in the deal.....say what? Yep.  Not only that, but Ken Rosenthal and John Morosi and talking like the deal is done!! "The trade is highly complex, sources say, with the Phillies receiving money from the Jays to help pay Halladay's salary next season." The Phillies would be making the deal with Lee on their own, then completing the deal with the Jays. Wow. And now that I've heard to ideas behind it, it doesn't sound too crazy. Here's why:
  • Philadelphia has been trying to get talks going with Cliff Lee in regards to an extension. He wants nothing to do with it, while Doc is more than willing to walk in front of that team once every five starts. Smart man.
  • Seattle, on the other hand, are looking to add pitching and would be more than happy to take the picks that they'd get for losing Lee at the end of 2010 if it means getting an ace for their staff (and possibly more). With guys like Michael Saunders, Carlos Triunfel, and Phillipe Aumont in their minors, the Jays could be interested in many of their prospects.
  • The Angels could also provide some prospects if they're the third team, but for right now it sounds more and more like they're going to be left out in the cold. They are talking to Matsui right now and don't seem too heavily involved. Still, they could swoop in at last minute, as could the Yankees.
  • If all the Phillies have to do in order to get Doc committed for 4-5 years is deal Lee and perhaps one bench player or prospect, it makes sense. 
 It sounds very close to getting done, and I can't wait to analyze this deal thoroughly.

If you are the Yankees, watching this happen around you, with Lackey just signed in Boston and the possibility of Adrian Gonzalez going to Boston in return for Buchholz and Casey Kelly (Boston is also leading the Chapman sweepstakes - rumored), what do you do? Sign Matt Holliday, that's what.

This is getting to get a MAJOR week in the positioning of teams going into 2010.

In other news, our "inherited" 29th overall pick from Boston is just one medical away from becoming a 69th. You have to love this system (insert major sarcasm).


Alex adds the 1st Real Impact Piece: John Buck, C (29)

I'll let you guys read through his stats here, but in layman's terms - he's as good if not better than Barajas offensively. I say possibly better because he's reaching that peak performance age for catchers. With the addition of Raul Chavez through a minors deal (perhaps to teach JP some things in AAA) our catching position is getting much stronger. The contract is only 1 year, which gives John incentive to play well and allows for JP to take over in 2011, and for a decent $2 million. With Jason Kendall getting 6 million, Ivan Rodriguez getting 6 million, both over 2 years, this makes Alex Anthopolous look like a genius. Not only that, but he did it extremely quickly - before any other teams could grab him. Word had the Rangers and at least 6 other teams looking to pick him up. I'm liking the start to the post tendering a lot more than the winter meetings.

Acquisition Grade: Grade: A+

Non-Tendered Adds for the Jays?

There are some really intriguing names on the list of non-tenders this season. The Jays tendered all of their players except Raul Chavez. Now that they don't have 1 catcher on the 40-man roster, they'll definitely be signing a FA including the possibility of grabbing one who was non-tendered. Here is the list of guys the Jays could grab at the right price in order of the ones I'd most like to see in a Jasy uniform for 2010. For a complete list of non-tendered guys, MLBTR is your source at this link.

  • Adam Miller: One finger. That's all that stands in the way of this guy becoming a #2 or even a #1 pitcher. If the doctors look at him and see he could stay healthy, sure, give him a whirl. Otherwise it's just a sad story for a great guy. In 2006, at 21, he pitched AA/AAA at a line of 158 IP, 161 Ks, only 46 BB and a 2.84 ERA. He threw 6 games in 2008 and still held a 1.88 ERA, but had to shut it down and has had 2 surgeries on the finger since. He could be the best option in terms of ceiling / upside  if a "cure" can be found for his ailment. Anyone know a stem cell guy who can grow him a new finger? lol.
  • Ryan Church: Not sure he'd want to play in Toronto, but his defense is way better than Lind's and he's more of a full time player than Bautista. If the Jays play him enough for him to increase his value, he may accept. He's not flashy, but then again the Jays don't need flashy, just steady, and Church gives you that with a .275 to .280 average and potential for 10-15 HRs. His OBP is nice and he'd help fill a hole in our OF until help comes along in the form of Yohermyn Chavez or Darrin Mastroianni.
  • Scott Olsen: Sure, he's been caught for DUI and went downhill in WAS, but wouldn't you? He has some talent, and is only one season removed from throwing 201 innings with 113 Ks and a 4.20 ERA / 1.309 whip. The upside here is real, but the ceiling may be low in the AL East.
  • Matt Capps: Since the Jays are already going to deal Accardo, and are rumored to want to deal Downs due to his impending FA status after 2010 and high salary, Capps would be the right kind of reclamation project to get into the pen at a decent rate. I'm not sure if he'd be content with a relief role, but it's worth a try.
  • Chien-Ming Wang: Everyone is saying he'll end up with the LAD, but if the Jays give him an opportunity to get back at the Yankees for letting him go, maybe they get him at a discount. He'd need to prove he's effective again, but he knows how to pitch and could easily become a #2 again if healthy.
  • John Buck and Josh Anderson: Someone should really go into KC and fire their GM for the poor owner who has to live through all of these non-sense moves. Kendall at 2 years and 6 million instead of Buck? Buck's younger and has more pop. As for Anderson, he has lots of speed and makes the perfect replacement for Joe Inglett. He's only going to be 27 next season and is an excellent defensive player. Buck must have more interest for the Jays though. He can pop one out steadily (about 15-18 per season), but he only threw out 16%  of basestealers. 
  • Mark Worrell: Great RP, 80 Ks in 58 IP in 2008, but sat out 2009 with injury. Would need to sign 2 years and rehab in the minors a little, but he'd be a great addition to any pen.
  • Alfredo Amezaga: Great bench player, can play anywhere and has some speed with ok OBP.
  • DJ Carrasco: The Jays can't afford him and chances are he wants to contend, but he's a decent 32 year old pen guy.
  • Jack Cust: I don't see him as a Jay since we have Lind as 70% DH, but his pop can't be ignored. He'll land in CHW or another AL team, but doubtful it's TO.


Finally, Credible Offers are Making the Rounds

Dec. 12th UPDATE: It looks like I was onto something about Trevor Reckling being more appealing than Joe Saunders. Here's the MLBTR link. Thank goodness. The Tao of Stieb has a great article about why Saunders is not worth a deal at all, although I disagree about Doc not going there. It's the best place for him so long as we get different pitchers in return. Whether it's Jered Weaver and prospects, or Trevor Reckling and a couple of others, it needs to be higher end pitching than Joe "please say no" Saunders.

Here's what I had posted on the 9th of December:

When the Winter Meetings started, who would have thought that the LAA, TB, and PHI would become front runners and that NYY and BOS interest would be nil? Not many. But that's exactly what's happened and the Jays "supposedly" have some real credible offers on the table.

Option #1, from LAA: Joe Saunders, Erick Aybar, Peter Bourjos.

Analysis: I am NOT a fan of this offer at all and don't want Alex to take it. While I am a huge fan of Aybar's, both he and Saunders are arbitration eligible and only under control for a few years. Saunders hasn't exactly shined, and if he played for KC instead of the LAA last season, he would of had half the wins he ended up with. His 4.60 ERA and 1.430 Whip don't impress me at all, and he only had 101 Ks in 186 IP, not exactly front line stuff. There's a reason the LAA would be willing to move him. I'd rather the Jays land Trevor Reckling in the deal, which may be the case since nobody knows what the true offer if yet. As for Bourjos, I do think he's a very nice piece in the deal. If the deal had Reckling and another young SP in the deal, I'd like Alex to snap it up.

Option #2, from PHI: J.A. Happ, and one of Dominic Brown or Michael Taylor.

Analysis: Another rumor has it being Hamels instead of Happ. If Brown is actually in the offer, the Jays would have taken it already, so I seriousle doubt they've made him available. Hamels and Brown as a return would be plenty, even if I'm not a fan of the attitude Hamels displayed during the playoffs of 09. I do like Taylor, but if he's in the package, I do expect Alex to ask for 1 or 2 more pieces to be added because his ceiling is lower than Brown's. The one weak point of this offer is that it doesn't fulfil the need for a SS or C, forcing the Jays to look elsewhere to fill those holes.

***New info: apparently the Phils GM doesn't see any deal for Doc taking place for the Phils, so scratch them off the list of suitors.

Option #3, from TB: Wade Davis, BJ Upton, Reid Brignac.

Analysis: This offer wouldfill the SS gap long term, and would allow the Jays to flip Upton for other pieces, supposedly to the Mets in return for Fernando Martinez. So, the return becomes Davis, Martinez, and Brignac. Sold. I'd take this offer over all others simply because the ceiling, contracts, and control over the players are all higher and longer, making the Jays much better for the long term.

In any case, we are pretty aware that the market for Doc is heating up and it does seem like Alex has some credible options to consider. Who knows how many of these rumors are credible, but if they are, Alex has a lot of work on his hands and his heart rate must be through the roof right now.....gotta love that rush!!!

Rosenthal Falls Off His Rocker

Ok, I'm not one to criticize people who draw up trade scenarios since I am one of the biggest cullprits. If I must say so, it's one of the most fun aspects of baseball other than watching a game or watching prospects grow into stars. But, Ken Rosenthal just fell off his rocker and must have drank a little too much beer last night. He suggests that the Phillies could trade Cliff Lee in order to get Roy Halladay......what's the point? So they liked Roy a little more than Cliff at the deadline last year, it doesn't mean they'd jump through what would be flaming hoops to get Doc.

His scenario had Cliff going to various teams in return for prospects. The Phils keep some, trade the others to TO. I believe this scenario will work, but that it will NOT involve Cliff Lee. The Phils want to go into 2010 with 4 guys that can be considered #1 or #2 calibre. They want to win the World Series, plain and simple. Subtracting Lee for Halladay does very little to get them closer.

The one thing I give credit for in his piece is that Rosenthal keys in on the 2 right teams. If the Phillies can trade Joe Blanton and the 7 million plus he'll get in salary to the Dodgers or Mariners and get either Carlos Triunfel or Ivan Dejesus as part of the return, they may be able to flip either player to the Jays, which would satisfy the Jays need for a top-notch SS prospect.

Buster Olney think Doc will be traded very soon, and I agree. Everyone wants to have it resolved. The Angels do, the Phillies do, the Yankees and Red Sox do, and I know Doc and the Jays do. Now that the Phillies are trying to gather the right pieces, they may get it done. But I still have a feeling the Angels will be open to doing the same with one of their SP and getting a deal that tops the Phillies. If the Lee deal is an indication of what the Phils think an ace is worth, I hope I'm right.

Jays Minors - Top 4 Third Basemen

 The Jays have not had much strength at third base in the minors since they took Kelly Gruber in the 80s. For some reason, the club has scouted players the wrong way at the hot corner. I'm not sure who makes the suggestions for which 3rd basemen to draft in the organization - or whether that person was usually over ridden, but the Jays finally noticed this trend and did something about it in recent years. They spent some high picks and lots of International money on acquiring top-end third base prospects. So, has it worked? Well, here are the top 4.

1.Gustavo Pierre: will be 18 in Dec 2009
 Gustavo was one of the youngest GCL Blue Jays on the squad in 2009, but even at his young age he carries a lot of strength due to his size - 6'2" 185 lbs. He was one of the few big splashes the Jays have made in International signings and will hopefully prove himself a little more in 2010, but his 2009 season showed some promise nonetheless. He played 48 games in the GCL, has 18 extra base hits in 174 AB, stole 8 bases and maintained a low but okay average for his age of .259. Part of the problem with Pierre is his inability to hit left handed pitching, maintaining a lowly .195 average and only 2 extra base hits against them, compared to a .278 average against righties with 16 extra base hits. As with many young players, he needs to cut down on strike outs and to build his pitch recognition skills as proven by his 45 strike outs to only 3 walks, but this is something he will learn and be taught over time. He made 14 errors in 100 attempts while flipping from SS to 3B. Gustavo was taken as a SS, but his arm plays very well at third and his growth will make it unlikely that he can stick at SS. As he matures and progresses in the minors in 2010, Gustavo should improve and has the highest ceiling of all third basemen in the system. Expect to see him repeat the GCL and jump to Auburn or Lansing at some point in the season.

2. Balbino Fuenmayor: just turned 20 in November 2009
Balbino at 20 is the exact size that Gustavo is expected to be when he turns 20 - 6'3" and 235 lbs of strength and power. To put Pierre's stats above in perspective, Balbino had only 4 home runs over 2 full years in the GCL at the very same age that Pierre was in 2009 and will be in 2010 (17 and 18). So, if Pierre improves slightly in 2010, he will have outpaced the growth Balbino had at that age by a healthy margin. After struggling through 2 years in the GCL, with some growth in the second shown in average (.307) and extra base hits (19), he finally showed some true potential as a 19 year old at Lansing in 2009. While is average dipped to .263 and his OBP was unsatisfactory at .279, he showed some power with 32 extra base hits, 8 HRs, and 54 RBI in 435 AB. He fought for playing time at 1B and 3B much of the year with 1B Michael McDade and 3B Mark Sobolewski, but should get a full year under his belt at 3B in 2010. Interestingly, he made 12 errors at 3B and none at 1B, despite playing more time at 1B. However, intentions are to keep him at 3B and develop his defense. He may get a jump to Dunedin at some point, but he needs to work on his strike outs and OBP before he can be viewed as a potential regular.

3. Bryson Namba: will be 19 in January 2010
Bryson was drafted in the 12th round of the 2009 draft and didn't get many ABs in 2009, only 77. However, he proved that he can use his size (6'2" and 210 lbs) by hitting 4 HRs in that short span. He'll be splitting time between 1B and 3B with Gustavo Pierre unless one of the two makes the jump to Lansing in 2010. Bryson hails from Hawaii and played some C and most of the infield in high school, but he will be used as a 1B or 3B by the Jays. Obviously, making the switch from C to 3B isn't easy, and explains why Bryson made 9 errors in 38 attempts in 2009. But, with some practice and experience, his D should improve as he is agile enough to play the position and even has a little speed (for now). He should continue to grow a little and will add muscle to his frame, both of which bode well for his power numbers. He did walk 6 times in 77 AB in 2009, so he may have a little more patience at this point than either Balbino or Gustavo do. Bryson will be tested with a full year at 3B in 2010, and should remain in Lansing for the majority of the season.

4. Kevin Ahrens: will be 21 in April 2010
Selected 16th overall in the first round of the 2007 draft, he ties David Purcey as some of the most disappointing Jays minors in recent times. Since he's still young at only 21 years old in 2010, and playing at a high enough level for his age, I kept him on this list. But Kevin really needs to show the Jays he can hit, or he'll be passed very quickly by Balbino and Gustavo. In 377 AB he had a .215 average, only 23 extra base hits, 4 HR, a .282 OBP, and had 18 errors in 175 attempts at 3B. He's smaller than most Jays 3B prospects at 6'1" and 190 lbs, and may never develop the power expected at the position. When he was drafted in 2007, announcers and scouts were making comparisons of Kevin to Chipper Jones. It definitely doesn't look like that will ever come near fruition, but, Kevin could develop if he adds strength into a Lyle Overbay type 1B. That's about his ceiling in my humblest opinion. He'll most likely begin 2010 by repeating in HiA Dunedin until he can display the skills needed to make a jump to AA in 2011 or beyond.

Next up will be the top 12 outfielders.


Jays Non-News

Here are some useful yet useless snippets:
  • Apparently, Marcus Thames interests the Jays. He can hit it out and makes a great bench guy against lefties. He's a much better "acquisition rumor" than Joey "I get around" Gathright.
  • Buck Martinez is back. After listening to him on XM Radio over the last 6 months, I think it's the greatest move the Jays could have made in terms of announcers. Great knowledge, check. Can talk your ear off, check. Peculiar voice you recognize right away, check. Sold!
  • Peter Gammons, for reasons unknow, tried to make Doc seem like a medical hazard. Note for Peter: if you meant to say that he had a ton of innings under his belt, fine. But don't go around saying he has medical history of injuries. It's just unfounded and makes you seem......a little lost really, and sadly. Seems to me like most of his "news" are personal opinions now and really shouldn't be taken as credible news.
  • Doc and his family are still waiting to hear where they're going. If you're his family, used to living in Florida, by the ocean, where would you rather land.....Philadelphia or Los Angeles? Hmmmm. I have no clue how much say they have, but if it's anything like my family, they're headed to LA.
  • Why is Overbay still a Jay? The Braves, Giants, Mariners, Mets, and others are all looking for a 1B. You can't tell me they wouldn't take a doubles machine off our hands who plays gold glove type D in return for some decent prospects. Send him away, save 7 million or so, and move on to Dopirak and Ruiz! Pronto!
  • Should the Jays send Overbay away and sign Aroldis Chapman? They say they want to rebuild through youth, isn't he the perfect type to rebuild with? I guess it depends on the price, but if he and Chad Jenkins turn out the way they're supposed to, they'd sure make a rotation a feared one when combined with what we already have in Bret and Marc. Trade Doc, trade Overbay, sign Aroldys for 20 million. Done, now build.
What a boring Jays news day. Sorry it was so mundane, but it's all we got!

Philly Buster?

Seems the Phils have been trying to keep their interest in Doc to a minimum, most likely in hopes to keep the price for Doc low as well. Tom Verducci reports that the Phils are alos willing to trade with other team in irder to get pieces the Jays want around the league. That's a ton of scenarios to consider, too many actually, but what we can foresee is who the Phils can trade to other teams in order to get those returns.
  1. They have 7 starters under contract even without Doc, and rumors are abound that Joe Blanton could be the best piece to trade. Antonio Bastardo and Kyle Kendrick are the other 2 pieces that could be on the move. So, who's looking for pitching and would trade top talent for it......?
  2. The Mets are the obvious choice, but I can't see them helping out the Phils. The Royals, Orioles, and Texas could also use more depth. KC could offer Josh Fields, Tex could offer Engel Beltre, and the Orioles could offer Felix Pie. All of these could fill part of the talent pool handed over to the Jays. But, the team that most needs a guy like Joe Blanton is Houston. The have a very weak rotation and just spent a ton of money reshaping their pen. They could offer a SP like Ross Seaton or Jordan Lyles depending on the returns.
  3. The only other real pieces the Phils could trade to others to get what Toronto wants are OF Ben Francisco and the minor league players that they're willing to deal to others to get the right guys for the Jays in return. 
This is getting very complicated. but it seems that progress is being made in establishing who the players are and what they're willing to deal. Truthfully, the Phillies know they can't win the World Serieswith 2 aces in Lee and Hamels with all the question marks that come behind them. The Angels know they'll have a hard time winning the division if they don't add one of Lackey or Halladay. It's turning into a showdown between the two, and although the Yankees and Red Sox are not in the majority of Doc rumors, I never count them out.

I still believe Doc will be moved before Christmas, unless I misread Alex and he is not able to pull the trigger.


RP Zechry Zinicola is the Jays Rule 5 Pick

RHP Zechry Zinicola was a 6th rd pick, 181st overall, in 2006. Now 24 years old, he has developed into a decent relief pitcher, but not exactly spectacuar. The Jays must expect to trade one of their own RP (Accardo, Downs, Frasor) in order to make room for Zechry in the pen. He pitched in AA and AAA last season, will a total of 43 GP, 54 IP, 47 Ks, 19 BB, 67 hits against and a 5.33 ERA. Not exactly stellar, but he did convert 5 saves in AA. Maybe the Jays see a little bit of Brian Tallet in him.

We'll see if he sticks around, but it's not the kind of high impact pick I was expecting from Alex A. Grade B-


LAA Willing to Deal Aybar

It appears that the Angels have made one of their untouchables available in Doc trade talks. The Denver Post's Troy Renck reports that now that LAA GM Tony Reagins, they essentially become the front-runners in a Doc deal. I'm not sure how that holds water when Jesus Montero is the big piece in New York, Clay Buchholz is the big piece in Boston, Wade Davis is the big piece in Tampa Bay, and Kyle Drabek is the big piece in Philadelphia, but that's what he's saying today.

It does alter the possibilities quite a bit when lookng at the pieces that the Angels could deal. With Seattle piling on the pressure with their high OBP top 2, the Angels may be the hungriest trade suitor out there for the Jays, so I do believe Mr. Renck's opinion is probably right based on the information we have today. Where I don't agree with him is in that he includes Joe Saunders as the key pitcher coming back in the deal. It would not add an depth for the LAA, which I think is part of their plan in dealing with Seattle and others. So, I believe the key piece will be Trevor Reckling, combined with another highly ranked SP prospect and catcher Mike Napoli, and that a reliever like Scott Downs could also be included in the deal on the way to Los Angeles.

But what do I know? I'm just going by need and willingness to deal. I do believe Doc will be traded before christmas, and that Alex would absolutely love to get fair market value from the Angels in order to avoid the scrutiny that would come from seeing Doc in a Red Sox or Yankees uniform.

Huge reach here, but here's the deal I can foresee happening with the Angels, or something similar:

to Toronto - C Mike Napoli or Jeff Mathis, SS Erick Aybar, SP Trevor Reckling, SP Jordan Walden, one or two more lower end prospects

*unless the Jays land Ryan Doumit, in which case OF Peter Boujos could become a piece added instead of Napoli or Mathis.

to Los Angeles - SP Roy Hallday, RP Scott Downs

Doc to the Yankees Still a Possibility

The evil empire continues to add pieces to its championship team, and it seems that Doc is still on their radar. The way this article states it, there are reasons to be optimistic that the Yankees will still land Doc for the following reasons:
  • Jesus Montero: both the Yankees and the Jays love this kid, but since his future is at 1B/DH, the Yankees have no spot for him and definitely want sound return on investment. Who else is on the market and better than Doc as a return? Nobody. So, if the Yankees are going to trade Montero, it might as well be for Doc. they can't keep him in the minors forever!!
  • The Yankees can still include one of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes while retaining the other. In layman's terms, when you look at their 2009 lineup, whichever one of these 2 they decide to move for Doc would essentially be traded straight up for Doc. That's quite an improvement. And since neither of the 2 is a sure thing in terms of longevity or ceiling, it makes a ton of sense to grab Doc.
  • With Andy Pettitte waiting to re-sign, if they add Doc they only need 1 of the 2 to fill their rotation. It would give them a top 5 of CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and one of Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes. That's one hell of a rotation!
  • The article by Joel Sherman also goes on to say that Yankee brass would not want to sign Doc to an extension. They'd rather wait to pick up the 2 top picks and rebuild their minors and feel there are enough top end FA starters coming up in 2011 to replace Doc in the rotation. 
  • TB and BOS. If either of these teams land Doc, it will make it harder for the Yanks to win the AL East outright. Add to that the fact that the Orioles intend to spend a ton this off-season and nothing is guaranteed for the evil empire. Should they not want to spend 200 million plus and wind up out of the playoffs, they probably would be better off making sure they got ALL of the pieces they can to make it happen. Oh, how I dream of Boston winning the division with TB winning the wild card. lol.
With all of those points, the Yankees and Jays still match up very well. I still expect Alex Anthopolous to need a few young prospects to be added, but nothing significant. We'll see if the Yankees can pull it off, I just hope it costs them in 2012 and beyond when the Jays start winning streaks of their own with Montero hitting cleanup!


LAD Still in the Hunt for Doc

Apparently, the Dodgers still want to get something done and are still pursuing Doc. The Dodgers GM added that he is NOT constrained by money and that it won't be an issue when talks of extensions come around. With Arizona picking up 2 more starters that make their rotation Webb - Haren - Jackson - followed by a mix of Buckner, Heilman, Augenstein, Mulvey, Parker, Valdez, and Kennedy, could it be that the Dodgers are feeling the heat? With SF looking to add some power, and Bumgarner joining their rotation, and Colorado also looking to add some arms, the NL West is going to be the Wild West if this keeps up.

Prospects from the Dodgers that Alex will look at:
  • Dee Gordon, SS LoA
  •  Andrew Lambo, OF AA
  • Chris Withrow, SP AA
  • Aaron Miller, SP LoA
  • Allen Webster, SP R
  • Ethan Martin, SP LoA
  • Josh Lindblom, SP AAA
  • Scott Elbert, RP/SP AAA/MLB
  • Ivan DeJesus, SS R
  • Trayvon Robinson, OF AA
Who alex targets will define who he can get as an MLB player. Could Pierre be going to Toronto in this deal? The Jays do need a lead off hitter. Russel Martin iand James Loney are other possibilities. I refuse to believe they would trade Billingsley to add Doc.

Winter Meetings Day 2 continued: Austin Jackson Traded, Doumit, Bo Sox

  • Austin Jackson is on his way to Detroit, where he has a lot to live up to while taking over from Curtis Granderson. Not only does this mean Jackson won't be the addition in CF the Jays were supposedly hoping for, but it also means the chances are slim that the Yankees will part with the remainder of their top prospects in order to land Doc. Unless we're missing something, a package of Montero and Hughes or Chamberlain would be too weak to woo the Jays, even with more ammunition added.
  • The Jays and Pirates are again into talks over Ryan Doumit and speculation is that it may include the disgruntled Jeremy Accardo. If it's a 1 for 1 deal, it seems like a fairly even trade overall.
  • The Red Sox made a couple of under the radar signings, inking ex-Jay Fabio Castro and Kason Gabbard. Fabio did fairly well last year, but hasn't received a real shot in the bigs yet. 
  • The Red Sox are also said to not want to include either Clay Buchholz or Casey Kelly in a deal, which would basically end talks between the Jays and Red Sox about Roy Halladay. 
  • If the Red Sox rumor is true, it leaves Alex with TB, CHW, LAA, PHI, NYM, and the now prospect depleted NYY as possible trading partners. It's looking dimmer and dimmer. I guess we'll most likely get to enjoy 1 more year of Doc, and hopefully Bret, Ricky, and Marc have their learning caps on.

Bites from Day 2 of Winter Meetings

Here are some rumors making circles that involve the Jays:
  • MLB Bastien reports that Toronto execs have stated no player is untouchable. Wow, that would include the likes of Cecil, Rzepczynski, and Snider? Apparently, once this news made the rounds the Jays got a ton of action. Gee, I wonder why!
  • Lyle Overbay may be an interesting proposition for Atlanta, who may not want to give Laroche a multi-year deal with Freddy Freeman waiting in the wings. Thoughts on possible returns?
  • The priority for AA seems to be getting the right catcher. In my opinion, the Jays lost out big time when they let Ivan Rodriguez sign in Washington. I guess he was lured by the 2 year deal and the fact that Strasburg and Harper will need his mentoring. Makes sense to sign in Washington in this case. (a rarity)
  • Secrecy is the name of AA's game, a nice change of pace from the old Jays GM. We'll have to see if letting 1 person or 2 in his suite at a time bears fruit once the meetings are over.
  • The Rays moved into the fray for Doc with Wade Davis, BJ Upton, and Reid Brignac being possible returns. The Jays are also rumored to want to flip Upton if this kind of deal occured with the Rays.
  • The Dodgers are pretty much out of the running for Doc, but the LAA are still said to be strong contenders. The more Seattle adds to their team, the more the LAA will be hungry to land Doc. Got get'em M's!!
  • Boston seems to be losing their grip on Bay, who is popular in Seattle with everyone except the most important person - their GM, so it's a stale mate right now. Apparently Bay's shotty OF D is the issue with the M's GM.....I'm pretty sure you have an opening at 1B Sir. Just a thought. Either way, it seems our chances of keeping the 29th pick we got for Scutaro are dim.
  • Sadly, no news on anyone pushing to land Wells. Surprise surprise!
Pretty quite day 2 so far. Let's hope it's just the calm before the storm.


Add Another AL East Team to Doc Suitor List

Ken Rosenthal and Paul Morosi reported tonight that the Rays may be willing to part with Wade Davis and BJ Upton in return for Doc. You have to believe that Reid Brignac would also be a possibility here, but it's an interesting option for the Rays. It would allow them to compete more effectively versus the Red Sox and Yankees, it would assure neither of those two gets Doc, and Tampa Bay is as close to home as Doc can get. If he accepts to go there, and they can agree on an extension, this could be a match made in heaven.

Very interesting rumor to follow.

*Add Dioner Navarro to the list of possibilities in this trade, as he's been made available by the Rays since they intend on using the newly acquired Kelly Shoppach the majority of the time.

Spend it Like You Stole it Alex!!!

 You're a bit surprised that today's new are not about the winter meetings? Hey, so am I, but this is huge.
Mr. Bob Elliott reported in the Toronto Sun today, that the scouting world has been made aware of the intentions for the Jays to spend $16 million during next year's draft!! Sure, this more than covers the bonuses that will be given to the 8 or 9 draft picks the Jays will have in the first 3 rounds, so where's the remainder going? To obtain International talent, that's where. The Jays are finally realizing that there's a reason teams like to be heavily involved in the International market.

The Jays will be drafting in the 11th spot in 2010. If everyone remembers the 2009 draft class, SP Tyler Matzek fell to this exact spot because he was deemed too hard to sign and too expensive. The Rockies put up the cash for a player that was deemed by some to be the top high school pick and arguably the second best arm after Stephen Strasburg, with a $3,900,000 bonus. The Jays may be hoping for something similar to occur in 2010, when they get the 11th overall pick.

For argument's sake, let's say that they do pay $4,200,000 (due to inflation...lol) for that 11th pick.
 11th pick bonus (16,000,000 - 4,200,000 = 13,800,000)

For now, they also hold the 29th overall pick, which cost the Yankees $2,200,000 for Slade Heathcott (big time over slot).We'll call it 2,300,000 for the Jays in 2010.
29th pick (13,800,000 - 2,300,000 = 11,200,000)

The Jays also have 2 sandwich picks that should cost approximately 900,000 to 1,500,000 depending on the talent that falls to them. Let's average this out to 1,200,000 per pick for a 2,4000,000 total.
2 x Sandwich picks (11,200,000 - 2,400,000 = 8,800,000)

That leaves the Jays with $8,800,000 to spend on the remaining 4-5 picks they'll have in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. They have 4 picks in those rounds right now, 5 once Barajas signs elsewhere.
For argument's sake, let's say these average out in cost to $750,000.
5 x 2nd and 3rd round picks 5 x $750,000 = $3,500,000 (8,800,000 - 3,500,000 = 5,300,000)

I'm not exactly sure how much the remaining rounds will cost the Jays, but with the approximate money remaining of between $3,000,000 to $5,300,000, chances are that this figure of $16,000,000 isn't that far fetched in part due to the Jays having so many high-end picks. It will still allow the Jays to pickup 2 or 3 high-end International FA, which could have a big impact on the minors system overall.

Alex is going to put his money where his mouth is in 2010, in his scouting department. If he can reap the rewards in that area for the Jays, AND land some nice prospects for Doc and others, this could be the turning point fans have been looking for. Whatever the case, it's an excellent first step to refurbishing the Jays.

Jason Bay wants to Play in Seattle

We all knew they were a big possibility, and now it is confirmed (through Geoff Baker via MLBTR) that at least one of the two sides is very interested in getting a deal together.All that remains is for the Mariners to decide whether they want Jason badly enough to fork out some big money. I'm not sure if this "badly" wanting to play for the Ms is enough to give them a discount, doubtful, so the Ms will still have to make an offer in the same vicinity that the Red Sox make. What does this mean for the Jays? Our worst fears coming true. If they do lose Bay, the Red Sox only have a couple of choices offensively. Trade for Adrian Gonzalez, pick up a high risk high reward FA like Xavier Nady, or go after the last remaining bi stick FA in Matt Holliday. My bet is on the last one happening, which could take a while if Scott knows Boston is desperate.


Why Alex is Right to Spend Big on Scouting

This is a tale of 2 cities. One has had success recently, the other has not. In order to prove why the Jays desperately needed both a change in GM and influx of cash in their scouting department, I will compare the Tampa Bay Rays drafts from 2001 to 2005 to the Toronto Blue Jays Draft from 2001 to 2005. I chose 2005 because most of the players chosen up to that year have either made it to MLB or are knocking on the door, and all players chosen to that point had enough chance to prove their talents.

Listed are players who have had, or are arguably expected to have, an impact in MLB (whether with the team who drafted them or not), with the round drafted in brackets.

2001 Draft (very weak class)
  • Jays Impact Picks: Gabe Gross (1), Brandon League (2)
  • Rays Impact Picks: Dewon Brazelton (1), Joey Gathright (32), Chad Gaudin (34)
2002 Draft
  • Jays Impact Picks: Russ Adams (1), David Bush (2)
  • Rays Impact Picks: BJ Upton (1), Jason Pridie (2), Elijah Dukes (3), Wes Bankston (4), Johnny Gomes (8), Jason Hammel (10), Mike Pelfrey (15), Jacoby Ellsbury (23)
2003 Draft
  • Jays Impact Picks: Aaron Hill (1), Shaun Marcum (3), Thomas Mastny (11)
  • Rays Impact Picks: Delmon Young (1), Andrew Miller (3), Chad Orvella (13), Adam Ottavino (30), Wade Leblanc (36)
2004 Draft (best Jays Draft Class in the decade)
  • Jays Impact Picks: Zach Jackson (1), David Purcey (2), Casey Janssen (4), Adam Lind (5), Jesse Litsch (24)
  • Rays Impact Picks: Jeff Niemann (1), Reid Brignac (2), Wade Davis (3), Jacob McGee (5), Andy Sonnanstine (13), Cale Iorg (16), Daniel McCutchen (29)
2005 Draft
  • Jays Impact Picks: Ricky Romero (1), Robert Ray (7), Reidier Gonzalez (19)
  • Rays Impact Picks: Wade Townsend (1), Chris Mason (2), Jeremy Hellickson (4), Clayton Mortenson (25)
The Result? Well, it took some time to let the 2002-2004 guys mature, but 2008 proved huge dividends for the Rays. These drafted players came to impact their clubs most, and the Jays piggy bank could no longer keep up with the costs of the team. Tampa finished at 97-65 while the Jays finished at 86-76. The difference, if you'll notice, is exactly what Alex Anthopolous said the Jays need to accumulate in wins in order to win in the AL East. 2009 held the same win spread of  close to 10, with the Rays winning 84 games while the Jays won just 75.

If adding to the scouting department' skills and knowledge adds 10 wins per season, it's definitely something worth doing. With a scouting program that produces assets the way the Rays do, the Jays could do some serious damage in the AL East because the Jays budget is about 10 million greater than the Rays, allowing the Jays to either keep players a little longer, or acquire more pieces through FA. I'm truly glad that Alex has invested in scouting, and look forward to the time when we can evaluate this investment as I've done above.

Winter Meetings Prelude

An interesting note in today's Richard Griffin column,
"Anthopoulos admitted this week that there have been inquiries about some of his starters other than Halladay and that the possibility of young guys on the move would be there if the return was what the Jays were looking for. He might give teams a choice from among that group. Remember, when the Halladay deal is finally completed there will likely be a mid-rotation starter included to make the picture even more crowded."
Well, isn't that a daisy. How many scenarios can people cook up from that one, and which starters would he be willing to deal? My pick is Ricky Romero, who the Mets and others would definitely have interest in. Why not deal him if the Jays don't expect to compete? He's the most mature of the bunch, has the most market value as a result, and can help a team win in 2010. Scenarios are endless, but the Mets, Royals, Brewers, and Mariners stand out due to their needs for starting pitching.

Everyone still expects the Yankees to land Doc, and their latest attempt to make people believe they have a limited budget is simply posturing so they can get more for less at the meetings. Whether through an agent or through trade, the Yankees can claim they are trying to control costs - right. They said the same thing last year after signing CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, just before signing Mark Texeira.

Here's what I know for sure before the meetings:
  1. Alex will be the focus and will put his first stamp on the Jays at these meetings. If he deals Doc and others, he'll be examined to the nines by all baseball analysts and bloggers. The outcome of these deals will determine if he's the GM long term, or short term.
  2. Jesus Montero has no place to play in NY, other than at DH, or C once Posada retires - but nobody expects him to remain a Catcher at his size and "agility". So, he is a huge piece the Yankees may be willing to move.
  3. The Red Sox need a big hitter. Whether it's landing Bay, Holliday, or Adrian Gonzalez, that's their #1 focus. Until they get one of these players, they can't make a deal for Doc without jeopordizing their offense. 
  4. The Red Sox can't afford to trade for both Adrian Gonzalez and Roy Halladay. So, if Bay and Holliday sign elsewhere, you can scratch them off the list of Halladay suitors.
  5. The LAA want to prove to their fans that they can win in 2010. They have Mike Napoli to deal since Jeff Mathis and Hank Conger are capable catchers, but can no longer deal Wood to the Jays since Figgins has signed in Seattle. The next best piece offensively in a deal, for the Jays, is OF Mike Trout who is very unlikely to be dealt. This makes a deal with the LAA a little less likely to occur.
  6. The NYY, knowing the plights of BOS and LAA, will not part with 3 of Chamberlain, Hughes, Montero, and Jackson unless situations change. I could see 2, but not 3. Why would they pay more if no other teams are bidding? If you're the Jays, which 2 do you ask for? Unless one of the other 2 teams settles their situations (Holliday signs in BOS, for example), you can expect Doc to stay put.
  7. Doc may be more inclined to agree to a deal in the AL since he's not much of a hitter or runner.
  8. Doc may also be more inclined to sign a deal with a team that holds spring training in Florida (so some people say), making both LA teams, the White Sox, and the Mariners a little less likely to land Doc.
  9. Lyle Overbay will be dealt ASAP to the highest bidder.
  10. Others, such as two major pieces with expiring contracts in 2010 in Jason Frasor and Scott Downs, as well as Brian Tallet, Scott Richmond, Jeremy Accardo, and Jose Bautista may also be on the move.

Could Vernon Wells be dealt to the Yankees if a Doc deal can be made to include Austin Jackson in a deal? The Yankees could pass on Damon, and would be more inclined to deal 3 major prospects. In tis case, Phil Hughes, Jesus Montero, and Austin Jackson would go to the Jays, with Doc and Wells going to the Yankees.

Would a 3B Mat Gamel and OF Caleb Gindl for Ricky Romero and Edwin Encarnacion swap work with Milwaukee? They can actually afford Romero, and the Jays could use a big bat at 3B/1B and a young 5 tool OFer. Just a wild throw, but the Brewers are pretty desperate for pitching and don't have an excessive amount of money to throw around. Dealing Romero now makes perfect sense, because who knows how long he can go before an injury, there are a ton of guys who can take his spot in the rotation in the near future (Zach Stewart, Jesse Litsch, Reidier Gonzalez, Bobby Bell, David Purcey), and he is more affordable to more teams which drives up the price teams would be willing to pay for him.

As for Doc, my wild card team in his chase is the Chicago White Sox, but I doubt he would accept a deal there - unless he surprises us as Peavy did. A Peavy-Halladay-Danks-Floyd-Buehrle rotation would nix the chances of any other Central team winning for sure, and the White Sox do have Dayan Viciedo, Dan Hudson, and Tyler Flowers to offer - all positions that the Jays are looking for in return. Add the fact that their GM is Ken Williams and you never know what could happen.

Jays/Alex Targets?

All minor leaguers and young MLB Players.

Should be fun to watch and listen to in the days ahead. Let's hope it's an active meeting, and not one that reflects the slower lifestyle Indiana brings to the table in comparison to the 2008 location of Las Vegas!


How Does the Figgins Deal Impact the Jays?

It seems the Mariners have been paying attention to the recent plight of the Jays in the AL East when they lost AJ Burnett and with the impending retreat of a high-end pick for losing Scutaro. With its two biggest rivals impacting which compensation picks the Jays get when they lose a Tyle A FA, the Red Sox and Yankees are keeping some much needed talent out of Toronto. Now, having just been confirmed as aggreeing to a deal (pending Adrian Beltre's refusal of arbitration) with 3B/OF Chone Figgins, the Seattle Mariners are rumored to be contemplating the same kind of move. Since Figgins sits second to last in the ranking of Type A FAs, all the Mariners need to do to ensure their division rivals don't get a first round pick from them is to sign another Type A FA not named Octavio Dotel. They've mostly been rumored to.....everyone really, but mostly Jason Bay. An article by Larry Stone, who covers the Mariners goes through the vast impact this deal has on the Angels and how it automatically switches the balance of power in the AL West. Ironically, Jason Bay may hold the key to who ends up losing their first round pick - the Jays, or the Angels (impact 1).

How the deal impact the AL West teams:
Figgins was the lead off hitter of the Angels, and their spark plug offensively with a .395 OBP. There is no real replacement in their lineup, as they'll have to put Willits, Aybar, or Kendrick there until they find a better option.The Angels must also rely on Brandon Wood to perform as expected at 3B, and if he falters they may be in for a rough ride (although I expect they'll need his power). The Mariners can now relax with both Ichiro and Figgins at the top of the lineup (with .386 and .395 OBP respectively), and now have the bait they need to land that one bit bat they've been seeking. Jason Bay, who comes from B.C., just north of Seattle, is now looking to hit 3rd or 4th in a lineup headed by two of the best lead off hitters in the league if he chooses Seattle. That has to be enticing for him, playing close to home and in a division that doesn't include the Yankees. If Seattle signs Bay to a deal, the Jays can expect the Red Sox to become extremely aggressive in their pursuit of Matt Holliday - which would lead to our losing their first round pick (29th) and we'd inherit their 58th overall pick in the second round instead (impact 2).

Note: Does it seem to you that the Mariners are doing everything in their power to win for Ken Griffey Jr and Ichiro who have both given so much to that franchise? Oh, and wouldn't it have been nice to do the same for Doc? Just a thought.

Back to Figgins. I would say 99.99% of us have no idea how the Angels will react. Will they use the money they "saved" from not re-signing Figgins to sign Lackey and Guerrero? Or, wil they go for Jason Bay to stop the Mariners from getting their "last piece" of the puzzle? If you're Jason Bay, how can the Angels be more enticing when they already have 4 guys in the OF? Will they now look to get better through trades by looking for a lead off hitter and power, or sit tight and hope for the best with the talent they have? I'm not really sure, but a couple of Jays may now interest the Angels more so than before if  a Doc deal ever comes to realization between the 2 teams (impact 3).

1. Jose Bautista, he can play third (which protects them from Wood under performing), and he can play SS or the OF, giving the Angels back some of the flexibility they wanted in Figgins.

2. If the Jays want Brandon Wood to be included in a Doc deal, the Angels could ask for Edwin Encarnacion which would fill their 3B void.

What should have been 3. Sadly, the Jays don't have a lead off type player to offer the Angels, as they don't have one of their own. With Marco Scutaro now gone to Boston, who will lead off for us? Wells? Hill? Gonzalez? Not exactly ideal now, is it?

I'm not sure that a deal can be completed with the Angels now since they've got so many other things on their minds and may end up having to make a play for some other big FAs. They've definitely put themselves in a bit of a bind by allowing Figgins to leave, but it does create a bit of an opportunity for the Jays.

If they Angels are looking to reassure their fans that they can win in 2010, getting Doc would certainly help their cause. Adding Doc would make their rotation so much better than the Mariners that the Figgins deal would seem a little inconsequential and would at the least relieve some of the worries their fans have (impact 4). The trick for them is to make sure it gives them a real competitive advantage in 2010, and with Alex looking to stock pile prospects, it seems that this deal would be a perfect fit. Time will tell, but I say for now that losing Figgins to a bitter division rival may just be the spark a Doc deal needed.