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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.