Will Roberto Alomar be a first ballot HOF?

In an article written by the Globe's Jeff Blair, he states that "I don't know if Alomar will be a first-ballot inductee because of his infamous spitting incident but he should be." He is speaking of the Hall of Fame first time ballot option Roberto Alomar, son of Sandy Alomar. However, I don't believe that this will be the deciding factor of his induction at all. Voters realize that players do things in the heat of the moment and umpires have been on the receiving end of abuse from the time baseball started using umpires to regulate games.

I do believe that Alomar will be the first player in MLB history to go into the Hall of Fame with a Blue Jay cap on. After all, he did win two World Series championships with the team and spent 5 years with the Jays, more than with any other franchise. So, why should he get into the Hall? Which items put him above the rest? Well, here are my top 10 reasons:

1- He won 10 Gold Gloves from 1991 to 2001, missing the clean sweep only because he didn't win in 1997;
2- AL-ALCS MVP in 1992, ML AS MVP in 1998;
3- Silver Slugger award in 1992, 1996, 1999, and 2000;
4- was in every All-Star game from 1990 to 2001;
5- 97th all time in MVP voting;
6- One of the best defensive 2B of all time with a career fielding % of .984;
7- 2724 hits in 9073 AB for a .300 career average (198th best career avg of all time);
8- Has 1032 career Walks (99th all time), and 1140 Strike Outs - one of the best ratios for 2B in MLB history;
9- Played on winning teams - made the playoffs every year except his first 3 years with the Padres, and 1994-1995-1998-2000. Made the playoffs 5 years with the Jays, 4 with the Orioles, and twice with the Indians; and
10- Was on base 3806 times, the 56th highest total times on base of all time in MLB.

Some things you may not know about Mr.Alomar

1- Was signed by the SD Padres as an international FA in 1985
2- Was traded to Toronto in December 1990, along with Joe Carter (what a trade), in return for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff;
3- The Jays got nothing for him when he left them in 1995, as he was allowed to leave as a FA (bad organizational trend);
4- Was eventually picked up as a FA by the Orioles, who eventually let him go as a FA as well;
5- Signed with the Indians, who traded him to the Mets, who ended up also let him walk as a FA;
6- Sadly ended his career playing for the D-Backs, who traded him to the White Sox, who let him walk before he signed as a FA with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (his last team) in 2005, but never played a regular season game with them as he retired before the season started; and
7- Made a total of over $76,000,000 over his career.

Do I believe that Roberto Alomar will be a first-ballot inductee? Yes, I believe there's a strong chance he will, simply because I believe too many voters don't believe that the majority of the others on the ballot are worthy of being first-ballot inductees, or in the HOF at all in some cases. I am hopeful that Andre Dawson will join him, but skeptical that HOF voters will let a weak ballot affect whether the Hawk can make it in. As for Roberto, other than the ex-girlfriend who sued him because she claimed he has aids, and the spitting incident, he clearly deserves to be in the HOF, regardless of how many years it takes.


Jays Minors - Top 4 Second Basemen

Now, this is where the Jays minors picture gets really murky. We have a combination of under performing players and just drafted players who did fairly well in a short period of time. First and foremost, nobody sticks out and screams top-prospect. All have decent defensive tools and can become average MLB starters if all falls into place for them. Whether one of these guys becomes a star or not is the real question, and the 2010 season will go a long way to answering that question as they move up the ladder, and as the Jays are forced to decide who gets which level of play. Regardless, this is one of the weakest areas of the Jays minors system, only behind the SS position. The following are the top 4!

1. Ryan Schimpf: will be 22 in 2010
Overtaking John Tolisano as the top 2B in the system is the Jays 2009 5th round draft pick, Ryan Schimpf. Ryan signed very early after the draft, with little fanfare, and played hard from the beginning. He spent most of the season at Aubrun and played extremely well against right handers, hitting .333 with all 3 of his HRs, and showed his youth against lefties, hitting .152 with no extra base hits in 33 ABs. However, it's the fact that he walked almost as often as he struck out (15/24) that stood out for Ryan and enabled him to get a total OBP of .381 in 2009 at such a young age. Depending on how he comes out of the gates in 2010, he could move up the ladder very quickly and surpass John at some point. He's a sturdy 5'9" and 185 lbs and plays better defence than John does. His 2009 stats are as follows:
133 AB, 39 hits, .293 average, 7 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HRs, 14 RBI, 5 SBs

2. John Tolisano: will be 22 in 2010
Out of all of the Jays disappointing 2007 draft picks, I like John to turn it around the most. The 2007 second rounder played with a lot of heart in 2009, even if the results didn't match the effort. Regardless of the level John played at since he was drafted, he has maintained a very low batting average, which is the most troubling aspect of his progression. Whether it's his youth for his level of play, or the fact he tries too hard to "hurt" the ball and drive it out, John has to learn to hit for average if he wants to become a regular in MLB. He did so badly near the end of the year that the Jays decided against sending him to the AFL and decided to rest him instead. He may repeat HiA at Dunedin, but will likely get the move up to AA New Hampshire at some point in 2010. His calling card to the bigs is his intriguing combination of power and speed which both play well at 2B. His 2009 stats were:
401 AB, 93 hits, .232 average, 19 doubles, 2 triples, 12 HRs, 58 RBI, 5 SB

3. Brad Emaus: will be 24 years old in 2010
Brad was one of my favorite breakout candidates in 2009. He had an awesome spring training with the Jays, and took off like a bat out of hell once he started play in AA. However, he slowed down big time as the season wore on and ended up with very mediocre stats. His versatility in the infield may mean that Brad becomes a utility player for the Jays in 2010 or 2011. But, he does have the power and skills to become a starter if he works on being more consistent. His 2009 stats were as follows:
505 AB, 128 hits, .253 average, 28 doubles, 2 triples, 10 HRs, 67 RBI, 10 SBs

4. Oliver Dominguez : will be 21 years old in 2010
Oliver struggled a bit after his promotion from the DSL to the GCL, but he was only 20 years on in 2009 and still has plenty of time to develop. The tools are all there. His most telling stat in 2009 was the fact that he stole 13 bases without being caught once, indicating both how fast and smart he is on the bases. He should put on a little more weight as he gets older and bulks up, but currently sits at 5'9" and 156 lbs, not exactly a welter weight. With the 3 guys on this list ahead of him, Oliver will get time to develop at each level, and I expect he'll get a promotion to Lansing for 2010.
In 142 AB, he had 32 hits, a .225 average, 6 doubles, 3 HRs, and 13 SBs

Sadly, our SS are next up!


Winter League Update - Jays Hitters Edition

With the chill of the FA market frenzy, most likely until the winter meetings, I decided to take a peak at what our winter blue birds are doing around the equator. Since some of these players may get a chance to prove themselves with the Jays in 2010, these performances can go a long way to ensuring they actually get a good long look.

1. Brian Dopirak 1B
Mr. Dopirak is continuing what has been an amazing 2009, albeit at a less impressive pace. He is playing for Navegantes del Magallanes in Venezuela, and has the following line thus far:
137 AB, 37 hits, .270 average, 7 doubles, 7 HRs, 32 RBI, 19 BB, and 40 SO

joining Brian on the same team just recently is the highly touted Balbino!!

2. Balbino Fuenmayor 3B
"Little" Balbino got his start in Venezuela this week and has only played in 4 games thus far, his line is:
14 AB, 5 hits, .357 average, 2 doubles, 1 HR, 2 BB and 8 SO

3. Raul Chavez C
The only catcher the Jays have under contract has the following line:
76 AB, 17 hits, .224 average, 4 doubles, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 4 BB, 10 SO

4. Mike McCoy 2B/SS
The newly acquired infielder is in Mexico, playing for Tomateros de Culiacan and has the following line:
129 AB, 43 hits, .333 average, 6 doubles, 1 triple, 2 HRs, 10 RBI, 26 BB and 20 SO

5. Moises Sierra OF
Playing in the Dominican Republic, for Gigantes del Cibao, Moises has the following line:
51 AB, 11 hits, .216 average, 1 double, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 9 SO

6. David Cooper 1B
David played in the AFL for the Mesa Solar Sox, and his season's line there was:
78 AB, 18 hits, .231 average, 5 doubles, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 6 BB, 18 SO

7. Brad Emaus 2B
Brad also played in the AFL this fall, with a line of:
60 AB, 19 hits, .317 average, 3 doubles, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 7 BB, 3 SO

8. Darin Mastroianni OF
Played for the Phoenix Desert Dogs of the AFL, and had the following line:
44 AB, 11 hits, .250 average, 1 double, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB, 8 BB, 5 SO

9. Adam Loewen OF
Who knows why, but some still think he can hit, he had the following line in the AFL:
70 AB, 14 hits, .200 average, 1 double, 2 HRs, 9 RBI, 9 BB, 32 SO (almost struck out 50% of time!!!)

10. Johermyn Chavez OF
Didn't play much in a short stint in Venezuela's winter league, but had the following line:
23 AB, 5 hits, .217 average, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 6 SO

When you look at all of these stats, you have to be seriously underwhelmed and have a clear understanding of why most people don't pay any attention to them. Out of all of the Jays hitters making the trip to winter leagues, only Brian Dopirak, Mike McCoy, and Brad Emaus made or continued their progress and performed well. Otherwise, if you're in Jays management you have to be scratching your head and wondering if it was worthwhile for the others to go. Balbino could still have a good performance in Venezuela and learn much from it. I wonder if Dopirak's performance helped him, or if it will tire him out instead. I can understand his wanting to keep the hot streak alive without sitting home waiting for spring training to come around, but with only a short time between the end of the season and spring training workouts, he could have used some time to rest. Mike McCoy could turn out to be a key role player for the Jays in 2010 and he looks like he can contribute offensively.

Like I said, not much really stands out form the hitting point of view, and some may actually sealed their next assignments based in poor performances (Cooper, Loewen). I feel that Cooper should be sent to HiA Dunedin in order to rebuild his confidence and to push him to get better, and Loewen should be released. Michael McDade can make the jump to AA from LoA since he deserves to be there more than Cooper does.


Take 2 teams off the list of possible Doc suitors

In a report by an MLB executive, it has been confirmed that Doc would in fact waive his no trade clause in order to become a member of the evil empire. More interestingly, the same executive said that Doc would NOT agree to waive it for either the Minnesota Twins or the Texas Rangers. So we can automatically scratch those off the list of possible suitors. This gives us a ton of information - if the report is in fact correct.

1. It also takes the White Sox, Royals, Tigers, and Cleveland out of the running (surprise surprise) because if Doc won't go to Minnesota, who is favoured to repeat in the Central, well, he isn't going to any of the other Central teams.

2. It also takes Seattle and Oakland out of the running because they are not going to beat out Texas, and Roy wants to win now.

3. It is interesting that the executive named 2 AL teams. Can it reasonably be presumed that Doc wants to remain in the AL and wants nothing to do with having to take at bats in the NL? I believe so. I can't see him taking up hitting all of the sudden in his mid 30s and definitely see a lesser number of suitors in the NL to begin with. The only 2 that were reasonable were Philly and the LAD. LA could still have a shot because of the Torre factor, but I still believe Doc will push for a trade within the AL.

4. That leaves us with all AL East teams and the LA Angels. We know he's not going to go to Baltimore or Tampa Bay because neither team can afford to extend him 3-4-5 years. So the final list becomes: LAA, NYY, and BOS.

So just from hearing that report, if true, we can ween down the list of contenders for Doc to 3. If we can do this, those 3 teams certainly can. Add to that the fact that 2 are divisional rivals, and Alex's job is as tough as can be. LA can sit there and know they don't have to offer as much because they know the Jays would love to not have to deal Doc within their division. They also know that they're not under any real pressure to get another SP until Lackey signs somewhere. So, they low ball Alex until, they hope, he breaks and accepts a less than ideal deal.

Meanwhile, the Yankees and Red Sox are dreading the day they hear the report that their bitter rival has obtained Doc. Will it be the Yankees that can boast about a Sabathia, Halladay, Burnett, Pettitte, and whoever rotation, or will it be Boston that can boast about a Lester, Beckett, Halladay, Wakefield, Matsuzaka rotation. Either way, the other team becomes an under dog and will be under pressure to make a big signing to make up for it. Does that mean Lackey will wait to see if Doc is dealt to one in order to sign with the other? If I were him, hell yeah!!

If Doc is dealt to the NL I will be extremely surprised, and impressed that the team who acquires had the goods to drag him across that line. Although it would be the best scenario for the Jays, to deal Doc to CHC, PHI, or the LAD, it isn't in Doc's plans.

Having said all that, Jake Peavy had said no to the CHW before accepting a deal at the deadline, so I guess anything is possible when you get down to it. It's just highly unlikely.

JP's Parting Gifts

I always knew JP had no vision as to what to do with the Jays. As a result, he barely ever made any deals, and when he did they were usually minor inconsequential trades that were barely noticed league wide. He had 3 big signings (BJ Ryan, AJ Burnett, Frank Thomas) and let those sit on the side and rot until they stuck to high heavens. However, just before leaving the landscape graced by Rogers Centre, JP gave us 2 parting gifts that may have a major impact on the Blue Jays going forward.

Parting Gift #1
When this deal was made, JP was still firmly planted as the team GM and the Jays still had high hopes of winning, even if those hopes were misplaced. He dealt Graham Godfrey and Kristian Bell in return for Marco Scutaro. Both Godfrey and Bell are now fringe at best prospects in AA, and Marco will net the Jays 2 very high picks in next year's draft. Picks that can turn out to be Cecil and Snider type players who can change a team for the long term. Alex and his new scouting army will have a field day with these pick and should they pan out, the picks will impact the Jays for 6-8 years at a minimum once they make the bigs.

Parting Gift #2
Who knows what the Reds thought when they made that deal with JP before the deadline. Maybe they felt bad for him because they knew he was going to get fired, or maybe they had too much to drink and signed the wrong offer. Whatever the case, the fact that the Jays were able to net Edwin Encarnacion, Zach Stewart, and Josh Roenicke for Scott Rolen (who was really supposed to be an injured Troy Glaus) is beyond belief. Edwin could easily go back to hitting 20+ HRs, is younger and cheaper than Rolen, and, should he rediscover his form, could net the Jays more players in the future. Zach Stewart is such a high profile prospect that he could actually be the best Jays prospect in the system now. Rumours are that he'll be used as a starter in AAA, and he could impact the Jays performance in 2010. Josh Roenicke is a very capable, young, and cheap option for the pen that is ready to produce in 2010. All that for a 35 year old injury prone, mind you gold glove and clutch hitting, third baseman. Both Stewart and Roenicke are under control long term and give the Jays some much needed pitching depth, while also allowing the Jays to deal the likes of Jeremy Accardo and rest some rehabbing SP due to their presence.

So, to review:

JP gave up: Graham Godfrey, Kristian Bell, and Scott Rolen (Troy Glaus)

JP got the Jays: 2 years of Marco Scutaro, Zach Stewart, Josh Roenicke, Edwin Encarnacion, 2 top 100 picks in the 2010 draft.

Two very nice gift scenarios that I hope Alex enjoys thoroughly and thank JP for as he takes the road to his next MLB team. Whichever team it is, they may also have to wait 6-8 years for him to make such deals and overspend on FAs in order to sustain "JP's visionless vision."

What is the ideal Doc Deal?

You look at the Blue Jays, you see the following:

SP: Ricky Romero, Marc Rzepczynski, Bret Cecil, Scott Richmond, Shaun Marcum, David Purcey, Zach Stewart, Dustin McGowan, Jesse Litsch
RP: Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, Brandon League, Brian Tallet, Brian Wolfe, Josh Roenicke, Casey Janssen, Dick Hayhurst
C: Raul Chavez
1B: (departing) Lyle Overbay, Brian Dopirak
2B: Aaron Hill, Jarrett Hoffpauir
SS: Alex Gonzalez / John MacDonald
3B: Edwin Encarnacion
OF: Adam Lind, Vernon Wells, Travis Snider, Joe Inglett, Jarrett Hoffpauir
DH: Randy Ruiz, Brian Dopirak

...you see this team and your job is to make it better for the looonnnggg term. What team do you make a deal with in your ideal situation, and why?


Barajas is out...so who is the replacement?

I recently talked to some Phils fans that could not believe I liked Barajas as much as I do. Then again, he didn't have the type of year with the Phillies as he had last year with the Jays, which leads me to believe that it could be the peak of his potential and output. The 34 year old catcher had a couple of decent years in Texas with 3 seasons of 10+ homers with a mediocre average. He then spent one year in the bang box that is Philadelphia and only hit 4 homers, albeit in only 122 ABs.

It seems to me that because Rod had many clutch hits during the season, his output was actually over valued. He only hit .249 on the year in 349 AB, a .294 OBP, and had 11 HRs to go along with 23 doubles. Is that really worth a multi year deal when you have guys like JP Arencibia coming up through the minors? At his age, definitely not. So Alex is reportedly doing the right thing, taking advantage of his Type B FA status by offering him arbitration and letting him go thereafter. Rod will hook on easily with the likes of the NYM or a similar team for 2-3 years and the Jays move on to something else.

The candidates?


Raul Chavez - will be 37 in 2010, not really the ideal candidate to take over a starting role (understatement) but will do well as a backup.

Kyle Phillips - played very well in AAA last season. He had 317 AB, 90 hits, 13 doubles, 9 home runs, 30 RBI, a .284 avg, .355 OBP, .410 SLG, .765 OPS. He's only 26 and getting right into that zone where catchers develop quickly. He would be a better choice to split time with whoever the Jays sign than Arencibia due to more experience at a high level and would also allow JP the chance to gain some confidence in AAA.

JP Arencibia - He's simply not ready to take the role over yet. Halfway through 2010, it may be a different story, but for now JP needs to get more experience.

FA possibilities:

Yorvit Torrealba (31) Type B - No, no, no, no, please no. He's more injury prone than a 95 year old lady and will cost too much in terms of salary and years.

Jason Kendall (36) - Type B - may be a viable option. Doesn't knock any out due to lack of power, but he can hit and actually runs the bases well. Usually keeps a nice average and is looking for a starting gig if possible at a very low cost.

Jason LaRue (36) - hasn't had more than 170 AB in 5 years

Bengie Molina (35) - Type A * the Jays can't afford a type A FA or his salary and demands

Jose Molina (35) - only viable defensively

Miguel Olivo (31) - Type B - if the Jays are looking for a cheap and offensive oriented catcher, he is their best option. He's only going to be 31 in 2010 and hits 20+ HRs per season, better than the Jays have had from the position in quite a while. He made $2,700,000 in 2009, so a 1-year $3,250,000 deal may do it if he knows he can start. The downside here is that he doesn't really call a good game and has some holes defensively.

Ivan Rodriguez (38) - Type B - I'm a big fan of his and believe the Jays need his leadership abilities and grit. He'd be the guy to get if JP Arencibia is to start the year in the bigs.

Brian Schneider (33) - lots of experience, may be in higher demand than some other options. Has equal value in terms of offence and defence.

Gregg Zaun (39) - Type B - The Jays know him well and he does the job defensively

Eliezer Alfonzo (31) - one of the more intriguing FAs out there, he had the potential to be great in SF but ended up having too many injuries to get a chance to prove himself. Could easily knock 15 home runs per season with a good starting spot. Would also be a cheap option with high upside.

Ramon Castro (34) - it would be interesting to see how well he does with a full time gig, but thus far he's been used sparingly and is getting older.

If none of these guys is signed, the only other option is to get a catcher through trade. Chris Snyder from ARI has been talked about, but health issues scared the Jays off, so other options will have to be considered. Interestingly, the LAA have three great catcher options in Mike Napoli, Jeff Mathis, and Hank Conger. Should a Roy Halladay trade occur, one of these is surely to be included in a package to the Jays.

Miguel Olivio and Ivan Rodriguez seem to offer the best value and stop gap option for the Jays. Neither is looking for a long term contract and neither will cost much. However, if the Jays can nab one of the LAA catchers, that would be my first choice. If not, I say let the internal options have a chance and let them learn through the growing pains.

My #1 option - Trade Roy to LAA and nab Mike Napoli as part of the return. More likely to occur, the Jays nab Miguel Olivo or Jason Kendall and bring JP Arencibia up in July.

Jays Sign SS Alex Gonzalez

Ken Rosenthal reported that Alex Gonzalez signed with the Jays last night, for 2.75 million in 2010 and a 2.5 million option for 2011team, ending speculation about John MacDonald being used as a starter.

Alex split time between the Reds and Red Sox last year and had the following stats:

391 AB, 107 hits, .272 AVG, 22 doubles, 55 RBI, 8 HRs, 2 SBs
He had a .316 OBP, .453 SLG, .769 OPS while with the Red Sox
He'll be 33 in February 2010, and has much more upside at a decent price than all other short stops on the market this season.

What does this signing mean?

1. The Jays will certainly still offer Marco Scutaro arbitration since he is a Type A FA and would give the Jays a high draft pick as a result. However, Marco is unlikely to take the arbitration from the Jays since it would leave his destination in their hands. He should easily find a new home, pehaps sooner now that Alex Gonzalez is off the market.

2. This also means that the Jays can attempt to land a SS prospect in the Halladay deal, instead of a SS that is MLB ready. A very important point in any Roy trade talks. Since the Jays can retain Alex at 2.5 million in 2011, it could also mean that no SS would be required at all and that the Jays would be comfortable waiting for Justin Jackson to develop.

3. The only remaining hole in the lineup remains Catcher now, so the Jays may decide to make that part of the priority in Halladay trade talks.

4. This also shows us that the Jays are not going to stand idly by, Thanksgiving or not, and wait for the market to set itself before grabbing the guys they want. They are being proactive - what a change!

5. The Aaron Hill and Alex Gonzalez or John MacDonald combo gives the Jays one of the, if not the best middle infield defence in all of MLB. Blue Jays SP, especially the youngsters, will love having that kind of support.

Nice move, although predictable, by the new GM. Let's hope it keeps up!

2010 Jays Payroll Obligations - Plus....

The following are payroll obligations of the Jays for the 2010 as it stands today, including both salary and bonus obligations obtained from Cot's.

1. Vernon Wells - $16,142,857 ($26,643,000 in 2011)
2. Roy Halladay - $15,750,000 (FA in 2011)
3. BJ Ryan - $10,000,000 *no return on this "investment"
4. Lyle Overbay - $7,950,000 (FA in 2011)
5. Edwin Encarnacion - $5,175,000 (Arb 3 in 2011)
6. Scott Downs - $4,000,000 (FA in 2011)
7. Aaron Hill - $4,000,000 ($5,000,000 in 2011)
8. Jose Bautista - Arb 3 $2,400,000 or higher (Arb 4 2011)
9. John MacDonald - $1,500,000 ($1,500,000 in 2010)
10. Jason Frasor - Arb 4 $1,450,000 or higher (FA 2011)
11. Brian Tallet - Arb 3 $1,015,000 or higher (Arb 4 2011)
12. Jeremy Accardo - Arb 2 $900,000 or higher (Arb 3 2011)
13. Shawn Camp - Arb 3 $750,000 or higher (Arb 4 2011)
14. Brandon League - Arb 2 $640,000 or higher (Arb 3 2011)
15. Alex Gonzalez - $2,750,000 ($2,500,000 option in 2011)
Sean Henn, Dustin McGowan, Travis Snider, Shaun Marcum, Scott Richmond, David Purcey, Jesse Carlson, Brian Wolfe, Joe Inglett, Adam Lind, Casey Janssen, Bret Cecil, Brian Dopirak, Reidier Gonzalez, Dick Hayhurst, Mike McCoy, Brad Mills, Josh Roenicke, Randy Ruiz, Marc Rzepczynski, Luis Perez, Robert Ray, Ricky Romero, and Jarrett Hoffpauir will all make between $400,000 and $450,000. I'll average it out to $425,000.

For a minimum total of $84,622,857 + $2,000,000 for Cito Gaston = $86,622,857

Payroll in 2009 stood at $80,538,300, meaning that even if the Jays did nothing from now until the season begins, they'd still have no starting catcher, no starting short stop, and no chance of winning.

However, this will not be the case because of pending or possible trades. Assuming the Jays can save 3 to 4 million by dealing Lyle Overbay and replacing him at 1B with a Dropirak and Ruiz combo, and that Roy Halladay is dealt for a sub 1 million player and prospects, the commitment looks as follows (these numbers are completely arbitrary and are only being used to make some projections and predicitons):

A. No longer pay Doc's $15,750,000, add $500,000 maximum for young player we get in return = $15,250,000 in salary relief. (Buchholz $415,000; B.Wood $405,000; Hughes $407,650; Joba $432,575; Happ $405,000 ect..)
B. No longer pay Lyle's $7,950,000 and pay player we get in return $4,000,000 = $3,950,000 in salary relief.

Total salary relief would be in the range of approximately

That kind of money buys a lot of players, or one great player. Rumours are about that the Jays will attempt to keep butts in the seats by signing
Jason Bay at that exact range.....interesting, but unlikely that he would choose to be the scape goat of a Doc trade. The Jays attendance has been rising and our dollar is stronger than ever in Canada, so could it be that the Jays spend a little more in salaries going forward? I would say that it's not out of the realm of possibility, but it is unlikely to be in order to sign players long term since the Jays have been bitten too often with recent obligations. (BJ Ryan and AJ Burnett) It is more likely that they sign 1, 2 , or 3 FAs that need to prove themselves healthy or to prove they haven't lost what they had due to age. Ben Sheets, Miguel Tejada, Chad Tracy, Hank Blalock, Fernando Tatis, Khalil Greene, Bobby Crosby, Randy Winn, Joey Gathright, Coco Crisp, Geoff Jenkins, and Aubrey Huff are all possibilities. However, it is Erik Bedard and Rich Harden that interest me more. These two could be foreseeable acquisitions by the Jays if they spend a bit more than the money saved from dealing Doc and Overbay. They are both Canadian, both have something to prove, and both have stated publicly that they would like to play for the Jays at some point in their careers.

Let's say the salary relief is as above, or $19,000,000
Rich Harden made
$7,000,000 in 2009. He has a ton of health questions surrounding him, so there isn't pressure to sign him long term. Say the Jays pay him $13,000,000 for 1 year.

Erik Bedard made
$7,750,000 in 2009. Same deal, lots of questions about his arm, although his are lesser since they are recent and not yet long term issues or reoccurring (as they are with Rich). Let's say the cost here is $14,000,000 for 1 year.

The grand total cost for the two players would be $27,000,000, or $8,000,000 due to the salary relief they got from dealing Doc and Lyle. Sure, both are high risk signings due to health concerns, but both have huge upside and will get butts in the seats as long as they're healthy. Erik and Rich can both walk away if they want in 2011 with the knowledge that they fulfilled their hopes of playing for the Jays. It's win-win really.

An $8,000,000 increase would put payroll at
$84,622,857 +$8,000,000 = $92,622,857

That figure is still below 2008's obligations of $97,973,900, well worth the investment if the Jays want to remain competitive.

If this actually happened as stated above (again, extremely doubtful), the Jays would have a rotation of:
1. Erik Bedard
2. Rich Harden
3. Ricky Romero
4. Bret Cecil
5. Marc Rzepczynski (Shaun Marcum returns to long relief to build up arm strength)
- plus whoever the Jays get from the Doc deal
Also allows McGowan, Litsch, Purcey, Mills, and others time to develop and heal.

This is a big dream, but one that I believe is plausible if Erik and Rich are approached simultaneously and told that intentions are to bring both of them to Toronto.

Torrealba our next starting Catcher?

As reported on many sources, including MLBTR, the Jays are pursuing Yorvit Torrealba.

Excuse me while I bang my head against a wall. Yorvit....really.....the same Yorvit who has never hit 10 HRs in a season, the same Yorvit who has never had 400 AB in a season, the Yorvit with a .255 career average and .315 career OBP, the aging Yorvit who will be 31 in 2010? The most doubles he ever hit, while playing at Coors field, is 22 in 2007, otherwise his highest total is 17. Oh, please, go after this guy.....he's a gem! A diamond in the rough who is worth the millions we're going to throw at him!! If the Jays do sign him, and after the head scratching I've done once they signed Johnny Mac, I may have to take a year off from watching the Jays play. It won't be worth my time. Like I said, IF they sign Yorvit.

I don't believe they will - and certainly hope they don't.

He's injury prone and there are better options out there (including every minor league catcher the Jays have) such as Ivan Rodriguez, Greg Zaun, and Ramon Castro. I'm hoping that Alex doesn't burst my bubble of expectations I have for him by signing Yorvit, I really am.


Jays Minors - Top 4 First Basemen

If we rewind the clock to 2007, before Brian Dopirak was obtained, the Jays minor league depth at 1B was non-existant. There was absolutely no light at the end of the dark tunnel to cover 1B. JP must of been thanking his lucky stars that Lyle Overbay never got injured, because there was nobody behind him to take the spot with any gusto.

Fast-forward to today and it's a completely different picture. Although half of the top four have yet to "prove" themselves in the minors, their ceilings are extremely high and the Jays may actually have an issue at some point when young players start knocking on MLB's door.

The top spot on this list is automatic, but the others are ranked in terms of ceilings.

1. Brian Dopirak : will be 27 in 2010
Brian deserved the same shot Randy Ruiz got last season based on his performance in AA and AAA. The Jays were very lucky that the Cubs were silly enough to release him outright in 2008, even though he was named their minor league player of the year just 4 years earlier. How much would they like to have him now that Derek Lee is getting a bit too expensive for their budget? Between AA and AAA, Brian his 27 HR in 546 AB all the while hitting .315. He is also playing winter ball this year in Venezuela and has 7 HRs in only 137 AB. His glove works very well at 1B and he is a lot more agile than his big body would indicate. He should get a fair shot at 1B if Overbay is dealt. If not, and this would be unfortunate, he will need to wait for a break and continue to waste time in the minors.

2. Santiago Nesi : will be 24 in 2010
Although the Jays signed Santiago while he was listed as a Catcher, there is little talk of keeping him at the position now that the Jays paid him a $750,000 bonus. Not only do they have better options at the position, but his arm is well below average and his defence isn't strong enough to keep him there. However, his bat would definitely play well at 1B, and he is a big guy at 6'2" 220 lbs. He is the best power hitting threat the Jays have in the system after JP Arencibia, and his stroke is more compact than JP's, meaning that he should be able to make more consistent contact without subtracting too much power. I'm very curious to see where the Jays start him in 2010 and can't wait to read about the results.

3. David Cooper : will be 23 in 2010
David was drafted 17th overall in the 2008 draft, and like many of the 2007-2008 draft picks he has struggled to get going ever since. Maybe it's the pressure, but between him, Justin Jackson, Kevin Ahrens, and others, there are many Jays prospects that are under performing thus far since being drafted in a high position. David spent 2009 in AA New Hampshire and hit 10 HR in 473 ABs while keeping a .253 average. The Jays are still hoping his learning curb starts to take off, so they sent him to the AFL this year, and the results were very similar. He hit 1 HR over 78 ABs and kept a lowly .231 average. He doesn't run well at all, doesn't hit as many extra base hits as other 1B in the system, and isn't very big at 6'0" and 200 lbs. I'm still holding onto his high ceiling for one more year, but if he doesn't add muscle and start driving the ball with authority in 2010, I'll be giving up on this once high on our list prospect.

4. Michael McDade : will be 21 in 2010
Michael is a sixth rounder from the 2007 draft and hails from Las Vegas. He is one big boy at 6'1" and 260 lbs, and drives the ball accordingly. He had 16 HRs in 406 ABs in his first full season at LoA Lansing, and more importantly had 46 extra base hits overall. He drives the ball with authority and swings a little too freely, but that should be addressed as he matures and gains more experience - instruction. He still has issues hitting LHP (.234) in comparison to RHP (.293), but did learn to hit it a bit more consistently in the second half of the season. He hit .277 on the season and really came on after the all-star break with a .296 average to go along with 8 of his 16 HRs. So he was able to maintain his power while hiking his average quite a bit. Out of all the Jays prospects, he ranks in my top 3 to watch in 2010 in terms of prospects that can make some serious breakthroughs and jump up the rankings. It all depends on how he does in HiA and whether he learns to hit LHP.

As I've said, the Jays finally have some real potential at 1B, something they haven't had since Carlos Delgado strolled through the system. I can't wait to see how they perform in 2010 and look forward to their progression through the minors, or in MLB in Dopirak's case.

Next up will be 2B.

Alex taking a page out of the Expos notebook

For those of us who were around to experience it, the Expos scouting department was able to leave all other departments in the dust when it came to churning out prospects. Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker, Vladimir Guerrero, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, ect.. ect... there are so many players that the Expos were able to identify earlier than other teams that it allowed them to be competitive despite a minute MLB budget. The reason: the scouts were happy, numerous, and able to spend appropriate time on each prospect to properly evaluate his potential.

This article gives me hope that Alex will be successful in maintaining a constant stream of prospects in the system that will allow the Jays to remain cheap, competitive, and enable them to beat the big teams without spending over $100 million. Stated by Alex himself "If we can get the best in scouting and the best in player and development, ultimately that will result in better players and a better product on the field. That being said, we're also going to move toward restructuring the way we do our pro scouting and the way we do our amateur scouting." However, the most important thing he mentions is "We're going to have new layers of scouts. We're going to really be doing some things that haven't been done in the past with other organizations." Alex got his start with the Expos, watched and learned how they were able to get a good handle on so many prospects, and is implementing many of those lessons learned to the Jays scouting system.

His plan, in point form, is as follows:

1. Heighten the number of scouts (close to double) in the following ways;
a. Will have a staff of 21 pro scouts who will work directly with Alex himself, up from 10;
b. Domestically (U.S. and Canada), he is adding a layer of Regional cross-checkers and National cross-checkers that will supervise and maintain the focus of area scouts and provide area scouts with more time off. Matt Briggs, Dan Cholowsky, and Tom Burns have already been transferred into the Regional cross-checker role, as they were previously area scouts for the Jays. In total, there will be a total of 5 Regional cross-checkers, and 3 National cross-checkers.
c. All scouts will get more time off and better benefits overall, as well as a raise to keep them as some of the best paid in all of MLB. Scouts are notoriously disloyal because they are constantly poached by other teams in return for small raises or incentives, therefore Alex is hoping to stem these losses and build a team that is both loyal and more dedicated to ensuring the Jays system becomes the best in MLB. Brilliant;
d. The number of area scouts will grow from 14 to 25. This means that each scout who was previously responsible for up to 5 States will now be responsible for 2 or 3. It means more time spent talking to their families, coaches, and getting to know them more effectively. It also means less travelling or wasted time, and closer relationships with locals in each community. Trust will increase with coaching staffs, and assessments will be more thorough. Add to this the fact that Regional and National cross-checkers will provide them with a conduit to Alex without the need for them to travel to Toronto to do it themselves, and you've got a much more effective system.

Overall, I absolutely think that Alex has hit the nail on the head here. Sure, he could try to buy whoever is supposed to be the best International FA out there, or spend a ton of money on bonuses, but the real value lies in those players who don't know that their potential is so high and that cost a small amount of cash as a result. If they don't expect much, and turn out to be stars, you've got one hell of a great investment. If this move costs Alex 5 million to enact, and results in 3-10 players being found that otherwise may have been overlooked, that's a ton better return on investment than what the Red Sox have gotten for their investment in Dice K or what the Yankees gave up to buy Kevin Brown and Jarret Wright. I certainly hope this move works out and that opinions will flow up regardless of how Regional and National cross-checkers feel about a scout's opinion. If communication is effective and high quality scouts are drawn by this new system, the Jays may finally be able to build a dynasty of their own. One that I, for one, would love to follow as they grow into icons.

Here's to hoping that this move is the start of a journey to our next World Series win!

LAA re-enter the Doc Sweepstakes

Rotoworld reports that the LAA have re-entered the pursuit of Doc. The reason for this pursuit being re-ignited must be related to John Lackey in some way. If the Angels thought they were able to re-sign Lackey at an affordable price, there would be little need to trade away many players for Doc. So we have to assume 1 of 2 things is going on:

1- The Angels are trying to show Lackey that they have reasonable alternatives in hopes that he'll sign with them at a reasonable price or at reasonable terms (years); or

2- They consider the Mets and others to be willing to overpay for Lackey's services, and for that reason - and perhaps because of questions about his health - have really decided to go another route.

I've posted on here before that both LA teams are a fit for Doc, but I have no idea whether he wants to go to the West Coast. What makes the Angels more attractive to Doc is that he already knows and has scouted all AL players, and therefore would be more comfortable facing them. He also wouldn't need to become a hitter, which I'm guessing is a big plus for someone his age.

So, let's say for one second that the LAA outbid all other clubs for the services of Doc. What would it take to do so? Do the Angels really have the prospects it would take to trade for Doc?

I visited the "Angels Win Blog" and others (BA, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball Intellect) in order to get a sense of what they have to offer. I have to admit that I'm not overly impressed, but do think that if the main ingredient in a deal is Brandon Wood, a deal can be done. Some of the key prospects that could be involved include the following:

SP Jordan Walden RHP (AA) - will be 23 this season, 6'5" 220 lbs, can reach 94-96 MPH, needs refinement of secondary pitches

OF Peter Bourjos (AA) - will be 23 this season, 6'1" 180 lbs, hit .280, 6 HR, 14 triples, 32 SBs in 2009. Covers a ton of ground, plays excellent D.

3B Luis Jimenez (AZL) - will be 22 this season, 6'1" 170 lbs, hit .331, 15 Hrs, 6 SB, and had 49 extra base hits in only 284 ABs. Plays excellent D, strong arm.

SP Trevor Reckling (AA) - will be 21 this season, 6'1" 195 lbs, 122 Ks in 154 IP, 2.68 ERA in 2009. Dominated AA at 20 years old, no small feat.

SP Will Smith LHP (HiA) - will be 21 this season, 6'5" 215 lbs, 95 Ks in 115 IP, 3.76 ERA in 2009. Has 3 above average pitches, and can add an average change up to keep hitters off balance.

1B Mark Trumbo (AA) - will be 24 this season, 6'4" 220 lbs, hit 15 Hr, 53 extra base hits, 88 RBI with a .291 average in 2009.

And, since the Angels did pick him after the 15th pick overall....

SP Tyler Skaggs LHP (drafted 40th overall in 2009) - wil be 19 this season, has highest ceiling of any LAA SP prospect, already measures 6'4" 190 lbs, should fill out as he gets older.

Other than these players, the ceilings and abilities of other prospects are quite foggy to say the least. I'm not sure that the Jays would be better off with Trumbo since they already have Dopirak who rates better as a 1B, so this already short list could get even shorter. I would imagine that the Jays could ask for 3 of these to be added to Brand Wood in order to get a deal done.....is that enough? If it includes Reckling and either Skaggs or Jimenez, I'd say yes. If not, the Jays will have to hope they get lucky.


Possible Overbay Destinations

The list of teams in the hunt for 1B help includes the following: Baltimore, Colorado, Atlanta, and Cleveland. The D-Backs also need some help at 1B and could become a match if another asset than Snyder is included since his health is a concern to the Jays.

So if that's the short list of matches (as long as he is dealt in a one-for-one trade), what are the possible returns?

Baltimore - the Orioles have Matt Wieters at C, so getting a C in return from them is not possible. The most likely return in this case would be Felix Pie (they have Markaikis, Jones, and Reimold). Other than that it doesn't seem like there's much of a match between the two.

Colorado - while the Rockies already have Helton playing 1B, he's not getting any younger and could be better off in the AL, which would allow him the opportunity to play DH once in a while. I'm not sure what the Jays would have to deal to get Helton in return, but this would make their lineup a lot more potent, even if Todd's power is gone. Other possibility would be Lyle for disgruntled Garret Atkins, who could still turn things around and qualifies at 1B/3B. The Jays could hope that either Garret or Edwin turns out a good 2010 season.

Atlanta - the Braves are more likely to re-sign Adam LaRoche, but if his demands are too high, he could land elsewhere and force the Braves to look for a 1B through trades. They are looking to move Derek Lowe's contract in order to get busy on the FA market. Would an Overbay for Derek Lowe trade work in this case? Seems like Overbay would be the perfect hole filler until Freeman takes the job for the Braves in 2010.

Cleveland - the Indians are looking for takers on Kerry Wood since they'd like to ease their salary commitments in 2010. Also, they have some questions concerning Matt Laporta's health and are said to be looking for a 1B as a result. The Jays, on the other hand, need to move Jeremy Accardo and also have Lyle Overbay to offer. Since the Jays would be taking on a hefty couple of million here, they could cenceivably ask for Jason Donald to be included. I see this as a good scenario, but unlikely to occur. So, Lyle Overbay and Jeremy Accardo for Kerry Wood and Jason Donald?

My bet is that the Jays will move Lyle to Atlanta for either some young SP help like Jo Jo Reyes, or to take on a guy like Derek Lowe who has experience pitching in the AL East. Getting Lowe would allow the Jays to move Roy without looking for an MLB ready SP in return.


Jays FA Wishlist - 2010 Edition

With the knowledge that the Jays have limited funds to work with as well as some guys in the minors that deserve a chance to prove themselves, the following is a short list of what I'd like to see Alex and the Jays pick up this FA season:

1- Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez

Sure, Ivan's bat isn't what it used to be. but this future hall of fame player is possibly one of the top 3 catchers who ever played the game. Not only would this be the perfect tutor for JP Arencibia, but it would also help the pitching staff since they're mostly young guns who need some leadership to mature into stars. He was still able to hit 10 HR last season and knows he needs to split time to remain effective and healthy.

2 - First Base: Chad Tracy or Hank Blalock
Both of these guys have had some health issues, but both offer some great upside and should come at a slight discount due to injury woes. Both can also be used at 3B if Edwin's performance lags - or if he is subsequently traded. Tracy and Blalock offer experience, average D, and both are right around 30 years old leaving plenty of room for them to play at a high level. Both also offer more pop in their bats than Overbay, and they could be pushed to perform by Brian Dopirak who is ready to see some MLB time in 2010.

3 - Short Stop: Alex Gonzalez
With Marco Scutaro netting the Jays 2 high draft picks due to being a type A FA, there's no way they can think of re-signing him. The same holds true for Miguel Tejada and Orlando Cabrera who are Type A FAs and would cost the Jays too much in terms of draft picks. Therefore, the only option is to go for one of Alex Gonzalez, Khalil Greene, Adam Everett, or Nick Green. I feel like Alex offers the best value here, although using Brad Emaus who can be promoted from the minors at 2B and shifting Hill to SS is also an option (a very unlikely and risky one).

4 - RP - LHP Joe Beimel
Although the Jays have a generally good pen, they could use some experience and leadership, and also could use a lefty. Joe is the best on the market but always provides great value and would be a definite important asset for Cito in 2010. With Accardo on his way out since he felt chided last year by management, the Jays need a boost in the pen.

Carlos Delgado, Vladimir Guerrero, Jermaine Dye, Mike Cameron
While none of these are likely to be picked up by the Jays, except Delgado if he accepts a big discount, they would go a long way to making the Jays more competitive in 2010. The Jays need more pop and could use a better CFer than Wells in Cameron. However, the Jays will most likely go the cheap route and promote from within. It wouldn't be surprising to see Johermyn Chavez or Moises Sierra in the bigs at some point next year to drive the point across that youngsters will be given a bigger role for the Jays going forward.

If I got my wish in terms of FAs acquired, the 2010 would look as follows: (reserves at each position in brackets)

C - Ivan Rodriguez (JP Arencibia)
1B - Hank Blalock or Chad Tracy (Brian Dopirak, Randy Ruiz)
2B - Aaron Hill (Brad Emaus)
SS - Alex Gonzalez (John Macdonald, Brad Emaus)
3B - Edwin Encarnacion (Hank Blalock or Chad Tracy, Brad Emaus)
LF - Adam Lind (Joe Inglett, Buck Coats)
CF - Vernon Wells (Joe Inglett, Buck Coats)
RF - Travis Snider (Joe Inglett, Buck Coats)
DH - Randy Ruiz (Brian Dopirak)

SP - (whoever takes Roy's spot - or Roy Halladay)
SP - Bret Cecil
SP - Marc Rzepcinsky
SP - Ricky Romero
SP - Scott Richmond / Shaun Marcum

RP - Jason Frasor
RP - Scott Downs
RP - Brandon League
RP - Joe Beimel
RP - Brian Tallet
RP - promote Daniel Farquhar

This team would by no means win an AL East pennant, but it would go a long way to making it as competitive as it can be with the budget the Jays have and the talent they have to work with.

Jays Minors - Top 4 Catchers

For anyone who has watched the Yankees, Angels, Cardinals, White Sox, and Angels win their championships in recent years, it was obvious that the teams had talent throughout the organization that pushed them to the championship level. However, each of these teams also had something else in common: very strong catching. Whether we're talking Jorge Posada in NY, Jason Varitek in Boston, Mike Napoli in Los Angeles, AJ Pierzynski in Chicago, or Yadier Molina in St-Louis, they all had a major impact on their respective clubs. With guys like Matt Wieters, Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, and Jesus Montero getting all the press in terms of catchers coming through the minors, the Jasy actually have a formidable foursome that can challenge the depth of any squad on terms of talent at the Catcher position. Here they are, in order of talent:

1. Carlos Perez: will be 20 yrs old in 2010
Carlos signed with the Jays in 2007 as an international FA ($700,000 bonus) and showed some maturity last season with the GCL Jays. He hit 11 doubles, 3 triples, and a homer in 141 ABs, while walking 16 times and only striking out 23 times. His OBP and AVG were respectable at .364 and .291 respectively. BA ranked Perez as the 6th best prospect in the GCL this past season and see him as the catcher of the future for the Jays if all things fall into place. They point out that his defense really shines (something that the other catchers in the system seem to lag behind on) as he threw out 49% of base stealers this season and has a 1.9 second pop-time. His height and weight (6'0" 195 lbs) would also lead me to believe that he is more likely to stay at the position than the other catching prospects the Jays have, even if he does add to that a little.

2. Sean Ochinko: will be 23 yrs old in 2010
Selected in the 11th round in the 2009 draft, Sean played well enough to be named a NYP All-Star at the mid-season point. Getting 188 AB in Auburn, Sean showed that he can handle the bat very well, smacking 6 homers, 20 doubles, and sporting a .324 average overall. His OBP was outstanding at .382 and he only struck out 26 times. He has many College highlights that point to his leadership skills and ability to perform under pressure. Sean does have some experience at 1B, which leads me to believe that if Carlos really does take over the catcher position for the Jays for a long time period, Sean could become the 1B of the future (although Brian Dopirak may have something to say about that for the next couple of years.) Still, Sean is more likely to be ready to compete very soon and may begin the2010 season in HiA Dunedin or AA New Hampshire.

3. JP Arencibia: will be 24 yrs old during 2010 season
JP was selected 21st overall in 2007 by the Jays and climbed the ladder at an extremely quick pace, starting in HiA his first season in the minors. He followed up a great 2007 start with an even better 2008, splitting time between HiA and AA, accumulating 27 HRs and 105 RBI in the process with a decent .298 average. However, in 2009, JP took a step back and showed some holes in his swing. He hit .236 on the season and managed 21 homers. Some scouts doubt that he'll ever be able to hit for average, but his power is off the charts. This is the guy who beat Alex Rodriguez's home run record in High School. He did go through some injuries that slowed him down in 2009, so his "off-year" could be explainable, and he did finish the last 10 games with a .349 average and 6 dingers, so he could suprise many with a big league gig next year. Really, what do the Jays have to lose by letting him catch most of their games in 2010? It's not like Barajas will determine whether or not the Jays get into the playoffs, and they really need a power threat in the lineup. I love JP's bat and think it'll play well in the Dome, however, I also doubt JP will stay at catcher long term, which is why I ranked him 3rd on this list. Although he is 3rd, he is by far the #1 offensive catcher in the system and deserves more recognition than he's getting from minor league evaluators. He'll need to minimize his strike outs to do well against MLB pitching, but should hit for better average overall than Adam Dunn.

4. Yan Gomes: will be 23 yrs old in 2010
The Jays drafted Yan Gomes one round ahead of Ochinko in the 10th round of the 2009 draft. He's much bigger than the other catchers at 6'2" and 215 lbs, and unlike Ochinko who started his 2009 season in Auburn due to his signing date, Gomes was first sent to the GCL in order to get him some time behind the plate before the Auburn season started. Gomes is probably second defensively out of the Jays catching prospects, behind only Perez, and does have a good contact hitting approach. He hit .300 in 237 ABs in 2009, but only hit 2 homers and 23 doubles, less than Perez and Ochinko did in fewer ABs. He's a natural leader, hard worker, and should develop well as a result. Like Perez and Ochinko, how he handles the jump to AA and beyond will determine which one gets the prize of backing up or taking over from JP Arencibia. Regardless, I see a bright future for the Jays at the C position, and only hope that it would lead to some well deserved glory years for us Jays fans.


Newest Team in on Halladay

MLBTR just posted a new team to include in the Halladay Sweepstakes, and the special part of this rumor is that the JAYS CALLED THE CUBS!!!

If the dollar amounts were to match up, this could be the perfect fit for many reasons, here they are:

1 - Halladay goes to the NL, far away from the Jays rivals;
2 - BA recently ranked the Cubs top 10 prospects, and the list includes 5 Short Stops, meaning that the Cubs can afford to let Starlin Castro go without feeling it too badly;
3 - The Jays have been hot on the trail of Milton Bradley, for whatever reason, and could include him as the MLB ready impact guy;
4 - The Jays could also be asking for Josh Vitters to finish off the deal, another weak position for the Jays internally that is also a strong point in the Cubs system with Aramis Ramirez occupying that space for the next many years;
5 - Bradley is owed 9 million in 2010 while Doc is owed 14.25, so the Cubs are only taking on 5.25 million to get Doc. Well worth the grab;
6 - The Cubs get rid of the 12 million owed to Bradley in 2011, while the Jays could benefit from being able to trade him if he has a good 2010, or get compensation picks for him if he plays through 2011 and leaves as a FA. Either way, the Jays should get some return on investment.
7 - A future lineup of Arencibia - Dopirak - Hill - Castro - Vitters - Snider - Lind - Wells seems very strong and generally cheap for the Jays.
8 - Getting Halladay allows the Cubs to watch Harden take his health issue elsewhere without worry, and provides them with a true ace. Halladay, Zambrano, Lilly, Dempster, Gorzelanny, Wells, Samardzija...would go a long way to putting the Cubs in the playoffs.

The sticking point could be adding a SP prospect going to the Jays. The Jays will most likely ask for one and this could be a haggling point. Jay Jackson is one name that could pop up. So I would firmly add the Cubs to a growing list of candidates for Doc. LAD, CHC, PHI in the NL, and BOS, LAA, and BOS in the AL. According to Alex, the Cubs may be the best candidates....

The Roy Halladay Saga

MLBTR mentioned the latest Roy Halladay news yesterday and placed the Dodgers at the forefront of the teams in the running for his outstanding services. However, the rumors keep emphasizing Chad Billingsley being part of the return to Toronto. Under JP, I would agree, under Alex I would say that he has a better grip on why this cannot be. Let me explain.

If the Dodgers are going to be major contenders without the need to rely on Vicente Padilla in a crucial playoff game, they need MORE pitching, not better pitching. They would like their rotation to read: Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda and one FA SP signed this off-season or James McDonald. The key is, they want to do this while keeping their main roster intact. No Ethier or Kemp involved, even Russel Martin may be off limits in their view in order to contend 100% in 2010....So, how, you ask can this get done? Well, here's a couple of scenarios.

First Scenario: The Jays are also looking to move Lyle Overbay, who is an excellent defender and can also hit very well at times, so it isn't a stretch to include James Loney as a return for the Jays. A package that includes James Loney, James McDonald, Ivan DeJesus, and Scott Elbert, in return for Doc and Overbay could work in this case. It fills the need for the Jays to have an MLB ready SP in return (McDonald), a SS of the future (Dejesus), a power hitting 1B (Loney) and some pen help (Elbert). In return, the Dodgers get better defensively and also get an ace/mentor in Halladay. The major hurdle here would be the Dodgers getting an extension done with Doc. (3-4 years total).

Second Scenario:
If the Dodgers are too shy to deal James Loney and want nothing to do with Lyle Overbay, they could deal a package full of top-end prospects. The key to this deal would become a combination of RHP Ethan Martin and 1B/OF Andrew Lambo. These two players who be added to SS Ivan Dejesus, RP Scott Elbert, and INF Blake Dewitt. Not only does this not harm the current Dodgers lineup and provide them with an ace in Doc, it also allows them to keep James McDonald who could also provide them with some SP depth as a possible #5 or injury replacement. The extension is still a hurdle in this case.

Unlike JP who was delusional about the team he was leading and their chances of winning, Alex recognizes that he has to build strength in numbers. That is, lots of prospects and lots of young and cheap players, sprinkled with some of the older talent already on the team that is still affordable (Lind/Hill).

I still firmly believe the Jays want to move Roy to the NL in order to avoid making their rivals better, and using their rivals as leverage makes perfect sense. However, they now need to play the Phillies and Dodgers off one-another. They faced each other in the 2009 NLCS and both intend on repeating in 2010, so they are primed to do whatever it takes to get better. The Phillies still have the best options, but are not as desperate to win as the Dodgers are because they already have a World Series win under their belts. It makes sense to look for the Dodgers to land Doc, and the packages above make the Jays much better overall. Guess it's a wait and see now!


Top 50 Jays Prospects - by position

The following is the my take on the best 50 Jays prospects by position, not in order of talent.

1- Yan Gomes C
2- Carlos Perez C
3- Sean Ochinko C
4- JP Arencibia C
5- David Cooper 1B
6 - Santiago Nesi 1B
7- Michael McDade 1B
8 - Brian Dopirak 1B
9- John Tolisano 2B
10- Ryan Schimpf 2B
11- Justin Jackson SS
12- Tyler Pastornicky SS
13- Ryan Goins SS
14- Gustavo Pierre 3B
15- Balbino Fuenmayor 3B
16- Kevin Ahrens 3B
17- Brad Emaus 3B
18- Moises Sierra OF
19- Johermyn Chavez OF
20- Darin Mastroianni OF
21- Eric Thames F
22- Kenneth Wilson OF
23- Jacob Marisnick OF
24- Brian Slover RP
25- Luis Perez SP
26- Trystan Magnuson RP
27- Andrew Liebel SP
28- Joel Carreno SP
29- Dave Sever SP
30- Charles Huggins SP
31- Kenny Rodriguez SP
32- Henderson Alvarez SP
33- Chad Jenkins SP
34- Egan Smith SP
35- Matt Fields SP
36- Carlos Pina SP
37- Cesar Sanchez SP
38- Matthew Wright SP
39- Brad Mills SP
40- Reidier Gonzalez SP
41- Fabio Castro SP
42- Bobby Bell SP
43- Zach Stewart SP/RP
44- Josh Roenicke RP
45- Shawn Griffith RP
46- Aaron Loup RP
47- Daniel Farquhar RP
48- Tim Collins RP
49- Matthew Daly RP
50- Robert Ray SP/RP