Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jays Planning For Quiet Off Season?

Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi is planning for a quiet off season, filled with internal rebuilding and future development. However, he is going to have to compete with the free spending Yankees and Red Sox, as well as the Tampa Bay Rays, who may get some extra spending after their successful season. While the Blue Jays have Roy Halladay and Dustin McGowan in the 1-2 for 2009 (assuming A.J. Burnett leaves), the 3-4-5 spots are up in the air. Litsch, Purcey, and Marcum have done a decent job for the Jays, but they would be smart to go out and acquire a solid pitcher.

As of right now, here is what the lineup looks like for 2009:

C - Rod Barajas, Team Option
1B - Lyle Overbay
2B - Free Agent
3B - Scott Rolen
SS - Marco Scutaro/Josh McDonald
LF - Adam Lind
CF - Vernon Wells
RF- Alex Rios
DH - Travis Snider

Mark Ellis or Orlando Hudson would make a lot of sense for the Jays. Hudson, a former Jay, is hitting very well and may want to return to his former team. As for Ellis, he may want to stay in the American League, making the Jays a possible destination. 2006 first round draft pick J.P. Arenciba is doing very well in Double-A and could come up in 2009 to take over everyday in the catcher spot. Pitching will help them in the division hunt, so it would be smart to go after a pitcher, perhaps Ben Sheets, or a second tier pitcher like Braden Looper.

If the Jays want to compete in 2009, they better be big spenders on the market. However, it would make more sense to prepare for the long term future, as the Yankees and Red Sox are aging teams.


Anonymous said...

JP Ricciardi can plan out the entire off-season all he wants, fact of the matter is, he won't be apart of the Jays organization past October. He's been given too many chances, an increased payroll and has produced an injury plagued roster that is just healthy enough to play .500 ball. He had his chance to spend with the big boys and signed AJ Burnett, Bengie Molina, Frank Thomas, BJ Ryan, David Eckstein and has traded for Troy Glaus and Scott Rolen. Exactly how much have they helped the Jays contend? Not too much. Though most of that blame can be put on the horrendous manager at the time, John Gibbons, who is incapable of gettig the best out of his players.

As for the off-season, the Jays don't need a 2nd Basemen, they already have one that has the ability to be the best in the AL in Aaron Hill. Unfortunately, he was injured because of David Eckstein colliding with him on a fly ball that Eckstein had no business going after. Hill has been pretty much shutdown for the year and should be ready by the Spring. They have a solid back up option in Marco Scutaro in case he's not(with Cito running the show, John McDonald is the starter, no question's asked).

The only thing the Jays desperately need is a DH and maybe a new first baseman(Overbay hasn't been the same since the hand injury and he is reluctant to swing the bat most of the time). Travis Snider will start the year in AAA and will be called up in case of injury. A manager like Cito Gaston is smart enough to know that starting a 20 year old kid at DH could end up hurting his long-term development(case and point, Mike Sweeney). The DH spot is reserved for proven guys in their early to late 30's with injury problems or declining defensive ability. Raul Ibanez would be ideal for this spot as he'd provide much needed leadership.

As for the rotation, they need a strong lefty and David Purcey is nothing special though he has potential. And Jesse Litsch has limited potential and is, at best, a #5 starter. Shaun Marcum was among the league leaders in ERA, K's, K/BB ratio and WHIP before he got hurt. He has much more potential then Dustin McGowan, who is on the shelf after having surgery to repair a torn labrum. Burnett will leave, I've made peace with that, but the Jays need to go grab another Top 3 starter regardless. Ben Sheets is just another Burnett. CC Sabathia would be nice but he'll go to the highest bidder. If JP Ricciardi wouldn't of been reluctant to add a pitching prospect(Purcey or Litsch) to the Alex Rios-Tim Lincecum deal earlier this year, the problem wouldn't be as bad.

Anonymous said...

bring manny to T.O