[dropcap1]B[/dropcap1]lue Jays fans know the main pieces the Jays traded away and there are some serious pieces to pause over (it is totally ok to be sad about Henderson!)
The Guys who have worn the Blue; so long farewell good luck in the retirement community and that monstrosity of a park!
Alvarez – at this point he is a solid 4/5th starter and could become a number two should he ever get that slider down. Seems like a great guy!
Escobar – solid player, great contract, awful attitude. The Jays gave him a fresh start and he tossed it. Peace Yunel.
Adeiny Hech – I lament that I will not have the chance to watch him scoop grounders for years to come (in person), but we just spent a season watching the opponents smack the ball out of the yard in the late innings. More defense is not what the Jays need to contend in 2013. That is inarguable.
EDIT: More information has come out since this trade broke last night. Jeff Mathis is also heading to Miami along with low A starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, a 2011 sixth round pick who had a real solid 2012 but is at least 3 years away. Mathis going the other way certainly makes John Buck coming back Toronto’s way more sensible as the Jays will want three non- D’Arnaud catchers in camp.
LHP (Starter) Justin Nicolino — Fastball/ Changeup guy who sits in the low 90s and is working on a third pitch/ refining his command. Ended 2012 in low A Lansing. Could be a strong MLB #2 Starter by 2015.
Center Fielder Jake Marisnick — Good athlete above average defense/ range center fielder that ended 2012 with 50+ games in AA where his power evaporated. Good walk rate. Could be a 800 OPS , 4 win CF by 2014.
Tuned in Jays fans will take note that the Blue Jays do not need a #2 SP in 3 years, they need one now. They will also note that Rasmus is already what Marisnick could maybe become. Don’t forget (heh not likely) Gose will be in Buffalo ready to come up behind Rasmus should he not improve or worsen over time. So long as he isn’t traded. Who knows with this GM eh?
Your New Toronto Blue Jays: Did anyone order a #2 with Ace upside, the dictionary definition of a workhorse #4 starter, a solid OBP utility man/ 2B, and bat/defense SS that carries a professional attitude?
#2 With Legit Ace Upside
Josh Johnson– A six foot seven RHP pitcher that averages 93 with his fastball, strikes out 8 per 9 innings, and pitches to get ground balls while limiting walks. He is signed for one more year at 13.75 million dollars. Johnson had TJ surgery more than a few years ago, and was fairly trouble free until shoulder surgery in 2011. His career xFIP is 3.57 and his career ERA is 3.15 ( he consistently out performs his xFIP, a trait that should only magnify in Toronto). The only caveat to calling him an “Ace” right now is his lack of a long track record re: innings pitched and his already disconcertingly long track record re: his body breaking and requiring surgery. Should he perform well and not wish to resign in Toronto, AA will give him a qualifying offer and get a first or second rounder back in an effort to recoup assets lost in this trade. There is no question that this man is a centerpiece in AA’s mind. The best case is Johnson does well and they resign him!
Mark Buehrle – If you’ve watched any amount of baseball (left handed starter if you don’t), you’ve seen at least five of Mark’s starts. 200 innings every year and that is nearly as certain as death and taxes. He walks no one. He frustrates inexperienced batters and outcrafties the veteran ones. He will not touch 90 MPH on the radar gun. Ladies and Gents, your #4 starter. MIND= BLOWN: HE IS EXACTLY THE TYPE OF PITCHER YOU COULD MARK A LOSS AGAINST FOR OUR JAYS THESE PAST FEW YEARS! Signed for 11 million next year and he is on a long term deal (for better or for worse, likely worse but there is always cost to contention).
Utility Guy/ Second baseman
Emilio “enigma” Bonifacio is one of those players that tantalizes scouts and sabermetricians alike. He has speed, uses it well, and plays acceptable defense. Emilio also likes to spend time in the cold tub…as in.. too much time. When he is healthy he will give you a little bit of pop and carry a league average-ish OBP (more than we can say for the past few incumbents). AA cannot write this man’s name into the 2B spot in pen; it’d better be in pencil while he continues searching. 1st year arbitration eligible and he will get around 3 million.
Professional Shortstop (and I mean attitude wise)
Jose Reyes is the Jay’s new expensive shortstop. The extra 5 million (over Escobar) buys you a guy who is one of the top 5 offensive shortstops in the MLB with a professional attitude to match. The dude is a grinder and Jay’s fans will see what I mean. Guy can get on base, has wheels and success with them (85% success at stealing), and he will challenge for the batting title a few more times in his career if all goes well. Did I mention that he has some pop? 11 Hrs in Miami’s notoriously brutal-for-hitters ballpark so we can mark him in for 15 with the Jays at the Dome, right? This man just got paid, and he will be getting $10 million from the Jays in 2013 as part of another back loaded long term contract.
The Throw In (Since edited)
We all know John Buck. The Jays are going to eat that contract and use him as a backup. If he hits think of him as a “stored bullpen guy” and by that I mean AA can swap him for a RP should the need arise and D’Arnaud is ready to come up. With Mathis now confirmed to be going to Miami, the throw in of Buck makes a lot more sense. Buck hits well in the Rogers Centre and he does not make a quarter of the embarrassing game ruining gaffes that JPA has come to be known for. Solid backup player who will get some play time if they trade JPA and call up D’Arnaud.
Quick and Dirty Take
Rogers has officially opened the purse strings and the early returns are promising. This also explains why they squeezed Davis for 500k and also built a cheap (but hopefully very effective) bullpen. When your Dad buys you a new car you cool it on asking him for money for at least a couple months, right? This year’s salary commitment just went up well over $30 million and the Jays will likely be in the top 12 in payroll for the first time in a long long time.
Getting this deal done very early gives AA a lot of leverage with potential free agents in terms of his ability to endear them to the idea of winning with the Toronto Blue Jays. Just because Canadians love Canada doesn’t mean there is not still a prevailing stigma about “playing up there in Canada where the people only care for hockey.” This move will capture not only the fan base’s interest but also free agent’s interest– not only this season but in the coming seasons. Here is hoping that a division rival panics as a result of this news and makes a bad move or two. That would be the Cherry on the sundae that was today for Blue Jay’s fans. (yes that was a very veiled shot at that bad GM in Boston!)
Have a great night and some awesome watercooler talks tomorrow!
How many weeks until pitchers and catchers report… oh and I guess they’ll need a manager..