Offseason In Review: Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are next in our Offseason In Review series.

Major League Signings

  • John McDonald, SS: two years, $3MM.
  • Alex Gonzalez, SS: one year, $2.75MM.  Includes $2.5MM club option for '11.
  • Kevin Gregg, RP: one year, $2.75MM.  Includes $4.5MM club option for '11 and $8.75MM club option for '11 and '12.
  • John Buck, C: one year, $2MM.
  • Total spend: $10.5MM.

Notable Minor League Signings

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Summary

Alex Anthopoulos' first winter as Blue Jays GM started off quietly, with an October waiver claim for Henn.  His major moves came a few months later, as he traded Halladay, Taylor, League, and Chavez and netted Drabek, d'Arnaud, Wallace, and Morrow.  His free agent moves were sensible, affordable replacements for Scutaro and Barajas.  There was also a typical smattering of minor league signings and the interesting under-the-radar pickup of Valdez.

Anthopoulos' moves should be judged on two criteria: did he waste significant money trying to stay respectable in a rebuilding year, and did he get enough for Doc?  Gregg was a free agent head-scratcher, but it's hard to quibble with the other $7.75MM spent.  The answer to the latter question appears to be yes.  If we judge the Halladay trade on what we know now, Anthopoulos acquired at least two badly-needed top 50 prospects in Drabek and Wallace.


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29 Comments on "Offseason In Review: Toronto Blue Jays"


5 years 6 months ago

Not sure if anyone remembers me here, I used to post here nearly everyday under the screenname “scribbletone”, but I stopped after joining the writing teams at Beyond the Box Score and The Hardball Times Fantasy. Glad to be back as a commenter here on MLBTR. I’ve just been wondering if some of the old commenters I used to have good discussions with, like SuzysMan, melonis rex, nrmax and bjsguess, are still around.

Getting back to something that’s actually interesting, though, I actually love what Anthopolous has done in Toronto this offseason.

He got, in my opinion, surprisingly solid value for one season of Halladay in landing Drabek, Wallace and D’Arnaud. The offensive core of Snider, Hill, Lind and Wallace should be solid for years to come. The Morrow trade was an interesting buy-low, as Morrow’s stuff indicates some truly huge upside, and the price was reasonable given the depth that Toronto has in its bullpen.

They probably gave a little too much cash to McDonald and Gregg, especially considering the possibility of a Downs or Frasor trade, but overall I think that Toronto did a good job of moving back into the right direction this offseason, especially considering the payroll flexibility they’ll have after 2010.

Now we just need to see that Anthopolous will get more out of the draft than his predecessor did.

R_y_a_n
5 years 6 months ago

I remember you. Welcome back, always enjoyed your input, and yes, I still see Suysman, melonis and bjsguess posting on a regular basis. Haven’t seen Max for a while though.

I can’t say I’m in love with AA’s FA signings so far, but the trades he has made have been pretty good. Especially the Morrow one, hopefully they let him start.

5 years 6 months ago

I can’t imagine that they would’ve traded League for Morrow, just to give Morrow the job that League already showed that he can thrive in.

Ian_Smell
5 years 6 months ago

Drabek, Wallace, and Morrow are all studly prospects. I really hope that the Jays are good in the future. I’m always a sucker for Canadian teams. :)

5 years 6 months ago

I absolutely love AA’s off-season so far. As a 32 year old rookie GM, he managed to get a solid haul in a franchise changing deal. Picking up Morrow for League and an A-ball prospect (who wouldn’t have even made the Jays top 10 prospect list) was a steal. Hes shown he can negotiate with the big boys as hes earned respect as an up and coming GM from his peers around the league. The Gregg signing was unexpected but maybe AA thinks he could flip him for a prospect or two at the deadline (much like the O’s did with Sherill). AA also did a great job obtaining 3 picks for Scutaro and Barajas, and the Jays now have 9 picks in the first 3 rounds that should give the system a jolt of quality young talent. He and Beeston have said they’re commited to signing all of their picks which is great, they’ve even set aside money to insure that those picks will get signed. AA has stated that since the Jays play in Toronto, a huge market, they will raise payroll significantly to the Tigers/Cubs level once he feels that they have a solid young core in place. He has an excellent plan in place, and I believe the Jays are in good hands for years to come.

asfan2010
5 years 6 months ago

Beane discussed a Taylor + for Holliday last july prior to any stl and wallace trade. I guess they like taylor, then settled for the wallace deal. Since he was the next best prospect offered. They tried to make it work at 3b, but it wasnt to be. Add in 1b depth with barton, carter, doolittle and then an offseason trade for jake fox. Something had to give.

5 years 6 months ago

Russ Adam is NOT a notable loss. Perhaps the worst player I’ve ever watched.

The Gregg move isn’t really bad move in my opinion, I think AA’s overall goal is to see if these players can become type A or B free agents at the end of the year. Thats why AA keeps doing contracts for 1 year with a club options. In anyways the players he sign with this club option are clearly under his radar to give him more draft picks, unless AA see’s them as part of the jays future.

peterzm
5 years 6 months ago

Overall I think the Jays did as well as they can in the Halladay trade, although I don’t understand why they traded Taylor for Wallace. I feel like between Ruiz/Dopirak/Lind and maybe in the future Cooper we are set at 1st base/DH (we should get rid of Overbay asap). We are short in the outfield, and if they are planning to keep Wells in center field anyways, why not keep Taylor. I like the Gathright pickup though I don’t think we should have got rid of Buck Coats.
I also don’t understand the Gonzalez signing after the McDonald signing nor do I understand the Molina signing after the Buck/Chavez signing. Even if McDonald would have went down we have Angel Sanchez (who is usually a no hit shortstop who hit well in Las Vegas) and is good defensively, and we have Phillips at catcher in Las Vegas who has hit okay and who I’d also rather see than Molina. I think the Morrow/Evelend moves were excellent moves. Morrow especially could have a huge upside. I was also sad to see Inglett go. I don’t know to much about his ability to play shortstop, but I would of loved to seem him try there. I think he has the potential to be a really strong hitter. I also think Buch

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

I don’t think they should have traded Michael Taylor for Brett Wallace. That just adds another Piano Player to the teams future.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 6 months ago

The trade for Wallace tells me that Dopirak probably won’t be in the Jays system for much longer, unless he can flat out steal the DH spot from Lind [not likely].

5 years 6 months ago

But where would Taylor play in the future?

Toronto is presumably going into the future with Snider in right field and Wells in left field with Lind at DH, so where would Taylor play? It’s not like he could play center, and so that really wouldn’t leave him with a position. Wallace is undoubtedly the better hitting prospect, Taylor gets the bonus points for defensive and positional value, and I’m not shocked that Toronto took advantage of the opportunity to get a premium young hitter.

Wallace is just a better fit than Taylor, long-term.

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

I disagree, I don’t think it had anything to do with Dopriak, I think Wallace is a replacement for Overbay and just a flat out upgrade in terms of Power which I don’t think is what the Blue Jays need.

Alex Anthropolous needs to pull a Kenny Williams and rebuild. Rebuild Rebuild and Rebuild. He needs to transform this Piano playing Power hitting team in to a bunch of hitters. Keep Hill. But they need to build the organization around Snider, Hill, Lind, Drabek, and Ricky Romero (yes, I think he is the next Johan Santana).

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

Disagree 100%. Taylor would play right field. Lind would DH. Snider will be in left. And Wells is staying in Center. Wells isn’t going to be any better in left than center.

Taylor is actually a really good hitter. He’s not going to hit as many home runs as Wallace but he is a really good hitter, base stealer, plays solid defense, hits for average, and he is really athletic. I’m not going to say that I don’t like the trade, but this team is getting less and less athletic. I think Taylor would have fit in really well in right for the Blue Jays.

5 years 6 months ago

“Toronto is presumably going into the future with Snider in right field and Wells in left field with Lind at DH, so where would Taylor play?”

Vernon Wells isn’t moving anywhere, they still think he can handle CF. Cito doesn’t believe Snider can play RF. There would have been plenty of room for Taylor, but clearly AA & company believe in Wallace’s bat a lot more and think he will field 1B well.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 6 months ago

My guess is Taylor would have been the CF in 2011 with Wells in RF and Snider in LF.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 6 months ago

Oh I completely agree that Wallace is here to replace Overbay. But Dopirak’s numbers possibly warrant him a chance in The Show. .317/.371/.549/.921 isn’t too shabby at all. The biggest problem with Dopirak for me was his 26 GIDP.

Romero has the make-up and the competitiveness to be a very good pitcher some day. He does remind me of a Santana too. Last I heard he was developing a cutter to help battle righties. Jays should be fielding a very good team in 3-4 years, but they badly need to get a good SS and need some young OF depth. Good thing the Jays have 9 early picks in 2010.

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

I agree. Thats why I don’t think they should have traded Taylor for Wallace. Taylor is very athletic and good defensively. Not to mention he is a very very very good hitter.

They should try to take Christian Colon or Levon Washington. Deandre Smelter, and Austin Wilson if they can.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 6 months ago

Yeah I questioned the trade too, my guess is they’ve completely given up on Cooper and if he turns in a great season at AA, he’s trade bait. Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing what Ruiz can do over the course of a full season. 33-games is a small sample, but a line of .313/.385/.635/1.020 and 10HR in only 130PA is pretty sexy.

The Jays are always trying to find that diamond in the rough, and when they finally do they seem to ignore it.

In a few mock drafts the Jays draft Colon with the 11th pick.

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

Yeah Everyone seems to forget about David Cooper. I really hope he doesn’t turn out to be a dud because I really think that the 2008 draft is one of the best ever. Cooper could be used along with Arencibia for example to net a no. 2 pitcher right now. I just don’t think that the Blue Jays have a great player development system as you said. But the one bright thing to look forward to, That scary 1-2 of Romero and Drabek. I could see a Johan Santana and Bert Blyleven in those two as I said before about Romero.

And even if they’ve given up on David Cooper, They could still move Lind to first which is what they once thought about doing. That way, Ruiz could DH, or if Snider turns in to a statue in the outfield, He could DH.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 6 months ago

Throw in Marcum and that’s a pretty potent 1-2-3. If Morrow can stay relatively healthy and obtain most of his potential as a starter, yikes!

I haven’t given up on Arencibia quite yet. He’s still only 23 and he tore it up over the last month or so. imho the Jays should maybe try to trade Cooper and some of the insane amount of pitching for a top 50 prospected 3B. If EE can turn it around, he too can be used to trade for more young talent.

Nothing but good things can come out of the Jays for the next couple seasons, and I love it.

Guest
5 years 6 months ago

Personally, I don’t think the Jays will have a winning season for about 3 years. But I agree with Marcum pitching well in the Jays rotation this season.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 6 months ago

Nothing but good things can come out of the Jays for the next couple seasons, and I love it.

Was referring to obtaining solid young players and smart management decisions.

The great thing about the Jays and their youth movement is the Yankees and Red Socks will be aging teams because of some of the long-term contracts while all the Jays players will be reaching the beginning of their primes. The 3 year idea is the same one I believe it will take.

The Orioles and Rays will be up there with the Jays [hopefully].

5 years 6 months ago

If that was the case, then why did they trade Taylor? The Taylor-Wallace swap was a clear indication that they don’t believe that Wells can stick in center long-term.

Cito may not think that Snider can play right, but it’s up to the front office, but most scouts seem to believe that he should be adequate there. The idea that Wells and his -32.5 UZR over the past two seasons actually belong in center field is truly laughable at this point.

5 years 6 months ago

Taylor is 6-6, 250 and nobody projects him as a center fielder but apparently you. I’m sorry, but the guy simply isn’t a center fielder.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 6 months ago

250lbs? Yikes. In that case I have to agree with you. I knew he was athletic and has the speed to steal 25-bags so I naturally assumed. You’d keep Wells in CF then.

5 years 6 months ago

Nope. I’d put Wells in left, where his rapidly declining range can be hidden somewhat. Honestly, I think that Toronto should have a new CF by 2011, because Wells is a legitimate liability there.

rzepczynski
5 years 6 months ago

how does someone go from gold glove to neg 32 uzr in 2 seasons?
he is declining but not at the pace alot of you seem to believe, he was hampered by hamstring injurys the past 2 seasons as well as a wrist injury which caused him to not lay out for a ball or run into the wall to catch a ball, wells and EE both got corrective wrist surgey after the seasons end look for both to have bounce back years.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 6 months ago

I agree, but to a point. I’d have to see how he reacts to surgery and putting all his injuries behind him this season. If he can get that extra step back that he’s lost, he can use that golden glove of his more often.

Wells needs to get his bat working again too. My lungs are still sore from booing him all the time.

5 years 6 months ago

Injuries can only account for a portion of the massive decline that Wells has shown. FRAA and TotalZone agree with UZR, too, that Wells has been a below average fielder over the past two seasons.

Indications are that he’s closer to 7-10 runs below average over 150 games, rather than the -16 mark that UZR indicates, but regardless, he’s a below average defender whose glove would better fit in left field.