Who Might The Blue Jays Pursue In The Offseason?

The Blue Jays continue to accumulate talent, and an extended period of contention could begin in 2012.  It doesn't hurt that an additional playoff team will be added to each league next year.  Let's speculate on who the Blue Jays might pursue during the 2011-12 offseason to help take their team to the next level.

I discussed Toronto's 2012 payroll issues on Tuesday.  I'll speculate that they exercise options on Jason Frasor and Jon Rauch and decline on Aaron Hill and Edwin Encarnacion, putting commitments in the ballpark of $54MM.

Back in January, Blue Jays president Paul Beeston said, "We should be a city that can have $140 million, $150 million in the way of salaries. We could support that, and that's the direction that we're headed."  GM Alex Anthopoulos talked about a "very fluid" budget, which "has the ability to rise with the right opportunity."

Should we expect the Blue Jays to immediately add $85MM in 2012 salaries during the offseason?  Of course not.  Anthopoulos said he's not going to "spend for the sake of spending."  However, it is fair to say that there is no free agent the Blue Jays can't afford if they deem him a worthwhile investment.  There's a lot of baseball to be played in 2011, but here are my guesses at the spots Anthopoulos could try to upgrade during the offseason:

  • Second base: Hill has five months to prove his options are worth exercising.  If he fails, the free agent market offers little beyond Kelly Johnson.  I don't see anything in the way of exciting trade candidates.
  • First base: Adam Lind is the man right now and could be in 2012 as well if he resumes hitting.  He's also a candidate to be used at DH.  I still believe the Blue Jays could be legitimate suitors for the two big-name first basemen: Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols.  Fielder is more likely to make it to the free agent market.  The question is whether Anthopoulos will view a seven or eight-year, $125MM+ investment in Fielder as a sound one.
  • Designated hitter: There are plenty of options at DH each year on the free agent market.  Even if they sign a first baseman, the Jays could add a DH as well if they're unhappy with Lind.  The biggest name out there could be David Ortiz, but it's a flexible position and about a dozen free agents could be slotted in.
  • Left field: A major acquisition here seems unlikely, with Travis Snider holding the spot and prospect Eric Thames behind him.  Still, the Jays could consider a veteran on a one-year deal depending on where Snider and Thames stand.
  • Bullpen: Depending on whether they exercise their relievers' options, the Blue Jays could have a decent pen in place for 2012. I wouldn't anticipate a big free agent contract from Toronto for the likes of Jonathan Papelbon or someone like that.
  • Rotation: The Jays have some question marks beyond Ricky Romero.  They've certainly got plenty of talent beyond the lefty, though, and it makes sense to wait to see how everyone comes along in 2011.  The free agent market is weak after C.C. Sabathia, so maybe Anthopoulos will lean toward a trade here if he does anything.


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64 Comments on "Who Might The Blue Jays Pursue In The Offseason?"


BVHjays
4 years 4 months ago

Interesting stuff. I remember in the offseason before the 2010 season, there were reports that Anthopoulos really liked Kelly Johnson, and was going to put him in LF if he would sign, though Johnson turned it down because he didn’t want to move to LF. Then there were rumblings of them being after him at last year’s trade deadline Point being, if they don’t pickup Hill’s options, I can see them being all over Kelly Johnson.

renegadeisback
4 years 4 months ago

90% of the time, if the Jays are interested in a player… they aren’t.

4 years 4 months ago

I could see them paying Prince Fielder a stupid amount of money.

renegadeisback
4 years 4 months ago

As much as they will have to overpay for Fielder, I don’t mind it. A) They have money to blow. B) They need a big LH bat.

JacksTigers
4 years 4 months ago

That’s a great idea. If you have money, make sure that you waist it.

renegadeisback
4 years 4 months ago

How would they be “waist”ing it exactly? Prince Fielder has posted 20 WAR in the past 4 years. He is a .922 career OPS hitter. I’m not recommending they sign Joaquin Benoit to a long-term deal, here.

JacksTigers
4 years 4 months ago

1) Joaquin Benoit is having one of the best seasons as a reliever so far making the contract not look half bad. Get your information right.

2) You replied to a comment that reffered to signing Fielder as stupid money and said “They have money to blow” making it sound exactly like you want to waist money.

renegadeisback
4 years 4 months ago

1) Validating a contract THREE WEEKS into the first season is a great idea.
2) Still don’t understand how adding a 5 WAR player to your team for a contract that you can easily afford is a “waist” but do go on saying that and misspelling it.

JacksTigers
4 years 4 months ago

“…’waist’ but do go on saying that and misspelling it.”

You spelled it the same way I did and both of the spellings were correct. Get a new argument or go away.

4 years 4 months ago

You are using “waist” incorrectly. You should be saying waste.

JacksTigers
4 years 4 months ago

Because that makes a huge difference.

MaineSox
4 years 4 months ago

When you can’t argue with someone’s point, make fun of the way they are making it. Amirite?

4 years 4 months ago

Relax ladies.

AJCBE
4 years 4 months ago

I thought he was referring to Prince Fielder’s waist size.

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

me too, I thought he was being really clever..

I was disappointed to learn it was just a type o

tomymogo
4 years 4 months ago

what you’re trying to say is the Jays have money, and they should use it on Prince Fielder. Use not waste, and Fielder would be a good investment for an AL team, just don’t go over 5 yrs with him

JacksTigers
4 years 4 months ago

That’s exactly what I’m trying to say. You shouldn’t give him a $100MM contract just because you can. The Tigers did that and now we have a top 5 payroll but not a top 5 team.

vilifyingforce
4 years 4 months ago

You think a guy 5’11 275 pounds is going to have a career well into his 30’s? The guys is apparently seeking 8 years 200M. That’d put him through until age 36. His father never even played to that age and he’s twice the size of Cecil.

vilifyingforce
4 years 4 months ago

And he’s posted 16.1 WAR in the last four years. Not 20.

4 years 4 months ago

does that mean you should put money around your waist? or sign players with a big waist?

Pete
4 years 4 months ago

Would be wild if they got Fielder for 1B on a long term deal and Papi to DH on a short term one, what a murderers row they would have and would definitely be playoff contenders, the AL East’s big 5 might be what finally gets Selig to see the light and do away with divisions altogether and just let the best 6 records go to the playoffs.

renegadeisback
4 years 4 months ago

Where does Lind play in that scenario?

johnsmith4
4 years 4 months ago

probably with Aaron Hill

notsureifsrs
4 years 4 months ago

even in toronto i’m not sure ortiz would qualify as a member of a “murderer’s row” by next year. maybe an especially menacing manslaughterer’s row or something

that actually doesn’t sound so bad

Ben_Cherington
4 years 4 months ago

juvenile delinquency row?

nah not the same ring to it!

Encarnacion's Parrot
4 years 4 months ago

To quote The Simpsons via Stonecutters: “the paddling of the swollen ass.. with paddles.”

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

more like gluttony row

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

fielder and ortiz?

so we’re giving up on Adam Lind then? good call pete.

4 years 4 months ago

Not saying it would happen but hypothetically, what if they trade Lind, take Ortiz on a 1 year and then after Ortiz is gone maybe Thames is ready to take over a DH role. I don’t know if I agree at all with the idea but it could be argued that it would work.

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

How is 2012 David Ortiz better than 2012 Adam Lind?
Not to mention that beyond that season the team would be worse off.

You’re really under selling Adam Lind here.. He was the teams best hitter in 2009 and is fully capable of being one of the Jays better hitters again.

Nredning
4 years 3 months ago

No kidding. Adam Lind has brought his bat back in 2011, and is showing promise of being a serviceable 1B. The only reason I see to bring in someone for 10yr/200M or more to fill that position is if they are a gold glove winner or have that ability as well as hitting, the only person that comes to mind for that Category is Albert Pujols. So yes, I just said, the only person who can replace Lind at 1B is Pujols. I simply don’t think the Prince Fielder is a good place to spend that kind of money.

For DH though, the options are always wide open. I doubt anyone is getting Big Papi for a 1 year deal.

4 years 4 months ago

boo to that. I would not want Ortiz. He is too one-dimensional at this point. If they signed Fielder, I would much rather see Lind splitting time at 1B and DH with Fielder.

JacksTigers
4 years 4 months ago

If they were to get CC, which I doubt they will, that might be enough to allow them to win the East.

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

A) I think we have a better chance of getting Pujols (0.02%) than at getting Sabathia (0.001%)
B) it would wouldnt be worth it to have to resign him to a 7-8 year deal, (which would be needed to justify him opting out of his current contract)

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

AA is going have to go the trade route in order to upgrade this team, the FA market is too weak..

I don’t mind signing Fielder if he doesn’t mind DHing, which would allow him to age a bit better making a longer contract not look as bad.. but it has to be within reason.

Things Jays need or need to happen to be competitive in 2012

-Aaron Hill to be good again OR a new 2B
-Brett Lawrie & Zack Stewart to be a ROY candidates
-Another top of the rotation starter, not an ace but someone at least on par with Romero
-Center fielder/Leadoff batter.

The CF/lead off issue is what I see as the biggest problem.. Jays need someone with OBP and speed on the base paths to be on base for the middle of the order..

BVHjays
4 years 4 months ago

Man, I hope the Twins are really willing to trade Denard Span.

2UGGLA2BINTO
4 years 4 months ago

Jays could also use a legit closer. I would love to see them trade for Matt Thornton right now while is value is low, there is a longshot chance Mcgowan takes that role at some point.

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

I don’t think they need one. They’ll develop one

They have plenty of arms on the way up that will likely push some of the starters out of the rotation and in to the pen.

hurley55
4 years 4 months ago

I think the Indians have an option on Sizemore and if they decline it I could see AA being all over him on a 2-3 year deal till Gose is ready.

4 years 4 months ago

That would be interesting. Not sure how much get-up-and-go Sizemore still has left in his body, but he sure seems to still have his talent.

4 years 4 months ago

Hopefully Morrow blossoms into that other top of the rotation pitcher. He certainly has the stuff. Drabek could also be a very solid 2/3 starter come 2012.

Lunchbox45
4 years 4 months ago

I’m already counting Morrow as one of those starters lol

I’d like to see Drabek k/9 come up, especially with his stuff, he should be striking out more batters.

I still would like a top of the order starter.. dare I say a Weaver?

JST1331
4 years 4 months ago

It’s April…

MaineSox
4 years 4 months ago

Wait. Seriously?

4 years 4 months ago

Fielder sr was released by Jays

aroundinsound
4 years 4 months ago

I don’t really understand why its a lock that they exercise Frasor’s options and decline the options on E5 and Aaron Hill. E5 is cheap and can plug another hole in 2012. Hill is not that expensive with how is options are structured over the next two years if he can have a strong year this year. We have consistently tried to get rid of Frasor. Rauch is excellent trade bait.

I see it just as likely that Rogers offers Albert a stake in the company and 300 mil over 10 years as I see the above happening. There are just too many expendable parts on the roster considering how AA has been approaching his GM role thus far. No one is a lock for next year, and everyone has options because they might be exercised by AA in some way.

Not to mention, yeah, it’s April….

Braydon Gervais
4 years 4 months ago

I would sign Fielder in a heartbeat. He’s eventually not going to be able to play 1B so he can be our DH. But we need an ace as well. I like Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow and they might turn into aces over time, but since they traded Doc I haven’t seen a arm on the mound that makes me 100% confident a win in coming our way like it was with Halladay.

GMwannabe
4 years 4 months ago

to be fair, unless you bring Halladay back, you wont be getting an SP as reliable as he was..

Infield Fly
4 years 4 months ago

Ah…that again…
Did you have to remind us?! đŸ˜€

4 years 4 months ago

Hill’s option will be picked up for next year (its only 8 million and no better options). Frasor’s option will be picked up (hoping for a draft pick or 2 when he signs somewhere else). Rauch, Dotel, Fransico and others will all be trade bait at the deal line to give AA a chance to pick up draft picks. As for the additions I could see AA trading for David Wright. IF the Jays can’t get Wright then making a push for Longoria would be a great move (Snider, Cecil, Thames, and D’Anaurd plus a lesser prospect or two). Next adding Pujols 5 years 30million per or Fielder 4 years 25 million per anything more is to risky for the Jays. CC would be great but I can’t see the Jays out spending the Yankess EVER! Adding a FA starter will be next to impossible for the same reason. When the Yankees have a need they will spend to fill it. If Philly falls out (not likely) they could make Oswalt or Hamels available. No matter what direction AA goes he has options by having the prospects and the cash to make any move.

Jays 2013

vilifyingforce
4 years 4 months ago

What are you smoking?
Evan Longoria playing any where’s but Tampa next season? 0%.
Pujols signing a 5 year deal? 0%.
Fielder signing a 4 year deal? 0%.
Trading Rauch, Dotel, Francisco and others at the deadline means no draft picks.

4 years 4 months ago

I don’t think we will get Longoria but to think he is untradable is stupid. If you read the post I said I won’t go over 5 years for Pujols and 4 years for Fielder I never said they weren’t worth more. Finally if you don’t think AA will listen to trade offers for every pitcher in the pen, then I ask you, what are you smoking? Just like last year if he cant’ get value he will keep them and collect draft picks.

vilifyingforce
4 years 4 months ago

Longoria getting dealt before the start of next season is so low you might as well call it 0%. Teams don’t deal players away when they sign super team friendly contracts.

You might not offer more then either a 5 or 4 year deal, but, when you look at the rumours being floated around for both players is double that term the chance of those players signing that type of deal is 0%.

You said our pen arms will be trade bait to acquire draft picks. That’s impossible in baseball, you can’t trade draft picks. He either deals them for prospects or holds onto them for the compensation picks.

Is it the smoke or reading comprehension?

4 years 4 months ago

The pen will be trade bait or become draft picks (when they sign with another team) is what I ment to say.

4 years 4 months ago

C’mon John, Evan Longoria will stay in TB.

tomymogo
4 years 4 months ago

David Wright might be available, great player

tomymogo
4 years 4 months ago

I really like the Jays, if they really do have money like people say they do, specially after getting rid of Vernon Wells, they should sign Fielder. And Coco Crisp, and unlike Tim Dierkes anticipates, a Jonathan Papelbon type reliever. I’d keep Aaron Hill and trade Travis Snyder among others for David Wright. That’s a nice lineup……

CF Coco Crisp
SS Yunel Escobar
3B David Wright
DH Prince Fielder
RF Jose Bautista
1B Adam Lind
2B Aaron Hill
C JP Arencibia
LF Eric Thames/or whoever steps up

And Heath Bell or Papelbon closing games……Wins the Al East and WS

4 years 4 months ago

Coco can stay in Oakland. He is no different then Patterson or Davis. I think Wright would be a good move for a few reasons: 1) he is very good defensively 2) he could easy return to his 25-30 HR power in the Roger Centre and 3) he will hit close to .300 every year and Bautista needs protection and 4) he is still under 30. Signing Fielder is only a good idea if we don’t have to give him more then 4 years (don’t need another Wells contract holding the team hostage). IF Snider is traded for Wright then Lawier can be called up to play LF. Papelbon has regressed the last two years I vote for Bell or give Stewart a chance!

tomymogo
4 years 4 months ago

Fielder requires minimun 5 years, he’s a special talent……Wright hit 29 HR last year playing half of his games in Citi Field that might be 40 in the Roger Centre and the other AL friendly hitting parks

vilifyingforce
4 years 4 months ago

Fielder is a special talent. And grossly obese. Anybody paying Fielder into his mid-thirties is going to regret it, this kid is going to regress much faster then his father did.

4 years 4 months ago

I agree no more then 4 years.

vilifyingforce
4 years 4 months ago

I vote for anybody making less then $10 million a season. I think Frankie might stick around. Stewart, Perez, Josh Towers; anybody not making over ten mill a season would be great.

BooJays33
4 years 3 months ago

no brett lawrie?

RaygunJones
4 years 3 months ago

I think the concerns about Fielder’s weight are overblown. Any team that plunks down 6+ years and $20+ mil per season on him is going to insist that he start a rigorous fitness program. The kid CAN get in shape (or at least, much better shape than he’s in now) if he works at it and if the team insists (look at Pablo Sandoval). In the early 90’s teams didn’t care about that sort of thing all that much. Guys like Cecil and John Kruk didn’t face the same sort of concerns about their weight, so assuming that the same kind of thing will happen to Fielder Jr. isn’t necessarily a good idea (and actually, Fielder Sr. played until he was 35, which isn’t bad at all for a pure homerun hitter with a low AVG and suspect defense; I’d say Kruk is a better example of a guy losing several years off his potential career because of health and weight problems). Also, the Brewers probably haven’t been as concerned as they should be because Fielder’s been young while with them, and because they don’t expect to re-sign him.

That being said, if the Jays do pursue Fielder, I’d rather they do it because they actually want HIM, not because they can’t get Pujols. Better to go with what we have available internally than go after Fielder or Pujols just because they’re the biggest names available (possibly) this offseason.

I like Wright as a trade target, but I suspect AA would have to overpay for him (3B is thin and will be for a while; why do you think Beltre made a mint despite his obvious contract year trend, and E5 is actually still making some starts there this year for the Jays), and Lawrie may be ready to contribute some meaningful time next year.

I also don’t see any point in signing Crisp. Davis is younger, less injury-prone, and cheaper. Plus Davis stole 50 bags last year. Crisp COULD match that (he stole 32 last season despite missing a huge chunk of the year), but with his injury history he’s not a gamble anyone should take when they already have Davis. Also, Davis and Crisp, in terms of their contact hitting ability, are almost identical (albeit Davis is struggling with a low AVG right now, but that should pick up).

I also think that going after a high-priced closer is a waste of money. Papelbon has only had one truly dominant season; he’s mostly just Boston-hype smoke and mirrors, and not worth the kind of money he’d be demanding. Bell would be fine, but he’s likely going to be the most expensive reliever on the market, and someone like Rauch would be almost as good while costing a fraction.

I think the best offseason strategy would be to go hard after Jered Weaver. He’s making the headlines now, but he’s been grossly underrated the last few years. He’s been in the top five in the AL for the last three years in K/BB, QS, and QS%. Those are the peripherals that make him worth every penny (and he’s probably going to get a HUGE payday, but he will indeed be worth it). If Hill continues to struggle and Lawrie looks ready, decline Hill’s options and put Lawrie at second. If Hill is back to old self, pick up his options and put Lawrie at 3rd. If Lawrie’s not ready or if Hill’s options are declines, go after an impact 3B like Wright by trading one of the young arms pushed out of the rotation by Weaver (likely Cecil). Then shore up the bullpen with reasonably-priced free agents.