The Toronto Blue Jays Are Taking a Different Approach at Rebuilding.

The Toronto Blue Jays Are Taking a Different Approach at Rebuilding.

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The Toronto Blue Jays Are Taking a Different Approach at Rebuilding.

Being stuck in the AL East has hurt the Blue Jays for years.  

It’s hard to keep up with New York and Boston’s all-star teams and the Rays have been building up to this point.  How are the Blue Jays and Orioles expected to compete?

The Blue Jays are in a tough spot; They have one of the best hitters in the game, Jose Bautista.  So if they rebuild with prospects they will be wasting Bautista’s talent.  What Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has done is target talented players that have worn out their welcome with their prior team.  It started last year when Anthopoulos traded aging defensive shortstop, Alex Gonzalez, to Atlanta for younger Yunel Escobar who offers a much more dangerous bat.  In Atlanta last year Escobar was hitting .237 with zero home runs.  This tear with the Blue Jays Escobar is hitting .289 with a .366 OBP and .419 SLG.  He has 11 home runs.  Escobar is only 29, he’s in his baseball primeJose Bautista.

The next player the Jays targeted was Colby Rasmus.  

Rasmus, 25, was so deep in the doghouse in St. Louis that he was barely playing before being traded.  Since coming to Toronto his numbers still aren’t great.  But Rasmus is the centerfielder for this team for years to come.  Just a year ago Rasmus hit 23 home runs with a .276 average, .361 OBP, and .859 SLG.  Even if this year is a lost year with an adjustment period, it’s  worth the risk.

Yesterday The Jays made a similar move.  They traded Aaron Hill and John McDonald to the D’Backs for Kelly Johnson.   Hill and Johnson are both 29.  Hill has a team option and Johnson is arbitration eligible.  Hill had one year of 36 home runs but Johnson is the better player.  Hill has hit below .230 the last two seasons.  His career average is .265, OBP .318 and SLG .413.  He does however have 96 home runs in 873 games.  Johnson has a career average of .260 with an OBP of .432 and SLG of .442.  He hit 89 home runs in 750 games.  Hill offers slightly more power but a lesser bat.  It’s possible that Johnson will be back with the Jays next year. Kelly Johnson

Between these moves and the off-season trades, the Jays are set up for the future.  In the off-season the Jays and Brewers exchanged Shaun Marcum for Brett Lawrie. 

So what’s next for the Jays?

Lawrie provides versatility.  He can play 2nd or 3rd.  This will most likely depend on if Johnson returns to the team.  Bautista also provides versatility, going between 3rd and LF.   This is how I project the lineup next year if the Jays make zero lineup moves.

Now here’s the thing.  

There are some big free agents this off-season and I’d like to see the Jays go after one of them.  Pujols, Fielder, Reyes, and Sabathia.  Set $20M aside (per season) this offseason to bring in one of these guys.  This is where the versatility comes in.  

  • If they sign Reyes, they have a natural lead off guy and a young exciting SS.  This would only work if Johnson didn’t come back next year, or if Escobar was traded.  Escobar would slide over to second. 

  • Prince FielderIf the team gets Albert or Prince, they could play 1B while Lind slides to DH.  This would give them a great cleanup hitter, a powerful lineup, and a 3/4 of Bautista and one of these guys.  This would be possibly the most feared 3/4 in baseball. 

  • Finally if they sign CC they add to their young staff of Romero, Morrow, and Kyle Drabek.  Not only that, they’d be stealing the ace of one of their division rivals.  This would add great pitching to support their already solid lineup. 

  • A cheaper route would be to bring in Carlos Beltran and Carlos Pena.  Lowrie plays 2B, Bautista plays 3B, Beltran would play RF, and Pena would be a DH.

The Jays payroll would increase, but the team would become a threat to compete once again.

By Mike Lavery
Wednesday, 24 Aug 2011

Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, Albert Pujols, Alex Anthopoulos, Alex Gonzalez, American League, Boston Red Sox, Brandon Morrow, Brett Lawrie, C.C. Sabathia, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Pena, Colby Rasmus, Edwin Encarnacion, J.P. Arencibia, John McDonald, Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes, Kelly Johnson, Kyle Drabek, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Prince Fielder, Ricky Romero, Shaun Marcum, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays, Travis Snider, Yunel Escobar


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