Projected 2005 Roster Starters Salary Relievers Salary Halladay 10.5 Ligtenberg 2.5 Batista 4.8 Chulk 0.3 Lilly 3.1 Frasor 0.3 Towers 0.4 Koch 0.9 Bush 0.4 League 0.3 Schoeneweis 2.5 Speier 1.9 Catchers / OF Salary Infield / DH Salary Myers 0.7 Koskie 5.5 Zaun 1.0 Hillenbrand 3.9 Wells 2.9 Hudson 0.4 Rios 0.3 Menechino 0.5 Cat 2.7 Adams 0.3 Johnson 0.3 Hinske 3.0 McDonald 0.4
Total Salary: $49.7 million
Projected 2006 roster
- Among position players Gross, Quiroz, and Hill spend their first full year in Toronto. Among pitchers you have Chacin, Banks, Rosario, and Vermilyea.
- For the pitchers coming up from the minors I'm going to assume there's a 50% success rate of transitioning to be a successful major league pitcher. So for 2006 I paired Banks & Rosario as one starter and Chacin & Vermilyea as one reliever with Gaudin pairing up with Chulk.
- Lilly gets $7 million in arbitration after the season
- Hudson gets $2 million in his first year of arbitration
- Hillenbrand is non-tendered
- Backups signed as free agents each get $1 million
- Players with * next to their names have guaranteed contracts
2006 Starters Salary Relievers Salary Halladay* 12.8 Schoeneweis* 2.8 Batista* 4.8 Speier* 2.3 Lilly 7.0 Frasor 0.4 Bush 0.4 Chulk/Gaudin 0.4 Banks/Rosario 0.3 League 0.4 Vrmlyea/Chacin 0.3 Towers 1.0 Catchers / OF Salary Infield / DH Salary Quiroz 0.3 Koskie* 5.3 Zaun* 1.0 Hill 0.3 Wells* 4.3 Hudson 2.0 Rios 0.4 Adams 0.4 Cat* 2.7 Hinske 4.3 Gross 0.4 Backup IF 1.0 Utility 1.0
Total Salary: $55.9 million
Projected 2007 Lineup:
- McGowan, Marcum, Purcey and Jackson spend their first full year in Toronto. Again we'll assume a 50% success rate on the pitchers and pair them up.
- Lilly signs a contract worth $9 million for 2007
- Hudson gets $4 million in his second year of arbitration
- Rios is a Super 2 and gets $2 million in arbitration
- Backups signed as free agents each get $1 million
- Free agent relievers signed get $2 million
- Players with * next to their names have guaranteed contracts
2007 Starters Salary Relievers Salary Halladay* 12.8 League 0.4 Lilly 9.0 McGowan/Marcum 0.3 Bush 2.0 Frasor 1.0 Banks/Rosario 0.3 Chulk/Gaudin 1.0 Purcey/Jackson 0.3 Vrmlyea/Chacin 0.4 FA reliever 2.0 FA reliever 2.0 Catchers / OF Salary Infield / DH Salary Quiroz 0.4 Koskie* 5.8 Backup C 1.0 Hill 0.4 Wells* 5.6 Hudson 4.0 Rios 2.0 Adams 0.4 Gross 0.4 Hinske* 5.6 Backup OF 1.0 Backup IF 1.0 Utility 1.0
Total Salary: $59.9 million
The above projected lineup gets you to a total payroll of $165.5 million from 2005-2007. The Jays have publicly stated that they will spend $210 million on major league salaries over that period.
Pistol: Where should the Jays try to improve with the extra money?
To me the Koskie signing indicated that the Jays are committed to keeping Aaron Hill in the middle infield. There has been speculation that Hill would move to 3b, causing Koskie to shift over to 1B, but the problem with that to me is that youíre weakening two positions. Koskie at 3B is more valuable than Koskie at 1B. At 3B Koskie is above average. If you shift him over to 1B he becomes an average to below average 1B. If Koskie is able to play 3B he needs to play 3B. The same thing applies to Aaron Hill. If Hill can play SS or 2B heís more valuable there than if heís playing 3B.
So if you keep Koskie at 3B, and Hill & Adams both are going to be productive major league players (which certainly isnít a lock, but probable at this point) you have a logjam in the middle infield with Hill, Adams, and Hudson.
In 2004 Hudson hit .270/.341/.438 for a VORP of 27.4 which placed him 5th among 2B. Hudson will be 27 this season, and will be eligible for his first year of arbitration following the 2005 season. If Hudson has another year similar to 2004 one would think his trade value would be at its highest point; heíd have a track record, heíd have a strong defensive reputation, and his salary would still be modest for 2 more years.
While Adams and Hill likely wonít be as strong defensively as Hudson I donít think itís unreasonable to expect them to be as productive at the plate.
Given all of that I think Hudson is the most likely candidate to be traded among the middle infield trio of Hudson, Adams, and Hill. Of course if a trade is made with a team at the bottom tier of payrolls itís possible that theyíd be more interested in Adams or Hill as theyíd be cheaper than Hudson.
Mike Green: Corey Koskie's approach to fielding third base has been effective, but it's hard on the 30+ body. When he's healthy, he's an above-average hitter even for a first baseman.
I am not saying that he should be moved to first base. It is not, however, simply a matter of asking him to perform the most physically demanding defensive position that he can manage. Balancing his offensive contributions (which might be better and more consistent as a first baseman within the next year or two) and defense is a tricky thing.
Hill at third, Koskie at first is just one of a series of reasonable mid-term options, depending on the performance of the other infielders.
Rob: By the end of this season, Toronto has to sign Hudson or trade him, depending on how Hill and Adams pan out.
If they sign him, it should be 2006 through 2008, not four years. That takes care of his arbitration years nicely, as I bet his price will rise when he wins a Gold Glove either in '05 or '06. Then you're left with Hill/Adams/Koskie/Hinske for three spots in the infield; DH is open if Cat is traded.
If Hudsonís traded, it better be a great deal. He's enthusiastic, a hometown favourite, and plays tremendous defence.
I'm not saying one way is better than the other, but they need to decide what to do with Orlando Hudson before the 2006 season starts.
Gerry: I seem to recall that the careers of second basemen peak and decline faster than other positions. It that is so, then O-Dog will be traded sooner rather than later.
Anyone else familiar with my recollection?
Mike Green: Second basemen are more susceptible to injury than other position players, save for catchers. I'd assess Hudson's risk as much less than usual for second basemen because he is so adept at avoid contact on the double play. The Jays do have a surfeit at 2b/ss/3b, but the first step is, in my view, to see how Adams and Hill pan out and how healthy Koskie is when July rolls around.
Pistol: Looking at the OF, Vernon Wells is nearly a lock to remain in CF for the next 3 season. To start the year it looks like Alex Rios will be in RF and Cat will be in LF. Reed Johnson will likely get starts from Cat against LHPs and serve as the 4th OF.
Gabe Gross had a good year in Syracuse, hitting .294/.381/.454, and struggled in his time with the Jays at the end of the season. It appears that heíll spend at least half a season in Syracuse. Gross has typically struggled each time that he has moved up a level, so thereís a good chance heíll rebound in his next stint in Toronto if you believe minor league statistics translate to the majors. The Jays need to figure out what they have in Gross this season, and Iím not sure that Syracuse is that best place for that. Regardless, barring a trade, Gross should be in LF at the start of the 2006 season.
However, if an upgrade to one of the corner outfield positions is made itís possible that either Rios or Gross could be traded. Or alternatively, if Gross or Rios is traded for help at another position the Jays could sign a middle of the road free agent OF or continue with a Johnson/Cat platoon. If I had to guess who the Jays would trade Iíd guess Gross over Rios just based on his higher ceiling (although you could argue that Gross is the safer player to keep).
Rob: Thereís four players that the Jays should be willing to give up in trades: Shea Hillenbrand, Eric Hinske, Frank Catalanotto, and Reed Johnson.
If any one of Hillenbrand/Catalanotto/Hinske/Johnson is shipped out, it opens up a spot in the lineup for Gabe Gross, who doesn't need to prove anything more in Syracuse. It makes too much sense not to trade one of them.
One of these players should be traded, perhaps for a slugging prospect. Not in Ryan Howard's league, more like a younger version of Eric Crozier who, if all goes according to plan, plays every day in 2006.
Mick Doherty: Oh, I know. Let's start up the ridiculous Vernon Wells for Mark Teixeira rumors again.
Actually, if Wells is at .330/24/85 around July 30, assuming the Blue Jays are effectively out of WC contention, I'd say deal him NOW. This year. Sell high. The problem is, who would deal for him? The only teams that genuinely have a need in CF AND have the payroll flexibility to sign him long term are the Yankees and Dodgers, and neither is exactly brimming with tradeable prospects, though I suppose Dionar Navarro or Edwin Jackson could centerpiece a deal.
So maybe it is Texas, after all, but only Teixeira if sometime this year either Adrian Gonzalez or Jason Botts proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can hit MLB pitching. AND if Tom Hicks opens up his wallet to bring VW back to DFW. AND if the Rangers are in contention. AND if Hidalgo works out, I guess.
What contender needs a CF and has an appropriate package of prospects to offer? Oakland, but I don't imagine they'd take on a big contract. Anaheim, if Erstad moves back to 1B. Hey, how about VW to the Reds for Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena? AK plays 1B in TO, Pena takes Wells' spot, VW plays CF in Cinci, bumping Junior to LF ... but Cinci might not pay quite so much for Wells. I dunno.
Pistol: I think there'd have to be a pretty overwhelming offer to trade Wells. He's going to be (hopefully) a highly productive CF and cheap for the next 3 years. $5.6 million in 2007 looks like a severe bargain at this point.
Teixeira had an OPS+ of 128 last year in his year 24 season.
Wells had an OPS+ of 131 in his year 24 season in 2002.
They're similar hitters, and Wells plays a good defensive CF. A trade of a premier CF wouldn't make sense to me, especially now that the Jays don't have to pinch pennies.
For what it's worth the Dodgers have one of the best farm systems going. Or at least that's what BA and Sickels say. Navarro didn't even crack the Dodger's top 10 list at BA.
Mike Green: Vernon Wells is a fine centerfielder, and a good hitter but his career OBP in the majors in 2000 ABs is .333. His OBP in 1000 ABs in triple A was .326. Teixeira's long-term record suggests that last year's performance was a floor for him, not a ceiling.
What the Jays currently have is a centerfielder playing right-field (well), and a potential right-fielder (Gross), who if all goes well, will get a trial in left-field. There is a trading opportunity here if Wells gets hot, but the fact is that the Jays need to have a leftfielder come the other way. Sparky makes a fine 4th outfielder.
Dave Till: I would only trade a player if he is blocking a better player coming up behind him, or if the trade allows the Jays to reshuffle their roster to be a better team overall.
Wells has his weak points, true enough. His OBP is low, mostly because he has such good plate coverage (he can hit anything in or near the strike zone when he's on form). But that's really his only weakness: he runs well, he has power, he is excellent defensively, and he doesn't cost a lot. If I were the GM, you'd have to offer me a heck of a lot to get me to trade V-Dub.
Pistol: Zaun appears to be a stopgap solution at catcher until Quiroz is ready to take over. At that point Zaun would slide into the backup role. The Jays seem set at this position in the near future.
At 1B & DH you have Hillenbrand and Hinske, with Cat occasionally DHing. I see both Hillenbrand and Hinske as stop gaps this season. At best both will be average players. At worst it could get ugly. In my mind these are the two biggest areas for improvement in the lineup. If Hillenbrand can be flipped for players that will help the next playoff contender and/or if Hinske can have part of his contract moved I think the team should make an effort to do it.
So for the lineup I think the priority for upgrading the Jays is:
3. Corner OF
Rob: What makes me worry about this team is those first two positions were the two spots the Jays needed to fill this year. Replacing 2004 Carlos Delgado with Corey Koskie and Replacement Level Designated Hitters with Shea Hillenbrand seems to be an improvement. However, hardly anyone on this roundtable was calling for Hillenbrand to be a Jay and the new first baseman Eric Hinske is just about done in Toronto, I think -- he now has 100+ strikeouts three years in a row. Next year, the Jays better get someone better than Hillenbrand to play every day.
I agree that the Jays have to figure out what their farmhands can do -- which is why the Hillenbrand trade made no sense at all to me.
Pistol: The pitching side of things is more complicated in my mind. After Halladay Iím not sure what to expect. Iíd just send them out there and seeing what develops and go from there. Thereís certainly a number of potential pitchers coming up through the minors right now. If enough work out you can focus more on hitting, if not more money might be allocated to acquiring, or re-signing, pitchers. In the event that thereís a surplus of young pitchers you can always find a market to trade them. Given the offseason pursuit of Clement it certainly looks like the Jays would like to add a top of the rotation starter.
The biggest priority in the bullpen is an ace reliever, and perhaps League will be that player. But even if he is it doesnít mean that another dominant pitcher in the pen isnít worth acquiring.
Among pitchers I suspect that the biggest upgrades would be a starting pitcher and an ace reliever.
The biggest issue coming around the corner is going to be with Lilly, assuming he pitches close to how he did last year. Heís going to be more expensive shortly, but the Jays will be able to afford him now. But will they want to pay him if thereís still a void in other areas?
Mike Green: In my view, the best thing is to find out what the young players can give you and then make decisions. The only thing that I would recommend between now and the All-Star break in 2005 is shedding salary if the circumstances allow.
To give an example, if 3 of Bush, Banks, McGowan, Rosario, Gaudin and Chacin take steps forward in 2005, it might be that the team would not want to spend big-time dollars on Lilly in 06-07. That may or may not happen.
Gerry: I agree with Mike that if the farm system produces some pitching you might not be able to keep Halladay and Lilly at those salaries. You might end up keeping Lilly and trading Halladay, its all about value for the dollar.
The difficulty in projecting forward is that we assume future value is related to current value. So we all will assume that Eric Hinske needs to be upgraded, that the kids will work out and that no trades are made. It could turn out that a Russ Adams or Alex Rios will not pan out, or that Hinske retains his old form.
From a salary perspective we should look at the Delgado example, how much money can you afford to use on any one player? Is $12 mil out of $70 mil, or 17%, too much for one player. I am not sure that it is too much but it is certainly at the upper limit.
Finally, if Vernon Wells continues to develop he could be worth $15 mil a season as a free agent. Do you trade him the year before he becomes a free agent (Hudson/Mulder) or do you keep him until the end (Delgado)? He probably needs to be traded unless depending on the supporting pieces. How many $10 mil/year contracts can you carry, Halladay, Wells and maybe Lilly could be too many. Three big contracts would be 50% of the payroll. I think you might only be able to cover two big salaries.
Pistol: When is the optimal time to use the extra money? The team is right around $50 million for 2005, with $160 million left for bumps to the payroll this year and 2006 & 2007.
Named For Hank: When do you use the money? Not today, not immediately, unless something really great comes up. I'm with Mike Green: despite the increased budget I still believe that the Jays need to play the kids and find out who's going to stick, then fill in holes. Otherwise, we'll end up with our potential saviors hanging out in the minors or on the bench while a twenty million dollars less mediocre team finishes in third place in the AL East. Again. And sure, third place would be better than what they did last year, but if it's not third place plus a major step towards the future, it's worthless.
If I had to, I could enjoy watching a perennially third place team, but I'd have a lot more fun watching a team that finished fourth or fifth while showing tremendous promise for the future. There was some of that last year, but not enough for my liking, at least not until late in the season when we met Mr. Bush and Mr. League.
How do you avoid being in a situation like the Tigers where you have money to spend, but have to severely overspend to get a player to sign? Show some real promise for the future. That's all I can think of.
Gerry's talk of trading Wells and Halladay makes me sad. And Pistol on the O-Dog, that makes me sad, too. I could never be the General Manager of a baseball team. And now Rob wants to trade the Cat. You're all trying to make me cry.
I wonder if the Jays' payroll increase had any impact on Paul Godfrey's helicopter-and-laser budget?
Pistol: To me showing promise = wins. After that if you're not winning I think free agents would rather see 'proven veterans' over players they've never heard of before, even if that 'untested rookie' is likely to outperform the veteran. I think that's part of the reason the Jays acquired Hillenbrand instead of taking a chance on a Ken Phelps All Star this year.
If the Jays go out and win 75 games this year there's little chance that a top free agent is going to sign with the Jays without them overpaying if there are other comparable offers out there.
Gitz: Isn't this the classic "We're looking for somebody with more experience" dilemma? But how can I get more experience if people keep rejecting my job applications? How do the Jays win 90 games until they start bringing in the likes of Matt Clement? (I use the idea of Matt Clement, not Clement himself.)
They can't be trading for Paul Konerko with the hope of re-signing him next year, but they do need to make some sort of splash. It's all well and good to get gems like ... well, jeez, so few of the undervalued players the Jays have picked up have done well in the J.P. era. Don't spend for the sake of spending, but, as best as you can, do what the Red Sox have done: pay top money to get top players. I don't know if that's reasonable given the $70 million average, but it's *more* reasonable now than it was at the start of last season.
Magpie: Still, the Jays should be able to make it most of the way to their destination first. You can build a 90 win team from within, with young players.
That's the main reason the Jays got good the first time. There was more to it, of course, and there always has to be. They found a useful pitcher on the scrap heap (Doyle Alexander). They made remarkable use of the Rule 5 Draft, of course (Bell, Gruber, Acker, Gott); and they made a classic Billy Beane style trade - flip a relief pitcher with a few saves (Dale Murray) for a minor league prospect (Fred McGriff).
But it was mostly a bunch of young players all arriving and getting good at the same time.
Mike Green: Green's reverie. The scene: it's May 15, 2005. The Sox lead the AL East by 6 games over the Yanks, who are playing .500 ball. The problem for the Yanks is the yawning chasm in right-centerfield between Gary Sheffield and Bernie Williams. It comes to a head when David DeJesus hits 4 triples to right-center in a game off Carl Pavano, at least 2 of which should have be caught. Tino Martinez gets off to a slow start, but the offence is still well, Yankeerific. Meanwhile, in Flushing, the gap in right-center between Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron seems to be microscopic, and the Mets lead their division thanks to some superb pitching from Pedro Martinez and Beltran's power. The NY press is all over Curious George for failing to sign Beltran, and Pavano and Mussina (both of whom have ERAs over 5.5) are whispering to Torre that they just can't win with Bernie Williams in centerfield.
At Rogers Centre, Vernon Wells is off to a typical .280/.340/.500 start. Alex Rios has hit 5 homers by May 15 and is hitting .290/.350/.470. But, the team is bouncing around just below .500 due to slow starts from Koskie, Adams and Zaun. Down in Syracuse, Gabe Gross is setting the world on fire in his 3rd shot there.
Meanwhile, out on the left coast, San Francisco finds itself in first place, but needing bullpen help to try to sustain a pennant run.
The trade: the Jays send Vernon Wells, Eric Hinske and Scott Schoeneweis to the Yanks; the Yanks send Hideki Matsui to the Jays, and Flash Gordon and 2004 1st round pick Phil Hughes and $2 million to the Giants; the Giants send Eddy Martinez-Esteve to the Jays.
The Jays sign Matsui (who is under contract for $8 million in 2005) to a 2 year extension worth $24 million, and play out 2005 with an outfield of Gross, Rios and Matsui, and an infield of Hillenbrand, Hudson, Adams and Koskie with Cat DHing. Meanwhile, EME continues his hot hitting in the minors, but struggles some in the outfield, and is moved to first base, reaching Syracuse before the end of the year.
With the arrival of Matsui and the emergence of Chi Cheng as a bona fide hot prospect, the Jays' long-term goal of drawing the East Asian community to Toronto baseball is well on its way.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled hard-headed analysis.
Named For Hank: While there's a certain amount of ridiculousness to it, Matsui sure would be a draw at the RC. I mean, last year the Yankee games were packed because Yankee fans came up from NY for Toronto's cheap and available tickets, but there was also a nice bump in attendance whenever the Mariners came to town. Now, the Jays marketed those Mariner games with theme nights like Japanese Night, so who knows if the attendance would be stronger all season, but I think it could be, if the marketing was targeted properly.
But talk of trading Vernon Wells makes me feel all hollow inside.
And would Matsui play here? He went from being the best player in his league to being a star player on the most storied team in MLB -- would he accept a "demotion" to Toronto at this point in his career?
Jordan: When I look at the payroll charts at the top of this page, the three figures that make me sad are attached to Hillenbrand, Koskie and Schoeneweis. I look forward to seeing Shea off the roster no later than October. The Jays are almost certainly stuck with Schoeneweisfor two years, unless he has a tremendous half-season and a contender needs a lefty-killer (hello, George) -- but otherwise, he's one of the Jays' worst investments under Ricciardi.
Koskie I'm not as unhappy about -- as Mike G. says, when he's healthy, he delivers power and average along with sterling defence. He probably is more valuable at the hot corner, but the question is: are the Jays going to find themselves a legitimate first-base pounder? As mentioned, the free-agent market is thin next winter, and a quick glance at the MLB 1B charts shows few solid hitters with dumpable contracts (unless the Jays think Todd Helton is a good idea, which they'd better not). I'm a big Vito Chiaravalotti fan, but he is not the answer at 1B, not for a while. I really think Eric Hinske is done, and that his future involves a salary swap with another team (hopefully packaged with a prospect for a higher-priced and more productive player). So it could very well be that Koskie is the Jays' best first-base prospect over the next few years.
That's being realistic. Now let's play pretend-GM. In an ideal world, the Jays would deal Hinske + minor prospect for a big contract in mid-season 2005 -- for argument's sake, Hinske and Miguel Negron to the Cubs for Aramis Ramirez, who plays out his $9M one-year contract at first base, or something along those lines, and leaves. That's probably the extent to which the team is likely to be able to use its extra money during the upcoming season (mind you, if the Cubs want to get rid of Derrek Lee instead, I'll line up at that window).
Then, between 2005 and 2006, I'd shell out a four-year, $60M contract for Lance Berkman and install him in left field. Gabe Gross, who's just had a solid half-season in the majors, I'd package with Justin Speier (who just saved 32 games in '05) and, say, Shaun Marcum to Washington for Brad Wilkerson, whom I'd sign to a three-year, $15M deal (buying out his arbitration years) and stick at first base. Now I've spent my $20M and upgraded at two key offensive positions, and I still can deal one of the Adams/Hill/Hudson middle-infield combo if I so choose. Brandon League or Francisco Rosario becomes the closer.
2007's too far away to predict, but at least we've made a good start. :-)
Dave Till: I think that this is the year that the Jays find out what hand they've been dealt. At the end of 2005, we should know the answers to some questions:
* Is Alex Rios a quality player or not?
* Will Gabe Gross be useful?
* Can Aaron Hill be a major-league middle infielder?
* Is Russ Adams a major-league shortstop?
* How good are Bush, Chacin and League really? (I just noticed: if League moves to the bullpen and comes on in relief of Dave Bush, the Jays will have a Bush-League game. :rimshot:)
* Are any of the secondary pitching prospects going to be of any use at all?
* And, last but not least: are any or all the players who was injured last year going to return to their 2003 level of form? In particular, can Wells and Halladay bounce back?
There are still some questions to be answered after 2005 - such as whether McGowan will recover from his surgery - but at that point the Jays will have an idea of how much talent they actually have on hand.
If the talent base looks good, I'd venture that the Jays will target 2007 as The Year. The Yanks will likely have melted down by then, so the Jays can make a push for the wild-card spot (I am assuming that the Sox, who are better-funded and just as smart, will claim the top spot for some time to come). The 2006 free-agent market is apparently poor, from what I'm reading, so the Jays could save up their cash until 2007 and then really go nuts. That's basically the route they took in the early 1990's; they didn't spend big on the free-agent market until 1992 and 1993.
Of course, if everything goes wrong again as it did in 2004, the Jays may wind up with not enough talent to contend in the next couple of years. I don't want to think about what would happen then - I guess that they'd have to go the Detroit route, and overpay to land ballplayers that would attract some fan interest. But the Jays can't continue to be as unlucky as they were last year, can they?
Magpie: In many ways, the Ricciardi era starts now, in Year Four. He is finally out from under the last big Gord Ash contract, and his own young players are starting to arrive. There is a real chance for large and sudden improvement - when a group of young players all take a step forward together... it's one of the components of Miracle Seasons.
But you can't count on miracles. I think this needs to be another year of working young players into the major leagues. Then you take another look around. It will probably difficult for the Jays to attract free agents until they're at least a 90 win team - but you can always trade for players until then, especially if you have a deep pool of good looking prospects.
The Jays need to decide their trading strategy, and first they're going to have to see how the young players progress this year. But we do know a few things already. For one, the most glaring weak spots in the organization all come from the right side of the defensive spectrum - corner outfielders, first base, designated hitter. Whereas there is some talent and depth, if mostly unproven, at middle infield. This seems quite a bit unusual; but it's a much better situation than if the reverse were true. And it should provide a good basis for a trading strategy: working from the depth at middle infield to fill the holes at the offensive positions.
There's obviously no point in making a deadline deal this year for someone like Konerko - the Jays don't expect to be contending this year, and Konerko's a free agent after the season. That's the type of trade you make only if you think you win can right now, and it fills an immediate hole.