Cat Talk

Wednesday, January 08 2003 @ 09:14 AM EST

Contributed by: Jordan

A quick hit from the Jays' MLB page on new right fielder Frank Catalanotto. Nothing earth-shattering here, though a couple of items are slightly noteworthy:

- JP says Frank will hold numerous positions in the batting order, including leadoff. This is the first time I've heard him say that Catalanotto could bat in that position -- previously, it's been 2nd, 3rd, 5th or 6th. Given Shannon Stewart's historic reluctance to surrender the leadoff spot, it'll be interesting to see how that gets finessed. I presume Tosca will handle it better than Buck Martinez did.

- JP also indicates that the major deals are done and there's not much likelihood of even smaller deals, but that there are a few lines in the water as we speak. It strikes me that he may want to keep fishing for outfield depth.

We keep focusing on Catalanotto's standout 2001 year, but the fact remains it was his career at-bat high, and that it was the only time in six seasons that he broke 290 ABs. Last year, he played in only 68 games, largely due to injury. Cat's a little fragile -- he has more career HBPs (35) than GIDPs (22), for whatever that's worth -- and if he goes down for several weeks and Jayson Werth isn't ready, it would be nice to have better options than Bruce Aven, DeWayne Wise, Rob Ryan and Howie Clark. But if that's the biggest problem the Blue Jays have next year, they should be pretty happy.