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Today's News ... let's see ...

Antonio Alfonseca to the Phillies ... Mark Bellhorn to the Reds ... The legend and greatness of Fernando Tatis to the Dodgers ... The A's traded Kirk Saarloos and a PTBNL to the Reds for David Shafer and a (presumably different) PTBNL ... In The Biggest News of the Day (so far), two-time All-Star Darin Erstad, a Gold Glove at two positions and a silver slugger to boot, signed on with the White Sox ...

So it's not ALL about Tomo Ohka! What else?

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DrJohnEvans - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 06:09 PM EST (#162554) #
New biggest news of the day: the Jays will have new voice in the radio broadcast booth next year. Former Jays catcher Alan Ashby replaces Warren Sawkiw as full-time colour commentator.
PhilBlunt - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 07:33 PM EST (#162557) #
Well I hate to put anyone down but this is good news because Sawkiw was awful.
garth - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 07:43 PM EST (#162559) #

Attached is a link to the projected  1st round of this coming draft.  Interesting choices for the Jays

http://story.scout.com/a.z?s=251&p=2&c=611811

Smithers - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 08:58 PM EST (#162564) #
One interesting point that I spotted in the link that garth posted to the Scout.com 1st round projection was the player predicted to go right ahead of the Jays' second first rounder:

20. Los Angeles Dodgers Phillippe Aumont, RHP, R-R, 65, 210, Ecole Du Versant HS


It says that he is from Quebec, and has a "very good shot at being a front-of-the-rotation starter."  It makes me wonder if the Jays will finally get their own Erik Bedard, Adam Loewen or Jeff Francis - that is, a legitimate top of the order Canadian starter.  But this one would be home-grown, which would have a nice payoff from a marketing perspective. 
Pistol - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 11:19 PM EST (#162568) #
I thought Cole St Clair would be a good option for the Jays with them potentially converting him to a starter.  Now this mock draft had St Clair going at #2, and mentions Rice converting him to a starting role this season.



Craig B - Wednesday, January 24 2007 @ 11:50 PM EST (#162573) #
I think like Pistol... anyway, all the Bauxites should be murmuring prayers for St. Clair to tank (temporarily) as a starter so that the Jays can grab him at the rear end of the first round.
jgadfly - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 02:31 AM EST (#162578) #
Here's another great name for everybody !   SEQUOYAH STONECIPHER  !!!   He's an HS outfielder from San Diego who didn't quite make the top 30 at Scout.com. WOW
A - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 10:01 AM EST (#162580) #
Haven't seen it on the web but, according to the fine print in the back of the Toronto Sun's sports section, the Red Sox have signed Kevin Cash to a minor league deal.
Pistol - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 10:45 AM EST (#162582) #
JP on the FAN notes:
*  Good, not great offseason.
*  Tried to replace Lilly's innings - might get 100 each out of Thomson & Ohka
*  Thinks Thomson/Ohka will relieve pressure on young pitchers
*  Trying to create 'shootout' between starters for 3-5 spots in spring training - mentioned the usual suspects
*  Felt Janssen and Marcum were rushed last year
*  League/Frasor/Downs ready to take over 'setup' role
*  Tallet not in the mix,had good year but needs to cut walks
*  McGowan likely to start in Syracuse to begin the year
*  Confident Towers is better than he pitched last year, although probably not as good as 2005.  Expecting something in between
*  Adams will likely start at 2B in Syracuse - possible DP combo with Hill in 2008
*  Thigpen probably a year away
*  Snider to start in Lansing
*  Feels minor league system is underrated - mentions three MVPs at three different levels
*  10 picks in top 175 of the draft - probably will go heavy with High School players with those picks
*  Originally needed players to hit the majors quickly, now the team can afford to wait on HS players
*  Stairs is the 4th OF and pinch hitter - probably for Clayton & Johnson late against RHP
*  Phillips has the inside track on Fasano for the backup C
*  Jason Smith is the 25th man right now
MatO - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 10:45 AM EST (#162583) #

JP was just on the FAN and said that the Jays will likely be HS heavy in this year's draft.  Lind and Adams will likely start the season in AAA.

Lee - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 11:46 AM EST (#162591) #

Adams will likely start at 2B in Syracuse - possible DP combo with Hill in 2008

This makes no sense at all. If that were the expectation for 2008, shouldn't Adams be starting at SS in AAA? JP isn't dumb enough to jerk Hill around yet again (2B in '07 to SS in '08), is he?

Mike Green - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 12:16 PM EST (#162592) #
I hope that when the games are actually played, the 39 year old Stairs is a 5th outfielder/PH and Lind receives an immediate recall if an outfielder is out for more than a few innings or 1 game at the most.  The Dave Berg Experience might be a good name for a tribute rock band, but it's not something I want to relive.
ayjackson - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 12:32 PM EST (#162593) #

JP isn't dumb enough to jerk Hill around yet again (2B in '07 to SS in '08), is he?

If Russ plays solid defence at AAA 2B and provides an offensive line in the neighbourhood of .310/.365/.420, wouldn't it make sense?  Is it really "jerking" Hill around to move him back to SS after 162 games at second in 2007?  Do you think Hill would really object?  I think he'd be happy about it.

I understand that most people want to just wash their hands of Adams and get on with finding a new SS, but there is no risk to giving him one more shot at triple-A to prove he can do it (play defence, he's already proved he can hit there) and regain some confidence.

ayjackson - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 12:34 PM EST (#162594) #
I'm glad to hear Tallet isn't in the mix.  maybe we can package him up with a surplus starter during ST and send them off to Washington for Church.  Washington needs pitching and has shown a disdain for the talent of Mr. Church so who knows!
Jacko - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 12:43 PM EST (#162595) #
*  Good, not great offseason.

Blunt is ok as long as it's tempered with some humility.  Glad JP is willing to admit he's human.

*  Tried to replace Lilly's innings - might get 100 each out of Thomson & Ohka
*  Thinks Thomson/Ohka will relieve pressure on young pitchers
*  Trying to create 'shootout' between starters for 3-5 spots in spring training - mentioned the usual suspects
*  Felt Janssen and Marcum were rushed last year

Makes quite a bit of sense.  Look at any contender over the past decade, and the ones who were not big spenders needed to catch lightning in a bottle from a few players.  Maybe there's some lightning left in Thomson and Ohka.  At worse, they buy the kids some time to get seasoned at AAA.  Syracuse is going to have a lights out rotation next year.

*  Adams will likely start at 2B in Syracuse - possible DP combo with Hill in 2008

I hope Hill is ok with all this flip flopping back and forth from SS to 2B.  I think Adams' best shot to make it at this stage is as a 4th outfielder.  Instead of concentrating on his defense, he should bulk up a little bit and work on hitting instead.  With a bit of work, he might be able to turn himself into Frank Catalanotto.

*  Snider to start in Lansing

Pretty standard stuff for a first round pick.  If he's able to handle it, it could be a sign that he's going to move fast and be in the majors as soon as 2009.

*  10 picks in top 175 of the draft - probably will go heavy with High School players with those picks
*  Originally needed players to hit the majors quickly, now the team can afford to wait on HS players

This is extremely encouraging news.  It's comforting to know that he realized that by going college heavy he was sacrificing superstar potential for depth.  Good to see he's able to shift gears and go hunting for superstars.

*  Stairs is the 4th OF and pinch hitter - probably for Clayton & Johnson late against RHP
*  Phillips has the inside track on Fasano for the backup C
*  Jason Smith is the 25th man right now

Phillips is younger and more athletic than Sal, so I can see why he's ahead on the depth chart right now.  He also "paid his dues" by spending a year at AAA and not bitching at all about it, so he's defnitely earned the chance to get the job.  Sal adds depth, but he will probably go somewhere else if he's offered a MLB job.

Wildrose - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 12:45 PM EST (#162596) #
If that were the expectation for 2008, shouldn't Adams be starting at SS in AAA?

No. Adams simply lacks the requisite arm strength to play shortstop at the major league level.

The question is can he field  sufficiently to be a MLB second basemen? Possibly, there's some debate about this.  I do think he can hit well enough for this position.

The next question then becomes, can Hill play short? There is strong evidence that he's a good fielding pivotman. Pinto and Dial have him near the top of their range based metrics at second. In the Bill James handbook , James and Matt Olkin ( a player consultant for the Mariners) have him as the best second basemen in the game in their fielding awards. Incidentally ,Hill according to the James book , had the highest 2B pivot % in the A.L.  , ( turning double plays   is not calculated  in the above range measurements, so more positive news on Hill ).

Now  you'd think such an accomplished fielding 2B could at least do a reasonable job at short, given that he has enough arm for the position. So the overall question becomes,  are Hill and Adam's, both offensively and defensively, better than the  Clayton/ Hill combo?

I don't know, but it wouldn't surprise me that given how much Ricciardi seems to value Adams, that we see the team try to find the answer for this equation.

 


Craig B - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 12:47 PM EST (#162597) #

SEQUOYAH STONECIPHER

That just might be the greatest name in baseball history.

Wildrose - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 12:54 PM EST (#162598) #
I'd like to think , given any substantial injury to a starting outfielder, that Lind is on the first plane (or limo as the case may be), out of Syracuse. It seems some Bauxites think our triple AAA team is on Mars.
Thomas - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 01:24 PM EST (#162602) #
Just to clarify, Tallet isn't in the mix to be a primary setup man. He is still a leading contender for the last couple of spots in the bullpen. I would say the odds are is in his favour that he starts the year in Toronto.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 01:33 PM EST (#162603) #
It's the definition of "substantial" that is the problem.  If an outfielder is out for 2-3 games with some minor injury or illness, you rarely make the call to Syracuse. A "4th outfielder" is supposed to play that role.  If the outfielder needs a day off, you surely don't make the call to Syracuse.  Every year, the 4th outfielder plays 30-50 games that way.  I am hoping that "4th outfielder" was not really the plan for Matt Stairs.

At this point in his career, Matt Stairs in the outfield for 30 full games would be quite detrimental.  The difference between him and Adam Lind taking into account both offence and defence is significant.  This is the year when the team was supposed to seriously compete, but the club is acting as though this is another development year.

Lee - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 01:45 PM EST (#162604) #

Is it really "jerking" Hill around to move him back to SS after 162 games at second in 2007?

Yes, it really is. And it is incredibly stupid on the part of the management.

Wildrose - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 02:12 PM EST (#162606) #
I think you always have to think in terms of player development, particularly with players who have only 109 at bats in triple AAA. I'd prefer Lind to play every day at this juncture of his development.

I agree, Stairs is a problem in the outfield, especially given how Gibby uses his whole roster. Frankly however, the team should use Syracuse as its 26th roster spot. Given it's proximity why not ?   I note in hockey, the Flames bring players up/down daily and really given modern travel arrangements this has been  feasible.
binnister - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 02:15 PM EST (#162607) #

 

I agree that Hill should be the 2nd baseman...and remain the 2nd baseman for his long and lustrious career as a Bluejay.  It does not make any sense for the Jays to move him back to SS, unless Adams suddenly becomes a .325/20HR/20SB in AAA player who's play DEMANDS a position (which, I acknowledge, isn't out of the realm of posiblity).

However, with his current offense, Adams is more valuable(in a trade) as a 2nd baseman.  I totally agree with the early comment that Adams longterm roll *with the Jays* is as the next Frankie Cat.  The only way he's could (and should) play 2nd is with another team.

ayjackson - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 02:16 PM EST (#162608) #

Yes, it really is. And it is incredibly stupid on the part of the management.

Hill is a great athlete.  He'd have no trouble making the switch back and forth if he proves he can handle short (jury still out?).  He is a good student, too.  If it makes the team better, you do it in a heartbeat.  It obviously hasn't hurt his development as a 2Bman.  I think he'd jump at the opportunity/challenge to master SS as well.  Perhaps you should restrict your hyperbolic criticism of Jays' management to times where it is obviously warranted and limit yourself to modest criticism on occasions such as this.

Wildrose - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 02:59 PM EST (#162609) #
I looked at the Stairs in the outfield situation a bit more closely, it's going to be quite an adventure if he's out there given his recent playing time.

Still what do you do, push Lind perhaps prematurely, see if Jason Smith can play outfield?  Stairs does not have a  major league contract ( he has a minor league deal), so if he can't prove to the team in spring he can play the outfield he should probably be gone , and the team  may have to go in another direction.

Mylegacy - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 03:00 PM EST (#162610) #
Last April, I had the pleasure of staying at the Renaissance Hotel at Roger's Center for 11 days during a Jays 8 game home stand. It was clear that Adams and Hill had some "chemistry." They were always together, even a few times during the day when they were being used as extras in advertising "shoots" being done on the field. It is obvious we need an in-field fix...both Adams and Hill are bright guys, good athletes. Hill could be at least a league average SS and Adams (after a good shot in AAA) will be at least league average at 2nd. These guys still have chance to grow together. Unless Santo's makes it to the next level is their a realistic alternative but to try?
danjulien - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 03:38 PM EST (#162614) #
When it comes to Aaron Hill/Russ Adams, I don't think that Bauxites can bitch too much about Hill flip-flopping positions because Adams will have to prove himself to earn that second base job.  And if not he will backup hill in 2008.  J.P. is saying all the right things when it comes to Adams but althought it's under consideration to move Hill back to SS, it will take a lot for Adams to make himself an attractive enough option to do so.
Pistol - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 03:40 PM EST (#162615) #
Stairs does not have a  major league contract ( he has a minor league deal), so if he can't prove to the team in spring he can play the outfield he should probably be gone , and the team  may have to go in another direction.

I think we'll see Lind in left and Johnson in the 4th OF role at some point this year, but I could also see the Jays making a trade for a 4th OF at some point in spring training like the Frasor/Werth trade a few years ago.  I believe Rosario is out of options ,and he isn't a lock for the pen, so he might be an option.
Mike Green - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 04:17 PM EST (#162617) #
One of my gripes with the current roster construction used by most teams, 13 position players, 12 pitchers, is the absence of a real role for a player like Stairs.  Earl Weaver would usually have 2 guys like him on the roster. 
truefan - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 04:25 PM EST (#162619) #

Ashby was relieved of his duties in Houston at the end of the 2005 season, but the situation was different there.  He had been in a role as assistant-and-successor to 78-year old Milo Hamilton, but  there were some questions as to Ashby's skill as a play-by-play man in showing the appropriate enthusiasm and cadence.  Hence Astros management replaced him with two youngsters with minor league success in actually calling the play-by-play.  But from what i can see on the reaction back at his firing in December of 2005, folks down in Houston liked Ashby's contribution as a 'color' commentator -- not surprising as catchers seem to have a natural edge.  One expects that Jerry Howarth will continue as the main man for the play-by-play, and i for one welcome (back) Ashby as the colour guy with something to say, and look forward to his contribution. 

timpinder - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 07:39 PM EST (#162629) #

I agree with ayjackson.  I'd have no problem with Hill at SS and Adams at 2B next year.  Other than signing a free agent SS there really aren't any other options in the system, save a breakout year by Santos.  Adams is a good athlete, he has decent range, he can hit reasonably well, and he has soft hands.  His achilles heel at SS was that he had a weak arm.  A switch to 2B plays to Adams' stengths and minimizes the importance of having a strong arm.  Hill may very well be more suited to playing 2B, but I think he'd make at least an average defensive SS with plus offensive ability.  Assuming Adams hits like he's shown he's capable of in AAA and in the majors in 2004 and 2005, I'd take Hill and Adams over Clayton and Hill.  Besides, Hill and Adams wouldn't be making much money and it would allow the Jays to focus their 2007 offseason efforts on signing a SP, not a SS.

 

Glevin - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 07:57 PM EST (#162631) #

"One of my gripes with the current roster construction used by most teams, 13 position players, 12 pitchers, is the absence of a real role for a player like Stairs."

The problem though is that J.P. knows the roster consturction and still signed a full-time DH to back up someone who is exclusively a DH. You can't have have 13 position players  and have so many guys with so little flexibility. I didn't understand the Stairs signing as there is very little pinch hitting in the A.L., Stairs can't play any positions, and if Thomas gets hurt, Lind would be the one to take over duties anyway. I actually will not be all that surprised if the Jays decide they are going to need the flexibility and Stairs misses the team.

Lefty - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 09:41 PM EST (#162636) #
Well Stairs could be available off the bench to pinch run for Frank.
Lefty - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 09:58 PM EST (#162637) #

But more seriously and trying to unravel the Adams to second for the 08 season.

One of Adams biggest issues is his arm. Perhaps his hitting game will come around, but Frank Catalanato he will never be. But, if he improves more than most here suspect he could still prove to be a decent league average second bagger.

Hill, has shown the flexibility to be able to handle short for now or in the 2008 season. Maybe 2008 will be Frank Thomas's last season prior to retirement. By then as loads predict Glaus will have lost step or two in the field and could fill the vacancy left by Thomas. As well by then Hill will have developed his power stroke and be a very viable option to play third.

If this plays out then the Jays have more than 2 years to find the 2009 opening day shortstop, to bolster Overbay, Adams and Hill infield.

Makes sense to me, but Adams still has to rise to the occasion for this to work.

 

China fan - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 10:10 PM EST (#162638) #
    Stairs played a lot of games in the corner outfield positions as recently as 2004, and also handled some outfield duties in 2005.   Is there any concrete evidence that his skills have deteriorated dramatically since then?   I can't believe that he was signed exclusively as a back-up DH.  I think we have to assume that Ricciardi has some confidence that Stairs can be a 4th outfielder in some late-inning situations.  It might be only the 7th and 8th innings, and it might be only 20 or 30 games over the course of an entire season, but I can't imagine that Ricciardi would sign him exclusively as a pinch-hitter and back-up DH, since the roster clearly doesn't have room for that.  Ricciardi has made it very clear that Lind will start the season in Syracuse.  If he is intending to sign another 4th outfielder, or trade for one, then why did he bother to sign Stairs?   A more logical guess would be this:  if Lind tears up AAA to start the season, and if Lind can handle the defensive side of the job in Syracuse, then the Jays will trade Reed Johnson (for pitching) and call up Lind.  In that scenario, Stairs is useful as insurance and back-up in Lind's early days as a Jay.
actionjackson - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 10:12 PM EST (#162639) #
Re-visiting Villone, if JP is hell-bent on getting another lefty specialist for the pen, and it seems he is, he has 4 remaining options on the market: Guardado, Mercker, Sauerbeck, and Villone. Guardado and Mercker probably will not throw a pitch in 2007, due to both getting re-constructive elbow surgery last fall. Sauerbeck's on the field abilities over his career and off the field activities over the last year are summed up neatly by the old Blind Faith song: "Can't Find My Way Home". He makes Ron Villone look like a control pitcher.

The best option then is Villone who has pulled interesting disappearing acts in the second half over the last few years. If he's signed for cheap and really used as a lefty specialist it would be OK as a depth signing. But there are two people standing in the way of that: his agent Scott Boras and our manager John Gibbons (recall his use of Schoeneweis, Scott). It couldn't hurt to have another lefty around, but only under the right circumstances.

Yes, Tallet and D. Romero are left handed but I don't want to see them anywhere near a major league mound with the result of a game hanging in the balance. They'll do nicely as long relievers, one in Toronto, and one in Syracuse. At first I was taken aback that he would consider Villone, but now I see why. Although, giving Captain Hook all these lefties and righties could lead to lots of pitching change fidgeting. Oh well, at least the sponsors will be happy.
Lefty - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 10:57 PM EST (#162641) #

In defense of Tallet last season was like an age 29 rookie year for him.

He was a fairly highly regarded prospect in the Cleveland system before arm trouble. He missed more than a year between 2003 and 2005 seasons. 

Ricciardi apparently said today, Tallet is not in the mix for set-up as he gave up to many walks. Thats true 31 of them in 44 appearances or 54.1 innings. But if look a little closer we find that he gave up 17 of those walks in only seven of those 44 appearances. And we should also note he only gave up 45 hits in those same innings last season

Maybe its going out on a limb a bit, but personally I thinkl he will yet prove to be one of Ricciardi's best scrap heap pick-ups.

 

Leko - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 11:14 PM EST (#162643) #

What exactly do you expect JP to say?  That they expect Adams to develop at 2nd base in Syracuse and then they'll have nowhere to put him?

Best case scenerio is that Adams turns it around and he can be included in a trade (or, for that matter, Hill is traded to make room). 

The chances that they'll play Hill for a full season at 2nd base in 2007 and then switch him in 2008 are likely slim.  But that doesn't mean that JP has to come out and say it.

actionjackson - Thursday, January 25 2007 @ 11:58 PM EST (#162644) #
Being the long man/12th man on the staff is a very important role and I think Tallet can fill that well. You need to go out there and soak up innings to save the other pitchers that the manager wants to use in higher leverage situations. He did this very effectively last year. There are also extra inning games that chew through your staff, that the long relievers can be very useful in. The nice thing about Tallet is that he's about as effective against lefties as he is against righties. He's not as effective as most of the other potential frontline bullpen pitchers though, so if he sticks it will be as the 6th or 7th bullpen pitcher. There's going to be a bunch of pitchers competing for those 6th and 7th bullpen spots. Right now, there's going to be 27 pitchers in camp looking for 12 spots and JP still might sign another. So Tallet might get squeezed out through sheer numbers. That competition will be very good though and hopefully will lead to a good Syracuse team this year, because their fans are getting restless for a winner. It would be nice to help that come about because they deserve it, after the crappy teams they've had to endure the last few years. Of course, it's all about the big league club, but you want to keep your minor league franchises stable and profitable and nothing sells tickets like winning.
VBF - Friday, January 26 2007 @ 02:34 AM EST (#162646) #

Does anybody else think the "We're moving Hill to SS to make room for Adams in 2008" is just a legally correct way of saying "We're going to make a big push to sign O-Dog"?

But in any event, why aren't we seeing Hill at SS right now, and a Loretta/Belliard being signed? The defense isn't there (but there are no guarantees with Clayton) but the offense has got to be worth a hundred or so more OPS points than Royce, which is a big difference.

Pistol - Friday, January 26 2007 @ 08:58 AM EST (#162648) #
Is there any concrete evidence that his skills have deteriorated dramatically since then?  

Well, he's 39 this year and never looked terribly athletice to begin with.  His time in the OF has dropped over the last few years down to almost nothing the past two years.  That's got to be a pretty good indication he's not strong out there, especially when Emil Brown is getting regular time in the field (and he's known to be quite a bad fielder).

I think we have to assume that Ricciardi has some confidence that Stairs can be a 4th outfielder

There's no doubt about that - he said as much in the interview on the Fan on Thursday.  The doubt is whether Stairs should be getting time in the OF.
Glevin - Friday, January 26 2007 @ 02:54 PM EST (#162659) #

"A more logical guess would be this:  if Lind tears up AAA to start the season, and if Lind can handle the defensive side of the job in Syracuse, then the Jays will trade Reed Johnson (for pitching) and call up Lind."

I don't see Johnson fetching the Jays the ame value as he's worth to the Jays. If the Jays want to get pitching that will help them, they will need to trade Lind or Rios.

Jimbag - Saturday, January 27 2007 @ 12:40 PM EST (#162697) #
I like the Stairs signing. He gives the Jays a very good bat off the bench, and he's not going to be one to moan about not getting regular starts. Defensively, I don't think he gives up anything to Lind. Stairs may be slower, but he's certainly more confident. This is only my opinion, but I think Lind is more suited to 1B / DH than LF. While he did show some improvement last year (in very few games, too), he still looked a little like Bambi out there. Bad routes to fly balls, late reactions...nerves may well have played a part, but I don't think his bat offsets his defensive shortcomings just yet. I think it'd do wonders for his confidence and abilities to have him play every day in Syracuse this season. Johnson's solid but seems to need some days off, so for this year I don't think it'll hurt all that much to have Stairs spell him for 40 games or so.

As for the Hill / Adams / (rumours of) Hudson question : there you have 3 candidates for 2nd. But still no shortstop. Hudson's so great to watch in the field...and he's got decent speed on the basepaths - if he could just up his OBP he'd be a fantastic lead-off hitter. But even if the Jays did make a real effort to bring him back, where does that leave the other two? Hill's been more than just good defensively, and had a pretty good season last year at the plate. He's earned his spot. Moving him to short wouldn't ultimately benefit the team, whether it be Adams or Hudson that would be his replacement at 2nd. I still think Adams can develop at short. It's not arm strength that is his weakness, it's accuracy. His instincts seem okay, he just needs to relax and not rush his throws. He's young enough to make the move to SS, I doubt he'd be ready next year for the bigs, but if he gets regular time at short at AAA  I think he can be more useful at short than he's shown so far.

Other than that, I really am optimistic about the Jays bullpen. They've got Ryan and League to protect leads, I think Accardo will settle in this year, and there's enough good arms to soak up outs in the 6th and 7th innings. The pen wasn't bad last year, either - though they did seem to suffer when they had inherited runners. I think they can make a big difference this year.  All they really need is for Roy and AJ to give them a solid 7 most starts, and for Chacin and the other castaways (sorry, it's like early Gilligan's Island in the 4 / 5 slots...the theme song didn't mention them specifically) to keep them in the game for 5 innings as often as they can, and chip in with the odd game where they pitch past the 6th so the bullpen doesn't get overworked.

However you want to slice it, there's going to be a lot of runs scored at the RC this year. And I think having Wells, Glaus, Thomas, Rios and Overbay getting somewhere around 350ABs each there will supply more of them than any defensive shortcomings at SS or LF can possibly cause.





Chuck - Saturday, January 27 2007 @ 06:36 PM EST (#162716) #

If Wells, Glaus, Thomas, Rios, and Overbay only get 350 AB this year, you can kiss 3rd place goodbye.

I think he meant 350 AB at the Rogers Centre. And I think he really meant PA's, not AB's. And I think he really meant about 320, not 350. And I don't think he meant Thomas.

But I should probably stop speaking for him since I don't really know for sure. So I will.

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