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TGIF.  Friday is the end of the working week and it must be time for us to look at the cornerstones, the third basemen.

There are only ten third basemen in camp, one of the lowest jobs to players ratios in the organization.

The players are:

Major League: Scott Rolen; Jose Bautista

AAA: Brett Harper; Howie Clark

AA: Andrew Pinckney

A+: Kevin Ahrens; Jesus Gonzalez

A: Robert Sobolewski; Balbino Fuenmayor; Raul Barron

The Jays have lost several third basemen from the 2008 rosters, Hector Luna, Anthony Hatch and Leance Soto have each  departed the organization.

Scott Rolen and Jose Bautista are set on the major kleague roster.  with Rolen's health history you need to have a backup on hand at all times.  Marco Scutaro was the backup for the first half of last season but now he has a full time job so Bautista is the backup.

At AAA the Jays have a couple of free-agent signees, Brett Harper and Howie Clark.  Harper can hit, last season in AAA he hit .315 with 52 extra base hits.  His slugging percentage was .577.  Harper played at Binghamton the previous season and slugged 500 there too.  Harper is listed by the Jays in their minor league roster as a third baseman.  I am not sure if that is a mistake or if the Jays intend to get him to convert to third as he has played primarily at first base in the past.  If it is a mistake then Harper will bump Chip Cannon off first.  If not then Harper will be learning to play third "on the job".  If Harper is at first then Howie Clark could play there.  Clark is generally Mr. Versatile and can play every position and that is probably his best role on a roster.  Other possible candidates are Scott Campbell or Kevin Mellilo.  Campbell started to work out at third last fall, the Jays could make it a permanent move.

Things get simpler at AA, Andrew Pinckney returns for a second turn in New Hampshire.  Pinckney was average kast season but with Hatch gone the Jays have few internal candidates for that job.

Kevin Ahrens will move up from Lansing to Dunedin which leaves Jesus Gonzalez without a job.  Gonzalez has shown flashes fo good form but has not been consistent and hitting .228 last season has lost him the starting job.

Robert Sobolewski was the Jays fourth round pick in last seasons draft.  Sobolewski had only 130 at-bats before an injury ended his season early.  Sobolewski just turned 22 and needs to be in Lansing.  Balbino Fuenmayor finally performed well last season in the GCL, hitting over .300.  There is some debate as to whether Balbino can stay on third, if he will then he will have to play in extended spring training.  Otherwise he could move to first and unseat Mike McDade.  Raul Barron is a utility player who can cover all positions.

Major League: Scott Rolen; Jose Bautista

AAA: Scott Campbell or Brett Harper; Howie Clark

AA: Andrew Pinckney

A+: Kevin Ahrens; Jesus Gonzalez

A: Robert Sobolewski; Raul Barron

Extended: Balbino Fuenmayor

The Organization Views are taking the weekend off, we will be back with the outfielders on Monday.

Organization View - Third Base | 41 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
John Northey - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 09:13 AM EST (#196601) #
No question this is the weakest spot in the organization below the majors. Campbell moving to third would make a lot of sense as we have depth at 2B both in the majors and minors so his going to third base would help both him (quicker route if Rolen goes down) and the team (a backup better than Howie Clarke).  Given Brett Harper has never played a game at third base as a pro while playing 286 games at 1B and 110 as a DH (!) plus 32 in LF I'd say the odds of this 27 year old suddenly becoming competent at third now is in the 'slim to none' department.  Last year was Harper's first at AAA after spending parts of 4 seasons in AA.  He has always hit well (299/354/497 minors lifetime) though so he might come up at some point as a DH/1B although hitting left handed is a negative for him (can't platoon with Overbay/Lind/Snider).
Jdog - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 09:23 AM EST (#196602) #
really I see Andrew Pinckney as a total non-prospect and would hope he finds an AA bench job, I can't see him being given the starting 3B job at AA, hopefully there is someone in the system who the Jays can challenge with a promotion to fill that spot(ala Campbell last year).

And on a side note, can someone tell me whither Gustavo he still with the jays, did he ever undergo surgery? I'm just curious.
Mike Green - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 09:30 AM EST (#196603) #
The Indians' DFAed Andy Marte.  He wouldn't be a bad choice to take a flier on, despite his struggles of the last few years.
Gerry - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 09:31 AM EST (#196604) #
Chacin had shoulder surgery, came back and then tore a knee ligament last season.  In the off-season he signed with another team who I forget.
Jdog - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 09:38 AM EST (#196605) #
Thanks Gerry
fozzy - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 09:43 AM EST (#196606) #
Chacin signed a minor league deal with the Nationals; there's actually been some talk of him competing for the back-end of the rotation. After seeing the results he had against A-ballers last year, it should be at least interesting in the US capitol.

Too bad, always had a soft spot for him.

Denoit - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 10:52 AM EST (#196609) #
A good start to the year from Ahrens could land him in AA sooner than later. Not much is blocking his acent to the majors. Considering he was an '89 playing A ball last year he put up pretty good numbers.
Pistol - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 11:35 AM EST (#196613) #
The Indians' DFAed Andy Marte.  He wouldn't be a bad choice to take a flier on, despite his struggles of the last few years.

I thought the same thing when I saw that.  I'd think he'd be a better risk to take than Matt Bush.

Currently the Jays have two spots on the 40 man roster open.  I assume that'll end up being Millar and Barrett, but there's still a handful of players that could be upgraded easily (or players you wouldn't miss if they weren't around).  The Jays could be pretty busy with waivers this year.
Mylegacy - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 02:30 PM EST (#196620) #
Uglyone - apology accepted - drop and give me ten!

On Andy Marte, R/R 6' 1" 205 - why not take a flyer. However he'll be 25 this year - not a kid and with the Indians last year he hit; 221/268/315 with 3 home runs in 235 ab's. The good(ish) news... he hit 293 against lefties. Nothing ventured nothing gained - but don't expect him to make the team - unless he was hurt last year or whatever.

Rolen's shoulder - our success this year of lack of it may well depend on it. Remember in September in 88 bats Rolen hit 307/354/523 with 3 homers. IF he's as healthy this year - and his "new" swing is still working - as it was in September - this could be the OLD Rolen - and the old Rolen was sweet, very, very, sweet.

Ahrens has a very good defensive package - clearly he's got the range, hands and ++ arm for the hot corner - the bat however is not there yet. He's a switch hitter and some think his swing is a bit slow. I'm not sure he has the bat to be a big league regular at 3rd. BUT - he does have a REAL chance to get it all together and make it.

Sobolewski is at least adequate defensively. Maybe a tad better than that. BA thinks he doesn't "load" properly and has less power than he should if he "loaded" properly. There is a lot that has to come together for him to make it but IF it does he could be a keeper.

Balbino - one of my favs - will be JUST 20 in 2009 - he is STILL a kid. Unfortunately, if looks like most observers believe he just is too immobile to play 3rd. I expect his big, powerful, above average right handed bat to be in the 1st base/DH mix in 2012 and thereafter.
Pistol - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 02:57 PM EST (#196623) #
Nothing ventured nothing gained - but don't expect him to make the team - unless he was hurt last year or whatever.

I didn't mean to imply that - if he's on the Jays roster on 4/1 there's big problems.  He's, to me, worth a flyer on the 40 man roster and then see if there's anything there at AAA or AA.
Mylegacy - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 03:33 PM EST (#196625) #
Bastian on his blog is reporting that Cito wants the following batting lineup: Scutaro, Hill, Rios, Wells, Overbay, Rolen, Lind, Barajas, Snider. With Lind and Overbay maybe switching and JMac batting leadoff when he plays. He implied that Roelen could force his way to 5th if he shows he's up to it. I REALLY like the bottom four L/R/L/R but am a bit concerned with the first four all being righties.
Mike Green - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 03:48 PM EST (#196626) #
"Scutaro is in line to leadoff and Gaston said he might not rule out using John McDonald in the No. 1 slot on days he starts. "

Cito, you're making me looking bad.  I'm all for reliving 1969, and yes, Earl Weaver did lead Belanger off sometimes, but surely we have moved forward since then.
zeppelinkm - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 03:57 PM EST (#196627) #

I'd rather have JMac batting 2nd (not that I would ever, ever, slot him into anything other than #8 or #9 if I was filling out the lineup card). At least as a #2 hitter, he could just completely focus on runner advancement techniques.  You know, bunting, hitting weak grounders, etc. You know he's going to get out, more than likely. He might as well get out moving the runner over.  Heck, maybe we could even teach him to bunt left handed so he can try to bunt for singles more often.

But batting him #1? I just don't understand. I know lots of posters made the good point about Eckstein batting leadoff (why are you giving so many AB's to a guy who quite likely will post the lowest team OPS?), but at least with Eckstein while his OPS was below average, his OBP was above - in other words, there was a legitimate argument to be made. But Jmac? JMac is barely significantly above average at defence anymore!

That would be a fairly decent poll question, who would you bat lead off on this team?




Mick Doherty - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 04:06 PM EST (#196628) #

That would be a fairly decent poll question,

Indeed it would. if the poll function were working properly, I'd post it! I've tried to post at least one or two new polls a week for the past two years, but for whatever as-yet-unidentified reason, the durn thing ain't workin' right now. That's why no new polls the last couple of weeks.

Mylegacy - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 04:52 PM EST (#196629) #
Ken Rosenthal @ Fox Sports has a fairly brief multi-media Spring Update on the Jays from Dunedin. Fairly balanced, he lays the groundwork that IF the Jays surprise this year he'll be able to say, SEE Cito had it figured.
timpinder - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 07:52 PM EST (#196632) #
Why did the Jays move Emaus from 3B to 2B?  Was it because of his arm?  Behind Hill the Jays are relatively deep at 2B with Inglett, Campbell, Emaus and Tolisano, but are weak at 3B since their only real 3B prospect is Ahrens, and he's a long way off.  If Hill shows power equal to or better than his 2007 season (.459 SLG) I wonder if a shift over to 3B might be in store for him when Rolen leaves if Ahrens hasn't developed as hoped.
ayjackson - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 08:03 PM EST (#196633) #
I thought Emaus had a strong arm and the range for third, but they weren't sure his power would develop.  But when Hatch got demoted last year, I think Emaus played 3B into the playoffs.  I'm just going from memory here, though.
timpinder - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 09:06 PM EST (#196634) #

Emaus slugged .463 last year as a 22 year old in A+ with 49 extra base hits in just 473 at bats.  He might be a good option at 3B, post Rolen, if his range and arm played there and if Ahrens didn't develop as hoped. 

John Northey - Friday, February 20 2009 @ 11:34 PM EST (#196635) #
I don't care for JMac in the lineup at all, let alone leadoff.  However, this does fit Cito's past patterns which was to try to keep as much of the lineup stable as possible.  ie: every guy who plays knows where he hits and generally knows when he'll play.  Thus JMac goes in for Scutaro once a week (or less I hope) and rather than shuffle other guys around he just follows the old rule that liineups don't decide things as much as who is in it does. 
SheldonL - Saturday, February 21 2009 @ 12:01 AM EST (#196636) #
Probably the wrong place to post this, but Orlando Husdon signed with the LA Dodgers for 1 year and $3.8 million.

That's ridiculous, surely, we could have saved our Jose Bautista money and signed him!
dan gordon - Saturday, February 21 2009 @ 12:30 AM EST (#196637) #
Hudson's contract will pay him $3.4 million plus an additional $4.6 million in incentives if he stays healthy.  Total $8 million for the year.
timpinder - Saturday, February 21 2009 @ 09:01 AM EST (#196644) #
Let's not forget that signing Hudson would have cost the Jays their first overall pick.  No thank you.  Not for that bat, at that age, for just one year and for a position in which the Jays are relatively deep.
Chuck - Saturday, February 21 2009 @ 09:06 AM EST (#196645) #

Above and beyond the depressed FA market, teams have been reluctant to pursue Hudson (and Cabrera, and Cruz) because he had been offered arbitration and would thus cost a draft pick.

Organizations are valuing high draft picks like never before in the game's history. What does this mean? I believe that it means that in the future, more players being offered arb will accept, given their lowered value on the FA market. And given that more arb-offered players will accept, fewer will likely thereafter be offered arbitration for fear of them accepting (teams often offer arb only as a means to draft picks, not because they actually want the player). This will mean more true free agents, with no compensation. Which will lead to what? A glut on the market leading to a depressed FA market leading to lower overall salaries leading to a lessened downside of offering arb (the cost of a player staying is now not as high) resulting in more players being offered arb resulting in... the situation we are in today?

I'm no economist. Not by a long shot. I'd be keen to hear how others see this cycle progressing. I concede that I may be way off. I do know that with 20-20 hindsight, a whole bunch of free agents, Hudson included, would have accepted arbitration this year. And I am interested to learn if this new hyper-valuation of draft picks is the sound of a penny dropping or is strictly economy-related (and/or, more nefariously, collusion-related).

Richard S.S. - Saturday, February 21 2009 @ 11:25 AM EST (#196648) #

I have always found how well a position is played is determined by the competition for the positon.  At each level, this will occur, from Rookie level all the way up to the majors.  Trades are made on this basis, but always trade fair value for fair value.  Third base, beyond Rolen, is an abyss; it's unlikely anyone will be ready before 2011, if then.  Unless Lind is groomed for the position starting now, first base, beyond Overbay, is a chasm; it will take a huge effort to be ready for 2011.  These are the two positions that need Defense and Power, and most likely to be filled by a Free Agent(s).

Toronto will make do with Rolen and Overbay, for at least this year.  Other than Lind, who can challenge for these position in 2009, 2010 or 2011?  This is the most interesting developement to watch for the future, more than any other, mainly because it's harder to do.

timpinder - Saturday, February 21 2009 @ 11:56 AM EST (#196650) #
I think David Cooper will replace Overbay if Lind remains in LF or at DH, and in the 2011+ time frame Balbino Fuenmayor could be a major bopper.  I mentioned before that Emaus might be an option at 3B if the Jays chose to move him back there.  If somebody forced the Jays' hand at 2B in the future, Hill could always move over to 3B.  His power might develop further, but even his 2007 power numbers would be adequate for the position and with his arm and range he'd be a plus defender there.
Pistol - Saturday, February 21 2009 @ 01:35 PM EST (#196651) #
I'm no economist. Not by a long shot. I'd be keen to hear how others see this cycle progressing. I concede that I may be way off. I do know that with 20-20 hindsight, a whole bunch of free agents, Hudson included, would have accepted arbitration this year. And I am interested to learn if this new hyper-valuation of draft picks is the sound of a penny dropping or is strictly economy-related (and/or, more nefariously, collusion-related).

As overall salaries grow further away from minimum salaried players (which draft picks would be initially) there's going to be more of an emphasis on draft picks.  I think more, if not all teams, have figured out the value of a pick and therefore the added cost to sign someone.

In terms of free agents overall though I think we're seeing a short term pull back, much like the one after 9/11.  It'll come back and be bigger than ever in time - it always does.  I think teams are just spooked by the economy at the moment, and perhaps rightfully so.

I think what this offseason will do is get both players and management to realize draft pick compensation needs to be scrapped.
Mylegacy - Saturday, February 21 2009 @ 03:12 PM EST (#196652) #
The question of the economy and how it will affect baseball/other sports going forward is complicated.

Personally, 15 months ago I had just over $200,000 in investments - today that is closer to $150,000 AND I consider myself lucky I've only lost that much. Most American gains in wealth in the first 6 years of the Bush era were from people's homes rising in value. Americans cashed out that growing wealth and spent it. Wages were flat, incomes were not rising but the country cannibalized their home equity to finance their spending. The result now with falling house values is that more Americans than ever are "under water" - AND - unfortunately - it looks to get worse before it gets better - possibly, quite a lot worse. (The Greenback could collapse - at least a 50% chance and hyperinflation could ensue - at least a 80% chance IF the Buck dies.)

SO - going forward most every business is at least marginally affected - most will be seriously affected. Sport teams will REALLY suffer, as how many fans will be able to afford a $50.00 ticket and a $10 dollar hot dog? Teams like the Yanks who've tied in so many long term contracts - at today's "values" - not the reduced values of the next five years (or 10 years) - are going to have some serious issues.

As to the Jays - Wells at $20+ million a year and Roy (if resigned) at $20(ish) million a year could be crippling. $40 million could be 50% of an $80 million dollar payroll. And will the Jays be able to support an $80 million dollar payroll in a serious economic downturn? Who knows?

The ONLY good news is that we won't be the only team with REAL SERIOUS economic issues.

AND, remember this - I'm an optimist - good thing I've paid for my opening series tickets with the Tigers! Go Jays!

christaylor - Saturday, February 21 2009 @ 11:12 PM EST (#196659) #
I'm no economist (I only have a subscription to the magazine) but I think the consensus is the probability of the dollar collapsing is very close to zero. In fact, as we in Canada know with the drop in our dollar, the economic crisis has, if anything, strengthened the American dollar.

That doesn't mean that the economy is not going to have a serious effect on sports teams and players in North America, it already has (see Hudson, Orlando) just that the chance of the world's largest economy experiencing hyper-inflation (deflation is a more serious worry at this time) are roughly nil - even with years of fiscal irresponsibility from the Bush administration and the American public at large.
Mylegacy - Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 01:14 AM EST (#196661) #
Christaylor, I REALLY hope you're right!

However, run deficits of TRILLIONS and you run a serious chance - MUCH higher than "near zero" of the dollar collapsing. This is no "normal" economic downturn this is an "economic perfect storm" "an unprecedented walk down a road we've never trod."

Just today, George Soros (one of the worlds richest men) said, "The world financial system has effectively disintegrated" and he sees "no bottom in sight."

christaylor - Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 02:32 PM EST (#196668) #
What matters isn't the absolute size of the deficit of the US, but the percentage relative to GDP. A deficit of 3% of GDP is seen as sustainable by many economists. The US is not that far off of that number and Obama just released a plan (see today's NY Times) to get the U.S. to that number in the medium term.

I am so glad the Obama administration is taking care of this mess. There's a very real argument (see the most recent episode of the PBS show Frontline, available on the web for free) that the Bush administration made things worse, in fact, much much worse. 
timpinder - Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 03:07 PM EST (#196669) #
The policies that caused the economic problems in the U.S. started with the Clinton administration.  Everyone likes blaming the Bush administration, and they certainly didn't help matters, but let's not forget where it all started.
vw_fan17 - Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 03:30 PM EST (#196671) #
Just my 1.5 cents (acc. to mylegacy :-).

I live in California (not far from SF). We just refinanced (2nd time in 12 months) to lower our interest rate from 6.375 to 5.75 to 5.00. Our house was appraised at approx 12-14% less than we paid in 2005, and down probably 25-30% from the 2006 peak. So yes, we have lost some (we've made some upgrades). On the other hand, IMHO, we would have spent just as much on rent in those 3.5 years. Also - remember that mortgage interest is deductible in the US, so the effective interest rate is like 1/3 less. We budgeted well (german thrift mentality), and have paid off a good chunk already, and are in decent shape financially (although no "investments" to speak of). The state is nearly bankrupt, but I haven't seen any insanity in regular day-to-day life yet. Although, as everywhere, they're trying to squeeze the teachers (my wife is a teacher).

I think the blame for the current crisis rests not only with Bush/Republicans, but also the Democrats, and mostly with the greed-crazed wall street swindlers who gladly took all the money when times were good, and now want more.. If anyone should go to jail, I think it's 50% of wall street. Maybe some firing squads... (ah well, I can dream :-)

I heard somewhere that right before the great depressions, paper-delivery boys were talking about their stock portfolios. I.e. when the average guy on the street is heavily invested in stocks, it's time to get out! If you want a conspiracy theory: the whole 401k thing (as opposed to company pensions which were relatively conservative, but fixed and guaranteed) was done to allow the market to create great financial loss for the middle class, because the middle class was feeling too secure and the upper class wasn't feeling special enough..

Back to baseball: in one way, if hyper-inflation DOES happen, the Yankees are all set: sign free agents to long term deals that will soon look like peanuts.
uglyone - Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 05:12 PM EST (#196673) #

The policies that caused the economic problems in the U.S. started with the Clinton administration.  Everyone likes blaming the Bush administration, and they certainly didn't help matters, but let's not forget where it all started.

True, Reagan really did screw it all up.

jgadfly - Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 06:10 PM EST (#196674) #
Chris ... that must have been some party,  some Kool- Aid ...    great program  ...
zeppelinkm - Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 08:56 PM EST (#196676) #

Timpinder, it's irrelevant right now that the "Clinton administration started it" - the Bush administration, the one just in power for the previous 8 years, made things significantly worse.  It's one of the things I hate about the "this side or that side" mentality of politics, instead of saying "yeah, Bush screwed up BIG TIME" (which is obvious to any unbiased observer), Bush supporters instead like to point their finger and say "well, we just pushed the snowball over the side of the big snowy mountain, Clinton done gone and MADE the snowball in the first place!".  It's the classic two wrongs do not make a right.


vw_fan17 - Sunday, February 22 2009 @ 11:16 PM EST (#196679) #
My last politics post. Here in the US, things are MUCH more dichotomized than in Canada, at least as far as I have found. Then again, maybe it's because I'm in California. I was raised conservative, and have always supported conservatives. My mistake was (even though I didn't get a vote) was to think Bush was an actual conservative because of the "Republican" label. He's not. I still believe in conservative policies - doggone it if there's any major party representing those policies in the US of A today.. Actually, I think Ron Paul would have been the best bet for the US..

The level of "he's from party X and I'm from party Y, so ANYTHING he does is automatically wrong" has been taken to breathtaking heights and extremes in the US. For example, when Mike Harris was in power in Ontario, I could admit that I didn't like certain policies of his, even if I did like his overall platform (and how the press simply couldn't handle an honest politician).

I honestly wish someone could take some parts of the Republican platform, and some parts of the Democrat platform and merge them. And get rid of all the bogeymen scare tactics.

The price good men pay for not getting involved in politics is being ruled by evil men or incompetent ones - and it's unclear which is worse...

JC - Monday, February 23 2009 @ 05:00 PM EST (#196717) #

Any idea what happened with this guy?


John Northey - Monday, February 23 2009 @ 05:08 PM EST (#196718) #
Randy Schwartz looks to be listed in the article as going to extended spring training which means we won't hear of anything with him until the end of regular spring training, and little after that until the short season leagues start up. He'll be fighting for slots with new draft picks from the June draft plus with guys who don't make the full season teams. 
JC - Monday, February 23 2009 @ 05:56 PM EST (#196722) #
Thanks, John - apppreciate it!
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