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Spring training still has almost three weeks to go but the roster picture is starting to get clearer based on front office decisions, injuries and player performances.  At the beginning of spring training the battles were for starting pitcher spots, four of the bullpen jobs, the right handed DH and the one of the bench jobs.  Some of the spots have been decided and the list of candidates for the others are getting shorter.

Starting Pitching

The Jays began spring training by naming these five pitchers to start spring training games: Shaun Marcum; Ricky Romero; Brandon Morrow; Marc Rzepczynski; and Brian Tallet.  At this point in spring training the first four of these appear to be well on the way to locking up spots in the rotation.

Marcum is the most experienced of the starters and the only question for him is his health.  Marcum was back from Tommy John surgery last August and was working his way back to the major leagues when he developed a sore back in his rehab which finished his year.  Marcum has shown his old form this spring and the rotation lines up for Marcum to make the opening day start in Texas.

Romero pitched well last season, albeit better in the first half than the second.  This spring Romero has resumed where he left off last season and looks to have the #2 spot locked up.

Morrow came over in the Brandon League trade and the Jays have committed to make him a starter after Seattle shuffled him between starting and relieving.  Morrow pitched well in his first two starts but was a little wilder Sunday.  Nevertheless Morrow also appears to be a lock for the rotation and if he has to learn on the job, so be it.  Morrow has the major league arm but needs to work on his off-speed pitches.  Morrow is optimistic that he has improved those pitches but the hitters will really let him know.

Rzepczynski surprised some fans with his 3.67 ERA in 11 starts.  Readers of batters box weren't so surprised as the Jays minor league pitching instructor Dane Johnson had told us what he thought of Zep earlier last season:

His stuff is every bit as good as, if not in some ways better than Cecil.  I am taking nothing away from Brett but Zep is as accomplished.  Zep does have electric stuff, it moves and it's hard.  And it moves down, he has sink on the two-seamer, he has a terrific slider and very good movement on the change-up and sometimes it is hard to keep his stuff on the plate it is moving so much.  He can embarrass hitters with his stuff.

Cito has been quoted a couple of times saying how much he likes Zep and how Zep would have to pitch himself off the team.  Zep has done no such thing so far and is getting close to a lock for the #4 spot.

That leaves the #5 spot with Tallet as the favourite.  Tallet appears to have one major competitor for the spot, Dana Eveland.  The other competitors have not taken a step forward.  David Purcey has been inconsistent as usual.  Brad Mills had a couple of good starts, one in a B game, but he already been sent down.  Scott Richmond is injured and on the 60 day DL.  Jesse Litsch and Shawn Hill are also on the DL.  The Jays did not give serious looks to Kyle Drabek, Bobby Ray or Lance Broadway so they are out of the picture.  Brett Cecil hurt his hand, missed an appearance, and then wasn't allowed to throw his curve in the next.  Currently he is a few starts behind the others.  Cecil was inconsistent in 2009 and appears to be headed for AAA for more seasoning. 

The Jays have been taking a very careful approach to Dustin McGowan.  McGowan has pitched in several bullpen sessions and simulated games and is scheduled for his first game action on Friday, the 19th of March.  The Jays have been treating McGowan as though they expect something bad to happen.  Technically McGowan could make it up to five innings before the end of spring training but in my opinion the Jays will take it slow, start McGowan with some minor league appearances in April as they review how he feels and decide how to handle him.  The Jays have no reason to rush McGowan and as he missed all of 2009 he will probably have an innings limitation in 2010.

So that leaves Tallet or Eveland.  If Eveland does not make the team the Jays will likely lose him to a claim by another team as long as he continues to pitch well.  Tallet could slide to the bullpen but the Jays have given him a shot at the job so it is his to lose.  Eveland could also go to the pen but things are crowded over there too.

The Bullpen

Jason Frasor, Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg are on the team according to Cito.  I assume these pitchers who have pitched in relief this spring will be shortly dispatched to minor league camp: Zach Jackson; Zach Stewart; Rommie Lewis; Steven Register; Willie Collazo; Sean Henn; Casey Fein; Rey Gonzalez; and Luis Perez.  Also Dirk Hayhurst's injury has removed another competitor. 

That leaves eight pitchers battling for four spots.  The eight are: Shawn Camp; Merkin Valdez; Jesse Carlson; Jeremy Accardo; Casey Janssen; Jason Roenicke; Zach Zinicola; and either Tallet or Eveland.  Roenicke came over last season in the Rolen trade and will likely return to AAA to work on his control.  Camp and Carlson have lots of experience with Cito and Cito has spoken well of both.   On the basis that you make the team based on last season, rather than spring training, I expect Camp and Carlson to make the team.

Now we are down to two spots for five pitchers, Valdez; Accardo; Janssen; Zinicola and Tallet/Eveland.  Zinicola and Eveland would likely be lost if they were optioned down so if there is a close race the Jays might keep them for that reason.  Valdez might be in a similar spot.  Janssen had a mixed 2009 and I expect him to be sent to AAA. 

If I had to bet today I would expect Valdez and Eveland/Tallet to get the last two spots but there is still time for an injury or a trade.

Position Players

Ten players are virtual locks for opening day: Buck; Molina; Overbey; Hill; Gonzalez; McDonald;  Encarnacion; Lind; Wells; and Bautista.  Encarnacion has not played yet but all indications are that he will play in the next few days.  Encarnacion has been taking BP and if he plays next week he will have over two weeks to get himself in game shape.

Travis Snider started the spring "on the bubble" as Alex Anthopoulos said he did not have a guaranteed spot.  Recently Cito was quoted as saying that the Jays might as well get Snider some major league experience as they are not playing to win in 2010.  Snider struggled a bit in week one of spring training but appears to have been playing better lately.  So I will assume Snider is on the team. 

I also assume Randy Ruiz is on the team, Cito also appears to like him and Ruiz hit well last season and has been hitting well in spring training.  Ruiz's main competition has been Brian Dopirak and Ruiz has been hitting better, and with more power, than Dopirak.

That leaves one spot between Mike McCoy, Joey Gathright and Jeremy Reed.  Cito has spoken well of McCoy but the Jays do need a backup outfielder.  McCoy has played some outfield but we don't know if he is major league standard out there.  The Jays will also look for lefty/righty matchups in making their decision.  Molina, McDonald and Ruiz are each righthanded.  That gives the edge to Gathright and Reed who are left handed.

AAA pitchers

The AAA rotation will come from these pitchers: Zach Stewart; Brad Mills; Bobby Ray; David Purcey; Brett Cecil; Lance Broadway and Sean Henn.  I assume Drabek is going to AA and Chad Jenkins to Dunedin.  If Broadway and Henn go to the pen then the rotation will consist of five prospects, assuming Purcey still qualifies as one.

The AAA bullpen has these candidates in addition to Broadway and Henn.  First the last cuts from the major league team such as Roenicke, Janssen and Accardo would be in the pen.  With Broadway and Henn that is five spots.  Zach Jackson; Rommie Lewis; Steve Register; Willie Collazo; Casey Fein; Rey Gonzalez and Luis Perez are battling for the last two spots.


Whatever the opening day rosters we have to acknowledge that there could be significant turnover of the roster by July 31st.  Jose Molina; Lyle Overbey; Alex Gonzalez; Jason Frasor; Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg should be elsewhere by then.  That will give opportunities to AAA players like JP Arencibia, Brett Wallace, and several of the AAA pitchers.  The team for the last months could be very young but very interesting.

As we move through the next three weeks of the spring watch Tallet/Eveland; the bullpen preformances and the Gathright, Reed, McCoy battle.

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1 Blue Jays Way - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 07:55 AM EDT (#212401) #
Henn would have to pass through waivers as well. 

ayjackson - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 10:38 AM EDT (#212405) #
Jesse Carlson is battling a sore knee.
robertdudek - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 01:01 PM EDT (#212413) #
Tigers telecast of Jays-Tigers is available to MLB.TV subscribers:
robertdudek - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#212414) #
B-team lineup for the Jays today - only Snider and Ruiz from the projected starting nine. Emaus is in the lineup and batting ninth is Pastornicky!
China fan - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 01:11 PM EDT (#212415) #

Valdez over Accardo??  If it happens, Accardo will blow a gasket and completely discombobulate himself.  (Not that that's any reason for it not to happen, of course.)

Does Accardo have any options left?  Anyway he might even refuse to report to Las Vegas in that scenario.  (Again, not a reason not to do it necessarily.)

As for Encarnacion:  maybe he'll be ready for the regular season.  But the reason for my skepticism -- until proven otherwise -- is that the Jays have a long history of minimizing injuries and pretending that serious problems are merely minor glitches.  Let's hope that Bastian is right in his prediction that EE will be in the lineup this week.

Gerry - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 01:22 PM EDT (#212416) #
This game should be on sportsnet east, if you get it.  I set up my machine to tape it.
ayjackson - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 01:51 PM EDT (#212419) #

Henn would have to pass through waivers as well.

He isn't on the 40-man, so he either already passed through or was a non-roster invitee.

ayjackson - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 01:53 PM EDT (#212420) #

I looked at Accardo this morning and while he was sent to the minors in 2006, he didn't spend 20 days there for the year so an option wasn't used.  That means he just used them in 2008 and 2009 and would have one left. 

He'll be pretty steamed if he's in Vegas again next month though.

earlweaverfan - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#212422) #
Mostly,Gerry, I found your projections both positive and intriguing - especially your view on how many current players will be gone by the trade deadline.  That would allow for a huge uplift in new prospects coming back the other way.  Just two quibbles:
  • Players coming back from injury return to form - if they do - on different schedules from others.  Casey Janssen, before his injury, looked just as strong as any of the other young prospects still on the roster.  It would be a real shame if he did not make the 2010 roster based on a slower recovery.  In my view, he will end up as one of the best pitchers in the Jays pen, and one on whom they can rely for several innings each time out - something they will need with this young rotation.
  • I was curious about your categorization of Carlson and especially, Camp.  If last year's okay contribution is all they need to make the roster, that seems like an unfairness to the rest of the candidates.  If Carlson is playing injured, i could understand how he gets more of a free pass.  But if, say, Candidate X is stronger than Camp, from a spring training point of view, why would the Jays override that data?  Shouldn't upside potential be waited more strongly than past contribution?

John Northey - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 02:58 PM EDT (#212426) #
Camp and Carlson get a free pass because we have a couple years worth of data for them. Spring is waaaaay too small a sample size to determine much of anything with most players, and with relievers that goes double.

Camp, Carlson, Frasor, Downs, and Gregg should be focused on getting up to speed. Accardo, Janssen, and the rest should be focused on making their pitches look as impressive as possible. I would hope Accardo is a lock if healthy and his pitches are moving as they should. Janssen should be fighting it out with the rule V pick while the rest fight it out in AAA until an injury or trade occurs.
Gerry - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#212428) #

From Jordan Bastians story about Jesse Carlson today:

Helping Carlson's case for a spot in the bullpen, if he is healthy, is the fact that he is left-handed and he has been a favorite of Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston. Toronto's skipper recently noted that pitchers such as Carlson and Camp might have an advantage because Gaston has had them in his bullpen in the past.

"Absolutely," Gaston said. "It helps, because I know what kind of people they are and what they're about. Certainly that helps them. That helps a lot."

Baseball people know that players run hot and cold so 8 or 10 innings pitched over a four week spell doesn't mean much.  If Casey Janssen is pitching much better than Camp or Carlson in spring training and if the staff believe it is a "permanent" change then they will take Janssen.  But if Janssen or Accardo pitch better in the spring, having not pitched better in 2009, and in the absence of a new pitch or approach, then the coaching staff will default to 2009 in making their decisions.  And Cito is more of that kind of manager than others.

Casey Janssen was an excellent pitcher three years ago but his key was location, everything was down at the knees.  if he can consistently pitch there again he might be better than Camp or Accardo but it is an uphill battle for him to prove that this spring. 

Speaking of hot and cold I hope Jose Bautista hits a cold spot before the end of spring training.  If he hits .500 for the spring I would bet that he will hit under .250 in April.

Finally in this story I was trying to project what will happen, not what would happen if I were the manager.

westcoast dude - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 03:25 PM EDT (#212429) #
I'm sorry, but there is overpaid deadwood in the bullpen. If Eveland doesn't make the 25 man roster, something is wrong.  When the Blue Jays gave up on Randy Wells in 2008, that was a big mistake.  It's one thing to net these guys, but then to lose them getting them into the boat is unforgiveable.
Thomas - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#212430) #
But if, say, Candidate X is stronger than Camp, from a spring training point of view, why would the Jays override that data?  Shouldn't upside potential be waited more strongly than past contribution?

I don't think so, unless the upside was substantial. Shawn Camp had an ERA of 3.50 in 79 MLB innings last year. Zinicola had a 5.33 ERA between Double and Triple-A. I find that much more relevant than 15 spring training innings. Nobody the Jays would risk losing has the upside that would outweight the past performance. It would be difference if the team had Brandon League part two or McGowan they would have to expose to waivers, but the potential of Zinicola or Valdez isn't substantial where it would really hurt to lose them on waivers.
Gerry - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 04:39 PM EDT (#212433) #

David Purcey has never developed the consistency to start at the major league level.  Because he throws hard, converting him to a bullpen pitcher has been discussed by the Jays brass.  Could the Jays be seriously considering that now?  Here are some "tweets" from Bastian with Cito talking about Purcey pitching today in the B game.

Cito said he was impressed with Purcey in B game this morning. Big lefty now throwing just fastball/slider & could be in mix for bullpen.

Even with a healthy Carlson and Downs in 'pen, Cito said he might like having a third lefty in his bullpen. Raved about Purcey.

Cito, on Purcey: "You would've been amazed with what you would've seen this morning."

Ryan Day - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#212434) #
Bastian tweets that Cito's been impressed with Purcey is considering him for the pen. It's something I've thought might be a good idea for a while - narrow his focus, just come in and throw heat for an inning or two at a time.
Mike Green - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 06:11 PM EDT (#212435) #
Ryan, you owe Gerry a Coke.  Purcey in the pen is a fine idea, and has been widely mooted about here for quite a few years. 
scottt - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 07:53 PM EDT (#212438) #
Helping Carlson's case for a spot in the bullpen, if he is healthy, is the fact that he is left-handed and he has been a favorite of Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston. Toronto's skipper recently noted that pitchers such as Carlson and Camp might have an advantage because Gaston has had them in his bullpen in the past.

Carlson was awful last year. Lefties were batting over .270 against him. Accardo has reverse split anyway. Also, I don't see the attraction of having all those lefties in the pen if there are 2 or more of them in the rotation.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Purcey never had enough control over his fastball. Can he throw for a strike when he needs it?

They really need to trade some pitchers before they lose a bunch.
Shane - Monday, March 15 2010 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#212440) #

Purcey in the pen is a fine idea, and has been widely mooted about here for quite a few years. 

...Because of his poor control. If ditching his other off-speed pitch(es) makes him throw more strikes, permanently move him to the bullpen before he get's placed on waivers or given away and let's see what he can do there.

cybercavalier - Tuesday, March 16 2010 @ 01:57 AM EDT (#212443) #
David Purcey has never developed the consistency to start at the major league level.  Because he throws hard, converting him to a bullpen pitcher has been discussed by the Jays brass.  Could the Jays be seriously considering that now?  Here are some "tweets" from Bastian with Cito talking about Purcey pitching today in the B game.

If Eveland wins the 5th spot and Camp are aging, I think it would be worthwhile to trade Camp and another pitcher (Tallet?) to teams desperate for some relief pitching. Or trade Camp and Tallet for cash and prospect and send this cash as the compensation for Eveland. For Purcey, I think he has proved himself in the minors. Keep him in the Jays' bullpen as a reliever/ spot starter, much like Tallet had done in the past. Then let Walton et al. help him with his control. Purcey performance in AAA and brief stint at the MLB should warrant him to stay in the majors; in fact, he was the sole representative for Syracuse and the starting pitcher in 2008 AAA all-star game. I don't know if sending him down to AAA is beneficial to him, assuming the coaching quality is better at the MLB level. In the best scenerio, Purcey learns control, we then have another starting pitcher.
cybercavalier - Tuesday, March 16 2010 @ 02:02 AM EDT (#212444) # -- Purcey in 2008 AAA all-star game
cybercavalier - Tuesday, March 16 2010 @ 02:09 AM EDT (#212445) #
For Tallet, he is in competition with Eveland for the 5th spot. But from another perspective, he has been showcased for a prospective trade in future, like in July.
rpriske - Tuesday, March 16 2010 @ 08:32 AM EDT (#212449) #

Let's hope that Bastian is right in his prediction that EE will be in the lineup this week.

I'm not sure I would hope that at all. I think the team would be better off with Bautista at third, Snider and Lind in the OF and Ruiz at DH. EE on the DL would accomodate that.

Ryan Day - Tuesday, March 16 2010 @ 09:08 AM EDT (#212450) #
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Purcey never had enough control over his fastball. Can he throw for a strike when he needs it?

Purcey's shown decent control at times. In 07 & 08 in AAA, he walked fewer than 3/9. Even his 08 stint in the majors wasn't bad, at 4/9 - high, but not terrible for a guy who's also striking out 8/9.
brent - Tuesday, March 16 2010 @ 09:41 AM EDT (#212451) #
Yes, but it only needs to be a Coke Zero because they are only one minute apart. ^^
Gerry - Tuesday, March 16 2010 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#212454) #
Jason Stark covers the Blue Jays today and he mainly features the Halladay trade.
TamRa - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 03:22 AM EDT (#212475) #
Carlson was awful last year.

Not really true at all.

On May 5, Carlson pitched 1/3 of an inning and gave up 3 earned runs

On May 27 he threw 1/3 and gave up 5 runs.

On August 11 he threw 1/3 and gave up 3 runs.

That august apperances was one of only two times in three months (from June 22 to Sept. 24) that Carlson gave up more than one earned run. That covered 24 apperances, with a 2.95 ERA and a .203 BAA)

In fact, if you take out that collective 1 inning described above, his season ERA goes all the way down to 3.24

Or, viewed another way, he sucked for about six weeks (May 5 to June 14 - a 9.20 ERA) and was perfectly fine the rest of the year (although he did slack up a bit the last couple of weeks of the season)

scottt - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 06:51 AM EDT (#212476) #
It depends on how you look at it.

He was very good in April, awful in May/June and barely average the rest of the year, although his peripherals looks fine.
I mean, if you come in a tied game and give up a home run on 5 pitches, that's pretty much erases your last 3 good innings.

Anyway, he was probably  a lock for pen, it's Gregg that's stealing a spot.

No reason for EE not to take all the time he needs.

Randy Ruiz can Rake. I like the sound of that and he better be on the team.

scottt - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 06:53 AM EDT (#212477) #
On thing to remember is that without Doc, the pen is going to throw a lot more. There shouldn't be any idler there this year.
Gerry - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#212478) #

Todd Stottlemyre wants to come to your house and sell you long distance and internet services.

More importantly, he wants Canadians to join his network at ACN, a multi-level marketing company that promises an ongoing stream of commissions for members who manage to convince friends and associates to buy telecom services through them from companies such as Telus Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc.

“Here's what I bring to the team – I'll come to your house and you can invite everybody you know,” said Mr. Stottlemyre, 44, who spent half of his 14 major league seasons in Toronto. “You can say, ‘Remember that crazy fool that was a baseball player in this town? Well, he's at my house tonight and you should come over.' That's what I can bring to the table.”

christaylor - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 10:39 AM EDT (#212481) #
Nationals release Dukes:

The Jays need a RF... unless he's back to threatening to kill people, I'd like to see him in RF at the Dome.
Ryan Day - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 10:48 AM EDT (#212482) #
Per wikipedia:

On May 23, 2007, it was reported that Dukes' wife filed a restraining order after he threatened to kill her.[7] On June 12, a 17-year-old foster child who was living in the care of a relative of Dukes accused him of impregnating her.[8] Police said the sex was apparently consensual.[8] When the girl confronted Dukes, he allegedly got angry and threw a bottle of Gatorade at her.[8]

Dukes has received anger-management training.[6] When Dukes was traded to the Nationals, the team also hired an ex-police officer in the role of "Special Assistant: Player Concerns". This person accompanies Dukes everywhere to ensure that he keeps himself free of trouble.[6]

No thanks.
christaylor - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#212483) #
Sure he's been a lousy human being. But for a person his age, 2007 is ancient history. Hopefully the reason for his release is that he's tired of being baby-sat.

Playing in Toronto could work out spectacularly (I wonder if he's ever even been out of the US) or spectacularly bad. Either way, he's worth the risk, for essentially free, Gatorade bottles and all. Cito could be exactly what he needs -- a strong, safe, authority figure who commands respect in the game.
Jevant - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 11:45 AM EDT (#212484) #
I'd prefer Snider in RF at the Dome, myself.

Dukes...yeah, no.  Not worth the risk.

John Northey - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#212485) #
Dukes is interesting. Right handed, so would fit into a platoon with Snider in RF. Young with potential thus better than old vets who will never be much above average (such as Bautista, Ruiz, Gathright, Padilla and Reed) baring a major surprise.

The cost? Financially nothing. His personal issues though...phew. As others mentioned, Cito is the type of manager who might be able to get this guy straightened out. Maybe. Odds are against Dukes working out, but I figure he'd be worth a shot - or at least worth it more than most of the guys being trotted out into RF if you feel Cito can control the kid. If AA feels he cannot be controlled or there is more to the story (such as another arrest coming soon) then don't bother but otherwise the Jays could toss the dice and just release him if things get too messy.
TamRa - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 12:58 PM EDT (#212486) #
Under the circumstances -

No risk, no commitment, Uncle Clarance to get through to him - I'd do it.

In fact, I'd have traded a marginal reliever for him just to be first in line to give it a shot. We can always release him ourselves if he's a problem.

the potential upside is WELL worth the minimal risk.

TamRa - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 01:04 PM EDT (#212487) #
Hey, we gambled on Bush and ditched him when it didn't work. Plus, when all he has to do is be better than Gathright and Reed....
Richard S.S. - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 01:21 PM EDT (#212488) #
With the ties this organization has, one way or another, with the Nationals, is there any doubt Toronto isn't already discussing Dukes.
China fan - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 01:31 PM EDT (#212489) #
An outfielder who posted a .864 OPS in the majors at the age of 24 (in 334 plate appearances) would normally be interesting enough for AA to want a close look at.   His numbers in 2009 were not as good, but the 2008 numbers surely speak to his potential.  The only question is his personal issues.  Interesting that the Nationals are insisting that his release had nothing to do with personal issues (although that might not be true).  He's also got a minor-league option left, which is useful. 
Matthew E - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 01:39 PM EDT (#212490) #
Does he like baseball?
Ryan Day - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#212491) #
Cito is the type of manager who might be able to get this guy straightened out.

Even in his prime, did Gaston have to deal with someone this volatile? George Bell's tantrums don't even approach Milton Bradley-level nuttiness, and it's another exponential leap up to a guy with some serious anger management issues. This isn't a guy who bitches about playing time. This is a guy who threatened to kill his wife and children.

And Cito's patience and communication skills may not be what they once were anyway - a big chunk of the clubhouse was apparently unhappy last year, and Cito didn't seem to know what was going on.

Looking at it another way, most people would consider the Devil Rays to be a well-run franchise, but they still got rid of him, despite his talent and cheapness. And as much potential as Dukes might have, he hasn't translated it to the field effectively yet, with only one strong season to his name.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 01:57 PM EDT (#212493) #
Agreed that Dukes would only have, maybe, a 25% chance of surviving the season and maybe a 10% shot at being something special but I figure that 10% shot is worth it. If he has a great first half (trying to prove himself might push him to focus, much like it did in Washington year one) then the Jays might be able to pull a 'Rolen' and trade him for something useful in the future.

Hard to see a strong downside - if he acts up you dump him, if he performs you either keep or trade him. He appears to be able to play CF which is a bonus as well (272 2/3 innings last year).
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 02:09 PM EDT (#212494) #
I have three comments about Elijah Dukes.  First, he's an above average defensive corner outfielder, but below average in centerfield (and likely to deteriorate).  Second, Cito Gaston is gone after 2010 and if you are going to hope for personal development for Dukes, continuity of guidance would be a good thing.  Third, he has an option year left.  Ergo, if you are going to sign him (and that's a big if), it would be preferable if it were on the understanding that he will begin the year in Las Vegas after his poor year in 2009.  He may have better options than that.
mathesond - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 02:25 PM EDT (#212496) #
Dukes in Vegas? That alone would be worth the price of season tickets
Lylemcr - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 02:33 PM EDT (#212497) #
Are the Jays that bad that we need the dregs from the Nationals?  I really hope not.  I would rather they give a minor leaguer a chance.
Jevant - Wednesday, March 17 2010 @ 03:59 PM EDT (#212499) #

Hello, Train.  Please meet Wreck.

jerjapan - Thursday, March 18 2010 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#212514) #
'character' seems to be somewhat overvalued in baseball ... I remember Riccardi talking about Russ Adams and his 'character player' makeup.  'Bad character' types are a bit undervalued I think, looking at Bonds, Bradley and Dukes ... if you have tainted chemistry perhaps it doesn't make sense to add a bad character player, and the Jays may have tainted chemistry ... but if not, players like Dukes seem a perfect fit for a rebuilding team looking to maximize value ...
Ryan Day - Thursday, March 18 2010 @ 03:39 PM EDT (#212515) #
I completely agree that character issues are often overdramatized, but I think it's a serious understatement to say a guy with multiple assault charges who allegedly threatened to kill his wife and her children has "character issues."
John Northey - Thursday, March 18 2010 @ 03:50 PM EDT (#212516) #
Yeah, Dukes is someone I'd kick the tires with (obviously from my earlier comments) but the final signing would depend on a lot of non-baseball factors. #1 would be if Rogers is willing to risk the negative press he could bring, #2 would be if Cito feels he could work with him, #3 would be if the key players (such as Hill & Wells - both are here until 2014 so if reasonably possible you don't make the clubhouse a horrid place for either) feel they could endure a clubhouse with him.

If all 3 say 'go for it' then do it, if any say 'no' then you have to say no.
DJR - Thursday, March 18 2010 @ 04:01 PM EDT (#212517) #
I can't speak to how it actually is in other markets, but my impression is that the media and fan base following the Jays is pretty tough on people struggling with "character issues."    There was enough hostility towards Alex Rios last summer that it makes me think this might not be a great place for Dukes to resurrect his career.
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