Richard Griffin didn’t post a new mail bag back on Friday, which was not wholly unsurprising, seeing as he’ll usually start doing it a bit less frequently this time of year, if memory serves. Also not wholly surprising? I didn’t actually get around to hijacking the last one he posted over at the Toronto Star, so we still have an unmolested Griff Bag to dip into this morning! Er…
As always, I have not read any of Griffin’s answers.
If there’s a question you’d like me to answer, email it to email@example.com and maybe he’ll select it for a future mail bag. Fingers crossed!
As we see this unbelievably disappointing season grind to its close I thought I’d write and ask your opinion on my ideas for what promises to be another interesting off-season for AA.
My personal plan would be:
1. Give a qualifying offer to Josh Johnson, he’ll surely accept it. I expect a bounce-back season for him based on his career high HR:FB rate, LOB% and BABIP in 2013 that both must surely regress to career norms (they are all in the bottom 10 of all pitchers in baseball in 2013). In my opinion there’s no such thing as a bad one year deal so why not give it a shot?
2. Sign (Masahiro) Tanaka from Japan. I’ve obviously never seen him play, aside from YouTube clips, but all reports say he’ll slot in as a good number 2/3 and to get him for “just” money would be perfect for where the Jays are right now.
3. Release JPA and sign Jose Molina. Jose is no worse with the bat (both are worse than league average) but Molina makes up for his poor bat with his very good defense.
4. Re-sign Davis and pick up Lind’s option then platoon them at DH.
5. Trade for Howie Kendrick from Angels, send them Janssen and Stroman or Janssen, Cecil and a lesser prospect.
This has the obvious drawback of sending the payroll north of $160M putting them firmly in the top 5 in all of baseball but AA has to go all in at this point in my opinion.
That’s actually a pretty solid plan, Matt. I can quibble with it a little, but I think you’ve basically hit on the target areas and tried to maximize the use of your resources without giving the farm system too big of a hit. The quibbles:
1. It won’t take a deal as big as a qualifying offer to get Johnson back, and his agent has already admitted that. He’s also said that he thinks his client has unfinished business in Toronto, that he likes it here, and would like to be back if the club is willing to make a fair offer– and since he also said that they’re only interested in a one-year deal in order to build Johnson’s value back up, and since the recent operation the pitcher had on his throwing elbow sounds like it could explain what went so horribly wrong this year, I think you totally make something work. Just not at $14-million.
2. I think the way the posting system is currently setup is very favourable to the Jays– and even if rumoured changes take place before Tanaka is posted, it still severely limits the number of clubs the Jays would need to out-woo. So there is a lot to like about the possibility, even if there are worries about how many innings he’s thrown in his career and how well his stuff will translate to the Majors. But keeping Johnson and signing another pitcher sounds about right to me.
3. Molina was a little better with the bat than Arencibia, yes, but it’s not like “a little better than J.P.” is close to acceptable. And while Molina has a good defensive reputation, even the Rays only gave him about a half-year’s worth of plate appearances in each of the last two seasons, so… he’s not a starter. And he’s not the only defence-first catcher who’ll be available– and others might even be able to do more with the bat. I kinda talked myself into Dioner Navarro last week, I think. I don’t know if that’s the right move or not, but yes, the position desperately needs to be addressed.
4. Unfortunately I don’t think Davis would do this. I would guess he wants the opportunity to be more than just a fourth outfielder and platoon DH, but I agree that such versatility fits the Jays very well. Mark DeRosa has versatility too, though, and hit left-handers nicely this year, plus his option is dirt cheap. If he ends up being Lind’s lesser half, I think that’s probably OK.
5. Kendrick is 30 years old, his defensive numbers seem to be trending in the wrong direction, and he’s expensive– in terms of both money owed and the cost to acquire him in a trade. But I’m not terribly opposed to this. It’s an above average bat at a spot where the Jays’ other current option is Ryan Goins, so that’s a plus. I’d like to see them hold on to Stroman if they can, but the pieces just seem to fit with the Angels needing pitching depth and the Jays– scary as it is to contemplate dealing some of their depth away– may have no choice. I’d be OK with a little less offence and a little more youth and defence, but unfortunately I think Goins isn’t quite at the level of a “little” less offence. If the makeup of the pitching staff was such that you needed an absolute vacuum there, though, the option gets a little more palatable.
As you mention, it would take a pretty hefty commitment from ownership to get things like this done, but it sure would take the wind out of everybody’s sails if Rogers got scared off at this point. I don’t think it’s as out of the question as a lot of others might that they’ll keep pushing to be as good as they can, and will allow the club the payroll flexibility to do so, though I base that– of course– on absolutely nothing.
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