Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Arizona Diamondbacks renewed their interest in acquiring Michael Young from the Texas Rangers, but were once again turned off by what the Rangers were expecting in return.

The talks sputtered when the Rangers asked for a strong package of prospects and major leaguers, one source said. There is also a question of whether Young would have approved the deal.

Ignoring the fact that Michael Young doesn’t really appreciate lawmakers in Arizona, and has the right to veto a trade to the Diamondbacks, the Rangers rumoured asking price seems exorbitant.  A strong package of prospects and major leaguers?  For Michael Young?  Even if the Rangers were to pick up a sizable chunk of the $48 million he’s owed over the next three years, why would the Diamondbacks be willing to give up so much for a guy who played like Kevin Kouzmanoff last year, according to fWAR.  In fact, if we look over the last four years, Young is only 0.6 higher in accumulative fWAR than Kouzmanoff.

I know that catering to passionate baseball fans at Getting Blanked can sometimes lead to a bit of insular elitism, as we collectively shake our heads at the more casual fans in simultaneous patronization.  But as long as bloggers have to write multiple posts explaining why Michael Young is not a good fit in Toronto, or any other team for that matter, I have no problem remaining in an indefinite tsk tsk mode.

The fact that teams like Arizona would even humour the Rangers’ delusional requests makes me appreciate what a great signing the Jays made when they convinced Edwin Encarnacion to come back to Toronto for a guaranteed $3 million.  Even though the team originally brought him back to play first base and act as the designated hitter, and despite his poor defensive reputation at third base, Encarnacion was superior to Young in every defensive metric imaginable last season.  He was also a better offensive contributor in just over half as many plate appearances.

Looking at the Jays current options, I don’t see how Encarnacion won’t be counted on to play third base this season.  With Travis Snider in left field and Rajai Davis playing center for the most part, right field will be given to Juan Rivera, as Corey Patterson and Scott Podsednik compete for the fourth outfielder spot.

The only problem is that veterans Rivera, Patterson and Podsednik have combined to start exactly 49 games in right field since 2007.

The Jays have been hesitant to move Snider around, and so when Rivera is taken out of the lineup, it will force Davis to shift over from center into right, as the fourth outfielder will be counted on to play center. Considering the declining defensive abilities of Scott Podsednik and Corey Patterson, playing either in center field, a position they’ve combined to  start 62 times in the last two years, would be disastrous.  A far better option would be to keep Davis in center, move Jose Bautista into right field and play Encarnacion at third base.

The versatility of Bautsita and Encarnacion allow the Jays several options with lineup formation.  People are quick to criticize Encarnacion for his lack of walks, but considering the hitting mentality of the team he was on last year, his wOBA of .339, ranking him in the mid pack of the league among third baseman, isn’t too shabby at all.

And if not for anything else, there’s also this:

Comments (23)

  1. the thing I’m worried about with EE playing 3b is Adam Lind at 1b. I mean Overbay could scoop some throws, as opposed to Lind who is still a pretty big question mark.

  2. Is Patterson’s defense declining? It’s hard because he doesn’t tend to get regular PT, but his defensive stats could easily be random fluctuation.

    And EE will have the third-highest career OBP in the Opening Day lineup.

    • @ Dougie: Fair enough. I think Patterson is definitely the better option, but that says more about how bad Podsednik is rather than hopes for Patterson.

      @ Joe: It wouldn’t shock me. He’s capable of that kind of power. Look at his second, third and fourth year in Cincinnati. Seemed to be ramping up to good things, but derailed in 2009, after a bone chip in his wrist.

  3. Encarnacion leads the team in home runs this year, book it.

  4. I don’t see why they don’t just move Snider over to RF. I understand that they want to keep him in one place, but why does that place have to be LF? He can’t be any worse than Juan Rivera in right; seems like more of a natural fit to me, with some combination of Davis/Podsednik/Rivera/Patterson taking care of CF and LF.

    • @ Ty: I agree. Snider in RF would solve a lot. Imagine thinking is that he’s long term in left with Bautista in right. Personally, I’d rather have a mediocre RF as my LF instead of a guy who only plays left. This Spring would’ve been perfect time for him to grow.

  5. A third vote for Snider in RF please.

  6. I have to agree with you, I definitely see EE getting significant time at 3B and to tell you the truth, I won’t be very upset if that’s the case as his bat more than makes up for his defensive shortcomings. Bottom line, wherever he plays, the Jays need to find a way to get this guy 500+ ABs. With how good Lawrie has looked at 3B in Spring Training, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was Edwin’s last season at the hot corner anyways. Also, I’d like to see the Jays just keep Snider in left and Bautista in RF so that this team can develop some comfort, with each guy knowing that they have a regular spot in the field. Plus, with Bautista in RF his arm is in every runner’s head as they head for 2nd, 3rd or home on balls hit to/near him.

  7. Wait… I might just be drawing a blank (see what I did there?) but… who is going to be DHing? Why not JBau at 3rd, Snider in right, and E5 DHing?

  8. EE might get more playing time at 3B on the 2011 Blue Jays than Brett Lawrie, and that might not be such a bad thing. I love Lawrie’s potential too, but in his 3rd year in professional baseball he might be better served heading to Vegas for a full year. The adversity of fielding at 3B on that piece of [Getting Blanked] infield might be good for him. It’s not like he’s lacking in self-confidence or anything crazy like that, so he should be able to handle it. He may force their hand though, which would be cool, but don’t just hand him the job.

  9. Well said Tom. Lawrie is definitely throwing an interesting and exciting wrench in things… but he’s still a rookie and this is still the big leagues. If he plays so well in Vegas that you can’t say no, fine, but… otherwise, no.

  10. Snider has more long term value if he can be an average RF. So maybe the thinking is that it is easier for him to play LF, and they don’t want to overburden him while he is still trying to put things together at the plate. Which would be BS because he does have it together at the plate and just needs less injuries and more ABs (as argued by Drew over at Ghostrunner).

  11. @JRock: In addition to that, Snider in RF would make all the prospect porn hounds happy because then there’d be room for Eric Thames, who can’t really play any position other than LF. That’s not really all that important a consideration, but he is nearly even with Lawrie in this year’s ST in the “Number of Eyes Opened” category…And the writers keep commenting on how chiseled he is (which might attract other segments of the more casual section of the fanbase to come down to the Cable Box > the more the merrier I say), despite the fact that he doesn’t do any bulk lifting anymore as he says here:

    “I turned away from all of the bulk lifting,” Thames said. “Yeah, when you’re big, it looks good at the beach and the clubs, but it’s not good for baseball. When you’re tight, you can’t throw and you can tweak little things.

    “That’s one of the things you see a lot of the big leaguers around here do. They don’t do a lot of the bulk stuff. They stay lean, they do explosive training and that’s what it plays to on the field.”

    That last paragraph in particular is music to my ears. It’s good to see the Jays headed in that direction. I think the only sport where bulk is a good thing is football. It’s certainly not a good idea in baseball, unless you want your favourite team to clog up the DL.

  12. Am I missing something? The differences between RF and LF for a major league defender should be negligible. From a team perspective it tends to make sense to put the best arm in right because of the long throw, but if we’re talking about two mediocre defenders, RF should actually be the slightly easier position. There are more RH pull hitters out there.

    Maybe you don’t want to be jerking Snider back and forth, but a mid-season switch shouldn’t be the end of the world.

  13. Note: Eric Thames is not a prospect.

  14. Really good and well written post.. I have had long arguments about EE’s value.. I think where he loses a lot of credibility is that he often botches routine plays because he doesn’t set up his feet and his arm tails.

    However, he has a higher career OPS then Hill, and while Hill obviously is more sound defensively, there was definite improvements in EE’s fielding towards the middle to end of last year..

    I truly think our best lineup comes from EE playing 3B, Bautista in RF and Juan Rivera and Eric Thames platooning at DH depending on the starting pitcher

    Rivera on turf in RF is scary.

  15. @Drew: I would modify that and say he’s not a “toolsy” prospect, but as per a BA chat in November(ish):

    “While Adeiny Hechavarria and Eric Thames missed the top ten they are still considered excellent prospects. The Jays system is much stronger than last season so some worthy players have to fall outside the top ten.”

    I wouldn’t count him out just yet. For BA to bother mentioning him as an excellent prospect is a good sign, as we all know how much value they place on tools and what round a player was taken in the draft. A lot of things about him are somewhat fringey, but the bat looks legit. Who knows?

  16. Thames has only had 2 professional seasons due to injury.. He is overaged but still very much a prospect

  17. Eric Thames will be 24 years old for this entire season, how is he “not a prospect”?

  18. Admit it, Parkes. You just wanted an excuse to post that video.

  19. Here’s a though, going into 2012 have Lawrie play third, Shift Bautista to first and have Snider and Thames as your corner outfielders…. Is that plausible? I mean, I know you sacrifice Bautista’s arm, but if Thames does becOme an above average player then his bat would make up for the (negligible) loss of D, correct?

  20. Wow Mutton Chops, you are a “glass half full” kind of guy, aren’t you? None of this matters when Adam Loewen wins the triple crown, amirite?

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