When Something is Broke … Put a Little Fixer on it.

If only all the Blue Jays decisions could work out like a Pearl Jam song?  I guess that we would still be ‘Alive’ in the playoffs, and this ‘Jeremy‘ would be writing a lot more on this blog today.

The Blue Jay’s fix, for the forseeable future, is 32-year-old former Montreal Expo scout and Blue Jay assistant GM Alex Anthopoulos.  Along with his scouting experience, Anthopoulossponsor3_science_mcmaster.jpg has an economics degree from McMaster University.  Coincidentally, I also went to this school.  Too bad I couldn’t catch his fall after doing a ‘keg stand,’ or something like that?  It would have been a good networking opporitunity for me. 

Anyway, Anthopoulos’ first priority came this week as he did a large revamping of the Jays scouting department.  He also told the media that the Jays would committing more money to scouting and player development.  Along with bringing in some new scouts, Anthopoulos hired an assistant named Dana Brown.  The 42-year-old Brown left his position as scouting director for the Washington Nationals to take up the job with his old friend whom he worked with in the Expo scouting deparment.

My Take

It does seem a little trendy in baseball right now to hire a young GM.  Anthopoulos is already being dubbed, ‘boy genius,’ but he is yet to prove anything.  I do like the stance andanthopoulos_alex_courtesy_381.jpg measures that Alex is taking by committing himself to scouting and player development, but then again, every team committs themselves to that.  Here is an old one, “the proof is in the pudding.’  Anthopoulos will inevitably be judged by the choices that he makes as GM.  Working close with J.P. all these years, he must have learned a lot.  J.P. did a lot of good things with the club, but he also made a large share of mistakes.  I wouldn’t say that Anthopoulos has to totally rebuild the club, but he has a lot of holes to fill. 

Here are a few: 

Marco Scutaro‘s career might be in jeopardy, let alone his ability to play a demanding position like shortstop.  Scutaro is a free agent, so the Jays will definately have to look into what they are going to do with him.

Jays catcher Rod Barajas is also a free agent.  He did do some nice things, hitting homers and producing RBI’s this season.  However, his .258 On Base Percentage is not exactly pleasing to Jay fans, or anyone for that matter. Barajas is definately NOT a long-term solution and it doesn’t see like some of our young catching prospects (i.e. J.P. Arrencibia) are making the necessary progression in the minors.  Barajas was a temporary solution last season!  Will he be that again?

The Jays pitching staff was in shambles last season.  Injury plus guys being penciled then quickly erased due to performance, the Jays seeming had what looked like a 10-man rotation last year.  We did have some young players progress into major leaguers, like Brett Cecil, Marc Rzepcynski and Ricky Romero but it also became apparent that the rotation could use some much needed depth.  The possible return of Shaun Marcum may help Alex a little in that respect.

DH and first base are somewhat interchangeable in the American league some might argue.  The Blue Jays are not getting the production they need from these two positions.  They are usually filled with middle-of-the-lineup guys, but this is not true in the Blue Jays case.  Kevin Millar did not have a comeback with the club, and Randy Ruiz, although incredibly impressive, might be too much of a risk to rely on for that position.  Using Adam Lind as the primary DH will vacate another hole in the outfield, where the Jays desparately need athletes to run down balls.  Lyle Overbay is nice player, he gives you a good On Base … yes.  However, his trademark doubles have decreased and you’d be hardpressed to go around the league to find a firstbaseman that is just ‘a good On Base’ guy.  We need a legitimate slugger at first!  I say move Lind to firstbase, get some athletes in the outfield and use Ruiz temporarily at DH till we can find a better hitter. 

More questions….

Are we going to live with Edwin Encarnacion at third base?  He showed some good things last year, but he does not look like a longterm solution.

When are we going to start benching Vernon Wells?  The 20 million-a-year man would have a hard time hitting in the bottom of the order for any team in MLB.  Sorry Vernon, but the Jays actually got more out of Jose Bautista last year in half the at-bats you had.

We don’t have a closer?  We just don’t.  Jason Frasor has proven ineffective in that role before?  Can we live with him there?

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I don’t envy your job Alex Anthopoulos.  Wait, actually I do.  If someone told me that I could possibly be the future GM of the Jays with a McMaster degree, I’d go crazy for it.  I consider myself knowledgable in player evaluation.  All I do is order and read ‘Baseball Prospectus‘ and ‘Baseball America‘ every year.

For the team right now, I say be bold, and think ‘out of the box.’  Our scouting system should have a wide range internationally.  As the Jays have not made the splash into Japan yet.  I say we go after one of the big two:  either pitcher Yu Darvish, or outfielder Norichika AokiThe amount of money the Jays would have to put into acquiring one of these guys would be catatrophic (especially Mr. GQ Japan Yu Darvish), but I wonder if that money could made back in endorsements, merchandise etc… marketing ourselves internationally?  We all saw the Asian explosion in the World Baseball Classic, the Jays need to be bold and explore this a bit. 

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8 comments

  1. c_homer77@hotmail.com

    Jer,

    2 words Chone Figgins,

    I bet you my degree from MacMaster University that Alex A. throws the Rogers vault at him. He is exactly what they have not had since DEVO.
    At least that’s what I would do if I had his gig.

  2. Buz

    You definitely need an upgrade at SS. Scutaro would be an excellent locker presence, leader and utility player for them. So, in that regard .. it would be silly to discard him. He has value. As it is for most teams.. what will the Winer meetings and the offseason bring?

    Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

  3. raysrenegade

    McMaster U?
    Sounds like a place to send the usual trendy McDonalds managers for extended training.
    There are a lot of decisions that need to be made in the Blue Jays roster.
    I am going to keep a close eye on Double-A and see how he can either replace or enhance the farm system. The pitching staff might be the most solid part of the equation right now, but things can change in a heartbeat.

    Rays Renegade

    http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

  4. welikeroywelikeroy

    Hisco,

    I like Figgins and another Devo would be great! Out of respect for the team Vernon Wells should ask Devo to come out of retirement and play CF for him. Devo could take 20 percent and still make more than he ever did in his career.

    Buz,

    Thank you for being a loyal reader firstly. You rock. Scutaro is a good locker presence no question. He suffered a pretty bad right heel tear at the end of the season this year. Scutaro has limited range at shortstop, at best and I’ve seen how these injuries can hamper a players career. I don’t know what Scutaro would command as a Free Agent this year, coming off one of his best seasons in MLB? There are questions around him though, and Alex will have to make a tough decision on him.

    Rays,

    lol. You don’t know how right you are. It is actually one of the biggest schools in Canada with Alumni like Martin Short, Eugene Levy and Ivan Reitman. I don’t how good we can do in terms of GM’s though.

    Getting back Jesse Litsch and Shaun Marcum will be key for our staff, but how good can those guys be after a year off baseball?? Zippy and Cecil will likely fill in again next season. As far as the minors, I’ve been keeping my eye on lefthander Fabio Castro. A former Philly prospect we got in the Matt Stairs deal two seasons ago. He has impressed some in AAA last year.

    As it stands right now, the Jays don’t have one player cracking the Top 50 Minor League Prospect List on MILB.com for example as well as many others.
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090731&content_id=6161780&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

    You Rays have 5. Davis, Beckham, Moore, Jennings and Hellickson. We have a lot of guys now in AA not make necessary progression. Notably Arrencibia and Emaus.

  5. chris.gagnon@live.ca

    Scutaro’s career is in jeopardy? He’s going to be fine.

    Ruiz hit a combined 35 home runs this year between the Jays and Vegas. He also hit .320 and drove in 107 in AAA. During his call up he fared just as well with .313/10/17, a lot better than his cup of coffee last season with the Twins. I think he realized that he’s a 31-year-old minor leaguer who needs to get over the hump soon.

    Yu Dharvish won’t play in MLB, he’s already stated it a few times. When he eventually does, which he will cause people like money, he won’t be playing for the Jays.

    We need cut our losses with Wells and parade him out there until someone is stupid enough to want him. Big Country Bryant Reeves is a good example of an imovable object when it comes to bad players and worse contracts. We should start parading him somewhere other than centre though, his Dewan and UZR are were well into the negatives this year. His defence and offence are broken down, he reminds me of Andruw Jones who hit for a better average and not as many home runs.

  6. welikeroywelikeroy

    Chris, thank you for stopping to read my stuff.

    Saying Scutaro’s career could be in jeopardy was kinda brash. Although, we will see the lingering effects of that injury. A heel injury cannot help the mobility of a shortstop with already limited range.

    So what you are saying is that you are confident relying Ruiz to carry the middle of our order in the DH role? Don’t get me wrong, I love Ruiz. I even went on a limb to say he was a great signing last April! I think he won PCL MVP this season too. The guy has hit everywhere in the minors, yes, but I don’t expect to be capable of being a middle-of-the-order guy in MLB. That stated, he can be no worse than Kevin Millar in the role. I hope you are right about Ruiz though!

    Darvish is a stretch, for any team! You are correct about that statement. I just used him as an example of the kind of moves the Jays need to make, in my opinion. Bold moves! I think that there is some untapped talent in Japan, Cuba, Cuacao and Korea etc. Venturing into those areas could prove worth it. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Jays go after Chapman, but I know that we’d have to ‘break the bank’ to do it. I just used Darvish and Aoki, because they are the most popular. I could have added Noel Arguelles, LHP from Cuba, Ryota Igarash, older hard-throwing Japanese closer that is currently wanting to play in MLB.

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