11:40 PM Eastern
In celebration of a pretty “meh” game by the Jays in Tampa Bay tonight, I put forth the following idea of how to drastically improve the ballclub for the 2010 season. Warning – it takes money.
1 – Trade Edwin Encarnacion to the Brewers for J.J. Hardy. The Brew Crew has seemingly given up on Hardy, and they will be looking to deal him in the off-season. They’ve dumped Bill Hall, Mat Gamel can’t handle third base defensively and Craig Counsell’s not the long-term solution. Hardy stubbed his toe pretty badly on offense this season, but the defensive metrics are strong and if the bat doesn’t come back then at least you keep a strong glove at shortstop who bats 9th, likely recoup a couple of first-round picks for Marco Scutaro and it doesn’t cost any money.
2 – Sign Chone Figgins and Orlando Hudson. Figgins is a perfect replacement for Scutaro in the leadoff spot, and he and Hudson give the Jays the advantage of having a pair of speedy switch-hitters batting in the top two spots in the order. Figgins also gives the Jays the versatility of being a capable defensive fill-in pretty much anywhere on the field in case of injury, though he’d be brought in to play left. Of course, if Hudson is signed, Aaron Hill would have to move to third base.
Those three moves alone improve the Jays’ offense a great deal, but word is the Jays are sweet on Jason Bay, and if they bring him in, then you’d have to scratch one of Hudson or Figgins, unless Hill gets moved to shortstop, where I don’t think he’ll be a plus defensively.
In the first scenario, the Jays could run out an everyday line-up of Figgins/Hudson/Lind/Hill/Overbay/Wells/Snider/Hardy/catcher (with Snider and Overbay eventually switching spots as the season progresses). In the second scenario, it’d be Figgins/Hill/Lind/Bay/Overbay/Wells/Snider/Hardy/catcher. Those are both solid line-ups, especially in combination with the strong pitching, which you wouldn’t really have to touch.
The moves would drop the Jays down to just two players who absolutely refuse to take a walk, in Hill and Wells (and those two aren’t going anywhere), with power up from the third spot on down. Of course, they’d need a catcher as well. As Casey Stengel said, if you don’t have a catcher, you’re going to have a lot of passed balls. Or something like that.
All of this hinges on payroll being bumped up to at least the $100 million mark. Why believe that might happen? Because Bob McCown says so, and I’m inclined to believe that given his history with Paul Beeston he might actually have some info that the rest of us don’t.
Just stuff that’s been swirling about my cranium the last couple of days.
For your listening pleasure, here are The JaysTalks from the past two nights.
Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome.