The Adeiny Hechavarria Signing Changes Everything

Move over aging Yankees and Red Sox, budget concious Rays, and pitching and pen wary Orioles, the Blue Jays are coming through, getting ahead, and plan to stay there a while. Alex Anthopolous has a plan, is putting it into motion, and is creating something magical in Toronto that should bring fans to Rogers Center for years to come. His latest signing, Cuban SS Adeiny Hechavarria, to a 4-year $10,000,000 contract is the cherry on top of the cake after he nabbed Brett Wallace, Kyle Drabek, Travis d’Arnaud, and Brandon Morrow for the franchise. By acquiring Adeiny, Alex has plugged a hole that has been plaguing the Jays for a very long time.
I wanted to compare each team position by position (offensively speaking) in the AL East based on who their long term option is at each position. I included salaries to indicate cost as well. I also ranked each position in terms of talent and immediate impact in 2011 and beyond while considering the costs and age  (for 2011 season, contracts based on numbers from Cot’s Baseball Contracts):

Catchers

  1. Matt Wieters – BAL – 25 years old – $0.4 million
  2. JP Arencibia - TOR – 25 years old – $0.4 million
  3. Victor Martinez – BOS – 32 years old – Estimate $7.5 million or more per season
  4. Kelly Shoppach - TB – 30 years old – $3 million
  5. Jorge Posada – NYY -39 years old – $13.1 million

First Basemen

  1. Ben Zobrist (could be Carlos Pena – very doubtful)TB – 29 years old – $0.5 million
  2. Brett Wallace - TOR – 24 years old – $0.4 million
  3. Kevin Youkilis – BOS – 31 years old – $12 million
  4. Mark Texeira – NYY -30 years old – $22.5 million
  5. Garrett Atkins – BAL – 31 years old – $8.5 million

Second Basemen

  1. Aaron Hill - TOR – 28 years old – $5 million
  2. Dustin Pedroia – BOS – 27 years old – $5.5 million
  3. Robinson Cano – NYY -28 years old – $10 million
  4. Brian Roberts – BAL – 33 years old – $10 million
  5. Reid Brignac - TB – 24 years old – $0.41 million

Short Stop

  1. Derek Jeter – NYY -36 years old – estimate of $22 million or more
  2. FA Jason Bartlett - TB – 31 years old – estimate $4 million or more – most likely more
  3. Adeiny Hechavarria - TOR – 22 years old – $2.5 million
  4. Marco Scutaro – BOS – 35 years old – $5 million (could be Jose Iglesias by this point, but his bat is worse so it wouldn’t affect this ranking)
  5. FA Cesar Izturis – BAL – 30 years old – estimate $2.5 million or more

Third Basemen

  1. Evan Longoria- TB – 25 years old – $2 million
  2. Adrian Beltre – BOS – 31 years old – $5 million
  3. Alex Rodriguez – NYY -35 years old – $31 million
  4. Josh Bell – BAL – 24 years old – $0.4 million
  5. Edwin Encarnacion - TOR – 27 years old – estimate $5 million

Right Field

  1. Nick Markaikis - BAL – 27 years old – $10.25 million
  2. Matt Joyce - TB – 26 years old – $0.4 million
  3. Vernon Wells - TOR – 32 years old – $23 million
  4. Nick Swisher – NYY -30 years old – $9 million
  5. JD Drew – BOS – 31 years old – $5 million

Center Field

  1. Adam Jones - BAL – 25 years old – $0.5 million
  2. BJ Upton- TB – 26 years old – Arb estimate $5 million
  3. Curtis Granderson – NYY -29 years old – $8.25 million
  4. Darin Mastroianni - TOR – 25 years old – $0.4 million
  5. Mike Cameron – BOS – 37 years old – $7.25 million

Left Field

  1. Desmond Jennings - TB – 24 years old – $0.4 million
  2. Jacoby Ellsbury – BOS – 27 years old – Arb Estimate $4 million
  3. Travis Snider - TOR – 23 years old – $0.4 million
  4. Nolan Reimold - BAL – 27 years old – $0.4 million
  5. Brett Gardner – NYY – 27 years old – $0.45 million

Designated Hitter

  1. Adam Lind - TOR – 27 years old – $5 million
  2. Sean Rodriguez - TB – 25 years old – $0.4 million
  3. Luke Scott - BAL – 32 years old – $0.5 million
  4. Nick Johnson – NYY -32 years old – mutual option of $5.5 million
  5. David Ortiz – BOS – 35 years old – $12.25 million club option

Total Salary Cost for Starting Hitters

  1. Tampa Bay - $16.11 million, average $1.79 million per player
  2. Baltimore - $33.45 million, average $3.71 million per player
  3. Toronto - $42.1 million, average $4.67 million per player (Wells takes up 54% of this….wow!)
  4. Boston – $63.5 million, average $7.05 million per player
  5. New York – $121.8 million, average $13.53 million per player

Total Age and Average Age Per Batter

  1. Toronto - 233 years, average age = 25.88
  2. Tampa Bay - 240 years, average age = 26.66
  3. Baltimore - 254 years, average age = 28.22
  4. New York – 286 years, average age = 31.77
  5. Boston – 286 years, average age = 31.77

Before I examine these numbers, I want to add that many things can change because I made a ton of assumptions in coming out with these numbers. One big one was the absence of Carl Crawford, who I believe will sign with the LA Angels if he doesn’t resign with TB. Obviously, if he were to sign with TB or the NYY he would change this landscape quite a bit, but you can still get the picture that both the Yankees and Red Sox are getting old and expensive, while the rest of the AL East is getting younger, more potent at the plate, and is starting to make some ground at positions that had previously been dominated by Yankee players.I also added in CF Darin Mastroianni for the Jays, a huge leap, but I believe they’ll need his speed in the lineup and that he’ll do well enough to earn a shot in 2011. Finally, there are guesses about arbitration and FA signings which could all change, but the core should stay fairly close to the numbers above.

My rankings are pretty inconsequential and can be argued about for each position, because everyone values players differently, but when we look specifically at the very weak SS position in the AL East, we see the immediate impact that Adeiny will have for the Jays.  The aging Derek Jeter (who I respect in every single possible way) can no longer cover the range that someone like Adeiny will once he arrives, and I would content that Adeiny will steal more bases as well. If the Jays were able to acquire, sign, or draft a big impact 3B, they would be in the top 3 of all categories above except CF and LF, where I can’t really expect too much out of Travis Snider based on what we’ve seen, and Mastroianni due to his rookie status. Still, the Adeiny Hechavarria signing changes everything, because it begins to tilt the left side of the field in the direction of the Blue Jays. This area has always been a sore spot for the Jays ever since they were winning championships in the early 90s. Now, with this acquisition, the Jays can provide for a much more talented 1 through 9 lineup that should only get better as they gain experience. As they get more expensive to keep, the Jays will be able to afford the bulk of these players because the Vernon Wells contract will expire in 2014 when they’ll pay him $21 million.

Not only does Adeiny Hechavarria create a wealth of talent at a position the Jays were desperate to fill, but he also brings an international flavor to the club that it was dearly lacking. Other Cuban FAs will look more favorably on the Jays when looking to sign with an MLB club to sign with, making Alex’s job a little easier when trying to attract players to the Jays.

The Jays are young at every critical position, from their power hitting first baseman to their power hitting catcher, from their speedy short stop at the bottom of the lineup, to their speedy center fielder at the top. All of this allows the Jays to control costs, remain fairly injury free, and also to spend money where they need to: in the rotation and in the bull pen. What happens if the Jays decide to spend some money to add Cliff Lee and a closer to what they have on board? I contend that of all of the teams in the AL East, they have some of the best assured costs going into the future and can afford impact players more than all others along with the Orioles. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, has a lot of players to sign and a lot of questions about its budget. Boston and the Yankees have aging player, but Boston is in more dire straits because it has to decide what to do with David Ortiz and how much it is will to pay Victor Martinez. Both of these players are big parts of the Boston’s run producers. Meanwhile, the Jays have known costs for all of its players except at 3B, where Edwin Encarnacion or Brad Emaus will fill the void at a decent rate in 2011 if the Jays don’t find another option externally. Therefore, acquiring Adeiny has provided for the fact that all positions are accounted for in costs for the next 3-5 years!

The Jays project to be the youngest squad in the AL East, have a ton of impacting young talent coming up very quickly, and will be ready to compete for the AL East division title in 2011. They may very well make a push for it this season if their pitching holds up against AL East rivals, but chances are 2011 is a better bet for the Jays. Thank Alex Anthopolous for that possibility, or probability in my opinion, and enjoy the show when Adeiny gets here. By all indications, he will be a treat to watch and should help propel the Jays to the next level. He changes everything, from the offensive play, to the defensive play, to the age and talent level of the Jays, and their possible rankings in the AL East from 2011 and beyond.

Topics: Adeiny Hechavarria

Want more from Jays Journal?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.
  • http://jayjunction.blogspot.com/ wbruyea

    Mat,

    If only Jays can draft or trade for some impact bats for 3B and OF to go with the strong pitching depth we may just meet that goal of truly competing for a playoff spot in 2-3 years.