Before I get into the heart of this post let me say this – I am a huge Brian Tallet fan and believe that he exceeded all expectations as a starter in 2009. He’s a great guy, has good stuff and is an important asset to the Jays. Now that I have said that, I want to add this – the Jays should trade him ASAP, and here’s why.
- First and foremost, the Jays are in building mode, not rebuilding, so this means they want to remain competitive in the AL East. Brian Tallet is not helping the Jays accomplish this. Although his efforts in 2009 were heroic because he managed to plug a whole in the rotation fairly effectively, he didn’t put up great numbers in 2009 and is continuing that trend in 2010. His ERA has been over 5 each season and his whip leaves a lot to be desired.
- Since the Jays are trying to build something, they want to get younger and cheaper. At 32 years old and with an expiring contract worth $2 million in 2010, Tallet doesn’t fit the bill.
- There are plenty of candidates to take over from Brian in the rotation, and 1 of them is a left-hander which gives the Jays the opportunity to replace 1 lefty for another. LHP Brett Cecil and RHP Brad Mills have both been very impressive throughout the spring training and thus far in their season int he minors. Both deserve a shot at the rotation an have much higher ceilings than Tallet.
- Brian Tallet threw 160.2 innings in 2009, 104.1 innings more than in 2008. History tells us that injury usually follows such a massive increase in innings thrown and the Jays could lose Tallet for nothing as a result. Better to trade him for a decent mid-level prospect and get some budget relief at the same time. Likely candidates include the Mets, Nationals, and Diamondbacks who could all use the pen help as well as spot starter or 5th starter.
- Moving Tallet to the pen is another option to trading him, but it would most likely mean demoting Jeremy Accardo who still has options remaining. Accardo didn’t take well to being in AAA in 2009 and using this option would rock that boat a little more. Besides, the Jays have a multitude of relief arms just waiting to get into the pen at a lesser cost than what Tallet currently costs the Jays.
- Marc Rzepczynski, Jesse Litsch, and Dustin McGowan will all be knocking at the door sometime around mid-season, so the Jays need to look at what needs to be moved in and out. Dana Eveland has definitely proven he belongs in the rotation, possibly as the #3 starter in the rotation, so he’s staying. Ricky Romero and Shaun Marcum are automatically in, so that leaves Brandon Morrow and Brian Tallet as the incumbents. Morrow is much younger and has a higher ceiling, so he should remain unless he continues to slump, in which case he can be sent to the pen.
- Something a lot of people are not talking about yet is the fact that with so many high draft picks in the upcoming draft, the Jays have a small “where do they play, who gets promoted, and who gets released” dilemma on their hands. If players sign quickly after the deadline, they have to play somewhere, right? Therefore, Alex Anthopolous has to clear some space in the minors to allow for them to absorb a ton of young talent and the arrival of Adeiny Hechevarria. With 3B being the only real lack of depth in the minors for the Jays right now, you can bet that a ton of those draft picks will be young arms, so moving guys like Brian Tallet and Jason Frasor needs to be done before they are forced to resort to releasing some half-promising prospects, something the Jays want to hoard, not throw away.
For those reasons and the fact that Tallet may want to play for a team that has a real shot at contending, he should be traded ASAP. Regardless of how you slice, cut, or dice it, he’ll be much more effective in the NL and would never get much better as long as he’s playing for one of the lesser talented AL East teams. I hope I’m right in assuming that Alex is already on the phones trying to find a place for him since he seems to be about 1000 times more proactive than the previous Jays GM. My guess is that he’ll be out of the rotation by mid-May, whether he is traded or not. I just hope he does well wherever he winds up, as he certainly deserves it.