I last wrote about Fred Lewis and stated that hos getting hot could have a major impact for the Jays, well he continued the trend today with a 3-run HR, a BB, and a SB – giving the Jays a little bit of everything at the top of the lineup. The Jays got another quality start from Shaun Marcum who got his “earned 3 times” first win of the season. However, I wanted to focus on the excellent work of Alex Gonzalez who hit his 8th HR of the year in the game.
The Jays signed Gonzalez for $2.75 million prior to the season and hold a $2.5 million option on him for 2011. The option is key, because it provides the Jays more leverage in trade talks because Alex can be viewed as being signed through 2011 at a very decent rate – should the Jays decide to go down that road. What was the other option the Jays had – re-signing Marco Scutaro who had an above-average season in 2009 by his standards. Comparison of the two players so far:
Marco Scutaro Hitting – 94 AB/ 27 hits/ 3 doubles/ 2 HR/ 7 RBI/ 1 SB/ 9 BB/ 11 SO/ .287/ .362 OBP/ .383 SLG
Marco Scutaro Fielding – 3 errors, 14 double plays turned, .969 fielding percentage
Alex Gonzalez Hitting – 101 AB/ 28 hits/ 10 doubles/ 1 triple/ 8 HRs/ 20 RBI/ 3 BB/ 26 SO/ .277/ .305 OBP/ .604 SLG
Alex Gonzalez Fielding – 4 errors, 21 double plays turned, .967 fielding percentage
What does this tell us? Well, it tells us that the Jays are getting the opposite but just as effective output from Alex Gonzalez as they would have gotten from Marco Scutaro. By opposite I mean that while Scutaro works counts and gets on base in order to be an effective lead off type player, Alex prides himself on power and hurting opposing pitchers early on in the count. Which is better? Well, you have to go with Gonzalez right now because his extra base hit output of 18% is just way too high to ignore in comparison to Marco’s meager 5%. Will that regress? Possibly, but not the major difference between the two – I believe this is exactly the type of player each one wants to be, so their focus offensively will remain the same.
As for the defensive side of things, both players have had minor issues and have been equally effective as SS. However, I do expect Alex to outperform Marco in the long run, making him both a winner in terms of offensive and defensive outputs.
What does this mean for the Jays? It means that they are getting stronger output at the SS position than they have had for a very long time. Remember the ’09 season, when fans were chatting up how great Marco was just because he did something….well, that was because they were so used to having nothing from the position that they were starved for output from him. Alex bring the Jays up a notch at the SS position, while I would argue that John Buck does the same at the C position….so does this mean that the Jays are much better offensively in 2010 than they were in 2009? Definitely. The only regressing player so far has been Aaron Hill and he had 3 hits today, so he is taking form once again – a very good thing for the Jays and their pitchers.
Alex has made the Jays a whole lot better this year and could wind up being a huge trade chip if the price is right. To review the moves Alex Anthopolous made in bringing in Alex Gonzalez:
- He outbid the Red Sox who had asked Alex to remain in holding pattern while they tried to decide what to do at the position – so AA essentially stole Gonzalez from the Red Sox – good stuff!
- The Jays got the 34th pick and 80th pick in the 2010 draft when the Red Sox, fresh from having Alex Gonzalez taken away from them, signed Marco Scutaro to for close to double Alex Gonzalez’s salary – $5 million per year through 2011 and a $6 million 2011 club option/ $3 million player option or $1.5 million buyout. Not only did this cost the Red Sox more money, but it forced them to commit to a longer contract and to commit to using Marco at SS even if he struggles – a win, win, win situation for the Jays and other AL East teams. The Jays now get to select to top notch prospects, can use Alex Gonzalez as a trade chip much more easily than Boston can use Marco Scutaro who has little trade value at his rate and output.
- On top of all of this, the Jays have been getting better output from Alex than the Red Sox have gotten from Marco Scutaro.
Moral of the list above – Alex Anthoplous did everything right in allowing Marco Scutaro to go, forcing the hand of the Red Sox, and reaping all of the benefits in the proceedings. What a great GM, and what a change for Jays fans!!