Poll Review: Favorite Jays 3B Targets

The poll results for the most recent question “Who is your favorite 3B target for the Jays should they trade for one?” are very interesting – more so than the previous poll outcome. Not only did they continuously change as the poll remained up, but they also altered slightly based on the performance of each player (I’m guessing here, but it stands to reason that Alex Gordon’s hot streak in AAA had something to do with his being the top choice – as well as probable ease of acquisition).

The results are as follows:

  1. Alex Gordon – KC (30%, 44 Votes)
  2. Casey McGehee – MLW (18%, 26 Votes)
  3. Aramis Ramirez – CHC (14%, 20 Votes)
  4. Jorge Cantu – FLA (11%, 16 Votes)
  5. Brandon Wood – LAA (10%, 15 Votes)
  6. Other (7%, 11 Votes)
  7. Chris Davis – TEX (5%, 8 Votes)
  8. Andy LaRoche – PIT (5%, 8 Votes)

Here is a review of the picks, with my ranking in brackets:

1. Alex Gordon (2):

For those who may not be aware, Alex Gordon has been on a tear since he was demoted to AAA. The big Royal has a .361 average to go along with 10 doubles, a triple, 9 HRs, 5 SBs, and a .561 OBP. He’s in top form, and since he plays for the Royals and is not named Butler or Greinke, he is very attainable. I love the fact that fans identified this and put him at the top of this list. It shows that they’re aware of the minors and know his potential is much higher than what he’s shown in MLB thus far. He is definitely one of my top 3 choices if what the Jays want at 3B is a long term fix. The problem is that he’s been playing in the OF in AAA and nobody knows if that is linked to his hot bat. What if the Jays acquire him, put him back at 3B and he slumps long term? I still like him as an acquisition because he may cost the Jays 1 arm and a prospect – something the jays can afford at this point. Something like Jesse Litsch and a AA or lower prospect could work.

2. Casey McGehee (3):

The most versatile of all players listed in this poll in terms of defensive play, Casey has been able to avoid a sophomore slump of any sort. That’s a good and a bad thing. It’s good because it shows that his 2009 season was no fluke and that he needs to be recognized as one of the best up-and-coming 3B in MLB at this point. It’s bad because it drives up the asking price of the Brewers in trade talks and may make him untouchable. His bat is an integral part of the Brewers lineup, he’s cheap, and if the Brewers ever do decide that they can’t afford Prince Fielder, they’ll need every single bat they can get into their lineup. However, with Corey Hart starting to prove he can knock the ball around and Matt Gamel expected to become the 3B of the future for the Brewers – not to mention they’re desperate need for arms in the pen and rotation – the Brewers still match up quite well with the Jays in trade talks. I’m not sure exactly what would work here, but chances are the Brewers would need a minimum of 1 SP and 1 RP to go along with a prospect or two depending on who was heading over. He’s also one of my top 3, so you guys did an excellent job voting up the guys I like most!

3. Aramis Ramirez (5):

The most costly acquisition for the Jays would be Aramis, no question. But, he would also be the most prolific of the group in terms of potential impact and proven track record. I’ve heard some people talk about the name of players in a lineup also having an impact on the mental state of mind of opposing pitchers when they look at a lineup. Well, I would argue that none on this list would intimidate opposing pitchers in the AL more than Ramirez, even with his slump extending well into the season. The problem with acquiring Ramirez is that he’ll cost the Jays way too much in terms of youthful talent to make his acquisition worthwhile. Unless the Jays are at the top of the AL East or within 2 games come the end of July, I can’t see Alex Anthopoulos giving up what would be required to get him on board. That would be amplified if the Cubs are competitive at all. Personally, I’m not so sure that Aramis would be a great fit for the youth movement in Toronto and that he would fit in easily there after spending his entire career in Chicago. He was 5th on my list also because he’s a short term option that the Jays would not to “afford” in the near future.

4. Jorge Cantu (4):

Mr. under rater, that’s what I call Jorge. Every since he slumped after his blow out year in 2005  when he was 23 and hit 28 HRs for Tampa Bay, fans have been skeptical of his abilities. The truth is that he is a clutch hitter who drives in RBIs at an above-average pace. He doesn’t have prolific power at 3B, something I wish the Jays could get at the hot corner, but the reality is that there are no prolific HR hitters who play 3B that are – or ever would be – available in MLB. the Mets are not trading David Wright, the Rays are not trading Evan Longoria, ect.. So, knowing this, Cantu makes a whole lot of sense for the Jays at 3B for the medium term. He hits well anywhere in the lineup, hits a ton of doubles which puts him high up there on the extra base hit list, and has average OBP and SLG levels overall. He would also be fairly cheap to acquire since the Marlins are always looking to dump a little bit of salary. He would cost a lot less than Dan Uggla in trade, someone who is also expected to cover 3B if the Marlins move Cantu. Unfortunately for the Jays, the Marlins have been able to add some pitchers that make their situation less problematic than the one face by the Brewers, so acquiring him may be a little tricky, but still manageable.

5. Brandon Wood (1):

Mr. Minor Leagues. One of the, if not the best defensive 3B on this list, this guy has the potential to be one of the premier 3B in all of MLB. Whatever the Angels are trying to do with him, most likely at the request of skipper Mike Scoscia, it’s simply not working. Whatever they are asking him to do in AAA, it is working. It’s not all about the pitching he’s facing or the stress level, it’s about the approach he takes at the plate based on what he’s asked to do by the coaching staff. Whether it’s taking a pitch with 2 balls and no strikes, or allowing him to swing when he recognizes certain pitches, there’s something that the Angels are doing to this guy that isn’t allowing him to perform. The Jays, meanwhile, have asked every single hitter to hurt the ball whenever possible. See it, hit it. It’s that simple in Toronto and I firmly believe that a change in scenery and that new free swinging approach would do wonders for Brandon’s career. He could feasibly hit 40 Hrs for the Jays if acquired, even if he does strike out 200 times. Does anyone care that Mark Reynolds is breaking strike out records in Arizona? No, they only notice the fact that he hits HRs at an alarming pace with 44 in 2009. Also in Brandon’s favor is that the Angels are tired of his output, have a huge lack of offense right now, and also need some help at other positions. The Jays could offer up someone like Edwin Encarnacion, Lyle Overbay (the Morales injury opens the door here), and a reliever in return for Wood. I think it’s very doable, could have the biggest impact long term for the Jays, and because it doesn’t cost the Jays much youth it is my top pick at 3B for the Jays to acquire this season.

6. Others:

These guys could be anyone’s guess and I’d be interested in hearing who in the comments of this post if you get a chance. My best guesses are Dan Uggla and Mark Reynolds, but I could be missing someone.

7 – 8. Chris Davis (6) and Andy Laroche (7) respectively.

Davis very much resembles Brandon Wood, although his D is lacking in comparison. The Rangers know Michael Young won’t be around forever and may not want to part easily with Chris as a result. He has similar potential to Brandon Wood in terms of power, but may hit for better average once he gets it together. Chris may be harder to get because he hasn’t had as many chances to perform as Brandon and because Texas can’t take on salary while they’re going through their ownership change over (an eternal change). Andy Laroche simply isn’t enough of an impact bat for the Jays to give up much for. they already have better options in house in Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, so I’m not sure he makes much sense.

Of note is the fact that the Jays may want to simply stand pat. They just promoted Brad Emaus to AAA for AA and he plays 3B very well. If he can translate his spring training and AA successes into AAA and MLB, he could be a good internal option over the short-to-medium term, along with Edwin and Jose. Therefore, a trade for a 3B is no guarantee, but it is fun to wonder and ponder, isn’t it?

That does it for this poll. Thanks to all who voted and the new poll is going up now and centers around the upcoming MLB Draft that will go on from the 7th to the 9th of June.

Topics: Brad Emaus, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista

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  • Keith

    I don’t see the jays making any moves for a 3rd baseman simply because they don’t have anywhere to play Travis Snider and any 3rd base move would further impact getting Travis into the lineup every day.
    IMO Travis has greater upside from a hitting perspective than anyone on this list. So I see the Jays trying to move EE, putting Jose at 3rd everyday and getting Travis back into Right when he’s healthy. The nice part of this is they may be able to pick up a decent pick in next years deep draft if they eat some/ all of EE’s salary.

  • http://jaysjournal.com Mat Germain

    Thanks for the thoughts Keith and there’s a ton of validity to everything you said. I was merely looking for a long term option at 3B, and therein lies the issue. Jose Bautista is a FA after 2010 – so how much do you pay him? And more importantly, how much will others be willing to pay him? I know he’s loved his time in TO, so he very well may stay in Toronto, but there’s something to be said for thinking that he may have a harder time repeating his power output in 2011 and beyond, when all teams will be focused on shutting him down. He could match his output, I’m not saying he won’t, but it’s a huge risk to take on for the raise and years he may demand after this season – a career year to be sure.

    I know they’ll move EE, I’m just not sure when and for what. It all depends on who they deal along with him, if anyone.

    My overall thoughts are that if they land a top notch college 3B in the upcoming draft, or even a high school 3B that projects to stay there, they may do as you said Keith and try to maintain the team with what they have in house – Jose, EE, Brad Emaus, or eventually John Tolisano until that player is ready for the show. However, if they miss on a big time 3B somewhere in the draft, I fully expect AA to make that his #1 priority and to make a trade happen before the deadline. Just my opinion! Besides, he’s got to deal Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, and Lyle Overbay for something….right?

  • Keith

    Hey Matt,

    You have some valid points, but I don’t think Jose is a FA after this year. I think he is just arbitration eligible and the Jays will offer arbitration. I’m no Jose fan, but in terms of a long term solution at 3rd, I would see the Jays keeping him until he is a FA (which is after 2012) and in this or next years draft signing a high ceiling 3rd baseman.

    My logic then is as follows:
    1 – As long as the Jays have access to Jose’s bat (through 2012), I would see him in the line up.
    2 – The Jay need to see what they actually have in Travis Snider. I think we both agree that what they have is a future #4 or 5 hitter.
    3 – any sign or trade for those on your list would cost this organization prospects. weather those prospects are future draft picks (signing) or are current prospects who would need to be included in any trade. This is in contrary to Alex’s stated goal.

    Thus signing/ trading for a major league ready 3rd baseman does not really make sense from long term strategy for the organization. Unless AA can fleece the Angels like he did the Giants.

    As far as dealing Frasor, Downs and Overbay. AA does not HAVE to deal them. This is a myth being perpetuated by the media. My reason is that we should get compensation round draft picks for each of those 3, from wherever they sign. This pick may actually be better in terms of long term ceiling than what the Jays may get in a trade. AA must evaluate the opportunity cost of the future draft pick vs. what he is getting for them. Keeping in mind that neither of the 3 are doing him any favours with their sub par seasons so far.

    I’m happy we have AA making these decisions and not JP.