Alex Anthopolous is not only putting to shame all of the years JP Ricciardi put to “work” during his tenure in terms of the quality players he’s bringing into the clubhouse, but he’s also doing his best to ensure all of them are happy and comfortable when they get to Toronto. In Yunel Escobar‘s case, it meant that Alex needed to ask Jose Bautista for help in getting the newest Jays SS comfortable in the clubhouse, and he apparently loved the fact that the Jays asked him to do so. He told Jordan Bastien in that article that he would love to stay in Toronto long term, but that he also understands that it is a business.
Jose must also realize that his value on the trade market has never been higher, and could also realize that when Adeiny Hechavarria is called up at some point in 2011 – and he will be – the very man he is helping “get comfortable” may be taking the one spot he could grab long term in the lineup, 3B. The Jays don’t really have any alternative but to move one of Adam Lind or Jose Bautista, and guess what – they have Adam signed for many years and his trade value is low, so I don’t think he’ll be the one moving. I say they have to move Jose Bautista because if they don’t, they’ll need to keep Travis Snider in the minors until they can find a spot for him in the lineup. He isn’t exactly the kind of guy you want sitting on the bench. For now, he’s been assigned to AA until he gets his timing back and moves are made. But, make no doubt about it, Alex Anthopolous is fielding calls about Jose Bautista from the LA Dodgers, the LA Angels, the Padres, and even the Cards who all need that 1 extra bat to make their run to the playoffs a little more potent.
At this point, the list above is my best guess as to where Jose will land. What is murky to me now is what kind of returns Alex will get or ask for in return. What can you get for a 1 year wonder who plays 3B, some SS, and lots of OF and leads MLB in HRs? I’m not sure, and the truth is that the Jays have no glaring needs other than depth and higher quality guys.
Here’s my prediction for each squad’s returns “if” the Jays decide to deal Bautista:
- From the Dodgers: SP Ethan Martin and OF Trayvon Robinson
- From the Angels: Brandon Wood and a decent 2B/OF/SP prospect or two (2B Alexi Amarista, OF Randall Grichuck, or SP Jordan Walden types)
- From the Padres: OF Everett Williams and SP/RP Wynn Pelzer
- From the Cards: they have Felipe Lopez playing 3B, so they have the biggest need. Therefore, I say a package of 3 prospects – Allan Craig, Shelby Miller, and Daryle Jones will all go to the Jays in return for Bautista, Jason Frasor, and Jesse Litsch. This is the same team that traded Brett Wallace for year of Matt Holliday, so we know they’re a win now type of club. They have needs in SP behind their big 3 and some pen help, as well as a good 3B. This fills all needs and gives AA exactly what he wants to add to the Jays, top notch talent that is young and controllable long term.
Only 1 deal can be made, so obviously I’m wrong at least 3 times – maybe all wrong – but that’s what I can envision from where we sit today. The Jays could simply keep Jose around next year, but to what end? Wait until he slumps and reduce his playing time while paying him more and having little trade value? Keeping younger players with higher ceiling on the bench? I doubt it. I see a deal coming, and it’s coming quickly.