Anthony Gose - Future G.Sizemore or B.Upton?

The deal completed by the Jays for Anthony Gose, acquired from Houston in return for Brett Wallace, is the first deal made by Alex Anthopolous that has me scratching my head. I understand that he is dealing for the highest ceiling players and that this is not an entirely lop-sided deal, but I felt like Brett Wallace was the answer at 1B and that he was going to help the Jays in 2011. Now, with Anthony on board, the Jays can only expect him to arrive in 2012 at the earliest, and will still be paying Vernon Wells $21 million per season for Gose’s first 3 seasons in the majors, making me believe that he’ll either be blocked or that Wells will move to RF or LF.

First and foremost, let’s look at 1B for the Jays in 2011. Adam Lind has been working out there, and there’s also the chance that the Jays will acquire a 1B in a deal this season or this off-season, so it’s feasible that Pablo Sandoval or Prince Fielder will be the bat of choice for the Jays. I entirely believe that as the season progressed in AAA, the Jays realized that what they got for Michael Taylor in Brett Wallace was really Lyle Overbay 2.0. What do I mean by that? Well, he’s going to get the same power numbers as Lyle does in terms of doubles and HRs in the majors, but will play lesser D while giving you a much better average and OBP. I truly believe the Jays want power from the 1B position, so Brett didn’t fit that mould perfectly. Sandoval and Fielder would, however, and I think the Jays are willing to pay the price to get them on board.

Second, the outfield is the implication here. With Jake Marisnick playing in the GCL and promising to be a very talented 5-tool player, and Eric Thames driving in runs like a mad man in AA (81 RBIs so far in 2010, already tied for the NH record), the Jays have 2 very nice OF prospects. However, only Darin Mastroianni and Kenny Wilson fit the mould of a centre fielder, and neither offers a power-speed combo, only one or the other. I think the Jays want a CF that can give them above average performances in all aspects of the game. Gose “projects” to provide the following skills:

  • Above average speed;
  • Enough power for 15-20 HRs per season;
  • Gold-glove calibre D; and
  • A great makeup and attitude that make him a great team mate and clubhouse addition.

That’s what I like about this trade. They may have dealt a slightly above average 1B, but they can fill that void much more easily than getting a gold-glove CF with power and speed.

The part I don’t like about this deal is the word “projects”, because so often teams have been disappointed because a player does not fulfil his potential. We knew what we were going to get from Brett Wallace. Average D at 1B, 15-20 HRs (slightly below average power for 1B), a .290-.300 average and a .350-.370 OBP. With Anthony, the power could never arrive, which would mean that we gave up Wallace for a player that hits as well as and has less speed than Michael Bourn in Houston. I’m not so sure I’m comfortable with that deal.

But, here’s the kicker. A long time ago, in 2002, my team – les Expos – trade Grady Sizemore to Cleveland in a year that had him hit only 3 HRs and steal 23 bases. He stands at 6’2″ 200 lbs, was 19 at the time of the trade playing in HiA (as Anthony is) and is probably known to be one of the, if not the, best CFers in all of MLB. Anthony Gose, 6’1″ 190 lbs at only 19 years of age, has his kind of upside with much more speed. Last season, he was able to steal 76 bases and hit 2 HRs. This year, he has already hit 4 HRs and stolen 37 bases. Some may say – but he was caught so many times (20 times in 2009 and 27 times in 2010) – but I say he’s only 19 and is going to be 20 in August, so give him a chance to learn how to steal. The phenomenal speed is there, no doubt about it, he just needs experience.

One thing Anthony will have over every other CFer that makes him a potential gold-glover is one of the best outfield arms in all of the minors. Anthony was a pitcher as well as an outfielder when he was younger, explaining the strength he has in his arm. Due to his arm strength, many had projected him as a possibility in RF, but with his speed there is no doubt he belongs in CF. Make no mistake about it, when Gose is ready Vernon Wells will be moving, whether it be to another team, RF, or LF.

It is possible that Gose’s power will never develop and that his ceiling will be similar to that of BJ Upton’s minus the big year he had as a rookie. Would that really be that bad though? I’m fairly certain most teams would like to have BJ on board, despite the knowledge that he could be so much better. So the floor of Gose’s potential is fairly high as well, even if the risk exists, which makes this transaction easier to understand.

Like I said before, it’s still possible the Jays will land a huge bat at 1B. It could be Carlos Pena, or they could hope Mike Jacobs turns his career around. But, there are also opportunities that some in the Jays systems will grow into the role. Michael McDade, David Cooper, and Lance Durham could all turn out to be the impact bat the Jays seek at 1B. You just never know. Add to that the fact that almost any player can be converted in a 1B, and it’s not exactly the hardest hole to fill. A gold-glove speed demon with power to play CF, however, is pretty hard (or expensive) to find.

That’s why I approve of this deal despite my questioning the projection side of things. Adam Lind can easily man 1B adequately and although I would have liked to see how well Wallace did in The Show before dealing him, doing so would have been risky because it could have eroded all of his trade value. I give this deal a thumbs up, but still look forward to seeing how the Jays fill the 1B power bat void it has created.

Tags: Anthony Gose David Cooper Michael McDade

  • Matt P

    I posted this question on the other article but ill ask again: Where does Brian Dopirak fit into all of this? I haven’t seen him playing down at AAA for a few weeks now, and i remember a quote from spring training by a Jays coach saying this guy has Major league talent and make-up.

    Also, i find there to be no chance the Jays trade for Prince before the deadline; Brewers are already reluctant to trade him, and what do you have to give up, Arencibia?!

  • Mat Germain

    Prince was a shot in the dark, and the price would have been set by Milwaukee. Something like Adam Lind, Kevin Gregg, and 2 prospects may have done it, but I have no clue as to what they need in their organization depth.

    I do believe the Jays are going to look at both Adam Lind and Jose Bautista at 1B, just to see how they fit.

    As for Dopirak, all I know is that he’s on the DL in AAA because I don’t get the press releases from Vegas, only LoA to AA. I can tell you that he wasn’t playing very often at 1B due to Brett Wallace’s presence with the club and will now have to contend with Mike Jacobs, so his luck is pretty hard. He plays average D, and his OBP is .309 this season over 339 ABs – not exactly stats that scream “call me up coach”! He would have needed to keep up all of his stats to get the call over Wallace. However, having said that, I don’t see much difference (other than experience) between Jacobs and Dopirak, so I expect that he could get a look if he gets lucky and healthy between now and September. The Jays may want David Cooper in AAA and Michael McDade in AA at some point this season, so that makes some sense.

    I don’t expect Dopirak to be a factor, but he does have the power and skills to surprise.

  • Mylegacy

    Mat – If everything goes NEAR to what might happen: I see through my little glass ball – a guy with Barfield’s arm, Devo’s defense in CF, and half of Henderson’s stolen bases and power.

    The guy could be a fringe Hall of Famer.

    Porky – er Wallace – was and will be what he is – a potential 300+ hitting 1st baseman with a peak year of 32 homers but mostly around 20 and just a tad above fringe defense – if that. He’s replaceable – Gose has a chance to be very special and as AA has said you can’t wait for it all to come together – by then you couldn’t afford to trade for his jock straps.

    This is AA’s FIRST big exercise of his scouting judgment – I’m delighted he’s confident enough to take it.

    • Mat Germain

      Entirely agree Mylegacy, and although I was seriously taken aback at first because I had never heard of Gose much during the Doc deal and therefore thought he wasn’t that great (jumped to conclusion, bad, bad) once I read all about him I immediately knew it was the right deal for the Jays. Can’t wait to see how he does above AA.

  • John

    You state; “I truly believe the Jays want power from the 1B position…Sandoval and Fielder would [provide that] and I think the Jays are willing to pay the price to get them on board.”

    “…And then I woke up.”

    The Jays are clearly spending mucho dollars and going the prospects route. You MAY see them go for a high priced free agent in 2012 or 2013, but only when it is determined that they are one player short of a championship team.

    THEY DO NOT HAVE THE BUDGET FOR FREE AGENTS AS LONG AS VERNON WELLS IS ON THE ROSTER PULLING DOWN AN OBSCENE $24,000,000.00 PER ANNUM. Any talk of the free agent route under the current fiscal conditions is Ricciardi scatterbrain talk, not Anthopoulos/Gillick mastermind talk.

    Your comments thus marginalize your credibility in this area as nothing more than a fan engaging in wishful thinking.