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Alex Plays Hardball, Sort Of

Trading season came and went, and the Jays only made 1 minimal move during its last week, acquiring the rights to Mike Jacobs who will provide some depth at 1B and DH.

Here’s a breakdown of what I think of each trade chip and its chances of being around in 2011.

Scott Downs:

The majority of the teams who wanted Scott Downs wanted him cheap. I firmly believe that there was no way Alex Anthopolous was going to take the ball out of his scouting department’s hands by trading him for anything less than 1 top prospect and another high end prospect. He’ll stick around for the remainder of the season to be sure since he’d never pass through waivers, and the chances of a trade being worked out once he is nabbed are slim. Not impossible, but slim.

Jason Frasor:

The Jays apparently did lower their price for Frasor, it was rumoured anyways, and they still found no takers. Teams went with other routes, such as Kerry Wood and Octavio Dotel. Frasor could be a possible August deal since it’s more possible to see injuries force some teams hands and that a deal for 1 prospect would take place, even in a 3-way deal.

Lyle Overbay:

If the Jays fall back far enough, Lyle could be passed through waivers in the hopes that someone will pick up the rest of his salary – something like what happened with Alex Rios last year. The Jays may want to see how well Adam Lind does at 1B and could also give Mike Jacobs a good look for August and September. Doing so would let them know how hard they should search for a replacement at 1B. I expect Lyle to be gone by September at the latest.

Jose Bautista:

I love the fact that they kept him around. Jose rightfully loves playing in Toronto for the fans that organized a “keep Bautista around” petition well before he ever played as he has in 2010. He is a monster in terms of value. Cannon of an arm in RF, can play LF, can play 3B very well, and could even move to 1B if needed. Why not Jose at 1B? He has the perfect power stroke for the position and will only cost the Jays around $6 million in 2011. They can try to work out a deal that will be around a third of what they’d have to pay a FA like Prince Fielder and KNOW that he’s a great clubhouse guy they can count on to make everyone happier and settled in. Keep him, it’s a no lose situation. If he walks after 2011 (doubtful), you nab 2 top picks and still win.

John Buck:

Here’s where things get dicey. Do you, as Jays management, keep Jose Molina or John Buck around for 2011? Both are loved by the current pitching staff, both are great clubhouse guys, and both make minimal salaries. However, John is more likely to be seeking $2.5 million or more in 2011, while Jose Molina will be a cheaper option and won’t mind sitting a little more often than John Buck if needed. I also envision Jose being a better teacher (for some odd reason, although I’m not in the clubhouse, so what do I know?) and if JP Arencibia struggles, he’ll be a settling presence, not a competitive one. So, I do expect the Jays to allow John to walk after this season so that they can nab some draft picks. That’s probably more valuable than anything the Jays would have received in trade for him at the deadline, so it makes sense the Jays kept him around.

Kevin Gregg:

This is one guy I can’t figure out in terms of kept or let go. Kevin would b a fine closer in 2011, so I’ll lean to the Jays keeping him around in 2011. I don’t think they want to throw anyone into the fire, and even if they do pick up some pen guys on the FA market, I’m sure Kevin will do well in set up or 7th inning duties. He’s affordable, and I do believe the Jays gave themselves the options they have so that they could keep him around if he did well. Well, he’s done fair enough, so I expect him to stick around. Other teams most likely thought the price was steep for him and didn’t trust he’d continue his good performance enough to cover his next 2 years.

Summary:

Keep Jose Bautista and Kevin Gregg for 2011; Waive Lyle Overbay; The remainder would be allowed to become FAs – John Buck, Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, with a net return of 5 top draft picks (2 x Type As, 1 x Type B). This would give the Jays a 2011 Draft year with 8 picks in the top 3 rounds and makes for excellent use of their super sized scouting department.

The resolve of Alex Anthopolous was tested this week, and he’s showed all other GMs that he’s willing to play hard ball if needed. I don’t think this is a good or bad thing, but it does give other GMs a profile of Alex and his work practices. He’s no walk over, communicates well enough to work out 3-way deals, knows the value of his players and once he sets it – he sticks by it, and he trusts his scouting department over everything else. What a GM. Even though I would have loved to see some moves made, I’m glad to see he didn’t give up too much for very little.

Topics: Jason Frasor, John Buck, Jose Bautista, Kevin Gregg, Lyle Overbay, Scott Downs

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