As you’ve likely read at some point, the Jays finally revealed their highly knowledgeable 2011 coaching staff today. It was monumental that the Jays held onto Bruce Walton, Brian Butterfield and Dwayne Murphy, but the additions of Don Wakamatsu, Torey Lovullo, and Pat Hengten superbly round out the staff. It should make for a great atmosphere for the players to ask questions and grow even more in 2011.
Newly appointed bench coach Don Wakamatsu will not be blocked though should he get the nod for the New York Mets managerial position, but here’s to hoping he sticks with the Jays in 2011 and beyond, mainly because of his experience as a catcher to help J.P. Arencibia develop and as a Major League manager to give John Farrell constant quality feedback. On to the non-tenders…
Edwin Encarnacion – Encarnacion, evidently the “throw in” portion of the Scott Rolen trade with the Reds, really did a sufficient job as the Jays third baseman considering the Jays were lacking options at the hot corner. He endured constant criticism for his fielding throughout his tenure with the Jays and adopted the nickname E5, which was unfortunate considering he was popular with teammates in the clubhouse, had a great attitude going back to the minors, and he was one of the nicer players when I saw the Jays before games during their interleague series in San Diego in June. While, according to Fangraphs and UZR/150, Encarnacion had his best fielding season of his career, he did commit 18 errors in 95 games, which was the highest on the team.
Offensively, Encarnacion put together a .244/.305/.482 line in 96 games in 2010, and showed more patience at the plate with 60 Ks, tying his career low for Ks in a season. He is in his final year of arbitration, and the reason he is making a case for a raise (which he will likely get) from the $4.75M he made in 2010 is because of his power potential. This season marked only the 2nd time in his career he’s topped the 20 homer mark, hitting 21 dingers to go along with 51 RBIs. This was all boosted by his scorching end to the season, where he went 8-for-19 (.471) with 5 HR and 10 RBI in his final 5 games of 2010.
As Alex Anthopoulos put it, it’s a matter of value. With Encarnacion likely to get up to $6M through arbitration, the Jays will likely non-tender him and look for an upgrade for 2011 in the offseason . On the bright side, at least Buck won’t have any more issues calling Encarnacion’s name during broadcasts, though.
Fred Lewis – Before having season ending surgery near the end of September for a bunion on his left foot, Lewis posted a .262/.332/.414 line in 110 games. His 2010 numbers fell just short of his career averages, and he is arbitration eligible for the first time in his career, where he is likely due a raise from the $455,000 he made this year. While he did manage to establish a career high in doubles with 31, show some power hitting 8 leadoff homers, and go 17-for-23 in stolen base attempts in 2010, there’s just no room for him. We all remember his hot start when he first came over from San Francisco, and the swagger he brought, being picked up for absolutely nothing in another great move by Anthopoulos. Once Snider came back up from the minors, however, Lewis wasn’t exactly the same player.
His production plummeted once he shifted out of an everyday role, playing just 26 games in August and September to post a .202 average with only one home run and 6 RBIs. He has been quoted in the offseason as saying that he is an everyday player, and it is hard to imagine him changing that attitude to sign on to being a fourth (or even fifth) outfielder with the Jays in 2011. His career UZR/150 of -2.6 and sometimes questionable decisions in the outfield make him somewhat of a defensive liability. Should the Jays want to bring somebody back from 2010 as a fourth outfielder, they already have a better defensive candidate in Dewayne Wise. Freddy Lew will pursue playing time with another club in 2011 after he’s likely non-tendered by the Jays this off-season.
Dewayne Wise – Signed as a free agent in June, the former 1999 Rule 5 pick of the Jays did a decent job in his second stint with the club. In 52 games, Wise posted a .250/.282/.393 line, with 3hr 14rbis and 4/4 in stolen base attempts. His 2010 line was higher than his career norms, and his .250 batting average was actually a career high. He’s not exactly an offensive powerhouse, but his career UZR/150 of 8.4, upbeat personality, and open willingness to be a backup outfielder make him a 2011 possibility. Wise’s situation really just depends on whether Bautista plays RF or 3B, and any moves AA decides to make in the offseason.