It’s a busy day in the Jays world and in Alex Anthopolous’s office as he gears up his chase for reliever and now a third baseman or outfielder. As he has said in the past, it’s a luxury to have Jose Bautista as a backup plan at 3B and he may very well be forced to use him there now that Edwin Encarnacion has officially been claimed off waivers by the Oakland A’s. The Jays don’t get anything in return for Edwin, but it was unlikely that they could and he was a non-tender candidate due to the size of his pending contract. The hierarchy of 3B in Jays world now stands as follows:
Jose Bautista, John McDonald, Brad Emaus, Shawn Bowman (MLFA), John Tolisano, and Balbino Fuenmayor.
Only the first 3 stand a chance of seeing action at 3B, while Yunel Escobar and Aaron Hill could shift over if acquisitions or promotions at 2B/SS warranted such a move to be made. In any case, although it’s something Alex will look to address this off season, you can see from the list above that it’s nowhere as critical a worry to the Jays as the Bullpen currently is.
Speaking of the pen, Brian Tallet decided to become a FA and to test the market. All I can say is thank goodness for that. I don’t need to bring in anything more than his over 6 ERA to let everyone know his contract and performance levels did not match. I never understood why he was used as often as he was against both lefties and righties, and I was clearly hoping he would be replaced for the 2011 season. Brian’s a great guy and I hope for his sake that he lands well on his feet on a National League team such as the Mets or Nationals, 2 teams that could use a lefty specialist, long-relief man, spot starter in the Tallet mold.The bad part of this move is that the Jays won’t get any compensation for losing Tallet, but it was doubtful that they’d offer him arbitration anyhow.
Dewayne Wise was a true professional during his short stay with the Jays but the writing was on the wall that the Jays were going to seek a better option off the bench for the 2011 season. Fred Lewis, if he accepts the role, could be that candidate, while I would rather see Darin Mastroianni take the role on to inject some youth and speed into the Jays lineup. Eric Thames would be another internal candidate, while the FA market and trades could also fill the void. If Alex Gordon is acquired from the Royals as reportedly possible, he could also slot in as a super utility player since he can play LF, RF, 1B and 3B.
These 3 moves were somewhat expected as it was evident that the Jays would not retain any of these players. I wish them well in 2011 and beyond and can’t wait to see what comes next now that Alex’s options at 3B have become more limited.