The Jays enjoyed the power outburst they put into play last season tremendously. Some players reached new career heights as a result, and others struggled mightily to find their 2009 forms (Lind and Hill). The commercials were as good as I can remember with an endless barrage of big knocks being shown and Jose Bautista enjoyed some MVP nominations as a result of all of the hype. However, if the Jays are going to make real headway in the standings in 2011, they know that they need to make some changes to the lineup. That fact only becomes clearer if rumors are correct that the Red Sox will add Adrian Gonzalez to their lineup without having to deal any major league player. If that’s the case, they’ve essentially subtracted Adrian Beltre in return for Adrian Gonzalez, something I view as a huge upgrade in the lineup.
It scares me a little to imagine what Gonzo could do in Fenway park after seeing him crush the ball in Petco. In 2010, courtesy of Fangraphs, Adrian hit 12 HRs to left field, 6 to CF, and 13 to RF. Petco’s dimensions are 367 feet in LF, 396 feet in CF, and 382 feet in RF, with both the alleys being 402 feet. Down the line, it measures 334 in LF and 322 in RF. Fenway Park is tiny in comparison. It measure 311 feet in LF, 379 feet in “deep” Left Center, 389 in CF, 420 in deep Right Center, and 302 feet in RF. He did hit 20 of his 31 2010 HRs away from home, but the fact that he was able to hit 11 in Petco is outstanding. With a full season in Fenway, in the much better Red Sox lineup and in the AL, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Gonzo knock 40-55 HRs out in 2011, hence the scary thought.
Can the Jays afford to let the Red Sox land Gonzo without making a deal of their own? With the pitching that the Red Sox have on hand and the great lineup that would result from having Gonzo in it, the Jays would be forced to beat both the “soon to buy the best FAs” – apparently Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee if rumors are correct – Yankees, and the much improved Red Sox in order to make the playoffs in 2011. Can they do it without a deal? In short, I seriously doubt it.
The result will be more pressure added on Alex Anthopolous and his team to make a deal of their own. Whether it be for a bat such as Matt Kemp or Prince Fielder, the result has to be a more potent lineup that will challenge the likes of the Red Sox and Yankees more effectively. Anything less is not really worth doing because it doesn’t work to sway the balance of power in the AL East to the advantage of the Jays.
Another interesting point that this trade opens up is the fact that if the deal does in fact leave Heath Bell in San Diego, how long will that be the case? He will surely know that this is a full rebuilding mode move and he will definitely be anxious to move on to a contender. Could the Jays land him more easily with Gonzo dealt? I would say that it is the case, particularly with Bobby Jenks and other closers still on the FA market.
Alex Anthopolous will feel the heat over the winter meetings due to this deal, but it’s nothing he’s new to. He entered the last session with a certain Doctor in his back pocket and made it through that tough period, so I’m sure he has a firm game plan and will react according to what’s best for the Jays. However, with the Gonzo deal soon to go through and become official, I would double the already high odds of a major deal happening at this point between the Jays and another club.
As a result of this event, I have posted the new poll which asks the following:
“Who Will The Jays Acquire Through Trade Before Christmas, if Anyone?”
Make your opinion heard and enjoy the possibilities!