There are 2 days remaining before we kick off workouts and spring training, and also 2 days remaining before we get a real sense of whether Jose Bautista will be a Blue Jays player long-term, or short-term. These are some exciting times! Here are some Jays notes I gathered from around the MLB and Jays sites:
- Baseball America’s Matt Eddy provides us with the 1-8 Feb minor league transactions, of which many were completed by the Jays. I’ll use his information for all of the transactions listed below.
- LHP Chuck Huggins (24) has voluntarily retired and will no longer pitch for the Blue Jays affiliates. A 23rd rd pick of the Jays in the 2008 draft, Chuck had made it as high as AA for a short stint in 2010, and did fairly well in HiA. He held a 3.93 ERA over 137.1 IP, allowed 127 hits, 46 BB, good for a 1.260 whip, and earned 97 Ks in the process. Good luck to him in his next endeavors!
- The Jays resigned LHP Rommie Lewis, and he will undoubtedly compete for a 2011 pen spot with the Jays, but he is more likely to wind up in Las Vegas (AAA).
- The Jays also signed Mike MacDonald, a RP that they had drafted in the 15th rd of the 2004 draft and had brought up through the system through 2008. He pitched in AAA and AA as a reliever for the Angels and the Giants in 2009 and 2010 respectively, but has yet to achieve his ultimate goal of making it to The Show. He pitched in 27 games in 2010, maintaining a 3.90 ERA and 1.388 whip in AA for the Giants. He will likely pitch in New Hampshire (AA) or Las Vegas (AAA) for the Jays this season.
- The Jays made another very interesting signing this week in 2B-3B Craig Stansberry who had previously played for San Diego’s AAA affiliate in Portland. Stansberry will be 29 on opening day, and hasn’t hit more than 10 HR since the 2007 season, when he hit 14. His line in 2010 was .260/.345/.390, and he hit 19 doubles, 1 triple, and 8 HRs. It’s an interesting move because he adds depth in the minors at the same positions played by Brett Lawrie. He’s a definite depth acquisition for the Jays.
- Speaking of depth pieces, the Jays also signed OF Leonard Davis (27) who had last been with the Washington Nationals AA and AAA affiliates in 2010. He has shown more power potential than Stansberry, hitting 20 HRs and 18 doubles in 2010 while also stealing 10 bases. His line overall was .253/.307/.457, but it’s interesting to note that his OBP was better in AAA (.318) than in AA (.275). Another interesting note about Davis is that he played all outfield positions, as well as 2B and 3B in 2010. Davis has been added to the New Hampshire roster, not the Las Vegas roster. This means that at least one of Adam Loewen, Darin Mastroianni, or Eric Thames is likely to begin the season elsewhere, or be part of a crowded outfield which would be unproductive in terms of development.
- The Jays released 24-year old LHP Michael Kelly who pitched for Auburn in 2010. He put up great stats in 2010, a 2.66 ERA over 23.2 IP, allowing 21 hits, only 3 walks, and striking out 25. But, he was fairly old for his playing level.
- For anyone looking for the “issues” that the Jays are facing in 2010, check out Gregor Chisolm’s season preview for the Jays. It does a great job of laying out the questions the Jays are facing and touches them all effectively.
This is the first wave of what will surely be a steady stream of minors transactions for the Jays this spring training. They have added what every team needs, a lot of depth, and it’ll be interesting to see whether any of these players see any playing time in the majors.