As we hosted our first chat of the offseason on Sunday, a lot of great points were brought up and things really picked up in the second hour. I wound up extending the chat as a result of the positive response, and we’ll definitely do another one soon since time just flew by and it was a lot of fun.
While a few of the more major points will be brought up in future standalone articles, here’s a rundown of some of the other topics that surfaced with some extra thoughts on them as well.
Over the summer, the Jays signed a total of eight Latin American prospects to free agent contracts. They started the signing frenzy in July with 16-year-old infielder Dawel Lugo, who Baseball America says is one of the better hitters in Latin America and has a solid swing with good bat speed. After signing Lugo for $1.3 million, the Jays inked seven more international prospects at the end of August. Headlined by 16-year-olds Roberto Osuna and Wilmer Becerra, the Jays signed two Venezuelans in Jeses Gonzalez and Manuel Cordova while adding three pitchers from the Dominican Republic in Alberto Tirado, Yeyfry Del Rosario, and Jairo Labourt.
The Jays ended up signing five of the top 33 Latin American prospects according to Baseball America, and three of the top 6 in Osuna, Becerra, and Lugo. We’ll have more information on all eight players soon on our international signings page.
Trading for Gordon Beckham
While it’s completely unknown as to whether or not the White Sox would be interested in trading Beckham, their first round pick in 2008, he would be an intriguing trade option for Anthopoulos, who has apparently shown interest in the Georgia native before. Beckham’s certainly a buy-low candidate (his .230 average and .633 OPS in 150 games this past season are far from eye-popping) but he did just turn 25 in September and is only two years removed from an impressive rookie campaign in 2009 where he hit .270 with 28 doubles, 14 home runs, and an .808 OPS. Even though it appears that Kelly Johnson is the favorite to man second base next season for the Jays, Beckham would be an interesting Plan B.
Trading for Jay Bruce
This one seemed to come out of nowhere, and surely the Jays would love to obtain a guy like Bruce to round out the outfield with Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista. The reality, though, is that there’s absolutely no chance of it happening.
Having just completed the first year of his six-year/$51 million contract, Bruce finished the year with a .256/.341/.474 slash line in 157 games this past season as a 24-year-old. He has increased his home run, RBI, and walk totals in each of his four Major League seasons and has 40 home run potential as he ventures into his mid-twenties.
A common topic of discussion in the chat was the Jays’ closer next season, with names like Matt Capps, Joel Carreno, and Jonathan Papelbon being brought up. Joe Nathan, who we touched on in October, was also mentioned, and there was also discussion about grooming the Jays’ potential closer of the future in a setup role next season while signing a veteran to hold down the ninth inning.
Trading for Ryan Dempster
Another unexpected suggestion, Dempster represents an innings-eating starter that the Jays could acquire via trade. Anthopoulos probably wants to keep his team’s starting rotation young, so it’s unlikely that the Jays would even consider the Canadian 34-year-old given the lack of room for back-end rotation additions right now. Dempster has, however, tossed at least 200 innings in each of the last four seasons and his ground ball rate would fare well at Rogers Centre, but he’s far from the pitcher that he was in 2008.
Also, a few people asked when I’m going to be starting our top 50 prospects list, and the answer is hopefully December 1!