Carlos Delgado was the mainstay in the Jays offense for many years, may be the best 1B to ever play for the Jays along with John Olerud, and is looking for a place to play in 2010. While reports from his first two games in Puerto Rico are mixed, he has had some success, hitting a home run in his second game. The Mets are reportedly not impressed with how well Carlos is moving, but there’s a difference to how the Mets would use Carlos and how the Jays would use him.
Before I get into that, what can Carlos offer the Jays? He’ll be 38 in June, is coming off an injury plagued season, and managed less than 100 AB as a result. What he can offer is leadership, a feel good story for fans to watch that would be similar to Ken Griffey returning to Seattle, and it would also take some pressure off Vernon Wells because Carlos would demand a decent amount of media coverage. I would also add that it was just in 2008 that Carlos was able to hit 38 HRs, so a return to form in the range of 25-30 HRs is not entirely out of the question.
The dilemma is what to do with Lyle Overbay? Well, they could revisit the Chris Snyder trade and hope he returns to health, or ask for different players from Arizona who are clearly interested in Lyle Overbay. With Aubrey Huff and Troy Glaus signing, Seattle getting Kotchman, and Laroche demanding too much money, Overbay could be Arizona‘s best bet. What about a Lyle Overbay and Scott Downs for Gerardo Parra and Chris Snyder trade? Eric Byrnes is coming off injury and has no real place to play with Justin Upton, Chris Young, and Connor Jackson manning the OF in Arizona and Gerardo Parra coming on strong as a 4th OFer. The Jays could take Byrnes on instead, but salaries would have to be weighed and it wouldn’t fit the Jays youth drive – while also disregarding the fact that both guys the Jays would get are huge injury risks. In any case, it was just a quick thought. Baltimore, the Mets, and even Florida could be destinations for Lyle. I added Florida because I believe they could be open to taking Lyle, prospects and cash on in return for Dan Uggla.
The Jays also have Brian Dopirak and Randy Ruiz who clearly deserve a shot to make the roster. However, unlike Delgado, they would keep the spotlight mainly focus on Vernon Wells. If the team under performs with Carlos on board, he’ll share part of the blame – even if it is due to injury. If they under perform with Dopirak at 1B, all eyes will be on Vernon as well as Dopirak.
The other key factor is this: they have the money to spend, and Carlos will be cheaper than expected. Think about it, if Vladimir Guerrero and Hideki Matsui signed for 5-7 million a piece, what is Carlos going to cost the Jays? 5-7 million. Add incentives for performance if you want, but that would still keep the Jays near the 70 million budget level, well below recent years.
Carlos is really in charge here, but I don’t see why he’d be reluctant to “come home” to Toronto. He played 12 years for the Jays, hitting 336 HRs, getting 1413 hits, driving in 1058 RBI, while maintaining a .282 average over that period. His OBP and SLG over the last 2 seasons have remained consistent with his lifetime average of .383 OBP and .521, so you know that when he plays, Carlos will deliver. While chances are greater that he’d get a chance to win in NY, there’s also a good chance his legs will fall off or his hips will give out because he wouldn’t be rested nearly as often as he should be.
The reason the Jays can grab Carlos is how they’ll use him. They can give him days off and play Ruiz or Dopirak instead, and even Adam Lind can begin to ease into the role. He can DH, come off the bench, and get some time off when needed with Toronto, whereas he’d be “the guy” in NY who would depend on him immensely. NY should focus on acquiring Laroche or Overbay instead if they are uncomfortable with the health status of Carlos. As for Brett Wallace, he can still come up as a 3B when ready. If he has issues, he can begin 2011 as a 1B. If he doesn’t, he can stick at 3B as long as he plays well!
It seems I was correct to suggest that the Jays would have serious interest in bringing Carlos Delgado home and I seriously hope they do. Even if they have to use Adam Lind as a regular LF and Travis Snider as an everyday RF, he’s worth the ticket of admission and will put butts in the seats, I guarantee it. Toronto fans still love Carlos, and he did a ton of charity work for the city while he was here. He’s a great ambassador of the game and would fit in very well in Toronto. Bring him in Alex, you’ve got my vote, whatever peanut it’s worth!