Jays Add 3 More to Minors Depth


The Jays signed 3 FA players to minor league contracts: 30 year old William Collazo (LHP) who spent 2009 with the Marlins AAA affiliate, 30 year old Jorge Padilla (OF) who got his first taste of the big leagues with the Nationals in 2009 but spent the majority of the year in AAA, 28 year old Jesus Merchan (OF) who only played 43 games at various levels for the Reds in 2009. All of these players have been invited to spring training.

Jorge Padilla is 6’1″ 215 lbs and bats right. He was drafted in the 3rd rd of the 1998 draft by the Phillies and has had limited success since he was drafted. His highest totals so far have been 16 HRs (2001 in HiA and 2007 in AAA), 32 SB (2002 in AA), .367 average (2009 in AAA), .424 OBP (2009 in AAA). He was good enough in 2009 to get a look with the lowly Nationals, but has very limited power potential. As a bench player, he could do well enough since he’s hit for high average throughout his minor league career and does have some speed. His OBP is sound, but he would have a to prove effective right away to stick around on any MLB club. Out of the 3 players signed, he has the most potential to stick around in AAA and get called upon during 2010 if needed.

William “Willie” Collazo is 5’9″ 170 lbs and hails from Puerto Rico. He’s a left hander who was drafted by the Braves in the 10th round of the 2001 draft. The Angels picked him up from the Braves as a rule 5 draftee in 2003 and kept him until 2005 when he was released. The Mets signed him in March of 2006 and released him in November of 2008, when he was picked up by the Marlins and released in September 2009. Needless to say he’s a minor league journeyman who got all of 5.2 innings of MLB play with the Mets in 2007 with little success. Over 5 seasons in AAA, Collazo has 425 IP, 424 hits allowed (1 per inning), 252 Ks, 111 BBs, 3.85 ERA and a 1.258 Whip. Not too bad overall, but he’s never been given a chance to prove whether he can translate these numbers to MLB success. I’m not sure whether he could, and doubt he’ll get much play in Toronto with all of the competition he’s facing, but he’ll get a chance to throw in spring training and prove himself worthy of a depth chart spot in AAA Las Vegas. He could be seen as the replacement for Fabio Castro, who is of similar stature and was picked up by the Red Sox but had spent 2009 with the Jays, making it from HiA to AAA.

Jesus Merchan is 6’0″ 185 lbs, bats right-handed, and hails from Venezuela. He was signed by the Twins as an international FA and spent some time int he minors with the Twins (to age 23 up to HiA), the Phillies (age 24 to 26 up to AAA), Arizona (age 27 in AAA), and Cleveland (age 28 in AAA). He has only hit 10 HRs once in 2007, but then again only got more than 400 ABs in a season once in all of his minor league career. He hits for average and gets on base very will, averaging a .330 average in AAA over 3 seasons (549 ABs) and .365 OBP over the same period. He doesn’t have much speed, but interestingly has spent a lot of time at 2B (193 games), SS (465 games), 3B (98 games), and only 5 games as an OFer. So I’m not sure why the transaction was listed as acquiring an OFer, except that it may be the Jays intention to play him there the majority of the time if he makes the AAA squad.

All of these 3 players were added to complete Alex Anthopoulos‘s vision of lots of competition at each position, including the filling of positions in AAA Las Vegas. While JP Ricciardi seemed at times to have more interest in filling spots with the big club, tried to acquire as many seasoned vets as possible to fill the ranks on AAA, and ignoring the impact that versatile depth can have over the course of the season, Alex seems to want to change that and make sure the talent there compliments the needs of the big club as much as possible by adding flexible pieces that can play 3-4 positions and to add as many quality arms as possible.

Other Jays Notes:

  • The idea of swapping Lyle Overbay to the D-Backs is now dead, with the D-Backs acquiring Adam LaRoche and filling their need for an everyday 1st baseman. Is this a blow to the Jays who may now be “stuck” paying Overbay a full year’s salary and dealing with his beef with Cito Gaston? I believe so, as the Mets are more concentrated on adding Bengie Molina and one Starter than filling their hole at 1B, and are more likely to take Carlos Delgado back than to acquire Overbay. SF picked up Aubrey Huff, leaving only the Orioles as the one squad who could really need a 1B. It’s possible the Jays could complete a deal with them, but unlikely due to division rivalry. The Jays may wait for an injury to occur to deal Overbay before the trade deadline, which could increase their returns.
  • There are reports that the Jays are not pursuing Carlos Delgado, but that doesn’t seem right, unless the Jays are putting scouts in the crowd just so that they can get a tan. Since Alex keeps his cards to his chest, I put this one in the “made up” category, even if it was reported by a fairly credible Canadian site. However, being able to move Overbay may be the one thing stopping them from going after Carlos…..making this a two-piece situation. The “report” is stated to be from an MLB source and states that this is because he doesn’t fit into the Jays plans, but also says Alex declined to comment…….so I’m not putting this one to bed just yet.