The Jays signed RHP Wade Towsend, who is a big guy at 6’4″ 230 lbs who has all of the talent to make a big club but has been mired in a series of injuries since he was drafted 8th overall by Tampa Bay in the 2005 draft. He’s a RHP who Baseball America never really took a liking to even before all of his recurring injuries. Some interesting information from their 2007 Prospect Notebook, when they ranked him the 26th best Rays prospect, include the fact that he used a low 90s fastball before going pro but hasn’t reached more than 88 MPH as a pro, and that he had a “devastating spike curve ball” and an above-average change up. They finish off his column with this tidbit:
"“Some scouts believe his future will be in the bullpen, in part because he has an intense competitive drive and wouldn’t have to try to pace himself.”"
Could the Jays convince him to go to the pen and get him semi-healthy as a result? Maybe. But, he did have Tommy John surgery in 2006, and then another surgery on his right shoulder that caused him to miss all of 2009, so does he really have a choice? So long as he doesn’t ask Mark Prior for advice, chances are he’d accept a pen role and go with it. He definitely has the talent and could be a huge asset if he can stay healthy in the pen. Speaking of Mark Prior, why doesn’t he join his friend Kerry Wood and take on a closing role at some point? I know he’s throwing again, but there’s just no way he can get a ton of innings out of that shoulder. Maybe the Jays should look at him as the next project to take on and make him into one of the more dominating closers in MLB! Or, maybe they already found that in Wade Townsend…..you never know!! For 2010, I expect Wade will get a shot at the AAA Las Vegas pen and will build up arm strength as he goes along.