A Fox Sports story, linked through here along with other stories by way of hotstove.com, puts the Jays at the forefront of the Russell Branyan chase. After the long look they took in Carlos Delgado‘s case, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the Jays are in fact looking for a 1B which is puzzling with the 4 really good options they have in-house. If the Jays are in fact planning to move Brett Wallace from 3B to 1B, and already have Brian Dopirak and Randy Ruiz ready to push Lyle Overbay at the position, we can deduct a couple of things that could bring a little more sense to the chase of Russell Branyan. Here’s what I could come up with:
- If the Jays plan on chasing Russell Branyan and sign him, he’s going to play every day, which means that Lyle Overbay would be on his way out in trade (1 gone, 3 to go)
- The one player with the highest value that I believe Alex Anthopolous could surprisingly include in a deal is Adam Lind, who just had a breakout season in 2009. Not only can he ask for a ton in return for Adam Lind, but Adam represents a defensive liability in the OF and the Jays still have Randy Ruiz who can DH in Adam’s place. They also would get to keep the Snider – Wells – Bautista OF, and may be able to add an OFer in the Lind deal – hopefully one that’s more mobile than the ones the Jays currently have. The presence of Lind is hindering the mobility and optimal use of the lineup, and he’s already barking about not wanting to be the cleanup guy – not really the kind of leadership the Jays want in my opinion. I like Adam a lot, but with Wallace, Snider, and Hill being the real core of the Jays, I wouldn’t mind Alex picking up 3-4 nice prospects for him.
- That would leave Russell Branyan at 1B for 2010, Lyle Overbay traded to team X for piece(s), Adam Lind traded to team X for pieces, Randy Ruiz as a DH who can alternate with Brian Dopirak (Ruiz kills LHP while Dopirak kills RHP, the perfect combo), and Brian Dopirak can back up both Russell Branyan (who may or may not have back issues) and Randy Ruiz from the bench. That leaves Brett Wallace.
- Brett Wallace begins the season in AAA at 3B and the Jays can monitor his defensive skills. If they think he can remain there without being a liability, great, they can look into Edwin Encarnacion‘s trade value. If not, he comes up in July and if Randy Ruiz or Brian Dopriak are struggling, he takes one of their spots. If they’re doing great, Alex gets to use them as yet another trade piece and everybody wins.
So there we are. We know the Jays are looking to add a 1B/DH, and we now know how it can make a little more sense than others are giving it credit for. I know that trading Adam Lind could be painful when mentioned, but when you look at the teams who may be willing to deal some really nice top notch prospects for him, it begins to make sense. I’m thinking of the Angels who lost a ton of power when Vladdy left and only have Matsui for 1 season and can’t really trust his health (not to mention their fans are very worried about their chances against the revamped Mariners and the up-and-coming Rangers). Speaking of the Rangers, we know they have top prospects to deal and no money available until the ownership transfer takes place, but could they be interested in adding Adam since he’s cheap? Of course they would be, if the price is right. What about the Tigers who have some really attractive SS prospects and two top notch SP prospects coming up in Jacob Turner and Casey Crosby. Could the Jays be willing to take on SS Gustavo Nunez or Daniel Fields (both in BA’s top 10 DET prospects in 2010), along with SP Jacob Turner or Casey Crosby, and another piece for Adam Lind? It sure makes a ton of sense in my opinion.
The point is that I think there’s a plan beyond the scope of what we’re being told and that the Jays are hinting towards it with their push to acquire a 1B. Adam Lind‘s days with the Jays, partially due to his defensive shortcomings and partly due to his reluctance to be the “go to” guy in the lineup, and also partly due to his current trade value which is sky high, may be coming to an end.
As usual, the information stated above is just an opinion and an interpretation of what the Jays are a looking at this off season.