If you read my June 16th post entitled “Old is New Again, Cito Gets Antsy”, you already know that I was advocating for Jarrett Hoffpauir to be called up to take a shot at the 3B job. I had been under the impression that it would be at another player than Edwin Encarnacion, but his demotion does make sense if the Jays are in fact going to play Jarrett Hoffpauir at 3B.
Jarrett Hoffpauir was hitting .332/.383/ .539 this season in AAA and can fit into the lineup either at the top or at the bottom while playing 2B, 3B, or even in the OF.
I am surprised to see this move being done so soon after I commented that it should be done. It makes me wonder if my site is bugged! Either that or I should change professions to become a “visionary”. I don’t think so. But as I stated in my previous article:
"Since old is new again and it is Cito’s last season managing the Jays I doubt that we’ll see changes until the deadline comes around and AA makes some moves, but I am hopeful anyhow that players like Jarrett get the shots they are earning in AAA. He’s the perfect compliment to this lineup and gets on base at a higher rate than any Jays player currently in the lineup on a regular basis. Bring him up and have a look see, that’s my call of the day."
I still think that’s correct, and I also believe that it’s the reason Mike McCoy was deemed expendable and was sent down to AAA. Now McCoy can play 2B consistently in AAA and be ready to return to the bench if required.
With Cito hinting that the Jays could be in the buying mode, for pen help in his estimate, it seems that Alex Anthopolous has only begun to shake up the roster and may be calling on Brett Wallace (who has 2 HRs in his last 2 games) and some of the pen depth the Jays have in the minors. However, this does bring up the question of who the Jays may want to acquire to strengthen the pen. Who are the sellers that would like to unload a pen arm who’s contract is expiring and who may also be looking to dump some salary that the Jays can definitely afford?
Well, here’s my short list for now – one that’s likely to grow in the upcoming weeks:
- Octavio Dotel – Pittsburgh – has a $4.5 million option for 2011 with a 500K buyout. Not only is Octavio a decent option as a closer, but he is also accustomed to setting up, which plays right into what the Jays need. They have already completed 1 deal (Eveland for Uviedo) so we also know the GMs are able to work a deal out.
- Matt Thornton – Chicago White Sox – has a $3 million option for 2011 with a 250K buyout. Thornton is a lefty, which is a bonus for any pen, and also knows the AL very well. More importantly, he has playoff experience that would be invaluable for the Jays if they did make the playoffs.
- Joe Beimel – Colorado Rockies – I know, I know, the Rockies will need Beimel to make a decent playoff run in the NL West, but they also need something the Jays have a lot of – a second baseman. It seems like a stretch, but Beimel is one of the best lefty specialists in the game.
- Brandon Lyon – Houston Astros – signed for 2 more years ($5.25m, $5.5m) and the 2nd most expensive on this list, Lyon will be harder to get because the Astros are desperate to get real talent back as they get ready to reload. Interesting fact – the Jays drafted Lyon in the 14th rd of the 2009 draft and was grabbed by the Red Sox off waivers in 2002. Goes to show that waivers does in fact produce some real high quality talent! He and Thornton are my 2 favorites in terms of acquisitions if the Jays are looking for pen help through trade.
- Matt Lindstrom – Houston Astros – normally, a closer who is having as much success as Lindstrom is not available on the market, but when he plays for the Astros he definitely becomes available. He is the most expensive on this list and would be costly to get. However, he and Kevin Gregg have worked together in Florida, so if they did get along there perhaps an agreement on the closing duties would be more likely to go smoothly than one would expect. He is arbitration eligible after this year and through 2012, making some hefty raises likely since he has done so well in 2010 (15 saves, 2.96 ERA) .
The Jays have lots of options in terms of who to chase. The problem is, they also have a ton of competition in terms of who else is out there and willing to deal talent for some pen help. Almost every single team in contention would love to strengthen that part of their club, and if they don’t right now, they will by the deadline! I expect the Jays to cautiously strengthen their pen, but to not give up too much talent in doing so, therefore Matt Thornton is my best guess in terms of pen acquisition.