Posts Tagged: Alex Anthopoulos
13 days from now, the MLB non-waiver trade deadline will come and go and every year, Blue Jays fans will wonder whether AA will be a buyer or a seller. The races are pretty tight this year and you may be even surprised to hear that the Pirates could be buyers at the trade deadline. That’s right! A team that hasn’t had a winning record for 18 years are in the hunt!
Judging by AA’s game plan ever since he because the GM and the standings, AA will once again try to seek out trades that will bring him impact players or beef for the already beefy farm system. I cannot see Alex being a buyer this year and it would be a mistake if he was. The Blue Jays are pretty far back in the wild card spot and 1st place in the AL EAST. This year was considered to be a year that we wouldn’t be competing, but more of a developmental year for our young studs. So if we are that far back, with maybe a 0.01% chance of making the playoffs, why even tender the idea of buying. I rather see this team make the playoffs year after year like the Braves in the 90s, than make it one year and drop off the next few.
With that being said, who is a prime target to be traded on the Toronto Blue Jays? The Blue Jays don’t have that many trading chips on their team like last year. The team is primarily stocked with young talent, but our veteran bullpen pitchers could be packing their bags. As you know, we have 5 pitchers in the bullpen that are potential Type-B free agents, which could net 5 sandwich picks for the Blue Jays next season. Last year, AA tried to move Downs, Frasor, and even Gregg who were in that Type-A/B range, but no team wanted to give up young talent for those pitchers. Well, second time around, things could be different, especially since a lot of teams are looking for pitching help to get them into the playoff hunt. Teams in the hunt are always looking to improve their bullpen and the Blue Jays may have the pitchers teams want. I hear the St.Louis Cardinals are looking for some help.
Another interesting name that has been popping up in the rumour mill of being traded is Marc Rzepcynski. The lefty “Weapon” who use to be a starter has made a nice transition to the bullpen and has been nothing but great, minus a few games give or take. Rzepcynski could be a great piece to move along with another reliever like a Jon Rauch to acquire some young talent. I could see AA doing a trade like this. Rzepcynski has more added gold because he’s in control for the next 4 years, before he becomes a free agent. Would be an excellent trade piece, but of course for the right price. He could be our Scott Downs for many years to come.
One final though about Blue Jays pitching, keep your eye on whether the Blue Jays will keep or deal Carlos Villanueva. He’s been pitching great as a starting pitcher, but does he fit in as a fifth starter or the long man in the pen? With his stock pretty high right now, maybe a sell high situation is in store for this pitcher.
For position players, I can only see Corey Patterson, Edwin Encarnacion, and/or Aaron Hill being moved. Juan Rivera would have been in this discussion, but he’s with the Dodgers. Patterson looked great early in the season, but has really tailed off as the season progressed. He’s also not doing any favours when he makes crazy mistakes in the field and on the base paths. I don’t ever remember seeing anyone make blunders in the field and the base paths as much as Corey. Those are softball mistakes, not MLB mistakes. Patterson doesn’t have Type-B status so AA wouldn’t get much for him if he were to move him. Edwin Encarnacion is starting to heat up as of late, and double E doesn’t really have much trade value. I heard that the Brewers are looking for a 3rd baseman.. After he shined the leather on Friday, maybe the Brewers will have some slight interest Aaron Hill on the other hand is an interesting piece that could be traded. I don’t see the Blue Jays picking up his options that would net him multi-millions of dollars because he has dropped off so much that he’s not even worth a couple million. Aaron Hill is also a Type-B FA so if the Blue Jays were to not pick up that option and he declines arbitration, we could net yet another draft pick. Teams can also gamble on Hill as he is still relatively young and with maybe a few adjustments (a la Bautista style), he could regain his 2009 form. I’m sure some teams out there might take a risk on Hill, but it is unlikely. Still, he is a potential Blue Jays player that could be on the move, and I wouldn’t mind it. As much as I want Hill to succeed, he just isn’t that player that we envisioned he’d be.
Other trading chips from our farm team that I just don’t see them fitting into the Blue Jays lineup would be guys like Brad Mills, David Cooper, and Adam Loewen. These guys are good, don’t get me wrong, but they just don’t seem to fit on the current MLB roster. Mills has been great in Vegas, but I can’t see him cracking the rotation. Cooper looks to be a solid contact hitter, but he won’t be starting in front of Lind. Adam Loewen has really showed off his power, but again, we have a lot of left handed Outfield bats with power.
So who should AA try to target to improve our team? This team is fairly decent, but we are probably 2-3 pieces away from even thinking about competing for the multiple World Series Championships. First off, we need to think of what our future lineup will look like. Within a few years, i’d like to see this lineup:
C – J.P. Arencibia / Travis d’Arnaud (Backup)
1B – Adam Lind
2B – ??? Maybe Adeiny Hechavarria
SS – Yunel Escobar
3B – Brett Lawrie
OF – Travis Snider, Anthony Gose, Jose Bautista, Rajai Davis (Backup), Eric Thames (Backup)
SP – Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil, Kyle Drabek, Dustin McGowan/Zack Stewart
RP – Marc Rzepczynski, Luis Perez, Henderson Alverez, Danny Farquhar
I don’t expect AA to target relief pitching because you can find those pitchers either in your system (failed starters) or on the FA market. I do expect him to maybe pick up a middle infielder, either a SS or 2B because we are somewhat weak in that area. People have said, maybe we should bring in the speedy and talented Jose Reyes, but he would cost a ton. I don’t think this is the time to acquire him. Maybe if this was two years later. Another nice piece to pick up would be a veteran starting pitcher. Our rotation is relatively young and they say you need those veterans in your clubhouse, who’s been to the promise land to give the young guns their experience and leadership. Jose Bautista is our current veteran leader, but it would be nice if a veteran starting pitcher were to be inserted into the rotation to solidify our explosive rotation. Maybe we can get some of those great Oakland pitchers on our team.
At the end of the day, if AA can add to the farm, that will be good enough for me, as long as he doesn’t sway away from his plan. People have been a bit impatient with AA cause he’s trying to stock pile as many good prospect as he can, but you watch. When he feels the Blue Jays are ready to contend, he’ll be using those prospects to trade for elite talent, like how the Red Sox used Hanley Ramirez to get Beckett and Lowell from the Marlins or Bartolo Colon to the Expos for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Grady Sizemore. I guarantee you elite talent is coming and these trades will happen. When? I would figure as early as 2012, but 2013 would be a good target. You never know if one day a guy like Mike Stanton, Jason Heyward, Bryce Harper, or great young talent could end up in a Blue Jays uniform. It could be a silent trade deadline for the Blue Jays or AA could blow our minds by getting some big league talent or young prospects. I hope the Ninja can work his magic and beef up our team and the farm. I’m just excited to see what the Blue Jays have in store for the future. Like they say, this game is a marathon and not a sprint.
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