Super Duper Toronto Blue Jays Round Table Part 2
The highly anticipated second half of the round table. Some absolutely great answers, with more of a focus on the upcoming 2009 season. Big thanks to everyone involved! Once again a who’s who of Toronto Blue Jays bloggers.
Lloyd the Barber from Ghost Runner on First
Representing Bluebird Banter we have both Hugo & Rincewind
We also have Ian Hunter from the Blue Jay Hunter
Stoeten from the mighty Drunk Jays Fans.
Joining the party for part 2 is the Tao.
And finally your Mopupduty.com head writers Callum & Matthias (Kman)
Mopupduty Social Media Pimping
Note: Answers are posted in the order in which we received them followed by the mop-up duty crew.
If you were GM of the Jays, what would you do going forward?
Tough question. The Jays are in a tight situation with a solid, but not outstanding farm system. I really thought they should’ve taken advantage of a depressed market and gotten one pitcher to replace Burnett and Marcum and one bat and gone for it in 2009. That said, going forward I would make a real effort to extend Halladay using the money saved from the A.J. Burnett opt-out. If it is done now he may accept a somewhat below-market extension in exchange for the certainty down the road. If there is a pitcher who is more likekly to be worth market price for his mid-30s seasons, I can’t think of one.
I would look to trade for a SS with some potential like Chin-Lung Hu, he’s known for an excellent glove and didn’t hit well last season but was projected as a decent-hitting SS. I doubt he would cost much of anything with Furcal re-signed by LA and he could play in AAA and try to recover his hitting stroke, while providing a much better everyday option for the Jays than J-Mac should anything happen to Scutaro. In addition, assuming Jackson isn’t ready for 2010, which I don’t think he will be, you’ve got a young player with some upside at the position.
I would strongly consider having Alex Rios and Vernon Wells switch positions, perhaps not every day, but on a regular basis. That or DHing Wells occasionally and having Snider play RF. Fielding stats consider Rios an excellent fielding centre-fielder and Wells to be an average one at best. UZR thinks Rios is the best defensive outfielder in the whole game. And as a bonus, giving Wells the time off and/or out of centre could help keep him healthy.
Finally, I’d look at a team like the Royals who have a plethora of good prospect bats that are getting old to be prospects and don’t have positions to play (or many guys sharing one position). The Jays could really use an upside bat.
First order of business – lock up Roy Halladay for however many years he’s willing to play in Toronto. Then, I’d start preparing to sign an everyday shortstop for the 2010 season (like J.J. Hardy). After that, I’d start to work some voodoo magic and try to convince another team to take over Vernon Wells contract. Of course, that all hinges on him having a spectacular 2009. Finally, If I could put on J.P. Riccardi’s sunglasses and striped polo shirt, I would beg Rogers for money to spend for 2010.
I have no idea. Admire the excellent team I’ve built, hope 50% of the kids pan out and look to augment my lineup just before each hole tears open. There isn’t much more he can do. Get more people to the ballpark sounds like a good plan.
I think the problem for JP is that the players that you’d like to get rid of Rolen, Overbay, Ryan have contracts that no one in their right mind would take. So he’s got to hope that things just work out for them and wait for their contracts to run out. Of course, since he is the one that signed them to those contracts it is his own fault.
Right now, I stay the course– at least until I get a better idea of what we have in some of the prospects and whether there’s any trade value in some of those big contracts. I think, right now, your hands are tied all over the place, and you can’t really jump the gun on moving Overbay or Rolen or Ryan– if anyone would take them– because there’s a huge risk of selling way too low on them. I’d probably let Clement and Richmond pitch their way out of the rotation at the start of the year, instead of going with kids from the get-go, but I’m not as concerned as maybe I should be– I’ve drank the Kool-Aid on Purcey, Litsch, Janssen, Cecil and Mills. And I don’t entertain the thought of trading Halladay until next trade deadline, and even then, only if we’re out of it.
The first thing we would do is ask for an extra $40 million in payroll. (If you’re going to dream, why not dream big?) It just strikes us that in the AL East, it doesn’t make sense to scramble and scrape by on a relative shoestring. With a little additional payroll room, the Jays may have been able to make a run at a decent starting pitcher or a Rafael Furcal, and may have allowed themselves a certain amount of latitude to grab on to some of the salary dumps that ESPN’s Buster Onley claims may be available in the first two months of the season.
In terms of player moves, we’d look for a way to move Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells to get their contracts off the books if at all possible, and we’d sign Roy Halladay to whatever contract Brandi Halladay wants.
2009 is the year to get the babies feet wet and the year to jettison the unperforming garbage in preparation for 2010. I don’t care if I see McGowan this year or not… in fact I would rather not see him if that means he is fully healthy for ’10. If I am GM, I put all my eggs in the 2010 basket and go for it. If at the end of the year we come up short, I take a step back and reevaluate the status of the club. That does not mean blowing it up but I would not be adverse to shipping Wells to the Yanks in order to get what will be a sure albatross in future years off the books. Do what you can to get Halladay to stay on the team since he is the straw that stirs the drink.
I’m trading for some bats. The players on the way up and nice but they’re on the way up. The Jays have about 15 MLB level arms and just an insane amount of bullpen depth. Deal some of it and let’s get a real first base bat in here, a right handed hitting DH for 2010 and even a decent backup middle infielder (as I have no idea what’s going in 2010 with Marco). After I’m done that I’m going arbitration hunting and signing up a number of the core players to some nice six + year pre-arb deals. I’d probably question Vernon’s manhood in the media to get him and his backloaded contract out of town.
What is your prediction for the Jays 2009 record
I figure the Jays are good for 83 wins in 2009. I think it’s more likely they win 90 than 75 games. I think the hitting will improve, though maybe not by that much, and that the pitching will not come down as far as some think. The starting 5 that break camp with the team may not look intimidating but the 2007 Jays starting rotation out of camp was Halladay-Burnett-Chacin-Ohka-Towers, and they ended up with the second-best pitching staff in the league. The 2009 Jays are similar.
I don’t think they’ll be as bad as most people project them to be. I expect the Blue Jays to hover around the .500 mark, with somewhere around an 80-82 record.
83-79. Better offense, better defense, comparable pitching, normalized situational hitting, better competition. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.
I think they will be right around where they were last year 86-76. With some luck they could get into the race but I wouldn’t expect it. The first couple of weeks will be important to them, if they play well and get some confidence they should be ok. If not they might buy into what everyone is saying about them and have a tough year.
They’re going to be better than a lot of people think. They’re going to be better than Baltimore. They’re still not going to be good enough, though. I’ll give them one more win than last year, only because, even though it was 86 wins, it felt awful, and I just can’t believe they’ll be worse, even without M&M and whatshisname. So, 87. Flame away.
While we’d concur to a certain degree with the conventional wisdom that this season is going to be a bit of a struggle, we don’t think that 2009 is going to be the unmitigated disaster that some are predicting. We’re figuring a record of 82-80 is probably about where this team ends up.
I’ll give them their yearly 80 – 85 wins. I don’t see them declining too much, nor do I see any real improvements.
In order, your Jays MVP, Pitcher of the Year, ROY, & Surprise of 2009
Aaron Hill, Doc Halladay, Travis Snider, and Ricky Romero. It’s not very scientific, but for the past few seasons a once-top pitching prospect has gotten a chance and done a nice job. McGowan-Purcey-Romero.
Team MVP and Pitcher of Year will be Roy Halladay. For Rookie of the Year, I’ll have to take the safe bet and say Travis Snider. I think the biggest surprise of 2009 on the Blue Jays is the most difficult of these awards to pick. Many people expect Aaron Hill and Vernon Wells to return to their pre-injury numbers, but ultimately I think that Scott Richmond will be the biggest surprise this year. He’s not winning the Cy Young, but I think he will do just fine as a placeholder #4 or #5 starter.
Every conceivable award – Roy Halladay
Rookie – Snider. He’s a sure thing, I think.
Surprise – Bryan Bullington? As big a shot in the dark as I’m willing to take, but some quality Arnie time could teach him to get outs consistently at the big league level.
Gee I wonder who could be Rookie of the Year? Moonraker (Travis Snider). Almost as tough a choice as Pitcher of the Year. (Halladay, well duh). MVP better be Rios. Surprise? David Purcey, he’ll have a good year and 15 wins.
I assume you mean a position player for MVP, so I’ll say Rios (otherwise I’d say Doc.) The good Doctor is clearly the pitcher of the year, Snider for the ROY, and the surprise will be Rolen– I’d been pointing out all winter how good his September numbers were, after he altered his swing, but then a DJF commenter pointed out the other day that it wasn’t just September: except for one month where he was out and one where he was playing hurt (July?), he had a lot more solid year than people realize.
Jays MVP and Pitcher of the Year: Roy Halladay. While we expect Alex Rios to have a good-to-great year offensively, we still can’t imagine anyone being more valuable to the team than Doc.
Rookie of the Year: We’re supposing that he still qualifies, so we’ll say The Great Big Giant Pasty White HopeTM Travis Snider.
Surprise of 2009: With regular ABs, we’re thinking that Adam Lind will produce a lot more than people might expect, in the range of 20 homers, 80 RsBI and a .840 OPS. Also, we think that whoever ends up with the backup catcher job in April between Michael Barrett and Raul Chavez will be more of a factor than people think, and may take playing time away from Rod Barajas by the time the season is done.
MVP: Halladay POY: Halladay ROY: If he were eligible, Lind. But I have to go with Snider. Surprise: Rios
Halladay should earn every reward. Hell, go ahead and retire his number all ready, we’re going to doing it down the line anyways. Realistically I have Halladay for Pitcher & MVP. My upset pick is Cecil winning the Jays ROY. Sorry Travis, I’m worried about the strikeouts and your track record of having a piss poor K/BB ratio vs lefties. Surprise of the year? I’m surprised every season when Brandon League strikeouts less than a batter per inning with 99 MPH gas. That won’t count, how about Jesse Carlson repeating his 2008 success.