Let’s Make a Deal!
So the Jays have just been swept by the Central-division-basement-dwelling-poor-excuse-for-a-major-league-team Cleveland Indians and have lost 9 of their last 11 games. This puts the Jays at .500 and 9 games back of the division lead.
On top of that we haven’t yet even approached the dog days of summer. One can argue that it has been the young core of starting pitchers that has carried this Blue Jays team on its shoulders. It is inevitable that they will all hit a wall when they begin to touch and exceed innings levels that their young arms have never seen before. Shaun Marcum is just a year removed from Tommy John, Brandon Morrow is back to being a starter after pitching only 69 innings last season (a career high).
With delusions visions of contending for a wild card fading fast, it is time to unload everything not nailed down. Here’s a list of the prime candidates.
Believe it or not, John Buck is a Type B free agent. For those teams lusting after catching, they could do far worse than John Buck – one of the few catchers with an OPS above .800. Alex Anthopoulos could ask for the equivalent of a sandwich-round pick in a prospect in return to add depth to the minor league system.
For those worried about the catcher’s ability to handle a young pitching staff, Jose Molina and Raul Chavez are more than capable of picking up where Buck left off. It will also give the Jays a chance to throw JP Arencibia’s wet noodle against the fridge to see if it sticks.
Gonzalez is enjoying a career rennaissance in Toronto, both with the glove and the bat. Drop him while he’s hot. His defence can be replaced by Johnny Mac to keep those fragile young pitcher psyches intact.
The 2nd Jay ever to be the first ever in the majors to reach 20HR (Jesse Barfield was the first), Bautista’s defensive versatility to go along with his potent bat should make him a desirable commodity. With Travis Snider, the team’s regular right-fielder due to come off the DL after the all-star break, it is time to strike while the iron is hot. Offensively challenged San Francisco would be a good fit, as would the LA Dodgers where Bautista would be an upgrade over Casey Blake. Chicks aren’t the only ones who dig the long ball… General Managers do too.
Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg, Casey Janssen, Jesse Litsch, Brian Tallet
The market for relief pitchers is shaping up to be very, very weak according to Buster Olney. That means the catastrophe of a bullpen that the Jays sport will be all that more attractive to teams searching for relief help. Their value will never be higher.
Despite epic struggles early on this season, Lyle Overbay is showing signs of life. In the month of June Lyle has put up a line of .282/.376 with an OPS of .754 while maintaining stellar defense. These numbers are more in line with his career norms and he would help a contending team down the stretch. He could give the Braves some insurance against the oft-injured Troy Glaus and act as a platoon partner. In Colorado, Overbay would be an upgrade on the broken down Todd Helton – both offensively and defensively. With Buster Posey presumably moving to the catcher position in San Francisco, the Giants have a gaping hole at first base that Lyle could fill.
Not only will these trades serve to slash payroll and increase depth in the farm system, it also opens the door to backfill the positions with minor league prospects and journeymen. Can Mike McCoy be an every day infielder next year as some sources around the team are speculating? Can JP Arencibia be more than a fringey major-league catcher? Let’s find out. While we’re at it, let’s bring back up Josh Roenicke, Brad Mills, Robert Ray and Mark Rzepczynski and see what they’re made out of. Now is the time to do it.