Roundtable: Toronto Blue Jays Pre-Spring Training 2007
Who will show up out of shape?
Callum: Gone are the days of Felix Heredia, Pedro Borbon, Juan Acevedo, Bengie Molina and Raul Mondesi. I would be hard pressed to think anyone would be coming into camp out of shape unless they are coming off an injury or surgery.
Kman: Perhaps not out of shape, but I’m interested to see the overall condition of the new fat cat, Vernon Wells. Now that he’s getting paid, he might ease up on the training.
Early: AJ Burnett, too much surfing and tacos.
Who will surprise and push for a roster spot?
Callum: I think Sal Fasano will surprise and push Jason Phillips out of the back up Catcher spot.
Kman: I think Russ Adam’s can see the writing on the wall, and will push to be the third MI on the roster. They may carry all four, but that’s where I’m leaning.
Early: I am hoping Victor Zambrano willcome around and fill one of the starting pitching spots.
The 4th and 5th rotation spots go to…?
Callum:The 4th and 5th spots go to John Thomson and Shaun Marcum.
Kman: If Thompson can stay healthy through spring training (which he may not), than the 4th spot is his. As for the fifth spot, I’ll probably have to go with Ohka. Even though he sucks, he is a known commodity that can eat up some innings in a number five role.
Early: See above, V-Zam and Shawn Marcum, I think Toma Ohka will be there too. There will be injuries so these spots are interchangable.
Do the Jays deal Johnson/Rios in the spring for a missing piece?
Callum: No more deals, what you see is what you get.
Kman: I would deal Reed Johnson in a heartbeat. He’s coming off a career year, where BABIP is amongst the highest in baseball, and over .40 points higher than his career norms. What would I want in return? Frankly, I’d take anyone that could help in the bullpen. But if some of the trade rumors from this off-season are true (Rios for Billingsley & Bronxton, or Rios for Hamels), than JP is asking for way too much in return and nothing will get done.
Early: I don’t think the Jays will trade either Johnson or Rios, although they could fetch some needed pitching. Both were Re-up’d. The Jays have a sleeper leadoff hitter in Johnson and a perennial all star in Rios — I say keep them both, they are better fetching balls in the outfield than fetching pitchers in a trade.
How satisfied are you Gregg Zaun is going to be able to catch 130 games and not be a liability at the plate?
Callum: Very satisfied.
Kman: He may in-fact catch his 130, but his production would slip come mid-year. It’s just not conceivable –in my mind at least€”for an aging, career back-up/platoon catcher to come in and automatically carry a full load. Outside of last season, Gregg Zaun’s yearly lines are very similar to Jason Phillips. Take 2005, Zaun .251/.355/.373, Phillips .238/.287/.363. Or check out a comparison of their career years: Zaun (06) .272/.363/.462 Phillips (03) .298/.373/.442. I don’t think you lose much with the bat, and they are similar defensively. Zaun is also weaker against righties than he is lefties (.760 OPS vs RHP in 2006). I don’t see either one of these guys repeating their career years, but you could switch them in and out and get a combined line of .270/.340/.400.
Early: I am worried about Zaun. In the last few years, which are the ones in which he has played the most, his offensive production dropped off terribly. He can’t throw anyone out on the bases. But I would be happy if someone like Phillips gets into more games or even Thigpen.
Which of the Jays 1,2,3 starters do you think will go down and why before the first pitch in April
Callum: I see Gus Chacin going down first because he only has one major league pitch, his cutter, and it puts too much strain on his elbow. At that point Dustin McGowan will step in to round out the end of the rotation.
Kman: They seem to be babying Halladay, which I think is a bad move. He’ll be the first to drop during his third start in April.
Early: Chacin puts so much torque on his arm it is bound to land in the pricey seats any pitch. Burnett could get hurt stepping off the bus in Dunedin and never play again. Doc could have a number of freak injuries. Jays could see McGowan as the opening day starter.