Friday, October 8, 2010

Why Not Greinke in Toronto?

One deal AA should explore is the possibility of getting Zack Greinke from KC. Greinke has made no bones about his dissatisfaction with the organization and his team’s inability to score runs for him. How could he not be? He pitched 220 innings, was 10-14, has a nearly 4-1 strikeout to walk ratio and an ERA just over 4.0. Brett Cecil was 15-7 with similar numbers in just 172 innings pitched!

The Royals have got to be thinking they can’t support such comments and might be eager to move him. He’s a #1 pitcher with a bad record because he’s on a bad team. More importantly, the Royals are 2-4 years from having a competitive team and believe me with the plethora of higher level minor league talent on the way they will get there. But without his head in the right place, Greinke's willingness to stay in KC and be part of those winning teams is unlikely.

With the Jays offense he could easily be a 20 game winner. He would likely have won 17-18 games with this year's team and could have helped the Jays push toward 90 wins. Now that would have been an exciting prospect to imagine, playing equal to Boston and pushing Tampa and NY for the Division Crown.

With a constant need for starting pitching, why wouldn't the Royals consider a deal where we would send say Marcum, Zep, and a young pitching prospect for Greinke. We exchange a true #1 starter for a another #1 starter who has shown the leadership qualities you expect from your top starting pitcher - going deep into games, winning after team losses, etc. One thing we do have in the Jays organization is pitching depth. Pehaps it's time to take advantage of this opportunity. It is a win-win where KC moves their development curve along perhaps a year or two and we exchange one #1 starter for another who has already won a Cy Young.

Now imaging Greinke, Romero, Morrow, Cecil, Drabek as a starting 5 and you have a rotation to rival Tampa’s. All of the starters would be capable of winning 15-20 games and would scare any team including Boston, Tampa, NY. I don’t know of any team other than perhaps Tampa and Atlanta that has the pitching depth to offer such a package. This is one of those “under the radar” deals like the Escobar deal, that nobody would see coming and might not be available under other circumstances.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Losing Hoffpauir a Calculated Move

The Jays placed Jarrett Hoffpauir on waivers to try and create some roster flexibility and lost him to San Diego Padres. It was a calculated move on AA's part but one that won't cause much hardship or give AA any heartburn. Why? Because the Jays have a similar player in Brad Emaus already on the roster who is capable of playing both 2B and 3B, has some power, and just above average defense.

Though Hoffpauir had slightly better stats at AAA, he had 2 auditions with the Jays this year and didn't distinguish himself in either. Granted the sample size is small, but obviously the Jays saw enough to decide it would be a minor loss if claimed on waivers. Remember also, that Emaus has had strong spring training performances the last couple of years so after a solid year at Las Vegas, they may be setting him up for a possible audition at 2B if they decide to leave Bautista in RF and move Aaron Hill to 3B as he offered to do.

Though not flashy or dramatic, Emaus is a solid player hitting .298 with 10 homers and an OBP of .395. If you extrapolate his numbers for at bats (Emaus had 40% fewer than Hoffpauir) then the homer and RBI totals are almost identical. The Jays simply didn't need to protect two players of the same type on the roster though they'd have kept Hoffpauir around as insurance in the minors if he had slipped through waivers. Barring an offseason infield moves, Emaus could be competing for the second base job in the spring with Hill playing third.

I don't think anyone including AA thinks this is the ideal solution so I expect some offseason activity, but this is likely the fall back situation the team has in mind.

How Anthopoulos Will Select a Manager

The Jays have a team that is young, inexperienced and likely to get younger as guys like Drabek and Arencibia become a permanent part of the roster. It would seem appropriate that AA would select a manager who can not only relate to the young guys, but could also grow into the job as this team matures and realizes its potential. Someone like Wallach or Sandberg, two highly rated and seasoned triple A managers with some success behind them could be just what the Jays need to mould a young group into a team that realizes it has the talent to compete with the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East. Alternatively, they will pick Butterfield or an equivalent coach who is rated as a top managerial prospect already with a major league team.

Rewarding an internal candidate who has risen through the organization (edge to Butterfield) may be a consideration. If you read the August issue of Entrepreneur magazine, this is the strategy the Twins have used to build a loyal, first class, and successful organzization. Someone as analytical as AA will have looked at all the top organizations to determine what the key success factors are. On the other hand, he may regard this selection process as “just business” and pick whoever he thinks fits Toronto best and has the likelihood of greatest success - meaning winning on the field.

These factors eliminate candidates like Valentine, LaRussa, and Torre immediately who would all want jobs with higher profile organizations and more control. AA is keeping a lid on interviews and negotiations as there are multiple teams looking for new managers and several teams vying for the same candidates who may be his favorites. As always, he won't be rushed and we will find that his selection whoever it is, will be based on a specific set of criteria and strong business reasons.