Prioritizing the offseason needs

Bullpen. Melky. Centrefield. Infield. Depth.

Melky. Infield. Centrefield. Depth. Bullpen.

Melky. Centrefield. Bullpen. Depth. Infield.

Bah, I don’t know.

Those five issues are basically what the Jays need to address if they want to compete in 2015. I’ve been flip-flopping back and forth on where each of them should rank on Alex Anthopolous’ to-do list. So, instead of going crazy in my brain, I’m hoping putting these thoughts to print er, type, will help sort them out.

  1. Resign Melky. Hah, this is easier than I thought. Melky Cabrera had a fine season that was unfortunately derailed a little early. He hit 16 home runs and batted to a slash line of .301/.351/.458, good for a .354 wOBA. Though not great defensively, he’s pretty ok in left field, and should be able to hold down a spot for most of the next four to five years, what seems to be the consensus length a deal would last. While the Jays appear to be dealing with payroll constraints in 2015, pressures ease of immediately after that. And from what I’ve read, it doesn’t appear a contract for Melky is going to be unwieldy. Four to five years at $15-17 million per? Give ‘er.
  2. Infield. Ok, it’s gotten tougher already. Based on what route you want to go I could almost see the Jays putting the last four in any order. I’m going to go with infield, though, for a few reasons. First, there’s a glaring hole at second (or third, depending where you put Lawrie) that needs to be addressed. And there’s no help coming from the farm anytime soon. Second, Lawrie and Jose Reyes have both dealt with their fair share of injuries. True getting Maicer Izturis back next season helps a bit. But you’re still looking at a lot of meh should either or both of those players get hurt again. Signing a legitimate infielder goes a long way. And as I pointed out in one of my rambling posts
    (https://thejunkballs.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/well-damn/) yesterday, there are some solid options on the free agent market. Having Izturis on the bench could provide the starters, Reyes especially, with some more off days to keep the fresh and productive.
  3. Bullpen. It was a disaster this year, and their #proven closer Casey Janssen is likely gone through free agency. However, bullpen never really worries me. You can find guys that’ll work pretty easily. And if you find that’s the only ting holding you back come next June, there’s always a reliever or seven available through trade. Still though, they need more production from that group next year, so it is important. I just can’t be arsed into really worrying about it.
  4. Depth. Once I put infield way up at #2, the need to address centre field became moot, in my opinion. Figuring there’s not enough money to upgrade at both positions, I’m ok with letting Kevin Pillar, Anthony Gose and Dalton Pompey figure out centre field. However, even if they sign a solid infielder, the depth for the team isn’t strong. Sure, Danny Valencia can help, and John Mayberry seems capable. But after that there’s really nothing. Now I know, few teams can go down to their 27th or 28th man and produce a gem. But I’d like to see something more. Especially someone who could play decent shortstop should Reyes run into injuries again. And it’s not just on the position player side. While the rotation is promising, with a number of young guys looking like they’re ready to go, there’s not much to fall back on. Stroman, Buehrle, Dickey and Hutchison seem safe to pencil in. I imagine JA Happ gets his option picked up, while it appears Brandon Morrow won’t. That leaves the young guys, Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris, as the only legitimate backup. Acquiring a starter likely bumps Happ into the bullpen (and won’t he be happy about that?) and gives you that added depth. It might also serve the dual purpose of putting one of the young guys into the bullpen. The thinking there would be that you’d have time to stretch them back out as a starter should the need arise.
  5. Centre field. I’m willing to give them another shot. True, the offensive numbers of both Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar haven’t looked great this year. But as mentioned, assuming they solve the infield issues I’m ok with using those two to patch up centre field. As I also mentioned, having an all-glove guy in between Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera is maybe a good idea. And you can then hope that Dalton Pompey is the real deal, and who knows, maybe he’s the guy that goes all Marcus Stroman next year and becomes a legit big leaguer?

So there they are. The priorities as I see them. And since it’s never too early to start, the 2015 opening lineup-ish.

SP
Stroman
Dickey
Hutchison
Buehrle
FA signing

C – Navarro
1B – Edwin
2B – Lawrie
3B – Sandoval (or realistically, some other signing)
SS – Reyes
LF – Melky
CF – Gose
RF – Bautista
DH – Lind

Bench – Pillar, Mayberry, Izturis, Thole

Bullpen – Cecil, Loup, Norris or Sanchez (the other will be in AAA in the rotation), Happ, McGowan, Delabar? (maybe John Stilson?), Acquisition

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