Tomo-mania Running Wild
Tomokazu Ohka has signed a 1-year deal worth a reported $1.5 million with the Blue Jays.
This is another depth move by J.P. Ricciardi, as the Jays try to parse out just who will be in the rotation after Halladay, Burnett and Chacin.
The list of candidates now includes: Ohka, Shaun Marcum, Casey Janssen, Ty Taubenheim, Josh Towers, Dustin McGowan, John Thomson, Francisco Rosario, Davis Romero, Ricky Romero, Cesar Romero and maybe the return of Jack Morris.
When league average is worth $10 million annually, this is a sound strategy: collect as many arms as you can and at least a couple of them should turn in good years.
The art here is to figure out who those guys are going to be before you waste a bunch of starts on the guys who are going to get shelled (see Towers, Josh 2006).
Ohka's addition to the "Ligaments of the Willing" should, if nothing else provide some relief to the organization's younger arms, either allowing them more time to hone their craft in Syracuse, or by soaking up long (read: blowout) relief assignments and allowing the pen to rest.
A quick haiku in honour of Tomo:
His healing right arm
Hurls the baseball slower now.
Could still outpitch Meche.
Jays find some post-Christmas bargains
Frank Thomas - 2 years/$18 million
Vernon Wells - 7 years/$126 million
Just when you thought that J.P. Ricciardi had become the new poster boy for spending in baseball, he comes up with a couple of signings that harken back to his low-budget Oakland roots.John Thomson - 1 year/$500,000
This is a brilliant signing. For a shade over the major league minimum, the Jays pick up a pitcher who has a shot at pitching 200 innings, possibly with an ERA close to league average. As we've witnessed this offseason, that type of commodity is now worth about $10 million per season. Thomson hasn't been healthy the past two seasons, but he's a willing, experienced ligament. And he might outpitch Gil Meche this season, despite signing for less than 1% of the money.Lyle Overbay - 4 years/$24 million
What makes this signing particularly savvy is the term. The Jays buy the first two years of Overbay's free agency. In a world in which Juan Pierre makes $9 million annually, I don't even want to guess the value of a .300 hitter with 20 homers who will actually take a pitch. Especially in 3 years. Overbay's a solid hitter, and even though he has probably reached his ceiling, if he can maintain his career averages throughout the contract (.293/.372/.467) he will easily be worth $6 million per year. He's signed through his age 33 season, which isn't unreasonable, and if a 1B prospect in the organization catches fire and demands playing time, this is hardly an untradeable contract.