Toronto Baseball Guys
Saturday, July 31, 2010
  Anthony Go”o”se “Edwards”
I must say that I love change. Whether it’s growing a beard so I can shave it into funny side burns, or the time that KITT added super pursuit mode but needed to be painted black in order to get his edge back, it’s all good. Based on that, there`s nothing I love more than the trade deadline. I was really looking forward to this year, as the Jays were looking to part ways with veteran talent that I`d already cut all emotional ties with.

I enjoy trades so much that I`ve found myself scampering to my computer to check on MLBTR and ESPN every time my ten month old son was willing to release me from his line of sight without going into hysterics. I read about the Roy Oswalt deal and learned that Anthony Gose was acquired by Houston and flipped to the Jays. In classic US media style, the article failed to provide any detail from the Jays' perspective. Further inquiry took me to DrunkJaysFans which told me that Brett Wallace was the player who`d be entering the Astrodome.

Upon hearing this news I was stunned! On a scale of zero to my shock at hearing that Ben Johnson had tested positive, I`d rank it somwhere between learning of a Tour De France rider doping and Arod being a cheat. Initially I hated the deal. I`m not an expert scout or stats analyst, and I`ve certainly never watched either one of these guys play even a single inning. I can`t predict who will have the better career numbers, and my Delorian`s all out of plutonium so, like everyone else I`ll just have to wait and see.

My big problem with the trade stems from the fact that I thought the pieces were in place for the Jays to be good next year, and compete for the postseason in 2012. The rotation consists of young pitchers who have impressed and should be peaking in the next couple of years. Similarly, the lineup has a group of hitters that should be reaching their prime, and in the case of VW might be over the hill after 2012. Brett Wallace fit in perfectly with this group and this plan. He fills the projected hole at first base, and was on the verge of being called up –or so the blogosphere would have me believe- allowing him the next year and a half to learn to deal with major league pitching before the team finds themselves in a pennant race.

Trading for a 19 year old sporting the mustache of a 14 year old does not a 2012 contender make. It doesn`t matter how athletic he is! On the surface, this move seemed to be the next step in the eternal rebuilding process that Jays` fans have been subjected to for the last fifteen years…But then I thought about it a bit more and I was able to reconcile the move:

Lind at First: It`s pretty hard to find a glowing report of Wallace`s glove work, so it`s reasonable to assume that Lind could do that same kind of job there.

Arencibia`s bat: The Las Vegas catcher has put up some nice numbers this year, OPSing 0.997 with 29 HR to this point. These compare quite favourably with Wallace`s 0.868 and 18 HR. So maybe JP`s got a better bat than Wallace. It`s been suggested that Arencibia`s achilles heel might be his work behind the plate. The Jays could use him to DH next year while holding onto the same catching tandem as this year, allowing Arencibia to focus on his bat, while being mentored behind the plate by two wise veterans.

Compete soon and for a while: AA`s not just trying to build a team with a couple of successful years. He`s thinking Dynasty, and this move allows for that. Eventually the core of a team gets a bit older so it`s important to replace aging parts with good young ones. Hopefully Anthony Gose can be one of those young parts.

Rare Piece: unspectacular-fielding first basemen who can hit for average and some power are not the rarest commodity in baseball. They can usually be drafted or picked up through free agency. More rare, would be a centre fielder with range–the word “hoover” comes to mind- a cannon for an arm –reports in this morning’s Star suggest that he used to possess a 97 mph fastball-who can make an impact offensively. The offense here is the key as I’m not sure that MLB was banging down Joey Gathright’s door before the Jays signed him in the offseason.

Oddly enough, with the deletion of Wallace, next year`s line up might look okay, mind you, the trading frenzy might make a lot of this content irrelevant:
C: Buck and Molina
1B: Lind
2B: Hill
3B: Bautista
S: Escobar
LF: Lewis
CF: Wells
RF: Snider
DH: Arencibia

If Wells maintains this year`s hustle, Lewis learns how to track a fly ball and Bautista adjusts at third, there could be average or above fielding everywhere but 1B and RF.

Other Thoughts:
Has anybody noticed that Jose Bautista seems to be getting better? At a time when you would expect him to struggle due to fatigue, and league familiarity, it seems like Bautista is actually becoming more effective. He’s continuing to hit homers, and everything that isn’t out of the park seems to be an absolute laser beam. Speaking of laser beams…when will the league develop a book on Bautista’s arm? I’ll give you a hint, it’s good. AA trade him if you want, but you’d better be getting fair value in return, and I don’t think Hank Aaron is still available…but I’ve got some plutonium on order.

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