Where My Head Is At

I've been away from the scene for a while. Nothing earth shattering, just not able to watch as many games as I want to for various reasons.

But the truth is, sadly, I haven't felt like watching that many games.

It's kinda hard this time of year to get into it and not because we are out of it. That was expected at this point. This time of year, to me, is all about day dreaming about the future. Seeing players that are expected to contribute in the future and trying to imagine where they fit in. Think Bautista last year. That is what September is and has been for us Blue Jays fans for a long, long time.

But, true to form, The Cito is fucking everything up. It's kinda getting old just straight complaining about our field manager and don't think for a second I don't do it. I just can't bring myself to write about it.

I will say this:

Allowing guys to play for next years contract, when it's fully expected to be a contract with a different team, is totally mind blowingly fucking retarded. Especially when you have questions that need answering about your own team and players that may be the answer, stapled to the end of your bench.

So what I am gonna do, is try to answer some of the questions that are floating around my brain. Feel free to jump in wherever you see fit.

The Bullpen Situation:

Kevin Gregg

Our current guy is a heart attack closer plain and simple. He walks a few too many hitters early in his appearances for my liking. That being said, his numbers are excellent especially lately.

In August and September this season, he is 2-1 with 10 saves, 1 blown save and a 1.98 ERA.

His contract is pretty unique and requires us to make a decision this off season. We can exercise the team option for only 2011 at $4.5 million or we can exercise a team option for 2011 and 2012 at $8.75 million. The third and final option is we buy him out for $750,000 and allow him to become a free agent. Currently he is a Type B, which would net us a sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd round of next years draft, if we offer arbitration and he turns it down.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Take a look around baseball and see what other closers are getting in terms of salary and term. Most of them make over $7 million dollars a season on multi year deals. Taking that into consideration as well as his decent numbers this season, I exercise the 1 year option and hope he can keep it together in 2011. If he does, then he might just get into Type A territory or we can deal him at the deadline for something we need.  If the wheels fall off, then we got an overpaid set up guy and somebody else gets a shot at closing out games.

Scott Downs

Our current set up man is money in the bank. He does not throw hard but knows how to get guys out at the Major League level. Every team in baseball needs one of those and they generally don't come cheap. The fact that he is left handed is a bonus.

Downs will be a free agent at the end of this season and the only thing to consider is whether or not to offer him arbitration. He is a Type A so if he signs with another team we get their 1st round pick (unless it's a protected pick) and a sandwich pick when we offer him arbitration and he declines.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Offer him arbitration, sit back and wait. If he accepts, that's great. Bring him back on a 1 year deal and look to unload him at the deadline.

When he doesn't accept, that's great too. I give him a call in February if he's unsigned and offer him a 1 year deal. If he has signed with someone else put the draft picks in your pocket and give the job to Purcey to see what he can do. You still got Rommie Lewis and Jesse Carlson as lefty situational guys. Jo-Jo Reyes might be a guy who could fill that role as well.

Jason Frasor

Like Downs, he is a free agent at the end of this season. Unlike Downs, he is right handed. 

What I would do if I was in charge:

Offer him arbitration and pray that he declines. Take the sandwich pick and run. Frasor is easily replaced from within the organization.

Perhaps Jeremy Accardo finally gets a fair chance.  He is out of options.

Or Josh Roenicke.

Dustin McGowan is gonna need a spot next year if he is fit and able to pitch. Maybe he gets converted to a reliever? He is also out of options.

Dirk Hayhurst if healthy could get a look.

Incumbents Casey Janssen, Shawn Camp or even new guy Taylor Buchholz could easily fill that role.

Point being: right handed relievers are a dime a dozen.

Brain Tallet

Non tender him and be done with it already. There is no way this guy has any value on the tradeblock. I see a guy like Rzep stepping into the long man / spot start role only because there probably won't be a full time spot for him to start anytime soon.

The Rotation Situation:

Thankfully, I probably won't need to spend to much time on this. We are looking very solid here. Brett Cecil, Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero will be with us for a long time. Provided they can stay healthy. 

Shaun Marcum

Fully recovered from Tommy John, the staff leader and number 1 guy for now, will not be eligible for free agency till 2013. He has pitched very well for us but seems a little over matched against the true aces in the AL.

What I would do if I was in charge:

I discuss a 3 year deal with him or maybe a 2 year deal with a club option this winter. No point going year to year with him unless we have to. That being said, I would listen to offers on him and if somebody dangles a blue chip infield prospect than perhaps I do it. Only because we have a bit of depth here and some glaring holes elsewhere. He will fetch quite a return on the open market, either now or at the trade deadline.

Number 5 Guy

So very many options!

Kyle Drabek, Jesse Litsch, Marc Rzep, Brad Mills, Scott Richmond, Robert Ray, Shawn Hill just to name a few. A good spring by Luis Perez or Jo-Jo Reyes could get them in the conversation as well.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Keeping in mind, this spot gets skipped quite a bit early in the season, I give the ball to Litsch if he's healthy. 

I would start top prospect Drabek in AAA and buy some time before starting his arbitration year clock. With a kid like this, I need not worry about things like option years and I burn one if necessary. In the Minors, I can control his innings a lot easier and I would absolutely baby his arm.

He will be pitching in the rotation in 2011, I just don't see it happening to start the year.

The Catcher Situation:

John Buck

Our current starter is a free agent this winter and projects as a Type B. 

What I would do if I was in charge:

I offer him arbitration. Since he is coming off an All Star year, I doubt he accepts. But for some reason if he does then I'm not exactly disappointed. He has done a good job for us and it wouldn't be the dumbest idea to bring him back to catch the majority of games in 2011.

Jose Molina

Our current back up and personal catcher to break out starter Brandon Morrow has done a better than expected job for us, especially with the bat. He has a cannon of an arm and does quite a few things that do not show up in the box score. We have a team option on him for 2011 at the cost of an even million dollars. He is close to being a Type B free agent and with a decent season next year, he could obtain that status.

What I would do if I was in charge:

This really depends on John Buck. 

If he doesn't come back, then I definitely exercise the option. If he does come back then I'm not so sure but I probably do it anyways.

J.P. Arencibia

Coming off a monster 2010 MVP season in AAA, he certainly deserves to be in the conversation. Is he ready to start the lion's share of games in 2011 for the big club? Can't answer that because he has not been given a chance yet. And with All Star catchers at every level, the real question should be: Is he the best one we got anyways? It takes time to develop a young catcher, especially when you got a young rotation like we do.

What I would do if I was in charge:

This again depends heavily on John Buck. 

If he comes back and I pick up Molina's option, then obviously J.P. heads back to AAA.

If he comes back and I do not pick up Molina's option, then J.P. gets the back up job in the Majors.

If Buck does not come back, then J.P. gets his well deserved shot at the Majors. He and Molina each get about the same number of starts, which would probably pump Molina into Type B status. This is the preferred option in my eyes.

The 1st Base Situation:

Lyle Overbay

Lyle is a free agent this winter and has no compensation attached to him due to his shitty last couple of seasons with the stick. He should not be brought back under any circumstances.

Adam Lind

Adam has been used primarily as a DH during his career. He is a left handed thrower and has shown the ability to hit big league pitching in the past. Granted, he is having a down year after a silver slugger award for his awesome 2010 season but is under team control till 2017 on a very reasonable contract in terms of salary.

What I would do if I was in charge:

The kid has got to be given a chance to play everyday. I guess you could go with him in left field and cross your fingers that the ball doesn't get hit to him. Or you could continue to try to develop him as a potential 1st baseman. 

I would look to sign an aging somewhat cheap free agent slugger that can play a little 1st base this winter on a 1 year deal with a team option. This would allow him and Lind to get a couple of starts a week at 1 bag and a couple of starts a week at DH.

Whoever we sign must be a Type B free agent when we sign him. That way we are pretty sure, given full time at bats, he can at minimum maintain that status. If he goes off, then maybe he climbs up to Type A or becomes a tradeable commodity at the deadline.

I'm thinking Adam LaRoche is a nice candidate. 

The 2nd Base Situation:

Current starter Aaron Hill has had a tough 2010. No doubt about it. A hamstring injury early in the season really seemed to set him back. Playing on the carpet at home probably didn't help any. His defense appears to be in decline, in terms of footwork and range, although he still has an above average arm. With respect to his contract, a major decision looms at the end of this season. Technically, he is entering the final year of his deal. The club has 3 years of options that can be picked up. The catch is, if we wanna pick up all 3 then it must be done before the 2011 season begins. After that point, only the 2012 and 2013 options can be exercised.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Ask myself if Aaron Hill is gonna be able to play 2 bag for me for the next 4 seasons. He will be 29 years old at the start of the 2011 season, which would make him 32 at the start of the 2014 season. The money seems about right for a starting infielder:
2011 $5 million 
2012/2013 $8 million
2014 $10 million
Looking down on the farm, we got nobody pushing him for his spot right now at 2nd base. 

Honestly, this is a tough call especially since he has been hitting like shit all year. The safe thing to do would be nothing at all. Let him play out 2011 at 2nd base and re-evaluate at that point. If his D and hitting come around, then exercise the options for 2012 and 2013. If they do not, then maybe he isn't part of the future here in Toronto and we let him walk. I just don't see the point of picking up all 3 option years right now, regardless of the dollar amount.

The SS Situation:

Thank God for Yunel Escobar and the 3 years of team control. 

And while I'm at it, thank God for Adeiny Hechavarria and his 5 years of team control.

The 3rd Base Situation:

Edwin Encarnacion

Everyone's favorite whipping boy and future firework safety spokesman is entering his final year of arbitration. He is making a whopping $4.75 million this season. E5's defense is fucking awful, especially his arm and his hitting is not that much better. We DFA'd him this year in June and nobody made a claim. Shocking, I know.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Based on his contract vs his production, he seems like a clear non tender candidate. We could offer him arbitration but I believe the least he can sign for is 80% of what he is being paid right now. That would be $3.8 million and that's the absolute best case scenario. I hate to let an MLB asset walk for nothing but I would make an exception in this case.

Jose Bautista

I mean really, what are we even talking about here? 

Sure J-Bau is solid in right field and does have a lot of assists thanks to a strong, accurate arm. And the rumor is he prefers it there, at least that was The Cito's reason for keeping him out there this season. Bautista is a beast with the stick, takes his walks and has a year of arbitration left.

As a nice side bonus, he is a little less likely to get hurt at 3 bag than OF in my opinion. Less running around and diving and what not.

What I would do if I was in charge:

He plays 3rd base everyday and hits clean up. 

I discuss a long term deal with him but would prefer not to sign him. If 2010 was a fluke, then you could get burned here big time. If 2010 was not a fluke, then you can pretty much guarantee he is at minimum a Type A free agent after next year and at most a very tradeable commodity at the deadline.

The Outfield Situation:

This one is a little more complex in my eyes. If Bautista moves to 3rd and Lind moves to 1st as mentioned, then we may have a little bit of work to do here.

Vernon Wells

Will be back in CF. No way he is ever being traded and I doubt the new manager is gonna want to start off with a new club by moving the veteran team leader to a new position anytime soon. 

What I would do if I was in charge:

Move Vernon to RF.

It is gonna have to happen eventually, so why not get the kinks out before it really matters? I'm terribly worried about V-Dub's health.

We don't have anyone ready just yet in the Minors, although our boy Darin Mastroianni could get a long look this spring. Anthony Gose is the future in CF. Look for him to start the year in AA and hopefully be ready in 2012 at some point.

Travis Snider

The kid is finally getting the opportunity to play everyday. I wonder if The Cito was finally told that this MUST happen. According to those who watch him day in and day out he is more comfortable in LF than RF but he can play either which is a nice luxury to have.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Make the decision to keep him in LF and stop hitting him dead last in the fucking order. 

Fred Lewis

Fred is limited to LF duties only and is not very strong there. He misses his fair share of cut off men and seems to take strange routes to balls. His best asset to the team is his bat and his ability to hit lead off. He is under team control till 2014 and is out of options.

What I would do if I was in charge:

Since Travis is my full time LF and Vernon is my RF that moves Fred to the bench as the 4th OF. He would get in the line up occasionally but only when the match up dictates. I would try to get him at bats when and only when one of my groundball machines AKA Romero and Drabek is on the hill. 

So Who Plays CF In 2011?

Great question. 

I like Mastro there and hitting 9th but I doubt he's ready. The Angels recently moved gold glove machine Torii Hunter over in favor of a young man by the name of Peter Bourjos. Surely the idea wasn't a popular one but neither is watching a former star decline at a premium position on the field.

I guess we could look for a defense first guy on the market and grab him on a 1 year deal. Or we could hang onto DeWayne Wise and run him out there. Any way you slice it, we get better defense in CF and whoever is providing that, hits last in the line up.

The Bench Situation

The Back Up Infielder

John McDonald will be in the final year of his contract for the 2011 season. A versatile infield defender that doesn't complain about playing time is a manger's wet dream. He gets a spot for sure.

The Back Up Catcher

No matter what happens with the catching situation, I think this spot goes to Jose Molina.

The Back Up Outfielder

I think it goes to Fred Lewis. He would the best pinch hitting and best pinch running option by far.

The Extra Guy

I can see a bunch of different things here but realistically it depends on the way the new manager wants to play the game. If he values speed and defense, look for a Mike McCoy type guy. If he wants to mash, then maybe a Randy Ruiz type guy. My hope is that it is not someone currently on the 40 man roster. 

It wouldn't totally shock me if we go with a short bench and an extra arm in the pen, especially if it means protecting a guy like McGowan from over use.


Boy wouldn't it be nice if we were using this garbage time in September productively to find out the answers to some of these important questions? 

The teams still in the race can suck my cock and the dicks at the MLB head office can also suck my cock for continually scheduling brutal finishing months for us. Like why should we care what Tampa Bay or New York or Boston thinks about us running out some kids to see what we have for next year? You think if the situation was reversed they would do the same? That's all I am gonna say about that.

Keep in mind there is a bunch of shit that will no doubt change this winter but if I had to guess, right now, Opening Day 2011 looks like this:

My line up:

Snider LF
Escobar SS
Lind 1B
Bautista 3B
Wells RF
Whoever DH
Hill 2B
Arencibia C
Mastroianni CF

My bench:

Whoever or nobody

My starting rotation:


My bullpen:

Carlson or Lewis or Reyes
Accardo or Roenicke or Buchholz or Hayhurst

McGowan is the wild card once again.

Simply put: We stay the course, keep building through the draft and developing our own talent.


  1. The Dream Situation:

    Yankees get Crawford, AA pulls off a deal to get Gardner, in return for some pitching (maybe Marcum?).

    Then the Jays sign Manny on a one year deal. He has apparently always said he wanted to finish his career in Toronto where he destroys the baseball, and he wants to pad his stats. But this will only happen if no one else is really interested and he is willing to sign a cheaper deal with a friendly team option.

    Jays starting lineup:
    LF - Gardner
    SS - Escobar
    1B - Lind
    3B - Bautista
    DH - ManRam
    CF - Wells
    RF - Snider
    2B - Hill
    C - Arencibia


    Starting Rotation
    (assume Marcum was dealt for Gardner, although I would hope they could get him a little cheaper.

    I got the Jays signing Francis, he will be cheap, a solid Canadian starter, and has some potential. Would replace the only veteran experienced player on the rotation, in Marcum.


    And like you, I got McGowan as the wild card. If he does return, it will be in the pen. I also got the Jays bringing back Downs, but he may have to be dealt for Gardner (or at least his rights in a package deal).

  2. Well, that wasn't the "dream" situation. It was a more realistic version of the "dream" situation. The ultimate "dream" situation would be unloading Wells, signing Dunn and Crawford (instead of Manny & Gardner). And get every other top available player.

  3. Even with two broken legs, Wells will ALWAYS be in CF...

  4. Until his contract is up. Didn't say I like it, but that's how it will be.

  5. Ummm I'm not so sure with a few points.

    1) sending a prize pitching prospect to the hitters paradise which is vegas. fail

    2) Having no lead off batter? I guess our dismal obp and solo home run parade hasn't taught you a lesson yet.

    3) letting EE walk for nothing, if Lind moves to 1B, jbau to third, or sign/trade for a lead off 2b and move hill to 3rd. Either way, we have a hole at DH, now you can either DH Lewis and have him lead off. OR Keep EE around, the guy has power and if his wrist is healthy could be a good bat for us , just sucks on defense, sounds like a DH to me.

    My opening Day lineup after a trade with the orioles brings Roberts to the jays for Jesse Litsch and Eric Thames. ..or alternatively Emaus gets a shot.

    1.Emaus/Roberts (2B)
    2.Escobar (ss)
    3.Lind (1b)
    4.Bautista (rf)
    5.Wells (c)
    6.Snider (lf)
    7.Encarnacion (dh)
    8.Arencibia (c)
    9.Hill (3B)


    John Mac




    Setup- Purcey

  6. @Argos,
    I tried to keep it somewhat realistic. Dealing Marcum to a rival within the division is not a good idea. He will try to burn us everything time he faces us just a little bit more.
    If Gardner is available then sure take a run at him. But I would look to offload a bullpen arm or two in that type of deal.
    As for Manny, I don't think he is what we are looking for at DH. Would you really want to add him to the mix in such a young clubhouse?
    As for Francis, the Rockies got a club option on him for 2011. If they choose not to retain him then I absolutely make a play for him as a free agent. He could easily take over the 5 spot and make a potential trade of Marcum a little easier to handle.
    As for the big time free agents (Crawford and Dunn) I just don't see AA giving up his 1st round pick. For anybody.
    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I'll keep an eye on Francis this offseason. Could be a great buy low guy, if he's healthy.

    I know he will be bro.
    Do you think that when Gose is ready, he plays CF?

  7. Great post. I was thinking along the same lines, and I share your apathy towards watching this team while Gaston is still the manager.

    Personally, would bat Escobar leadoff and try out Snider in the two-hole. Also, I wouldn't pencil Gose into the 2012 lineup just yet. I too have high hopes for him but he's a long way from the Show. And what of Jake Marisnick?

  8. @Moonraker,
    Thanks for your comments.
    Let me clear a few things up.
    Drabek to Vegas is not the ideal situation, I totally agree. However, where do you start him if not in the Majors? Can you send him back to AA, for his third time, after the year he had? (pitcher of the year for the entire league, no hitter) I just don't see him starting the year in Toronto.
    As for the lead off guy, I have been watching. But trading for an old, injured Roberts is not a great idea to me. The Cubs have been trying to get him from Baltimore for years and were told the owner loves him. Probably take a little more than Litsch and a prospect. Besides, that doesn't sound like a AA deal anyways. Emaus could be an interesting player but how do you just turn over the keys to 2nd base and the lead off spot to a prospect not even mentioned on our BA top 10 list?
    When I first heard Snider was gonna hit leadoff, I lost my shit. But he does have above average speed and would get more at bats up there than in the bottom third of the order. I don't think any of us can truly say what kind of hitter he is or isn't yet. And hitting there will force him to take more pitches.
    I agree that E5 could be a decent DH in the big leagues but I doubt Lind is ready to take 1B all season. If we sign an older version of him to DH and spell him, then hopefully he can be eased in.
    Lewis as the full time DH and lead off guy isn't a bad idea. Would still need an OF to play the corner and a back up guy that can play CF.

    Thanks for the kind words.
    Bitching about Cito is silly. He is what he is. Never gonna change.
    I thought about Esco in the leadoff spot and would have no issue flipping him and Snider except if Lind is gonna hit third. Two young lefthanded bats in a row would be a major target for the other team in the late innings. You could pretty much guarantee they will be facing a good LHP reliever near the end of the game.
    As for the young guys, I believe I said Gose will hopefully be ready at some point in 2012. I was vague for a reason. No way to ever know till we get there. He has spent 2 seasons in High A and the natural move would be for him to go up to AA at some point in 2011. If that's the case, then the Majors isn't that far off.....
    Jake just made a brief appearance in Low A ball for about a month. He is a long, long ways off and still just 19 years old. If I had to guess, he begins the year in Lansing and maybe gets the call to go to Dunedin either at the All Star break or near the end of the 2011 season. I guess it's possible he starts 2012 in AA but highly unlikely. As for an ETA to the Majors, end of 2013 at the absolute earliest.

    Great discussion going on here guys. Love it!

  9. Francis is almost certain to be a free agent, because the option is for a ridiculous amount of money. I forgot the exact amount, but it is around 7 or 8 million.