Thursday, December 9, 2010
Buy Low Targets
Well, the winter meetings are finally done. The Jays elected to take a pass on picking someone in the Major-League portion of the Rule 5 draft, and as such, missed an opportunity to take a gamble on a potential high-upside player, with very little risk associated with them.
Since Mr Anthopoulos is always on the look out for potential stars that have low value associated with them, I thought I should see who's available, what they might cost, and why we should go after them.
Alex Gordon, KC:
Obviously the Jays are interested. Gordon has destroyed the competition at every level of the minor leages, with an OPS over 1.000 at AAA in both of his most recent stints. Why he has been unable to translate that success is anyone's guess, but he has definitely worn out his welcom in Kansas City.
I firmly believe that Gordon is the player that the Jays have been targeting in their clandestine meetings with KC, and that Gordon could be had for a package of middling prospects, or players who could contribute at the Major League Level. Brad Mills? Darin Mastroianni? A package of players of that ilk should be enough to bring Gordon to Toronto.
Brandon Wood, LAA:
Brandon Wood just finished another crushing of the Arizona Fall League. Admittedly, he was a 25-year-old, playing with mostly younger prospects. Against pitchers who were mostly trying to stretch out their arms. But, he continues to show flashes of the brilliance that made him so highly regarded as a prospect.
LAA seems unlikely to use him as anything more than a bench player next season, so his value is not overly high, aside from his lofty former-prospect status. They were known to be in the market for Carl Crawford, and now that he's no longer available, maybe they would take a chance on a guy like Eric Thames? Plus some prospect-ish pitching? Seems like a guy that would be worth the risk.
Andrew Miller, FA:
Available as a free agent now that he has been non-tendered. He's a minimum-cost former top prospect that could be an excellent swing-man, or could fully transition to the 'pen.
Fernando Martinez, NYM:
Ranked inside the Baseball America top-20 twice, and top-30 three times, before falling almost completely off the map last season. He has suffered some injuries, and from being rushed into the Mets lineup due to their injuries.
Blocked in LF by Jason Bay, and in CF by Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan, Martinez appears to be without a position in New York. He has potential to be at least a 4-tool player (some question his arm strength) and could be a good fit in Toronto. The Mets are beginning a rebuilding phase, and JP Ricciardi is now in the fron office there. What better way for him to scoop up some of his favourite prospects from the Jays' system? Since Martinez is so young, he would likely still have a high cost but I doubt it would be unmanageable.
Mat Gamel, MLW:
Could the Jays and Brewers really make another trade this off-season? Maybe. Gamel has good range, and I could see a move to 1B becoming an option for him. He could still try 3B, and if his arm sorts itself out, he could become the answer for the Jays in the medium-term at that position.
Edwin Encarnacion, FA:
Waiver-claimed by Oakland, but then not tendered a contract. Edwin won't command nearly as much as his $4.75 from last season, and could be a nice sleeper signing. I am not giving up on this guy. Period. He has too much power potential. Now that I've written this, he will likely sign elsewhere in the coming days.
Yonder Alonso, CIN:
Had a brutal first half in AAA, after a hamate-bone surgery last off-season. Came back to life in the second half, but questions still remain. He's also blocked by a pretty good first baseman. Would likely command another top-prospect in return, but less than he would have a year ago, so now would be the time to buy.
Kyle Blanks, SD:
There were only two or three more highly-touted slugging prospects entering this season. Blanks is an enormous individual, and will not last long in the OF. He could DH, and learn to play 1B with Lind.
SD is running out of positions for him, so it may be a chance for them to get some more prospects in return. He would cost a lot, i.e. 1-2 top prospects.
Jordan Schaefer, ATL:
A very athletic player, but plagued by inconsistency. Schaefer, like JP Arencibia also had a strong debut in the Majors. Also like Arencibia, he then proceeded to strike out a tonne. Maybe the coaches could fix a hole in his swing? He would be a defensive upgrade in CF, though we've heard that Wells wants to stay there.
I'll keep this thread open for most of the off-season. Feel free to suggest others in the comments section.
EDIT 1: I've been thinking, and this list is light on pitchers. I know that the Jays aren't looking for pitching specifically, but it's never a bad thing to find another Brandon Morrow.
This guy was 3rd on Baseball America's 2008 list. Ahead of Clay Bucholz, Colby Rasmus and our beloved Travis Snider. I know that nobody wants a Yankee castoff, and I personally am not a fan. That said, he's definitely a fallen star at this point.
He's been a top prospect in the Indians' organization for almost a half-decade. He's had troubles with his fingers, and before that, his elbow. His injury troubles have de-railed his career, but when he's healthy, he's electric. His fastball tops out at 98, so he could also help from the bullpen. Cleveland didn't bother to protect him, so he's not held in high regard there any longer. Maybe try a lowball offer and see what happens in spring training?