As always, the Tao is here to serve you with insider analysis and the latest poop and scoop. (Okay... so we're not an insider. But we did once share a Go Train platform with Sportsnet's Peter Loubardias, back when he had just lost all his baby fat. That's gotta count for something.)
Here's a brief run down of the candidates to drive in some RsBI next season:
1) Milton Bradley - There's lots of apprehension around the mercurial Bradley, who at times shows roughly the same level of emotional stability as the love child of Crispin Glover and Sean Young. But considering what a horrendously milquetoast crew the Jays will have next year (especially with A.J. dishing out shaving cream pies elsewhere), you have to wonder if they couldn't use a guy who doesn't mind running his mouth and going apeshit once in a while.
In terms of his numbers, they were sterling in 126 games last season (22 HRs, 77 RsBI, .999 OPS). Looking at his year over year trends, Bradley only seems to be getting better, posting an OPS+ of 153 in 2007 and 163 in 2008.
As much as we like the idea of Bradley in Toronto, there are three caveats that we see. First, his durability is a concern. He's never managed to play more than 141 games in any season, and he missed substantial time from 2005 through 2007.
Second, his career stats versus the Yankees and Red Sox are less than stellar (.565 career OPS versus the Yanks, and .716 versus the Sox.)
Finally, the switch-hitting Bradley's career stats versus lefties (.504 slugging) are a lot stronger than his numbers versus righthanders (.438 slugging, .801 OPS).
All things considered, it seems as though Bradley could be had with a reasonable contract for a shorter term, and he could represent an upgrade over Adam Lind in the short term.
2) Raul Ibanez - Dismiss him if you must, but Ibanez has driven in more than 100 runs in each of the last three years, and moreover, he has driven in more runs than any Blue Jay over that period.
3) Jason Giambi - Left for dead as recently as 2007, Giambi can still hit 30 bombs and drive in 100 if he stays healthy. He has also put up robust numbers at Rogers Centre over his career (.554
4) The rest of the lot - It gets pretty sketchy at this point, with players who are on the downside of their career (Griffey, Garciaparra, Abreu, Kent, Jim Edmonds), players who aren't going to sign with J.P. in asny case (Adam Dunn), and players who have more question marks than the Riddler's unitard (Burrell, Rocco Baldelli, Garrett Anderson). Of those, Baldelli is the one that intrigues us most, if only because it would bring so much joy to the fellas at Ghostrunner on First. Our profound sense of nostalgia kicks in on Griffey, who has slugged .577 in Toronto over the years, but we've already been down the "future Hall of Famer's last hurrah" road before, and it didn't play out very well as we recall.
That's our list. As always, we welcome your scorn in the comments.