Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pre Winter Meeting Musings

We're a little over 2 weeks away from this year's MLB Winter Meetings, where the bulk of the offseason action is likely to take place. That means your humble (no, really) weekend keyboard monkey has little of substance on which to pontificate.

Instead, here are some hot (er, lukewarm?) topics running through my head:

* It's been mentioned in the comments section, and it bears repeating here since I've often had the same thought - why can't Brian Dopirak be a serviceable option in the Jays lineup next year? No, really, I'm asking. I've heard - and can't necessarily disagree with - all the reasons why he's a longshot to stick at the major league level: it took him 4 seasons to get past 'A' ball, he's old for the level, he's beating up on minor league retreads, etc.

But here's the thing: his numbers have been fantastic since the start of 2008. He comes with a pedigree (2nd round pick). And he's no longer blocked (/sarcasm) by the manager's favorite, Kevin Millar.

Can't it be that he just turned the corner in his development and is now reaching that 2nd round potential? And can't we give the dude a shot before writing him off? For my money, he's exactly the type of player a "building" team needs to take a long, hard look at. It will be a disappointment - for me, anyway - if he doesn't break camp with the team (pending any substantial offseason moves to shore up 1B/DH, of course).

* .....and since we're here, is it completely unreasonable to assume (hope?) that one of Jarret Hoffpauir or Mike McCoy can be a useful player in the infield? I mean, as it stands, we're looking at Aaron Hill....and that's about it, as far as sure-fire returnees go. Personally, I'm hoping for one or both to make the team, if for no other reason than the blogging possibilities (Hoff! The Real McCoy!). Yeah, maybe I'm reaching now.

* We all now Alex Anthopoulos has floated the notion that he isn't adverse to trading Roy Halladay within the division. On the surface - as brutally gut-wrenching as it would be - it makes sense to take the best deal for the Jays out there. But I'm starting to think that might just be a smokescreen to drive up the market for non-AL East teams who might be interested in acquiring the services of the true Ace (Doc is a capital-A ace).

And maybe it's working? Fresh off the news that the Dodgers (let's ignore the implications of ol' Frankie McCourt's divorce) are focusing on Doc - with the name 'Chad Billingsley' being tossed around - comes word of early discussions with the Cubs.

During last season's trade deadline fiasco, the Cubs were never viewed as a serious players, due primarily to the perceived lack of prospect depth. But they do have Starlin Castro, who's generating some pretty serious buzz, and potential big bat Josh Vitters in the system, so.....

* I don't see any way that the (unreasonably) under appreciated Lyle Overbay returns, at this point. Given the volume of trade rumors surrounding him, and given the return of Cito....I just think it would end badly.

* Rethinking the Brandon Phillips speculation....unless one of Phillips/Hill were to make a move to SS....yeah, what's the point. His bat would not be an upgrade over Edwin Encarnacion, and it's impossible to say how he'd play defensively at the hot corner. But a double play combo of Hill & Phillips up the middle might not be so bad, would it?

* Something has to happen in the outfield, doesn't it? Can we really envision an everyday alignment of Lind-Wells-Snider defensively? That's assuming of course, that Snider sees AB's against more than just right-handed pitching, and Lind doesn't move to 1B, and....

* One thing's for certain: AA has his work cut out for him. He has no choice but to put his stamp on the team. Let's just hope it's his own.


Tao of Stieb said...

Nicely done Ack. I like reading your posts more than my own. Because yours tend to have a point, and mine are a Jays fan reworking of Alan Ginsberg's Howl.

Would love to have Dopirak get his chance. Although I'm sure that one bad week and they'd give up on him.

Herbie Hancock said...

I remember reading somewhere, probably that pithy kernel of Jays geekdom that is battersbox (i mean no disrespect the categorization) that Dopirak's problem was that he was a one dimensional hitter and that the Jays both tweaked his swing and taught him better plate discipline. Anyway, the point is that the Dopirak the Cubs had and the Dopirak the Jays have are two slightly different beasts, so the development path has been a bit longer than expected. Still, I'd like Dopirak to be given a fair chance, though for him to earn a spot he's got to be able to play at least some passable first base.

I wouldn't mind Doc going to the Cubs, especially if it means it helps the Cubs go from perpetual wallflowers to world series dance floor monsters. Not only would it be cool to see the Cubs win, but Doc would no longer be a demi-god amongst the five day starter-set, he'd be ******* Zeus.

Anonymous said...

I really wish the Rockies had the funds available to be able to go after Halladay. Getting a package based on Iannetta and either Fowler or Carlos Gonzales would be perfect for the Jays.

Torgen said...

Overbay was 20th in wOBA out of 31 first basemen with over 400 PAs, and most of those guys had to face both handedness of pitchers. If he didn't need to be platooned then he'd be Paul Konerko for less money. Instead he's Paul Konerko but he takes up two roster spots. Remember, a team that wins 70 games on a 60 win payroll is efficient, but they still suck. That's Overbay in a nutshell.

Unknown said...

"Blue Jays CEO Paul Beeston told George King III of the New York Post that ace Roy Halladay "is not inclined to sign" with Toronto if (or when) he hits free agency.

Halladay, 32, is only under contract through the upcoming season and Toronto might not have the kind of money it would take to extend his contract anyway. "We would like to sign him, he is an original Blue Jay and we have never had a pitcher as good as him," Beeston told The Post on Friday. "But he is not inclined to sign with us." "

Dane lorg said...

"I really wish the Rockies had the funds available to be able to go after Halladay. Getting a package based on Iannetta and either Fowler or Carlos Gonzales would be perfect for the Jays."

--Those guys would be nice. But I'd love for them to send Jhoulys Chacin!

I know, another 'Chacin'. But the Jays gotta get rid of all that remaining stock of 'Chacin Cologne' somehow.

Anonymous said...

Chacin too! Now that's a trade!

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

You're right, there's a ton of work to be done. It should be a glorious winter.


Twitchy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Gentleman said...

Forget Brandon Phillips. Trade for Uggla and move Hill to short. Uggla is the better hitter and will be much more easily had. Plus he hits in a pitcher's park versus a hitter's park.

Gil Fisher said...

I see the Orioles are interested in Delgado. I think Carlos and Randy Ruiz should be given our 1B duties this year, with a view to moving one or both at the deadline if they perform well. Dopirak could move in mid-year after a trade, injury or demotion.

I'm surprised there haven't been any rumours on Rick Ankiel. He could provide pretty good RF defence for someone (like us) and his offense shouldn't be off the rails yet.

Peter DeMarco said...

Here's the thing, Dopriak, Hoffpauir and McCoy are nice back-up plans, because of the good minor league numbers, etc. However, if you can find true prospects rather than these guys, the Jays should go for it. This is because Dopriak, Hoffpauir and McCoy are longshots and big time. These are the next Chad Mattolas of the world, good in the minor leagues, but never do well in the majors. Sure every once and a while someone beats all odds and has a decent MLB career, but this is very, very, very, very, rare.

I'll say it again, a better plan is to target teams with players blocking significant prospects:
- Gamel is blocked by Magehee, Brandon Wood is blocked by Kendrick and Aybar, the Rockies don't have enough OF spots to play Young Jr, Carlos Gonzalez, Seth Smith, Dexter Fowler and Brad Hawpe, if the Rays resign Crawford, try to get Desmond Jennings, etc.

Then once you've gathered as much young talent as you possibly can, whatever positions that still need to be filled can go to a Dopriak type player.

Gil Fisher said...

From the failed prospect file, Brandon Wood is not much different than Dopirak, except that he's failed at the MLB level and Dope hasn't been given the chance yet.

Peter DeMarco said...

You have a point Gil, however Dopriak there are a few things that separate Wood from Dopriak:

- Many scouts still believe Wood has a high ceiling while there is mixed opinions about Dopriak future
- Wood is a middle infielder, where if he is just replacement level talent, it doesn't hurt you as much.
- No organization has given up on Wood.
- Woods a couple of years younger.
- The Jays didn't even make Dopriak a September call up, which suggest they don't see him as part of their future
- Wood has more major league experience.

But you are right, the signs are there that Wood could be a bust, like his low BB rate, his lack of success in the majors, etc. But I'll I'd take the chance on him anyday over a guy that was given up on.

Gil Fisher said...

Well Wood isn't much of a middle infielder. I couldn't really tell you how many scouts have or haven't given up on him. He's about 15.5 months older that Dopirak. The Jays gave Dopirak a month off before sending him to Venezuela for the winter (understandable he wouldn't be a call-up). Wood has had chances at the ML level in three seasons now and has failed each time.

I haven't given up on Wood. I agree he's a better prospect than Dopirak, but he doesn't impress me much. If the Angels wanted to throw him in to some trade package, I wouldn't object, but I don't think his trade value is very high.

Peter DeMarco said...

I see Dopriak developing into a player like Mike Jacobs, but it would be nice if I was wrong.

As for Wood, my suggestion was to offer a package of Scott Downs and Purcey for him. But maybe that's too much? Or maybe there are better potential SS's to target. Eithier way, I would create a list of the top prospects around baseball that are ready to contribute in 2010, that I believe are attainable. Then try to get as many of these players as I could.

The Ack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Ack said...

Peter, it sounds like that is precisely what AA is doing/has done. Whether he can deliver is another story....we all know how the market values prospects in MLB today.

Ty said...

The Jays didn't even make Dopriak a September call up, which suggest they don't see him as part of their future

I think you might be misremembering things a bit... at that point Cito was already pissing off Lyle Overbay by playing Kevin Millar all the time, so Dopirak wouldn't have gotten any appreciable amount of playing time (if any at all), especially with Cito already basically refusing to ever play any of the other young guys on the team (see: Ruiz, Randy; Snider, Travis). And on top of that, I think the main reason was generally accepted to be that they didn't want to start his MLB service time clock if they didn't have to.

I don't think Dopirak is the next Delgado or anything but I'd like to see him at least get a chance before we all write him off. He's the same age Adam Lind was last year when he finally stuck in the big leagues for more than a few weeks at a time, so why is it unreasonable to think that maybe Dopirak has finally figured things out as well?

Gil Fisher said...

Scott Downs and Purcey may be too much for him. Downs will leave as a Type A free agent in a year.

Though if that was an offer from the Angels, I'd try to get the deal done in some way - maybe Accardo and a prospect instead of Downs?

Peter DeMarco said...

Some thoughts:
- It is my perspective that a September call-up is generally a reward for players who had good seasons. Whether or not they play is not important, the month of getting a major league check tells the player the organization is grateful and we have plans for you. This would not have affected his service time.
- I'm not saying that Dopirak has no chance, just that it is a longshot, and if there is an opportunity through a deal for the Jays to improve their odds of developing a good player at that position, they should do the deal. In fact, they should be actively pursuing that type of deal. If no deal comes along (that's reasonable), then yes, giving Dopirak a shot is a better solution than signing a guy like Delgado.
- I realize that it's only natural to overvalue the guys within your oganization, but it's time to take some risks. I hope that AA is being realistic with what he has and makes every move possible to improve where he can.