To start, we should get out of the way one question that was asked by many of you over the past day, including @MMMMBLT: What do you think of the new Jays logo??
We can't seem to find out Jump to Conclusions mat, as it's buried at the back of our closet with our Doc Martens and our zipper ties. So we can't jump to any conclusions about the validity of this logo, nor does the alleged logo tell us much about the look if the entire uniform ensemble. But if you want me to look at this picture and pass judgment, we'd tell you we like it a lot. It's not exactly the old logo, but it's a nice new iteration thereof. But still, we'll need to wait until we see the team working the new duds on a catwalk before we can adjudicate the execution of the new branding.
Next, @mstoreshaw (who always contributes questions and who we shamefully overlook) asks: If Lawrie profiles as corner OF long-term, crazy to look into Aramis Ramirez this winter? Likely fewer yrs/$ than Prince/Pujols.
Indeed, Aramis will certainly cost less than either of the major free agents, though he may look for an increase over this year's $16.75 million. Still, over the next three years, we can see Ramirez putting up numbers similar or vaguely equivalent to those of Fielder, while providing more defensive value.
There's still the matter of who moves where and plays what next year if the Jays were to make a move for a third baseman, and there's a larger philosophical question as to whether if you move to get the best players you can find in free agency or trades and figure out their spot on the diamond afterwards. It seems to us that the Jays are set on Lawrie at the hot corner, but a move to the outfield or even to first base in order to accommodate Ramirez isn't the craziest idea we've heard.
Let's keep talking about the corners. Two questions (from opposite perspectives) on a Jays-Reds deal in the offseason.
@joelwpenney asks: With Votto's contract rising to $17M in '13 and Y.Alonso waiting in CIN, will AA make a play? Cooper/D'Arneaud/Thames for Votto?
While @whatadewitt asks: You think a guy like Yonder Alonso fits the Jays? Seems like a high-ceiling guy without a spot to play...
To the first question, we don't think that package comes anywhere close to getting you Joey Votto. For starters, you've suggested sending back a first baseman and a left fielder to help them deal with the 1B/LF glut that they currently have. That's ain't going to play. To get a player like Votto, it's going to hurt. You know that crazily amazing rotation that the New Hampshire Fisher Cats rode to the Eastern League Championship? Start with those names, adding a couple of them into the mix, and you've got the start of a Votto deal, and none of that even begins to factor in that he'll be looking for a Pujols/Fielder/Howard deal very soon. (Plus, you've also got the start of your future holes in your rotation, but we digress.)
To the second question, yes, we think that Alonso would come with a more reasonable price tag, and could be a decent solution to the Jays' lack of production at first base. Alonso may even profile to be more of a DH in the long term, so he'd fit better with an AL team anyways. We're not sure what they'd have to give up to get him, but we'd be all for a move that brings in a player on upswing of his career. Buy low, sweet GM.
More offseason talk, before we even reach the end of the year! @CountyPride asks: Is a better bullpen AA's main priority this offseason?
We're not going to say that the bullpen won't be part of the process this Winter, because it surely will. Just as last year, the Jays went out and signed three players who had previously served as closers, we can see them again looking at low cost arms on short deals with a team option attached. We're not sure that it will necessarily be the main priority, or the most important aspect of the roster reconstruction, if by that you mean "Are they going to spend a lot of money and make big deals on players who have big names." In part, this is because we think that some of the arms that will pitch from the bullpen next year are already in the system. But with four or five slots to fill, there will certainly be new bodies added. Just don't get your hopes up for a proven closer for hire.
Speaking of which, @DrewGROF asks: Jonathon Broxton - Proven Closer for hire! Yay or nay?
Nay! A thousand times, NAY! (We suspect that Drew may have served us up a meatball, not unlike what the rotund Broxton might do to batters on a regular basis.)
Mind you, if you were to ask us if we'd toss a cheap, one-year deal at a 300 lb. pitcher with a history of injuries, but also the occasional dominant season (114 Ks versus 29 BB in 76 innings in 2009), we might take that gamble. If you slot him into an undetermined role in the pen (i.e. not necessarily as the closer), and you don't treat him as a bullpen saviour, you may well convince us. Would Broxton sign for one year under those circumstances? That might be a tough sell.
More bullpen queries! @NicholasDerosa asks: Cecil next year = rzep this year. Converted starter who had lots of chances, turned into expendable bullpen arm?
See? This is what we were saying about bullpen solutions from within. Yes, we understood the old argument that Cecil had too much of an arsenal to be relegated to bullpen or closer duty. (And yes, for a starter, the closer role is a demotion.) But given diminished velocity, diminished effectiveness of Cecil's secondary pitches and a delivery which keeps falling out of sorts, we don't think his spot in the rotation is remotely guaranteed next year. On the other hand, Cecil is tough on lefties (.190 batting average,.283 OBP,.246 slugging against in 145 plate appearances versus left-handed batters this season), which might be an asset out of the pen.
If the Jays don't have better options in their rotation, then we wouldn't be in a rush to move Squints into a bullpen role. But if Cecil isn't looking to be a sub-4.00 ERA starter, then, y'know...why the heck not?
And it all comes full circle. @alittlehghas asks Do you see the
#Jays adding another piece to their starting rotation in the off-season?
While we don't know if the Jays will add someone to help improve the state of the starting rotation, our notion is that a) Only Ricky Romero and maybe Brandon Morrow have guaranteed starting jobs to begin next year and b) you can never have enough good starting pitching. If there is a player out there that can be had without emptying the system or overpaying in the free agent market, then the Jays ought to pursue that. Anyone in mind?
Apparently, maybe. @THEPatSuley asks: What do you think of The Jays going after CJ Wilson?
We haven't expended a lot of time thinking on Wilson up until recently, in part because we presume that the Yankees are going to pursue him so vigourously that the Jays won't get a shot at him unless they wildly overpay. Which is ridiculous, right?
Maybe we've just been worn down by too many conversations about "proven veterans" and all that nonsense, but the idea of a gaudy four-year deal for Wilson actually is starting to make sense to us. To keep him away from your AL East rivals, and you would have to accept some additional financial risk, but if there is a reason to sign a borderline bad contract, it might be to keep pace in the chase for good starting pitching.
Let's get a move on. Here's the rapid-fire portion of our semi-weekly exchange of ideas.
@JamieWine: You think Lawrie plays so hard that he'll always be an injury risk? We've had exactly this thought on more than one occasion since he was recalled. His injuries this year have been mostly flukey ones. But a player who plays at max effort levels as often as Lawrie does is a candidate for strains or tears.
@daveellis66: Correct response to being told to sit down during 9th inning rally at RC? A) Why don't you STAND UP? or B) Forearm to jugular? Depends on who was behind you (little old lady? mother with children?) and how you approached the situation (were you a jerk about it?) Generally, we'd suggest option A. Be nice.
@xsoccermomx: Why do pickles taste better then cucumbers and whats this team gotta do to get to the next level of good teams? In both instances, we'd offer the same answer: "Dill and brine."
@willbryden: What do you think the chances are that Snider gets traded this winter, or will they wait until he re-establishes his value? If they have a notion that he's not going to turn things around ever, then we suppose it's possible that they'll look for a deal. But we think the Jays will give Snider another opportunity to prove himself, because his upside is likely better than anything they could extract in return for him.
Finally, @itsgettinglate: What are your thoughts on the Zooey Deschanel vehicle New Girl? We thought we were getting to a point where the whole cutesy fey thing that Zooey had going on would wear thin. Turns out, it hasn't yet. We kinda hate the show, but we can't not watch it. She's a peach, and it's fun just to watch her be a goofball.
And that's all you wrote. (Well, not exactly, but it's all we figured you'd read.) We're always happy to hear your thoughts, feelings and aspirations. Share with us in the comments, and please, enjoy the conclusion to the season. It's a long, long winter ahead.