Toronto is coming off of a 2013 season in which they were given the best odds to win the World Series according to Vegas odds-makers. After finishing the season with a dismal 74-88 record, and finishing in the AL East basement, its time for change in the Jays organization. But most suspect that as long as Toronto is able to avoid the injury bug, most see a significant improvement in the making in 2014. However Toronto is still looking to get a mid-level to top end starter.
What I would like to propose is what the Jays currently have from a roster-standpoint, what’s in their farm system and who the Jays could potentially consider trading for high-end pitching. Let’s start in the Outfield; Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista. Last year Melky had a tough season, playing in only 88 games and suffering from a spinal tumour which hampered him throughout the season. With the benign tumour now removed, maybe Melky can have a comeback season in his final year under contract.
In the centre of the outfield we have Colby, the player the Jays were able to acquire via trade from the St. Louis Cardinals and the potential to be a 5-tool player. Rasmus still has that potential; however the Jays will have to decide how keen they are on him in their future. Waiting in the wings is young 23-yr old CF Anthony Gose that has speed and some ability to be a great CF in the future. In past years, the Jays have locked up players such as Vernon Wells to huge owners contracts (7-yr, $126 Million) and it hasn’t quite worked out. Maybe the time now is to trade Colby and bring up Gose to fill the void; but only if the Jays could get a TOP END starter – thats the only way.
Than there’s Jose Bautista, who is commonly known by his monacher “Joey Bats”. Jose was once a no-name OF with little promise sitting on the Pittsburgh Pirates roster. The Jays took a chance on him and he’s emerged into one of the game’s greatest power hitters. Again I would look to keep Bautista unless he was a part of a deal sending serious top-end starting pitchers over. The Jays have Moises Sierra as a replacement option, although he has been recently rumoured to be in the mix to platoon with Adam Lind at 1B, believe it or not.
In addition, I should also remind readers that we no longer have Rajai Davis who has recently signed a contract with the Detroit Tigers. This makes Gose a mandatory keep, so thats one thing that is as close to a lock as there is in the outfield. As for their other option (Kevin Pillar), it is difficult to say if he will be in the future for Toronto. In somewhat of a tryout at the end of the 2013 season, Pillar showed some potential but also demonstrated he still has a ways to go.
Ok let’s move towards the infield. This is a bit easier, as most players are a lock. Lawrie at third base is a lock, the Jays have put their faith in him. At shortstop the hope is that Reyes can avoid injury, he is also here to stay for the meantime. At second base we basically have Izturius & Goins manning the position; in platoon. Most expected Toronto to go out and sign a FA 2B, or through trade – however that is yet to happen. Maybe AA can still grab a second baseman as part of a trade or signing this offseason.
First base will be a potential platoon (yet again) of Lind and Moises Sierra as I mentioned earlier. Adam’s name has been mentioned in potential trade talk, so he may not be safe. Edwin is another 1B option and as you know will look to play loads of time in the DH role. I should mention that Alex Anthopolous has also said that he intends to keep most of his positional players in the plans for 2014, however that could change if big pitching becomes available…