Busy Busy

I get home from a nice long weekend in Chicago, where I was visiting family for the U.S. Thanksgiving, and the Jays hold press conferences on consecutive days. Needless to say, I’ve been a bit busy lately.

Here’s some news from the last few days:

  • Toronto is thinking about keeping Aaron Hill at second base after all. The Jays are interested in Royce Clayton for shortstop and are also considering going with more than one player at the position.
  • John McDonald is part of the plans for next season, but as the utility player — not as the starting shortstop. Jason Phillips is also in the plans as the backup at catcher and at first base. Both are arbitration eligible.
  • GM J.P. Ricciardi said he didn’t think Toronto would be in the running for Vicente Padilla or Mark Mulder. He said Tony Armas Jr. was a "backburner guy," so there is some limited interest there. Other than that, he acknowledges that there’s a few things going, but won’t get into specifics yet.
  • Toronto had Gil Meche up for a visit on Tuesday. Frank Thomas and Pat Hentgen both met with him to pitch the city and the team. Ricciardi went to a Maple Leafs’ game with Meche during his stay. Meche and Lilly appear to be Toronto’s top two targets.
  • The Jays don’t plan on going after any bullpen help. Brandon League, Jason Frasor and Jeremy Accardo will get the chance to replace Justin Speier, who signed with the Angels.
  • Toronto will be in the market for a fourth outfielder and Ricciardi said he’ll be looking for a cheap solution at the Winter Meetings. The Jays would like to keep rookie Adam Lind at Triple-A so he can get regular playing time.
  • Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Godfrey said the club hopes to make the payroll figure public before Christmas. The Jays have an idea what the number is, but it has to be approved by the Rogers Communication board of directors first.
  • According to Ricciardi, free-agent catcher Rod Barajas signed a terms sheet before backing out of a two-year deal with the Jays. After he signed the agreement, Barajas only needed to pass a physical to complete the deal. The Jays had a press conference planned and were going to fly Barajas’ family to Toronto before the catcher backed out of the agreed deal.

15 Comments

Im glad to see Zaun back. I think he is a much better option than Barajas. Zaun is much more patient, he works well with our pitching staff, and his offensive numbers seem to get be getting better every year. Im still not counting out Russ Adams this year. He still has potential to be a decent 2nd Baseman, he is just going to have to prove himself. Lots of guys are late bloomers. I look at Zaun he has worked hard to make himself into a good catcher, Gary Mattews Jr. had a breakout year at age 31. For us to really compete this year, we are going to have to have some of these guys step up. A 5th pitcher wether it be Marcum or McGowan or even Towers, is going to have to come in and pitch some good innings for us.

Those intentions sound good.

Right now, Clayton seems to be signed unless he pulls a Barajas on the Blue Jays. Good to keep Hill at 2B. Not as flashy as O-Dog on D, but solid with more potential and a better bat.

I think both Lilly and Meche sound good. But in this market, I think Jays will be very happy to have at least one of them better than none. Lots of competition for both though. Both would mean one of the best rotations in the league.

Mulder, 15 teams interested? Might not even start the season? High-risk, high-payoff?

Extra OF? Hopefully someone with some speed for pinch running too.

I like the idea of a speedy 4th outfielder. Kenny Lofton would be a good option, but he would probably be too exspensive. The Jays might be looking more along the lines of Willie Harris.

Clayton isnt a terrible signing, but his fielding isnt what it used to be. According to FOXsports.com, he ranked 3rd to last in fielding range in the NL last year. I still think Johnny Mac is a good SS, but Clayton will hit better (.258 opposed to .225).

Anybody else tired of the revolving door at shortstop? I wonder if J.P. is hoping Russ Adams will finally emerge as an everyday shortstop? It’s possible I guess. Look at Alex Rios last season. He was pegged as platooning in right with Hinske or possibly being traded before emerging as an All-Star right fielder.

What do people think about Matt Stairs as a 4th outfeilder? I think it would be a perfect fit. It would be nice to add another left bat, he is a veteran who will bring some leadership. Plus he’s Canadian!

I like the Royce Clayton signing but it appears as if the revolving door at the middle infield positions isn’t going to be stopping anytime soon. With Clayton signed to only a 1 year contract the Jays will be in the same situation next year. Aaron Hill is here to stay but MacDonald and Clayton aren’t getting any younger. I guess a lot will depend on the kind of year Russ Adams has in AAA, although you can’t assume a whole lot based on his performance last season.

With Royce being signed to just a one-year deal, it looks like they are waiting for Russ Adams to make his mark. I think if Russ has a good year in the minors that it won’t be long until he’s a full-time Jays shortstop. The guys has a lot of potential, and he’ll break out of the funk he’s in.

4th outfielder should be a speedy veteran. Hopefully someone with playoff experience. I think the only World Series who played in the playoffs in that year is Zaun, and he was backup.

Thomas and Burnett won but they were hurt.

All the other Jays have no playoff experience. Playoff experience is valuable for the home stretch and in the playoffs.

Zaun has playoff experience. He won World Series rings with Florida, and Arizona

Sorry he didn’t actually see any action in the Arizona Series but he did in the Florida (’97) one.

Whoops…I assumed that you had mentioned Glaus’ playoff experience in the paragraph and neglected Zaun’s when in fact it was the other way around.

So Glaus and Zaun as the only ones with playoff experience. I think Thomas has some too.

I think playoff experience is overrated, I will agree it may play a small role. But really when it comes down to it, whether a player can handle the pressure has as much to do with the individual as it does with their experience. A guy with 20 playoff games under his belt may not be able to handle the pressure any better than a guy without any. I don’t think playoff experience will play any role in who J.P. wants in his lineup and it shouldn’t. You find the best player possible to fill the need.

thats right, its all in the player and about going out every game to win. I am sure most players do that on a regular basis. In the end, it truly comes down to who the best team is. Its all about how the players gel as a team. Thos guys with the playoff experiance will be able to help the others anyway. I think regardless of who the Jays come out of the meetings with, they will make an impact on the season.

Agreed. Every player goes out there every game to win- playoff experience or not. The Jays already have a solid group of players, lead by an outstanding veteran core. I don’t feel adding a fourth outfielder with playoff experience will help out that much in the end. But hey, it can’t hurt either. To me the Jays are looking for a cheap backup who can play some good defense and hit a little. Kenny Lofton and players of his calliber are probably out of the question. A few guys that seem more reasonable are Jerry Hairston, Terrance Long and Todd Hollandsworth. Now these guys are not going to wow anyone but they are solid major leaguers. More importantly they are cheap so we can go out and get those two starters we need.

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