What the Jays Should Do Over the Offseason (But Won't)

During my years as an indentured servant in a Cold War-era Siberian Gulag, I learned many things. How to properly season 5 month expired beef. The best way to tan in temperatures that could freeze jet fuel. What ratio of antifreeze to astroglide to use to so that there's enough antifreeze to keep the lube from crystallizing mid-prison rape, but not so much that it will turn your dong/colon green.

Now, despite the educational value of my internment, I desired to get out. The problem with escaping from a Gulag in the middle of Pissfreeze, Siberia is that if you aren't killed by the guard, you're more likely than not going to turn into the biggest piece of ice this side of Mr. T's neck. With only one chance for success, it is imperative that your plan be as retardproof as possible. In addition, since whatever materials you manage to find to write on, you could be using to blanket yourself from the ball-shriveling cold, it's best to keep things brief.

And so, I decided to take a crack at building a roster for the Toronto Blue Jays which could actually compete in the AL East in 2010. Let me state right now, for the record, that "going for it" should 100% be the Jays' intention going into next season. If they want to have ANY hope keeping Halladay going forward (they should), they need to compete in 2010. I will do my best to keep this both short (kinda like your penis) and quick to the point (definitely like your penis).

The Position Players

There are 4 new dudes here. Dan Uggla is freshly acquired from the Marlins for a couple of young and cheap players. Think Brad Emaus, Brian Dopirak, Josh Roenicke, Darin Mastroianni etc. If they're being huge dicks about it, though, center the trade around one of Eric Thames/Moises Sierra/Yohermyn Johermyn Chavez. To fit Uggla into the lineup, I've moved Aaron Hill to shortstop, where he was moved from in 2006 for being terrible (but that was before he learned how to properly Butter-field (the puns!)). I estimated Hill as being a -5 UZR shortstop, though you can knock off a half-win of value for him if you happen to think he's worse than that. The second new guy is Carlos Gonzalez, who, in my plan, I have traded straight up for Marc Rzepczynski. For those who don't think the Rockies would do this I present to you that a) the Rockies have Seth Smith, who is pretty close to the same talent-wise, except a few years older, to immediately stick in the outfield and b) Rzepczynski is a groundball/strikeout pitcher. He could rock a BB/9 of 6 and he would still be perfect for pitching in Denver. Quite frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if Dan O'Dowd threw in a couple of complimentary handjobs just to seal the deal.

"Rzepczynski you say?"

Gonzalez's career UZR/150 in the corner outfield is about +20. That seemed way too high for me, so I toned down the projection to a much more reasonable +10 (and Cito would never actually put him in center over Vernon, despite it being the much better defensive alignment). Third newcomer is Ryan Doumit. The Pirates are actively shopping him and, while I would certainly prefer Michael Naples, he is the best catcher openly on the market (with a very team-friendly contract to boot). A trade centered around J.P. Arencibia (whom I have no doubt will be anything but a massive failure in the bigs) will get this done. Lastly, I brought back the patron saint of this here baseballlog, Carlos Delgado, back on a 1-year deal to DH. There is basically no difference between Overbay playing first in a strict platoon and Delgado playing a (mostly) fulltime DH, so I went with the cooler option. This also lets us find out if Lind can play first base in the majors (I estimated him at -5 UZR).

Other stuff: I kept E5 because I think there's upside in his bat and I would like to see him field after getting a chance to work with Butterfield over a full season. Also because there are absolutely no third basemen out there excep, like, Troy Glaus which... yeah.

Ruiz is the "pinch hitter" (hahahahaha ahhhhh.... fuck you Cito) and quasi-platooner for both Lind and Delgado. Bautista is an above average OF/3B backup. Kyle Phillips is the backup catcher because who gives a shit. He might be able to hit and I know Raul Chavez can't, so I prefer this route. Recent waiveree, Mike McCoy is the utility guy because he's literally the only guy in the entire organization, any level, that is actually a shortstop. He also flashed some on-base skills in '09 so why the fuck not. I'd also like to mention I estimated Vernon's UZR as -15. Jesus, what happened to him?

The Pitchers

Despite what basically every analyst out there will tell you, there is a fantastic (and easily exploitable) free agent class of starting pitchers this offseason. 3 of the best starters in the MLB are free agents, and all can be acquired on the cheap due to injury concerns. Durability is easily THE most overvalued commodity in the market, but that's a subject for a separate post.

For Sheets and Bedard, they'll be looking for a) the most guaranteed cash, which I have no problem offering them (along with whatever incentives) and b) a home park where they don't need to worry about giving up 300-foot big flies (such as Fenway and New Yankee Stadium) so they can properly rebuild their respective values and land multi-year deals next winter.

Rich Harden's biggest issue will be contract length. I have absolutely no issue with giving Harden 3-years guaranteed, which I suspect pretty much every other team will. A $7mil base with appropriate incentives will keep him happy on the money front. This contract is legitimately risky. Harden is a big injury risk, but he's pitched 300 innings over the last 2 season, and 300 innings of Harden is, in my opinion, easily worth 21 million dollars (plus incentives).

Closing Thoughts

Overbay's gone. I don't particularly care what the Jays get for him. He's a much better player than he gets credit for, but there just wasn't any room for him, and $7mil is way too much for a backup first baseman.

I don't think any of my estimates in terms of IP/PA and WAR values are particularly outlandish. I have all the position players except for Uggla, Delgado, and Lind as being essentially league average hitters, and I have everyone except for Carlos Gonzalez being below average defensively. With the WAR totals I have listed, this is a 91 win neutral luck team (43 WAR + 48 wins a replacement level team would win). Now, that alone probably won't get the Jays into the playoffs. Not in the AL East. But that isn't with full predicted seasons from all players. If the Jays can manage to get 450 innings from the triumvirate of Sheets, Harden, and Bedard (not a likely event, by any stretch), then you can all just go ahead and print off your playoff tickets right now, because that's the best rotation since the mid-90s Braves. Also, Halladay might actually re-sign.

Of course, the rotation could end up looking like a M.A.S.H. unit and they could all end up even falling short of the modest innings projections I laid out above. If that's the case, you trade off Halladay at the deadline, along with Sheets and Bedard if either happen to be healthy at the time.

This entire roster is an upside play based on the health of the starting pitching. If they're healthy, the Jays make the playoffs. If they don't, no big deal, you get an extra couple prospects at the trade deadline for your time and money. There's also some upside with offense in Snider and E5, though there's also some downside in Delgado (age) and Doumit (health). For whoever cares, this team's payroll comes in at approximately $94MM after estimating raises for the arbitration-eligible players, including money owed to B.J. Ryan.

So, in the end, that was nothing like your tiny, premature ejaculation-riddled penis. It was actually more like my penis: it was long and it took you on a circuitous and deeply convoluted ride that ultimately would leave you feeling more confused than satisfied. How I ever got out of that Gulag, I'll never know.