The Day We've All Been Waiting For

It's finally here! After many long months it is finally here!

Sure, it won't be as good as it could have been. HE could have been HERE. And for a short while, we thought he would be. It was reported he'd be coming here. And then it was reported he wouldn't be. I felt cheated. We all felt cheated.

But let us not dwell on what could have been. Let us dwell on what is.

Today... is a day for celebration.

Today... is a day to reflect upon the past.

Today... is the day we have all be waiting for.

Today... is Carlos Delgado's birthday.

 This picture of his press conference from when he first signed with the Mets was the only one I could find of him smiling.

Yes, Papa Carlos turns 38 today.

As I said, we all got excited when we were briefly told he would be around for it. And we all felt cheated when it turned out to be for naught. We all wanted to see him add to his franchise-leading 336 home runs and make a run for 500 career (he's currently 37 away).

Word is, Delgado wants to play in the second half after having hip surgery in February. Maybe after trading away Overbay, if the Jays still don't feel Wallace is ready, the Jays could bring Papa Carlos back for a few months to DH while Lind shows whether or not he can play a halfway passable first base (I refuse to give up on Wallace as a third baseman).

Happy birthday, Carlos. I hope I see you back in the majors soon.

Oh, and Halladay is starting today against the Jays or whatever. That's kinda cool, I guess.





Stupid Interleague...

...with your imbalanced home/away serieses (serii?). Because of this, I'm not going to be able to witness Ubaldo Jimenez utterly dominate the Blue Jays live, as the Rockies and Jays play only in Colorado.

And, make no mistake, Ubaldo WILL dominate the Jays. His ERA is under 1. And it's June. His one and only flaw as a pitcher is occassional bouts of wildness; and with the Jays' extreme hacking ways, don't expect, with the possible exceptions of Bautista and Overbay, for Ubaldo to issue any free passes to any of the Jays. This'll be a fun game to watch.


Another Year, Another Boring First-Rounder

So today, with their highest draft pick since 2005, the Jays drafted a guy whose upside is basically Nick Blackburn. Awesome. The guy I was praying the Jays would take, Yasmani Grandal, went with the very next pick. Sigh...

I guess there's always next year.


Breaking News: Yuniesky Betancourt Still Terrible at Everything

Yuniesky Betancourt is one of the worst players in the MLB. Arguably the worst. He hits for a decent average, doesn't draw walks, and has no power. He's also a bad fielder (his career career high in Ultimate Zone Rating is 0.0 from way back in '06; his career high in Plus/Minus is also 0, also from '06). He does nothing well. And yet he continues to start, forcing Mike "Actually Good At Baseball" Aviles over from shortstop to second base. Which has forced second baseman Alberto Callaspo to third base. Which has in turn caused Alex Gordon, one of the team's best players, to get punted back to AAA to "learn how to play left field", which more or less translates to "hit well, because no one cares about left field defense".

I bring all of this up because Mike Aviles made a sweet grab on a groundball up the middle in yesterday's game. I've included a screencap below. I hope you don't mind, but I've taken the liberty of adding lines to show approximately how far the fielders moved on the play.

Did I mention the Royals have to pay Yuni a minimum of $7 million over the next 2 years? And they gave up 2 pitchers to get him? Awesome!


It's The Little Things In Life

As I was watching the Yankees/Twins game yesterday, I was lucky enough to witness the following exchange between Michael Kay and whoever the other guy was (it wasn't Al Leiter or Ken Singleton... Paul O'Neil maybe?). It happened with Javi Vasquez on the mound and someone on second base with one out. Enjoy:

Michael Kay: Right now, Javier Vasquez wants to get a groundball right back to him, so he can look the runner back to second. If the ball goes to anyone else, that runner can move over.

Other Guy: Yep, and Javi knows that there's a pitch that can get him that result. If he throws a backdoor breaking ball right here, it'll get the batter to tap the ball right back to him.

*Javi Vasquez throws a backdoor breaking ball. Jason Kubel pulls it into the right-center gap for an RBI double.*

 Ahhhh. It's moments like these that make life worth living.


Pitching 101

Kevin Gregg. Dude. I like you. I defended you when the Jays signed you and everyone was calling you a sack of shit. But, seriously, what the fuck was that last night? When the plate umpire is gifting you a strike zone ten feet across, you don't slap him in the face by throwing meatballs down the middle of the plate.

I don't care whether you're up by 1 run or 10. Pitch smart. Leads can disappear really fast when you're lazy.


Well... That Was Unexpected

John Buck hitting a trio of homers. Never would have guessed that. It's probably a bad thing in the long run, because Cito will likely ignore the rest of Buck's season and point directly to this game when Buck's hitting 6th and not getting pinch hit for in August. For right now, though, it was pretty cool.


That Was Fun

Jays lost. I don't really care. The game was entertaining, which is what's important. David Price flat out dominated. Brandon Morrow pitched like shit, but looked better than he was because the Rays were expending all their energy "keeping the Jays defense on its toes" (translation: running into outs).

Travis Snider sat against the lefty so that Cito could squeeze JMac's potent bat into the lineup. Retarded, but I fully expected it.

Frasor got lit up again. His velocity is down, and he was only an average reliever when he still threw hard. I thought the Jays should have traded him during the offseason because I thought his ERA last year was a fluke. If this decreased velocity is a permanent thing and he can't learn to throw his splitter within a foot of the strike zone, he might not be worth anything come the deadline.

P.S. The Phillies just extended Ryan Howard for 5 years at $25MM per. You are never ever complain about Vernon's contract or call Ricciardi the Worst GM Ever or whatever now. Ruben Amaro Jr. and Mike Rizzo (and Brian Sabean and Dayton Moore) still have jobs and are way, way worse.


I'm Excited

If you asked me, I'd probably say that I prefer slugfests to pitcher duels. Pitcher duels are often decided by some solo home run in the 3rd inning and end rather anticlimactically with a few quiet groundouts in the ninth. Slugfests at least keep the tension high throughout.

But the types of games I really like and the unpredictable ones. The ones where I have no idea what to expect coming into it, and a blowout is just as likely as a close game. A pitcher duel which can turn into a slugfest at any moment. That type of game is today.

Today, the Jays send Brandon Morrow against Tampa's David Price. Both pitchers are fully capable of dominating one moment, and being completely unable to find the strike zone or get anyone out the next. We could just as easily see a 2-1 duel as we could a 9-8 slugfest or a 10-0 blowout or anything in between. I honestly have no idea. I'm excited, and you should be too.

This should be a fun one.

All Good Things Must Come To An End

Well that was fast. The other day I said Cito did a good job of managing the game. Not yesterday. Yesterday Cito went back to managing like a stroke victim.

In the 7th inning, the Jays had the bases loaded with 2 out. Joe Madden brought in lefty specialist Randy Choate (career .224/.307/.322 line against lefties) in to face Fred Lewis (.250/.335/.340 against lefties). This is the exact right time to pinch hit with Randy Ruiz and try to build your lead. Of course, Cito hates rookies and doesn't pinch hit and is afraid to ruin a "young kid" like Lewis' confidence (I guarantee you that Cito thinks Lewis is like 23) and, let's be honest, Cito was probably napping at the time--8:30 is late for people his age to be up, after all--so, of course, Lewis hit for himself and, of course, Choate struck him out. If Cito ever decides to have a kid, I guarantee you he adopts because those kids have been around awhile, and Cito doesn't want to raise some inexperienced young punk baby.

Then in the 8th, Downs gave up a single to Evan Longoria, then followed that up by walking Carlos Pena. It was at this point that Cito should have immediately brought in Gregg for the 2-inning save. The tying and winning runs were on base and there was no one out. This is the highest leverage point in the game, so you should be going to your best reliever (i.e. the closer). Even if you don't think Gregg can go two full innings (there is no reason to think this, by the way, but let's say he can't), you should still bring him in to preserve the lead now, and then you can go to someone else to close it out in the 9th.

Of course, Downs stayed in, and then gave up the game tying single to Upton. Cito finally went to the bullpen, except he brought out Janssen. Janssen has pitched well so far, but he isn't the team's best reliever. He shouldn't be pitching in high leverage situations right now. By the time the inning was over, another pitcher had been used and the Rays were up by 6 runs. At no point was Gregg even warming up. And I don't for the life of me understand why. The game is on the line right then and there. Use your best pitcher. Don't save him for some theoretical situation which may never come. I think that's the most frustrating thing about the way Cito manages. He always makes moves with a theoretical future in mind, like how last year when Cito wouldn't bring in Overbay to hit for Millar against righties because then the other team might bring in a LOOGY to face him later on. Except that you have Millar hitting against a righty right now, which is just as bad, and you have no way of knowing if that LOOGY ever comes.

Of course, if Cito managed the team properly, then I'd never have anything to write about...

Good to have you back to normal, Cito.


In Case You Needed Any More Proof Spring Training Means Nothing

So one of the stories out of Spring Training this year was Aaron Hill's apparently newfound patience. Welp, only 3 games into the season, and Aaron is hacking up a storm worse than ever. Check out the pitches he's swung at so far.

A whole lot of junky offspeed pitches up and away that no one has any business swinging at. There's a cluster of about 6 fastballs in the middle of the strikezone that are good pitches to swing at, whereas everything else should really be taken unless there's 2 strikes. And check out some of those pitches outside the zone. Aaron's already swung at 8 pitches at least a foot and a half out of the strike zone, and in only 14 plate plate appearances. This is not a good model for success.

In a tragically ironic twist that hurts my very soul, see that fastball that's about two and a half feet high out of the zone? That's the pitch that Aaron homered on last night. Ugh.

By the way, last night Hill saw 15 pitches and swung at 11 of them. That's not counting his intentional walk in the 8th. Yikes.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

I'm critical of Cito a lot. Mostly because he always seems to do the exact opposite of the right move. Yesterday, however, he actually managed the game like an intelligent individual, as opposed to the senility-stricken octogenarian he usually resembles.

With 2 outs in the 8th inning and the bases loaded, Cito brought in Kevin Gregg for the 4-out save. This was the exact right move. Jason Frasor was in the midst of blowing up like Eyjafjallajokull (topical!) and it was the highest leverage situation of the game at that point. Despite only pitching 1.1 innings, Gregg's Winning Percentage Added was a huge .340. The rest of the team combined? .160. Props to Cito for going to the closer at the right time. I'll even ignore his other mistakes (not pinch hitting Ruiz for Lewis in the 8th, going to Downs instead of Frasor to face Bartlett in the 7th with L, S, R, L coming up after him for the 8th).

P.S. Where are all the people who were bitching about how "terrible" Gregg was when the Jays signed him? He's exactly the same guy as he always was: a good-not-great reliever who got cray unlucky on home run/fly ball rate last year. He's not as good as he's been, but he's still a good pitcher who will be worth something whenever the Jays decide to trade him, which is what they need to be worrying about right now.


Stuff From Days Past

- Jays acquire Fred Lewis. This is pretty awesome. Lewis is an excellent outfielder (career 10.2 UZR/150 in left, +/- feels similarly) with good on-base skills (.355 career OBP, .362 vs righties) who can steal , though he gets thrown out a tad often. I was quietly hoping the Jays could get him, though I really would have preferred (and still would prefer) Elijah Dukes or Wladimir Balentien. The Jays get Lewis for nothing (cash) and Anthopoulos continues to win me over.

- With Encarnacion day-to-day with a sore shoulder, Cito started Jeremy Reed over Randy Ruiz in his place. Cito, I'll be honest, when you had Ruiz ready in the on deck circle, ready to pinch hit last week against the Orioles, and then promptly pulled him back so that Jmac could bunt, I thought it was hilarious. You truly are the King of Assholes. But the joke is starting to get a little played out and at no point should Jeremy Reed ever start a game over anyone. Cut that shit out

- In a perfect example of process vs results, last night Overbay K'd 4times. Naturally the retards are up in arms, saying Overbay should be released blah blah blah. Of course, what none of these people will acknowledge is that Overbay got to a full count in each one of his at bats. When you consistently have 6-pitch AB's, you're going to draw a lot of walks and get on base. Last night the results were bad, but the process was excellent, which is what is important.

Overbay is nestled snugly in the top-right.

 - A.J. Pierzynski, in the ultimate dick move, faked his way on base in the middle of Ricky's Unmentionable on a pitch that missed him by about a foot. It was an incredibly bush league move and I'm blown away that the umpires just took his word for it, especially since Pierzunski is known for pulling this shit all the fucking time.

A lot of people are upset that Brandon Morrow didn't hit him in retaliation, but let's be honest: it's Brandon Morrow. Dude couldn't hit wheat in Nebraska. He was probably trying and just couldn't.

- The team evidently forced Aaron Hill on to the DL. This makes me very happy because when JP was in charge the team was more than happy to let guys play through injuries, to the detriment of the team; most notably Vernon.

- The Jays claimed 3B Shawn Bowman from the Mets. This is good since, as I mentioned when the Jays acquired Brett Wallace, after E5 and Bautista, you have to go allllllllllll the way down to Kevin Ahrens and his .215/.282/.302 line in High-A before you find another third baseman. He's supposed to be a very good defender--TotalZone has him at ~13/150--and he's supposed to have a lot of raw power. He also has a pretty even distribution in his spray chart, for whatever that's worth.

- John Buck continues to hit exactly like a somehow-less-hateable version of Rod Barajas. I bring this up only to let everyone know that, instead of taking 2 seconds to make a new one, I'm just going use the Barajas tag whenever I talk about Buck, because Buck isn't worth that kind of effort and what the fuck's the difference anyway.


Cito Says More Dumb Shit

"Let me tell you this right now," Gaston said, "Overbay is going to play against left-handers.

Why? Why do this? He had a .534 OPS against LHP last year. .540 the year before. Even in his "career" year in '06 it was only .694. Dude cannot hit lefties.

So why would I pinch-hit for him?

Because he's fucking awful at hitting lefties? You pinch hit for him last year, and he hit completely fine. And you did it with the ghost of what used the be the shell of Kevin Millar. You now have the superior-in-every-way Randy Ruiz and you won't use him? I know he's a rookie, and you have a seething hatred for those, but he's 31. He is a veteran, which you love so much, even if he's not a vet of the majors.

"We sat down and talked with Overbay," Gaston said. "[Suggesting I should pinch-hit for him] is like -- Why don't I pinch-hit for Vernon [Wells]?

Because he can hit lefties.

Why don't I pinch-hit for [Aaron] Hill?

Because he can hit lefties.

Why don't I pinch-hit for somebody like [Edwin] Encarnacion?

Because he can hit lefties.

That's what you're talking about right there

You have no idea what you're talking about.

"[Pinch -hitting] destroys guys. It's easy for you guys to say it or other people to think it, but to be with these guys every day, and every time they're looking over their shoulder, seeing if you're going to pinch hit for them, it just absolutely kills them -- unless it's understood, if it's understood from the start."

This is the stupidest fucking argument, and one Cito loves to go to. The old "baseball players have the self-confidence of a 12-year-old fat girl" argument. In Cito's mind, the psyche of the professional athlete is like Sam Jackson in Unbreakable, and getting pinch hit for or getting dropped in the order is a 30-pound cinder block to the face.

I shouldn't really need to explain why this is so dumb. If your sense of self-worth is that fragile, and you are so completely un-self aware that you don't understand when you are hurting your team by being in the game, then pick another fucking profession.

I bet a lot of you thought I was joking when I set Ruiz's over/under at 0.5. Nope.


A Bunch Of Stuff That I've Been Far Too Lazy To Post About, So I'm Going To Mash Them All Together Into One Post With No Obvious Rhyme Or Reason And Holy Shit This Title Is Getting Long

- Elijah Dukes got released. Dukes is exactly the type of guy the Jays should be attempting to acquire. He'll be entering his age 26 season, was a 5-tool top prospect not even 2 years ago, and posted 3 WAR in only half a season as recently as 2008. Sure, there was the whole spousal abuse thing a few years back, and if he ever got the urge he could probably overthrow the Canadian government with his army of illegitimate children while the Army could merely watch, powerless, but when God gifts you with the chance to acquire this kind of talent for nothing and you don't have a starting right fielder, you don't punch Him in the face (metaphorically); not that there have been any reports of him causing trouble since getting to Washington.

Plus, it could just give us a small taste of the fantastical clusterfuck that a Milton Bradley/Cito clubhouse connection could have brought.

- In the "God has a cruel sense of humour" file, Marc "The Name" Rzepczynski had his finger fractured on a comebacker the other day against the Yankees, while Brian Tallet looks like he will be healthy enough to get lit right the fuck up come the start of the season. This is, of course, leaving most Jays fans wanting to punch God right in His face (literally).

- The Jays released Joey Gathright. This is a terrible day in the short history of this baseballlog, as the "joey gathright once jumped a car (and hasn't done shit since)" label will now go horribly underused.

- Mike McCoy made the team as a utility player. Every Jays fan should be crossing their fingers and hoping that McCoy hits well enough that he's the starting shortstop by season's end.

- Cito announced that Overbay isn't going to be platooned. Overbay can't hit LHP. Randy Ruiz can hit LHP. Kevin Millar can't hit anything. He was still allowed to try 283 times last year. Cito continues to bumble around like a clueless old man while getting heaped with undeserved praise.

- Speaking of Cito, did you know he's the 14th best manager in the MLB? It's true! For reference, Manny Acta ranks 22nd.

- Speaking of Randy Ruiz, I'm officially setting the over/under for his plate appearances on the year at 0.5. I dare anyone to take the over.


Jays to Acquire Evan Longoria?

As per ESPN's Buster Olney, the Toronto Blue Jays' front office has been internally floating around the idea of proposing a trade of the Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria for Vernon Wells' contract. Under the stipulations of the proposed deal, the Rays would not actually acquire Wells himself, merely the rights to payment of his salary; Wells would continue to play for the Blue Jays.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Jays GM Alex Anthopolous will be able to end his team's long search for a shortstop by coercing the Rays to include prospect Sean Rodriguez in the proposed trade.

More info as it comes.


An Ode to David Eckstein

You're the master of the three pitch at-bat
and undisputed king of hustle.
You'd lose a fight to a toddler
because you have no muscle.

You're pale like an albino
and resemble some kind of imp.
You have the the throwing arm of a six-year-old girl
and the mobility of a blimp.

If I wanted to build an offense
based on grounding out,
the way you keep the defense on their toes
would get you on my team without a doubt.

You might not steal bases
and you go deep but once a year,
but your consistent scrappy play
makes one thing abundantly clear...

If I want the ultimate ballplayer,
the kind to make my team shine,
I know exactly who I would choose.
My new starting shortstop......... Hanley Ramirez.

But you were definitely within the top one million.


Joey Gathright Hits Like a Girl or Maybe a Corpse

Quick post.

Recently some people have been suggesting Joey Gathright should be starting against righties instead of Jose Bautista.

Here are the lowest career isolated powers (SLG-AVG) for outfielders in baseball history, minimum 1000 plate appearances:

Career ISO
Playing Era
Stump Wiedman
Rip Cannell
Spike Shannon
Jud Birchall
Tim Murnane
Bob Gilks
Joey Gathright
Fuck my life.

So, as you can see, not only is Gathright the wimpiest outfielder in over a fucking century, but people had way cooler names way back in the day. Rip and Spike? Bad. Fucking. Ass.

So, please, don't suggest Gathright starts and leads off against righties. He's historically bad. Worst since the deadball era. Of course, I now fully expect Cito to do this. Sigh.

Brian Dopirak & Randy Ruiz: Soulmates

Spring training is come, and one of the stories of the spring for the Jays is Randy Ruiz and Brian Dopirak battling for a spot in a first base platoon/a permanent spot on the bench because a platoon would mean filling out two different lineup cards and that ain't how Cito rolls, motherfucker!

Now, honestly, I don't really care one way or the other who gets the roster spot. For all intents and puposes, they are the same hitter. They've both had an OPS over .920 their last 2 seasons. Neither has a notable platoon split. Neither is especially good on defense. Brian Dopirak has the edge in age, 26 to 32. Ruiz has the edge in reliability, as he continued to dominate after he called called up to the majors. Those are really the only differences.

As I was looking over their many similarities, I remembered that Ruiz got some praise last year for his power to all fields. Now, personally, I don't care whether a player tends to pull all his homers or if he can slap them over the opposite field wall, but I thought it would be interesting to see where Dopirak tends to hit the ball. Enjoy:

The three shaded sections show 250 feet, 350 feet, and the Skydome's outfield wall, respectively. As you can see, power to all fields. As you can see, yet another thing Dopirak and Ruiz eerily have in common. As you can see, Dopirak and Ruiz appear to possibly have been seperate at birth... and then Ruiz was sent six years into the past... and then he got turned hispanic... and then he moved to New Yo-- ah, fuck it.

Or maybe Dopirak just really idolizes Ruiz, and wants to be like him in every way. It certainly would explain a lot.

Or maybe they're gay.

"I want you, Randy--er, I mean I want to be you. Yeah, that's what I meant. Heh... *cough*"

Now that'd be a story worth following. Fuck spring training.


J.P. Arencibia's Obvious Problem

J.P. Arencibia, the Toronto Blue Jays'... uh... "catcher of the future", as some people might call him, is kind of "terrible", as I might call him. The obvious reason for this is his laughably bad career minor league OBP of .305. An optimistic homer might suggest that this is merely a horribly misguided attempt to rep his hometown, while a more reasonable person, however, would realize it has more to do with his complete inability to draw a walk, as evidenced by only having done so 58 times in 1286 minor league plate appearances. For comparison, the legendarily impatient Miguel Olivo managed to draw 134 walks in 1641 plate appearances over his minor league career (versus 98 in 2631 in the majors[!].... clearly Olivo isn't a fan of the old adage "if it ain't broke don't fix it"). So as of right now, Arencibia is simply looking like a poor man's Rod Barajaggkiyffvnjkm............... Ugh, sorry. My brain started shutting contemplating the implications of that sentence.

Now normally, I would just point to his obvious impatience as the root to his problems and leave it at that. But, not today.

MLB.com has recently released their 2010 fantasy preview, and their entry on Arencibia was very revealing. Specifically this picture:

What's so interesting about this picture? Nothing. Nothing, that is, until you realize that the catcher's mitt is in the foreground. Which means that Arencibia has to be standing on the left-handed side of the plate. Which means that he sets up before every pitch with his back to the plate.

Now, I remember a number of children's shows using this as a visual gag to illustrate a specific character's ridiculous unathleticism. But I never thought anyone actually ever did this. Let alone pros.

Quite frankly, I'm astonished this hasn't been identified and corrected by the Jay's minor league hitting coaches yet. I know the Jays have been incapable of developing hitters for a while now, but I never thought the instruction in the minors was this bad.

Honestly, it's a testament to just how talented J.P. Arencibia is. 51 homers over 2 seasons while facing the wrong direction is quite remarkable. If this gets fixed, I can only assume that it will fix his problem with distinguishes balls and strikes as well, seeing as the ball will no longer be, you know, behind him.

Fix this, Blue Jays! Do not allow for Arencibia's Pujolsian talent to be suppressed by his baffling batting stance any longer! Renew the faith! ARENCIBIA FOR MVP!! WOOOOOOOOOOO!!


Corner Outfield Trade Candidates

As the day pitchers and catchers report approaches (only 16 days!), the Jays' most glaring hole is their need of another corner outfielder (likely a right fielder because Cito is dumb and won't stick Snider there) or someone who could DH, which would push Lind to prancing around like a girl in the outfield. The notable free agents that people have been talking about are Johnny Damon and this baseballlog's own patriarch, Carlos Delgado. Now, while I would love for the Jays to sign either of these two guys, perhaps it would be in their best interest to take a shot on someone younger.

What I did was, I looked at all 30 teams' 40 man rosters, and I looked for whichever outfielders were blocked at the major league level, and were likely considered to be non-prospects by their parent organization but have had enough minor league success to warrant a major league roster spot. Preference was given to right fielders (because Cito is dumb) who were also left-handed so they could platoon with Jose Bautista to maximize offence.

In no particular order, here are the 4 best, realistically acquirable outfielders who fit the Jays' needs:

Travis Buck

Buck will be 26 next year, and was already going to have trouble finding playing time in Oakland with the A's presumably going with an opening day outfield of Rajai Davis, Coco Crisp, and Ryan Sweeney, relegating Buck to a backup role. But with Oakland's signing of Gabe Gross a few days ago, this means Buck is likely AAA-bound to start the season.

Buck's had a rough go of it in the majors the last couple of years, hitting .223/.289/.392 in 287 plate appearances, however he still raked in AAA in '08 and poorly in '09, though this was primarily babip-driven as his BB%, K%, and ISO were all near his minor league averages.

Buck's upside is pretty good, considering his last healthy season had him hitting .288/.377/.474 in majors and putting up 2.3 WAR in only 82 games (!). He rates as above average at both outfield corners according to UZR (sample size warning), though his ARM rating rates as below average in right. He also fits the left-handed requirement.

Buck's comes with a big warning flag, though. He suffered a concussion sliding into the outfield wall on June 30, 2008 and has been put on the DL with post-concussion syndrome two different times since then, as recently as October 5th of this past season.

Josh Reddick

Reddick plays in the Red Sox system and isn't a prospect (he didn't make Keith Law's Red Soz top 10) , so his future lies with a different organization anyway. He has a .291/.343/.512 line in the minors. The power is encouraging, though his inability to draw walks means he might be destined to be a 4th outfield. Of course, he'll only be 23 next season, so he has plenty of time to improve.

He's split his time more or less equally between right and center field in the minors, so I would assume he is a good defender. Eyeballing his minor league Total Zone ratings suggests he is slightly below average in right and poor in center, however.

He's also left-handed, but he holds a neutral platoon split in the minors (actually slightly reverse: OPS of .864 vs. LHP, .850 vs. RHP), which actually isn't preferable for our purposes, since it would lead to an inefficient platoon with Bautista.

John Bowker

On the downside, he'll be 26 next year. On the upside, he's left-handed and rakes minor league pitching. While his career minor league line of .301/.369/.489 is decent by itself, he showed huge improvement in 2009 in AAA. He struck out at a career-low rate of  17.5% and more than doubled his walk rate from the previous season, going from 6.9% to 16.4% (!!). For reference, Adam Dunn's career walk rate is 16.9%. His overall AAA '09 line was .342/.451/.596, with a Major League Equivalent of .294/387/.502 against RHP.

Bowker has played mostly right field in the minors, though he also has experience in center and at first. His minor league Total Zone numbers suggest he is above average in right field.

Delmon Young

Man, Delmon sure is terrible isn't he? Anyone reading this should be more than aware of Delmon, so I won't bother going over his stats. He'll only be 24 next season, and it wasn't too long ago that he was considered the #1 prospect in baseball. He's right-handed, is a terrible fielder, and hasn't played in right since 2007. In these regards, he is sub-optimal for the Jays' immediate needs, but he easily has the highest upside of any of the other 3. He'll make $2.6MM next season and he's only 3 years from free agency, so if he breaks out, he won't be cheap for long.

I'm not sure how willing Minnesota would be to move Delmon, despite getting rid of him would immediately improve the team, opening up left field for Kubel and allowing Thome to be the everyday DH.

In Closing

If given the choice, I would really like to see Anthopoulos acquire John Bowker and stick him in a right field platoon with Bautista. He's the most well-rounded player and he showed real, tangible improvement in 2009. The only difficulty I see in trading for him, is that SF might want him to compete for an outfield job in ST.