We’re aware that the Jays are disinclined to spend much to improve the team. We should qualify that, of course. If someone spent $10-$15MM to improve my team, there’d be substantial, visible, high-quality improvements. In Major League Baseball, however, that amount of money is a pittance. Presently the Jays are the MLB equivalent of dumpster divers, people so obsessed with a bargain that they don’t care about how they appear. So, are there any MLB players that would suit the Jays who are bargain-basement options?
Slowey elected free agency after spending the year with Cleveland’s AAA club. He experienced several years of success with the Twins before folding like a cheap tent in 2011. His W/L performance finally reflected his FIP, which happened again this year in AAA.
He doesn’t strike out many but he doesn’t walk many either, giving him a good K/BB rate. This success in the strike zone leads to a few too many home runs, leading to a higher ERA. His 3.0 fWAR in ’08 is enticing, but that was 4+ years ago. He’s an average/below-average pitcher who’s too risky for the big club, but good for depth.
After finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting, Jurrjens has fallen out of favour. There’s good reason for that: he has arm troubles and his velocity has declined. But he’s available. The Atlanta Braves have a deep staff and Jurrjens figures to be the odd man out. The marriage of his troubles and the Jays’ propensity to acquire cheap talent, whether troublesome or not, seems perfect.
He’s risky, but he’s young (26). If healthy, hHe has the potential to be a decent-to-good, mid-rotation guy. Given the Braves’ situation, he’d probably be pretty cheap. The dumpster was just emptied before he was tossed in, so he doesn’t have much slime or garbage on him. Take the risk.
2011 World Series champ and incumbent 2B for the Cardinals coming into 2012, Schumaker’s a man without a role. He’s not a free agent but is likely to be dealt. Schumaker doesn’t offer much more than #8/#9 level offense, but who cares, as long as his defense is decent.
He’s a little older than Kelly Johnson, but it takes him 2+ seasons to strike out as much as KJ does in one. Power is sacrificed, then, and he doesn’t run much. That said, he walks twice for every three strikeouts and gets on base at a pretty good clip. Defensively, he’s no Robbie Alomar but he’s decent and can play IF or OF in a pinch. He’s owed $1.5MM for ’13. At the very least, he’s an excellent UT player. Good risk: take it.
He was outrighted from the Brewers 40-man roster and they have no plans to re-sign him. He had a sub-par year for MIL in the field (3.8 UZR) and was terrible at the plate (.239/.302/.308). He’s better in CF than LF, but is more than passable in LF. He’s a loose cannon.
Tony Plush was arbitration eligible for the first time last season (1 yr/$2.35MM), so he’s more than affordable. That said, he’ll be 33 in mid-season. He’s fast, but a poor base stealer. One year, plus an option gives Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra plenty of time to ripen in Buffalo. He’s a character, but the Blue Jays don’t need any more drama (Brett Lawrie and Yunel Escobars’ unnecessary antics…). This may be a sleeper move for the Jays. They could do much worse than a career .705 OPS OF on a short, inexpensive deal. Very good risk: if you don’t take it, AA, I’d be disappointed and thrown off-balance somewhat.
He’s another RP, but also another bat-misser. He was outrighted from the Brewers 40-man roster at the same time as Morgan. He’s coming off a $2MM season and is arbitration-eligible in 2013.
Do the Jays really need more relief help? 2012 suggests that too much likely isn’t enough, so ‘yes.’ He walks a few too many and gives up his share of taters, but his K/9 and H/9 numbers are very good (see Delabar, Steve). He also has AL East experience. If he’s cheap and available, grab him because he’s a pretty good risk.
I’ve already mentioned him as a candidate to patrol LF for the Jays, so we won’t rehash it (who wants to go through the dumpster more than once?). Bay and the Mets agreed that he wasn’t their LF, but they still need to pay him the balance of his contract so he’s probably cheap, too.
Bay has fallen on hard times. He’s a liability in LF, injury-prone, older (34), and wants to play on the West Coast. He’s bottom-of-the-dumpster stuff, covered with week-old food, broken glass, and the mafia’s latest hit rolled up in a shag carpet that smells like a wet dog. He’s too risky. Pass.
Are the Jays likely to find any value in the dumpster? Well, I found a Pac Man game in a thrift store for $1 and sold it for $35. It’s rare, but let’s face it: the Jays are highly unlikely to pursue any/many of the top 50 free agents available, and there are some guys here that are worth the risk.
Jurrjens, Veras, Morgan, and Schumaker address some needs at a cost that is consistent with parts of the master plan that’ve been leaked (Hech, Gose, etc., to BUF; lower-end FAs; incredible emphasis on the ‘pen; etc.). They also leave some dough to address other issues, like the rotation. Reach in, pull em out, clean ’em off, and run ’em out on the diamond as often as needed.