Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Back to Normal

Ok, so now that I've mostly caught up on my last 5 days worth of internets, I guess I'm pretty well back to normal.  If you've somehow missed any of the following, you should probably brush up on your sources (Note: please don't brush up on sources.  I need the readership REALLY badly).

I dunno where to start here really... there's been a lot of stuff happen over the last week.

Let's start with Yunel Escobar.  He missed a couple days after getting beaned on the hand in the first game of the weekend set with the Phillies, and missed the rest of the series, plus last night's win against the Red Sox.  Good news though: Yunel is back in the lineup, batting 5th tonight.  It looks like the "Rajai Davis at leadoff" experiment is going to get another shot, which I'm pretty indifferent about.  He's been swinging a better bat lately, but I don't really know.  I like it better than Aaron Hill at the top of the order, that's for damn sure.  (Yunel was scratched during BP this evening, with Mike Mccoy taking his place.  Eric Thames is somehow on the bench, despite an 11-game hit streak)

What else?  Oh right.... Travis Snider is back up, and had 3 doubles yesterday.  Mike Mccoy used his airmiles to come back up too.  To make room for those moves, Jayson Nix and Juan Rivera have been DFA'ed.  Both players have been removed from the 40-man roster, and the Jays now have 10 days to trade or release them, or if they clear waivers, they can opt to accept an assignment to the minor leagues.  I would expect Rivera to accept his assignment to AAA(?) if he clears waivers, given his $5.25MM salary, minus roughly half of that since the season is half over.  If he doesn't accept it, he will forfeit ~$2.5MM, minus the prorated half of the $400k MLB minimum he'd make if some other team signs him to be a glorified pinch-hitter.  I would guess that some NL team will take the Jays up on that over the next couple days for a D-level prospect or 50 bucks or something.  Jayson Nix on the other hand, well he might find a taker on a minor league deal.

Keith Olney expects the Jays to move some bullpen help, and sees Texas as a suitor.  I can see someone giving up a decent haul for Jason Frasor, and I would guess that AA would take the first deal offered for Octavio Dotel, but don't really see him moving anyone else because.....

The newest Elias projections are out.  Jason Frasor, Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel, Frank Frank and Shawn Camp rank as Type-B relief pitchers. Aaron Hill ranks as a Type-B 2B/3B/SS, which is good news for the Jays, assuming they don't accept his options, which, if we can be serious for a quick sec, has about the same chance of my dog going a week without shitting on the floor of happening.  Having said all that, I'm not even sure they offer him arbitration at the end of the year, since he'd probably accept it.  As bad as he's been the last 2 years, I'm fairly sure he'd be due for a raise in arbitration, but even if he wouldn't get a raise, I don't think he would get a paycut, and I doubt any other team would offer him more than the $5MM he made this year as a free agent.  There's not really anybody kicking at the door in Toronto's system as far as 2B goes, though Yunel Escobar could be moving over there depending on when/if Adeiny Hecchavarria is ready.  Then again, there's always depth in other positions (Catcher, young starters, young outfielders) that can be traded.  Speaking of depth...

The international free agent season opened the other day, and as expected, the Jays and their scouting department flexed their proverbial muscle, signing Dawel Lugo, a 16-year old shortstop, for a $1.3MM bonus, as well as Osman Guttierrez, a 16-year old 6'4'', 200lb right hander, for a $210k bonus.  This of course doesn't mean much in terms of spots for guys like Escobar, Lawrie, Hech, and so on, since a 16-year-old shortstop is unlikely to make much of an impact in the bigs until he's at least 21, and even that is optimistic.

By the way, Brett Lawrie swung the bat yesterday for the first time since breaking a bone in his hand a few weeks back, and did so again today.  He hit balls off a tee, and is set to do soft toss and live pitching later this week.  I assume he is still on track to be back sometime in early August.  With Edwin Encarnacion hitting 2 homeruns in a game on Thursday, and another Sunday, plus just a couple of better at-bats spread around over the last week or so, it looks like he's barely saved himself from getting cut.  In my estimation, Jayson Nix was always going to be the first guy to go, and Rivera and Encarnacion were always rotating places 2 and 2a (Scott Richmond too I suppose, if we're going to talk about 40-man spots).  I really feel like Rivera was always the guy who had the better chance of being traded and actually fetching something, and therefore, deserved more playing time to prove himself as potentially useful for someone, and that was probably still true up until about 10 days ago (who knows, he might still).  With EE swinging the bat a little better, and Snider ready to come up, disposing of Nix and Rivera has actually opened up enough room on the 25- and 40-man rosters to bring up Brett Lawrie when the time arrives without having to cut anybody, since Mike Mccoy will most likely just be optioned down (again) to the minor leagues.  Having said that, I doubt AA would hesitate to boot EE if he starts to suck again and it somehow steals AB's from any of the younger guys.

Dustin Mcgowan allowed 3 runs and 3 hits, striking out 1 in just 2/3IP in a rehab start in Class-A Dunedin the other day.  This was his first game action since 2008, so I wouldn't read too much in to it, but that doesn't sound incredibly encouraging.

With regard to Zaun-heads: I can't remember the last time I gave one out, and the games are kind of blending together at this point.  I do know two things: Jose Bautista and Eric Thames mashed, and no Jays pitcher was really all that special during the PHI series.  As result, I'm going to give Jose Bautista 2, and Eric Thames 1 for those.  Jose was really the best player on the Jays team for each of those three games, but Thames was second-best twice.  Rajai Davis stole 3 bases the other day too, but whatever.  Edwin for Tuesday, I guess?  Brandon Morrow was real good on Wednesday, and Yunel Escobar was the only passable Blue Jays in Thursday loss to the Pirates.

K so tonight's game is already in to the third inning.  Brett Cecil is pitching, and is elevating the ball pretty badly already from what I've seen, which I'm not all that fussy about.

And one more thing: Derek Jeter is getting close to 3000 MLB hits, getting up to 2996 last night.  The Yankees come to Toronto immediately after the All-star break, so let's home that he gets this whole thing done with before he comes to visit, huh?  Because that would seriously be the most insufferable thing to watch.  Worse than Red Sox games.

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