Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Offseason 2015: Not Gose and Pillar

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This isn't really the biggest problem.  2B/3B, the bullpen, and replacing Melky should probably all rank way, way higher than helping out CF.  That doesn't mean, though, that it isn't worth examining.  If there's a glass slipper out there, AA and crew aren't doing their jobs if they don't at least dip a toe in.

There are four guys* in the organization right now, excluding Colby Rasmus, who technically isn't a free agent yet but may as well be, that played CF at one point or another for the Jays in 2014.  One of them is Jose Bautista, mind you, who definitely shouldn't be playing CF unless it's a total emergency.  Other than that, though, there are some options.

*- Jon Mayberry Jr. has some experience in CF, but has graded fairly poorly defensively.  Probably no worse than Bautista, but UZR/150 has him at a -17.8 runs over a sample that equals out to most of a season, combining 5 years to get there.  Safe to say that's a bad idea.

Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar platooned in CF towards the end of the year.  We're counting some games in RF and LF for both, as well as some pinch running and junk, but the two combined for 1.9 fWAR over ~400 combined plate appearances this year.  They also struck out 27 and 23% of the time, respectively.  Neither seem to be doing a whole lot to strike fear in to major league pitchers, though Gose is at least showing some patience at the plate, with a 9.1% walkrate in the majors in 2014, and both provided positive defensive contributions (according to both fangraphs and baseball reference).  Pillar shows a bit more offensive upside than Gose does, especially if he can stop swinging at EVERYTHING (see above) and take a walk or two, and he hits lefty pitching not terribly.

The other internal option is Dalton Pompey.  He's still fairly young and somewhat raw, so it certainly makes sense to stick him in the minors to start the year.  Depending on how he responds, though, he is looking more and more like the CF of the future.  If that's the case, perhaps it makes sense to just allow Gose and Pillar to platoon CF for the time being, rather than going out to find someone.

There really isn't much out there on the free agent market.  See for yourselves.  The most attractive option looks like Emilio Bonifacio, assuming Denard Span's option gets picked up.  Having said that...

Denard Span (Trade)

Span's option is a lock to be picked up by the Nationals.  He was a 3.6 rWAR (3.8 fWAR) player in 2014, and the option is only for $9MM.  The problem is that there's a bit of a logjam in Washington.  The Nats have sent Ryan Zimmerman to LF since he sucks at 3B now, which has opened the door for Anthony Rendon to take over.  Zimmerman is still under contract for another bunch of years for all the money, and they certainly aren't moving Bryce Harper or Jayson Werth.  Of course, Adam Laroche is a free agent, and the Nats have a pretty organic play here: move one of Werth or Zimmerman to 1B, keep Span in CF, let Laroche walk.

If the Nats do decide to trade Span, however, I'd expect the Jays to be at least somewhat interested.  It's a 1-year option, and they don't need to attract Span to Toronto.  Span can leave at the end of the year, and perhaps Pompey is another step closer to being ready for the everyday CF role.

Ben Revere (Trade)

The day will eventually come where the Phillies break it all down and retool.  If that's this year, then Revere is a decent piece.  He's approximately average (2.0 fWAR in 2014) and is manageable in CF with great wheels (49 SB in 2014).  He's still under team control for three arbitration years, though he was a super-two this season, so he's a touch more expensive than he otherwise would be.  He hardly walks ever, but his strikeout totals are low, and he's a low-slugging .300 hitter who runs fast enough to beat out a bunch of infield singles and then steal bases.  Could do worse.


Others?  Already?  Yeah.  There's the previously mentioned Michael Saunders, I guess.  The Astros might be willing to move Dexter Fowler as he gets more expensive, but he's been pretty bad defensively the last few years.  Decent enough hitter though, and a nice walk-rate.

Who else?  Peter Bourjos has mentioned recently that he'd like to play more.  Bourjos is kind of a more expensive, right-handed hitting Anthony Gose, in that he's fast and good at defense, but we've already got one.

There's not much else out there worth going crazy for.  I feel like between the three guys within the org, someone can be worth giving everyday playing time to, or platooning, or going with the hot hand or whatever.  There are bigger issues to look at, in my opinion, such as the bullpen.

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