Friday, February 25, 2005

 

2005 Season Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

This is who I hope finishes in third place, but that might be because of my love for sabermetric general managers, and J.P. Ricciardi of Toronto is one of them. Well in reality I'd love for them to finish second and the Yankees not make the playoffs, but I'm solely daydreaming, not out of my mind.

Billy Koch, RP: Koch was more succesful after his trade to the Marlins midway through last season, but his peripherals were worse. But Toronto signed him for under a million so you can't fault the move too much.

Corey Koskie, 3B: I'm not sure I understand this move. Here you got a guy who is pretty productive, nothing really special, and you give him 3 years for $17 million. He is past his prime and will produce but will block prospects that the Blue Jays have (Aaron Hill being one of them.) I don't agree with this signing at all.

Greg Myers, C: Myers is the backup catcher for Toronto for Gregg Zaun. Nothing special to write here besides he's pretty old. He's 38, so he isn't Pat Borders old yet.

Scott Schoewenweis, SP?: Soooo.....if you had $5.2 million, would you waste it on someone with an ERA of 5.59? With a terrible strikeout rate? and a 69/49 K/BB ratio? Me either. I guess we can't work in baseball guys.

Gregg Zaun, C: If Toronto could do better, then they should. Free agent catching options were sort of limited (even though Henry Blanco, deserving of a Gold Glove, was available) so the Jays did well to sign Zaun to a one-year deal and see what they can do later with some of their new stadium money.

Acquired via trade: Chad Gaudin for Kevin Cash
Shea Hillenbrand for Adam Peterson

Gaudin had a good 2003 and an awful 2004. His peripherals included a K/9 of 6.33 and a K/BB of only 1.88. Yuck. Never know what might happen later though. Looks ugly for now though.

Shea Hillenbrand is an interesting pickup and I say that because he is the antithesis of everything stat heads look for in a player. He and Hinske will probably split time at first base and DH.

The lineup is missing a giant spanish force named Delgado. Luckily, he was replaced with Corey Koskie and Shea Hillenbrand (yay...hey wait...)

1) Reed Johnson (.698 OPS from the leadoff spot! WOO! Wouldn't want to get on base too often or anything.)
2) Alexis Rios
3) Vernon Wells
4) Eric Hinske (shudder)
5) Shea Hillenbrand
6) Corey Koskie
7) Gregg Zaun
8) Orlando Hudson
9) Russ Adams

I hope eventually Rios shows some more plate patience or hits some more and is put in the leadoff spot. Then Hudson can be moved to the #2 spot, and the lineup would be more productive. Russ Adams is probably going to be a better hitter this year then Gregg Zaun (and maybe even Erik Hinske if he doesn't shape up) but is in the #9 hole for comforts sake as a youngun. .306/.359/.528 in 22 major league games is a small sample size, but when your Toronto and no one wants to sign you need to cling to prospect hope, and their farm system is rich. It could even be a blessing in disguise if Koskie were to get hurt and Aaron Hill brought up to replace him. Well maybe not this year. But definitely in 06'.

1) Roy Halladay
2) Ted Lilly
3) Miguel Batista
4) David Bush
5) Josh Towers

If Halladay is healthy you can expect him to act the part of ace. Ted Lilly should work well as the #2 starter and remain underrated, while Miguel Batista can be succesful if he can get used to American League hitters. I like David Bush and expect good production from him out of the four spot. I will tell you that it makes me sad Josh Towers is in the rotation. Maybe he will be ineffective enough that they replace him with Brandon League and then everyone in Toronto can smile at having 5 good pitchers. I expect this to be an underrated and effective rotation, especially if Bush continues to succeed and Brandon League can enter the fray and pitch well. The Jays best chance to finish in third place is to hold everyone else's score down; the complete opposite of the Orioles who might have to score 14 runs a night on occasion. Of course the Orioles probably can score 14 runs a night if they are healthy. Point is, I have a feeling the Blue Jays can rebound enough to finish third...if not there should definitely be improvement over last year, even with the loss of Carlos Delgado.


Comments:
marc we all know you live for the local boys as GMs in the big leagues and i hope if you ever follow in their steps you will find yourself more in the position of epstein than ricciardi...billy koch shares the ability of billy wagner the only difference being effectiveness, the first billy has lacked in that area...as for koskie, the twins look pretty smart when both guzman and koskie go off into free agency and get WAY overpaid and all the while they have decent replacements coming up from the farm...if kevin cash has a fan club im probably the president esspecially because the blue jays havent had any fans since the early ninties but anyways i hope he develops in tampa...hillenbrand is a talent eventhough he left boston on not so great terms and id rather have youkilis anyways (im not bitter)....vernon wells will not have delgado's help in carrying the offense but still remains one of the leagues best young outfielders...orlando hudson is a special player, a jose reyes type who has speed and does the little things right to help the team win...if the jays can get another solid year out of lilly they should be able to expect 30-40 wins between he and halliday but the problem will be where the other wins will come from, batista has talent but has yet to post a consistantly solid year...i think it is hard to expect the jays to do anything but battle the d-rays for staying out of the basement in the al east
 
I'm a closet Blue Jays fan...except for when they sign Corey Koskie and trade for Shea Hillenbrand and don't move Hinske while he still has some value, albeit tiny. *sigh*
 
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