Hugo: Wow, this is a really depressing song from which to continue to pull quotes for our offseason conversation. Anyway, the 2009 starting rotation will likely consist of Doc Halladay, Jesse Litsch, and David Purcey as next season begins. How should the other two spots be filled, by free agency, trade, or from within, and by whom?
Rincewind: I think one of the spots can be filled from within. I’d like Janssen to get the job. If he is as good as he looked before the injury he could be a very good starter. If he can’t start then I’d look to Richmond who did a decent job last year in his handful of starts or perhaps one of the Romeros. I’d much prefer Cecil to stretch out his pitch count in Triple A than to have him thrown to the mercy of Cito ‘Pitch count? I don’t need no stinking pitch count’ Gaston.
The other spot I would like to see a free agent signed, mostly because other than Doc none of the other possible starters look to be able to go deep into games and even a bullpen as deep as ours looks to be could use the odd night off. I’d like them to look at Derek Lowe, as I think his ground ball pitching matches the strength of out infield defence nicely and he would be good trade bait when McGowan comes back, if the rest of the staff is strong.
Hugo: I like your idea of filling one of the spots internally and one of the spots from outside the organization. We have contingencies for the back end of the rotation in Ricky Romero and Scott Richmond, so I don’t think there’s too much risk there. Cecil should definitely begin in AAA, in my opinion – he still needs work on his durability building up his arm strength and getting his innings up. If he is called up this season, I’d prefer it be as a bullpen ace so that he doesn’t obliterate his inning count from last season.
Lowe would be nice, I don’t see it happening though. With Burnett and Sabathia recently getting huge offers, I think someone is going to be willing to go 4/60 ish on Lowe and I can’t see that being the Jays. I can definitely seeing them sign someone like Brad Penny or Mark Mulder, though, to a 1-year deal. Pedro would also be fun. I’d love to see them sign Randy Johnson or Pettitte was better than his numbers show, but those are long shots, I think. I’d really like to stay away from the ilk of Paul Byrd, I don’t see how those types will be any better than Romero or Richmond. Romero, in particular, could work his way into the rotation. If he's sorted out his control issues and his arm is healthy, he might be a better option than Purcey as he's got three quality pitches.
Rincewind: I’m not a big fan of Mulder but, only half kidding, what do you think of Jamie Moyer? He had a heck of the season last year, I’d imagine he’d be relatively cheap and he wouldn’t be looking for a long term contract, as he’s reached that age that you no longer buy green bananas. Personally I’d like someone that could go deeper into a game, but he uses his infield. And, let’s face it, we won’t get into a bidding war on him.
Other than the other guys we’ve mentioned, I wonder if Carl Pavano would go for a one year, heavily incentive filled contract? Jon Garland is another pitcher that we could look at; he can pitch a team late into games.
Hugo: Pavano could be a decent pickup -- though he looked pretty awful from what I saw last season, he hadn’t pitched in so long in the majors it’s no surprise that he wasn’t at his best. Garland is interesting – he’s very average, but gets tons of groundballs (between Halladay, Litsch, and Janssen and later McGowan, not to mention perhaps Downs we should once again have lots of work for our infielders!) and has been quite durable. He’s also coming off a subpar year so although he could easily get a multiyear deal, he might prefer a shorter term deal in order to up his value for his next contract. I’m not sure that Garland really represents much of an upgrade from what Richmond or Romero could do, though, so I tend to think the money could be better used elsewhere.
Moyer in the AL East would be fascinating to watch, but he made it work in that bandbox in Philly so you never know. I doubt he’ll be coming back to the AL though. One possibility could be Aaron Heilman, the Mets have used him as a setup man but he was a 3-pitch pitcher in college (Notre Dame) and really wants to try starting. He had an awful season last year but was quite good in the 2 seasons before that. I bet he’d come very cheap in a trade since he’s disgruntled with relieving and the Mets don’t see him as a starter. It might be good to bring him in and give him a shot at winning a starting job.
Mulder, of course, is a long shot to ever produce again after multiple shoulder surgeries, but he’ll likely accept a minor-league deal, and he’s a groundball pitcher who has never relied on blowing people away so he might be a decent fit at absolutely no risk. That’s the kind of risk J.P. likes to take. In reality he’s no more removed from good production as Pavano (he’s just had much more serious medical issues), and he was better for longer before his injuries.
Rincewind: I like Moyer because he is one of the few guys left that are older than me.....gotta keep them around. I am sort of giving into the idea the payroll isn’t going to be going up at all. The Canadian dollar is way down and likely will stay down for this year, but then Rogers is in a pretty good spot to ride out the financial storm and their sports channels can only be helped by a strong baseball team.
Hugo: I also don't see payroll increasing, but we're going to have to sign at least one or two players to even keep it where it was last season, with Thomas and Burnett off the books. It's weird to me that we're willing to spend that money on Burnett but on no one else, and I have to think it's misdirection, though fans might well be the only ones being misdirected.Part 1: Good and Bad of 2008
Part 2:Jays Priorities for the Offseason
Part 3: Should the Jays Rebuild?
Part 4: Who Should Lead Off For the Jays?