Who's on first?

Since the Jays have been very stubborn in their "we aren't going to make any news for bloggers to talk about" stance, I thought we'd continue our look at who is likely to be playing each position. It isn't like there is no news at all today. The Mariners signed Felix Hernandez to a five year $78 million contract. The Mariners have had a great off-season, picking up Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins, Casey Kotchman, Milton Bradley (not sure if that goes in the great file) and even Brandon League. And they locked up some good players in long term contracts. They will be tough to beat this year with 2 ace type pitchers at the top of their rotation and an improved offense.

Anyway our Jays seem to be at least waist deep in first base possibilities.

Lyle Overbay: Lyle's been a solid if not spectacular first baseman for us for the past four seasons. He was, once again, very good against RHP (282/.396/.509) while he couldn't hit lefties at all (.190/.256/.278). He's got a good glove at first, even if UZR doesn't seem to like him. His glove looked even better compared to Kevin Millar last year. He's consistently had a WAR value around 2.0 for the Jays, except for the year he had the wrist injury. I had figured he would be traded sometime this winter but so far it hasn't happened. If it doesn't, he'll be playing first against RHP. I'd like to see him moved up to the 2 spot in the order but I don't think Cito would do that. I still figure he will be traded but time is running out. 

Randy Ruiz: We all know he had an amazing 33 game run with the Jays last year. I wish Cito would have played him more, he would seem to be a natural platoon partner for Overbay but Cito really didn't seem to like him playing first base. On the list of things I don't understand about Cito, one is how he could watch Millar's defense at first and think he was ok and yet he decided Ruiz wasn't good without really giving him a chance. Randy played 9 innings at first base. Apparently Randy has been playing first and left field in winter ball. I don't see him as a LFer but never know. I'm kind of half way on Randy, he will be 32 next year, so by the time the team is good he'll be into the down stage of his career and he won't be as good as he showed last year, but I'd put him out there and see if he proves me wrong. The projection systems don't agree on what he'll do next year, Bill James has him hitting 294/.352/.517 in 180 at bats, CHONE gives him more at bats, 462, but doesn't think he'll hit, .255/.315/.448. Somewhere between the two might be right, if he gets the playing time. 

Brian Dopirak: To me, this is Brian's year, he either makes the team or will be passed by so many prospects we won't ever see him in Toronto. He is 26 now and if he was going to have a terrific spring training, this would be the time to do it. CHONE doesn't project that he'd have a great year: 416 at bats, .240/.288/.397. It does look a little harsh, but then there are likely reasons why he is 26 and hasn't had a major league at bat. He's got hurdles in front of him. Cito doesn't tend to like rookies, Brett Wallace came in the Halladay trade, there will be pressure to show the fans what we got for Doc, but Dopirak would be a good platoon partner for Overbay. He's got power, that's never a bad thing. I think he needs a big spring and if he makes the team he can't slump or we won't see him again. 

Brett Wallace: They figure the bat is ready but if they are moving him from third to first base they'd likely want him to learn in Triple-A. But then, first is the easiest position to learn and there will be pressure to show off what we got for Doc. I'd bet at very least he will be a September call up. CHONE doesn't think he'd hit much this year (.252/.306/.395 in 489 at bats), Bill James on the other hand thinks he'd hit ok (.278/.331/.427 in 504 at bats). The only way he isn't our first baseman in 2011 is if Encarncion flames out and the Jays decide Wallace can play third.

David Cooper: People shouldn't count him out, he didn't have a great year but it was his first full season of pro ball and it was at Double-A. Lots of guys need to see Double-A twice. He showed a pretty good eye at the plate, which is a nice way to start and did hit 10 home runs. He will be 23 in February, so he has time but it would be good if he came into spring training hitting everything. Though trade for Wallace doesn't look like a vote of confidence in Cooper, he still could turn out good.  

Adam Lind: The talk of moving Lind to first seems to have died off with the trade for Wallace, but if the Jays don't feel he can play LF, it wouldn't be a bad thing for him to learn a trade. He's far too young to be slotted in as a DH for the rest of his life. He'd be a nice big target for throws and he seems to hit better when he plays the field. As a proven major league bat and a potential star, he would be good if the camera could be on him for more than 4 at bats a game, at least to give us fans someone to cheer. Just 26 now, he could be the face of the team for the next 10 years.

So take your guesses for who will play first and what they will hit in the comments.

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