I have some time to kill, so I thought I would put my thoughts on paper. Then I thought I might as well get some insightful feedback. (Realize I am not addressing the pitching situation.)
So what do the Jays have right now? Let's first look at the players we expect to be a part of the next championship Jays team.
C - JP Arencibia or Travis d'Arnaud - Question marks on both, but we have depth.
1B - (Open) - Who knows? It doesn't look like Lind is the guy.
3B - Brett Lawrie
DH - Could be anyone - I like the idea of giving Edwin Encarnacion a shot here, or somewhere on the field.
So 3B, RF, CF, C, and SS are legitimate strengths, while LF and 2B are question marks, and 1B is our teams largest hole.
Second base could be sorted out for one year if Kelly Johnson accepts arbitration. If he declines, we get a nice pick, but have to figure out the hole. I'm not going to give any solutions to this problem right now, I will look at problems we know exist.
So let's look at left field, DH, and first base as one problem, so that the solution is easier to find. How do we complement our strengths with these three positions. First of all, I believe that we need to create more competition in left field. That's right more. I would try and do this without completely blocking Travis Snider, by not signing anyone who would clog the DH slot (David Ortiz or Jim Thome). I also believe first base is a hole that can not be filled in house, and should be either acquired in a trade or a signing. I recommend that the most impactful signing, should be a LHB.
Sign OF Grady Sizemore, one year deal.
Bring in a high risk, high reward lefty bat that creates competition for the left field position on the team. Grady would then have to hit to keep his job, while playing a position that will be easier on his knees (I realize our turf isn't great on the knees either.) He should be great in the field, and if his bat is half as productive as 2008, we are laughing. It's a big if, and a risk, but our contingency plan is Thames, and Snider. Also, when/if Gose is ready in the next few years, we can make room for him
Do not sign a DH.
This would leave the DH slot open to give Grady some games at DH for rest, as well as let Snider split time here to keep his bat, if he comes around, in the lineup. Also if Joey Bats or any other regular needs a little rest, we will have the option of leaving their bat in the lineup. Also Encarnacion would give you platoon options all over the field, and would be another contingency.
Sign or trade for an impact 1B.
This has been talked about to death, but what if we went wild and signed Prince Fielder? Or got crazy and traded for Kendry Morales? Our lineup would be a force. Even compared to other AL Beast teams.
My recommendation costs money, or prospects, or both. But it would also give us a good shot while the Yankees get older and face pitching problems, and the Red Sox are reeling. This is our time to strike.
1. Yunel Escobar - SS -
2. Brett Lawrie - 3B -
3. Prince Fielder/Kendry Morales/Big Lefty bat - 1B -
4. Jose Bautista - RF -
5. Colby Rasmus - CF -
6. Kelly Johnson - 2B -
7. Travis Snider/ Edwin Encarnacion/ Grady Sizemore - DH -
8. JP Arencibia - C -
9. Grady Sizemore / Travis Snider - LF -
Realistically, we won't be able to sign Prince unless we overpay. I'm not an advocate of that, but we are one big lefty away from a really good offense. If we were to sign David Ortiz, I would not recommend signing Sizemore, and would have to reconsider 1B as well.