I've been looking around trying to establish my offseason wish list for the Jays. Here are 5 players that could be significant bargains for their 2014 team:
1) Dean Anna- 2B
Breakdown: Anna is a 26 year old second baseman/ utility player in the Padres system who has never played in a major league game. He won the PCL batting title last year hitting .331 in 132 games. Anna was a 26th round draft pick and has exceeded expectations his whole career. Anna has experience all around the diamond and could make a good utility player if he doesn't make it as a starter. His strong K/BB rate has lead to very strong OBP numbers throughout his career but he surprisingly did not receive a September callup. With Jedd Gyorko, Chase Headley and Logan Forsythe he seems all but blocked in San Diego. Anna will be eligible to be selected in the rule 5 draft if not added to the 40 man roster.
Anna is a left handed hitter who has had pretty large splits throughout his minor league career. He could be the left side of a platoon at second base and his strong OBP numbers could help set up the top of the order. It's worth noting that Jays manager John Gibbons managed him in 2012 during his time with San Antonio. It was Gibbons that gave Anna the chance to be an everyday player for the first time in his career.
2) Ryan Roberts- 2B
Breakdown: Roberts seems like a good buy-low candidate for our bench. He was outrighted to the Rays AAA affiliate in August and will likely come very cheap. Roberts is a strong fielder capable of playing 2B, 3B and LF. His strong defence and career success against lefties could make him an inexpensive right handed platoon player.
3) Yoshio Itoi- CF
Breakdown: While SP Masahiro Tanaka will be the biggest name to be posted this offseason, Yoshio Itoi should not be forgotten. Itoi is a 32 year old on base machine for the Orix Buffaloes of the NPB. He was the cleanup hitter for Team Japan for most of the World Baseball Classic, and should garner some interest when posted. Itoi led the NPB in on base percentage in 2011 and 2012, and has fairly similar numbers to Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki. Itoi seems to have enough range to stick in CF, which complements a strong arm. If the bidding for Itoi is similar to that of Aoki, he could very well be a solid bargain. His left handed bat could fit well in the 2 hole.
4) Carlos Ruiz- C
Breakdown: Ruiz could be near the top of the Jays offseason wish list as he is one of few solid catching options available. Ruiz's strong defence and career .358 OBP would be a large contrast to JP Arencibia's numbers this year. Ruiz may be 34, but he is just one season away from a 5.2 WAR season. If Ruiz's numbers can get back to even his 2011 self, he will likely be a huge bargain.
5) Chris Young- CF
Breakdown: In my opinion, Colby Rasmus' value may be at its highest. It seems logical to explore trading him now rather than extending him. Chris Young is a very similar player who should sign relatively cheaply given his .200 2013 batting average. Young is a low OBP, high power centre fielder that is very strike out prone. He is very well regarded defensively in CF and also provides a lot of value on the bases. Even after a weak 2013, he has average a WAR of 2.9 since 2010.
Do any of these guys interest anyone? Any other potential bargains you'd like the Jays to get? I will post another 5 guys I have in mind later this week if anyone is interested. Let me know what you think in the comments!