FanPost

Speier

Justin James Speier represented the potential for the Jays to be the true "J"s with A.J., B.J., and J.J. this past season, but it was not quite to be.  

Speier is an interesting case - he came to the Jays at 30 and has actually improved his performance.  After a so-so first season in 2004(124 ERA+, 1.25 WhiP, 52/25 K/BB), he had a mighty second year as a setup man with a whopping 173 ERA+ over 66 innings, his 56 Ks to only 15 BBs showing that it was more excellent pitching than luck and showing some indication he might be able to repeat in 2006.  

He was excellent again in 2006 overall, with a 158 ERA+ comparing well to other setup men around the league and, with BJ Ryan, giving the Jays the best 8th-9th inning duo in the AL Beast.  His K/BB ratio (55/21), though a bit higher than his banner year, still indicated future success.  

There is no doubt that Speier has produced good value to the Jays, but he is now a free agent and, if last year is any indication, will command at least a 2 or 3 year deal for $3-4 million per, possibly more given that there is not much of a market for closers and some team may higher Speier to do the job (perhaps the Red Sox, for example, who could certainly afford and use him).  

I'm not sure it is worth it to a team like the Jays to resign Speier at that salary, particularly as it looks like League is ready for the big time.  Assuming League is not converted into a starter, his numbers were actually better than Speier's (186 ERA+, 29K/9BB in 42.2 innings for a sparkling 1.01 Whip.) and he is certainly the man for the 8th inning job.  No doubt he has arrived.  

Now if the Jays did keep Speier, they would possibly have the best 3-reliever tandem in Speier-League-Ryan.  But I think they'd be better off using that money for a starter to pitch behind Doc and AJ and/or a middle infielder.  Speier is 33 now, and the Jays have two young pitchers in Frasor and Accardo who have shown flashes of excellence.  I think the two of them are more-than-capable of filling Justin's shoes (although not his sweet high socks).  

In summation, I think the Jays just might want to resign Lilly (although signs are not looking great in that department just now), probably don't need to resign Cat (although if he could be had for DeRosa money would not be a horrible deal), and really won't need to resign Speier.  This is more of a function of the market and the Jays' farm system than their contributions, as all three have been solid and valuable contributors.  

Editor's Note: This is a FanPost written by a reader and member of Bluebird Banter. It was not commissioned by the editors and is not necessarily reflective of the opinions of Bluebird Banter or SB Nation.