We are getting closer, the Jays have their first 'official' workout on the 22nd and their first spring game is March 3rd. We have 32 pitchers coming to camp, though 3 of them are injured so really we'll have 29 guys for the 11 spots on the pitching staff. Right now our 40 man rosters, as listed on MLB.com has 27 pitchers listed and 14 position players. I know that adds up to 41, I am guessing that the paper work for either the Dana Eveland trade or the Kevin Gregg signing hasn't been filed yet, even though those players show on that list. Someone will have to be dropped from the 40 man somehow. Another roster spot will be needed for a catcher but that can wait until the end of spring training. Someone like Dirk Hayhurst or Jesse Litsch can be put on the 60 day DL then.
There still are a few players out there that the Jays might look at, we can list some of them:
Jermaine Dye: Dye is 36 now, he's a proven power hitter, he had 27 home runs last year, but his slash line, from last year doesn't excite (.250/.340/.453). He can play RF but his defense isn't what it used to be out there. I don't think his defense would be any better than Travis Snider's. He's a right handed bat that hits lefties much better than righties and we have one of those already in Jose Bautista, who would give us better defense in RF. If it was up to me I'd pass on him.
Johnny Damon: Johnny has the appeal of being a far better lead off hitter, at least again RHP, than Jose Bautista would be. He had 24 home runs last year, but 17 of them came in the very very homer friendly Yankee Stadium so somewhere else he'd be lucky to get to the mid-teens in homers. He's 36 now, has no arm at all in the OF, he could only play left which would make RF the only spot left for Travis Snider and I'm not sure Cito will play Snider there. If he's going to take at bats away from Travis, I don't want him. Add in that the Tigers are rumored to have offered him $7 million a year on a two year contract, I don't see the Jays matching that.
Rocco Baldelli: Rocco still is sitting there without a contract. He's a good glove in RF and would be able to spell Vernon in CF. Actually he'd likely be a better CFer than Vernon but he the Jays wouldn't move Wells out of CF for him. He's 28 now so in his prime, health problems have kept him from the career he could have had. He's another right handed batter that hits lefty pitching better than righties so doesn't make for a platoon partner with Bautista. I know he's a favorite of some, but unless he'd come on a minor league contract and battle out for a spot I don't see the point.
Carlos Delgado: Carlos has a nostalgia appeal, it would be nice to see him get his 500th home run as a Jay. He is 27 away so he'd need a comeback season to get there. I have my doubts that he could play first so, if we signed him, he'd have to DH, which would move Lind into LF and, I hope, Snider into right. It really wouldn't make much sense, except for nostalgia, but it would make us fans happy. It would ensure that Randy Ruiz doesn't make the team but then if you are worried about a 32 year old career minor leaguer making the team, your priorities are wrong. If it happened, fine, if not, fine.
Russell Branyan: 35 now and had a career type year last year. His 31 homers set a career high, beating the old high water mark by 7. He had a terrific first half of 2009, 152 OPS+ but a poor second half, 81 OPS+. Could back up Edwin at third, as well as play first and DH, I guess. A lefty bat so wouldn't platoon with Lyle at first. I don't see the point to signing him.
If you are looking for a catcher or backup catcher there are a few free agents left. Rod Barajas still hasn't signed and I'm starting to give up hope of getting that draft pick that he was to bring us. I can't see why we'd sign him since we have the lite version of him in John Buck. Jose Molina still hasn't signed, he'd be a good defense only back up catcher. Or if you wanted to offer him a minor league contract, Michael Barrett is available (let's face it, he's alway available) and he's a year younger than Barajas.
The other thing that could happen, this spring, is that with the surplus of pitching arms we could be looking to make a trade. I have the feeling that the only way Anthopoulos would trade some of the pitchers is if he could get a young shortstop that could hold the major league job for 5 to 10 years. There aren't a lot of those out there. I guess it is possible that he could move a couple or three arms for a RFer, but I have a feeling the stockpile is there to find a way to pry a SS from someone. And Lyle is still on the team. If Alex could work out a trade for him, I'm sure we'd be happy to see Brett Wallace at first earlier than we expected.
So I ask the question, is there a move you would like the see the Jays make before the start of the season?