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And You Read Your Emily Dickinson and I, My Robert Frost: Toronto Blue Jays 2011 Dangling Conversation Part VII

In  Part I, we introduced ourselves and generally discuss the offseason.  In Part 2, we discussed the Marcum for Lawrie trade.  In Part 3 we discussed the 2011 pitching staff, while in Part 4 we discussed the catching situation.  In Part 5 we discussed the Jays' farm system, and in Part 6 we took a look at breakout and fallback candidates.   

Hugo: Who is a Jays player you believe  is likely to rebound after a bad 2011, and why?  

Tom: Adam Lind. I just think his swing is too good to not do better than last year. I think he just he wanted to pull every pitch he saw. I’m not sure if that was coaching or what but I think he’d be better off, especially against LHP to look the other way more. I also think it will help him if he plays in the field more.

JohnnyG: So this is basically a question between Hill and Lind right? I guess you could say EE to a certain extent, maybe even Rzep, but the expectations weren’t the same for anyone else compared to Hill and Lind. I guess I already answered this one above, but I think Hill bounces back. Granted I think Lind does better too. Back in the summer of 2006 I was at the Jays game where Lind was honoured along with two other minor league players for their seasons in their respective leagues (Lind was playing with the Jays at the time). I remember leaning over to my then fiance and saying I like that kid, his swing is great and he gonna be good. So it has been an ongoing joke in my household whenever Lind gets a hit or a HR or anything really and my wife sees who it is, she looks over at me and we both say "I like that kid".... ok maybe its one of those have to be there moments, but it always cracks me up.

Jesse: I think you forgot Yunel Escobar, who I think could easily put together a .280 / .360 / .400 season and be between 5 and 10 runs above average at short.

JohnnyG: I always forget about Escobar, mainly because he didn’t play all that poorly when he come into Toronto so I discount the whole Atlanta part of the season. Granted he started out really well here which is probably influencing my view of him.

Tom: Not that he had a poor year, but I think Cecil could take a step forward. I also think Casey Janssen could step into a bigger role for the team. More a setup guy than a mopup pitcher.

Jesse: Could we say that would be Farrell taking a step forward from Cito?

Hugo:   I hope Janssen gets more of a shot with Farrell.  He actually had a very nice season.  Struck out 8.25 batters per 9 innings with his usual low walk rates, and his usual excellent ground ball rates.  He got a bit unlucky on batted balls (.336 BABIP).  The only thing with him is that he has 5 quality pitches, but no real standout pitch to use as an out pitch.  But of course he didn’t have a bad 2010 by any stretch, just a mostly inconsequential one, so it’s not really a good answer to the question. For an actual rebound candidate, I agree I like Lind.

Tom: The trouble is there are only two guys that really had a bad year and are still with the team. I think Hill will have a better season too, mostly because I can’t see him getting much worse. Jesse Litsch could be in there I guess.

Hugo: Switching gears a bit, the Jays allowed Lyle Overbay to leave with the intention of moving Adam Lind to first base in order to get him out in the field more.  They re-signed Edwin Encarnacion and stated he will spend time at first base and DH.  How do you see the first base and designated hitter spots shaping up for the Jays in 2011, and do you think they need to pick up at least one more hitter?  If so, who would you like to see?  

Tom: I think we need another bat. At best we are stretched pretty thin at the moment. As is stands Lind plays first, EE DHes, Bautista plays third and Davis LF every day. If one of them were to get injured or if Davis or Edwin or Lind don’t produce, I don’t know who would fill hole. Do we really want to see McDonald playing everyday if someone gets hurt? I still would have liked to have seen them sign Manny, at least then we could have a fall back if someone were to get hurt.

JohnnyG: Well they don’t NEED to pick up one more hitter, a Lind and EE switch going between 1B and DH would work..... its not ideal and I would like another player. Oh hey look at that, in Cars,  the two minivans that get lost in Radiator Springs are called Mini and Van, HAH those crazy Pixar folks.

Hugo:   I think EE has serious power and a bat that can help the Jays in a first-base/DH role, but I don’t think his bat really plays as an everyday DH.  On the other hand, I’m not sure I’m ready to relegate Lind to a platoon role, so that would dictate against picking up a full-time DH.  A lefty DH with whom EE could split time might not be a bad idea.  I agree with Tom that the team is spread a little thin offensively as currently constructed.  

masterkembo:   We’re probably short a bat here - I figure EE is worth about 1.5WAR as a full-time DH, which isn’t terrible, but probably isn’t good enough.  Thome would probably be a good pick, but not for what he’s going to cost since he’s probably due for a big regression.  There’s not really a whole lot of intriguing options left at this point.  How about Albert Pujols for 2012...?  I can dream, right?

Tom: So what do you all think would happen if one of the outfielders or corner infielders were to get hurt?

JohnnyG: Kevin Millar coming out of retirement? Likely would be either a young prospect kid getting a chance or a career minor league plugging a hole.

masterkembo: If 3B is injured, bring up Lawrie and plug him in either at 2B or 3B and play Hill accordingly.  If 1B is hurt - I don’t know, play EE at 1B and call up whoever is hitting best at AAA and let them DH.  If an outfielder gets hurt...move Bautista back to the OF, call up Lawrie and go from there.  Or bring up Mastroianni and plug him in.  None of those situations are ideal - I’m not arguing that we’re not short a bat, but the Jays can probably make it work if worse comes to worse.  I guess right now, a lot of the Jays flexibility is going to depend on how Lawrie is fairing.  If he is ready, even to be a league average player, the Jays should have an easier time moving guys around in case of injury.