A couple weeks ago, Tom ran a series of articles regarding taking one player off every team in baseball. This got me thinking about something similar, which would be what if one could steal one player from every other organization in baseball, but limited only to players who were at some point in the Blue Jays organization. For this exercise, I'm looking to get the most assets, not just the best player now - expected future production, contract and control matter.
I'm counting unsigned draft picks as having a requisite connection; given the Jays’ recent draft history, that turns out to be very useful. The flip side is having so many unsigned free agents complicates the task, so that balances off. Below is a table with the player I'd steal from each team, and others who would have similar value or be potentially be useful in rounding out an roster.
Select former Blue Jays in other orgs
|NYY||Richard Bleier||Jorge Saez|
|BAL||Jayson Aquino||Chris Dickerson|
|CWS||Brett Lawrie||Dane Dunning|
|KC||Raul Mondesi Jr.*|
|DET||Daniel Norris||Matt Boyd, Jairo Labourt|
|CLE||Edwin Encarnacion||Yan Gomes|
|OAK||Franklin Barreto||Kendall Graveman, Liam Hendriks|
|SEA||James Paxton||Nick Wells|
|TEX||Sam Dyson||Jeremy Jeffress|
|HOU||Joe Musgrove||Jake Marisnick|
|LAA||Yunel Escobar||Jesse Chavez, Carlos Perez, Ben Revere|
|WAS||Jimmy Cordero||Tim Collins, Dustin Antolin|
|NYM||Noah Syndergaard||Travis d'Arnaud|
|PHI||Aaron Nola||Alberto Tirado|
|MIA||Adeiny Hechavarria||Justin Nicolino, Dustin McGowan|
|MIL||Eric Thames||Sean Nolin, Phil Bickford|
|STL||Brett Cecil||Luke Weaver|
|SD||Ryan Schimpf||Eric Lauer|
|LAD||Chase De Jong|
|SF||Tyler Beede||Andrew Suarez|
|ARI||Jake Barrett||Dawel Lugo, Jeff Mathis|
Before going over some of the decisions, there’s one organization where I had to get a little creative. As best as I can tell, there is no player currently under contract to the Kansas City Royals organization who has a real connection to the Blue Jays. So exercising a little license, I take Raul Mondesi Jr. whose father played for the Jays from 2000-02. I was in a similar bind with Minnesota when I first drew up the list, and was going to have to resort to poaching manager Paul Molitor (bench bat?). But then they signed Matt Hague last week.
AL East: Little transacting between within the division makes for slim picking with just org types to choose from with the Yankees and Orioles. At least I get a nice bullpen arm from Tampa and while I don't really like the Price contract, it's not yet an albatross and the only other options are org types so I can't pass up nabbing a frontline starter.
AL Central: Edwin's signing last year comes in very handy here, as I've now got a middle or the order bopper on a decent contract. The Price trade pays another dividend, as it not only let me get him, but an ar they gave up for him. I love Matt Boyd, I'd be strongly inclined to take him over Norris. Brett Lawrie was an easy decision until the Eatn deal netted them Dane Dunning, I really like his arm but I'll take the established big leaguer.
AL West: A lot of choice here. From Oakland, I'll take the upside of Franklin Barreto over Graveman or Hendriks (who would be easy choices from a number of others). The Angels also have a number of viable choices, I'll take Escobar. The other three teams are pretty easy choices.
NL East: Hey, look! I take both Dickey and Syndergaard! The latter because he`s basically the only choice, the latter because it's a no-brainer even if Travis d'Arnaud a still a decent asset I'd take if he were on at least half the other teams. I really hate the Eaton deal now, because I have to choose a fringe bullpen arm instead of Dunning. Nola gives me another solid arm in my rotation. I'm not terribly high on Hechavarria, but he is a positional regular.
NL Central: Kris Bryant, come on down! The reigning NL MVP will anchor the left side of the infield. DeSclafani and Hutchison are clear picks, and help to round out my rotation and/or depth. I'm not optimistic about Thames, but I'll take the risk over a couple of fringey arms. I'm not wild on Cecil's contract, and so Weaver could make sense even if he's ultimately a bullpen arm, but nor now Cecil.
NL West: The Padres are an interesting choice. Lauer projects a mid/backend starter (think Jon Harris); Ryan Schimpf hit 20 home runs but I'm guessing a flash in the pan. But I'll gamble on him being more valuable. The Giants are an interesting choice between two unsigned draft picks. Arizona has a few choices but none a standout, so I'll take Barrett as a bullpen arm.
Overall, that's a pretty strong haul of value. The only issue would be fielding a roster:
The pitching depth is stupid. Which makes sense consider how many good pitching prospects the Jays drafted in recent years and traded. My infield is surprisingly deep as well, with Escobar on the bench (I imagine sort of a three man platoon between Esocbar, Hechavarria and Lawrie up the middle), Barreto a utility man/bench bat and Schimpf not even having a roster spot.
Of course, there's the minor problem of not having a catcher or true outfielder. There's not a lack of former Blue Jays catchers floating around, but they're either free agents or in organizations with much more valuable players. Likewise, in the outfield, options like Colby Rasmus, Jose Bautista and Michael Saunders remain unsigned.
So assuming an inability to trade from surplus areas, what changes would I make to field a roster? I don't need fringy relievers even if they are on 40-man rosters, so I'll dump Bleier and Aquino for ex-Jays minor leaguers C Jorge Saez and OF Chris Dickerson. Since I'm so deep in pitching, I'll take Jake Marisnick over Joe Musgrove to slot in the outfield. This makes no sense from a value perspective, but it's the least value destructive.
I'm going to get creative to round out my outfield. The positional outlook for Franklin Barreto has long divided scouting reports, with some thought he doesn't have the glove for the infield. So I'll use him in the outfield. Likewise, Ryan Schimpf becomes my left fielder, where he played some in the minor leagues. That fixes that relatively easily, using my excessive of infield depth. And by the end of the winter, I might have better choices depending where som of the names above sign.
That leaves the vexing issue of the starting catcher. There are options: Yan Gomes (CLE), Carlos Perez (LAA), Travis d'Arnaud (NYM), and Jeff Mathis (ARI). Gomes and d'Arnaud would be fine choices, the problem is opportunity cost of Edwin/Syndergaard. Even with all my great pitching, I'm not losing Syndergaard, especially given d'Arnaud's injury woes. Edwin's on a free agent contract, so from a value perspective it might make more sense to bet on an Gomes bouncing back but other than Bryant the lineup lacks offensive punch.
There's another angle. With all the pitching, I don't really need Jake Barrett. For lineup purposes, I'll be taking Mathis as my backup catcher. But I could also basically punt the catcher position, install him and his awful bat as starting catcher with Saez the backup. That lets me keep Edwin, with Matt Hague as a pinch hitter rather than starting 1B.
Lineup A: Take Gomes over Edwin
Lineup B: Mathis starting at catcher
I'm really not sure which I'd go with. Let us know below which you'd go with, or if I've missed anyone or if you'd take differently from other organizations.