The Plot Thickens: Luis Valbuena Joins the Jays

How does the Blue Jays newest acquisition fits in with the Blue Jays? (Getty Images VIA Daylife)

THE FIRST MOVE OF THE SEASON! SILENT ASSASSIN! SILENT ASSASSIN! BY GOD! STONE COLD!

*ahem*

Okay, so it’s not that big of a move. But it still acts as a wake up call for any Jays fans that may have fallen asleep after the Pujols/Fieldermania.

The Blue Jays (loving the new logo, more on that later) trade cash to the Cleveland Indians in order to get IF Luis Valbuena.

What it means to The Jays:

The Jays are looking for infield depth after losing John McDonald to the Diamondbacks and their multi-year contract offer. Mike McCoy for all of his scrappy, baserunny, emergency pitcher-y, frequent flying-ly, grittastical goodness, hasn’t really lit the world on fire since he was claimed on waivers two years ago. Even as a back-up option he’s been a little lack luster:

Yech. Even for a bench player, that’s not nice. Fielding aside, these numbers scream AAAA (or, for laymen, too good for minors but not good enough for MLB) talent right there. Now that the Jays have Valbuena, there’s some competition for the the utility infielder bench spot. Both players have some skills that could help the team, but it’s a tight fit between the two.

MIGHTY MIKE MCCOY:

+   A slick defender at all positions except catcher
+   Got some wheels, and he likes to show them off
+   Heck, he can pitch if you want him too

–   He’s into his age 31 year, so Alex Anthopoulos may not see him as valuable than his younger contemporary
–   Doesn’t really get on base long enough to make a difference with his legs
–   He doesn’t offer a lot of bat, heck John McDonald was more of a bat

LUIS VALBUENA:

+   Not too bad of a fielder himself
+   Has better potential with his bat to be something
+   Has shown promise in 2009 and is 26 years old, so there’s plenty of room to grow

–   Doesn’t have exactly the same ability to play all positions as McCoy, (2B, 3B, SS, LF)
–   Doesn’t have much time to make an impact with the team before the start of the season. Spring Training or bust.
–   Also is not a big On Base threat

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

I see this playing out one of two ways. Either:

Alex Anthopolous goes young and upsidey and keeps Valbuena up with the big squad, effectively sending McCoy back to Vegas.

OR

Valbuena flops in Spring Training and Mike McCoy keeps his job… for the time being.

I don’t know which one is better, honestly.

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Blue Jays Shopping List: Kelly Johnson

Is Kelly Johnson the answer for the Blue Jays 2B Black Hole? (Getty Images VIA Daylife)

Tell me if you heard this one while watching a game at Rogers Centre:

“You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

Every time I see the second base of Rogers, I see nothing but emptiness. A dead pool of drifters and failed promises. The cornfield on the iconic “Boy with omnipotent powers” episode of the Twilight Zone had less lost souls then RC’s 2B.

Teams usually go through transition periods with positions, but I can’t think of one that has gone on in the Major Leagues quite like the second base situation on the Toronto Blue Jays. Usually, they last a few years before something comes up from the system or a trade is made that solves the problem. But, there hasn’t been any sure thing second baseman on the Jays since Roberto Alomar.

Oh, there have been names and faces manning the keystone position. Aaron Hill had a good try at it until he blew a gasket in 2010. Orlando Hudson was a cool arm on the field but wasn’t much to talk about with the bat when he was with Toronto. John McDonald was similar to an extreme. They were serviceable big leaguers or at the very least fringe players, but nothing that really screams “I’m a main contributor to a contending team.” (Probably because they weren’t close to even making a run, but I digress.)

Last season, the Jays shipped off the above mentioned Hill and McDonald to the Arizona Diamondbacks for second baseman Kelly Johnson. Both Hill and Johnson were struggling after the non-waiver trade deadline (trades before July 31st don’t need the players to clear the waiver system before a trade can be made) and were swapped. Hill turned it on in a small sample size, but still had his contract option declined by the D-Backs.

Johnson on the other hand is now a free agent after putting up respectable numbers of his own. However, should the Jays bank on Johnson?

For reference, here is his batting stats for his career.

WHY THEY SHOULD SIGN KELLY JOHNSON

  • Coming Off a Down Year (Not Necessarily a Bad Thing)

Despite having a pooptacular year with the Diamondbacks, he’s shown the ability to be a great bat for a second baseman. He’s been the kind of player that has a drop-off year followed by an all-star contention year. His sample with the Jays for the last month showed he was trending upward. He could come cheaper then in a year where he flourished.

  • What You’ve Wanted At Your Fingertips

Kelly Johnson was on Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos’ radar for a year and two-thirds prior to getting him. He was very close to being the 2010 Jays starting left fielder before the Diamondbacks offered him a job at his preferred second base.  Now, he actually represents a talent that they’ve already researched and worked with prior to going into before free agency.  Better to go with the devil you know, right?

  • He’s actually pretty good.

Seriously, go check his stats. He slumps, but he also has crazy good years.

WHY THEY SHOULD LET KELLY JOHNSON GO

  • Small F/A Talent Pool

Here’s the thing: name three F/A second baseman with the same potential as Johnson without looking at this list.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Slim pickings means that Johnson has more room to demand a premium price from teams.

  • Type A Free Agent

As a type A F/A, any team that signs him will forfeit their first round pick to the Toronto Blue Jays. Anthopoulos loves his draft picks, so he might want to give up Johnson for the pick.

Fizzlebeef Prediction: Blue Jays, 2 years/$9MM with two club options years worth $5MM and $9MM

Talkin’ with Stamina

What do you do when the thing you love is taking it’s seasonal hibernation?

TALK ABOUT IT IN THEORY.

ADVANCED RUN CELEBRATIONS ACTIVATION SEQUENCE GO.

This blog is about MLB roster moves, speculation on MLB roster moves, anger/mirth over MLB roster moves, and finally, crudely made MS Paint pictures about MLB roster moves. Mostly Blue Jays stuff, but if something amazing/intriguing/stupid/Tony LaRussa-esque happens, we’ll talk about that, too.

Let’s get started with what the Jays need to do with 2nd Base.