Not that I would EVER presume to rip off our esteemed colleges at the Tao of Stieb by trying to imitate their latest gimmick...er, uh... feature (yeah, that's the ticket) BUT I am definitely not above the long cherished pastime of proposing some overlooked player that I can make myself look smart by getting ahead of the curve on coveting.
In this case, that player is Juan Rivera.
Ok, so I AM ripping off someone. I probably can't get away with pretending that I didn't see Dave Cameron's write up on Rivera at FanGraphs. Cameron points out that Rivera has solid power (30 HR potential IMO) and makes good contact. More in depth he notes that Rivera's BABIP was extremely low which points to his average going up next year. He's probably not going to be a star, but he's a better bet to deliver next year than Snider, he's far better than crap like Shannon Stewart, and he's better than the Eric Hinske's of the world (whom so many Jays fans seem to think Andrew Friedman was some kind of genius for tripping over). And he might - MIGHT - blossom like Carlos Pena did (though by no means is that small possibility enough to justify the signing alone).
The real value here, to me, is this - the ideal signing for the Jays this year, either as a hitter or a pitcher, is the guy who can be brought in on a one year deal so as not to tie up money and block talent in 2010 and beyond. Likewise, the ideal play for Rivera this offseason is to sign a one year deal with a team that will play him every day and build up value for a longer term contract next year.
That's a perfect marriage of vested self-interest between the Jays and Rivera.
I say we see if we can get him in her for one year and something less than $10 million and forget about throwing 3 years or more at older guys.