Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Bargain Hunters

So the Jays made Milton Bradley a primary target? Can't say I have a problem with that. The Jays need pitching, but as we found out last year pitching and defense isn't enough to get you into the playoffs. Bradley would have led the Jays in most of the meaningful categories, including HR's with 22.

Some people will point to Bradley's injury history, and yeah, it's pretty significant. Even as a DH last year he only had 414 at bats, and I don't think you could expect much more than that next year. Which just makes the Jays offensive issues all the more glaring, that a guy with 414 at bats outproduced nine other guys who had 500-600 at bats.

There's also Bradley's "clubhouse issues", which I find as amusing as Eckstein's grittiness or Derek Jeter's clutch factor. I don't think it'll be a significant issue, and outside of using it to drive Bradley's contract price down (both in dollars and years) I don't really care if he's an angel or threatening to beat up Alex Rios. Anybody who gets on base and hits like he does can play on my team.

The final problem with Bradley is that he "hit in Texas", so you can't take his offensive numbers seriously. Alright, I might buy that, if he was going to Oakland or San Fransisco. But this is the Rogers Centre we're talking about, it's not exactly a pitcher's park.

Would I make Bradley my top priority for free agency? Not a chance. It's not because he's a clubhouse cancer, or because he's injury prone. I just don't think the Jays need to lock someone up long-term to be a DH. The Jays just need a player who can come on a one, maybe 2 year deal. Bradley most likely is looking for a multi-year deal, which is why I'd avoid him so I could grab....

Jim Edmonds.

Yes, Jim Edmonds. He was left for dead with the Padres, but he turned up in Chicago and had a real nice CF platoon going with some guy named Reed Johnson.

After the Frank Thomas experience, I'm sure some of us don't want the Jays to sign an aging slugger to another multi-year deal. But just cause the Jays got burnt signing one 39 year old doesn't mean the Jays shouldn't try to do it again with Edmonds.

Edmonds still does one thing very well - hit right handed pitching. There's no question he needs to be platooned, but last year he had an 883 OPS vs RHP, and overall he had 20 HR's in 340 at bats. Those 20 HR's would have tied him with Wells for the club lead in HR's, by the way. If Edmonds got 450 at bats, he would have hit around 26 HR's.

If you you want to ignore what he did with the Padres, he hit 19 homers in 250 at bats with the Cubs. That's pretty damn good if you ask me.

I think Edmonds still has another good year in him. He got off to a slow start with the Padres, but that was due to an injury. So it's not like he needed 250 at bats to get warmed up like Thomas did. The issue with Edmonds, like so many others, is staying healthy.

One roadbloack with Edmonds could be that he can't play CF if he signs with the Jays. Which is for the best really, because he's no longer the gold gloved outfielder he used to be. He could slide into LF, but at this point it would be safer making him the DH. I don't know if he's set on playing in CF for a team, but I don't see it being a huge issue.

Alright, so what's Edmonds going to cost? He's probably going to look for a one year deal, as a 39 year old coming off a season where he didn't have 400 at bats doesn't have much leverage. I'd say anything around 1 year with 6 million would be reasonable, with incentives of 500K for every 50 at bats over 300.

What's the advantage of Edmonds over Bradley?

Edmonds won't want a multi-year deal like Bradley will. He's capable of playing in the outfield, which is something that Bradley can't do at this point in his career. He'll come significantly cheaper, and he won't break the bank. Odds are you could still get Edmonds and a solid pitcher, whereas Bradley is probably going to cost 10-14 million a year thanks to his terrific 2008 season. More importantly, since it's a short term deal the Jays can get rid of Edmonds quickly if he shows that he can't hit. With Bradley, you might be stuck with him for a few years.

There's no guarantee Edmonds is going to want to play for the Jays, but I think he'd be a perfect fit if he did.



Anonymous said...

Don't forget Edmonds can reunite with Rolen as Cardinals castoffs/injury concerns

Ian H. said...

Bradley makes so much sense for this team, but unfortunately it probably won't happen.

eyebleaf said...

I'd rather have "The Game" in Milton, but you make some interesting points. I wouldn't be upset if we signed Edmonds.

ari said...

I think you are overestimating the type of deal Bradley gets. Sure, he led the AL in OPS, but I think the GMs realize just how fragile Bradley is. I'd be surprised to see him make more than 20m in guaranteed dollars. He can whine all he wants about how he deserves a long-term contract, but in reality, he doesn't.