Some notes from all over:
Item - One of the things I had been quietly thinking to myself for weeks now is that Johnny Damon was quietly running out of open slots to sell his services to and the Jays still don't have a competent lead-off hitter. But I had assumed that between his agent (Boras), his price, the fact that he wants to be a Yankee so much he might cave and go back there for less, and our "building project" that it would be foolishness to hope he could land with the Jays.
But, according to Jordan Bastian (and others) tweeting from the State of the Franchise Dinner last night, the Jays have at least talked about it. the odds are still against it I suppose, but put me down in favor of it. In fact, I'd go so far as to say given that our system is a few years away from producing a viable candidate to lead off, if the organization is ready to commit to Snider in RF for at least 2-3 years, I'd not be opposed to a 2 or 3 year deal. But even if its only one year, the potential to trade him in July, or get two draft picks next winter, is a very nice incentive to give him a soft place to land now. That said, if the Ghost of Cito takes Snider out of the lineup for Damon, THAT is a horse of a exceedingly divergent hue.
Damon has a rep as a poor defender but as a flycatcher in LF he's just fine. Most of the advanced metrics have him above average in that regard. It's true he has a legendarily weak arm but are we REALLY giving up more net wins with the occasional weak throw from left than we'll give up with Jose Bautista leading off against RHP roughly 120 times in 2010? Hell no. And all yall who think if we sign him that Lind is a better option to play left? no. Just....no.
Of course, full disclosure - when Damon was available in the draft I wanted him on the Jays more than anyone else out there and I've always liked the guy since (rare for me to like anyone who plays for the Yankees much) so I do have a bit of an emotional attachment. Still, that aside, I think Damon is a nice fit here if he resigns himself to not getting a job on a contender.
Item - Another bit of news coming out of that Dinner was that Cito Gaston has a chubby for the idea of bringing back Carlos Delgado, but AA doesn't think he fits because he thinks (correctly) that Adam Lind needs to DH. Now, I feel REALLY bad for Carlos that there seems to be no obvious starting DH role for him in the AL, I think he still has a lot to offer. But he doesn't fit here. The biggest possible stretch is if we could pawn Overbay off on the Mets or somebody and let Lind play 1B this year and use Overbay's salary to pay both Damon and Delgado. But that's a heck of a lot of moving parts. which sucks, because Delgado closing out a great career here is a much better story that Randy Ruiz turning out to be gold after all this time, IMO.
Item - One other not worth mentioning from last night - Dustin McGowan is back on the mound. Well, technically he was back on the mound this morning throwing a bullpen session. Reports are he felt no pain and all went well and a couple of stray remarks indicate "he looks great." Obviously there is a LONG road ahead and hope to see him in the 2010 rotation is irrational but . . . I'm fantasizing on a big comeback just the same.
Item - AA suggested last night that he's been trying everything possible to bring in a top-shelf young SS and there's not one available.
Item - I won't bother to get into all the various quotes but listening to Cito talk last night about the upcoming year gives me more than a small portion of unease. He's all over the map and says a lot of stuff that...how can I put this nicely?. . . concerns me. If he's going to be an actual consultant and not a figure head, he might want to pay at least as much fucking attention to who's actually on the team as an unpaid blogger 500 miles away, donchathink?
Elsewhere . . .
Item - Keith Law has a top 10 prospect list out for the Jays (hat tip to the Drunks) as does FanGraphs Marc Hulet.
Law had four Jays in his Top 100 Prospects in baseball too, by the way. He had Brett Wallace at #20 (ahead of Michael Taylor if you still care about that) and says he's "ready right away." Also, he has Drabek at 40 (is worried about his delivery doesn't think he has an ace ceiling which puts him at odds with most other observers), Stewart at 55 ("has a chance to be a good #2 or a top shelf reliever"), and d'Arnoud at 99 (a "more complete player" than JPA). He also ranked the Jays' system #16 overall while noting in passing that the would have been at or near the bottom as of July 30.
Of further interest in his Top 10, Law has Henderson Alverez (who was my #1 guy before the Halladay deal) at #5, Moses Sierra at #9 and wunderkind SS Gustavo Pierre all the way up at #10.
Hulet (not one of the more famous names but few who are not employed by the Jays know the system better) also ranked Wallace #1, has Arencibia (at #4) ahead of d'Arnoud (#7) and has Sierra all the way up at #5, but what I found most striking was Brad Mills at #6 and Danny Farquhar at #10. Hulet, obviously since he's writing here for Fangraphs, loads you up on all the statistical goodness.
Item - It was noted last night the Jays are getting new turf. No way this can be anything but a cue to the Hallelujah Chorus.
Item - I mentioned this on Batters Box, rather than burn a whole post on the idea here, and so far it hasn't been shot down to my satisfaction: if we are picking over the guys who are shocked to find they are still free agents on February 1, I'd take a look at bringing in Felipe Lopez with plans to play him in RF (assuming we don't get Damon). the way I figure it, if Bautista can play RF, why can't Lopez? He's got an arm, he's not a slug, and he can actually hit RHP. it's true there career lines at the plate are not much different, but since he left Washington Lopez seems to have rediscovered his bat and if we MUST gamble in the lead-off spot, I'd much rather do so with a guy who's OPS was over .380 last year (and well over .350 in the 191 games since he left the Nats) than a guy who is a lock to look like John McDonald when a RHP is on the mound.
Item - Jason Stark suggests that the Jays have told clubs that both Frasor and Dwons are available, which makes sense given that this winter provided a cautionary tale about offering arbitration to Type A relievers. Reportedly the Cubs have inquired.
Item - via a re-tweeted tweet (damn I hate that word) I picked up a Jays blog I hadn't read before. It's called Tangled Up in Powder Blue and I don't want to be effusive in my praise, since it only has 14 new posts since the start of 2009, but hey - it is written by a female and it's good to see a member of the fairer sex blogging the Jays so I figure if I give her some notice maybe she'll weigh in more often. if she does, maybe I'll add her to the sidebar.
I'm sure I'm forgetting something I wanted to mention but this is getting too long anyway so enough with trying to remember it all.