So let me suggest something that is a bit outside that box - Go after Tsuyoshi Nishioka. According to Tim Kurkjian, the 26 year old middle infielder from Japan will be posted this week.
Nishioka won the Pacific League batting title this year with a .346 average. He scored 121 runs, stole 22 bases and had 206 hits, the most by a player in that league since Ichiro Suzuki in 1994. Nishioka, a switch-hitter, batted leadoff for the Marines and his team recently won the Japan Series.
"He is a good player, he is a talented kid," said ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine, who managed Nishioka in Japan. "If he had been a college kid four or five years ago, he would have been a first-round pick. He runs faster than a lot of people. He can get a hit. He can steal a base. He can bunt. He is still developing physically and mentally. And this year, he stayed healthy all year. He has style issues, positive and negative: he likes to be noticed. How he develops will depend on what team signs him."
Now, I'll go ahead and acknowledge that Fangraphs is only mildly impressed, but i think this might be a good place for AA to throw Rogers' financial muscle around and address a need. There's not a history of Japanese imports losing their batting eye in the U.S., just of seeing their power moderate. But we don't need power, we need a lead off hitter. Here we have a guy who's an excellent defender, with tremendous range (and a 2B arm) who gets on base at a high rate (.366 career, .423 in 2010) and has good speed and a taste for the spotlight. Sounds like an ideal top-of-the-order spark to me.
Newman (at Fangraphs) says he might be a "Ryan Theriot/Chine Figgins" type which is weird since Figgins is a wildly better player. But if you could get a 26 year old Figgins at a reasonable price, that's a fine acquisition.
Do this, and move Aaron Hill to 3B which in turn allows you to go Snider/Wells/Bautista in the OF and you have a better lineup and a noticeably better defense as well.
What's not to like?
On an unrelated note, I want to take advantage of the chance to nod in the direction of the coaching hires. I have to say that the announcment brought a big smile to my face - the only thing I can think of that would be better is word that Rick Langford will stay in the organization, either at Vegas or roving. Having Pat Hentgen on the major league staff is very happy-making. Wakamatsu bringing experience to the bench, and a great reputation to his special assignment as a coach to JPA is very good news, and Tory Louvello brings a great reputation as well. I venture to say we may now have the finest collection of coaches in the majors.
Also there was chatter today that a Boston writer includes the Blue Jays on a list of teams looking at Victor Martinez. My thoughts? First, not gonna happen - there's no way the jays pay what it will take to sign him AND give up a first round draft pick, the report is either wrong or AA is just doing due diligence. Second, I agree with that outcome. Martinez is a player primed to decline in value, IMO, and he's hoping to get a contract for 4 or more years. While it is true that he fits into an open spot on our roster (1B) and brings some value (the ability to catch if JPA flops horribly) that's a short term situat8ion and doesn't warrant a long term deal. Pass.