I've long since abandoned the illusion that you are likely to get your NEWS from this site when something happens. If you are an aware Jays fan you know who to follow on Twitter, you know about MLBTR, and so forth. So I do not rush to the keyboard to comment on every roster move. Often, I can speak to a point better with a day or two to reflect and digest a number of other reactions and opinions and most of all, to hear what the team personnel have to say about it.
After a couple of days though, there's been no real new information coming from the team regarding the roster moves this week. So, before the story gets too cold, or trumped by a newer one, my reactions are these-
No one really is worried about Wise, right? He did reasonable work as a fourth outfielder but there are so many options for that job it would be exhausting to discuss them all. As for Brian Tallet, YES he was aces against LH hitting, and yes, contrary to some comments I've seen, the $2 mil-ish he'd be due to make if he'd stayed is not out of line for that skill set, BUT . . .
There are a number of ways to fill that need, from in-house options like Carlson, Mills, and Zep to trades to free agents to even bringing Tallet back at a lower price. A lot of people have a low opinion of Tallet right now but that has much more to do with his having been pushed beyond his competency level the last couple of years than it does his not having any value at all.
As for Encarnacion, one must admit up front that we don't have all the information available to Alex & Co. It has been hinted at in the media and inferred by what we can observe that there are . . . personality issues involved. The sort of things that are sometimes referred to as "difficult to coach." Such things are not spoken of by wise front office people in public but they no doubt factor into decision making. That's not to say that EE is a "cancer" or any such thing, just maybe stubborn. Jose Bautista has admitted in interviews that he took a long time to accept that his swing needed to change. It happens.
More crucial was the problem of where he plays defensively. If he had stayed with the Jays, he'd have pretty much had to have been the DH. the $6 mil or so he would have made to do that might not have been too much, but the dent he puts in the team's flexibility if you put him down for that role is huge.The Jays can get similar offense from a new player, almost certainly for less money, and they don't have to have their hands tied before even the GM meetings to do that.
It's too tempting, when addressing this subject, speculate about the future of 3B. I can't pass up the opportunity.
Stating the obvious - Bautista or Hill might end up there, depending on the potential to import an outfielder or second baseman - preferably one with top-of-the-order offensive skills. This I've discussed before and will again, but laying that aside . . .
The field of potential acquisitions at 3B is not deep, but is possessed of some intriguing names, of which I submit these four names for consideration (all rumored as potentially available according to MLBTR)
4. Dan Uggla: Oldest player on this list, most reliable, and most expensive to acquire and to pay. Down side is that he's only under team control for one more season, and he's nothing like a lead-off option (but none of these suggestions are). You'd have to be REAL confident you could extend him if you were going to make a run at him.
EDIT: I made a comment here about his OBP but it was in error - looked at the wrong column or something.
3. Alex Gordon: Often discussed on Jays blogs and forums, and opinions are sharply divided. I confess I've been obsessed with Gordon since his college days so my objectivity suffers. It is rightly observed his last two season have been a mess, but there's also a solid possibility that the Royals created that mess. The upside is that Gordon is a hitting version of Brandon Morrow, the downside is that he's just another of those high draft picks who failed to live up to the clippings.
He did have a very solid season in 2008 at age 24, so the foundation is or was there. In my opinion, the potential upside in acquiring him for what would be presumably a reasonable price (Mills and Sierra, for instance?) and hoping that a change of scenery and coaching unlocks his former talent is worthwhile.
2. Gordon Beckham: I'm a bit shocked to hear that the White Sox might listen here, and in no position to speculate as to the cost to acquire him, but the availability can't be ignored. He was a more-or-less competent 3B in 2009 with above average offense at age 22 - and that after less than half a season in the minors. At first glance, it would appear he slumped badly in his sophomore year - but a closer examination reveals something quite interesting: From July 9 through the end of the season, his OPS was .911 in 1/3 of a season's worth of at-bats. I cannot say, of course, with any authority whether or not there is a big negative we can't see. But given what I can see, I'd pay and pay pretty handsomely to install Beckham at 3B for the Jays for the next 4 or more years. Kenny Williams loves to deal, hopefully the Jays can find something he finds irresistible. Also here, if you think the D would be better with Hill at 3B and Beckham at 2B, you could do that too.
1. Pablo Sandoval: One of the best hitters in the NL in 2009, he dropped off massively in 2010 while surounded by questions about his conditioning and work ethic. He was lightly used in the playoffs as a result and while it's unclear whether he is actually available, the dilligent GM (and Alex is nothing if not that) will certainly seek to take advantage of the reversals to see if he can be obtained. it's not without risk - you'd have to be convinced you could get him back to his 2009 levels. but there's obviously something there for which to strive.
One other thought, if you really want to light it up - trade for Sandoval for 1B and Beckham for 3B. That will take a big bite out of the farm system but you'd potentially make a huge improvement in the major league club