So a little about my Friday night. I’m getting ready to go over to my Budd’s place (correct spelling) and I get a text from one of my other Budd’s (my 3rd/youngest Budd) asking me if I was going over to our Budd’s place. So 2 of my 3 good Budd’s were going to be having a few Duff’s with me, nice and chill Friday night. But then my 3rd Budd texts me again about an hour later saying “Get here now. Talk Donaldson”.
Talk Donaldson? What in the hell is he talking about? About 10 minutes later I get the notification on my phone saying that the Jays had trade Brett Lawrie, and prospects Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman and Franklin Barreto (the latter long term maybe the key to this deal) for one of the top 3rd basemen in baseball, Josh Donaldson.
Needless to say Alex Anthopoulos has gotten after it for the 2nd time in the last 3 offseasons. Donaldson is a huge acquisition. Russell Martin a few weeks ago, a huge acquisition. But the problem for the Jays is that they already had a decent catcher. Not great, but decent. They already had a decent 3rd baseman in Lawrie who as we all know has big time potential which of course is why Billy Beane needed Lawrie in the deal. AA still has all the same holes to fill.
2B, LF, CF, you need something of an insurance policy in case Justin Smoak can’t turn his career around as your DH, rebuild the pen (specifically a closer) and he needs a front line starter. The font line starter ironically might be the easiest to get. Max Scherzer, James Shields and Jon Lester are all free agents. According to reports the Jays are 1 of 6 teams legitimately in the hunt for Lester.
You wouldn’t THINK the Jays could get Lester when you have the Red Sox, Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Yankees are all teams who have been mentioned to be after Lester. But when you bring in a Martin and Donaldson it gets guys attention. Guys look around and they see what you’re trying to build and that can be more intriguing for guys then what you have done previously. I still wouldn’t bet on it, but I won’t be shocked if they land him either.
They’re all in. All of a sudden the team that couldn’t add any money at last year’s trade deadline, according to some, are free to spend to the luxury tax limit (189 million). That is music to Jays fans ears.
But where does that money go? If it’s me, one move I’m making is eating most of Mark Buehrle or R.A. Dickey’s deal and moving him for a 2nd baseman, whether it be an established guy or someone who is ready to play in the big’s this season. With a rotation (in no order) of Hutchinson, Stroman, Sanchez, Buehrle or Dickey and Happ already next season (with Daniel Norris the first callup due to injury) they really don’t need both Buehrle and Dickey any longer. If you eat 50-60% of what is left on one of their deals there would be a lot of interest for one of those guys at a reduced rate.
But that only fills one of many holes left. So while they’ve made a lot of noise and probably have upgraded the team, they haven’t really filled any of the holes they have. It’s intriguing to watch, as you know they aren’t done. But what else is coming? The GM meetings are next week and that is where talks will really heat up. I don’t expect AA to make any moves there, as he is on record stating how he doesn’t like the meetings. But the groundwork will be laid there for both trades and with free agents. And it has to be. So while I’m excited as a Jays fan, it won’t mean much unless AA remains extremely active and fills all the holes.
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