Thursday, January 10, 2013

Interpreting the Ninja: 25th Man Style

Alex has many nicknames...
The Jays are contenders. The Jays have 24 men on their roster(projected). The Jays need a 25th man.

After the R.A Dickey press conference on Tuesday, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos spoke to the media about some team related things, and one of them, was the state of the 25th man on the roster. I'll let MLBTR do the quoting.
The Blue Jays are looking at ways of adding a right-handed bench player capable of playing multiple infield positions. That said, they’re considering leaving the spot open because players will inevitably become available toward the end of Spring Training when teams need roster space and out of options players get traded.
So, I decided I'll look into the remaining "right handed bench players capable of playing multiple positions" on the free agent market. Using the MLBTR database, I came up with 15 infielders (not catchers) left on the market. Then, I took away the player likely to retire(Scott Rolen), and all first baseman who don't play other infield positions(Carlos Lee, and Juan Rivera). The list is now down to 12. To narrow it down even more, lets take away all infielders who only play one position(infield position). This eliminates another 4 candidates (Jason Bartlett, Alex Gonzalez, Freddy Sanchez, and Bill Hall), bringing our total down to 8. 

The remaining candidates that fit AA's criteria are Ronny Cedeno, Alberto Gonzalez, Yuniesky Betancourt, Ryan Theriot, Ryan Raburn, Brandon Inge, Mark DeRosa, and Miguel Cairo. The problem with some of those free agents is that they will cost money, money that the Jays don't have apparently. AA has stressed that they are past their budget, and signing a FA to a major league contract isn't likely to happen. So, we can also eliminate players who are likely going to receive a major league contract. Out of those 8, I could only say that I'm confident that Brandon Inge will get a major league contract, which I'm not even certain will happen because of his terrible 2012 that was filled with injuries, and not performance. So, let's just remain at 8. Now, lets analyze the remaining players, and see which could be fits for the Jays.

AA wants a right hander for the simple reason that they usually can hit lefties, something that Adam Lind struggles mightily at. So, lets get rid of Ronny Cedeno, Alberto GonzalezYuniesky Betancourt, Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn because they possess the same talent (or lack their of) as Lind. That leaves us with 3 players: Theriot, Cairo and DeRosa. Cairo is 38 and had a horrible year last season, so lets knock him away as well. Down to 2.

Ryan Theriot is a 33 year old second baseman from Louisiana that also plays shortstop and could roam left field if needed. He spent 2012 with the Giants putting up decent numbers offensively,and his defensive numbers were way off his career average, so there might be some reason to worry that his defensive is falling from how it used to be(league average). His speed is nothing special, although he would be a nice 2nd pinch runner off the bench behind Rajai Davis. Definitely a good option for the final spot.
Is DeRosa the best fit as 25th man?

Lastly, Mark DeRosa. He is the best of the 2(in my opinion). At 37, he is getting up in there in years, and has stated that he isn't certain what his future holds for him(although he has also stated he'd prefer to re-sign with the Nats). Throughout his career he has been on base against lefties over 36% of the time, and, in 2012, that number was close to 33%, not so bad for a bench player. He can do everything a utility infielder needs to do, and, once John Gibbons gets fed up with Adam Lind's inability to hit a southpaw, he can be a nice platoon partner with him. He can play basically every position on the diamond(nobody said he can do it well), so defense isn't much of a problem with him either. I like him.

After starting with 15 possible names, I've narrowed it down to 2 players who are a fit for the Blue Jays' 25th roster spot(of course, there are minor league free agents and players signed to teams that I didnt look at). AA said what he wanted, and after that whole process, Mark DeRosa makes the most sense as the utility infielder/platoon partner for Adam Lind in my opinion. He would likely only require a minor league deal(although it will likely have to be incentive laden), and fits the exact criteria laid down by the Ninja himself.

Have a different name in mind? Let me know your opinions below in the comments section!

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  1. I don't see why we need another utility IF. Izturis can play 3B/SS/2B, Boneface can play everywhere, we have McCoy waiting in the wings, etc. I still like Freddy Sanchez. Career 129 wRC+ vs LHP. .376 wOBA. Heck, even a smigeon of power, .148 ISO.

    Seems like an ideal, and cheap, option.

    1. We might not need another utility infielder, but AA said thats who the job will go to. Plus, Freddy Sanchez is being pursued by 20 teams. No way AA gets into a bidding war for a player who missed all of 2012, and is a major question mark. Not to mention he only plays one position.