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Jays offense to suffer in wake of Gonzalez signing

Nov 26, 2009, 2:14 PM EDT

alex gonzalez.jpgThe Blue Jays are being aggressive early in their bid to hold on to fourth place in the AL East.
One day after re-signing backup John McDonald for $3 milion over two years, GM Alex Anthopoulos nabbed Alex Gonzalez to start at shortstop, guaranteeing him $2.75 million.
It’s a very, very good start for my free agent predictions, but less so for the Jays, who have simply locked themselves into mediocrity.
Gonzalez is a legitimate starting shortstop with his still above average defense and 15-homer ability. He’d have been a decent enough stopgap for a contender, which is why the Red Sox were considering bringing him back. The Blue Jays, though, could have waited and seen whether a trade might be able to bring someone better. They have Roy Halladay and Lyle Overbay up for bids, and they can also afford to move a reliever or two from a group that includes Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, Brandon League, Jesse Carlson and Jeremy Accardo.
Instead of looking for upside, the Jays have just decided to go with defense and hope that it pays dividends with their pitching. Meanwhile, their OBP just got a whole lot worse, as Gonzalez might struggle to come within 100 points of Marco Scutaro’s 379 mark from last year. Overbay’s .372 is also expected to disappear from the lineup.
If the Jays go defense first at catcher as well, they could well contend for the AL’s worst OBP next year and have one of the weakest offenses as a whole. Vernon Wells and Edwin Encarnacion should bounce back somewhat, but Adam Lind and Aaron Hill probably aren’t going to combine for 71 homers again and Travis Snider is more likely to strike out 175 times than hit 30 homers as a 22-year-old.
The pitching could surprise, even without Halladay. They’ll definitely get a quality arm or two back if they do move their ace, and Shaun Marcum should be in the rotation to start the year. It’s just hard to see it being good enough to elevate the Jays past the Yankees, Red Sox or Rays. They may struggle to stay ahead of what should be an improved Orioles team.
Last winter, practically every team that moved early came to regret it, while the patient ones were rewarded with bargains later. Now, signing Gonzalez for $2.75 million and McDonald for $3 million doesn’t compare to throwing $18.5 million at Edgar Renteria. Still, the Jays could well have done better had they waited.

  1. damon enjoy 27...think 28 - Nov 26, 2009 at 3:20 PM

    Cashman moved fast after CC and AJ,he did wait for Teixiera.
    I wonder How that turned out for the Yankees,uhm…?
    Good things come to those who wait,but you know what happens when you WAIT too late!!
    – booya!

  2. gfd - Nov 26, 2009 at 3:34 PM

    Damon enjoy 27…think 28
    You are correct Cashman had a plan,and moved in quickly on CC and AJ.
    Yankees didn’t lose Joba,Phil or Aceves in the Process,all necessary pieces for the postseason.
    RED SOX didn’t know what hit them,and felt played by Boras.

  3. vey - Nov 26, 2009 at 3:43 PM

    Who cen’t cares about the Blue Jays.They are committed to winning.
    Look at how they let great players go just to not pay them what they’re worth.Let them move fast please.

  4. vey - Nov 26, 2009 at 3:46 PM

    EDIT,meant Blue Jays aren’t committed to winning!

  5. Old Gator - Nov 26, 2009 at 10:42 PM

    Alex Gonzalez was once a terrific shortstop and a clutch key to the Feesh’s 1993 upending of the Borg. But like a lot of guys in this game, for some reason, he seems to have let his conditioning slide and, to paraphrase the divine Yogi, he got old young. He’s dwindled into a good backup shortstop and has some pop off the bench for a team with a real shortstop, you know, like Marco Scutaro, and a just an adequate fulltime shortstop with a team that lets the guys it needs to make a dent get away. I sometimes think that the Jays front office sees itself at the bottom of a mineshaft below the Borg, the Beanbags, the ByeByeBirdies and the Nationals, which is kinda nifty considering that the Gnats are in the National League. Maybe it’s not winning they’re interested in; maybe it’s just sympathy they want.
    Incidentally, I think this will be Huron’s last weekend at the Dakota. Go hear a great band and stop wasting your time thinking about the Jays – they’re not thinking about you – if they’re thinking at all.

  6. TheYankeesHaveNothing - Nov 27, 2009 at 1:49 AM

    What the heck did the Yankees buying a championship team for one season have to do with this current article about the Blue Jays signing light-hitting shortstop Alex Gonzalez?
    LOL @ “DamonEnjoy27… think 28″

  7. ken - Nov 27, 2009 at 1:51 AM

    I agree.. the Yankee comments at the top of this section were posted in the wrong place.
    Yankee fans – zero intelligence.
    booya!

  8. BTW, Johnny Damon is OLD - Nov 27, 2009 at 1:54 AM

    LOL @ the Yankees bringing old legs Damon back.

  9. Phillip McDonald - Nov 27, 2009 at 6:47 AM

    When will there be a Yankees team with players who they develop.
    All they do is buy free agents. Come on Bronx Zoo, do better than that.

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