Toronto Blue Jays: Plenty of holes remain


Alex Anthopoulos really was the first general manager to get the winter hot stove boiling when he pulled off an eyebrow raising trade for All Star third baseman Josh Donaldson with the Oakland A’s one week after inking Russell Martin to a lucrative five year contract. Once again, the Toronto Blue Jays found themselves “winning the offseason,” but fans north of the border will tell you how much success that has brought them as of late.

Donaldson is an extremely valuable commodity for the Jays because of the production he brings both offensively and defensively at third base. He posted a 7.4 WAR last season, which nearly reaches the MVP plateau of 8.0. Playing within the AL East compared to the AL West should pay huge dividends for Donaldson as the ballparks are more friendly to right-handed power bats and he will no longer be the focal point of the lineup.

Anthopoulos was wise to act swiftly to grab Donaldson before the rest of the league was able to get a crack at trade negotiations with the wheeling and dealing Billy Beane.

For all of the headline grabbing moves that the Jays made, they still have plenty of holes to fill across the roster. Ryan Goins is slated to be the starting second baseman one season after posting a very unimpressive .188/.209/.271 in 181 at bats. Somebody is going to have to replace Colby Rasmus and his consistent 20+ home runs a year in center field.

According to ESPN’s depth chart of the Jays, Canadian Dalton Pompey is going to get the first look in center. He posted a .317/.392/.469 line while splitting time across all of the minor league levels last season and stole 43 bases. His ability to switch hit to go along with the speed element of his game is an added bonus, but he is still unproven and may take some time to adjust to the major leagues.

Adam Lind‘s sneaky good left-handed bat and facial hair are gone and will be replaced by Justin Smoak, who was claimed off waivers from Seattle this winter.

Swapping J.A. Happ for Michael Saunders could prove to be smart for both the Mariners and the Jays, but losing 158 innings from an already thin starting rotation is daunting. Toronto will most likely turn to the farm for some innings on the backend. Newly acquired Marco Estrada will also be relied upon as well.

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  • I was surprised that Anthropoulos didn’t try and take a flyer on someone like Kris Medlen on a one year deal to try and fortify the rotation a little bit.  You have to think that even he realizes that a 40 year-old knuckleballer, Marcus Stroman and Mark Buehrle may not be enough to get the job done.

    The bullpen isn’t anything special either, with Brett Cecil currently listed as the closer. There have been rumblings that Anthopoulos has some interest in Rafael Soriano at the right price, but one has to wonder how much more money the Jays have left in their piggy bank.

    Much like the San Diego Padres, the Blue Jays have made a flurry of moves to assert themselves within their own division and are most likely not finished maneuvering. Whether or not their active winter will lead to on-field success is remained to be seen.

    Next: Expectations for Will Middlebrooks