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4 TORONTO BLUE JAYS

March 26, 2012
March 26, 2012

Table of Contents
March 26, 2012

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4 TORONTO BLUE JAYS

ENEMY LINES

This is an article from the March 26, 2012 issue

A rival scout sizes up the Blue Jays

They're a really improved club, a potential sleeper in the AL East.... If Ricky Romero can refine his control and command a little bit, he has a chance to be a Number 1 starter. His fastball touches 96 mph, he has a power breaking ball, tight curve and above average changeup. He needs to learn to mix those and use better sequences.... The rotation has to get them deeper into games. They haven't made any secret that they're interested in adding another quality, 190- or 200-inning pitcher. They've scouted Joe Blanton, but they're not the only team doing that.... How do you pitch to Jose Bautista? Walk him. He's not just a power hitter; he can hit for average too. He's a selective aggressive hitter, so you have to pitch him away to try to make him expand the strike zone.... They need a big year out of Adam Lind, who will bat fourth behind Bautista even though he's probably better at fifth or sixth.... Brett Lawrie has a chance to be a Ryan Braun--type player—he could be that good—but sometimes he gets overaggressive. Make him chase breaking balls away because he will expand the zone.... J.P. Arencibia is not a polished catcher; he's below average receiving and throwing. They have more catching prospects than any organization in baseball, and the best is Travis d'Arnaud. He can be a good catch-and-throw guy with power.... A big key for them is getting Colby Rasmus to show some consistency at the plate. He's a stubborn hitter, but he has All-Star potential with that bat speed.

THE LINEUP

With 2011 Statistics

MANAGER JOHN FARRELL

2nd season with Blue Jays

View this article in the original magazine

ROTATIONWLERAWHIP
LHRICKY ROMERO15112.921.14
RHBRANDON MORROW11114.721.29
LHBRETT CECIL4114.731.33
RHHENDERSON ALVAREZ133.531.13
RHDUSTIN MCGOWAN026.431.57
BULLPENWSVERAWHIP
RHSERGIO SANTOS4303.551.11
RHFRANCISCO CORDERO5372.451.02

NEW ACQUISITION

PROJECTED PAYROLL

$84.1 million

THE NUMBER

56.9

The Blue Jays' save percentage in 2011, the lowest in the AL. Toronto's bullpen blew an AL-high 25 save chances—then underwent a winter overhaul. Francisco Cordero, who has the most saves in the majors over the last five years (194), will set up for new closer Sergio Santos, who closed out 30 of 36 opportunities with the White Sox in '11.

MODEST PROPOSAL

The Blue Jays are edging closer to being a threat in the AL East, as their young talent blossoms at the major league level. So it's strange to suggest that they should trade some of that youth to take the next step. Catcher J.P. Arencibia, 26, had superficially good numbers as a rookie last season, with 23 homers and 78 RBIs. However, he hit .219 and walked just 36 times in 443 plate appearances, leaving him with a terrible .282 OBP. It was no fluke—Arencibia walked just 96 times in 1,745 minor league PAs and will struggle to get on base in the majors. Toronto has a second catching prospect, Travis d'Arnaud , who is younger (23), a better hitter (.914 OPS at Double A last year) and a comparable receiver. D'Arnaud could be ready as soon as the late summer, so why not take advantage of Arencibia's perceived value to bolster a position where the Jays may need help in future years, such as second base or centerfield? Trading Arencibia would be an aggressive, unorthodox move—exactly the kind that Alex Anthopoulous has become known for as a general manager.

PHOTOBOB ROSATO (BAUTISTA)PHOTOSIMON BRUTY (ARENCIBIA)