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Players The Toronto Blue Jays Should Target Through Free Agency Or Trade

So Alex Anthopoulos has found a manager in John Farrell.

Now he has to continue upgrading his team through trades and free agency.

The first thing to note is that it is highly unlikely Anthopoulos signs a Type A free agent. This is because his first-round pick is not protected, and that is what he would have to give up to sign them.

So Manny Ramirez is out of the question.

The second thing is that Anthopoulos has stated he is willing to go after Type A free agents if the price is right. I understand this, but it is highly unlikely that will happen.

Type A free agents almost always get big money. If they are not worth a lot of money, then teams would not want to give up the draft pick, either.

As a result, I see them targeting players that are not on the Type A free-agent list.

The needs of this team are not as great as some would perceive.

One upgrade needed would be catcher. This is because John Buck has already signed with the Florida Marlins (who snubbed Toronto in the Dan Uggla trade), and so we need a starting catcher.

We have a quality backup in Jose Molina, so some say we should just get JP Arencibia to start. But it is quite risky to throw a stud prospect into the fire immediately.

Also, Anthopoulos has stated that catcher and shortstop are the two most important positions. As a result, expect Anthopoulos to address the catcher position.

Another area he needs to address is the bullpen. This is the place the Blue Jays are losing the most players from.

Jason Frasor, Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg need to be replaced. That is going to cost a lot of money.

Then there is the infield. The Blue Jays need to address the first base position.

Lyle Overbay is most likely not coming back, so they need a starter there. Brett Wallace, who was supposed to be his heir, was dealt for Anthony Gose.

They also need a third baseman, as they released last year’s starter in Edwin Encarnacion.

Another option to fill third base is to get a second baseman and move Aaron Hill to the hot corner. I would not recommend it, as Hill has been outstanding at second base.

He can also get an outfielder and put Bautista at third base, but that seems a bad idea as well because Bautista is excellent in right field.

Also Anthopoulos loves to stockpile starting pitchers. We saw this in the draft, as he kept picking pitcher after pitcher in the first two rounds, picking five in all.

So these are the needs. Now let’s get to the players he should target.

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Toronto Blue Jays: John Farrell Signs As The Blue Jays’ 12th Manager

Alex Anthopoulos finally made it official by announcing the Blue Jays have hired John Farrell, the former pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox, to be the twelfth manager in Blue Jays history. Farrell was considered one of the best minds available. In fact Terry Francona stated it was not a question of whether he became a bench boss, or even how long (he knew it would be this year), it was a question of where.

By hiring Farrell, Anthopoulos solidifies the idea that the Blue Jays will build from within. Farrell was famous for making the Cleveland Indians farm system one of the best in baseball. This caught the eyes of the Red Sox brass and they promptly hired him as their pitching coach.

Under his tutelage some of the bright young stars of the Boston Red Sox pitching rotation were formed. This would greatly help the young pitchers the Blue Jays have on the team now (Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Shaun Marcum, Brett Cecil etc.) but also the ones coming up through the system like Kyle Drabek, and Deck McGuire.

Anthopoulos is taking a huge risk in hiring this unproven manager. Of course it is highly unlikely a proven manager would come to the Blue Jays by leaving their current jobs. As for the ones who don’t have a job now, most of them are old and so would not be able to make as big of an impact by the time they would retire. By getting someone as young as Farrell (48) he is able to take the risk of getting a stud manager for years to come.

Lots of people are saying this is another one of those brilliant moves by Alex Anthopoulos. I tend to agree. But don’t just take my word for it. Even Manny Ramirez agrees. He claims to have been a fan of the Blue Jays since the 1980s because of all the Dominican players that they had on their teams.

Now with the addition of Farrell, whom he claims is extremely knowledgeable about the game, he is apparently considering signing with the Blue Jays. Of course one wonders at the age of 38 who really wants him, but then again this is still Manny Ramirez.

Now Farrell has to build his team. That is to say he has to decide if he keeps the current coaching staff or not. He can decide to bring in his own guys, and maybe even do the job of the pitching coach himself. I am against that as I believe it extends the manager too much and he has to be able to delegate this stuff. Furthermore, if the Jays had been able to keep their former pitching coach Brad Arnsberg there is no question he keeps him but now its all up for debate. 

Personally I think the only person safe from being fired from the coaching staff is Brian Butterfield as he has done a solid job being the third base coach. The only difference I see is that Farrell may choose to move him around to first base or maybe even hitting coach, but a man of his caliber probably has a job with this organization for quite a while.

Now that Farrell has finally been hired, the question is what’s next? The Blue Jays play in one of the toughest divisions in baseball with the Yankees and Red Sox spending a tonne of money on their rosters. So will Farrell be able to get the extra 11 or so wins needed to get into the postseason next year or will the Blue Jays have to keep building (Anthopoulos refuses to call this a rebuild) their team? The answer to these questions remains to be seen. 

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Do MLB Agents Do More Harm Than Good for Rookies?

I grew up watching many sports. I always thought it would be incredible to play for a team, preferably a Toronto team. When I remember what I used to dream of, I wonder now whether the players have forgotten those dreams.

Many rookies in baseball hold out for money. They want lots of money now. That is all fine and dandy for them, and I applaud the agents for trying to get the best deal available, but hasn’t it gone a little too far?

Granted, in the NFL, rookies get a lot more money, but notice the trend in the MLB. First-round picks don’t sign and end up being a lesser pick who gets a fraction of what their original team offered. Why is the agent not being blamed here?

Let’s be up front about this, it’s the agent that holds all the strings. They decide how much to accept. There are players who are amazed they can play for the team they grew up cheering for and then the agent says, “Sorry, they didn’t offer enough money.”

This is absurd.

First, there is no guarantee that any player will be good. We cannot even say Bryce Harper will be the best player in this year’s draft (Albert Pujols was drafted in the 13th round), and yet he will be paid a lot more than most other draftees.

They need to stop giving the agents this kind of power and let the kid say that he wants to play so he will take the money. And another thing, why not make the slottings compulsory instead of optional? This way, the teams have to pay the slot amount so the rookies are developed properly and are not stunted because of some agent.

The reality is in this day and age, a young player cannot control his agent. The agent controls him. For this reason and more, the draft needs to have compulsory slotting.

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Toronto Blue Jays Sign Ricky Romero To Five-Year, $30.1 Million Extension

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported that Alex Anthopoulos has signed Ricky Romero to a five year $30.1 million contract extension. This is very odd for Anthopoulos, as he normally gives a bit less money in the early years of his contracts with options for big money later. In this case he gave Romero reasonable money, but this is the largest amount given to a player with less than two years of major league service.

I don’t like this signing at all. It only buys out the first year of his free agency, and I doubt he would get this kind of money in arbitration. My only guess is that there are option years added to the end of this deal that Rosenthal has not discovered.

This continues a trend for Alex Anthopoulos as he continues to lock up the young core of this team. Ricky Romero is definitely a solid pitcher. With a 3.53 ERA in the AL East, he can develop into an ace starter. Indeed earlier in the year his ERA was actually below 3, showing just how dominating he can be.

By locking up Romero to this kind of a contract it will have an effect on the rest of the team. After all, if Romero can get this kind of money why not Shaun Marcum? He is a solid young pitcher, and can develop into a top of the rotation starter. This will also affect the signing of Kyle Drabek once his rookie years end and his arbitration is about to start.

What is important to note here is that Anthopoulos values pitching more than hitting. The deals he gave Adam Lind and Aaron Hill were for less money even though they had outstanding seasons, whereas Romero has not had that great of a season yet.

I hope Anthopoulos has added option years. If he has then this deal can be very fair. If he has not, I sure hope he knows what he is doing. 

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