OK. Enough joking on my part about the Blue Jays signing Alex Gonzalez and John McDonald for depth at the mascot position. I have too much respect for Alex Anthopoulos to really believe that, anyhow.
Marco Scutaro will still be offered salary arbitration but initial indications are that there is a three-year contract awaiting him on the open market - so the Blue Jays will gladly take the compensatory picks.
I'm hearing that the Toronto Blue Jays did in fact make a serious run at Orlando Cabrera last week - they love the energy he brings - but that concerns about his range and arm made them hesitant to offer up the two-year, $12-million minimum deal it was going to take to get him. Seems like a lot for Cabrera considering his diminishing skills, but Cabrera and his agent, Dan Lozano, are also telling teams Cabrera is ready to switch to second base. Problem for the Blue Jays? They already have Aaron Hill. The Blue Jays also spoke to the Tampa Bay Rays about backup Reid Brignac but the Rays were asking for too much in return.
Shortstop has been something of an issue for the Jays this decade, with something like 15 or 16 different starters at the position since then-G.M. J.P. Ricciardi traded Cesar Izturis - who was still kicking around this past season with the Baltimore Orioles. Justin Jackson, their top prospect at the spot, has his detractors within the organization, so it's a bit of a reach to say he's the heir-apparent. My guess is that Anthopoulos has nightmares about Edwin Encarnacion trying to scoop up anything to his left, so he figured he might as well punt: re-sign McDonald's glove and pretend the bat doesn't come with it and add Gonzalez for $2.75-million with a club option for $2.5-million knowing the guy's not going to hit above the seventh spot anyhow and knowing that his defensive skills are, at this stage, better than Cabrera's. This is about managing a 25-man roster; about ensuring, frankly, that 4-1 losses do not become 8-1 losses and drain a young starting rotation and bullpen. My guess is that Anthopoulos also knows that after seeing the value teams are attaching to their own shortstops this winter, he thinks he might be able to parlay Gonzalez into something else at the trade deadline if he has a half-decent year.
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