Sunday, December 30, 2012

The 1992 World Series By the Numbers


By
Courtesy of Sportsnet
Sometimes, it's hard to believe it's been 20 years since the Toronto Blue Jays won their very first World Series title. Other times, it seems just yesterday when the Blue Jays unveiled that infamous "1992 World Series Champions" banner at the Skydome.

Regardless, it's been great to reminisce as Sportsnet just finished airing the 1992 World Series in its entirety. It really gives one a new appreciation for what that 1992 team had to overcome to become World Champions.

Baseball is a game of numbers, and there is no more crucial time when they come into play than the Fall Classic. So here is a collection of some of the interesting numbers from the 1992 World Series.

Number of games in which the Blue Jays were trailing in the eighth inning only to come back and win

Up until 1992, no team had ever posted consecutive wins in the World Series when trailing after seven innings.

The late comebacks in Game 2 and 3 were completely unprecedented and helped set the stage as the series shifted back to Toronto for Games 4 and 5.
Number of one-run games in the series

Incredibly, all four wins by the Blue Jays came by the narrowest of margins, and that's just by one single run. Since the margin for error was so incredibly thin during the 1992 World Series, one bad hop here or there perhaps changes the entire dynamic of the series.

If Candy Maldonado strikes out on the down and away pitch in the bottom of the 9th in Game 3, or if Kelly Gruber doesn't make a barehanded catch in Game 4, perhaps the series looks completely different. 
Courtesy of Sun News
Number of hits by Pat Borders

Although he didn't have the best series defensively, Borders was undoubtedly the best offensive performer for the Blue Jays in the World Series with nine hits.

And he may have been on the losing end, but Deion Sanders nearly had just as good a series as Pat Borders did. Sanders collected eight hits in only 15 at bats, posting a .553 batting average in the 1992 World Series.
Number of positions played by Joe Carter

In order to get Joe Carter's bat into the lineup as much as possible, Cito Gaston had to do some creative lineup construction to keep Carter on the lineup card.

Joe started at three different positions during the first three games; first base, left field and right field respectively. Joe Carter was also just one of three players in World Series history to start at three different positions.
Age of Dave Winfield

Today, it might seem crazy to have a 41 year old position player in the World Series, but the Toronto Blue Jays did precisely that. Winfield was accustomed to being the full-time DH for the Blue Jays, but the National League rules games in Atlanta forced Cito Gaston to pencil Winfield in as the starting right fielder.

Considering his age, Winfield did an adequate job playing three games in right at Fulton County Stadium.

Dave Winfield also finally got the extra base hit monkey of his bat in his final at bat of the 1992 World Series, and it could not have come at a better time. Winfield was responsible for driving in the game-winning run in Game 6, which would ultimately clinch the World Series for the Blue Jays.

Up until that at bat in the top of the 11th of Game 6, Dave Winfield did not have a single extra base hit in 43 at bats in the World Series. He changed all of that with one swing of the bat, and in doing so Winfield also became the third oldest player to hit an extra base hit in the World Series.
Number of bunt attempts in the series

Game 6 of the World Series featured 5 bunt attempts alone, and of course the bunt by Otis Nixon was the final play of the World Series.

The 1992 Fall Classic wasn't particularly known for its use of the small ball per se, but the bunt play was instrumental in Game 4 as Dave Winfield laid down a sacrifice to move Roberto Alomar to third base, who would eventually score the game-winning run.
Courtesy of Sportsnet
Win Probability Added by Ed Sprague's pinch hit home run

Among at bats in the World Series, it ranks as the fifth highest when it comes to win probability added (hat tip to @James_in_TO for that one).

Simply put, the importance of Ed Sprague's home run off Jeff Reardon can't be overstated. Without his go-ahead home run, the Blue Jays would have headed back to Toronto down 2-0. It truly was the turning point of the World Series.
ERA of Jeff Reardon

Reardon was acquired at the trade deadline by the Braves to bolster the back end of their bullpen. Jeff Reardon posted three scoreless innings in the NLCS versus the Pittsburgh Pirates, but the World Series was a different story.

Reardon gave up the go-ahead home run in Game 2 and the game-winning hit in Game 3. That was the last time Bobby Cox went to his closer Jeff Reardon, and subsequently the last time Reardon would ever pitch in the playoffs.
ERA of Tom Glavine in the World Series

Although he only had one win in two starts through the 1992 World Series, Tom Glavine was perhaps the best starting pitcher on both sides, throwing two complete games in his starts during the Fall Classic.

Glavine took the mound in Game 1 and 4 of the series and would have certainly got the ball in the seventh and deciding game of the series. Luckily for the Blue Jays, it never went that far.
Batting average of David Cone

Coming from a National League background, David Cone was no stranger to coming to the plate as a pitcher. Cone went 2 for 2 in Game 2, cashing in a run for the Blue Jays, and also drew a walk in Game 6.

Although he only had four at bats total in the World Series, David Cone still collected just as many hits as both Kelly Gruber and Manuel Lee: two. As a comparison, Gruber and Lee made it to the plate 19 times.
Number of injuries sustained by Kelly Gruber

Many people remember that Kelly Gruber played a crucial part in the infamous phantom triple play from the 1992 World Series. But what many people might not know is Gruber tore his rotator cuff trying to apply the tag on the heel of Deion Sanders.

Gruber was actually quite banged up in the series, as he also scraped his chin at home plate scoring the game-winning run in Game 4 of the series. It was later revealed that Kelly got the wind knocked out of him, as he laid on the turf temporarily after crossing home plate.

Following the game, Kelly Gruber was tested for a concussion and even admitted he didn't even remember the play. Gruber had to watch the replay following the game to fill in the blanks.
Number of Braves runs versus Blue Jays runs

The 1992 World Series featured a very rare instance in which the losing team actually outscored the winning team in the series. Runs were at a premium during the 1992 Fall  Classic, as both teams averaged just over six runs combined per game.

In stark contrast, the 1993 World Series was the complete opposite as the Blue Jays and Phillies combined to create the second highest scoring World Series ever.
Number of earned runs surrendered by the Blue Jays bullpen

The bullpen is perhaps the most unheralded part of the 1992 World Champion Toronto Blue Jays. While it didn't necessarily comprise of a heavy workload versus the Braves, they still held their own against the opposition.

The sole left-hander in David Wells along with the brigade of righties comprised of Mike Timlin, Todd Stottlemyre, Mark Eichhorn, Duane Ward, Tom Henke (and even Jimmy Key for a few innings) combined to throw 15.1 innings of relief while giving up just one earned run.

That one run did not cross the plate until the ninth inning of Game 6, when Tom Henke was just one strike away from securing the World Series title. Instead, Otis Nixon came through with a game-tying single and sent the game into extra innings.

However, it was the bullpen that shut the door once again as Jimmy Key was the winning pitcher in Game 6 and Mike Timlin was awarded the save in the final game of the 1992 World Series.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

From Building Up the Farm System to Selling It


By
Courtesy of The Star
My, how things can change in such a short span of time. Up until about a month ago, the hallmark of the Toronto Blue Jays has been their ability to lay the groundwork for a solid minor league system. Now they've gone from building up the farm system ... to selling it.

Just three years ago, the Toronto Blue Jays ranked 26th out of 30 teams when it came to their minor league system. According to Baseball America's organizational talent rankings, they now own the fifth best minor league system in all of baseball.

So how did the Blue Jays go from the basement to the penthouse of farm systems? It all began with the trade surrounding the cornerstone of the team: Roy Halladay.

On December 15th 2009, the Blue Jays effectively set the reset button on the franchise by sending Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Blue Jays parlayed Roy Halladay into Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis d'Arnaud; the Philadelphia Phillies number two, three and four prospects respectively.

On paper, it seemed like quite the haul for the Blue Jays to net three top five prospects from the Phillies. It was just the beginning of what was to come.

The conclusion of the 2009 season not only saw the departure of Roy Halladay, but also included everyday starters Marco Scutaro and Rod Barajas. Fortunately for the Blue Jays, under the Type A/Type B free agent compensatory system, the exit of Scutaro and Barajas awarded Toronto a couple of supplemental draft picks.

The first supplemental pick eventually turned into Aaron Sanchez in the 2012 draft, who now stands as the Toronto Blue Jays number one prospect. The recently departed Noah Syndergaard (formerly the number two prospect in the Blue Jays system) came by the way of another supplemental pick in the 2010 draft.

These are just a few of the many shrewd moves Alex Anthopoulos performed over the past three years. In that short window, he stockpiled many prospects and draft picks in a cunning and clever fashion.

However, in the last few months, it's almost as if he has made a complete 180 and cashed in lot of those highly-coveted and valued prospects. There has been an unmitigated shift in the direction of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Here's the million dollar question, though ... was this Alex Anthopoulos' plan all along?

Was his end game to build up the Minor League system to become one of the best in baseball and eventually turn around and sell high on its top prospects? If that was in fact the strategy from day one, it's bloody brilliant.

It's remarkable to have that kind of foresight, but a lot of it has to do with happenstance. It truly was a perfect storm of activity for things to break the way they did for the Toronto Blue Jays this offseason.

The following events needed to take place in sequence for things to pan out the way they did; the Blue Jays needed to have their starting rotation decimated by injuries, the Marlins needed to perform a complete fire sale, and talks had to break down between the Mets and R.A. Dickey.

Even if just one of those things didn't occur, or even if they occurred out of that particular sequence, the Toronto Blue Jays would not be where they are today.

This regime has been criticized for years as a bean counting, prospect hoarding, draft pick stockpiling organization. Especially when it came to the issue of payroll, it's almost as if the Blue Jays were saving money for a rainy day, only rain was never in the forecast.

In retrospect, all that bean counting, prospect hoarding and draft pick stockpiling by Alex Anthopoulos suddenly makes a whole lot of sense.

There is no other professional sport in which prospects are as highly coveted as they are in baseball. From the moment they're drafted to their journey through the minor leagues, baseball prospects are hyped like no other prospect. As highly touted as some of them come, most young players don't even see the bright lights of the Major Leagues.

If you want an example of how quickly things can change from year to year, just take a look back at Baseball America's Top 10 prospect lists for the Blue Jays from the past 3-4 years.



Of the Blue Jays Top 10 prospects in 2009, only three are on the 40-man roster:
J.P. Arencibia, Chad Jenkins and David Cooper.

And of those three, only one is an everyday starter ... exactly one. One of ten players on the 2009 top prospects list has an everyday job with the Toronto Blue Jays. I wouldn't consider those very good odds.

While some of those players are ones that failed to come to fruition, most of them were traded away by the Blue Jays. They were used as trade chips to acquire big league players. This year, Alex Anthopoulos traded five of the Blue Jays Top 10 prospects. In other words, half of their best up-and-coming players were dealt for established Major League talent.

If you think about it, prospects really are like lottery tickets. Once in a blue moon, you might get lucky and hit the jackpot. But more often than not, those lottery tickets turn out to be a bust.

This is precisely why now is the time for the Blue Jays to cash in on the value of players like Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard. While d'Arnaud is relatively close to the majors, Syndergaard has yet to pitch above A ball in his career. And we all know a lot can change between A ball and the big leagues.

It may be a hallmark for any team to boast one of the league's best minor league systems, but ultimately I think every team wants to have a reputation for being successful at the Major League level.

One thing's for sure; somewhere along the way, something drastically changed. Up until the end of the 2012 season, it felt like the Blue Jays were perfectly content building a contender slowly and steadily.

With the flurry of activity over the past few months, the focus has suddenly shifted from the minors to the Major League club. And that's the great thing about the minors ... the players will always replenish themselves. As has happened in the past, there is always another diamond in the rough somewhere; the Blue Jays just have to find it.

For now though, it's all about winning at the big league level.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Going All-In with R.A. Dickey


By
Courtesy of 1045 The Team
It seems like there are three stages of emotions to the R.A. Dickey trade for Blue Jays fans: denial, bargaining and acceptance. While many have already fast-forwarded straight to acceptance (AKA the "Flags Fly Forever" stage), there are some such as myself who are still middling in the bargaining stage.

At first, I was adamantly dismissing any R.A. Dickey rumours simply because I wasn't a big fan of what the Blue Jays would have to give up to get him. Sure, the Blue Jays would be receiving a Cy Young winner in return, but they’d only be getting him for one year of control.

When the package was rumoured to involve Anthony Gose and J.P. Arencibia, it stung a little. Then when it evolved to include Travis d'Arnaud, that upped the ante. Then when it escalated to include Noah Syndergaard, that's when things really started to get crazy.

Although we're still waiting on the official word on which players are involved in this trade, if it does in fact include Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard, that's a very tough pill to swallow. Any time you lose not just two of your top prospects, but your two best prospects, that is a huge gamble to make.

It's all part of a very big gamble by Alex Anthopoulos and the Toronto Blue Jays.

I think the main reason why I'm opposed to this trade is because the AA regime has trained me to value prospects and years of control. And this R.A. Dickey deal is the anti-Anthopoulos trade; a trade that signals now is the time to win is now, rather than building for the future.

We’ve been building up the value of Anthony Gose and Travis d’Arnaud these past three years, only to completely shift gears and then suddenly go for it. That's what I'm having difficulty wrapping my head around right now.

When Alex Anthopoulos took over as General Manager in 2009, there was a complete culture shift with the Toronto Blue Jays. The emphasis was suddenly shifted to building up the minor league system and laying the groundwork for a solid big league roster.

So you can understand why there is some resistance from a cross-section of the Blue Jays fan base. A fan base that has become accustomed to the Blue Jays hoarding prospects and draft picks. We're not accustomed to the Blue Jays making a big move like this. Suddenly, two massive franchise-changing trades are about to go down in the span of just two months.

The funny thing is there wasn’t really all that much resistance from the Blue Jays fanbase regarding the blockbuster trade with the Florida Marlins. Sure, they were giving up pieces for the future, but ultimately the talent coming back from the Marlins vastly improved the big league roster right away.

I suppose the ultimate question is this; does the addition of R.A. Dickey and the subtraction of d’Arnaud and Syndergaard make this team better right now? If the answer is yes, then I guess this deal needs to be done.

If the Blue Jays want to win and not just contend, there’s no sense in doing this three-quarters of the way. If Alex Anthopoulos has the blessing from the man upstairs, then he may as well go balls-out in the effort to get the Blue Jays back to the World Series.

Prospects may never live up to their billing, but flags do in fact fly forever.

This situation really does harken back to the David Cone/Jeff Kent trade of 1993. At the time, most people don’t really bat an eye that the Blue Jays traded away Jeff Kent (a future Hall of Famer) for two months of David Cone. That’s because ultimately it lead to the Blue Jays winning a World Series.

On the same token, in 1993 the Blue Jays traded away another of their best prospects in Steve Karsay for Rickey Henderson. Karsay didn't live up to his billing and became a journeyman starter, but Henderson helped push the Blue Jays over the top in 1993.

The Blue Jays are in a very similar situation here; Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard could very well be important pieces moving forward, but what R.A. Dickey brings to this team immediately improves an already very strong starting rotation.

I mean, if the Blue Jays nearly went all-in to overhaul the team with the blockbuster trade in November, they may as well throw that final chip into the pot with this trade and hope for the best. They're going all-in ... aces up. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Recognizing Carlos Delgado's Excellence


By
Courtesy of Sportsnet
Often times, we look at people, places and experiences from the past through rose-coloured glasses. We build them up in our minds to be much greater than they actually are. That is not the case with Carlos Delgado.

If anything, Carlos Delgado is actually quite the opposite. Much like a fine wine, his era with the Toronto Blue Jays has gotten much better with age. And he will be deservingly enshrined into the Rogers Centre Level of Excellence on July 21st 2013 to honour his contributions to the franchise.

Regrettably, I missed most of the Carlos Delgado era during my brief hiatus from Blue Jays fandom. So I don't even have any anecdotes or memories about what King Carlos did for this franchise. All I can do is look back at his statistics in awe.

Delgado came to prominence during a time in which there was a changing of the guard with this team. Gone were childhood heroes like Alomar, Carter and Ward, and they were supplanted by the new generation; spearheaded by Delgado, Gonzalez and Green.

For the longest time, Carlos Delgado was one of the few bright spots for the Toronto Blue Jays. On what was otherwise a mostly uneventful era in Blue Jays history, Delgado was the new hope for a new generation of Blue Jays fans.

All that considered, it makes me appreciate what Carlos Delgado did with his time during the Blue Jays even more. Although he may not have been a prominent part of the ensemble that won back-to-back World Series, he should still be held in high regard.

Below is a grocery list of the franchise and single season records that Carlos Delgado holds, and from these numbers alone, it's quite easy to see why he was one of the best bats in Blue Jays history.



But it wasn't just about what Carlos Delgado did on the field, it's about what he did off the field as well. In an era that was littered with performance enhancing drugs, Delgado was one name that was never linked to steroids.

It gives a whole new level of appreciation for what Delgado did when he was playing amongst guys like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and many others who have either admitted to using PED's or it was almost proved without a shadow of a doubt that they did.

Then there are stories like this one over at Mop Up Duty which prove how great of a guy Carlos was to the fans. I'm sure Kirk's story wasn't the first one like that, and it certainly won't be the last. You get the sense that Delgado was grateful to play the game he loved for a living, and he was grateful towards the fans that came out to the ballpark.

Aside from his astounding body of work in Toronto, there are the single standout moments of Carlos Delgado's career that will never be forgotten. The greatest perhaps which was his four home run game.



Every time I read about the narrative from that game, the story gets better and better. It wasn't enough that Delgado went yard four times that game, he did it while under the weather. And two ... yes, two of his home runs went off of Windows Restaurant.

That area of the Rogers Centre isn't in use at the moment, but I think it would be a great tribute if they renamed it "Delgado's Landing" ... in honour of all the baseballs Carlos has pummeled to that part of the ballpark over his career.

I can't recall exactly what the dynamics were with the catching situation back in the early 90's, but it's funny to think Carlos Delgado contributed to a catching conundrum on the Blue Jays roster when they had Pat Borders, Randy Knorr and Delgado all on the catching depth chart.

So you can see why the Blue Jays converted Delgado to a first baseman, and most of us are grateful they did. One can only imagine what Carlos' career path may have been like had he remained a backstop.

Courtesy of Toronto Star
This is one topic that will eventually arise when it comes to reflecting on Roy Halladay's career with the Blue Jays, but it 's unfortunate Carlos Delgado never had an opportunity to make a run at the playoffs during his tenure in Toronto.

In fact, Delgado only made it to the playoffs once in his entire 17 year career. However, it's interesting he did receive a World Series ring in 1993 since he did make an appearance on the big league roster; even if it was for only two games and one at bat.

Delgado and Halladay may have been proverbial ships passing in the night during the Blue Jays timeline, but whether he knew it or not, Carlos was effectively passing the torch onto Doc as the new face of the franchise.

Carlos Delgado is one of those extremely rare figures in Blue Jays history who is beloved by nearly everyone. Fans adore him, teammates have nothing but good things to say, and coaches have always spoken highly of Delgado.

And on July 21st, Carlos Delgado will rightly take his place among the Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre. Congratulations Carlos ... I can't think of a player who deserves the honour more than you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Making the Case for Keeping J.P. Arencibia


By
Image via Zimbio
Just a few years ago, J.P. Arencibia was touted as the catcher of the future for the Toronto Blue Jays. These days, he's being deemed as a trade chip and subsequently the catcher of the future for another team.

The rumblings around the Winter Meetings in Nashville have the Blue Jays linked to starting pitching, and that invariably points to J.P. Arencibia as one of the most likely candidates to be shipped in a trade. J.P. would likely fare something of value in return, but I don't believe now is the best time for the Blue Jays to be shopping Arencibia ... and here's why.

I recall there was a brief period in time in which the future of J.P. Arencibia as a prospect was in serious doubt. After a down year at Triple A in 2009, it was no longer a foregone conclusion that J.P. was the catcher of the future.

And just think back to how many highly-touted catchers have been through the Blue Jays system in recent years. Curtis Thigpen and Robizon Diaz (the player to be named later in the infamous Jose Bautista trade) are two names that stand out as players whose ceilings ended up being much lower than anticipated.

That's just some food for thought as the Blue Jays top prospect in Travis d'Arnaud comes off a season in which he was sidelined with a left knee injury. There's no saying d'Arnaud will turn out to be the next Curtis Thigpen, but there are no guarantees that he'll be the next Buster Posey, either.

That's why it's imperative (at least for the immediate future) that the Blue Jays to hang onto J.P. Arencibia.

Travis d'Arnaud could very well experience a similar path to the Major Leagues as J.P. Arencibia did, with an additional year in the minor leagues to develop and hone his skills.

For his offensive shortcomings, J.P. Arencibia is still an alright everyday catcher. Receiving any offensive contributions whatsoever from their catcher is a luxury that not many teams cannot boast. Most are willing to sacrifice those offensive tools for a defensive-minded player behind the plate.

If I'm Alex Anthopoulos, I'm also probably willing to overlook J.P.'s batting average and on base percentage because he is for all intents and purposes, a catcher. The fact that he can contribute 20+ home runs at the bottom of the order is great asset. His predominant task is to handle the pitchers and protect the plate.

Many armchair GM's are hinting towards a trade that would send J.P. Arencibia and possibly even Anthony Gose for R.A. Dickey from the Mets. While a recent Cy Young winner would be a welcome addition to any starting rotation, here's what scares me; Dickey is essentially a one-year rental.

That would leave both R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson as two players who could possibly walk as free agents at the end of the 2013 season. That's 40% of the starting rotation potentially out the door, regardless of how well the Blue Jays fare this coming season. If you ask me, it's a hefty price to pay for just one year of a guy who's coming off a career year. 

Nevertheless, I don't think now is the time to trade J.P. Arencibia. Frankly, it's presumptuous to assume either John Buck or Travis d'Arnaud could match his offensive output, which is why it just makes sense to keep J.P. for the time being.

Unless it gets to the point where Travis d'Arnaud is outhitting or outplaying J.P. Arencibia, it seems counterproductive to part with an everyday catcher that can be depended on to play some adequate defense and who has a power bat.

What it really boils down to is either Travis d'Arnaud has to force the hand of the team to bring him up to the Majors, or J.P. Arencibia has to suddenly become a detriment to the team. Those are the only two scenarios in which I could see the Blue Jays moving J.P.

And who's to say that this is even the most opportune time to trade J.P. Arencibia anyway? It makes much more sense to do it at the trade deadline when the Blue Jays have at least some idea where they are in the standings, and can decide then whether they need to make a move like this to put them over the top.

If the Blue Jays were looking for a three month rental of a starting pitcher to bolster the rotation, they might not even have to part with J.P. Arencibia to get an arm in return. Plus, so many things can change between now and then that priorities may shift drastically.

Perhaps Travis d'Arnaud won't be ready to take over the reins as the everyday catcher or his injury troubles come up again. It's not like things have reached a boiling point and the Blue Jays need to decide on one catcher or the other right this instant; they have the luxury of waiting things out.

At this very moment, the Toronto Blue Jays are a better team with J.P. Arencibia on the roster. And until the drawbacks of hanging onto J.P. outweigh the benefits of keeping him on the roster, I don't think he's going anywhere any time soon.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Aubrey Huff: The Perfect Platoon Partner


By
It's a plan so crazy enough that it just might work ... the Blue Jays should sign Aubrey Huff to be a platoon partner for Adam Lind.

Alex Anthopoulos has finally hinted hat Adam Lind needs a platoon partner to balance out Lind's inability to hit left-handed pitching. Lind is perfectly capable against righties, but lefties have always been the chink in his armour.

Enter Aubrey Huff; cast aside by the San Francisco Giants, he's in need of a job. The World Champs declined his 2013 option and the Blue Jays need someone who can hit lefties ... seems like a match made in heaven, right? Or at the very least, a match made somewhere slightly above earth's atmosphere.

Platoons have not been employed by the Blue Jays in a very long time; one has to go back to the first John Gibbons era when he platooned Reed Johnson and Frank Catalanotto in the outfield. So who better than Gibbons himself to bring them back?

Just think back to the 80's when platoons were very commonplace for the Blue Jays. They used to platoon Cliff Johnson and Jorge Orta in the DH spot, and Garth Iorg and Rance Mulliniks over at third base.

I realize I'm cherry picking stats here, but in the past three seasons, Aubrey Huff posted the 12th highest batting average against left-handed pitching among first basemen with the first name Aubrey. Okay ... the last part may not be true, but his effectiveness against lefties can't be overlooked.

The reason why an unorthodox Lind/Huff platoon at first base just might work is because it's so unorthodox. It's not a lefty/righty platoon, they're both left-handed bats; so no matter what, there would always be an additional lefty in the lineup. As far as I'm concerned, the more lefties in the Blue Jays batting order, the better.

And with the changing over the guard over at first base in San Francisco, I can't imagine Aubrey Huff would be heading back to the bay, even at a discount. In fact, Huff would be lucky to find playing anywhere, which is why a platoon with Adam Lind might be Huff's best option to see the most at bats.

Aubrey Huff would obviously have to come at a much reduced salary from the $10 million dollars he earned last season. Perhaps something perhaps in the neighbourhood of what Raul Ibanez signed with the Yankees for last season in a similar role, which was just over $1 million dollars.

Overall, Aubrey Huff owns a career .274/.324/.423 slash line against left-handed pitching, which would be a welcome addition to the Blue Jays lineup any day. Huff also has 12 seasons of experience at first base under his belt, so he should be able to pick up a glove and take the field no problem.

Lind and Huff don't even necessarily need to platoon at first base, as Edwin Encarnacion was a perfectly capable first baseman in 68 games this past season. However, I wouldn't expect EE to get the bulk of starts at first base this coming year.

On their own, Aubrey Huff or Adam Lind may just project as replacement level first baseman. But as a two-headed monster at first base, they may very well turn out to be a formidable foe in a platoon role.

Update: via a tweet from Barry Davis and a post over at DJF, it turns out that Adam Lind will get the chance to face left-handed pitching. So I guess we can forget about the the option of a platoon with Adam Lind. Nuts.

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