WINTER MEETINGS RECAP
With the Baseball Winter Meetings from Orlando, FL concluded it’s time to analyze moves made and not made by the parent Toronto Blue Jays General Manager JP Riccardi. By striking out on Ted Lilly and Gil Meche the Jays saved between 30-40 million on payroll over the next four years. Lilly ended up receiving 10-million per year and Meche 11-million. The often injury prone Lilly was not worth the gamble over four years, while Meche was inconsistent in Seattle over the past three years. With Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett as solid number one and two starters, the Jays need only to add a number three or four guy to their rotation. Gustavio Chacin who has won 24 games the past two seasons could be a number three. That leaves Josh Towers, Shawn Marcum or Dustin McGowan to battle for the fifth spot that with off-days makes between 24-26 starts a year….Lost in all the non-pitching moves was the players Toronto picked up this off-season. Frank Thomas as a full-time Designated Hiitter was huge. Matt Stairs who hit 14 home runs and drove in 51 runs last season will replace Frank Cattalanatto and provide more power off the bench. By deciding on Greg Zaun over Bengie Molina and Rod Barajas, the Jays pitching staff, who liked Zaun better will be more comfortable on the mound and the addition of Royce Clayton gives the Jays and up-grade on offense up the middle….NAME DROPPING at the Dolphin Hotel: seen talking in the lobby were Chiefs Executive Vice President Tex Simone with former Chiefs manager and Atlanta Braves skipper Bobby Cox and his infield teamate on the 1970 Championship team Matt Galante now working with Houston. Phillies GM Pat Gillick looks forward to visiting Syracuse this season to see his AAA-club that has moved to Ottawa from Scranton. Brewers Assistant GM Gord Ash reports that his son Aaron, a frequent visitor to Syracuse when Gord was the boss in Toronto, has made the travel team of his area hockey club in Milwaukee. Longtime Blue Jays trainer and Director of Florida Operations Ken Carson will step down this year after 30-years of service to the Blue Jays. Ken will remain on as a consultant for the Florida based operation in Dunedin. Longtime Los Angeles Angeles Scout Moose Stubing has left that team to work for the Washington Nationals. Moose has been a frequent visitor to Syracuse over the years. RULE 5 HELP: The Blue Jays selected infielder Jason Smith from the Cubs in the rule 5 major league draft. Smith, 28, will be placed on the 40-man roster of Toronto. If he fails to make the club out of spring training, Smith can be sent to Syracuse or offered back to the Cubs for half the waiver price of $25,000. At 28 years old Smith would likely clear and give the Chiefs additional infield potection. At the present time, infielders include Chip Cannon and Kevin Barker at first base, Russ Adams and Ryan Roberts at second base, Sergio Santos and possibly Jason Smith at shortstop and John Hattig and Rob Cosby at third. It’s more than likely that only six of the eight players begin the year in Syracuse. The Jays also signed another big-time minor league free agent that will be added to the roster soon. Look for an announcement on our website next week.