December 1, 2011
Jays dangle prospects for starters
By BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency
TORONTO - The Blue Jays have a surplus of prospects heading into the 110th winter meetings next week in Dallas.
So, it’s logical the Jays are dangling minors leaguers in talks with other teams in hopes of finding a closer, a second baseman or another starter.
The Jays’ five best youngsters are catcher Travis d’Arnaud, starters Nestor Molina, Drew Hutchison and Aaron Sanchez plus catcher A.J. Jimenez, according to three scouts we spoke to from other organizations.
If we assume the Jays will hold onto them, what about the rest?
Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, offered a year ago to another club at the winter meetings, could be on the move as part of a major deal for a front line starter. Some worry about his bat, despite hitting .389 at triple-A Las Vegas in 25 games with 21 strikeouts, but his glove is major-league ready either as a shortstop or a second baseman.
And the other studs in the Jays stable are: Right-handers — Deck McGuire, Noah Syndergaard, Chad Jenkins, Asher Wojciechowski, Joe Musgrove, Adonys Cardona and Roberto Osuna. Left-handers — Justin Nicolino, Daniel Norris. Catcher — Carlos Perez. Infielders — Michael McDade, Matt Dean, Christian Lopes. Outfielders — Anthony Gose, Jake Marisnick, Moises Sierra, Jacob Anderson, Dwight Smith, North York’s Marcus Knecht, and Michael Crouse of Port Moody, B.C.
JAYS AWARD WINNERS
Slugger Jose Bautista and Ricky Romero were unanimous choices as Blue Jays player and pitcher of the year.
Right-hander Dustin McGowan, who battled a series of shoulder injuries to return to the majors earned the John Cerutti Memorial Award, presented annually to the Jay who best displays “goodwill, co-operation and character.”
Cerutti died suddenly on the final day of the 2004 season of a heart problem at age 44.
McGowan, 29, underwent two shoulder surgeries, a knee operation plus a string of setbacks in his 38 months between outings.
The Jays hope he’s in the mix for a starting role next spring.
J.P. Arencibia won the rookie award with all but two first-place votes and reliever Casey Janssen edged shortstop Yunel Escobar for most improved. Both had four first-place votes, but Janssen won on points, 22-14.
The awards were handed out Thursday by a the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Manager Buck Martinez wanted to bring rookie catcher Kevin Cash north with him when the 2002 Blue Jays left Dunedin.
Instead, the Jays went with Ken Huckaby and Tom Wilson, with Cash spending most of the year at triple-A Syracuse before appearing in seven games as a September call up.
Now, Cash, a Tampa native, will be heading north, west, east and south ... always a step ahead of the Jays.
Cash will be the Jays’ first advance scout since Sal Butera held the position in 2004. The Jays have gone off video reports to scout opponents live. Cash played eight seasons in the majors.
• The Jays signed minor-league free agent Garrett Mock, 28, another former Washington National. The right-hander was 0-3 with a 6.28 ERA in 16 games — four starts — at triple-A Syracuse. He walked 24 and struck out 32 in 28 2/3 innings. With the Nationals he was 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in seven games, working 7 1/3 innings.
• With pro scout Gary Rajsich headed to the Baltimore Orioles as scouting director, the Jays have promoted Kevin Briand to join Jon Lalonde and Brad Parker as the pro cross checkers. Ismael Cruz, special assistant, Latin American Operations, takes over for Marco Paddy, gone to the Chicago White Sox as assistant general manager to Kenny Williams.
CONDOLENCES FOR OMAR MALAVE
Omar Malave has been in the Blue Jays system playing, coaching or managing every year but one since 1981.
Only Dennis Holmberg has been around longer among uniformed personnel.
He’s seen the good and the bad. And it does not get any worse than this.
Malave has lost his three-year-old grandson, Eli Adam Jensen. The courageous, determined Eli battled a lung disease before losing the fight last weekend.
The viewing will be Saturday with a burial to follow at Sylvan Abbey Memorial Park in Clearwater, Fla.
Young Eli will soon bump into former Jays broadcaster Tom Cheek, also buried at Sylvan Abbey, and hear stories first hand about his grandpa.
Condolence cards can be sent to: Mr. & Mrs. Omar Malave c/o 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin, FL 34698.
Cheek, along with Jerry Howarth, is on the ballot again for the Ford C. Frick award. The Frick committee will announce the 2012 winner next week in Dallas.