INDIAN WELLS, CALIF. - The Toronto Blue Jays say they wouldn’t mind adding a left fielder.
Left fielder Jason Bay hit the open market Wednesday when the New York Mets bought him out of next year’s contract. Owed $19-million US for 2013 and a $3-million option, Bay suffered several concussions.
The Jays are unsure if they’ll have an interest in Bay, who hit .165 with eight home runs and 20 RBIs in 70 games this season, becoming the focal point of the Mets’ frustrating season from owner Fred Wilpon’s financial struggles to the team’s problems on the field.
Signing a four-year, $65-million deal with the Mets after leaving the Boston Red Sox, he batted .234 with 26 homers and 124 RBIs.
Some executives and scouts think that the Jays should stick with left fielder Anthony Gose, who has been compared to Atlanta Braves free agent Michael Bourn.
“I don’t see Gose as another Bourn, he’s better ... reminds me of Kenny Lofton,” one general manager said.
— The Jays are close to signing a free-agent infielder to compete for the second base job. Adeiny Hechavarria and Mike McCoy are the only candidates since Mike Aviles was shipped to the Cleveland Indians on the weekend. Orlando Hudson 2.0?
— One major league executive: “Greg Maddux qualified as a professor of pitching, Barry Bonds a professor of hitting and Omar Vizquel a professor of playing the game the right way, he was a genius.”
Added another “and Vizquel is a professor of knowing a clubhouse and evaluating managers.”
Vizquel knocked John Farrell in September to our Steve Simmons.
— The Jays talked contract with former scouting director Bob Engle, before he accepted a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Engle’s contract with the Seattle Mariners expired at the end of the season and he looks to re-establish the Dodgers in Latin America. The Dodgers used to be No. 1 in the Caribbean, but budgets were slashed under former owner Frank McCourt.
With the Jays Engle was scouting director when Cy Young award winners Pat Hentgen, Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay were drafted. With Seattle, he signed Felix Hernandez with the Mariners.
— While four of Engle’s former scouts, including ex-Jay Pat Kelly who covers Australia and Patrick Guerrero, son of Epy Guerrero, will join the Dodgers, Wayne Norton of Port Moody, B.C., is staying put. Both Norton and Engle signed Michael Saunders of Victoria, B.C., Italy’s Alex Liddi and the Netherlands’ Greg Halman, who died a year ago this month.
— The class-A 1959 Stockton Ports under manager Billy DeMars, now 87, staged a reunion this week in Clearwater. On that team were future major leaguers Bo Belinsky, Montreal’s Pete Ward, George Werley, Frank Zupo and Hall of Famer Pat Gillick (9-5, 3.78). A total of 12 of the 19 former players made the reunion.
— Baseball America’s top 10 Blue Jays prospects: 1. catcher Travis d’Arnaud (.333, 15, 62 at triple-A Vegas); 2. outfielder Jake Marisnick (.249, eight, 50 at double-A New Hampshire, class-A Dunedin); 3. right-hander Noah Syndergaard (8-5, 2.60 at class-A Lansing), 4. right-hander Aaron Sanchez (8-5, 2.49, Lansing), 5. lefty Justin Nicolino (10-4, 2.46), 6. right-hander Roberto Osuna (2-0, 2.27 at class-A Vancouver, rookie-class Bluefield); 7. Marcus Stroman (3-0, 3.26 at New Hampshire, Vancouver); 8. Hechavarria (.254, two, 15 with the Jays); 9. outfielder D.J. Davis (.250, five, 18 at Gulf Coast, Bluefield, Vancouver); 10. right-hander John Stilson (5-4, 3.88 at New Hampshire, Dunedin).