Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Jay a Day: Adam Dunn is a left-handed thumper, eh

The word has travelled around the block that the Blue Jays would like to get "a thumper" if they can stay in the playoff race.

GM J.P. Ricciardi dropped some hints to Jordan Bastian and FOXSports.com's man on the inside chimed in, "Club officials ... are more apt to pursue a left-handed slugger unless Travis Snider proves to be the answer. The Orioles' Aubrey Huff, Nationals' Nick Johnson and Pirates' Adam LaRoche all could fit for the Jays."

Lefty hitters have accounted for only 23% of the Jays' plate attendance, a far cry from the insanely balanced Tampa Bay Rays lineup. The need for a lefty bat is as obvious as the logic of trying Aaron Hill in the middle of the order, down in the order (Ken Rosenthal mentioned that, too) even if that's probably not happening. Vernon Wells is miscast as a cleanup hitter, as everyone knows. The Jays could better take advantage of Wells' superior baserunning if he was allowed to hit in the 2-hole.

Ken Rosenthal's latest, though, didn't mention the Washington Nationals' Adam Dunn, for reasons which are unclear. (Are riffs on Dunn not liking baseball that much still OK?) Dunn has a big deal ($10 million per), so that might make him off-limits. Anyway, it's a good jumping-off point for a discussion. The point isn't to say who the Jays should get if they're still a game out of the wild card on July 2. It's good to know who is out there.
  • Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego: Mention Going, Going Gonzo once just to get it out of your system. The Padres ain't dealing.

  • Aubrey Huff, Baltimore: If Huff talk starts to heat up, you will hear ad nauseam that he has always hit well at Rogers Centre (.321/.400/.546 with 14 homers in 73 games) and that he played for Tampa Bay when Jays pitcher Jesse Litsch was a batboy for the then-Devil Rays. That anecdote never gets old.

    Huff typically has been a better second-half hitter. The more one thinks of it, the more it might be palatable, although there is the taboo of trading within the division for three months of Aubrey Huff at-bats (he's a free agent after the season).

  • Nick Johnson, Washington: He's an on-base machine with only modest power.

  • Adam LaRoche, Pittsburgh: Over the past five years he's on-based .360 and slugged .548 in the second half of the season (sotto vote, in the National League), and like Johnson and Huff he's a free agent. He would not cost an arm and a leg.

  • Jason Giambi, Oakland: Le snark just is be that Giambi oughta be grateful his struggles (.216/.355/.364, just six homers) are coming on a West Coast team which doesn't get much media attention. He's not as low-hanging fruit like David Ortiz.

    Giambi's splits are even uglier than sin (the ballpark isn't hurting his numbers, and only two of his six homers have been off righties). He's not necessarily washed up but the A's won't trade him unless he starts to hit (and he has hit .279/.366/.536 at Rogers Centre with 22 homers, more than he's hit anywhere else outside of his home parks.).

  • Travis Hafner or Victor Martinez, Cleveland: Hey, the nine-games-under-.500 Indians aren't done yet ... wait, they are. However, Hafner is damaged goods and Martinez's flexibility as a catcher-first baseman means he's too valuable to the Clevelanders.

  • David Ortiz, Red Sox: Just kidding. He's just in here for a cheap segue to Bill Simmons' column on the fall of Big Papi, who fallen into obsolescence faster than the Republican Party.
Damn, the Jays:
  • FanGraphs can see four Jays in the All-Star game: Scott Downs, Roy Halladay, Aaron Hill and MAR-co SCU-ta-ro.

  • Major reputation points to The Tao of Stieb for its Q&A with Ryan Greene, who covers the Triple-A team in Las Vegas. He had a profile of Travis Snider the other day. The player whom the FAN 590's Mike Toth intimated wasn't coachable seems pretty aware of what he needs to work on:
    "I'd say there was a period of time where I got outside of my approach and got really swing-happy, trying to hit off-speed pitches in the dirt instead of waiting for a fastball ....I think as you go through it and you start to chase those balls and you're not having the success that you want to, you start to try and change things instead of sticking with what you're doing and changing your approach."
    An uneducated guess is Snider doesn't return until after the all-star break.

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