Toronto Blue Jays: David Wright and Other Sluggers the Team Should Target
General Manager Alex Anthopoulos, speaking with MLB Radio, said he would like to add another solid bat to the middle of his lineup.
While a workhorse starting pitcher might be at the very top of his list, another productive hitter would help to alleviate some of the offensive frustration the team has faced so far in 2012.
Here's a look at a few of the candidates Anthopoulos may target.
Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals
LaRoche is a player who may get lost in the mix in Washington.
With a call-up coming for top-prospect Bryce Harper at some point in 2012, the Nationals may be inclined to move Michael Morse, who signed two-year extension this winter, back to first base.
That would make the 32-year-old LaRoche a possible trade asset.
LaRoche would fit in nicely with the Jays and add another option at first and DH. He's been consistent his entire career barring injury and might help to add a little more production from the Jays lineup. He has more RBI in 2012 than anyone on Toronto's roster.
This trade won't happen soon, however, considering Morse will be injured for another month or so.
Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
This is an idea that would get Jays fans most excited.
Trading within a division is something that almost never happens in the MLB, but if the Orioles don't find a way to lock up Jones to a long-term contract, he will be traded.
If Alex Anthopoulos is serious about adding another big bat in the middle of his lineup, then Jones would be at the top of the list of available players. At 26 years old, he's just entering his prime and has steadily improved in each of his four years in the majors.
Acquiring Jones would be massive for the Jays, and if Anthopoulos does make a play on him, he'll likely be re-signed, becoming a big part of the team going forward.
While Jones would be perfect in the four or five hole in Toronto, it would take a significant package—likely including at least Travis Snider and a high-level pitching prospect—to take him out of Baltimore.
Considering the O's would be fielding several offers for Jones, Anthopoulos would really have to blow Dan Duquette away.
David Wright, New York Mets
Like Jones, Wright would be a massive addition.
Wright's detractors may argue that his days as a big-name, high-profile superstar are behind him after a serious back injury in 2011, but will still be a huge target for many teams when the trade deadline rolls around regardless of how his 2012 season plays out.
That being said, it would take a big offer in order to acquire Wright.
If the Mets do indeed plan to trade Wright, which may not be the case, there will be several teams ready to deal prospects to get him in their lineup.
Obviously, the Jays will need to make some sacrifices in order to get the 30-year-old third baseman.
Wright could be that big splash the Jays need to make to prove that they're ready to compete with the big-name clubs around the league.
Bobby Abreu, Los Angeles Angels
Abreu is a low-risk option who would add another somewhat productive bat to the lineup.
The Angels have a solid outfield and Abreu is the most-easily replaced of their group. He's got boatloads of experience and has always been a very professional hitter.
Abreu has never been a huge power hitter, but hasn't lost a step with regard to his plate discipline, posting on-base percentages of .352 and .353 in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Abreu is clearly not a long-term option, but if Anthopoulos wants to appease his fanbase and make an impression that he's ready to win now, the 38 year old might be the cheapest, and most cost-effective option on the trade market.
The Angels wouldn't need much for Abreu and the fact the Jays could keep their farm system intact makes this move very attractive.
The Jays could use a little veteran leadership, as well.
Mark Reynolds, Baltimore Orioles
Another Oriole, Reynolds is a pure power hitter.
He strikes out an obscene amount, but Reynolds has big power numbers and actually has a decent career OBP. He might fit in as a volatile but dangerous element in the middle of the Jays lineup, protecting players like Bautista and Lind.
And like Abreu, Reynolds would be a much cheaper option than Jones or Wright.
The Orioles would likely be looking for a half-decent prospect simply to shed his $7.5 million salary.
Where Reynolds would fit in is a bigger question.
It depends on how Anthopoulos wheels and deals before the trade deadline, but Reynolds is a liability defensively and Edwin Encarnacion has looked comfortable hitting as the DH.
Perhaps Lind could move back into the outfield or shopped to potential suitors, but someone would have to be moved to make room for Reynolds.
After examining five hitters the Jays may target in the next few months, the most likely scenario involves the team standing pat.
It's hard to find a position where the team is clearly in need of help other than starting pitching. The Jays have a ton of capable outfielders, a strong infield and a power-hitting catcher.
Add that Anthopoulos has never been prone to making the big acquisitions and has always been a "wait and see" and "we have faith in our group" type of GM. He has always been hesitant to trade prospects and it would take a big player in order to have him stray from his plan.
Yes, the team is struggling offensively, but they are young and outside help is not the answer at this point in the season.
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