The AL East is a battleground and while Toronto may be the best fourth-place team in the majors, 85-77 isn't going to send them to October.
The John Farrell era doesn't need to be kicked off with another "rebuilding year." They can win now; the Jays just need a little help.
Enter Manny Ramirez. Some of you may shake your heads at the idea of bringing the 38-year-old troublemaker to Canada but it's not really a bad idea at all. In fact Manny may be the X-factor.
For one, Manny isn't going to cost $20 million. He had a down year, he really can't play the outfield every day, and the fact that he has already reached out to Toronto indicates that he knows the market for him isn't great. The White Sox aren't likely to retain him. The Red Sox don't want him and the Yankees likely have bigger prizes on their radar.
The cost of Manny is likely going to be between $10-15 million. That's really not a lot of money. The Jays have $16 million coming off the books from Roy Halladay and B.J. Ryan, two players who didn't play for the Jays last year. Scott Down, Lyle Overbay, Jason Frasor, John Buck free up another $15 million and Edwin Encarnacion is a prime non-tender candidate. Sure, arbitration will raise more than a few players' salaries but not $31 million worth.
The Blue Jays are owned by Rogers Communication, giving them the financial backing of a major corporation. AA has said that he'll spend money when it makes sense.
Now it does.
Manny is also a character who, believe it or not, puts fans in the seats. Mannywood was a big deal for the Dodgers. He sells merchandise and gets himself on ESPN. Sure they're not signing him to be a circus act, but it does come as an added bonus.
Manny also enjoys playing the DH, something that's fairly rare as most hitters don't enjoy the time off in between innings. For Manny, less is more, and that's not really a bad thing.
Lyle Overbay is not the answer at first base. He's a decent defensive first basemen but his numbers just aren't there.
Does Toronto put Lind at first base? Why not? If guys like Troy Glaus can do it, why can't Lind?
The 2010 San Francisco Giants are really not all that different from the 2010 Blue Jays. Sure, their top two pitchers are incredible, but their offense consists of complete scrubs. Juan Uribe and Aubrey Huff made around $6.5 million between the two of them and Pat Burrell and Cody Ross were both cost-controlled since they came from teams that didn't really want them.
The Giants also had $42 million dollars dedicated to three players who haven't really done anything to merit that kind of money in Barry Zito (wasn't on the postseason roster), Aaron Rowand (not a starter), and Edgar Renteria (not completely awful but certainly not worth $10 million).
I'm not suggesting that the Jays swim around in the bargain bin but there are good players who aren't very expensive. Toronto hasn't really played the free-agent market very well over the past few years and that needs to change.
The Blue Jays have power but they could use more. Alex Gonzalez was a big contributor before he was traded, Buck will likely leave and Encarnacion could go either way. That's a lot of home runs to replace before you factor in that the other players will not likely all reach their totals from last year again.
Manny brings an experienced bat to the lineup, he's a clubhouse presence that really wasn't there during Cito's time and he's a character.
What does Toronto really have to lose with Manny?