Wednesday, August 3, 2011

E-5 - Waiver Trade Candidate?



Alright for those of you following along, I have had a decent amount to say about the Jays abundance of depth this season. While it seemed for a while that the Jays were barely filling the 5 through 9 slots in the lineup with above replacement talent, the Jays are now in a position to move some of that depth. While guys like Jose, Travis, Colby, Adam and Yunel are not going anywhere - one has to think that there is a good chance guys like Rajai Davis, Aaron Hill, and Edwin Encarnacion are likely to be at least placed on waivers to gauge interest from teams who may have overlooked a need at a certain position before the non-waiver deadline passed.

Now don't assume too much from this post - it is unquestionably complete speculation. And no I don't think any team is going to be interested in Aaron Hill for the remainder of the season, even if it only meant they would take on his remaining salary - its been said many times, but best here - that he is literally below replacement level at this point in his career.

But then comes Rajai and Edwin. Rajai is a little bit different of a case than Encarnacion. Rajai is signed until the end of next season at a very team-friendly $2.75M for 2012 and a $3M club option for 2013. Based on the latest Elias rankings from @MLBTR Rajai is quite far off obtaining Type B status, and given his role as a 4th/5th OF with the Jays right now - he isn't going to improve that anytime soon. While some could suggest that Rajai shouldn't go anywhere given his low cost, I can't help but wonder if there is not value for him at this time of the year.

Like most players on non-contending teams, he will certainly be placed on waivers and likely pulled back if their isn't enough interest. I would think that for playoff contending teams, especially a team like the Red Sox (Dave Roberts comes to mind), the value of an insanely fast pinch runner who can play adequate defence at all three OF positions has value. I would hope that AA at least kicks the tires to see if there is value for Davis - lets face it he isn't going to play anytime soon for the Jays and logic would suggest his value will only decrease.

But then there's Edwin.

Stoeten over at DJF suggested earlier that as a result of E5 not likely attaining Type B status this season - that it likely paves the way for prized prospect Brett Lawrie to get the remainder of starts at third this season. While I understand his logic, I think it ignores two things:

1) Edwin has seen most of his success in his recent binge as a DH and not at third. Actually his stat lines work out as follows this year:

3B - .223/.289/.678

1B - .211/.250/.671

DH - .329/.366/.876

2) And thus I don't think Edwin the way he is swinging the bat right should fear losing playing time, since I would presume he will see the majority of his at bats for the remainder of the season at DH.

Stoeten's analysis I think is half right though, while he certainly won't attain type B status before season's end, even if he continues to feast on pitching as a DH, he makes perfect sense for a waiver deal. While he likely doesn't start for any contending team right now - he does make for an excellent handcuff for teams battling injuries. If the Ninja can convince teams that his slash line as a DH makes perfect sense for him as an excellent RH bat off the bench, or that his improved defence should give them confidence to play him in the field, then there is certainly value to be had.

The facts are pretty simple - E5 isn't getting any younger, he isn't getting to Type B this year, his club option is pretty pricey at $3.5M next year if he isn't going to start at 3rd and solely DH, and this is the best he has hit arguably since he has been a Blue Jay. His career numbers suggest he is a far better player post-ASG, averaging an .816 OPS for his career in the second half.

Just to name a few teams facing injuries at 3B - Yankees, Red Sox (Youk is always hurt), Rangers and Braves - not to mention the Phillies who are currently starting Placido Polanco and the apparently contending Indians playing Hyped-but-under-performing prospect Lonnie Chisenhall.

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