Just as I'm about to express my thoughts on the Vernon Wells trade, Alex Anthopoulos pulls the trigger on another trade. Guess I'll have to go trade-by-trade even if they're related.
Vernon Wells for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera
I was completely caught off guard by this trade. But I shouldn't feel that way. Wells' massive contract was hurting Toronto's growth. Trading him frees up $86 million, which will come in handy for resigning Jose Bautista (if he continues to perform as well as he did in 2010) and going after free agents.
Napoli and Rivera are good players. But their arrivals create a cluttered lineup. Assuming the outfield will have Travis Snider, Rajai Davis and Bautista, where does Rivera go? You could put Bautista at third and Rivera in right. But Bautista has a great arm that is better suited for the outfield. And if Bautista goes to third, where would that put Edwin Encarnacion?
It was clear there needed to be another trade and sure enough...
Mike Napoli for Frank Francisco
I don't like it and at the same time, I like it.
Napoli - had he stayed - would be a great weapon, especially against lefthanders. He would've mostly been used as a DH and first baseman. He is originally a catcher, but he'd only get behind the plate if JP Arencibia or Jose Molina got hurt. Of course, it wasn't meant to be.
Francisco brings another strong arm to the bullpen. A stronger bullpen will take some pressure off the starting rotation. Francisco's also another candidate to be the Blue Jays' next closer. It's going to be an intense competition in Dunedin for those 7-8 spots in the 'pen this year.
The lineup is still cluttered. I think there will be at least one more trade.
One more thing about Vernon
I will certainly miss him. It's hard to believe he was here for 12 years. Wells was a great player. There were times when he could've been better. You can blame the injuries if you wish. Regardless, he tried his best and was a wonderful ambassador.