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OC Register: Angels Offseason Options: Jon Jay


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(This is the latest in a series of quick profiles on players who fit for the Angels to add over the winter. They are purely “informed speculation,” based on what we know about the Angels’ roster needs along with General Manager Billy Eppler’s preferences and history. We’ll have a new one every weekday, until the GM Meetings, which are the unofficial start of the hot stove season.)

JON JAY, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

The basics: Jay is the prototypical fourth outfielder. A veteran of nine big league seasons with five teams, Jay has played 673 games in center, 239 in right and 185 in left. He’ll be 34 next season.

2018 season: Jay started the season with the Kansas City Royals and finished with the Diamondbacks. He hit .268 with a .330 on-base percentage.

Contract status: Jay is a free agent, after making $3 million in 2018. Last winter, he didn’t sign until March.

Why he makes sense: The Angels are planning on Justin Upton, Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun as their everyday outfielders, but they need a backup who can play center field. They might also want to have a little more insurance in case their fourth outfielder needs to play more regularly – if someone gets hurt or if Calhoun doesn’t bring back the retooled swing that made him better in the second half. At the moment, that looks like Michael Hermosillo, who hit .211 with a .274 on-base percentage last season. Maybe Hermosillo will grow into the role, but maybe the Angels would like someone more experienced, which could also allow Hermosillo to develop at Triple-A instead of playing once a week in the majors. Jay has a career on-base percentage of .352, and as recently as 2017 it was .374. Based on what he made last year and his age, it is likely the Angels could get Jay for less than $3 million on a one-year deal.

Why he doesn’t: Last year the Angels tried to fill this role with Chris Young. Although Jay is slightly younger than Young was, and he’s coming off a slightly better season, he is still going to be 34, so there’s a risk that he falls off the map. As is the caveat with any potential position player addition, the Angels might just want to put all of their resources into pitching, leaving the position player holes to be filled by young players making near the minimum salary. Jay is also a left-handed hitter. Ideally, the Angels’ fourth outfielder would hit right-handed, so he’d be a complement to Calhoun if they decide to give him days off against left-handed pitchers.

Previous players: C J.T. RealmutoRHP Nate EovaldiRHP Sonny Gray, LHP Patrick Corbin, LHP CC Sabathia, UT Daniel Descalso, RHP Julio Teheran, LHP Gio Gonzalez, UT Marwin Gonzalez, LHP J.A. Happ, LHP Will Smith, 3B Mike Moustakas.

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Jon Jay honestly seems like the perfect fit for this team.  At the very least, he's going to platoon with Kole, and keep him out of the lineup against LHP,  He's also a much more proven option than most fourth outfielders.  I have zero confidence in Kole Calhoun being valuable at the plate anymore, so if if his game goes in the dumps, we'll need someone that can actually pick up the slack and not allow the team to be hurt by this.  It also allows Hermosillo more time to develop in AAA before inheriting the 4th OF role.  Plus, he should come cheap. 

There's literally no downside here. 

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1 hour ago, Second Base said:

Jon Jay honestly seems like the perfect fit for this team.  At the very least, he's going to platoon with Kole, and keep him out of the lineup against LHP,  He's also a much more proven option than most fourth outfielders.  I have zero confidence in Kole Calhoun being valuable at the plate anymore, so if if his game goes in the dumps, we'll need someone that can actually pick up the slack and not allow the team to be hurt by this.  It also allows Hermosillo more time to develop in AAA before inheriting the 4th OF role.  Plus, he should come cheap. 

There's literally no downside here. 

According to the article Jay bats left handed as well so he cant be a platoon partner for Calhoun 

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Counting on Calhoun for a bounce back year is a mistake.  He's gone from .271 to .244 to .208 the last three seasons.  And the on base percentage has gone from .344 to .328 to .283 in the same time frame.  If we use him as a platoon partner with Albert at 1B, maybe.  

I think we should be looking to upgrade RF as well as C and SP.

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Jay could work.  Agree that it needs to be someone who can play CF or take over for could should he turn back into Kale Calhoun.  Kole's less appetizing twin brother.  (I hate Kale).  

Also heard today that the dogs might have a roster crunch and get rid of Andrew Toles.  He's got options and could be a nice pickup.  Can play all three OF positions.  Doesn't walk a ton, but has really good bat to ball skills and doesn't k much by current standards.  

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3 minutes ago, Homebrewer said:

I wondered why he wasn't picked up last off-season tbh. Beats the hell out of the turds we were throwing out there.

it's pretty simple.  Chris Young had a history of hitting lefties well.  Jay didn't.  

Eppler's crystal ball was broken so he couldn't see that Kole would get abducted by aliens.  

A major issue with this team over the last over the last 5 years is a catastrophic lack of depth due to there being almost no talent in the upper minors.  A breakout year from David Fletcher eventually made Luis Valbuena someone we could DFA.  But guys like Marte and Cowart and Blash and Fontana and Schimpf still got at bats.  

Before Fletcher, do you know who our most impactful minor league position player was who came up and actually did something?  It was Cron in 2014, then Kole Calhoun in 2013.  Prior to that, it was Mike Trout in 2012.  Before that it was Peter freakin' Bourjos and Mark Trumbo in 2011.  Let's keep going back.  Kendrys in 2009.  

We've essentially had 5 players from our farm system end up as starting position players in major league baseball over the last 10 years.  

You're never going to have a replacement at every position, but that's just god awful.  

As much as it's important to improve talent at a bunch of positions, we have to overcome the -3.0 WAR from guys like Marte, Valbuena, Cowart, Young, Young, Blash etc.  The good news is that we're a lost closer to realizing that than at any point in at least the last 5 years.  

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