The Problem of Depth
The Jays farm system has been fertile in the development of young hurlers, players such as, Francisco Rosario, Josh Bank, Danny Core, Gustavo Chacin, Dave Purcey, Zach Jackson and Dustin McGowan (once he fully recovers from Tommy John surgery) are all climbing the ladder on the way to the big show. Brandon League and David Bush have already cemented roles on the 2005 roster and there are a half dozen just chomping at the bit. A solid showing at spring training could mean Gustavo Chacin will have a roster spot and Rosario and Banks could follow at midseason or in September. All of these players have caused a pleasant logjam for what was once a sterile farm system.
Russ Adams has been named the opening day shortstop for the Jays and 27-year- old Orlando Hudson is the incumbent at second, as Aaron Hill (the Jays first round pick in 2003) should be lobbying for a spot in 2006. Hill, a good-fielding shortstop who can make consistent contact and hit for power, is arguably the Jays most promising prospect. There has been talk coming from the organization that Hill could play at second or third base, but both positions are currently blocked. The signing of Corey Koskie to a three-year deal means that Hudson will most likely be traded, unless Adams falters at the big-league level. This of course is speculative as Hudson has improved steadily at the plate, has flashed some power and could bat .280 in a year if he stays healthy. His fielding is exceptional and he has more range than most second basemen in the American League - if not all. After this season though, the Jays will have no choice but to find a spot for Hill in the lineup and in the infield.
J.P. Ricciardi has an unenviable task ahead of him. He most likely will have to trade the odd man out in the infield and also trade an up and coming pitcher. These moves are always tedious, because the players being bandied about have high-ceilings of potential. Former Jays GM Gordon Ash had to deal with a plethora of middle infielders and subsequently traded Michael Young to Texas for Esteban Loaiza. This is a perfect example of how an organization can get burned by trading a prospect due to a logjam. Barring trades and free agent acquisitions an infield of Hinske, Hill, Adams and Koskie and a starting rotation of Halladay, Lilly, Bush, McGowan and Chacin might be on the radar for 2006 if not earlier. Even pleasant problems can cause headaches with the best of them.
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