Discounting the waiver claim of capital-P Project Sean Henn - who might have been worth keeping an eye on under the eye of now departed reclamation king Brad Arnsberg - the Jays began the inevitable (and necessary) roster makeover by claiming middle infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir from the Cardinals organization.
On first blush, it's an intriguing move, as Hoffpauir appears to have solid on-base skills, with a career minor league OBP of .365 (not a typo). The knock on the 26 year old appears to be his limited defensive skill set - and hello there, Brian Butterfield. Glad to see you weren't run out of town.
While Cards writer Brian Walton (see link above) seems to think this is just another Blue Jays "claim 'em & slide 'em through waivers" move (tough to argue the evidence), this addition to the 40-man bears watching for a variety of reasons:
1. These aren't your father's JP Ricciardi waiver wire claiming Blue Jays. It remains to be seen if these are really Alex A's Blue Jays, I guess, but let's give the retooled front office the benefit of the doubt on this one.
2. Outside of Aaron Hill, the entire infield - starters and reserves - is a major question mark heading into next season for the Jays, with Scutaro and McDonald heading to free agency. Jose Bautista and Eddie Encarnacion would be best advised to keep their real estate options open, too.
3. Did I mention the OBP? Oh, I did? How about the .843 OPS he put up in 350+ AAA at-bats last season. Why was this guy available again? Right - defense. Butter!!
Vernon Wells will remove the knife from his back and have it applied to his wrist
Word is that the much maligned Vernon Wells will have his left wrist repaired, after quietly dealing with the problem for a good portion of his brutal 2009 season. While it's certainly not unreasonable to believe the injury contributed to his miserable campaign, I don't think we should all go expecting the 2006 version of ol' Vern to reappear.
But a reasonable facsimile of the 2008 vintage Wells wouldn't be too much to ask, would it?
(No, seriously, I'm asking - what do you think is a reasonable expectation for Wells in 2010?)