With Spring Training almost here and the Blue Jays in a rebuilding period, who are the organization's top 10 prospects? -- Nolan F., Peterborough, Ontario
Without the December trade that sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies and the deal last July that sent third baseman Scott Rolen to the Reds, the Blue Jays' top prospects list would look very different than it does right now. With those two moves, Toronto reeled in what I believe to be its top four prospects for the time being.
First on the list, in my opinion, is first baseman Brett Wallace -- one of the players netted in the Halladay swap. He's nearly ready for the big leagues and could have a home in the heart of the Jays' lineup in the near future. Next on my list would be right-hander Kyle Drabek (also added in the Halladay deal), followed by right-hander Zach Stewart (picked up in the Rolen swap).
Drabek and Stewart are unlikely to make the Blue Jays' rotation this spring, but they will be in camp with the rest of the big league starting candidates. The pair of talented righties could see The Show some time this year, but it seems more realistic that Drabek and Stewart could have more of an impact beginning in 2011.
Fourth on my list would be catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who was the third prospect added in the Halladay trade. It appears as though d'Arnaud will open the year at high Class A Dunedin, so he is a few years away from a potential promotion to Toronto. Still, he heads the list of three catchers that make my Top 10 prospects list.
Behind d'Arnaud, I'll go with right-hander Chad Jenkins and outfielder Jake Marisnick, who were selected by the Jays in the first and third round, respectively, in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. I'll round out my list with right-hander Henderson Alvarez, followed by catcher J.P. Arencibia, lefty Tim Collins and catcher Carlos Perez.
The Jays recently acquired lefty Dana Eveland from Oakland. He was once a very highly-touted prospect for both the D-backs and the A's. Where does he fit in the Jays' rotation battle? -- Travis R., Windsor, Ontario
Eveland will be brought into camp with a shot at earning one of the vacant rotation spots. Two years ago, the left-hander won nine games and logged 168 innings as a starter for the A's. If he can convince Toronto that he can handle a similar workload with that type of success again, he'll be considered for a job.
Adding Eveland also allows the Blue Jays to take their time in deciding whether lefty Brian Tallet should be utilized as a starter or reliever. After a career spent as a reliever, Tallet made 25 starts for Toronto a year ago, with decent results. But if Eveland has a great spring, Tallet might be moved back into the bullpen, where he's performed well in the past.
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It was sad to see Brad Arnsberg leave his job as the Blue Jays' pitching coach after last season. What do you think of the new pitching coach, Bruce Walton?
-- David B., Peterborough, Ontario
Arnsberg and Walton worked closely in their years together on the Jays' coaching staff. From talking to many of Toronto's pitchers, no one seems to believe that having Walton shift from his role as bullpen coach to pitching coach will create a tough transition. Walton is an easygoing coach who already has a long working history with the Jays' pitchers. Arnsberg will be missed, but Walton and new bullpen coach Rick Langford are both well-liked and respected by members of Toronto's staff.
Is it safe to say the Blue Jays will be defensively challenged in 2010? The corner outfield spots seem weak, as do the shortstop and third base.
-- Edward L., Windsor, Ontario
In 2009, the Blue Jays boasted the best fielding club in the American League. Now, losing shortstop Marco Scutaro, Rolen and right fielder Alex Rios does not help matters, but Toronto should be solid with the gloves again in '10. Aaron Hill is a Gold Glove-caliber second baseman, Alex Gonzalez is a strong defender at short (helping make up for Edwin Encarnacion replacing Rolen at third) and Lyle Overbay is solid at first base. The outfield -- anchored by Vernon Wells in center -- is a bit of a question mark, depending on who will be in the corners. Even so, as a whole, the Jays should be fine defensively.
With nine picks within the first three rounds of the 2010 Draft, will the Jays stick with the strategy of taking the best player available? Or will they roll the dice on a couple of high school prospects to fill their weak organization spots, such as shortstop and third base? -- Jason P.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos will likely continue to select the best available players throughout the Draft, regardless of position. Drafting for organizational needs can be tricky, considering the players often takes years to develop. What Anthopoulos will try to do is continue to garner as many picks as he can through compensation in order to increase the probability that Toronto can find potential big league talent. That is one reason Scutaro (worth two compensatory picks) and catcher Rod Barajas (worth one) were allowed to walk via free agency without much of a fight this offseason.
With the G20 Summit scheduled to come to Toronto in June, will this cause any problems for the Blue Jays? I am planning on getting tickets for the series against the Phillies since it will be Roy Halladay's first trip back since the trade. -- John R., Toronto
The G20 Summit is scheduled to be held in Toronto -- likely at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, which is located next door to the Blue Jays' ballpark -- on June 26-27. The Jays are scheduled to host Philadelphia for a three-game weekend series, beginning on June 25, and planned on honoring Halladay in some way during his first trip back to Toronto. As of right now, it's not clear if the G20 event will have an impact on the series. Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston told the Toronto Globe and Mail on Thursday that there is a possibility that the team will need to reschedule one of the games, but there is also the chance that nothing will be affected. As of right now, though, nothing has changed.
Is it true that the Blue Jays raised their ticket prices? Why would they do that when it's already expected to be a down year for the team? -- Ryan S., Toronto
The Canadian Press reported this week that the Blue Jays have altered their pricing system, reducing ticket costs to two categories (premium and regular) from four categories (super premium, premium, regular and value). An estimated 65 percent of ticket prices remain unchanged, according to the report. The new premium prices are the same as last year's super premium tickets and the regular prices are unchanged. The only exception is with the 500-level seats, which will increase from $9 to $11 (premium), or from $12 to $14 (regular) under the new system.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.