- Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos knows giving up Wallace was a steep price, especially since he had been penciled in as the club’s first baseman of the future, but says top-flight centre fielders are next to impossible to trade for at the big-league level. To acquire one, he says, you need to gamble.
In this case it means betting that Gose, who was hitting .263 with four home runs at Class-A Clearwater, will give the Jays more in the long run than Wallace, who hit .301 with 18 home runs and Triple-A Las Vegas.
The GM says Gose has Gold Glove potential and that the Jays originally tried to acquire him last December in the Roy Halladay trade. When that didn’t work out they tried again earlier this season.
While Wallace’s departure means the Jays have no full-time first basemen under contract beyond this season, Anthopoulos isn’t ready to panic. He acknowledges that Adam Lind is an option, but points out the club has until next spring to develop a first baseman or acquire one.
Gose has tools, no question. As Baseball America noted last winter, "Gose earns 70 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale for three tools: his arm, his center-field defense and his speed."
They also said, "He led the minor leagues with 76 steals in 96 attempts, and he'll be even more dangerous as he gets on base more often and refines his base stealing instincts."
Really? More dangerous than 76 steals in 96 attempts, in 131 games?
In the event, Gose has stolen only 36 bases in 103 games this season ... and been caught 26 times. My guess is that he's grown out of his base stealing body, and the Jays should forget about getting a guy who steals bases like Carl Crawford and plays center field like Michael Bourn. My guess is that while Gose will still be fast, two or three years from now, he'll have to hit to justify an everyday job in the majors. You know, because the most important tool -- or if you prefer, skill -- is hitting.
And whether he'll hit is a wide-open question. Again, Baseball America: "He gives away too many at-bats and lacks a two-strike approach ... he may need 2,000 minor league at-bats."
Here's John Sickels (also last winter): "Like many of the raw tools players collected by the Phillies in recent years, Gose has trouble with the hitting. His plate discipline is poor, and for a guy who hit just two homers last year, he takes big cuts at the plate and is prone to strikeouts."
Has Gose made any progress this season? His power's up a notch, but so are his strikeouts. He's only 19 and maybe he'll figure it out. But at this point, he's little more than a gleam in the scout's eye.
Wallace is different. He's almost 24 and has played nearly a season's worth of Triple-A games, with a .299/.357./484 line. Also, he was the 13th pick in the June draft just two years ago. So the pedigree is there, and the performance isn't bad. Presumably he'll take over at first base next spring, upon the departure of (free-agent-this-November) Lance Berkman.
We shouldn't expect the next Jeff Bagwell (or Berkman), though. Wallace doesn't draw many walks and his power is just decent for a first baseman; his Triple-A numbers aren't brilliant, considering his home ballparks and his league. But this does make the Oswalt trade look a little better, as it now seems the Astros got a guy with a decent shot at becoming a solid major league hitter.