Monday, December 04, 2006

Vernon Wells Off Block, So What Else Have Jays?

By refusing to part with star center fielder Vernon Wells, Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi has painted himself into a corner at the Orlando winter meetings. Ricciardi is determined not to bust his $80 million payroll budget, leaving trades rather than free-agent signings as his preferred way to pay for the acquisition of a starting pitcher. Ricciardi will continue to try to resign Ted Lilly or Seattle escapee Gil Meche, but both may be beyond Ricciardi's reach financially. That leaves the question: without Wells, what does Ricciardi have to trade? Outfield prospect Adam Lind is untouchable, but for the right price would Ricciardi part with prospect Chip Cannon, who just finished tearing up the Arizona Fall League? At 26, the 6-foot-five, 250-pound lefty first baseman has no place to play, and the Pirates, Reds, Orioles, Giants, Athletics and Yankees conceivably could use upgrades at that position during this or coming seasons.