Michael Taylor will turn 24 on Saturday. Yesterday, he was part of a package sent to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for starting pitcher Roy Halladay. Hopefully none of his family or friends went out and bought Blue Jays gear for his celebration, because Taylor is no longer with organization. Instead, he will wear the green and gold of Oakland next season as Toronto swapped him out with "third" baseman Brett Wallace.
Turnaround deals like this involving Billy Beane invoke memories of Moneyball scenes from the past with him edging on Omar Minaya to land some fat third baseman named Youkilis before flipping him to Oakland. Either this swap had been discussed before hand or Toronto worked at rapid pace while Halladay went suit-shopping for his introductory press conference.
As mentioned, Taylor is currently 23 and formerly a Stanford attendee who stands around 6'6" and weighs 250 pounds. Baseball America describes him as "A physical specimen", which is a kind way of saying he sticks out in a crowd of normal folk. The most endearing skill Taylor possesses is his power. In 128 Triple-A plate appearances - small sample, indeed - Taylor's ISO was .209; in 363 Double-A plate appearances it was .236 and even before then, in High-A it was .230. The man has the ability to crush baseballs. Defensively he has a good arm but, like his offensive game, the finer things need developing.
By comparison, the 6'1", 245 pound Wallace is small. Not many things human can make Wallace look small, but Taylor is one of them. Wallace's position is listed at third base, but that seems rather unlikely to be the case. Wallace is supposedly more polished at the plate than Taylor, but I'm not sure how much of that is true. Wallace spent most of last season in Triple-A and had a .203 ISO once joining the Cardinals. Scouts seem to like his plate approach more than Taylor's, but their walk and strikeout rates suggest Taylor does more of the former and less of the latter.
The Jays definitely need some positional players. The question is whether Wallace is a better fit than Taylor, and honestly I'm not sure. If they think Wallace can play an okay third, then fine, but otherwise their roster already holds a DH (Adam Lind) a center fielder who shouldn't play center (Vernon Wells), a corner outfielder (Travis Snider), and a first baseman (Lyle Overbay) and while Taylor would be restricted to the other corner, Wallace should probably only play first.
One thing you can throw out the window about the new Jays front office is any doubts about their willingness to pull the trigger.