12/05/07 7:06 PM ET
Jays add jack-of-all-trades to squad
Toronto acquires Coats from Cincy for future considerations
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
The deal could potentially put Coats in the mix for the final spot on Toronto's bench, but it's more likely that the 25-year-old outfielder will provide depth at the Triple-A level. The move also filled the lone vacant spot on the Jays' 40-man roster, meaning the club will need to clear room if it intends on taking anyone in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft.
"Coats is a guy who can probably be our 25th guy," Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "He's a really, really good outfielder. Obviously, the best position he plays is a position we have someone in -- center field. He can play third and a little bit of short. He's a really flexible guy, in terms of positions he can play."
Toronto has until 9 a.m. ET on Thursday to open any additional spots on its roster in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft. Ricciardi said the Jays were considering a Double-A player, but they're leaning against picking him. Toronto has another player on its radar -- most likely a pitcher who can provide bullpen depth.
"We may do something," Ricciardi said. "We're just deciding right now if what we add is better than what we could do off our roster. We'll see."
The addition of Coats pales in comparison to the other trade rumors involving the Jays at these Winter Meetings. Toronto has talked with San Francisco about a possible deal that could send right fielder Alex Rios to the Giants in exchange for either Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum, both right-handed pitchers.
Coats has only appeared in 38 games at the big league level, posting a .198 average in stints with the Reds and Cubs. He was drafted by Chicago in the 18th round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, and he's seen time at every position except pitcher and catcher during his time in the Minor Leagues.
Last season, Coats remained solely in the outfield for the Cubs and the Reds, who claimed the left-handed hitter off waivers in September. Ricciardi said the Jays attempted to claim him at the time. Between stints with Triple-A Louisville and Triple-A Iowa in 2007, Coats hit .308 with 11 home runs, 63 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 127 games.
While Coats has spent the majority of his professional career in the outfield, he has 311 Minor League games at shortstop on his resume. Defensive issues -- 114 errors over that span -- led to a switch to a more regular role as an outfielder, which is the most likely job he'll hold in the Jays' system.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.