Blue Jays Excited To Acquire Brett Wallace





TORONTO — The Blue Jays have tried for a long time to get Brett Wallace.
The first attempt came in 2005 when they picked him in the 42nd round of the draft (1,253th overall) from Justin-Siena High in Napa, Calif. They could not sign him.

He went to Arizona State instead. The Blue Jays hoped to draft the lefthanded-hitting infielder in 2008 but the Cardinals took him with the 13th pick.

Last July, the Cardinals traded Wallace to the Athletics as part of the deal for Matt Holliday.

The Blue Jays finally got their man in December when they shipped new acquisition Michael Taylor, an outfielder, to Oakland in a straight-up deal for Wallace. Toronto had just received Taylor in the trade that sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies, the same transaction that also netted righthander Kyle Drabek and catcher Travis d'Arnaud.

Though he has played third base in the minors, Wallace, 23, is viewed by the Blue Jays as a first baseman. He figures to be the first of the three prospects from the Halladay deal to reach the majors.

"This is a special hitter," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "A student of the game. Really an impact bat and one we see playing first base for us going forward."

He has good plate discipline and has shown that he can hit for power and for average.

"He's just a pure hitter," Anthopoulos said. "The scouts say this is going to be a very exciting impact bat to go along with some of our other young players, (Travis) Snider, (Aaron) Hill, (Adam) Lind."

Last season, Wallace batted a composite .293/.367/.455 with 20 home runs in 532 at-bats spread over Double-A and Triple-A.

As eager as Wallace is to play in the majors, Anthopoulos said none of the prospects will be rushed.

"We have a development plan in place for all of these guys," Anthopoulos said. "It's easy for us to be short-sighted, just to want to get these guys up here to show the fans how exciting they are. But really, we have a plan in place."

JAYS CHATTER

• The deal that brought righthander Brandon Morrow from the Mariners in exchange for righthander Brandon League, also cost the Blue Jays outfielder Johermyn Chavez, 20, who batted .283/.346/.474 in low Class A last year.

• Former Cubs general manager Ed Lynch has been hired as a scout. After stepping down as Cubs GM in July 2000, he stayed with that club as a scout until this past November.