By: Jay Blue
Canadian Baseball Network
The Blue Jays made another move to address their depth today, acquiring outfielder Darrell Ceciliani from the New York Mets for either a player to be named later or cash considerations (depending on whose announcement of the trade you read).
Ceciliani is a 25-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder who was a fourth-round pick in the 2009 draft by the New York Mets. His 2009 debut wasn't spectacular but he steadily improved until he starting posting very solid numbers all the way up to Triple-A last year.
In his first crack at Triple-A, Ceciliani hit an outstanding .345/.398/.581 with 19 doubles, four triples and nine home runs. Having had our Triple-A team in Las Vegas, we need to take those numbers with a grain of salt as they were far beyond anything Ceciliani has done in the minors before. In a 75 at-bat trial with the Mets last year, he hit only .206/.270/.279 with two doubles and a home run, stealing five bases.
Ceciliani is most known for his speed and defence. He's able to play any of the outfield positions and has above-average speed, as can be seen from his 31-stolen base season in 2013 with the Double-A Binghamton Mets. People online are citing a Fangraphs article by Alex Chamberlain from June 23 of last year, in which Chamberlain alluded to Cecilian's incredible numbers in Triple-A and his anemic ones in New York, writing that he "continues to flounder, and it would be unwise to expect more production than what we’ve already seen from him. For now, consider his projection a mirage."
Additionally, in their most recent assessment, Baseball America wrote that "Ceciliani doesn’t try to do too much at the plate, focusing on hitting the ball hard to the middle of the field with sound barrel control, and if he makes more contact he can be an average major league hitter. Strong and athletic, he occasionally will turn on an inside pitch and launch the ball, but he’s generally best suited as a top-of-the-order hitter with average speed, bunting ability and good baserunning instincts."
Ceciliani was available cheaply after the Mets had designated him for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man roster for the re-signed Yoenis Cespedes. The Blue Jays had a free spot on the 40-man so no one had to go to make way for him. It appears that Ceciliani should have his two minor league options left as it seems that the Mets just put him on the 40-man roster when they promoted him to the major leagues last May.
Ceciliani will now join Dalton Pompey Junior Lake, and Ezequiel Carrera as major-league capable outfield depth (with the possibility of Carrera, Pompey or both making the major league squad) for the Jays while the other players likely to patrol the outfield in Buffalo include such homegrown players as Jon Berti, Andy Burns, Dwight Smith, Jr., Matt Newman and Melky Mesa. I'd also keep an eye out for minor-league free agent signings geared to help out the Bisons' outfield further.