Tripping Olney?

Buster Olney writes MLB Insider columns for ESPN.com. He’s also inspired the fabulous @TrippingOlney parody Twitter account.

While I’m usually pretty fond of his work, I’m starting to maybe see why.

The Jays came up a couple times in his blog posts over the weekend– once in a way that’ll probably work just fine for most Jays fans, if you could be arsed to believe it. And the other… well… uh….

In his Saturday column Olney informed us that “in some corners within the industry, the Toronto Blue Jays are viewed as the early front-runner in the pursuit of Yu Darvish,” whatever that means.

Presumably those are corners of the industry that saw the reports early in the month that Alex Anthopoulos had gone on a scouting trip to see him. Seeing as I’m not aware of any other General Managers who had personally gone to see Darvish, or had acknowledged as much publicly, I think it does kind of stand to reason that people might think that. [Note: Texas GM Jon Daniels has also been to see him, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, so there's also that. Thanks to commenter meanguygary for the clarification!]

As for whether Darvish is a fit here, that depends on the price, really. But it’s not a crazy idea.

The idea that Olney put forth in his Sunday column, however, is a little bit fucking crazy, I think.

Michael Cuddyer of the Twins, he says, would “be a perfect fit with the Toronto Blue Jays, who could be poised for a 2012 breakout.” Part of this is because “Cuddyer is generally viewed as one of the best leaders in the sport, someone who will set a standard of conduct for younger players,” which is somewhat of a relief. You sure as shiiiiii-ugar wouldn’t want to make a huge investment in him because of what he offers on the baseball field.

Yep, and with Mauer and Morneau out, he really leadered the shit out of this year– all the way to a 98 loss Twins season, with a series still to play! He leadered his way to a .753 OPS last year and 3.6 fWAR combined over the last two years.

Oh, but he’s versatile! And… y’know… old.

MLB Trade Rumors examined his contract status last week, and figured on him getting something in the neighbourhood of a $30-million deal for his age 33 to 35 seasons– he already turned down a two-year extension offer from the Twins for $16-million, reportedly. He also might be a Type-A free agent, though it’s not likely Minnesota will offer him arbitration, which would see him earn more than his $10.5-million salary this season.

I mean, he’s not awful– his .282/.345/.455 line with 19 HR this year is about what Edwin Encarnacion offered, going .272/.334/.453 with 17 bombs– but three years? $30-million? With that as a pretty reasonable expectation of the most you’ll get out of him?

Thanks, we’ll pass.

Comments (25)

  1. Yeah, Cuddyer makes next-to-no sense.

    As for Darvish, I just don’t see how their could be a “favourite”. This isn’t an open negotiation with his agent. It’s a bunch of teams e-mailing a number to Japan and waiting to find out which of them sent the highest. I can’t imagine teams will actually let those numbers come out in advance, except if they really have no interest and just want to push other teams’ offers up.

    I will say this about Darvish though, and why he might be a perfect fit for the Blue Jays – in terms of Anthopoulos’ style.

    Whenever AA talks about free agency, he generally points out how he likes to get a “negotiating window” – ie. not be trying to sign a player who’s talking to other teams at the same time, and all pushing up his price together. Rather, he likes to make a quick pitch to a player/agent, and then get a few days to talk to him exclusively. Obviously, in the free agent market, that’s pretty rare to happen. The strategy lends to getting chances to talk with Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel’s of the world, but never the big stars.

    However, if AA/the Jays did submit the highest bid for the rights to Darvish, they would get an entire 30-day exclusive negotiating window. If the Jays believe he does have terrific upside – which none of us can really comment on – than Darvish may be the perfect player for Anthopoulos’ negotiating strategy, and, being young, the exact situation for AA to take a run at acquiring a star outside of trades.

  2. Jon Daniels has gone to Japan to scout Darvish:

    http://danny-knobler.blogs.cbs

  3. Texas now is the frontrunner to land Darvish then of course.

  4. That was back in June.  But yes, they are likely to place a strong bid. 

  5. AA better get on the phone and get Cuddyer. His magical leadership could be the missing piece for 2012 PLAYOFFS!!!11! What’s that? His best rWAR season is 2.8 (this year: warning: danger: career year, future dropoff inevitable, danger, warning) and his best fWAR season is 3.0, he sucks ass at every defensive position the Twins have ever tried him at, and he turns 33 next year? Who cares? He brings plucky, veteran leadership to the table, and Cito always said that was important, and he’s the guy with two rings dontcha know. I mean he’s exactly the kind of player Cito would find room for everyday at one of his many positions and he’d bat him out of the cleanup spot, thus giving Bautista “veteran protection”. You can’t beat that amirite?

  6. Just pointing out that it seems that every team that sends their GM over there to watch Darvish will automatically become the next frontrunner. In other words, it means nothing.

  7. With Romero and a bunch of question marks in the starting staff, does Darvish solidify the rotation or just add another question mark?  Probably the latter.

  8. Darvish signing with anyone but the Yankees or Red Sox is kind of horseshit.

  9. What the Jays will do: make an aggressive play for Darvish. I suspect they will sign him. If AA can make the case to Beeston the money will be there.

    What the Jays should do: package up Cecil, Drabek, and whatever else and try to acquire Jesus Montero from the Yankees. Then put him at first base. The Yankees need pitching, have a first baseman, and will likely never use Montero as a catcher. The Jays have enough pitching depth with Hutschison and Molina coming up to give up some starters.

    Still think: Logan Morrison might look good in left field in exchange for Snider, Thames, Loewen, and/or Davis.

    Bautista, Lawrie, Morrison, Montero, Rasmus, Arencibia, Escobar makes a nice core. 

    Probably pass on Kelly Johnson. Find a 1-year hole-filler at 2nd base (McCoy might be good enough for now). Bring up Hechavarria later in 2012 and move Escobar to 2nd base.  If Gose progresses he fits in for Rasmus. Then it is time to start thinking about free agent signings in 2013.

    KK

  10. Its a smaller question mark than, say, Brett Cecil, though.

  11. LoMo would not look good in LF. I’d definitely be down with getting him to play his natural 1B position though. There isn’t a chance in hell you’d get Montero for pitching dreck from the Yankees. If they’re trading away a prospect of his caliber, they’re going to want an excellent, proven player. Think of our proven players…Now think of the ones you wouldn’t trade for God. That’s what it would take. I’d actually like to see them give KJ a shot…If the price is right of course. The dream come true at 2B would be a trade for Brandon Phillips, but that all depends on where the Reds see themselves of course.

  12. Darvish or not, this team needs effective pitching urgently both starting and relief.  We will never climb above 4th if we don’t have that.  I imagine that will be Job 1 on AA’s list this winter.

    And by the way, if you need a reason to hate the Sox more than you already do, may I present to you John Lackey.  Husband Of The Year…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvs

  13. The Yanks are suddenly going to move Montero for two guys whose value couldn’t possibly be lower than they are today?  What is the “whatever” involved?  Lawrie? 

  14. Not a huge fan of Cuddyer, but I wouldn’t mind if the Jays grabbed Willingham to play LF and packaged Snider or Thames for Something else like Wandy Rodriguez or Ricky Nolasco.

  15. My thought on Montero is that the Yankees don’t have a position for him. Too big to be a catcher, blocked at first base by Texeira, and too young to be a full time DH. It might take one of AA’s 3-team trades to swing this but I would give up virtually any or all pitchers aside from Romero, Alvarez, Molina, and Hutchison for him. As you pointed out… mostly dreck.

    I don’t know much about Morrison but I recall Jose B. commenting that AA asked him his opinion on players with attitude problems. Jose said that clubhouse disrupters weren’t a problem as long as they were winners. I thought at the time that AA was thinking about Morrison.

    Anyway… just dreamin’.

  16. Why Willingham? Upside is the same as Cuddyer. He’s seems to reach that ceiling more consistently, but will cost more for virtually the same overall level of play (offense + defense).

  17. Right, because wives never leave their husbands when things get difficult – even if it isn’t his fault. Fucking hypocrites.

  18. Like I said, I’d love to see LoMo at 1B in 2012, but he would be a nightmare in LF. He is fuckawfully brutal in LF.

  19. He likely adds a question mark, but makes it easier and more palatable to deal some of the teams other question marks (Cecil, Drabek, etc) in packages for other, more well known commodities.

  20. Here’s something I’ve never understood about the slotting system:

    If I’m a MLB GM, and I’m not interested in Darvish but I want to make sure none of my rivals get him, what’s to stop me from bidding some ridiculously high amount to ensure that I win the rights to negotiate, and then not sign him? As far as I know, then I’d get my money back and nobody else would be allowed to negotiate with him after that. Seems kinda wacky.

  21. Ewww Cuddyer… no thanks.

    As for Darvish, his price tag worries me, he could be just another Dice-K bust and he would likely want more money to come to Toronto over the usual big spenders. However even if the Jays dont get him itll be nice to have AA drive up the price for the Bankees and Cash Sox.

     

  22. he’s 5 years younger than Cuddyer and a consistent 3 WAR.    

    I should rephrase what I said.  If we are pushing for contention next year and going into free agency for Fielder, etc. I think we should sure up LF also because  Thames and Snider are very inconsistent.  

    Willingham’s 30 hr and .350 OBP would be a nice addition at $8-10 million a year. 

  23. Willingham’s actually 5 and a half weeks older and might be a consistent 3.0 WAR player if he could ever play a full season. 3.0 WAR is his upside. 2.5 WAR is more within his range given that he tends to miss about 35 games a year. He’s definitely a better player on a consistent basis than Cuddyer, but their best seasons are pretty similar in terms of WAR (3.0 fWAR for both; 3.0 rWAR for Willingham, 2.8 rWAR for Cuddyer). He would also cost more than Cuddyer because of his offensive abilities. My opinion of both players: Meh!

  24. Cause you’d get yer ass sued for not bargaining in good faith. Pretty simple really

  25. Bullshit yourself.  I can still hate Lackey for doing it.

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