A couple weeks back I thought Alex Anthopoulos made his clearest statement yet that his basic game plan for team-building and spending the prospect capital he’s accumulated in his two years as General Manager revolves around in-season trades– specifically trade deadline deals.

Of course, nobody could possibly believe that Anthopoulos would ever speak in absolutes, but it must have certainly a blow to those holding onto hope that the Jays were going to be ultra-aggressive in their pursuit of big name free agents this winter, with the hope of pushing up the club’s timeline for contention in one swift move.

In a piece Tuesday from Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com, we hear more of the same from Anthopoulos– who makes plenty of sense, even if he might not exactly be telling you what you want to hear. Money quote:

“I think it’s even more attractive, that asset base of prospects, is even more attractive come July because most teams that do sell at that time realize they’re not going to get Major League players back at that time of year because any club that is adding can’t take away from their big league team.

“Everyone realizes that their return is going to be young players that are in the Minor Leagues. It certainly helps now, but I think it’s going to be even more valuable to us during the summer if there is a trade for us to to make.”

Herein lies the problem for Anthopoulos this winter. Not a lot of clubs can sell their fans on a deal that moves Major League talent for a player who can’t help immediately– it kinda makes it look like you’re writing off the season before it starts. The Jays got away with it last year when they moved Shaun Marcum for Brett Lawrie– which, you may recall, pissed a hell of a lot of fans off at the time– but there’s not all that much for them to move this winter. Especially not with a too-thin roster as it is, and a real opportunity to snatch that extra Wild Card spot if everything breaks right.

Eric Thames, Brett Cecil or Jesse Litsch are the guys who jump out at me as having at least some level of Major League roster value to other clubs, while being somewhat replaceable on the Jays roster, but who else? And what do they get you? Toss in a solid prospect or two and maybe something a club would be willing to spare to fill the hole at second or a place in the bullpen, but not a whole lot.

There’s Travis Snider and Kyle Drabek, but how many clubs would look to either of those two as definite starters? Besides, the Jays have already put themselves in a position where their fortunes will depend on whether a number of young players– JP Arencibia, Brandon Morrow, Brett Lawrie, Colby Rasmus– can take the expected steps forward, or, in the case of Adam Lind (or Cecil, if he stays), back to where he once was. I’m of the mind that they might as well keep those two potentially high-end talents and add them to that list– as we’ve heard a number of times, they’re exactly the kinds of guys the Jays would be targeting in other organizations.

The club could also look to move Arencibia, Morrow, Lind or Henderson Alvarez, I suppose, but it wouldn’t be easy to make anything but a lateral move. Arencibia’s natural replacement, Travis d’Arnaud, may be closer than we had been led to believe– at least, that’s the sense I got from listening to John Farrell speak with Jeff Blair this week– but Opening Day seems a huge rush. Perhaps Lind and Morrow could make a modern version of Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff in some kind of blockbuster trade, but the Jays wouldn’t exactly be dealing them at the height of their value.

Then there’s Henderson Alvarez who, since I’m already just spitballin’, kinda like Eric Thames, looks like a keeper, but might just be behind a number of others in the system in terms of long-term projection. So maybe in actuality he is the Jays’ best chip– not that removing him from the rotation wouldn’t be an issue, but to move him now likely means a rotation spot going to Kyle Drabek to start the year, who’d at least give the club a cushion of a month or two before, if the experiment once again fails, they’d have to consider calling up someone from the system.

Wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, really. Would it?

Comments (83)

  1. i’d be really reluctant to trade henderson. 

     as far as waiting until mid season, if it looks like their not competing at that point which is probable if they dont make any notable moves this offseason it may not make sense to deal top prospects for mlb talent since they wont be playing meaningful baseball for 9 months anyway.  this is like an im fat because i eat and i eat because im fat kind of deal.  im not competing because i havn’t acquired mlb talent and i havnt acquired mlb talent because im not competing. 

    im sure they’ll push to make moves this offseason if its at all possible

  2. Make a damn move already!!!!!!!

  3. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/

    the cardinals get a “competitive balance draft pick”?!?!
    something tells me that they’re doing okay, having won 2 WS in the past 5 or so years.

    what horse shit is that?

  4. Supposedly they are in a “small market” even though they finished 6th in attendance on 2011 and drew more fans the Red Sox.

  5. To loosely quote Boardwalk Empire “Sometimes the smartest move is not making a move at all.” I hope AA holds pat and waits for the right move like he think he will and now cave to pressure from fans, the media, and/or the ownership (not likely with Rogers but who knows).

  6. Stoeten, I am surprised you didn’t put Arencibia more firmly with Thames, Cecil and Litsch. As position players go I think he would bring back the biggest haul.  His power numbers i.e. Home runs are nice for a catcher and he seems to play pretty well defensively.  The home runs might appeal to a GM that does not look at nerd stats or batting average for that matter and make a trade for him.  Though with Hendry, Reagins and Wade gone those types of GMs seem to be going the way of the dodo bird. 

  7. the Jays showed in the draft this year that they’re looking for opportunities to compete on an unfair basis, and that basis was cash.  pick up players with high ceilings and low signability.  They anticipated the new CBA and have been proved to be correct. so following that logic, why dismiss the free agent path so quickly?  we have an unfair advantage that we can spend more money than most why not pursue it?

    two examples:

    Trade for Votto in June/July – still have to pay him $13M a year and you lose 3-4 high ceiling prospects and major leaguers


    Sign Fielder for $23M a year – costs $10M more annually , but you retain the prospects.  They have splashed $10M on a LOT worse things than the Prince.

    examples are for illustrative purposes only and can apply to any FA vs Trade discussion

  8. you don’t need nerd stats to value 25 HR at the catcher position.

  9. If they can’t sign Morrow to a contract extension that buys out some FA years, maybe now is the time to move him. He’s at the Marcum stage of 2 years of control remaining.

  10. It really does seem that nothing major is going to be done this winter after AA made those comments. What’s even more troubling to me is that what kind of players can he really expect to get come the trade deadline? Most players moved at that time of year are guys on their way to free agency. The rest usually have an additional year on their contracts. The latter group of  players usually are pretty expensive in terms of prospects and the return doesn’t seem worth it unless it’s the piece that pushes you over the top to a championship. Those are hardly guys that will offer you a core to build around for years to come.

    If that’s the strategy AA has in mind then I really start to worry as the Jays seem a couple of years away from being close to a championship team. It certainly seems that this kind of plan – while valid in the right situation, seems like it’s putting the cart before the horse.  I would expect AA to have more pieces in place via free agency or trades for core pieces before going down the trade deadline route.

  11. first, it’s not $10M – it’s that over at least 7 or 8 years. it’s a potential for Vernon Wells v.2.0.

    second, those are ridiculous numbers for votto. he’s going to want at least $150M over who knows how long.

    none of these contracts are likely to pay off. the big name FA contracts hardly ever work out. Even A-Rod’s ridiculous $250M contract was seen as ruining the Rangers, despite the fact that he continued to be awesome and play SS.

    as a fan, i just want the team to be successful, and i hate the red sox and yankees for making that so fucking hard.
    as a clear eyed rationalist, i think about how ridiculous it is that we think a human deserves $200million to play a children’s game, and that some company is profitable enough to be able to easily afford that. jeez. we’re all fucked, pals.

  12. if Prince Fielder has the potential to be Vernon Wells 2.0 then every single player in baseball has that potential.  which takes you out of 5 or 5+ year deals which takes you out of superstar market.

    are you looking for a risk free deal? try T-Bills

  13. You don’t sign Fielder because you’re going to have to pay him more than anybody else is willing to, for longer than anybody else is willing to. That’s how free agency works. Sometimes a player may take a little bit less to sign somewhere, but he’s not going to take less to come here, he’s going to want more: a lot more probably. And as much as I LOVE Prince Fielder, I wouldn’t bet potentially franchise crippling money on him producing at elite levels for more than the next four years. And unless the Jays are able to land a number 1 starter via trade, they wouldn’t go anywhere with Fielder anyways, so what’s the point?

  14. No way I’m trading Alvarez unless the deal looks amazing. His poise has great value and is unlikely to be valued correctly in any trade.

    The problem with most of the major league roster is that you still don’t really know what you have in a many players. Nobody is really coming off a career year that you might think is a good point to sell high. Maybe Yunel, but I don’t see him easily replaced yet.

    It’s better to trade prospects because then the GMs can imagine whatever they want about them without the need to prove it.

    Mid-season is also a better time to sell high on a player because people tend to over-value what they have seen most recently.

  15. everyone knows what they wouldn’t do but no one suggests what they would or should do

  16. as it turns out, the cba contains another “fuck you, blue jays” clause.

    or, put another way: we now have a clear indication that the league views people as revenue units, and that good teams will automatically capture them. it’s not like st louis has an ingrained culture of baseball that larger, but non-traditional markets (toronto/canada) do not.

    what a crock.

  17. No deal is risk free, but most Free Agent deals SUCK long term (more than two years) for the signing team. Who’s the last one that worked out well? Manny Ramirez? Jim Thome? 

  18. Ok. They should trade for Matt Garza and Martin Prado.

  19. Everyone is in panic that AA is just going to sit on his hands….  I don’t believe that for one second.  Everyone said Jays holding tight at trade deadline last year and out of the blue – AA gets Rasmus
    As much as I want Fielder in here even if it is for 8 / 200 mil, if we don’t get him I am confident AA will do what is best for the franchise

  20. they only have that potential if you hand them a contract that amounts to 4+ years of the entire oakland A’s/Tampa Rays MLB payroll.

    hitters are pretty easy to project, but pitchers – especially young ones – are more tricky.

    fielder has 3 seasons of 5+ fWAR. adam lind has one season where he put up 3.7 fWAR…and has otherwise been not much more than a guy. it’s not a huge risk to assume that fielder is worth $25million/year for the next few years. the problem is the question of how long is he worth that?

    my point is that, they should be trying to model what marginal wins will be worth in 5-8 years…$180million to Fielder might not be a terrible deal by then.
    Of course, Jacob  Anderson might be a beast by then and the point moot.

  21. This is hilarious. Are there any GM’s the last 2 years that have made more trades than Anthopoulos? People joke about the guy being a ninja for a reason (which is a fun term). He’s always doing trades that have razzle dazzle to them. You want a GM that has balls and makes interesting ballsy trades, that actually pay off? You got him. You want a GM who enables great narrative with Jedi mind tricks over other GM’s and acquires talented young players, and then mind tricks the players into signing team friendly contract extensions? You got him. You want a magician GM who can get rid of  the worst(s) contract in baseball and actually get a kick ass player back??!! You got him.

     Quit pissing your pants and quit wanting a whole offseasons moves to happen in one $%&#ing day. Watch an episode of Deadwood or Breaking Bad if you need an adrenaline hit that bad.

  22. I understand AA’s bind. He’s not going to get value in the trade market until later in the season when other teams are looking to add future talent.. but doesn’t that lend value to leveraging Free Agency to fill any gaps to put your team in a position to add at the deadline? I’m no fan of spending a kajillion dollars on over priced talent – but wait and see only works for so long.

    It seems like an utter waste of Bautista and Romero to just hope that the stars align properly and that the Jays end up within striking distance at the deadline – close enough that they’ll even want to add a solid player.

    What happens if the team stinks it up in front of a young pitching staff that desperately needs another bonafide starter this year? Its far more likely than not that the Jays are once again a .500 club. What then? Wait til the next year to see if adding talent makes sense? The holding pattern could last long enough that the Jays miss their window of opportunity altogether.

    I’m all for AA’s approach, but I do not understand why you would ignore the opportunity to add to the team without losing any assets in the attempt to win a few games until your youth is primed and ready for takeover.

  23. “Then there’s Henderson Alvarez who, since I’m already just spitballin’,
    kinda like Eric Thames, looks like a keeper, but might just be behind a
    number of others in the system in terms of long-term projection. So
    maybe in actuality he is the Jays’ best chip– not that removing him
    from the rotation wouldn’t be an issue, but to move him now likely means
    a rotation spot going to Kyle Drabek to start the year”

    Loved the insight Stoeten, but especially this part. To me, it seemed odd the Blue Jays decided to bring up Alvarez in ’11 rather than giving Drabek a second chance seeing how Alvarez is younger. Would it be complete bullshit to guess that perhaps the Jays thought if Alvarez came up and pitched well for 2 months that he would establish enough value to trade for a 2nd Baseman? Or is that what you were getting at anyway?

  24. There’s definitely appeal to Arencibia, but what do the Jays do at that position while waiting for d’Arnaud? They still want to put a strong team out there this year, and grabbing a starting catcher from the scrap heap– which is the only sensible thing to do, really– doesn’t help much in that cause.

  25. Wtf are you talking about? Let’s do away with well thought out team building strategy in favour of an expensive, impatient, shit for brains approach to long term contention. Nice. Buy a hooker and a Yankees jersey.

  26. CC Sabbathia, A-Ram (not terrible – mostly didn’t recoup value because of injuries), Ted Lilly, Teix, K-Rod, Matt Holliday…

    MOST FAs are old, since most MLB players are entering their prime when they hit the bigs. Fielder is 27. It’s not often that elite players enter free agency because usually this type of player re-signs with their home team.

    To me, the concern is injury more than decline. If your big FA gets hurt, their contract is still guaranteed.

    In the case of non-elite FAs…yes, they seem to always be a huge waste of money on a win-now strategy. They almost never seem to pan out, or provide value…at least that’s my perception – yet, the big names do, so long as they don’t impinge the team’s ability to spend elsewhere (this is why the ARod contract in Texas was so miserable for them and hardly an issue for the Yanks).

    The biggest young guy under 30 to hit FA and bust hard is undoubtedly barry Zito. almost everyone said at the time that it was a joke, and that he was already declining, and had no business winning the Cy, and that he was a product of the collesium. sabean was trying to win while bonds was still around. it didn’t work out, but fielder is no zito. the jays should definitely be in on him.

    with that said, i don’t want to hear aa say anything until he ninja flips right in between fielder and some other team to scoop him at the last second.

  27. Yah. I think the first four years of Fielder could be good. It’s the last four that might hurt. His dad was done by 30.

  28. I think you do exactly what San Fran did in 2010.  Get a veteran in who is serviceable (like Bengie was) and go under the assumption that d’Arnaud will be called up in May or June.  Let him tear up the PCL for a month or two and have at it.  Plus, you have a serviceable veteran back-up.

  29. Or actually, Cecil Fielder was done by 32. If anything, Prince is fatter than Cecil.

  30. I hear Randy Knorr is available. (He actually used to get free tickets for my family. He’s a friend of my cousin.)

  31. This is all assuming that d’Arnaud is actually ready.  In the meantime, get everyone to stop telegraphing that d’Arnaud is ready (if anything, hint the opposite), let the market subtley know Arencibia is available for the right price.  Heck, even trade or sign said serviceable veteran to make it look even more like JPA is only available for the right price

  32. He likely is.  I only use him as my moniker as my first catcher’s glove was a Randy Knorr edition and he somehow wound up my favourite player on the early 90s Jays. 

  33. Then you should know he’s now the Nat’s bench coach.

  34. Most big free agency contracts if not all of them ever get you the full
    value you pay on them especially over the entire life of the contract
    and I am sure all teams know this. Maybe that’s a reason not to ever
    sign a player to one but sadly that’s the just the price of doing
    business in sports these days.  I guess teams and fans have to ask
    themselves what’s a championship actually worth?

    Is overpaying
    for the present and near future and potentially handicapping teams
    long-term success worth a championship or two now? How many fans would
    be more than happy with a couple more championships in the next 3-4
    years if it means the Jays will be only average for the next 4 years
    after that? I think it’s a good question to ask and one that’s
    influenced by the type of owner a club has. I could easily see (and we
    have seen) the Yankees, Phillies, Sox go this way but how about teams
    owned by corporations like the Jays? If they look at it strictly in
    terms of the bottom line contributions will they ever be truly willing
    to do what it takes as long as they know they can get a comfortable
    profit by doing  just enough to come close? I wonder if Rogers will just
    take a page out of the MLSE’s book in the years to come.

  35. I didn’t know that! I only net him a few times when I was a kid when we went down to the dome. (I didn’t grow up in Toronto, so that wasn’t very frequently.) He trained a lot with my cousin in the off season in the LA area. (My cousin was a ball player also, but not a famous one or anything.)

  36. Obviously I meant “met” him. I have no idea what “net” him might mean, but it doesn’t sound good.

  37. I have to agree with the masses here that Alvarez should be the closest thing to untouchable. The guy held his own with 2 pitches in the MLB with a potential above-average slider still being worked on.

  38. JPA doesnt seem to play well defensively, unless you compare to a cardboard box..then thats a toss up.

  39. How does signing a player “handicap” the richest owners in the league? The Yankees are poorer than Rogers, and yet, somehow they make do. No one says their future has been handicapped by signing CC or A-Rod or Jeter, etc…and most people think they overpayed for pretty much their whole roster at this point.

    I’m growingly confident that young, elite FAs like Fielder do provide a good return. Which isn’t to say you’ll get back “value” but there is a certain amount of opportunity cost involved in landing an elite player.

    At this point, I’d rather have Fielder now than a Votto pipedream some time in the future.

    You also make a point I made earlier or in another thread: the Jays need pressure from the fans to spend and keep spending. otherwise they will spend only enough to keep fans on the hook.

    If they can come out and explain how, for the past 2 years, we’ve heard that “if AA can make the case to get someone, the money will be there” has turned into: “we don’t want to spend $, AND we don’t have a viable internal option to generate the same amount of performance”.  it’s ridiculous double-speak. either they have the money to play with the big guys, or they don’t. either fielder is elite, or he isn’t. screw all this “at the right price” – free agents are the price that the market determines. full stop. wins cost what teams are willing to pay. with the new CBA in place, FAs are the main place where a team can spend unhindered.

    if anyone here has some insight as to how the Jays can continue to “game the system” having had all their loopholes closed, let me know. until then, they’re just being cheap and HOPING that their bevy of draft picks produce some kind of freakish 100+ career WAR player again.

  40. Nevermind the guy has the potential to throw a fastball 99 mph. Maybe Morrow comes close, but lately he hasnt been a worldbeater.

  41. Player A – Late season call up: 5.67 K/9; 3.97FIP, 3.38 xFIP
    Player B – Late season call up: 6.35 K/9; 4.08FIP, 3.48 xFIP

    Do you see where this is going?

  42. Every single player in baseball does have bust potential and only the Yankees can afford to piss away money in the superstar market. Boston has kept up for awhile but they have pretty much blown all their payroll flexibility at this point. 

    Now that most expiring contracts won’t be bringing in compensation, those contracts will move much more freely at the deadline. It will be a buyer’s market and AA will have the most chips (prospects) at the table. AA has pretty much laid his plan bare and it’s really  hard not to see its greatness. 

  43. “I’m all for AA’s approach, but I do not understand why you would ignore the opportunity to add to the team without losing any assets in the attempt to win a few games until your youth is primed and ready for takeover.”

    Did he say he was ingnoring it? Have you looked at the Free Agent list? It’s bad. Who do think is actually out there to be signed that’s going to make such a huge difference beyond and handful of guys?

  44. “To me, it seemed odd the Blue Jays decided to bring up Alvarez in ’11 rather than giving Drabek a second chance seeing how Alvarez is younger. Would it be complete bullshit to guess that perhaps the Jays thought if Alvarez came up and pitched well for 2 months that he would establish enough value to trade for a 2nd Baseman.”

    Nope, don’t think so. Drabek was a mess the whole year. They needed a starter would could provide a innings amount more than 2.

  45. I’m not talking about the Yankee’s specifically as they’ve obviously shown that $200 million a year is par for the course and spending big doesn’t faze them in the least. I’m talking about mid tier teams like Jays where a big contract will eat up so much of the total payroll down the road that they can’t afford to spend on areas that they need.

    I definitely agree with a lot of what you’re saying. I am just asking who else would be prepared sacrifice the future for championships now or very soon. See I don’t have a problem with them signing a player to a long contract if it brings me a championship or two. I think a player like Fielder who is actually young enough to still be highly productive 3-4 years into his contract is worth it. Maybe he’s a rare case because of his age. Maybe it’s going to be one more year before the Jays are confident enough to go that route. Who knows?

    However, as you say, hoping the majority of draft picks turn out to be superstars is a fools game. The Angels played it a few years ago when they refused to trade players like Brandon Wood  and others when they were at their peak value.  I don’t mind being patient for another year. I just don’t want to be MLSE’d by Rogers for the next 5 years before I am told we have to blow things up again and start from the beginning. 

  46. Mid-tier is all a state of mind – since Rogers can afford to do whatever they want.

    They can piss away money, and just raise the prices of their other products (tv, internet, wireless, etc) to compensate. It’s not like a duopoly is “real” competition, and it’s not like the CRTC is all of a sudden going to cut its ties with industry, and grow a pair.

    Anyway, the premise of signing FAs now is some how going to cost the Jays in the future… I don’t get this. They’ve saved millions on payroll alreayd by cutting Wells loose. Even if that is where the Bautista came from…they already have locked up their “core” for the next 3-6 years.

    Romero, Bautista, Escobar, Lind, Lawrie, Rasmus and Arencbia are all here until AT LEAST 2014, AND cost-controlled. That says nothing of all the people coming up behind them.

    Of all the teams, the Jays have room to spend big and fail, and NOT have it impact them in the long-run.

  47. Well I think you  are missing the fact that even though Rogers is loaded, the budget allocated to the Jays at this point and likely down the road is decidedly mid-tier. Until that’s changed that’s what you have to live with. It’s one of the inherent flaws of being owned by a corporation. There’s usually no owner with with a will to make things happen regardless of the cost. The Jays are going to be limited and have been limited unlike the Yankees. That’s not going to change as long as Rogers owns them. Maybe Teddy boy could have done it but there’s no way the current CEO is going to bust the company piggie bank open and break the budget without catching flak from the board and shareholders.

    As long as a budget is in place the potential to be handicapped by a big contract down the road is always going to be there. What money they saved now or in the last couple of years isn’t going to necessarily stay around for future use. It just goes back into the Rogers pot.

    Believe me I wish it were otherwise and Rogers spent on the Jays as if it was their favourite child but it’s just another profit center for them and resources get allocated accordingly.

  48. Why do you assume that the Jays will be out of playoff contention before the season has even started? The Jays have upgraded their 3B and CF positions vastly over the likes the Jayson Nix, Corey effing Pattern/Davis with Lawrie and Rasmus. Both with star potential, those are massive upgrades. The jays are also not going to be giving JoJo Reyes 20 starts in 2012 either. Your assumption is completely devoid of substantial proof as to why they would be worse. They already made the notable moves this past season to improve for 2012. Bullpen should not be a difficult fix, rotation will probably be better with in-house options no matter what b/c of the -ve value Reyes brought to the table.  Oh wait your name is BooJays so I will assume you are a troll who knows jack about the team.

  49. I was responding to the idea of this whole thread that AA may have signalled that he won’t be pursuing anyone through free agency. 

    You said yourself that there is a handful of guys out there that could make a difference. Why would you ignore them if getting them could set you up for more deals later in in the season? You can’t always wait for the perfect player to come up – Bautista certainly wasn’t that. And he won’t be here to rely on forever. What I really don’t want to happen is that the Jays get to a point where they are ready to contend – if they could only find a power hitter to play right-field because Bautista has retired.

  50. are you kidding me? trade alvarez and stick with drabek? yer outta yer tree bud. Alvarez showed way more promise than Drabek.

    you’ve got a very strange dedication to drabek and snider. i’d love them to succeed as much as anyone…but….i’m not taking it for granted that they deliver on what their promise showed.

    rasmus gets another year to see what’s up. but if he has any of the problems we’ve seen outta drabek or snider (although snider hasn’t really received a fair shake yet…let’s be frank)….then he’ll go in the same category.

    so far I feel a lot better about guys like escobar, lawrie, alvarez and so forth that show a bit more result even while they’re working it out….

  51. thats a lot of hate mr. guest.  not sure what ive done to make you so angry…glad im not your girlfriend though.  i’d get that anger checked out.   the name is just a handle i didn’t put too much thought into it…unlike you…guest!?  not really sure what a troll is or how i qualify for such a moniker

    as far as your comments go whatever man im not bashing the team but i do think a substantial move or two needs to be made this winter if this team stands a chance at competing for the playoffs in 2012.  take it for what its worth sorry i ruined your day. 

  52. There’s only a handful of guys that could/would make any difference. It’s a junk FA year. Everyone knew it was going to be for a while now. Basically AA is saying that he doesn’t think the club is sitting right there ready to contend yet, though who knows maybe next summer it will be. There not one player away. If there’s a player available that helps things go in the right direction, and the price is not retarded and driven up by someother dipshit GM, i’m sure he’ll be after that guy. He seems to be not interested in Pujols or Fielder, but has said he’d like a #2 starting pitcher. Maybe it could be Darvish or Wilson. Or maybe he trades for Garza, etc. Or maybe he doesn’t force himself to make a move that’s just not a good one available.

    He’s obviously tempering peoples blood lust for signing free-agents and just spending $$money$$, the apparent cure all for everything. He’s sharing his views on the best way to acquire the best talent, at their best peak and for the best finacial control. He’s not saying he will never sign a free-agent.

  53. The budget is whatever AA and Beeston say it needs to be. Their owners are happy bc right now, instead of just tossing $150M/yr on ML payroll they’re coming in at something like 70-80. Each year that they don’t spend to what Beeston has stated they are able to SHOULD be considered extra. They should throw that money in a savings account…70 last year, another 70 this year, etc. and then they can spend like the fatcat billionaires they are “when the time comes”…oh what’s that you say? the time is now? fielder and darvish are reasonable risks to take and will still see the Jays spending less than the Angels next year and into the foreseeable future?

  54. Player A – Late season call up: 5.67 K/9; 3.97FIP, 3.38 xFIP
    Player B – Late season call up: 6.35 K/9; 4.08FIP, 3.48 xFIP

    Without looking it up – guess which one is Drabek, and which one is Alvarez. Or, tell me again that one is/was clearly more promising.

  55. There is a huge difference between spending money for spending’s sake and utilizing an available option to improve your club. I’m not saying spend $300M on payroll. I’m saying that he stands a better chance of getting his youth to a point where they contribute in a meaningful way if they can do that without having to carry a team on their backs. Having a #2 starter would take a lot of pressure off of each of their young pitchers. Having a bat to clot in behind Bautista would be a relief for guys like Rasmus, Lawrie etc.

    All I’m saying is if you wait for the perfect FA to be available at the right price, at the right time – you’re going to wait forever. If you’re waiting for some signal in the sky that you’re ready to contend before you add any talent that significantly improves your club you’ll wait forever. If you are waiting for the deadline to make any improvements because you MAY already have a good team – we’d better back that idea of contending for a few more seasons.

  56. this idea that this is a “bad” FA year is nonsense. it has the most elite guys of any FA class i can remember. if you have a team that is in need at 1b, you will NEVER see a better situation in which the big market/revenue teams are set at the position, and everyone else is hog tied. it’s a line that came down from Keith Law, but as if that moran is never wrong. it’s only a bad FA crop if you’re a team looking to add another SP because your system is full of Jo Jo Reyeses and co, or if you’re the Giants and you would sing hallelujah if the team somehow acquired Eric the Messiah Thames. If, however, you are the richest ownership in baseball, and a 27 year old, middle of the lineup hitter is there who could replace your dopey 1bman you JUST PUT THERE LAST YEAR BECAUSE THERE IS NO ONE ELSE IN THE SYSTEM – then this is the best FA crop you could ask for. Not only that, there’s an even BETTER 1bman on the market, who also happens to be pretty much the best player in the past decade who will go for even more money, and eliminate one of the pocketful of teams that has the need and more importantly, the CASH to spend on one of these guys.

    beyond that, there’s an elite SS with excellent OBP and SB skillz, who will come at a bargain because of recent injury troubles.

    and on top of that – you have Yu Darvish – who could come over here and be an ace @ age 26.

    DO IT NOW.

    not signing fielder, or at least making him choose between two cities and the same contract, is a sign that rogers doesn’t give a shit about actually acting like a big market team. (which, incidently, the new CBA makes clear they are).

  57. lol if it was only that simple. There has to be justification for that $150 million. It’s all about ROI end of story with corporate owners. If and when the Jays get back to the 4 million attendance mark then I can see the corporate masters saying why not.  Just go back to attendance numbers in 89 where they jumped up over 30% from 88. They continued to rise right through the championship years when they ended up having the highest payroll. The revenue dictated the increase in the payroll.

    As for Darvish and Fielder I don’t deny they would be good investments. I agree whole heartedly if in fact the Jays are only a year or two away. To me championships are ultimate goal, to Rogers I am not sure that’s the case.

  58. Team owns stadium that the city/province are probably still forking out for, and which they paid basically NOTHING for.

    Team Owns the cable network they broadcast on.

    They’ve likely been making money hand over fist on this team for the last 10 years and laughing about it.

    If you can help me figure out how to disentangle all of the money they make, versus all their costs, THROUGH all the holding comapnies and subsidiaries, and other accounting witchcraft they use to obfuscate….please, be my guest.

    My intuition, however, is that the Jays are VERY profitable for Rogers.

    Having my seasons ticket prices locked in last week, I am now firmly on the “SIGN FIELDER AND DARVISH NOW” train.

    e: exactly – Rogers don’t care about winning. only crazies like Steinbrenner (old) and Cuban care about that. The rest are in business. Period. That’s fine. Let’s make it bad business for them to ALWAYS be a year or two away from competing.

  59. Pujols, Fielder, Reyes, Darvish, Wilson, Rollins, Buehrle, Ortiz, H. Bell, Beltran, Aramis Ramirez, Edwin Jackson. Quesion: Which of these guys are “elite” ? And which guys fit the current Blue Jays roster construction?

    Yes, you want Fielder/Pujols. Obviously AA doesn’t want to lock 200 million into a guy in his thirties like Pujols and maybe lying about his age. How’s the latest A-Rod deal looking?? It would seem quite possible he doesn’t want to spend 150-200 million on Prince Fielder who has major fucking body weight issues. Maybe AA drops a shitwad of cash and signs gets Darvish. NO ONE KNOWS YET.

    Really. How many players in MLB locked into huge long $20+ million per year contracts are actually giving good value on that? I’m asking.

  60. Again there’s no denying the Jays are profitable. As you said they’re probably laughing about it. Doesn’t change anything when it comes to actually spending it.  But if it was as easy as you claimed for Beeston when it comes to adding so much payroll why haven’t they done it? My whole point is yes the ability is there but is the will to do so? If the will isn’t there then they have to live within the budget handed down to them. On that budget huge contracts have the potential to handicap future incarnations of the team. Again I have no problem with that as long as it got me a championship or two. Like I asked earlier, how many people would be willing to trade the future for now if the result was the championship?

    Anyway I think we’ve beaten this horse to death lol I’d gladly jump aboard the train even if leads over a cliff 5 years out as long as it was a great ride.

  61. Here’s an interesting deal: the jays send drabek to yanks for montero and prospects going either way and/ or cash payments 

  62. #2 Starter? Absolutely. I would totally dig that too. Another big bat? I’d love that. I have little faith in Lind, and always have. But is Fielder really that much of an upgrade for 20 plus million a year?? I’m asking.

    “All I’m saying is if you wait for the perfect FA to be available at the right price, at the right time – you’re going to wait forever. If you’re waiting for some signal in the sky that you’re ready to contend before you add any talent that significantly improves your club you’ll wait forever.”

    And Anthopoulos is saying he doesn’t want to “wait” for a perfect FA, he wants to acquire assets and trade for the best young players he can, long before they reach FA… Anthopoulos and Jon Daniels apparently disagree with you. AA said two weeks ago, once the Rangers felt they had assembled a great close core, they went out signed Beltre (even if it pissed off longtime Ranger, Mike Young) as a free-agent. Then during the season they again made great key trades, like they’d done with Cliff Lee earlier.

  63. Drabek is probably player B (didn’t look it up, just know that he’d have more K/9).

    It’s not really fair to compare the two though, as Alvarez is, what, 3 years younger at 21? Unless that was yer point.

  64. Pretty simple: guys under 28 that reach free agency means that a) they made the majors @ or before 22 and b) they were never sent down.
    That’s already a small section of players. Usually those guys get extended by their teams. In this case, the Brewers were too poor to do that.
    That nearly never happens. Just look at the list of guys under 30 with multiple 4+fWAR seasons in the past 5 years that have made it to Free Agency.

    Of them, only ZITO is the one i would point to as a trainwreck contract, and no one here should be thinking Wilson is worth handing $130Million bux to.

    I’ve been pretty clear that youth/elite FAs are rare, and tend to produce closer to the value they are signed for than older FAs.

    A-Rod, the poster boy for terrible contracts made 70.15 fWAR over the last ten years. In 2011 dollars, that’s worth in the neighbourhood of $350million dollars. He didn’t get $35 million / season, tho.

    There aren’t a lot of examples of elite players 28 or under reaching free agency. and of the ones who have, they have tended, unsurprisingly, to produce to their peak.

    If you want to compare feilder and reyes to someone like Carlos Silva who was a young 3 win/year pitcher prior to the deal the mariners signed him to…well, have at it. everyone knew that was ridiculous at the time.

    to me, Fielder has to be compared to Teix, CC as an elite player who has made it to free agency at or before age 28. to find more examples of that, you have to go back further than 2006 when ESPN’s tracker begins.

  65. “beyond that, there’s an elite SS with excellent OBP and SB skillz, who will come at a bargain because of recent injury troubles.”

    Haha, yes a bargain @ 90 million (rumored). Where’s he going to play? Maybe he’ll sign to play at 2nd base eh? Leg injuries all the time, that concern to you at all, you know, once the games are actually played?

    “and on top of that – you have Yu Darvish – who could come over here and be an ace.”

    Now, your doing hyperbole. Yes, could translate to being a pretty darn good pitcher. And hopefully, he or someone of his ilk can be attained.

  66. drabek’s age 22 seaon, versus alvarez’ age 21 season. so…1 year.

    the point is: young pitchers are not projectible in the way that bats are. prince will be prince unless he gets hurt.

    all the people “certain” about alvarez are just parrots of scouts and evaluators who at this time last year were certain about drabek.
    what a difference a year makes.

    romero is the only guy even close to a pitcher you can bank on in the jays rotation. so, anyone that knows any different for certain has a crystal ball that i’d love to use to make money with.

  67. Escobar to 2nd or vice versa. Bautista makes 14 million. 6 years 84 million for reyes would be fair.

    as for Darvish, i don’t think any of the FA SP are worth the risk other than him. So it’s up to them to figure out whether or not his stuff will play in the MLB or not. Based just on stats, he’s better and a year younger than Dice-K. keep in mind that daisuke’s problem is mainly that he’s been injury prone, not that he’s terrible. that’s lackey’s problem.

  68. Fair enough. Drabek never had Alvarez’ control though, which he’s always had. That should make him more projectable, to a point.

  69. i wouldnt give that much money to reyes cause hes an injury risk waiting to happen; 4 years and 50 mil.

  70. Results are good too. Not just projection. Alvarez lately > Drabek.

  71. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”…Christmas? Sure but moreso that dead period between the end of the World Series and the hot stove really getting going (note: it hasn’t really yet so why worry?). I think I’ll echo one of the posters whose handle escapes me at the moment and hope that the hot stove frenzy gets going soon because I have a hunch AA’s gonna be front and centre.

    Love how the douchebag puckhead talking heads were talking about the free agent frenzy about a month ago. When will they get it through their thick, concussed skulls? Probably never.

    …”There’ll be parties for hosting, Marshmallows for roasting”…Wait a minute…What the fucking fuck? Was Andy Williams completely brain dead or just unobservant? Marshmallows? Around a summer campfire maybe. Maybe he lived in CA or something. Who knows? Scary ghost stories? Tales of the glories of Christmases long ago? I think I’ll go with drugs as an explanation for these bizarre Christmas carol lyrics…Yep drugs.

    …We now return you to your regularly scheduled tugs of war over things completely beyond your control with one small request: Can we please let AA do something (he will, count on it) before we leap to conclusions about what he isn’t going to do? If there’s one thing I’ve learned in his 26 months on the job, it’s that I can’t possibly anticipate what he’s going to do and neither can any of us, but generally when he does do something major (read: not Luis Valbuena type of stuff) it moves the team closer to where we all want them to go. So sit back and enjoy the process…Or put your blood pressure through the roof over something that’s supposed to give you enjoyment. S’up to you.

  72. I think A-Rod can be a poster boy for two types of contracts. The first contract he signed with the Rangers lasted from 2001 to 2007 covering  the years when was 25 to 31 and he raked in roughly $136 million and compiled a fWAR of 57.1.  That gives us $2.38 million per 1 fWAR which is actually very cheap even if you were to adjust it for inflation.

    Now his 2nd contract has been nothing but a huge disaster up to this point. Since 2008 when his new contract started he’s earned $126 million covering the years he was 32-35 and compiled a fWAR 18.6 or $6.77 per 1 fWAR .

    To me that puts Fielder in a good spot for a team especially for the next 3-4 years.  As I was saying earlier if you could stomach being handicapped by a big contract 5-6 years out for a championship or two now why not? Of course your decision to jump into a contract with that much risk is dependent on how close you are to actually winning a championship in those first 3-4 years. I think it’s obvious Jays management doesn’t feel they’re in that spot quite yet to take those risks.

  73. I like alvarez for several reasons. he kinda flew under the radar until reports of his velocity spike came up on jays fans’ radar in the middle of last year. he was good before then, but then we started salivating about how unhittible he might be. he was an IFA signing before AA made it hip, so he didn’t have the pedigree and pressure that 1st rounders like drabek came with.
    I hope he keeps getting better, but i wouldn’t bank on it…yet.

    i’m not really sure if that makes projections more accurate. guys with control and velocity may have poor movement, and that makes them hittbale no matter what they do. with pitchers, they have much more control over the game than batters. they choose the pitch-type, speed and location of the event (pitch)…batters have merely the task of: see-ball, hit-ball. and i think for a lot of players that’s what it is…no matter how much tape they watch, that’s their job. if MLB pitchers are tipping their offspeed before they throw it, they aren’t going to be ML pitchers for long. that’s not to say there aren’t guys who will ID each pitch each time, but i think at the level of athleticism, it is more conditioned in the body than intellectualized with the mind. although i don’t want to suggest that they are separate.

  74. he won’t sign for that. either the jays are going to pay market value, or they don’t land him. i agree…too many questions to make it a worthwhile risk, when you are already set at SS.

  75. RE: possible lack of movement for high control: I think we both saw how devestating his fastball is. It’s basically a 94-96mph sinker. His slider has good bite to it also, but it needs more polish.

    Would I bank on him being an ace? Hell no. I learned my lesson with McGowan. But I’ll bank on him being fun to watch on a more consistant basis than Morrow has been.

  76. Well myself, i’m not interested in Reyes. A lot of money for a guy with often leg injuries as well i’ve wondered with Hechavarria, whom assuming AA forsee’s @ SS, how well is Escobar going to take to being told to slide over to 2nd? It usually causes issues and problems for teams that do this does it not? Doing it now with Reyes would jump that whole likely touchy issue even sooner.

  77. The Rangers contract was 10 years and then the Yanks made them eat a big chunk of that until he opt’d out.
    Anyway, Fielder is still very young relative to FAs, and if the Jays have someone else coming up, they might be able to trade him…hey if Wells could be moved, why not? Fielder isn’t like Wells, he hasn’t posted one amazing year and another pretty great year…he’s been consistently doing his thing.

    To me, it isn’t really a risk, so much as a decision to pay market value for an elite FA. The risk comes in uncertainties: will he stay healthy? will he mail it in? will he hate the city and people and just not try? etc. i think those are all unfounded.

    if we’re talking about the monetary risk, if ever tehre was a FA to pay, fielder is one, i’d say.

  78. His FB is impressive. That doesn’t mean he can throw it and it alone for an entire career.

    I look forward to next year, and with luck, Alvarez will morph into an ace or something. Who knows? Maybe Drabek will actually figure out how to throw strikes, too!

  79. hechavarria should just be dropped from conversations entirely. in the AFL he hit like he did in AA, against mostly AA or lower pitchers. he’s a glove-only ss, and any attempts to pencil him in to the lineup at the ML level are driven by the ridiculous bonus AA handed him before he had Escobar here.

  80. The contract was redone in 08 which is why I broke it down that way.

    As for Fielder I think he’s a much better bet overall than Pujols if you are talking value for the overall length of the contract. 

    As for risk as you said there are plenty of uncertainties, while there’s no proof any of them will take place it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still possible hence the future risk.  You can’t rule any of them out with  any kind of certainty but I still agree Fielder would make a good investment in the right situation. A team like the Cubs makes no sense to me as they are a disaster and probably will be for years to come.

  81. i get that. the yanks are not going to get value from him on what they signed him to; my point is: they saved a TON on his early years and the rangers were paying MORE on average, because they had to keep paying him from 03-07 when he wasn’t even on their team. So my point was: the Rangers contract should retroactively be looked at as: the WAR he produced from 00-03, but the $ they paid from 00-07.

    and on the other side of that, the yankees’ deal with arod in winter 07 should be thought of as coming out of the huge savings they had 04-07 + the trainwreck they’re mired in now.

    that’s kinda unclear, but i’m running out the door – so f it.
    anyway – i agree on fielder. he’s a good long-term play. and uncertainties and risks are different things. for example, we have no idea what the long-term effects of living near nuclear plants are, but those uncertainties are calculated risks. we know that they could blow up in our face, but we also knwo that the passive failure systems in place in ontario make that way more unlikely than @ tepco’s reactors…where that failure was already unlikely, and even then, had a huge human component.
    all that to say: i’m a fan, and i want to see a world-beater out there. i don’t see a cheap way of doing it, so why not do it the way that the big boys do? worst case scenario is you owe one guy a ton, and have a system full of talent coming up, anyway.

  82. Maybe that is what drives AA to keep him in the plans? Maybe he hopefully believes his bat will improve and if it doesn’t, he’ll flip him to someone NL team who loves slick ass SS who can’t hit. But in the meantime he talks up his value. #liketheyankeesdo

  83. That Guest would be me! and I apologize I kinda lost it a bit. Had just 3 hrs of sleep for studying for my exam which i wrote today and was a little on edge. Anyway, that explains that. Was a bit harsh with my comments haha. But I would agree with you adding that one or two nice pieces would really help the team out. I disagree with your putting them out of the race by mid-way w/o the season having started. I believe the two massive, I mean like massive upgrades we have now at 3B and CF alone should more than make up for the missing pieces we may or may not get. I’m not saying we will, but with the talent we already have now, who knows?

    What I’m getting at is our chances for 2012 look much better today that it did last year! So have some hope fellow jays fan.

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