Just catching up on some old noise here, which comes from Kenny Ken Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, who yesterday informed us that the Jays “are unlikely to acquire righty Matt Garza from the Cubs, major-league sources say.”

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, as the prospect price for Garza will be high, and it seems almost inevitable that some other, more desperate club will value his two remaining years of service more than the Jays would.

That, of course, might lead Jays fans to wonder, why aren’t they more desperate? “The Jays do not appear especially interested in righties Hiroki Kuroda and Roy Oswalt,” Rosenthal adds. “They also are unlikely to pursue righty Edwin Jackson, who reportedly is seeking a five-year, $60 million deal.”

It’s not an especially difficult question when you see the price tag on Jackson, even though he’s a reliably average innings-eating starter with some upside. Unless, of course, you’re still of the delusion that Rogers ought to be geared up to throw cash around on anything, just to prove their loyalty to the fans. The money, and especially the term, is too tough to swallow unless the price comes down.

Oswalt and Kuroda would come cheaper and on shorter deals, but they’re not without baggage, and ultimately, they’re really just high cost ways to avoid the club giving a rotation spot to an untested kid.

Would the Jays be better off in 2012 doing so? Probably– though I don’t see Kuroda being all that interested in pitching here, and I worry about Oswalt’s lower back (“He reportedly has two degenerative discs in his lower back and while he has never undergone back surgery, he has had numerous cortisone shots,” said an ESPN report in early November. “As recently as June, when the recurrent pain sent him to the disabled list for six weeks, Oswalt talked about possibly having to retire because of the injury.”).

Would they be better off in the long run? I’m not entirely sure. But I can’t imagine adding a one-year mid-rotation starter that much of a setback– and that’s where the front office’s difficulty in deciding how to approach this off-season must lie. And at this point, they’re running the risk doing it half-assed, patching together a nice bullpen, a nice core of hitters, burning another year of Jose Bautista’s prime, and not having the horses in the rotation to back it all up.

Can we fault them for not going all in to acquire a pitcher in what’s probably a fruitless year-too-early pursuit of a playoff spot? Not really. Not at what it’s going to cost them in prospect terms for just two years of Garza.

If we’re talking about just money, though, that’s a different story. Fortunately, it’s a story that doesn’t need to be written yet. Alex Anthopoulos still has time to pull a rabbit out of his hat, and there’s no reason to expect he won’t. Until we see how the market for starters plays out over the rest of the winter, it’s too soon for pissing and moaning.

Comments (49)

  1. I fully support the non pursuit of Garza.  Is he a game changer?  Is he the piece that puts us over the top?
    Given his history the answer has to be no.  To give up what Theo and Co. apparently want would be crazy.
    We need another SP, but not at this price.

  2. Do the Jays not realize theyre wasting Bautista’s prime yrs. Does that not mean anything??? They wasted Halladays prime yrs and theyre about to do the same to Bautista. Fact is, Garza would improve the team. Jackson or those other FA’s would not. In fact, Alvarez could be beter than jackson already. Just trade one of our young sp’s along with gose and get garza here. Fuck. Its absurd how patient everyone is here when theyve been doing this shit for past 18 years

  3. “Would they be better off in the long run? I’m not entirely sure. But I can’t imagine adding a one-year mid-rotation starter that much of a setback– and that’s where the front office’s difficulty in deciding how to approach this off-season must lie. And at this point, they’re running the risk doing it half-assed, patching together a nice bullpen, a nice core of hitters, burning another year of Jose Bautista’s prime, and not having the horses in the rotation to back it all up.”

    Pretty much sums up the situation.

    However there’s still some off-season left not to mention spring training.  I doubt AA is done.  But if he is, I won’t be pleased…

  4. it’s absurd how much you over value Alvarez

  5. On the weekend over @ BaseballPrimer Astro/Phillie fans were discussing Oswalt and his back issues. Phillie fans I thought made an intersting point that if the Phillies declined to pick up Oswalt’s ’12 option it’s a fair indication that it’s due to concern over his back since they’ve had him and his medical reports for the previous 2 years.

  6. You would rather have jackson and pay him $12M/yr. Really???

  7. Couldn’t they make the trade contingent on them working out an extension with Garza?  Similar to what Philadelphia did with Halladay.  Four years of Garza would be worth the steep price Theo is asking.

  8. Agreed. Here we go again with Haladay part 2. Baseball Refere.com projects the Jays payroll for 2012 at 73.9 million which is ranked 25th out of 30.

    The Jays are good at doing little deals like bringing back Frasor, getting Santos etc.

    Blair said we are looking at 80-85 wins in 2012.

    I don’t wan’t  to give up the farm for Garza but if it turns out that Theo gets 2 propsects for Garza, it will be disappointing for Jays fans.

    If the Jays don’t want to sign free agents & don’t want totrade prospects , then it’s tough to see them making any headway in the AL East.

    I don’t want 2013 to be Bautista trade watch.

    Will Bautista be as quiet as Halladay was ?

    The team should be more fun to watch in 2012, but there seems to be a lack of urgency by Rogers to makee big moves.

    Of cuse, we could have an AA blockbuster  trade waiting for late January, which was when they traded Wells.

  9. Just curious – and obviously it’s your opinion, but are you saying that Jackson, isn’t better than Cecil and McGowan for starters?

    As for the Bautista argument, while I think it’s got it’s merits, does AA abandon his methods for the sake of one player? Again I’m not saying he should or shouldn’t. I just figured if that’s the way he’s going to go he would have done more than just try and trade for a #3 starter.

  10. Is there “one piece” that gives you 10 extra wins? No, it takes two 5 win pieces, i.e. Fielder & Darvish or at least a few 3 win pieces to get you to 90 wins.

  11. Wait the Cubs out if you’re convinced he’s that much of a difference maker.  I don’t mind paying a fair price but if they don’t come off their unreasonable demands than fuck ‘em.  Let them kickstart their rebuild by stealing another teams best prospects.  I’d be pissed to see A.A.  fleeced in a stupid trade for a pitcher w/ 2 yrs of control.  Let the Tigers or someone else be dumb.   Or…wait for the Cubs to to sensible.

    Again:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs

  12. Garza will likely make that much next year through arbitration, then he’s gone. What kind of extension do you want to sign Garza to? personally, why bother? there is no evidence beyond the eternal optimism of the jays faithful that this team has a snowball’s chance in hell in 2012.

  13. I’d rather take my chances on cecil bouncing back than pay jackson what he wants. Cecil in 2010 is pretty comparable to what jackson will give you. Mcgowan should go in the pen. I doubt his shoulder can handle a lot of innings

  14. Also, I think Garza is a #2 starter not a #3. Theres a difference. Just my subjective opinion. And I think AA would be able to sign him to an extension as long as his agent isnt boras which i dont think is the case

  15. Not enough question marks.  

    The validity of your statement is directly related to the number of question marked contained within it.

  16. I’d be surprised if we didn’t win around 85 games this year with full seasons from guys like Lawrie, Rasmus and Johnson. It’s entirely possible of course, but to me that means the Jays starters were collectively fail because they are the likely make or break point for the Jays this coming year.

    I’m banking that AA makes additional improvements to the roster via trade by the trade deadline. If we can get 85 wins out of this season and improve the team then there’s no reason to initiate the Bautista Trade Watch. If that next step is taken on the road to contention then the chances that we’re a little more aggressive in the free agent market before 2013 season increases.

  17. Just to add to ‘reasons why Garza is a bad idea’ – his K-rate jumped last year after moving to the face pathetic NL pitchers,  so his peripheral spikes last year are probably more illusory than real.

    He’s not a great pitcher in the AL East, and I see no reason to believe that the cost of getting him would be worth the minimal increase in the Jays’ playoff chances

  18. RT @JonHeymanCBS: just unearthed #yankees bid for yu darvish. it was $15M. 

    The Yanks also won’t give up prime prospects for Garza and don’t want to overpay Edwin Jackson.

    They must not be serious about winning.

  19. I don’t know if it would be possible, but it’d be interesting to see what his K-rate would be against all players who are NOT pitchers…. equalizes it a bit.

  20. Read in mlbtr that Colby Lewis could be out there. Cant imagine the Rangers wanting to trade him. However, he would be interesting for the right package. Certainly better than the free agent starters out there. I like Oswalt but the back issues are risky.

  21. No there is not one piece out there.  I fully agree it would take at least two more meaningful moves for myself to really feel optimistic about this next year. 

  22. Good analysis.

    do the Phillie fans expect to win thd division or are they afraid of Atlanta & the Marlins?

  23. pretty simple – look at what it was before 2011, when he was in the AL.

  24. He’s not about to fall off a cliff, dude.

  25. God point. but would Garza be willing to come to Toronto withot knowing the clubhouse envt?

    Halladay knew he wanted to go to Philly.

  26. I am interested in what the community thinks about where Garza would slot into the rotation with the Jays. 

  27. Well, its not that simple.  If you look at what he threw in the AL vs what he threw last year in Chicago it’s totally different.  He drastically changed his approach, throwing far fewer FB’s (almost 20% fewer), many more sliders, with an uptick in curves and changes.

    People have pointed to this being the reason for his improvement, not just with his move to the NL.

  28. Bautista is a potential “poisoned chalice” for the Jays.

    It’s an extra 8 wins that the team got for nothing, and has now signed for 5 years at a relatively cheap amount.

    Without Bautista , AA could ake his team & build a compettive team on a low payroll by 2015.

    Now he has 2012 & 2013 to take advantage of Baautista’s superpowers.

  29. Should add:  Maybe he changed his approach *because* he was in the NL?  Anyway, I was just thinking out loud, really… its likely not possible to know.

  30. Isn’t this something FarrellBall has been reporting for the last 2 weeks…

    FIO buddy…. This is OLD NEWS

  31. Garza. lol.  Surely there is better out there than that!

  32. I predict 85 wins based on today’s roster. If there is an extra wildcard in 2012, do more teams refuse to make trades because they are in the race?

    Would AA be able to make a trade deadline fleece? Do other teams block AA’s cellphone calls because they are afraid of being fleeced?

  33. The Phillies are built to go for titles every year. Huge payroll and numerous veteran players. They don’t try to mix in any youth.

  34. Compare the Yankees roster with the Jays. They will win about 90-95  games without too much sweat.

  35. the data is available, i just don’t have either the tools or inclination to analyze it. to me, it’s a pretty expected outcome: pitcher goes from ALEast to NLAnything and Krate goes up. His BB% didn’t, which says to me that it wasn’t an overall command spike, just batters that can’t hit at the plate…1/9 being a pitcher. It’s not like he went crazy last year or aynthign either.

    halladay saw the same spike in Ks, grienke put up career best K/9…only marcum, of the guys i checked, didn’t improve after moving to the NL. it isn’t worth looking at. if he came back he’d be about the same as he was when he was with the Rays.

  36. There was lots of tongue in cheek with that comment.

  37. I’m kind of doubting the extra wildcard gets done this year. However, once it’s in place then yes I see other teams not making the kinds of trades they used to and it should make things harder for the usual buyers like the Sox and Yankees. That said, it will be an interesting conundrum for teams on the edge of the wildcard race. Since it will be much harder to get any picks back for players that leave for free agency those teams will have to really look hard at whether its just better to remove the risk of getting nothing for a player and trade them while the going is good. The danger of that of course is making your chances of the reaching the playoffs that much weaker and alienating your fan base in the process.

  38. The Yankees don’t have to acquire any of those players to contend, though. They’re already the best team in the division.

    The Jays, however, do need to make additions. Considering the apparent price of some of these SP, though, adding a bat should probably be the greater priority.

  39. not a surprise cus we will get either ervin santanna/gavin floyd for lower than market value

  40. His increased use of the slider can probably be attributed to the rising K rate. He’s a very good pitcher who has proven he can pitch against the best teams in baseball, but the Cubs know that and seem to be valuing him accordingly.

  41. They haven’t been doing “this shit” for the past 18 years. Just 2 years and 3 months according to my calandar.

  42. Halladay added a ridiculously good split-change going to the NL. It’s become his primary strikeout pitch.

  43. Most guys that throw that many sliders have TJ surgery sooner rather than later. 

    I’m not sure increased sliders –> K% increase, or crappier batters –> more sliders

    Like I said, separating that out isn’t really something I care to do. It’s worth noting that Garza had 3 dominant months and 3 so-so months last year. If i cared more, i’d look at the game charts to see if the change came in june/july and whether he was really throwing far more sliders than the 24% he threw across the season.

  44. I like how you comment about FarrellBall under the name “TooPro”.

  45. Right, but at some point, don’t the vets underpeform?

    Wasn’t Gillick involved in building the Phillies?

    If so, why we he use a high payroll/vet heavy approach to winning whereas in Toronto he preached a patient building approach?

  46. OK, I was thinking that.

  47. Agreed. It will be harder to do trades because more teams will be in the “wild card hunt”

  48. I wasn’t making any judgements on the Phillies in the last comment. I can here. The Phillies have numerous good players they’ve had forever who are getting old and some are maybe getting broken downish. Along the way they got Halladay and Blanton and Cliff Lee and Oswalt. Then they lost in playoffs again in ’11. Then they said they’d again keep their excellent OF prospect Brown in Triple-A in ’12 whom Ricciardi & Anthopoulos respectively tried to pry away w/ trading Halladay. Then they signed a few more old, declining veterans this past winter. The end.

  49. OK…sorry for being one of those guys, but I can’t resist.  The following lineup is fully possible for the Jays next season:

    Escobar ss
    Lawrie 3b
    Rasmus cf
    Bautista rf
    Fielder 1b
    Encarnacion/Lind dh
    Johnson 2b
    Arencibia c
    Thames/Snider/Francisco lf

    Romero
    Garza
    Kuroda/Oswalt
    Morrow
    Hernandez/Whoever wins this job

    Villanueva/Cerrano/McGowan/Litsch/Janssen/Oliver/Fraser/Santos

    Let’s say 4 prospects lost in the Garza deal, and 50 million added to the payroll b/w Garza, the other starter and Prince.  That’s still a stacked farm (with more picks to come), a potential playoff team and a $125 million dollar payroll.

    Obviously, this is not perfect.  A lot of other possibilities, etc.  But with this lineup, revenue goes up BECAUSE THEY ARE WINNING.

    I’m not saying we HAVE to get Prince…but how sick is the lineup WITH HIM in it?  Do we miss Gose or Deck or Hutchison or Lind or Marsinick (sp) or anyone if this is our team?

    Just sayin…

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