Holy four-alarm beaver-sounding maple dick of a moose hunt of a Mountie of a nugget. Not that we had anything else to fucking talk about today, but as soon as the draft ends, MLB clubs– or at the very least the media covering them– begin to turn their attention to the non-waiver trade deadline, and a few outlets apparently decided to get an early start on the rumour-mongering, which now inevitably involves the Jays. The big one– less a real rumour than idle speculation– comes from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, and involves Justin Morneau…
The Twins will likely entertain offers at the trading deadline but won’t necessarily deal him. Now that he appears to be over his concussion, Morneau has begun to resemble his old self. He put together a pretty good month of May (.264, 5 HRs, 16 RBIs). One team to watch: the Blue Jays. By all accounts, they are trying to do something big to revamp their offense. Morneau is also Canadian, and the Jays have money stored up. Morneau, 31, earns $14 million this year and next. The Jays also would have the kind of prospects Minnesota desires.
Oh? Is Justin Morneau Canadian? I had no idea.
Yes, yes, I think I’ve made it clear around here that I disdain the notion that the Jays ought to go after players just because they’re Canadian, and especially the fans who get lathered up all on the entirely wrong side of such things, but Morneau could be a big left-handed bat at first base, and for the price of whatever’s left of the $14-million he’s owed this year, plus $14-million more for next– an absorbable amount in baseball’s mad economy. Certainly there are risks that come with with a guy coming off a concussion, I suppose, but we’re talking about a crazy high-level talent signed for his age 31 and 32 seasons.
I actually don’t hate the idea.
Now, I sure as fuck don’t want to encourage anyone to start going fucking nuts about it, but if the Twins actually make him available… I mean… we’ve been toying with the idea of the Jays making $12-million one-year qualifying offers to Kelly Johnson and Edwin Encarnacion, and being able to live with the over-pay in order to hedge on the potential that they say no and net the club a draft pick when they hit free agency. This would be different how?
But again, it’s just someone’s idea, and not anything of substance. As are this pair of tweets, passed along by commenter @NorthYorkJays, from Mike Newman of FanGraphs and ScoutingTheSally.com…
— Mike Newman (@ScoutingtheSAL) June 3, 2012
We wound up agreeing JP Arencibia, Anthony Gose, Henderson Alvarez and Noah Syndergaard for Felix Hernandez would help both franchises.
— Mike Newman (@ScoutingtheSAL) June 3, 2012
Again, it’s pretty fucking speculative– probably too speculative to bother investing too much thought in– but sure… why the fuck not? Yes, Felix is owed $58-million for 2012 through 2014, but he’s Felix! (Y’know, as long as he gets his velocity back). The Jays have d’Arnaud, Rasmus and a bunch of young arms to cover for the loss of three of those bodies, and upgrading Alvarez to Felix would work just fine by anyone who isn’t insane, I suspect.
Moving into the more substantial, and speaking again of d’Arnaud, Ken Rosenthal– Kenny Ken Ken!– writes at Fox Sports that, before they extended catcher Miguel Montero, the Diamondbacks “explored the trade market for young catchers, but the price for the Blue Jays’ Travis D’Arnaud or Yankees’ Austin Romine would have been a package that started with Double-A left-hander Tyler Skaggs. The D-Backs understandably did not want to compromise their pitching depth.”
There isn’t a lot in the way of options for clubs looking to upgrade at catcher, so the Jays are in an enviable position of being able to trade one of theirs. Going for Skaggs, who was acquired by Arizona in the Dan Haren deal, may be aiming a bit high, but you have to feel confident that the club is going to be able to use one of Arencibia or d’Arnaud to nicely strengthen a position of need– at some point.
Another option for the club would be the fast-closing Latin American free agent market. On July 2nd the rules change, limiting the amounts that clubs will be able to spend on prospects like Cuban Jorge Soler, who is just now finally becoming a free agent, and will be choosing a team to sign with before the changes are in place.
Matt Snyder of CBS Sports reminds us that the Jays worked Soler out back in February, before his drawn-out citizenship process took him off the radar for most of the spring. I wrote about it at the time, noting that Kevin Goldstein would have had the 5-tool 19-year-old as the 38th or 39th best prospect in his top 101, and that Alex Anthopoulos himself had been present for the workouts.
The Cubs had reportedly come to a $28-million agreement with Soler, but obviously that has gone nowhere as he wasn’t even a free agent until this week. “In an Ask BA column back in December,” I wrote, “Jim Callis of Baseball America said that Soler may actually be a better prospect than [countryman Yoenis] Cespedes– younger and with five-tool potential. He compares him to Royals prospect Bubba Starling, the fifth pick in 2011, and says he’d expect both to be in the 11-20 range on his next top prospects list. Coupled with the fact that he may be the last major international free agent to hit the market before the severe spending restrictions of the new CBA come into place June 2nd, it should make for a hefty payday for Soler– as the reported $28-million deal suggests.”
We know that Anthopoulos has played in this pool before, signing Adeiny Hechavarria and regretting his near-miss on Aroldis Chapman. It certainly wouldn’t be out of character to see him go hard after Soler either.