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…


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.

Comments (70)

  1. hypothetically of course… what does it take to land Morneau..

    Twins have a ton of holes, so it would be easy to match up.. Pretty sure they’d want a catcher and some pitching.

    • What does it take? Probably very little.

      Morneau *might* be a 3-4 WAR player at this point in his career, (ZiPS thinks he’s a 3 WAR player over 150 games) and guys who are getting paid exactly what they’re worth rarely command much in a trade, on account of there being no surplus-value on their contract. (And on account of there being a lot of 3 WAR bats who could be traded.) The year Scott Rolen was traded, he was a 4 WAR player, and the Jays didn’t get a whole lot.

      I would guess that Morneau could be had for a couple mid-level prospects or low-ceiling guys who are almost MLB-ready. (That is, no one among the org’s top ten prospects.)

      • I think The Twinkies would get better prospects in return if they would go halves on Morneau’s contract. Otherwise, they would be getting a low return.

  2. Too much for felix imo.
    Would hope they are in on soler since this is the last opportunity to spend big.
    The money for morneau could cover escobar and johnson.

    • I had the opposite thought. Thought it might have to include D’arnaud.

      • I think its a bit rich myself. Would be surprised to see AA do the deal. I think he needs to be convinced that the Jays have a shot this year and next to make such a deal. Having Felix certainly adds the ace element to your rotation however.

        d’Arnaud seems to be on the cusp of bursting out. Lots of intrigue to come before July 31.

    • escobar? escobar’s signed for 3 more years I believe

  3. I like Morneau, but he’s pretty far removed from his last good year (like Adam Lind far removed). I know he’s been better lately, but not 14 million better. That said, I would like to see him in our line up. I just wouldn’t want to see them give up a whole lot (in terms of prospects) to get him. As for Felix, there are (apparently) some health concerns. But ya: he’s fucking King Felix. That said, I kinda like Greinke as a free agent signing more. That’s just money, and he’s probably not gonna want to go to the big markets. Maybe Detroit though.

    • He’s not removed from that year through godawful suckage, though. And two, he was DESTROYING when he got knocked out in 2010. So… not quite anywhere close to the same.

      • Yeah, but Morneau is also a very different case than Lind because there’s a very clear, discrete event that led to his struggles (the concussion), and he hasn’t been anywhere close to that level since then.

      • When Morneau got injured, he was the frontrunner for AL MVP. If he avoided injury and continued on the pace he was on, it’s possible that he and Votto would have won the MVP in their respective leagues. How’s that for a maple-dick.

      • Ya. I know. It’s not the same as Lind, for exactly the same reason you mention, but it HAS still been a long time since he’s been a premium slugger. I would like him on our team, but at the money he’s costing, I wouldn’t want to see the Jays pay a whole lot in terms of prospects to get him.

        • In 37 games this season, Morneau has accrued exactly 0.0 fWAR (and -0.2 bWAR), tying him with Vernon Wells. 14 million does seem steep at that production.

  4. Might be worth noting that Kenny Rosenthal quotes an NL exec as saying the Jays are “sniffing all over” Matt Garza.

    • I wouldn’t mind seeing Garza in a Jays uniform, but I wonder what the price would be for a guy who’s only under contract through 2013.

      • If the Jays are gonna give up prospects for a Matt Garza, you’d might as well just give up the extra prospect or two for an elite pitcher like Felix (not necessarily him, but of that caliber).

        • In a vacuum, I agree. But those types of pitchers tend not to be available, whereas guys like Garza are.

          • Would you disagree if you weren’t in a vacuum? How the fuck did you get in a vacuum? How are you going to get of of that fucking vacuum? Fucking. vacuum.

      • You think it would be a good idea to give up Bona fide prospects for a barely bona fide big leaguer who was never really THAT good in the AL east before? I wouldn’t give up anything significant for garza.

  5. I’d be petrified of making a deal that lands a stud but possibly damaged and/or declining pitcher. ie. Pineda, Zito, Kazmir.

    Good luck, Alex.

  6. Would never in a million years take that deal for Felix. You could keep JP, Alvarez, Gose, and Syndergaard, who are collectively making about $1m, spend the 20 million/year you’d be paying Felix on Greinke or Hamels or Jackson+Marcum – fine, I don’t know if that’ll quite sign any of those combinations, and you’d need to take on some extra years at that value, but it would be close.

    The point remains it’s silly to give away significant, cost-controlled prospect value for veterans who are being paid close to what they’d get as free agents, especially with the crackdown on foreign signings and the reform of the draft – the Jays aren’t going to have a ton of top selections any more like they’ve had for the last three years.

    • Agreed. I’d roll the dice on trying to sign a free agent first since I’d be paying the same money regardless and I’d get to keep my prospects as well. People scoffed at paying CJ $15 million or Darvish that kind of money. I don’t think 2 years of Felix at $5 million a year more is worth that. Not for a team that still has major issues in the pen, left and first base. You could go a long way to filling those wholes for that kind of money and not have to give up such a haul in prospects. The fact that he’s only got 2 years left on his contract after this season makes me believe that it’s just another silly rumour. Alex has gone out of his way to make statements about years of control. There’s no way Alex makes that trade imo.

      The problem with trading someone off your major league roster like an Alvarez is that it just creates another hole. While Felix would be an upgrade over Alvarez you’d still be a pitcher short. There’s no depth or little real depth to speak of right now after the 5 starters at the major league level that are ready to compete now. Remember, Felix would hardly be the last piece in this puzzle.

      • holes not wholes.

      • But you will be going from a pitcher that is a 3 on our staff (maybe a 4 on others) to a 1 on most. Which turns our staff from a 1, 1A, 3/4, 4, 5 to a 1, 1A, 1B, 4, 5 which I would take because the other guys are blocked or blocking someone anyways. But then again that just opinion and yours also makes sense.

    • agreed. great points.

      • Disagree entirely. Not only is Felix one of the best pitchers of his generation, he’s only 26! The idea of a Felix-Romero-Morrow top 3? Stack that against any 3 pitchers in a divisional series, and I’m at least somewhat comfortable.

  7. I think that would be a great move. The Jays are not going to win the World Series this year, so a veteran bat who happens to be Canadian to cheer for would be terrific. I know that is not a savvy or advanced stat way of looking at things but damn it, I pay to go to ball games and I would find that more entertaining.

    I don’t know who you trade for him though. I would trade JPA but I think that might upset the chemistry on the team. How about Kyle Drabek, Santos and Snider?

    • Sinder’s interesting – might actually be a player they would like, and he’s under team control for a while. I have no clue what the actual price would be for Morneau.

    • I would hope (and I believe) that AA will not use a player being Canadian as any factor in making an acquisition. I wish the whole “Canadian Player” issue would just go away.

      • AA answers to Rogers, who own the Jays primarily as a marketing venture. For them, Canadian players absolutely do matter. I can see the Jays overpaying big-time to get Morneau.

        Given how much he’s owed (greater than or equal to his market value if he were a free agent right now, I think) we should actually be getting him for free or very close, in terms of prospects, unless the Twins are kicking in money. Same with Felix, really.

      • AA said that nationality will be a non-issue in the draft, so I assume that is the case in trades, as it should be.

        • 90% of draftees never sniff the Show. Big difference between going out of your way to draft a Canadian guy vs. trading for an already established Canadian player.

          • Considering how smart this front office has been in general, I can’t imagine that Canadian-ness is even one of the top 100 things they consider when deciding whether or not to acquire a player.

            Most fans might be swayed by that kind of stuff, but I’d like to think that the people who run the team are above it.

  8. See it’s easy to just say that the Maple boner fans want Morneau for dubious reasons, but the fact is he’s probably the only potentially elite first baseman who will actually be made available at this point. It makes sense for a lot more reasons than where he was born. I’m not saying you blow a bunch of elite prospects on him, but if the price is right…

  9. I’d pay that price for King Felix & be very, very happy about it.

  10. Ya. Looking at the current stats a bit closer, I think Morneau and Felix would be just fine. (Assuming Felix passes the doctors sniff test.) Playoffs!

  11. Yeah I brought the Morneau thing up months ago…it just makes sense on so many levels. Canadian masher, Canadian team with a hole at 1B. And enough injury questions for a risk/reward trade on both sides.

    My first inkling is that Felix package is a little light, unless the Ms really buy into Alvarez as Felix-lite. Of course Felix starts making real money next year so I’d almost rather wait for FA… So maybe that is a fair trade.

    • Light for 2 years of control and then having to pay him 20 mil a year?

    • You think this is Light?? I think it’s heavy. When you compare this to what we got for Halladay, a slightly better pitcher without any injury concerns at the time (unlike felix today) and the phillies knew it was a sign and trade scenario. I don’t think I would do this trade if I was AA unless I was 100% sure that Felix is 100% healthy.. no if’s ands or buts, if we’re going to give up a package of talent that is more than what we got for Halladay, I’d want to see his velocity return first

  12. To me, the Morneau fit is natural. Left handed bat, 1st base, reasonale $$, control for another year, might be able to get him for SLIGHTLY less than you otherwise could bcs of the injury. That he’s Canadian is just icing on the cake.

    Of course there’s risk, but I think its a risk worth taking.

  13. Morneau? Yeah, I’ll take him, but I’d want Josh Willingham thrown in the deal.

  14. I would probably have to pass on these trades.

    I’m sure there are better fits out there for this team. The Jays are good fits for those teams rather than the other way around I think.

  15. Fun timze.

  16. Haha fucking Jonathan Mayo:

    “In every mock draft I’ve made, it’s gotta be Mark Appel.”

    “Houston Astro’s select.. Carlos Correa.”

    I know these guys are going to be wrong once in a while, but to be wrong on national television makes me laugh.

    • Mayo is the worst out of the guys that follow the prospects imo.

      • I have to agree. I don’t mind his lists, but they’re usually there’s 7-8 prospects where they’re way off compared to everyone else. Generally they’re Yankee prospects too.

    • What was even funnier was Baines coming off sounding more knowledgeable than Mayo just by picking up on one phrase of Mayo’s fully researched scouting reports and totally winging it with BS and cliches and pretending that he knew what he was talking about … Baines actually sounded as if he had full firsthand knowledge on all of these guys when he’d probably had never heard of most of them before Bud’s announcements . Some of the looks/comments Mayo was giving him were not quite ones of endearment .

      • I always thought that the Harold guy on the panel was Harold Baines but I just read that he’s actually Harold Reynolds … shows you how much I know … Ahh it must be senility because it’s to early to be drunk

  17. Maybe mark Appel will fall to the Jays.


  18. Thumbs down to Morneau and Hernandez. I like the team we have now.

  19. i think when i suggested this last month, your response was ‘whoopty fuck’

  20. Lind, EE, Gomes, Cooper, thats just in the first 54 games. Lets and either JPA, or d’Arnaud, Morneau, and for good measure McDade into the equation. Yep, seems like a no brainer to me – we’re fucked

  21. Morneau has a lot of question marks, and considering Minnesota’s current position they are risking hardly anything by trading him, other than possibly the fans being sad to see him go – he hasn’t been his old self for two years now and despite the marginal improvement in his May numbers, there’s no sign that morneau will ever be the same player again. I like the idea of acquiring Morneau, I’ve been suggesting this since the start of the season, but I’m not giving up any top prospects for him. Is Cooper for Morneau a fair trade? I mean, from this point forward which player do we BELIEVE would put up better numbers on an everyday basis? I’m not sure the answer myself.

    • Seems like a rather benign trade to me as neither player will add enough value to make a significant differerce to their traded teams fortunes. The trade logisitics probably would be more cumbersome than 1 for 1….but this is a virtuual trade here isn’t it.

  22. I’m ok with Alvarez, Aaron Cibia and Gose being shipped but I’m already partial to Syndergaard…hmm. I guess we would still have Sanchez and Nicolino and Wajajakzokskyman…Man would I ever be happy to see Mr. Concussed playing here.m

  23. If he does come to the Jays, he’d better be prepared to change his name to “Justin Morneau, from New Westminster, BC.” That or “New Westminster, BC product Justin Morneau.”

  24. I get all of that Canadian imagery on the picture, except for the Druid looking guy waving that flag. Whats his deal?

  25. With the Brewers already 6.5 gms out of the playoffs, why not Grienke over Garza? Hamels would be nice too, but would certainly be a rental. I somehow have more confidence in the ability to extend Grienke before November.

  26. In case anyone is still reading this thread I’ll point out that proposed trade offer for Felix Hernandez is fucking insane and way more than any starting pitcher has garnered the last few years.

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