Fresh from a high-profile appearance on the Getting Blanked Podcast, Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors has a tidy roundup of a few Jays related rumblings that are out there for us to dismissively turn our noses up at, yet silently wonder if there may realistically be something to them.
In the post he passes along Jayson Stark’s latest at ESPN.com, wherein we’re told that the Jays could be interested in Randy Wells, who is two years removed from a 3.94 xFIP season with the Cubs… and one year removed from a 4.45 xFIP season… and currently sitting at 6.22, with a walk rate of 16.8%.
Um… more interestingly– that is, infinitely more interestingly– he echoes what we heard earlier from Ken Rosenthal, which is that the Jays are still very active in their search for pitching.
“Officials of three different clubs described the Blue Jays as being, in the words of one exec, in ‘a full-court press for starting pitching,’ ” he writes. But, apart from the fact that teams with available pitchers are probably reluctant to make a deal until more bidders materialize, you can see why maybe nothing has quite happened yet, as he quotes an AL executive who says that the Cubs are aiming for a Ubaldo Jimenez-type return, should they deal Matt Garza. “Translation: It’s going to take two young, controllable players with big upside.”
The Jays certainly have lots of those, and could certainly pay the price, but obviously it all depends on which pitching prospects in particular we’re talking about. And given that a deal has yet to happen, if those really are the parameters, I think it’s safe to say that the Cubs are asking for the kind of guys we’d be loathe to give up– the Sanchez/Norris types, rather than, say, John Stilson and Sean Nolin.
Of course, there’s also the issue of salary. A commenter on our earlier post about Rosenthal’s piece made an interesting observation– albeit in the fucking asinine guise of trying to skewer Anthopoulos for not signing Bartolo Colon or Erik Bedard this winter– which is that, why should we believe that if the Jays passed on Edwin Jackson, they’d be willing to take on salary for someone like Matt Garza or Wandy Rodriguez?
Assuming that the Jays weren’t spurned by Jackson before he took his 1-year, $11-million deal with the Nationals, it’s not a terrible point. Wandy Rodriguez at $14-million per isn’t exactly a value play, but perhaps the Jays are simply more desperate now than they were then. I mean, Wandy ought to have been available to them over the winter, too, so if they’re genuinely more interested now– and the fact that they’ve been heavily scouting his last few starts suggests that maybe they are– it could simply be by virtue of the fact that they’re desperate.
And I get that. I mean, I thought it made sense heading into the season to not deal for a pitcher just to take innings away from the club’s young arms, unless for certain you were acquiring someone whose production couldn’t be matched by any of the kids. Of course, that was when it appeared as though they’d have to get through McGowan, Cecil, Alvarez, Drabek, Hutchison, Litsch, Villanueva, Carreno, Jenkins and McGuire before the likes of Aaron Laffey or Scott Richmond would be taking MLB innings– and how could all those guys possibly get hurt and/or suck, amiright???
Now, though, with McGowan, Drabek, Hutchison and Litsch injury question marks, and the rest of them question marks as to whether they’re capable of pitching at this level, maybe the Jays have started to see the Wandy question a little bit differently. Or maybe they have no intention of making a play for him at all, whereas Matt Garza, with his track record of success, particularly in the AL East (including a 1.36 career ERA at Rogers Centre), is a different story.
Or maybe it’s all just total effing bullshit. Who the hell knows???
Stark also touches on the Edwin Encarnacion situation in his post, quoting an NL executive who says that the Jays are “in a great position to sell high on him,” and while this may be true, Stark has his doubts, as do others he’s spoken to.
“Scouts are saying they’ve been told Encarnacion is gettable for the ‘right’ pitcher. But an exec of one team that has talked to the Blue Jays told Rumblings, flatly: ‘He’s not available, as far as I know.’ ”
It’s funny… I was all for selling high on Jose Bautista two years ago, fearing that his out-of-nowhere power was a mirage and that the Jays’ long-term goals would be better served by trading him with a year-and-a-half of control left than holding onto him. Unlike some, I’m all for keeping Jose now– his outstanding performance since then aside, once they signed him long term and made him the “face of the franchise” and the core around which they’ll build, such notions went out the window for anyone not apt to indulge themselves in flights of ridiculous, jerk-off-motion fancy– and unlike before, I’d now prefer to see the Jays hang on to their breakout star, Encarnacion, as well.
Obviously there are some big problems with this team that need to be addressed, but the first four spots in the lineup are absolutely not that.
Ken Rosenthal, in the piece discussed earlier, also noted that “the Toronto Blue Jays give little indication that they intend to trade potential free agents such as designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and second baseman Kelly Johnson.”
So… we wait.
Image via ESPN Media Zone.