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, 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.

Comments (49)

  1. Difference with Bautista was he was still under team control for one more year at an affordable salary, no matter how good his 2010 was. Encarncion, on the other hand, is a free agent, one who will likely earn himself a pretty fucking sweet 4 year deal if he can maintain anything close to his current pace for the rest of the year.

    If AA can’t extend Encarnacion by the deadline (and the Jays are still a middling team with a very slim chance of making the playoffs) he should look to move him. Beltran was way more expensive and wasn’t having as good a year last year and the Giants gave up a top 50 prospect for him. I’d much rather AA acquire a prospect the team likes than sit back and hope EE remains good enough for a qualifying offer and that they can turn that compensation pick into something worthwhile down the road.

    • Obviously. But I think signing him should be the first option.

      • Sign him first. There are not a lot of options at DH out there and he is a fairly known quantity.

        I think most fans have gotten into the mentality of acquire more talent acquire more talent but are forgetting that the talent out there is potential talent not known talent. With Edwin you have a pretty good idea of what you are getting and unless the Jays have somebody coming up in the system that would clearly pass him on the talent level I say sign him.

        Also Stoeten who sings the closing song on the DJF podcast and what is the name of it?

        • C’mon boys, I think we have to trade EE for the best prospect we can get. A Zach Wheeler type of return would be awesome. EE would fetch atleast that. Plus, he is a free agent and we would have a chance to sign him back. That would be huge for AA to get a great prospect and keep Edwin. If we trade himm and don’t sign him back, there willl always be options for a DH. I could name 3 or 4 within the organization and a couple outside. Like Big Papi, it doesn’t sound like he wants to go back to Boston. And with the Farrell contection its a real possiblility. But I think we have to take that chance of trading him.

          • “EE would fetch at least that (Zach Wheeler).” How exactly do you think EE would fetch that? He is both less proven and less talented (offensively and defensively) as Carlos Beltran. Is EE having a great season? Yes. Has Beltran been the far superior player for a long time? Definitely. Also the giants initially looked like they hoped to resign Beltran.

          • The Farrell connection? What about Bautista? The two of them are business partners and long-time close friends.

    • I believe signing him is the first option, unlike Jose, EE has had very strong power seasons in his past. In 2008 EE hit 26 HR in 146 games, and in 2010 he had 21 HR in 96 games, which is a 35 HR pace. EE also appears to be much more consistant with his approach at the plate this year, more so than ever before and I did notice his swings was tweaked at the start of the season, so I believe there are legitimate reasons to believe that the player we are seeing this season has a great chance of being the player we will see in fhe future.

      From all accounts, EE really likes his teammates here in Toronto, and I would have trouble believing that he’s going to demand a deal that the Jays would consider unreasonable to sign, it just wouldnt make sense for him to want as much or even more money than Jose is making, despite the fact he might be able to get a deal in that neighbourhood on the free market.

      Would you sign EE for 4×13? or 4×15? I believe thats around what he could command on the market if he continues producing this year (he’s on a 46 HR pace currently). I think EE wants to stay if he can get that kind of a deal from the Jays, I think he really likes his teammates and the city.

  2. You missed the opportunity here to use a photoshop of Ironman watching a baseball game.

  3. I’d love to see them extend EE, but I can’t see why he’d sign a deal before the offseason. Why sign a 3/4 year deal at $9 per, when you’re bare minimum downside is a 1-year, $12m qualifying offer from the Jays. That said, I’d do 3, $24m to $27m in a heartbeat if EE would take it. I think he’s for real, and his defense at first has been decent (notwithstanding that awful error in Boston).

    • You’re undervaluing the importance of term for a player. Being forced to take a 1 year/$12 million QO is a far less preferable option than a 3 year/$27 million or 4 year/$36 million guaranteed contract.

      For every Jose Bautista who proves themselves not to be a flash in the pan, there’s an Adam Lind and a Aaron Hill. Future performance and future contracts are never guaranteed. Most will take the guaranteed money associated with the longer term.

      That being said, I’m very confident he could beat $9 million per over a number of years on the open market this offseason.

      • You’re forgetting the fact that there is a new CBA in place, and Edwin has no say in the matter if the jays make a qualifying offer. The qualifying offer is for arbitration and free agent compensation purposes, and of course the player can choose to accept it if he wishes. Based on Edwin’s play this year it might make sense to game the new CBA system, and as such the Jays could offer a one year deal with more than 12 million on the books to push Edwin into Type A free agent status. This would be a very advantageous position for the Jays to be in for trade and resigning purposes, and it would protect them if another team signs him as a free agent.

        • I don’t think he was forgetting the new CBA, particularly because he mentioned the QO. I don’t really get your plan for “gaming the system.”

    • I don’t think you’re being reasonable by guessing 9M AAV for EE. Jose scored 15M AAV on a 54 HR year, EE is on pace for 46 and has hit 26 in 146 in ’08 and 21 in 96 in ’10, hes got a track record that suggests theres a better chance this isnt a mirage compared to bautista. I think realistically EE could get 12M minimum from someone for a 3+ year term on the open market.

  4. That commenter would be me, but thanks for the props.

    But the argument that the jays are desperate is an indictment of alex is it not? What GM worth his salt puts himself in a desperate situation to begin with? How do you take innings away from young arms? Can’t they develop in AAA?

    how could all those players get hurt/suck? Yes all of them. Those pitchers are not depth, they are filler.

    mcgowan, litsch were both injured so how can they be depth

    alvarez and hutch are 21 and 22 so they shouldn’t even be in the majors to begin with. These are actually the depth guys you keep in AA.

    drabek/cecil sucked last year so why would you think they wouldn’t suck this year?

    mcguire/jenkins were in A ball and no A ballers are not depth.

    • You seem to not get the rhetorical questions he posed to himself.

      The thing about McGuire and Jenkins is they were both college arms with low upside but quick to the majors players. Neither of them has advanced far enough to even be considered for the Jays now.

    • McGowan and litch got hurt in spring training and a freak rash of long term injuries to 3 of your starting rotation is impossible to forsee. And don’t forget the asking price for anything resembling a #3 starter was 4 of ur best prospects ! That is insane I would trade that on MLB12 the show nevermind in real life

    • Both were in AA by the end of the season with Jenkins being there for over half the season. Furthermore, both were college players and not your typical 19 or 20 year old in A ball. Considering the comments that were made over the winter and in spring training they were in fact counted on as depth. All you had to do is look at 2011 and see Alvarez as example to see how the team was going to view them. Again we have no clue what the team budget was so it’s hard to lay all the blame at AA’s feet. Personally I think he should have went the starter route over Frasor and Cordero but maybe he tried and got turned down like he did with Beltran.

      • mcguire had a whopping 20 ip at AA and college ball is not 200in. I find it hilarious the lengths people will go to to not criticize alex. He fucked up plain and simple. He gave coco 4mil when colon and bedard signed for a lot less. He also gave mcgowan 4 mil guaranteed when he was injured. Pure stupidity.

        • Look at the timing of the when they were signed or traded for

          Coco was last minute spending when the rest were essentially gone and was probably the last of AA’s budget. It’s possible you wouldn’t have seen any pitching signings if they did in fact get Beltran for $13 million+. Striking out on Beltran also begs the question of who else he struck out on? The fact it’s unlikely we’ll never know.

          McGowan’s money is peanuts when you break it down year by year.

          As for AA having fucked up, I knew we got a Greek GM when the Jays hired him. I didn’t know part of the job description was also having training in the arts of divination from the Oracle at Delphi. How the hell is any GM supposed to prepare for 80% of your rotation getting hurt, not to mention some of the reserve depth and his closer all on a limited budget?

        • Also the thing about drafting college starters at least in theory is that they’re supposed to be most polished and furthest along of all the amateur players vs the Syndergaard and Sanchez high school types.

          They’re used to throwing 100+ pitches per start and even though they end up at around 120 innings for their college seasons, a bump of 30 puts them at a comfortable 150 for the next season. Which is where McGuire is headed for this year.

        • Agreed some idolize him for the Rasmus trade, but then they won’t hold him accountable for his fuck ups.

          The bullpen, starters are plain and simple AAs fault. By his own admission he says you need 11 starters to get through the season. By my count we had
          Romero ( regression candidate)
          Morrow (ok no one knew he would get hurt)
          Drabek (stunk in 2011)
          Alvarez (was in A ball this time last year)
          Hutchison(was in low A this time last year) Cecil ( sucked and was sent all the way back to AA)
          Jenkins/ McGuire- meh are these guys to get excited about?
          McGowan ( had not pitched in 3 years and didn’t make it out of ST)
          Litsch ( didn’t make it out of ST)
          Villanueva (only if all other options fall apart)

          Of our 11, 2 could have been predicted to not have been able to help(mcGowan/ Litsch). While 2 others could have been seen with some foresight to have issues (Drabek& Cecil).
          My point is we were running razor thin as it was and boy wonder should have made the play for either Darvish or Edwin Jackson. But yes Stoten I’m going there those cheap fucks at Rogers didn’t fund it. So you what I’ve done I’m boycotting them. Switched my phone, Internet and cable. Fuck Rogers.

          • lol @ the boycotting Rogers bit. charming.

            But seriously, I think you make a strong case for the starting rotation, the bullpen I disagree with to a degree, I think Janssen and Cordero were regression candidates (janssen to a lesser extent) Santos should have been expected to have a big year and basically everyone else has been what we expected them to be.

            As for the rotation, I agree that AA was cutting it very thin, and he was essentially praying for young, moderate-upside pitchers to realize their potential this year in order for the team to have a strong rotation.

        • Colon and Bedard both threw a very similar number of innings to Mcguire and Jenkins last year. Jenkins threw the most innings out of the four.

    • Field a championship team that’s ready for October, then put together a second team of equal calibre to ride pine, just in case of a colossal shitstorm. Of course! Thanks, Nostradamus!

    • exactly. the expectation from management (or many writers on this blog) that the jays weren’t anything but desperate way back in the off season for starting pitching depth is completely absurd.

      i think AA fine-pointed himself out of bidding for the numerous decent (if not top tier) pitchers that were available. now the jays are in a way worse spot. whether you are one of those that thinks relievers/closers are over rated etc, you’d still have to be wilfully blind to not see what a missed opportunity this off season reallly was considering all the arms that were available. and while i love lawrie, trading marcum kinda pre-supposed a hole that would need filling, no?

      anyway, seems like AA’s going through some really painful growing up right now. had to happen tho. as much as you want to laud him for building up a prospect bushell, the risk inherent in that in terms of filling MLB need sure escaped him, as well as most of the writers here and the on-air types too.

      oh well. gnash gnash gnash.

      • Other than Pujols and Fielder, last year’s free agent crop was as thin as any in recent times. Which top tier or mid rotation starters would you have gone after? Which would have even considered signing with the Jays?

  5. I guess it’s open season again on Jays-related unconfirmed reports, anonymous scouts, and insider sources. It’s like November 2011 but with warmer weather!

  6. AA could always trade EE and then resign him after the season as a FA. Stoeten Do u think any team will sign Edwin for more then the 12 mil qualifying offer? And are the jays likely to give him that big of a raise for a one off season? seems unlikely

  7. What happened to the blue jays mlb board? Down for anyone else?

  8. Atleast draw on the famous Tony stark pencil beard and stache lol

  9. The Jays have continually said the money will be there for the “right player” and to extend their own core guys.

    AA has pretty much said he felt that EE was a breakout candidate in the past. Well, here he is, fully broken out.

    If EE doesn’t want to sign before testing free agency it’s understandable. But if AA believes this is real, the focus should be on resigning him, not moving him for prospect/draft pick lottery tickets.

  10. I respect that Stoeten admitted he was wrong about selling high on Bautista, as was I.
    You know what I was right about? I suggested- on this very site- that Lawrie and Rasmus should go 1-2 in the order way , way before it happened and I got called a fucking idiot. Since I am so smart, believe me when I say the Jays are going to be aquiring Paul Goldshmidt.

    • Wanna Cookie?

    • On Monday night I called Aaron Cibia’s HR five minutes before it happened. I know well enough to enjoy my luck and to realize the odds of it happening again anytime soon are particularly low.

      Though I hope you’re right about Goldschmidt. Even if I’d rather have the probably unavailable Justin Upton; and have a hard time seeing AA land both.

    • Sorry, just wondering why the DBacks are trading Goldshmidt.

  11. offer encarnacion and johnson the “avg” salary of 12mm for 1 year. it might be slightly overpaying but either you get them or you get type A comp. pretty much win/win

  12. Trade KJ, Davis, and JP (even if it means Mathis being the starter).

    Keep EE.

  13. I assume EE’s agents would welcome any move – his price in free agency would probably be noticeably higher if he didn’t come with a ‘you forfeit your next first-rounder to the Jays’. And we should moderate our expectations for the return on rental pieces now that they don’t come attached to draft picks – for example does the Rasmus trade still happen without the two draft picks attached to Dotel and Jackson.

  14. seems a shame to have to be talking of trading assets for arms, when really all the smart folks were BEGGING AA to use cash for arms in the off season when it was so obvious the pickings were good, the cash should have been there, and the need was paramount.

    and god, santos? really. a converted fielder with a couple years of service as a pitcher; who couldn’t have seen injuries coming?

    such a shame that we have to go through GM growing pains. we’re seeing now that a fixation on minor league talent really hurts you in the show. regardless of all the fanboys on here that love watching AAA ball.

    • I don’t think any of the smart folks were begging to use cash for arms as there were none available. We offered for Darvish and lost, that’s how sports go. Colon and Bedard? No one was honestly considering these guys as serious upgrades over in house options, given current development paths at the time. Hindsight is 20/20 though, no?

  15. Well the problem with the jays pitching situation is this..

    we have Romero (who sucks right now but is supposedly healthy)

    we have Alvarez (who sucks pretty much but should be healthy)

    and then? then? what do we have?

    Morrow..should be back in a month….

    Hutch: hell be seen in a couple years….that “inflammation: will soon be a tear

    Cecil: sucks and is not a major league quality pitcher
    Schlop like chavez, laffey, who arent an answer or even a bridge level pitcher.

    and finally…

    the pen guys who can be stretched out like perez and carlos.

    so really, EVEN if we write off this year..we have these three pitchers we can sort of count on for next year (2013).


    deck, fat boy jenkins, and labrum boy Stilson are our best bets to fill in next year however NONE of the three is even a probable answer.

    the point of all this…

    The team has NO CHOICE but to acquire a legit major league starter if it wants to keep fan interest and the perceived “momentum”

    You dont have to blow up the farm but you will have to give up likely ONE of sanchez/nicolino/syndegaard and one slightly lower level prospect (perhaps a Nolan)

    anyone who is of this mindset that there are “dont touch” prospects is a fool as we have nooone like trout or harper in this organization.

    • You are writing off the possibility of either Hamels or Grienke hit the market this winter. Or other above league average pitcher being available at reasonable prices. And at this point of trade market, you DO have to blow up the system for ONE good but not awesome starter.

      • Hopefully AA isn’t sitting back and waiting for a Gonzalez for Escobar or Rzep for Rasmus equivolant trade, because it might not be out there. You cant pull a rabbit out of the hat everytime, can you?

    • I agree 100%, the Jays have no choice but to go out and get a starting pitcher. And preferably an ace. As much as I like Ricky Romero and his great 2011 and solid 2010 season, he’s not an ace, and until Morrow proves he can pitch like this for a couple season, neither is he. We need someone like Hamels, or Greinke or Cliff Lee, etc – someone with a proven track record of being great.

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