Last night on Twitter I was asked what seemed to me to be a simple enough question: “Would you be cool if only additions to Jays rotation are Dan Haren and Brett Anderson?”

Obviously I said yes. Or, at least, I thought the answer was obvious. Yet, much to my surprise, some people were taken aback. Pointing to Haren’s poor season and Anderson’s injury history and lack of overwhelming stuff, actual fans were turning their noses up at the suggestion.

No, really!!

While I have no clue how many might think that way, that there are any concerns me somewhat. Because, the thing is, flawed as they may be– and there is no doubt that these are two pitchers with some big ol’ red flags– I’d argue that acquiring Dan Haren and Brett Anderson this winter would represent an absolute coup for the Toronto Blue Jays, given the realities of the market for pitching.

That isn’t to say that we need to be worried that the market is entirely bereft. In mid-August I identified a number of free agent possibilities, as well as trade possibilities from both the American League and the National League, and there are certainly a number of interesting names.

Zack Greinke, Jake Peavy, Anibal Sanchez, Edwin Jackson, Ryan Dempster, Joe Blanton, and now Dan Haren look like decently solid free agent options, with some potential to also be had among Brandon McCarthy, Shaun Marcum and Kyle Lohse, and a number of additional, interesting options with an even greater chance to not work out so hot.

On the trade front there are guys like James Shields and maybe David Price of the Rays, perhaps a Lance Lynn or Jamie Garcia from St. Louis, maybe someone from the Braves, Justin Masterson is reportedly going to be shopped, or there’s one-year guys like Josh Johnson and Matt Garza, and, of course, Anderson.

It’s not like those names represent the entirety of the market, or that there may not be guys who’ll be dealt that we’re not thinking of– as Alex Anthopoulos likes to say lately, nobody thought Adrian Gonzalez was going to get traded until it actually happened– and it’s not like there aren’t a lot of solid options for the Jays to target, but the trouble comes in when we remember that they’re hardly the only team that’s going to be in the market for starting pitching either.

Even just looking at the American League we see that the Angels will need pitching, especially if they really do decline Haren’s option and yet lose out on retaining Greinke. The Red Sox freed up a lot of money this summer and could use it there. The Yankees could certainly add to their rotation. And any of the AL Central teams could use help.

The Orioles could, too, and since this is a piece ostensibly about cold hard reality, I suppose I have no choice but to point out that, with a winning season, nice park, and an American market, fucking Baltimore likely has very seriously just leaped Toronto on the list of top destinations for potential free agents.

None of this, mind you, is to say that it’s going to be entirely impossible for Anthopoulos to pull off a pair of genuinely transformative moves where the rotation is concerned, it’s just going to be very, very hard– and very hard to please fans if their idea of satisfactory is something better than Haren and Anderson, flawed as they may be.

Like… so… Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke or bust then???

It’s crazy. And it makes me wonder if, already, the expectation game is getting away from them in some respects. I mean, obviously they need help in the rotation, but I refuse to believe AA’s task is quite so Herculean, given that just about anyone is going to be an improvement on what we’ve seen this year, as they’ve handed 30 starts to Henderson Alvarez, 16 to Carlos Villanueva, 15 to Aaron Laffey, 13 to Kyle Drabek and nine to Brett Cecil– none of whom would be returning to the rotation in an ideal world.

The issues, I guess, is whether mere “improvement” is going to be enough to win the PR war. On that, I’m not sure. And I have a sinking feeling that in the end we’ll be looking back, hurting more than ever as we remember the possibility of netting Yu Darvish last winter without having to give up a single prospect or needing to do any kind of sell job or over-payment related to the market. He was just sitting there to be taken, and Rogers stood around holding their dicks, willfully making Alex’s job this winter incalculably more difficult, risking that down the line they may actually, somehow, through the sheer force of incompetence and indifference, piss away the mountain of goodwill built up in the early days of their shrewd young GM. Very soon we’ll find out whether that risk was as rancid and craven as it now appears, and in a way it would almost be kinda fucking hilarious if it blows up in their faces.

But soooo not really. So so so so not really.

Comments (85)

  1. masterson, ubaldo & choo. for whoever not named sanchez or tda

    sign ortiz

    • Ubaldo is fucking awful. Why anyone would want him is beyond me.

      • agrred- he is 2nd to romero in issuing walks and his era is 5.55 again, 2nd to romero. FUK if we had him and Romero starting games we’d need 23 relievers to keep coming in ,in the 5th inning every game( or earlier). IF they take Romero then maybe. SO… Romero, mcdade, Nicolino and Rasmus for the 3 mentioned

    • I don’t want Ubaldo. He’s not the pitcher he was a couple of years ago. Choo and Masterson would be solid additions

  2. Sabathia, Verlander, Felix

  3. Anderson, Ortiz choo

  4. Shin Soo Choo is one of the more underated players in the game, and would look fantastic in LF.

    Not to mention, if we want to keep him around past 2013, he probably wouldn’t cost too much to extend.

    Choo and Masterson would be a nice addition. Ubaldo is jsut crap. If we could pick him up for, say, McDade or something, sure. But he’s crap.

    • I want Choo. I want Choo so bad it’s driving me mad, it’s driving me mad.

    • Choo agent is Boras

    • Haven’t checked myself but read somewhere that Choo has nasty lefty/righty splits.

      Not a super every day player for this reason but certainly better than than the Thames/Davis combo we trotted out there this year.

      • Ya, too lazy to look it up, but Choo can’t hit lefties. Terrible slash line over his career. If we had him, he’d have to platoon with Rajai, which might not be so bad I guess

        • True, didn’t realize that.

          Of course, his overall numbers (which are very good regardless) are only that good because he absolutely destroys RHP, with a career .913 OPS.

          Considering there are far more RHP in baseball then LHP, I’m more then ok with a Davis/Choo platoon. Davis hhits RHP reasonably well, and Choo isn’t the kind of guy that you feel you HAVE to play everyday.

  5. I actually hope the Jays don’t go after Haren, but not because I’m hoping for Greinke instead, but just because I think there are probably better value buys out there than Haren. Sure, Haren as a player might be great, but if he can command a 4 year contract worth about $60M because of his history, then I’d be a bit disappointed if they risked that rather than getting Anibal Sanchez or Shaun Marcum for less.

    • That’s fair, I think. Totally. Money obviously could change a lot of conversations on these guys real quick.

      I guess my overall point is that the expectations game is on, and the Jays need to be wary of it.

      • So…I don’t really get why you think the Jays “need to” care about the PR side of things. Seems like they’ve done pretty well so far ignoring the PR side and focusing on the baseball side.

        • The Jays do need to “care” about PR. They benefited from an increase of 20% plus in gate revenue & TV ratings this year.

          If they want to keep that extra money & get more next year, they will have to spend money to get quality players.

          The dumpster diving & hope for the best era is over.

          The best bet from a marketing & value perspective is Shaun Marcum.

          Greinke won’t come to Toronto.

          Marcum & Ortiz & Carlos Swing man V back would help the team.

          • They benefitted from an increase of 20% in revenues in spite of all the fans claiming to be butthurt over the Darvish “debacle”? That pretty much proves my point, doesn’t it? Making baseball decisions for PR reasons ain’t bright.

        • Agreed. The Jays don’t need PR. Fire the marketing department. Kill the Jays Care foundation. Spend that money on Free Agents.

      • So, the Jays getting Haren could be thought of as a side effect of the Wells deal. I’m assuming if they didn’t have Wells next year they would at least keep one of Haren or Santana.

  6. Shaun Marcum.

  7. Grady Sizemore for left/DH. Save his knees a bit, turnaround year in a change of scenery?

  8. E-Jax or Sanchez seem like realistic FA targets to me. Solid innings eater that will give you a lot of quality starts.

    If the Jays could get Choo/Masterton from Cleveland that would be sublime.
    Tda, Syndy, Nico, Alvarez for Choo & Masterton?

    • or take out a pitcher and put in Gose/Marisnick

    • That’s a lot for a platoon guy and a guy who’s not that great.

    • That seems like an awful lot for a year of Choo and two of Masterson. Maybe remove TDA from that equation, or one of the Lansing 3, and I think you’re looking at a realistic package.

      As said above, Choo is crazy underated. That would arguably be more valuable then any trade package of prospects put together this year. I don’t think Choo and Masterson are going to command it.

    • Also, part of Choo’s appeal is he seems so underated, and thus, getable for not that much.

      It would be dumb to take that percieved plus, and turning it into a big minus by dangerously OVERvaluing him (which is whaty you’d be doing sending a package like that for him).

      • Indeed, I do believe he’s underrated a bit, but I think one of the few teams that don’t underrate him is Cleveland, and I don’t think they’d give him up so ez.

  9. Getting Haren and Anderson WOULD be an absolute coup for the Jays. An ‘A’ offseason for AA.

    You’re being incredibly unrealistic if you think acquiring those pitchers would be a poor showing. I think Morrow/Haren/Romero/Anderson/Happ or Alvarez could be a very good rotation.

  10. If the Angels and White Sox are declining options on Santana, Haren, and Peavy, I would trade for all three (because unlike free agents they can’t say no). Its about $50 mill. They might be shit they might be awesome but I would take the chance.

    If it all works out you could argue they have 5 #2 starters. Anibal Sanchez is gonna cost atleast 3/$50 mill. This is basically the same money wise but you get the production all at the same time.

  11. I’d take a flyer on Carlos Zambrano on a 1-year deal. He’s batshit crazy enough that teams will shy away and therefore he should come cheaper, and AA has obviously had no issue making moves for questionable character guys. Zambrano, Jeremy Guthrie, and Ervin Santana would be solid but unspectacular inning-eaters that I would be happy with. I’d rather have any of those guys in my rotation than Villanueva or Laffey. Scott Baker is another guy that I’d target. All of these guys (except maybe Santana) should be attainable on 1 year deals with a club option tacked on.

  12. I want AA to acquire 2 starters this offseason with at least one of them being a #2ish guy (or better of course).

    So, of guys we guess are available, I’d want to see the Jays get one of: Price, Shields, Haren, Edwin Jackson, Sanchez, Peavy, Garza, Josh Johnson. Or any pitcher that is in their class, more or less.

    Plus one more decent back end of the rotation arm. Doesn’t have to be spectacular. Anderson would be fine. Marcum, maybe?

    If they do something like that, I’ll be very satisfied.

    They should have the prospects and payroll space to make it happen.

  13. They should go get Josh Johnson and use a package that includes JP Arencibia to do it.
    Kill 2 birds with one stone.
    Josh has been up and down this season coming off surgery but I think he has Cy Young upside.

  14. Peavy, Anderson, Choo, Ortiz.

    Lawrie 3B
    Rasmus CF
    Bautista RF
    EE 1B
    Choo LF
    Ortiz DH
    Escobar SS
    Hechavarria 2B
    JP C


    Highly doubt we get even two of those four guys but I think it’s what it would take to turn the Jays into a contender. There are holes at DH (or 1B), 2B, LF, and a #1 and #3 pitcher. Good luck in the off season AA because the Jays are more than a piece or two away.

    • Of those 4 I’d love if it were Peavy and Ortiz. Both have huge question marks with age and injury but at least they’d only cost salary and we could keep the stable intact.

      • If the Red Sox or Yankees look at their roster and see that they are about $20-$30 million short they will spend it. If the Jays (and their below average payroll) see huge improvements availible for cash they will likely not even pull the trigger. So frustrating!

        Ortiz + Peavy plus a bargain bin LF and 3/4/5 pitcher would even suffice. Please prove me wrong AA, but I don’t see the Jays landing a big name free agent.

        • Maybe it’s blind hope on my part but I really believe that the Jays are agressive this winter. If they got a pitcher like Jackson through free agency and another like Johnson through trade I’d probably soil myself. In a good way.

    • Ur gonna stack lefties? Not in Farrells house wild man

  15. Honestly I could deal with Ubaldo if he only pitches from the stretch like Darvish. For me his windup just has too many moving parts for him to be effective in a small park such as Toronto.

  16. If Price actually is available, I think the Jays should be willing put a Halladay deal type package together for him and see if the Rays will bite. Darnaud + one of the Lansing 3 + a lower level prospect? I’d do it.

    • I think it would probably take even one more piece, plus he doesn’t have many years under control left. I would do it if the team was willing to do whatever it takes to sign him long term.

  17. I think you guys are dreaming in technicolour. The only way that Rogers will open the wallet is if the Blue Jays are close to contention. And this year showed that they’re not. Escobar, Rasmus and Romero all underperformed, and Arencibia was only okay. The Blue Jays have potential holes at LF, CF, SS, 2B, C, DH, starting pitching. There is no way that Rogers will — or should — pony up for expensive FA’s at this time. There may be some small pickups, but until the young players show that they are major-league ready, there is no real call to add FA’s to the roster.

    • This year showed they’re not? They didn’t fall apart until not only they lost 3/5 of their rotation but started having their top position players, outside of EE, drop like flies.

      • I agree GimpedPimp403. But David London has a point too. I’m not sold on Ramus yet. It’s his attitude. He reminds me of YE. I would add 3rd as a possible question mark but address it with a new workout program for Lawrie in the offseason. I think Lawrie is awesome. But can he stay healthy? He’s bulked up for football but plays baseball. You need to do different exercises and build a different body for baseball to stay flexible and healthy. I think SS is set with the Jays going with Hechavarria next year. His bat is coming around. You can see the improvement regarding pitch selection and getting the bat through the zone. He’s ready to hit the fastball like all hitters should be but he’s compensating just enough to adjust to the offspeed stuff. He’ll never be Babe Ruth but he doesn’t have to be. I think TO will get a veteran to play 2nd. In my opinion, this is the last series for YE in a Jays uniform.

      • They showed they are?

      • Yes, the Jays had injuries, but their fans are using that as an excuse to make all sorts of unrealistic claims. The fact is, the Jays were never contenders. Yes, when the injuries hit, they were several games above .500. But (i) they got this record during the first half of the schedule, and the second half was much harder, and (ii) this record was built in part by Rasmus, KJ and Alvarez playing above their heads, as evidenced by their final stats. And the claim that the Jays lost 3/5 of their starting rotation, while technically true, conveniently overlooks the fact that one of the pitchers was Drabek, who was absolutely awful.

    • AA seemed to think differently, believing that they are looking to improve the team rather than continue adding prospects. If they want to wait for all of their prospects to develop before ever adding a big piece free agent then we are in for a lonnnng rebuild. If they wait long enough Bautista and other players will have to be replaced. Waiting around for everything to fall into place without making major moves is not a very good model for success.

      • Everybody looks at AA’s trades, but his most important act has been to restock the minors, which was essentially barren. Most contending teams rely on their minor-league system. In the Jays’ case, like it or not, this might well mean waiting patiently for several years until the young players are ready for the majors. Yes, ideally the Jays would make moves now, but this greatly depends on whether they have the personnel in place. If they do, then it makes sense to pick up a couple of FA’s. At the beginning of the year, it looked like they did have a promising set of players. But now, realistically, I don’t see it. If the Jays are many players away from contending, what use is it to spend money to bring in FA’s? Yes, they now have Bautista, Encarnacion and Morrow, who are top-notch players, but I don’t think this is enough. Now, if you *knew* that Romero, Escobar and Rasmus would bounce back, and that Gose, Hech and Happ would be OK next year, then it would be another story…

  18. I saw your tweet last night and I agreed with it as far as the pitching went. Obviously they still have holes in Left, 2nd and possibly DH or First depending on where you put Edwin.
    I think since you’re paying Lind anyway he’d be decent enough as the Left Handed portion of a platoon with possibly someone like d’Arnaud.

    As for the cost of these starters, people have to realize that guys like Edwin Jackson are going to cost north of $12 million per season. He took a one year $11 million dollar offer for 2012 because he couldn’t get the years he wanted. I highly doubt he’s going to come any cheaper than that. I doubt Haren is going to take much of, or any type of cut, just because he had one off year. Also Haren has been much better in the 2nd half if you look at his splits, they a lot closer to his career numbers.

    2 starters of Jackson or Haren’s type are going to cost a minimum of $25 million next year and probably for the next 3-4 years considering they’re not likely to settle for a single year deal.

    As I said the other day, teams are looking at a new windfall starting in 2014. I would not be surprised to see teams start spending a year early. With one year of the new WC system under their belt, teams now have an example of how improved their chances are with the 2nd wild card. Surely most will have realized that an investment in a better starter or two stands to payoff a lot more often now.

    The simple fact is the Jays are going to have to spend and spend well this winter to fill their holes or empty out the farm system in one fell swoop in making multiple trades.

    Hopefully Rogers is up to the task this winter.

  19. The problem with free agency, which Stoeten alluded to, is that most of the guys you’d want won’t want to come to Toronto without the Jays having to pretty solidly outbid the competition – which won’t happen.

    The only reasonably good free agents that seem in the realm of possibility are the one’s with some “ties” to Toronto. Maybe it’s a buy-low on Shaun Marcum, who maybe has fond memories of Toronto. Maybe it’s Ryan Dempster, who finds playing in Canada appealing? (He did, after all, reportedly consider the Jays one of the teams he’d waive his no-trade for this summer.)

    A pitcher isn’t going to want to come to Toronto as “pillow-contract” on a buy-low either. Why would Haren come here to rebuild value? Why would Brandon McCarthy? To play in a hitter’s park in the AL East? Yeah, right.

  20. As for the trade market… the Jays are in a far poorer position to make trades then they were last offseason.

    They no longer have an excess of left field options to trade. They no longer have a bunch of big league ready, or almost ready, pitching to trade (due to injuries and shittiness). And as Stoeten mentioned on Twitter, what teams are going to want A-ball prospects this offseason – that is, what teams are really looking for that kind of rebuild? The Astros? The Twins? The Indians? Find a pitcher on those teams you desire.

    The Cubs are interesting in that regard – Garza, maybe being open to trading Samardzija – and also have a need in the big leagues at catcher.

    Otherwise, what do they have that the Cardinals would want? Or the Diamondbacks? A shortstop? Maybe. But then you need to fill a hole at 2B, and with the shopping list the Jays have, guilting Escobar to move over to 2B and hoping he reboudns offensively is probably their best bet.

  21. One of the Uptons in lf, Ike Davis at 1st, E Jackson, A Sanchez pitching upgrades would be a successful offseason imo…

  22. Grienke people. Grienke. Honestly I don’t see why he isn’t a perfect fit here. Halladay didn’t want the spot light and look how he took to Toronto. Even though Grienke’s head games are probably blown outta proportion I still dot see why Toronto wouldn’t be a very realistic landing spot for him. As long as the jays pony up the money, which if they are gonna do for anyone (like they say they will) they should do it for him

    • Every team in baseball wants him. Slim chance (unless Rogers empties their wallet) Toronto would end up being the best option for his career. I’m sure AA will give him some kind of offer, but it will probably end up being about as competitive of an offer as we gave in the Darvish sweepstakes.

      • Add in that Grienke has probably no interest to play in Toronto. He’s repeatedly said that he wants to play on the west coast, namely where he is in LA.

  23. I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that’s cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do,

  24. I predict that AA gets three starters. Two will be FAs of some significance. One will be a younger yet established pitcher with upside via a trade. He may supplement that with one more veteran guy, perhaps taking a shot on a guy with some past health concerns but worth the flyer to add depth. He knows he has a great future on the mound but he’s got to address the depth in TO give the team a chance to win now and to protect the the future by allowing it time to develop properly. They were competing well this year, later than usual and you could see the tide turning and then they lost 3/5 of the staff. A veteran team like the Yankees might have maintained their cool and continued to find ways to win. But TO is still a young team and had a very weak/overworked BP at the time because of the suspect starting pitching. I say AA sells this scenario to Rogers and they spend.

  25. Has anyone called Jack Morris?

  26. If Sox fall out of the race, why not trade for Peavy now? Give em a mid-level prospect and save them 4 million (Peavy’s buyout).

    Jays have said they’re willing to overspend, as long as term is not too long. Peavy for one year at 22 million is an overspend but maybe if you’re ‘going for it’ its worth it.

    Could then have the option of extending him during the season.

    • this is a good idea but they are only 2 games back with 6 to play so I doubt there will be much of a window where they are clearly out and willing to trade him

      • Very true, but it only takes one phone call- ” Hey, it’s Alex Anthopoulis phoning; how would you like Mike McDade and 4 million dollars for nothing?”

        Let’s go Tampa and Detroit!

  27. I don’t think its going to matter one bit what AA does this winter, someone is going to bitch about it. He should just go and sign Ortiz, Then figure out the pitching and 2nd base. I think at that point LF could be carried. IE Gose or Sierra.

  28. It seems, based on several comments I read, that people are too into wanting injury prone players, like Ortiz (he is like 37 remember.. doesn’t seem too unlike Frank Thomas a few years ago at this point). Not usually a good idea to bring in the oldest, highest paid DH from this past season who was injured since Bautista went down.

    As for Anderson and Haren, I think I’m more than OK with one of them, but I’d be wary of both due to the obvious injury concerns. Don’t we already have enough of those with Morrow, Romero (no obvious injuries, but perhaps the workload is catching up to him, who knows) and the rest.

    I realize you gotta try to find bargains somewhere, but I’m not sure those are the right answers. So who is? I don’t know, and obviously offering nothing and just disagreeing with others opinions isn’t really helpful. I say give up some talent in the minors, which is such an unknown commodity, and try to get someone like a Latos from last year (though, not a guy from the NL West huge park, ideally).

  29. why not trade for J. Upton and a #1 starter, sign B.J. Upton, D. Ortiz a #4/5 starter all while only giving up Colby, YEscobar or Hech + prospects and cash. Call it an offseason and start planning the parade down Yonge Street.

  30. One added benefit to Anderson is that Drabek should be ready by the time he goes down with an inevitable injury.

  31. Kendry Morales as our !B/ DH combo with EE. I would not mind seeing a guy like Jason Vargas picked up for back of rotation and than somehow pick up a monster bat for LF and no a Choo someone with some major thump.
    Morales and Left fielder with thump and Vargas would get us real close.
    Yes I know Vargas is not a sexy pisck up but proven

  32. meh

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