I can’t say for certain that this will become a regular feature around here this winter, but today, with all kinds of movement starting to happen on the trade and free agent markets, and all kinds of decisions being made on players throughout the league who may wind up having some bearing on the Jays’ plans for the off-season, I think it will be a valuable exercise to comb through the latest from the astonishingly fantastic and comprehensive MLB Trade Rumors and add some Jays-related context to whatever is going on out there…
Cleveland has declined their option on Travis Hafner, among other players, making him a free agent. Hafner would be an excellent left-handed power to slot in at DH against right-handers if he weren’t to failing health what Adam Lind is to infuriating inconsistency. Since 2008 Hafner’s high water mark for games played is 118, and in 2012 he was sidelined by knee troubles a bulging disc in his lower back. Still, his lowest wOBA was .342, and that’s a whole lot better than what Lind can say. And he shouldn’t be terribly expensive. Then again…
It sure looks like $10-million really is the new $5-million, as last night the Dodgers re-signed reliever Brandon League for three years and $22.5-million. As Parkes points out at Getting Blanked, the ex-Jay becomes the 16th highest paid reliever in history, despite having a declining strikeout rate (his strikeout rate of 18% ranked 98th among 121 qualified relievers last year) which doesn’t exactly bode well for future performance, but hey… TV money!
According to Kenny Ken Ken it “will be an upset” if the Angels don’t move at least one of their two right-handed starters on whom they have hefty one-year options. Neither Dan Haren ($15.5-million) nor Ervin Santana ($13-million) had great seasons, and Anaheim seems to have decided to not pick up either of their options. But rather than straight-up declining them, they’re looking to deal the two, as there are certainly teams– and despite some ugly warts on the two, especially in 2012, I’m hoping the Jays– who would be interested in trading for their rights in order to exercise the option. I’d love for the Jays to do this, especially on Haren (Santana was considerably more brutal last year), as the one year commitment, in my mind, entirely mitigates the overpayment in salary. Sure, it would leave them looking for pitching again next winter, but so what? Only problem is, in his latest for Sportsnet, Shi Davidi figures the Jays may only have about $11- to $16-million to add to the payroll for next year, which means getting one of these guys might be about it, unless they’re able to shed salary elsewhere. Still, by dealing, at least you know you’re getting the guy.
In a single, combined post we’re told of who the Rockies managerial candidates are, and none of them match up with the Jays’ reported list, save for Matt Williams. Given the recent history in Colorado, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing– though they’d probably be saying the same thing about us, right? And we’re also told that the White Sox, despite declining options on Kevin Youkilis and Gavin Floyd (while re-signing Jake Peavy to a two-year deal), hope to have the two players back next year. The Greek God of Walks might be of some interest for the right price– defensively versatile, still hits lefties well– though a tweet yesterday from Patrick Sullivan of Red Sox Beacon noted that Youkilis “hit .158/.248/.237 in games not played at Fenway or the Cell last year.” Yikes.
The Rangers have declined their option on pitcher Scott Feldman, who pitched well for them as a starter this season and in limited action last year (he was coming off knee microfracture surgery performed at the end of 2010), posting a sub-4.00 FIP and xFIP– and pitching especially well outside his home park– with a career high strikeout rate and his best walk rate since a stint coming out of the bullpen in 2006, which mitigates an ugly 5.09 ERA. I’d hit it.
Left-hander Dallas Braden is now a free agent, as the A’s have announced that he and Joey Devine have declined outright assignments to Triple-A after being outrighted off the club’s 40-man roster. Here’s another option for the Jays to take a look at, as Braden pitched very well from 2009 through 2011, when healthy. Ahh, but that’s the rub– Braden has had a pair of shoulder surgeries since the end of the 2010 season, pitching only three times in 2011 and not appearing at all in 2012. A tweet today from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle suggests the 29-year-old Braden is upbeat about continuing his career, quipping confidently that he’ll find a job, because “I’m left-handed and have a heartbeat.” He also, according to Slusser, has made good progress from the shoulder issues. Perhaps a luxury too great for the Jays to pursue, but I couldn’t blame them for taking a shot.
Lastly, we’re told that the Tigers won’t pursue their own free agents Delmon Young and Jose Valverde. And neither should the Jays. Because those guys fucking suck. So please stop asking me about them.