I think I can probably, by now, say for certain that this will become a regular feature around here for the early winter, as again today, with any number of rumblings out there 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…
Don’t tell the hopeless fans who constantly scoff at Alex Anthopoulos for his infatuation with cheap relievers, but it’s looking like he may have read the market right, as Jeremy Affeldt has followed in Brandon League’s big-money footsteps, reportedly re-upping with the Giants for three years, and $18-million. Affeldt has been terrific for the last two years– especially in 2012– so it’s not like he’s just any old reliever, but for a team with limited resources, I’ll take what Alex has been doing with pre-arb guys over that kind of outlay any day.
Cleveland could be a possible destination for Jason Bay, and if they want to give him an actual Major League contract, they can have him. Another possibility, though, is Melky Cabrera, “as the pressure-free environment in Cleveland could help him rebound next season.” Hey Melk Man, you want a pressure-free environment and an above average hitters park to help emphasize your turnaround? Do I have the place for you! A switch-hitting high on-base (at least when his BABIP is driving it) top-of-the-lineup left fielder? Uh… yeah, go get him, Alex. Fuck, give him a mutual option if you have to.
Both the Yankees and Red Sox are reportedly interested in free agent catcher Mike Napoli– who is insisting he wants to catch, largely because it means a heftier payday and a much shallower pool of talent than at first base, where he really probably should play. The Sox, of course, just signed David Ross, and already have Ryan Lavarnway and Jarrod Saltalamacchia on the roster. Salty might be dealt if they happen to land Napoli– or may be dealt either way– which some have speculated may cut into the potential market for JP Arencibia. That’s possibly true, though Saltalamacchia has only one year remaining before free agency, while Arencibia doesn’t even first hit arbitration until after 2014. So… they’re not going to go to anybody looking for quite the same thing, even if the production might be somewhat similar (if we’re being a little bit generous to JP).
Elsewhere behind the plate, it looks like AJ Pierzynski will be playing elsewhere next year, and Russell Martin is drawing interest from the Rangers. Unfortunately, as shitty as some of these catching options are, they’re certainly better than trading something that isn’t entirely redundant for Arencibia, right? I don’t think he’s going to bring back what a lot of fans have kinda hoped. Cheap, yes, but it’s not like these veterans are going to break the bank for a club like Texas.
Speaking of the Rangers, they’re interested in Torii Hunter, reportedly, but so are the Braves, Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees and Tigers. He’ll reportedly go to an AL club, and Jim Bowden suggests Detroit is the frontrunner, which… given their outfield options, probably makes sense for them. He’d be a very attractive LF option for the Jays if he hit from the other side, I think– or, y’know, if he were at all interested in taking their money. Though, actually, he’s been decent against right-handers in three of the last four years– he put up a .303/.351/.446 line in 2012, for example– so I wouldn’t complain at all if their name cropped up in some of these reports as well. Again, though, who’s going to choose our shitty turf over legacy franchises with multiple playoff appearances in the rearview? Unless we pay him until he’s, like 41.
Ten million remains the new five million, as Cody Ross is reportedly getting all kinds of interest in his quest for a three-year, $25-million deal. And OK, he had a .345 wOBA this year, so he’s not nothing, but still. Still. And apparently the Phillies don’t quite think they’re old and broken down enough, and may be interested in paying Josh Hamilton a really high AAV on a short-term deal. What, are they scared off by insane long-terms contracts that have backfired on them or something?
The Dodgers’ potential signing of Hyun-Jin Ryu (they’ve already won the posting for him, but still need to come to terms) could throw one of their spare pitchers onto the trade market. Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang or Chad Billingsley might come available, and (no, really?) one of them might be a fit here– or, at the very least, not terribly costly, and maybe surplus enough to be acquired with mostly just prospects and relievers. I dunno. Also: the Jays were one of the many teams, reportedly, who were aggressively scouting the South Korean.
Emmanuel Burriss is rather a rather unspectacular piece of middle infield depth, but he’s a free agent now, electing to hit the market after being outrighted off the Giants’ 40-man roster. Again, not a guy to contribute a lot, but it’s not like the Jays aren’t still a bit thin in the middle infield– especially if they end up dealing Escobar or Hechavarria to fill a rotation hole. Our friend and occasional podcast co-host Darren from Extra Base Hit tweets that the Jays have always liked him.
Lastly, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post thinks that Hiroki Kuroda and Zack Greinke may actually sign soon, and that the Dodgers may woo Kuroda back to the west coast– which I suppose would put the Yankees in a position to go looking for another starter on the free agent market. Not exactly the best scenario for a Jays club fishing in that pond, is it?