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…

In Buster Olney’s latest for ESPN.com, he wonders if a club might “move aggressively” on Jeremy Guthrie, and whether the Jays might be such a club, given their need and Guthrie’s track record in the AL East. Frankly, I wouldn’t hate such a move, assuming that it pushes Henderson Alvarez to Buffalo and leaves room for one, or perhaps even two more additions to the rotation. I wouldn’t put it past Anthopoulos to flip JA Happ in a deal for a starter, and Guthrie– with his ability to be solidly above replacement level, though slightly below average (except when in Colorado), and eat a bunch of innings– would slot in nicely as a fifth starter, should that happen. Or even if not. Thing is, I worry that “move aggressively” might be code for “offer more years than otherwise necessary,” which probably only means two… but still. On the other hand, his 91 innings with Kansas City in the second half was perhaps the best stretch of his career– 3.16 ERA, 3.84 FIP, though his ability to keep balls in the ballpark makes his rate-adjusted numbers like xFIP or SIERA look a little worse. But still solidly mediocre!

Shortstop Jed Lowrie of the Astros is drawing interest, which actually might present an interesting opportunity for the Jays. Sure, they have middle infielders aplenty for the moment, and the price might be exorbitant, and Lowrie has had some injury troubles in his career. But the Astros are one club who won’t necessarily be looking for MLB talent in return, and adding yet another middle infielder would make it more comfortable to move Yunel Escobar elsewhere. Basically, something like that would make the Jays’ lives easier: turning minor league assets into an open MLB asset that the vast majority of teams are more likely to covet. Plus, Lowrie is looking at making around $1.9-million in 2013, and is only under team control for two years, which would open the position up for Adeiny Hechavarria sooner than Escobar’s deal allows– assuming his options are exercised.

Torii Hunter is visiting Detroit today, and people seem to think it’s a foregone conclusion he’ll sign with the Tigers. I can’t say it wouldn’t be a tremendously solid move for them– and for those of us who had to watch Delmon Young attempt to play the outfield during the World Series. Hunter only has so many good years left to give, and the Tigers’ Championship window isn’t going to be open forever– though I suppose we kinda thought that while watching Magglio Ordonez decline, too, isn’t it? Seems like a good match, and while I like the pipe dream of Hunter joining the Jays instead– especially after looking deeper at his splits– for a club with finite resources, at least 2/5ths of their rotation currently vacant, and really only needing a left fielder to platoon with Rajai Davis, I can see why it was probably not even worth the time to try and convince him to bring his 37-year-old knees to our turf.

As mentioned earlier, the Cubs signed Scott Baker to a one-year deal worth $5.5-million, with $1.5-million in incentives. This provoked some conversation on Twitter about the Jays’ disinclination to make those kinds of deals– stemming back to the Frank Thomas debacle. Now, I’ll be the first one to laugh in the face of the Toronto Maple Leafs when their ridiculous GM boxes himself in with policies restrictive beyond what’s allowable by the CBA, but in this case with the Jays, I get it. For one, there aren’t really performance incentives in MLB anyway– contracts have “escalators” based on playing time– which means that you can run into a Thomas-like situation, where the front office may want to manipulate playing time in order to save money, which is not exactly ideal. More importantly, AA has said that he’d prefer to guarantee more money to a player, rather than go that route, so theoretically he isn’t missing out on getting anybody signed because of the policy– at least, not because of that any more than the fact that his cheap ownership group hasn’t yet provided many dollars for him to guarantee.

Ben Nicholson-Smith– Benny Fresh!– takes a look at the Jays’ small list of arbitration-eligibles: Corey Wade, Bobby Wilson, Colby Rasmus and JA Happ. Because a quaint little anachronism, Rasmus is probably not in line to do so badly, thanks to his 23 home runs and 75 RBIs. Because, you know, those numbers are all you need to know to tell you he was great, right? Shove your advanced numbers, stat boy, amright?

The Cardinals have released reliever Kyle McLellan, which normally wouldn’t warrant mention, if not for AA’s infatuation with the relief market– not to mention the fact that McLellan started 17 times for the Cardinals in 2011, and was only a shade below replacement! (Well, over half a win, per FanGraphs). He was looking at about $2.4-million in arbitration, though.

Apparently the Braves nixed a Mike Olt for Andrelton Simmons deal with Texas– who were angling to turn Olt into a commodity that the Diamondbacks would flip for Justin Upton, without having to move either Jurickson Profar or Elvis Andrus. I’d make some kind of comment about Adeiny Hechavarria here, but Simmons’ ability to make contact, take a walk, and the 55 point gulf in OBP between the two in their first MLB forays kinda preclude me.

Comments (35)

  1. RBI’s win games, stats don’t

    • Well you gotta score more runs than the other guys.

    • RBIs are a stat. They’re just not a useful one in providing us information about the quality of a given player’s performance.

      Yes, you need runs to win games.

      • yes they are otherwise lyle overbay would be an mvp

      • Like it or not, RBIs win arbitration hearings too. It’s just the reality of the process. But the emphasis on less informative stats cuts both ways. In Rasmus’ case, his ghastly batting average is going to hurt his arbitration case a lot too.

        Worth noting that BJ Upton settled at $4.875 for his Arb-2 year coming off of .237-18-62. That’s probably the closest comp for a one-year deal in recent history. Adam Jones settled at $6.15 for .280-25-83.

        • if rasmus gets near that he’s likely gone after this year unless he seriously picks up his numbers

      • I think that the current use of RBI (considering that we don’t read the back of baseball cards anymore) is similar to that of Sonic the Hedgehog and his rings.

        Although Stoeten is correct in saying that “RBIs are a stat. They’re just not a useful one in providing us information about the quality of a given player’s performance.” I think that the overall perception of a player can influence a customer/fan into continuing to support him, at least tentatively in 2012.

        From the management perspective they can point RBI as a quality so that they can get more out of their assets before they have to spend time and money on replacing them.

        Insert RBI for rings, poor performance for damage from hazard of enemy, and dying for getting benched or promoted.

        “One distinctive feature of Sonic games are the collectible golden rings spread throughout the levels. This gameplay device allows players possessing at least one ring to survive upon sustaining damage from an enemy or hazardous object; instead of dying, the player’s rings are scattered. In most Sonic games, a hit causes the player to lose all rings, although in certain games a hit only costs a set number of rings. When the rings are scattered, the player has a short amount of time to recollect some of them before they disappear.”

  2. Am I the only one who feels like “as AL East experience” is the most overrated notion in this entire hunt for pitching?

    I dont care where he pitched, if Guthrie is more than a 5th starter you’re gonna have a BAAAD TIME

    And even though he has more pop, I feel like Lowrie is just a younger, band-aid version of Izturis. Then again, with AA’s love for redundancy, it’s almost a shoe in! And we could have a Lawrie-Lowrie left side of the infield

    Get it done AA.

  3. yunel for lowrie straight up

    • Astros through in Altuve then sure but no

    • I may be alone on this, but I am ok with having Yunel back next year. Why sell low on him right now? Besides, I don’t think he is going to net us a pitcher that we couldn’t acquire through free agency.

      • I’m with you. I don’t see why it should be any kind of priority to try and move him. I think for us fans, maybe he represents someone on the roster that we could part with for a legit piece without creating a huge hole.

    • Not a chance. Yunel is better on both sides of the diamond and has a friendly contract. The astrosw/h to provide more than just Lowrie and they do not have much to give, believe me

  4. Im very intrigued about the prospect of acquiring lowrie. Like Izturis, he is a switch hitter that would help balance out our lineup. He knows how to take a walk and would bring some much needed obp along with some extra base power to the lineup. I have no idea what the cost would be but I would consider parting with some low level minor league talent (not including lansing 3 +osuna for him). Especially if escobar is gone they need offense to replace him.

  5. Lowrie.
    Yes, please.

  6. Can Lowrie play 2B? I wouldn’t mind getting him, then keeping Escobar and seeing how the first part of the season plays out. It’s not like they have crazy depth up the middle, and Escobar could be a lot more valuable in June. Either way it gives you a few more months to make a determination on Hech, and Izturis can stay where he should as a utility guy.

  7. I hope the Dickey thing isn’t posturing by the Mets.
    I’d love to see Dickey in a Jays uniform for the bad jokes alone.
    Buck : Looks like Arencibia is having a tough time handling Dickey’s balls.

    Jokes aside, I know Dickey comes with huge question marks but with the premium on pitching this seems like the exact type of risk we need to take to get a competitive starting rotation.

    Stotes, Mets are in rebuild and probably don’t want to committ long term to a 37 year old who’s had a couple of outlier years. What would it take to get Dickey? (so to speak)

    • Does he really have huge question marks though? Also, it seems misleading to characterize his last three seasons as outliers. Pretty sure, teams can get a good sense of what he has to offer.

      The questions I suppose are what would it take to extend him (presumably nothing exorbitant) and how long can he keep knuckling like a boss?

    • Commit long-term to a 38-year-old? That’s crazy, you can shove Dickey up your ass!

      Okay, I was really just looking for an excuse to say that. Dickey’s name would be fun to play with. AA should put a priority on getting us players with fun names, at least it would give us something to smile about.

      I don’t know about Dickey per se, but ever since we landed Phil Niekro, I’ve wished for more knuckleballers in the Jays. They’re a dying breed and fun to watch.

      Te upside to a knucleballer too is they can play forever, which is nice if you can land one that actually wants to play in Toronto.

      • Speaking of funny names, AA should land Antonio Bastardo. That way Yunel can satisfy his still-unexplained need to write expletives on his face.

        “Tu eres bastardo? Hey, it’s just a shout-out to my teammate…”

        Better yet, trade Escobar to Philadelphia. Please.

    • with only one year of control i’ve got to think arencibia plus whatever escobar would bring back from a 3rd team should do it.

  8. I strongly disagree about Guthrie and Lowrie. Getting Guthrie would be a total waste of the money that is so desperately needed for higher quality pitchers. AA doesn’t have money to throw at 6th starters or replacement #5 guys in case he trades Happ. If anything, I’d rather sign and trade Guthrie and keep Happ, because I’m not ready to dismiss Happ’s 3.50 xFIP with the Jays as just a product of small sample size. Happ is slotted as the #5 guy but really has potential to be a solid #4 or even an okay #3. I’m very comfortable with him as my 5th best starter in 2013, and I hope AA doesn’t trade him because I can’t imagine his trade value is that high.

    I also really hope the Jays plan on keeping Yunel, because selling low on him at this point when you still have 3 years of cheap control on him would be a terrible waste. I’d much rather they trade Hech who still is as likely to become Jonny Mac 2.0 as he is to be a 4.0 WAR player like Escobar has been for most of his career. Selling Escobar to make a middle infield of Lowrie/Izturis/Hech would be a major step in the wrong direction

    • Yeah…the last thing we need is to blow wads of money or give up prospects for another end-of-the-rotation guy. Seems to me there’s a few in-house guys that fit that role already.
      I could live with a couple of mid-rotation guys…they don’t have to be “stars”, just guys that (hopefully) will stay healthy and keep the ship going in the right direction for the next season or two.
      The only thing worse than no deal is a bad deal. I know guys here are foaming at the mouth for SOMETHING to happen….but to me, overpaying is not a bad deal, as long as it’s not for years and years – it’s gutting the farm that’s a bad deal.

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