I think I can probably, by now, say for certain that this will stay as 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…
Tonight at midnight is the deadline for clubs to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players, meaning that the free agent class is about to be expanded by several cheap players who might be of interest to the Jays. It also means that we’ll be keeping our eye on Bobby Wilson, the potential back-up catcher who currently gives Alex Anthopoulos the flexibility to deal one of his bigger pieces. Wilson won’t cost a whole lot if the Jays tender him a contract, and because contracts with arb-eligibles are non-guaranteed, the Jays could always cut him some point before mid-March and be on the hook for only 1/6th his salary– a hit of about $100K. That seems like a small price to pay to keep their options open, but if Wilson isn’t tendered a contract, it’s a very strong signal that the Jays are going to go forward with Arencibia starting, Buck as the backup and d’Arnaud in Triple-A.
Russell Martin has signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, agreeing to a two-year, $17-million deal. The Bucs, apparently, went just far enough to put the Yankees out of the running to retain him, which is fantastic for a couple of reasons. The Yankees now have to go find someone else, it would seem, and will probably need to deal assets to do so. And while they almost certainly won’t be making that deal with the Jays, we do happen to have a catching surplus, and the value of JP Arencibia– and even John Buck– in contrast with the price tag on a very average free agent like Martin, has to be looking pretty good, right?
Oh, what could have been: the Mets have extended David Wright for seven years, and more than $100-million. Wright, of course, was once offered to the Blue Jays for Jose Cruz Jr., who in his walk year, and ended up not being traded at all. Fun times! And, rather ironically, a member of the front office that’s giving this massive extension to Wright is JP Ricciardi, who turned down the offer all those years ago.
The Mets also appear to be closing in on an extension with RA Dickey now, which should put an end to that pipe dream for Jays fans. And really… how much do you want to give up for one year of a knuckleballer whose value– and K%– spiked at age 38, in order to move him to a much tougher division and a damn domed stadium? Not a whole hell of a lot, by my estimation– though that didn’t stop a lot of people from talking about it. Sure, maybe Dickey truly got the feel for his pitch last year, and the production is sustainable– I’d love for it to be true, because he’s kinda awesome– but to risk all the cheap years of control it would have taken to get him? Can’t say I’m disappointed.
Speaking of deals, that don’t bother me as a Jays fan, the Angels have dealt reliever Jordan Walden to the Braves in exchange for starter Tommy Hanson, a couple of guys who some may have been pondering as possible options for the team, but who I’m pretty OK they didn’t give up anything of similar value to get. Money tweet from Dave Cameron of FanGraphs: “Tommy Hanson’s velocity chart might as well read “RUN AWAY!!!” He’s right. And I’ll have you know that J.A. Happ was worth almost a full win more than Hanson, in 30 fewer innings last seasons, and doesn’t have nearly the injury red flags or problematic velocity loss. But, of course, that’s not going to stop people arguing that the Jays should have jumped to get him, is it? They remember his name from the year he was good, after all.
It seems a foregone conclusion that the Dodgers will sign Zack Greinke, as its being reported that they view him as critical to their pitching staff, and are willing to outbid anyone to get him. They have the money to do so, and the Angels’ trade for Tommy Hanson certainly makes it look as though they’re perhaps already moving on– though it’s not like they only need one starter, so maybe not. The Rangers and Nationals can suck it, though, amiright?
The White Sox are keeping tabs on their own free agents, AJ Pierzynski and Kevin Youkilis– the latter of whom could be a fit for the Jays, says Touch ‘Em All, though I don’t quite see Youk coming in as a platoon guy, or the Jays being confident in him enough to pay him to not. If he doesn’t get the kind of offers he wants, though, you could certainly find worse places to recoup some value than here– though the same could be said of the Cell, as well.
Sticking with the Sox, apparently they’re still looking to find a taker for Gavin Floyd, whose $9.5-million option they picked up earlier in the off-season.
Lastly, not Jays-related but apparently the Pirates are trying to retain reliever Jason Grilli, whose agent is Gary Sheffield. The Gary Sheffield. And that. is. awesome.