It’s the eve of MLB’s annual Winter Meetings, which begin tomorrow in Nashville, and even though we may be salivating for the season to begin, especially after seeing everybody’s new favourite, Jose Reyes, goofing around with Carlos Delgado here, but for most of baseball, there’s a lot of work to be done over the next few days– and maybe even for the Jays too. Here’s what’s out there rumbling…
For whatever little it’s worth, on Friday afternoon’s Prime Time Sports on the Fan 590, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports said that he thinks the Jays are still interested in Anibal Sanchez, though he wasn’t certain that they’d be into going five years with him. “I think there’s a chance Alex has another move or two up his sleeve,” he said. Translation: keep sending traffic in the direction of my rumour-mongering! [Note: will do.]
In the Toronto Sun, Bob Elliott gets us set for the meetings, speaking to a ridiculous “veteran evaluator” who calls Josh Johnson a three, and says the Jays need “a dominant number one” like, among others, Jack Morris– he of the career ERA+ that, even when you subtract his awful two final years, barely scrapes just a point ahead of Gustavo Chacin’s.
Elliott also runs with the rotation setup that Alex Anthopoulos tossed off in his conversation with reporters this week– as quoted by Gregor Chisholm at North of the Border– which places Mark Buehrle at the top. He says it’s “the way the Jays have been listing their starters”– plural– so maybe there’s something to it. I could see maybe the Jays wanting to thrust Buehrle into a leadership role that way, though I could also see Anthopoulos having listed the names of his starters in no particular order at all.
“Could they deal Rasmus and give the centre-field job to Gose?” Elliott asks elsewhere. “A number of teams have been asking about Rasmus.”
Elliott also notes that JP Ricciardi, now in the Mets front office, made JP Arencibia a first round pick in 2007– his club’s second of that round, after Texas forfeited the 16th overall pick to the Jays for signing Frank Catalanotto!?!!? (Which the Jays used to take Kevin Ahrens)– and therefore may have a special interest in him, particularly if his new club is looking to move a pitcher, such as RA Dickey.
Speaking of Dickey, in his pre-Winter Meeting piece for ESPN.com (Insider Olney), Buster Olney stokes that fires– which is burning inside all kinds of Jays fans, apparently– noting as well that the Mets may be getting more serious about moving Dickey, and “on paper, there could be a match between the Jays and the Mets, given the Mets’ need for a catcher and Toronto’s catching surplus.”
Continuing to spitball, Olney writes that “on paper, their best trade partner might be the Rays, who will not hesitate to trade within the division if they find the right deal.” David Price you very much? I was asked about this last night, and yeah, you’d have to give up the farm. I wouldn’t hesitate to include d’Arnaud, Sanchez and Syndergaard if it meant landing three years of Price. Fuck it, and more.
Another piece from Elliott in the Toronto Sun takes a look at a number of things: the Jays’ fancy new playoff odds, the club’s history at Nashville-based Winter Meetings, the importance of getting players to show respect for umpires, the addition of Tim Leiper– who’ll be Canada’s third base coach at the upcoming World Baseball Classic– as the Jays’ new director of player development, and the retirement of Wayne Morgan, a Jays’ pro scout and lifelong baseball man who signed Terry Puhl in 1973.
Speaking of the WBC, Canada has announced its coaches for the event, including Leiper, manager Ernie Whitt, first base coach Larry Walker, pitching coach Denis Boucher, bullpen coach Paul Quantrill, and coaches Stubby Clapp and Greg Hamilton.
Jayson Stark surveys big league executives in his preview of the Winter Meetings for ESPN.com, including a couple (i.e. a very small minority) who think that the Jays might end up signing reliever Rafael Soriano. Hmm…
At FanGraphs, Marc Hulet looks at some B and C grade prospects who have some value to organizations, and may factor into some deals this winter, including Jays reliever Marcus Walden, who may be a Rule V draft option for some clubs.
Steve Melewski of MASN speaks to Orioles GM Dan Duquette, who says he doesn’t feel the need to make a big response to the Jays’ huge splash this winter. Good. Good. Melewski also writes that he disagrees with the O’s decision to non-tender Mark Reynolds, who is now a free agent, and I suppose a potential platoon partner for Adam Lind, if he can be had at the right price.
Lastly, forget anything to do with pitching depth, let’s just keep Joel Carreno, recently assigned to Buffalo, in our thoughts, as he took a ball off the side of his head last night in a Dominican Winter League game. Via Twitter and Google Translate, it appears that his club, Leones del Escogido, is saying that he will be operated on, though his vision is fine, his right eye is intact, and that, according to a team physician, he may be able to return to pitching in a month or two. That’s terrific news, but still scary stuff. Bluebird Banter, in addition to a frustratingly unlinked-to tweet, has video of the incident, if you’re not like me and actually have the stomach to watch it.