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I’m not sure how entirely new this is, but… it’s Friday, the link dump is coming along slowly, and when the hell else am I ever going to get a chance to post something from Global TV in Saskatoon?

That’s where the Jays’ winter tour is making its latest stop, and where Alex Anthopoulos sat down this morning to answer a few questions– some of them twice!– on the airwaves of the local station. At the end of it he even manages to say something rather interesting!

“We’d love to have a reliever if we could. We’re still talking to Darren Oliver– I’m not necessarily optimistic that he comes back. But we’d love to add one more reliever. We think that would solidify things for us.”

“We have a lot of talent,” he later says of the bullpen, “but they’re very young and not necessarily proven. So that’s the one area I’m a little concerned about, but it could also certainly be a strength.”

It makes sense– though I may have preferred him say he wants a right-handed bat of some kind, as he did in his scrum with the assembled media hordes following the RA Dickey presser (as per North of the Border)– and it’s definitely interesting to hear Alex not sounding quite as outright dismissive of Oliver’s tactics as I’d thought he was.

Also interesting (though probably nothing): over at ESPN.com (Insider only) Jim Bowden continues to predict that the Jays may eventually be the landing spot for free agent closer Rafael Soriano.

I’m not much for throwing money– assuming we’re just talking about a one year pillow contract here– at relievers, but they sure would have themselves a hell of a bullpen if they added Soriano to it. And as much of a revelation as Casey Janssen was last year, I think you could certainly displace him as the closer, given how that seems to be Soriano’s demand.

The draft pick they’d have to give up, however, throws the whole thing into serious doubt.

Sure, the Jays’ 10th overall pick is protected, meaning that they’d only have to give up a second-rounder, but– even in a world where the Jays could keep tossing cash around– I don’t think that makes much of a difference.

Baseball America estimates the Jays’ bonus pool for the 2013 draft to be around $5.9-million for the first ten rounds, and Perfect Game estimates the second round of the draft as beginning at pick 43, meaning the pick the Jays would forfeit would be the fifty-second. Last year’s 52nd pick, used by the Cardinals to select Patrick Wisdom, had a bonus of $970K attached to it, while tenth overall pick David Dahl signed with the Rockies for $2.6-million.

Those figures aren’t concrete, but they give you a pretty good idea of what little pool money would be left should the Jays forfeit their second-rounder and sign their first rounder somewhere around slot. And given the hit their farm system just took, and how successfully they snared high-end talent from the draft’s later rounds with some creative accounting last year, I’d be surprised if that was the approach they took.

Then again, it’s not like they have a whole lot of high picks to spend that money on anyway, and there’s the chance that Soriano is worth making a qualifying offer to again in a year’s time, meaning that they’d either get him on a one-year for around $14-million, or they’d get back an even higher pick than the one they’d stand to lose.

Hmmm…

 

Crotch grab in the direction of @abstractmonkey for the clip.

Comments (118)

  1. FIRST I RULE!

  2. Adam lind is demanind a new lawn boy or else he’s retiring

  3. Epic fail for Oliver

  4. Sergio Santos

  5. 14 mil for a reliever? are you insane?

    • Yeah, that price is a bit ridiculous. I don’t think even Boras can squeeze $14 million for 1 year of Soriano at this point. Maybe 10 million.

      I normally wouldn’t pay that price for a reliever, but the Jays went all-in months ago, so you might as well.

    • There are no bad one-year contracts, right?

      That one’d be close, though, for sure.

      • He’s not getting that price though. Teams are just waiting out all the Boras guys until they all get desperate. Lohse and Bourn are in the same boat.

        Last year the Tigers blinked on Fielder and gave him the 200 million+ late, and gave Boras a huge lifeline. This year it’s not happening. Crasnick just tweeted a column about all of this maybe 15 minutes ago.

    • It’s just 1 year.

    • It would certainly seem like a bad contract from a negotiating perspective, but the fact that it comes pretty much at the end of our transaction period means that nothing should be really affected by it. This is how I see it anyways – all depends on how badly Rogers wants to win. I would make the move if they were willing to spend the cash.

    • Imposter!!!

  6. Just trade Lind already

  7. Signing Soriano seems pretty implausible (though you can easily argue that this whole offseason has been implausible!) – it’s just that the Jays seem unlikely to spend anything, let alone $13.3M or so (there’s no way Boras eats crow and has Sorinao sign for less than the offer the Yankees had to make), and dealing with Boras AND giving up draft picks has never been their M.O.

    If AA said they have no more money to spend, I’d tend to believe him. That said, if they really want another reliever, and have no cash and, you’d figure, little interest in trading more prospects, what kind of a reliever can they really pick up? I suppose I could see them trading someone like Moises Sierra or David Cooper for a low-end reliever.

    While I’m spitballing, is it possible JA Happ could be moved? I realize he serves a valuable role for the team as a swingman and possible lefty in the bullpen, but he is going to get ~$4M in arbitration and was reportedly unhappy with being used in the bullpen after Toronto acquired him last year. Is there a good, pre-arb reliever the Jays could acquire for a back-end starter? Not sure I’d do that, but just a thought.

    • J.A. Happ is valuable if Romero can’t rebound to respectability. If Ricky can bounce back then I think Happ becomes expendable; but right now he’s too necessary to move.

    • No. They need depth. Don’t want Jenkins to be the 6th man.

  8. what I don’t understand is how giving up a draft pick is too much for Soriano, but the Dickey deal makes sense because of “Win Now!”

  9. Praire doggin Jays style!! Sign Sorino!!

  10. @Stoeten

    Just because he is having dialogue with Oliver doesnt mean he is considering paying him more money.

    Could be simply trying to talk him into playing his last year on contract Doesnt mean he still isnt dismissive about his tactics. IMO

  11. brandon lyon is still available. once he gets desperate he can be had for 2-3 mil easy.

  12. I’m in Saskatoon too. Thankfully, not for long.

  13. thames has retired!

  14. So many people have completely forgotten about the existence of Kyle Drabek, who’ll come back as the Jays’ big, long-relieving righty later this season.

  15. Do it! 14mil is kinda steep but fuck it… All or nothing

  16. No way Oliver puts his tail between his legs and comes back on his current contract, because I highly doubt AA changes his deal. I would love to see him back, but oh well.

  17. I’d do it. All in!

  18. 14 million for 60-70 innings out of the pen is crazy, when none of our starters will even make that much this year

  19. Show Saskatchewan some love!!!!!!!! I am one of the Jays biggest fans. Try to make a trip to see them every year and I read your blog daily. Great job!

  20. Crasnick just wrote this piece a little while ago, about the remaining Boras clients. http://espn.go.com/mlb/hotstove12/story/_/id/8832775/scott-boras-three-big-free-agents-unsigned

    So at this point, we’re just sitting and watching a huge staring contest between Scott Boras and 30 GMs. I never thought I’d say this, but right now my money’s on Boras blinking first.

    • about fucking time too!

    • It was easy not to blink when you had a talent like Fielder. SOMEBODY was going to pay him, hes too good not to be.

      Its different now. None of these guys are truly elite talent. Obviously Soriano is an elite reliever, but hes nly going to pitch 60-70 innings. And I dont know if its just me, but I feel like the winds of change are blowingm The myth of the “proven closer” seems to be losing some cachet.

      • You aren’t wrong, but I have to think there was a stroke of luck involved for Fielder and Boras when Victor Martinez tore his ACL. The Tigers weren’t even interested before that injury.

  21. Just an idea:

    1) Sign him to a one year deal
    2) Win the world series (fingers crossed)
    3) Offer him arb., him being a boras agent, he will reject it
    4) we’ll get a draft pick, hopefully a higher one than what we surrendered to get him.

    • decent plan, but that’s assuming the whole qualifying offer thing plays out the same way next year. agents might play it differently next year. then were stuck two years paying a reliever 14mil. that’s just too much IMO for any reliever

  22. While watching this, I’m gonna do a count on times he either clears his throat, or says “obviously.”

  23. I think it’s probably more likely they add another reliver in a trade a la Santos, Lincoln, Delabar. Maybe re-sign Lyon if they can get him for cheap.

    With the last infielder coming on a minor league deal and winning a spot.

  24. I’m 100% okay with bringing Lyon back. Don’t want Oliver anywhere near this team.

  25. Jays would be much better of with one of Lyon, Wilson, Farnsworth or K-Rod.
    Wait out the market a bit until their asking prices come down, no draft pick comp to worry about. Way better value

    • Not K-Rod but yes.

      • Yeah his numbers are getting worse every year but, 9.00 K/9 is still excellent and he has lots of experience in high leverage situations. Not saying I would want him closing unless there were a multitude of injuries, but he’s good depth at a fraction of Soriano’s cost. Just sayin

  26. I will be absolutely shocked if Soriano gets signed by the Jays.

  27. I wish the jays were called the Toronto Blades and had a butterfly knife for a logo. Then I’d buy a hat. Maybe even some logo shorts.

  28. Go Jays Go! There gonna win the World Series this year!

  29. So there’s a new Griff bag up and…wow. I can’t even find the words for how fucking stupid this Griff bag was. It’s even got racist accusations in it. Stoeten, please don’t miss this one.

  30. Did anyone else notice that the interviewer asks the exact same question twice?

    Q1: Tell me about the tour. What’s this all about?

    Q3: What’s the Winter Tour all about?

    Great stuff.

  31. Where can I buy that hoodie AA is wearing?!

  32. I’d love some Rafael Soriano, but I don’t know if he’d fit into the budget at this point.

    But, in for a penny, in for a pound….

  33. Whether one uses FIP, ERA or most anything else, the only baseball argument for expecting Soriano to be any better than Oliver in 2013 is age.

    Is that one factor alone worth paying an extra $5 or $6 million AND giving up a draft pick?

    If people want to take a moral/ethical stance on Oliver, that is fine.

    But as far as baseball reasons go, signing Oliver for $4 or $5 million is much better than giving up a draft pick to sign Soriano for $10 million.

    • @jays 2010

      Seriously dude turn the page on Oliver. Besides the fact Soriano is an elite closer and Oliver is a 42 yr old middle relief arm; Whatever happens is going to happen lets stop talking in circles on Oliver its crampin this blogs style and giving people headaches

      • Ugh.

        By elite closer I assume you mean PROVEN CLOSER.

        Seriously, in 2013 you wanna go with that?

        • well to be fair hes both proven and elite

          • As is Oliver.

            Suggesting Soriano is an elite closer and Oliver is merely a middle reliever completely misses the point.

            Soriano isn’t any better than Oliver, regardless of save totals.

            • Oh my God just fuck off already. You are the worst. Same fucking note all song long, over and over…

    • Agree all the way. There’s no room for pride/emotion in business, and especially not when the first chance at a WS run is possible in a generation.

      Pony up for Oliver, keep the pick, and it’s gg.

  34. AA should look to a sign an trade.

    a team like lets say the padres with a protected pick, but looking to improve their team this year

    we offer 1 year 8 million. padres sign him and trade him to us for lets say, chad jenkins.

    • Jays have a protected pick too.

      In that scenario, Padres would lose their 2nd rounder, just like we would if we signed Sori. Cant see Padres trading their 2nd round pick for Chad Jenkins.

      • a 2nd rounder wont be mlb ready for 3-5 years.

        you can send the padres some help now.

        what about lind or something? who knows.

  35. Brian Wilson anyone? would be cheaper

  36. if oliver is still the best bargain out there

    just sign him to a 1 year extension, 5 million in 2014 with a 1 million dollar buy out.

    he plays 2013 for the agreed amount. but is guaranteed an additional 1 million bucks next year.

    boom. too bad his agent went public, or else this could have been seen as AA ensure he was on the team rather than answering a threat

  37. You’ve traded Darnaud, Syndergard, Hech, Nicolino and Alvarez this offseason for players to win now.

    If your budget can handle it, might as well go for Soriano on a one year at this point.

    • And Marisnick

    • But Soriano isn’t any better than Oliver.

      And he costs more money.

      And he costs a draft pick.

      But everything else you say is true that the Jays have gone this far in their quest for contention so no need to stop with a high risk/high reward bullpen at the moment.

      • Sign Lyon and end this already

      • I’d rather not have him just to avoid the ‘who’s the anointed closer’ bullshit getting right out of hand. We seem to actually have an opportunity where we have at least 3 (Casey, Santos, Delabar) guys that could take the job if they have a hot hand. With the year over year volatility of (most) relievers, I’d way rather have the option of letting 3 guys, none of whom it seems feel entitled to the role, compete for it and let Gibby go with hot hand / best suited for the situation. You bring in Soriano, automatic expectation of him having the role and a whole lot of nonsense for us to listen to the first time he struggles. Save the roster / payroll flexibility for a trade deadline acquisition or a rh bat. Hard for me to believe soriano provides more value than the 10+ guys we could have compete for that role for the same or less money, and without the ‘we paid him 14 mil so we are going to trot him out every night’ bullshit.

        • +1

          I’d rather have a number of guys who can pitch in high leverage situations than one guy paid so much that he expects to pretty much only pitch in the 9th inning.

  38. If the Jays are even in the conversation with Soriano, then you have to think they will either get him or at least work out a deal for DO. Either way the bullpen would be much improved. Get it done AA!

  39. Brian Wilson on a cheap 1 year deal sounds good to me, although I don’t know if he’s damaged goods at this point.

  40. If AA added a substantial 2014 team option to Oliver’s contract with a $1million buyout, it could be enough to save face on both sides.

    • This is honestly the best situation for everyone and would even somewhat satisfy the moralists of the world.

      If Oliver plays for $3 million in 2013, but has a $1 million buyout attached to a $5 million example, everyone wins.

      And it’s a much better move than Soriano if he requires $10 million.

  41. Davidi says we’ll put out an offer to Sori

  42. This Soriano talk might give AA some serious leverage in his talks with DO. AA: “Hey DO, last chance, take the $3 M + xx or we are moving on to other options and may not be able to offer xx again.”

  43. After looking at Oliver’s numbers again I cant get over what a bonehead move it was to go public. The guy was pretty much lights out. What gets me though is the fact that AA has tried to build a reputation of trust over the last 3 years. This situation is a slap in the face. Because I fully expect this rotation to overachieve in IP’s (200+ from Buehrle, Dickey and possibly JJ and possibly Morrow) I dont see the BP being overused. Because of that I can see a guy like Lyon being way more effective if signed (one IP at a time instead of 2 or 3). This would in turn eliminate the need for a Soriano or some kind of feeble face saving move to fix the Oliver problem.

  44. Soriano will not be a Jay next season. There’s more choices out there able to do the job at a much more reasonable cost.

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