It’s all happening! The trade deadline is Wednesday at four, Zubes has apparently had a stroke (see below), Rosie DiManno hast tried valiantly to wrest back her title of most infuriatingly unreadable sportswriter in the city from Steve Simmons, and all sorts of fun things are already happening on the trade front. None of them directly involve the Jays just yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth having a look at what’s going on out there, so– much as we did back during the Winter Meetings, and as I’ll do each of the next three days– here’s the latest from the astonishingly fantastic and comprehensive MLB Trade Rumors, with some added Jays-related context, just so I don’t feel too much like we’re just ripping them off…
First, some non-MLBTR rumouring, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that the Jays were among a number of teams who had scouts on hand to watch the Cardinals’ Triple-A club on Sunday– a game started by prospect Carlos Martinez and participated in by second base prospect Kolten Wong. The latter has been the focus of a number of Jays fans’ fantasies for a while now, though I’d figure it’s the former who’s most intriguing. But what are you going to attempt to do here? Buehrle and a boatload of money? Good luck with that. Besides, an MLBTR piece from yesterday notes Goold saying that Cards GM John Mozeliak doesn’t expect a splashy move. So… I wouldn’t get my hopes up here.
The Rangers inquired on Brian McCann says the headline, but what’s far more intriguing to us is the Ken Rosenthal piece at Fox Sports that it links to, in which Kenny Ken Ken notes that the Rangers “also recently scouted the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, according to CBSSports.com.” Good luck with that, Texas. Reasonable contracts, best players, faces of the franchise. The Jays started really building around Bautista and Edwin last winter, and there’s no reason to expect they’ll stop. Dealing them would be a step backwards for the franchise, and with the way things turned out, Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t have a season to waste trying to find a way to replace the lost production of either of those guys. Nor does he have, I suspect, the cachet left to admit his project was as big a failure as the worst tendencies of fans would insist. It’s just absolutely not happening. Unless it does. Jose would be the one to leave in the remotest of remote possibilities, I think, just because he’s as valuable and already much deeper in decline.
A special dose of silliness by way of Nick Cafardo, who lists the Jays as one of the teams to have made “numerous calls” to the Twins on Justin Morneau. Uh… Morneau is on the last year of his current deal and is kinda terrible, so that makes all of zero sense. Hey, but Cafardo does speak to scouts and executives who are split on whether Buehrle and Johnson would have any value to a contender, and Cafardo himself figures that at least Buehrle does.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! says that the Angels are open for business, and that could potentially mean second baseman Howie Kendrick is available. Kendrick is under contract through 2015, and even in a down year last season (.316 wOBA versus a healthy .349 clip this season), he was a three-win player, thanks largely to his defence. Uh… what was that about Mark Buehrle having value?
The Tigers acquired reliever Jose Veras from the Astros, possibly removing from the bullpen market a potential trading partner that Jays fans have been (pipe) dreaming on for a while now. In exchange Houston gets A-ball prospect Danry Vazquez and a player to be named later. Vazquez is young and raw and repeating A-ball, but well regarded in some corners. Plus he fits the Astros timeline better than he would the Jays’, so… yeah. Detroit may still want to bolster their bullpen, of course, but it’s less urgent now.
Tangiental Jays relations here, as ex-Jay Scott Downs has been dealt to the Braves in exchange for Colby Rasmus’s brother Corey. Downs will already be a free agent at the end of the year, which is a bit of a mindfuck, I’d say, having signed a three-year $15-million deal with Anaheim prior to 2011. More importantly, it would appear to remove a club from the market for left-handed relief help. I mean, honestly, the Jays have got to move Darren Oliver, right? What’s the point of not doing it, at this point?
Speaking of the relief market, a “complicated” deal that would have sent White Sox reliever Jesse Crain to either Tampa or an unnamed third team looked like it was on, but now appears off– or back into the negotiating stage, with Crain deals being explored in a number of places. Not sure how it would work, but Alex Anthopoulos seems to enjoy being both a third team in on deals, and unnamed, so… maybe some kind of facilitating going on here, but that’s a pretty big leap.
A piece on clubs on the west coast notes that Jim Bowden really sees the Dodgers as the only fit if the Rangers are taking advantage of their bullpen depth and the seller’s market (as the Jays should) and shopping Joe Nathan– he figures Texas wouldn’t want to see Nathan bite them in a playoff series against Boston or Detroit. Elsewhere in that post it’s noted that the Diamondbacks are looking for a second bullpen lefty. Hellooooo Darren Oliver, amiright?
The Jays almost acquired Jake Peavy last winter, and he looks to finally be on the move again– though likely not here, even though he’s got another year at $14.5-million left on his deal in 2014. “The Sox asked the Athletics for top young players Sonny Gray and Addison Russell, while also asking the A’s to pay almost $20MM in salary, Gammons writes. That’s surely far more than the A’s would be willing to pay,” says one note. Combine that with having to find a new home for some of the plugs already in the rotation and it just doesn’t make sense, does it?
A more recent piece on Peavy, however, suggests that rival executives think the price will come down. Meh. It’s kinda like the Gio Gonzalez or Mat Latos things, I suspect: the Jays can try to be involved all they want, but they’re just not going to be as motivated to get a deal done as teams that are actually in the race.
Sad maple trombone: Jason Bay has been designated for assignment by the Mariners.
Aaaaaand, the Orioles are supposedly willing to move Dylan Bundy to make their flags flying forever dreams come true. Who are we to talk, though, eh?