New York Yankees v. Toronto Blue Jays

This is a couple of days old, and isn’t really news, per se, but today marks the deadline– at 5 PM, specifically– for the Jays to make a qualifying offer of $14.1-million to pitcher Josh Johnson, and it’s probably worth noting that, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, it doesn’t appear as though they’ll be doing so.

“A final determination apparently hasn’t been made,” he adds, noting that “with no draft choice attached to him assuming no qualifying offer is made, he might be able to get close to the $14.1 million as a free agent.”

That last bit, of course, is the rub, and is also possibly the reason that we may be waiting until the last moment for word of the ultimate decision. That’s purely speculation on my part, but it’s not terribly difficult to envision the Jays and Johnson’s agent, Matt Sosnick, still dancing around the fact that if the club is willing to get close to the qualifying offer, they may well be willing swallow hard and give up the full amount. The $14.1-million they’d need to give him is certainly at the upper end of what they could reasonably expect on the open market– Sosnick himself gave some insight into their strategy back in September, as he told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet that he believes “there will be between six and eight teams that will offer him between $10-15 million”– but the value of the certainty may be higher to the Jays than they’d want to let on until the very last.

Or so we’ve thought.

Like I say, this isn’t exactly new. I wrote rather confidently about Johnson’s upcoming return a couple weeks ago, in the wake of Tim Lincecum’s extension with the San Francisco Giants, which looked like it might, in one fell swoop, explode the market for pitching. But there are still things we don’t know about what the Jays’ thinking on this might be, and plenty of reasons why it’s possible that a qualifying offer wont be extended.

For example, Sosnick, according to Heyman’s latest, says that Johnson is “healthy,” but there could certainly still be concerns still about his medicals– no matter how much fans (or at the very least me) want to believe that the elbow surgery the pitcher underwent at the end of the season is, like the discovery of Melky Cabrera’s spinal tumour, an explanation for why this year was so bad, and a reason to feel it will get better, rather than the gigantic, screaming red flag it probably is in actuality.

The Jays may also– and, again, this could just be wishful thinking on my part– not feel it’s worth the risk and financial commitment to keep Johnson in the way of guys like Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison, or even (eventually) Aaron Sanchez, out of the rotation, especially after their success in fall league.

Of course, they may simply be not extending the offer– if what Heyman’s hearing is to be believed– because they think they’re going to be able to agree to terms with him for less. Or because they just don’t think it’s a prudent use of their limited resources.

Either way we’ll find out something today, and that something is going to involve a lot of risk– either the risk of bringing Johnson back at a heftier price than he probably deserves, or the risk of seeing a guy with all that potential, who they paid so much for as part of the Marlins deal, walk away for absolutely nothing.

But that’s OK. No, really. I know a lot of Jays fans have become dramatically risk averse in the last six months or so, but taking risks is just part of the nature of running a club, and Alex Anthopoulos actually has a pretty good track record when it comes to that sort of stuff, as long as you’re willing to look a little deeper into the past than the last year.

There has been a lot of talk around here about following the path taken by the Red Sox last year, but still not enough reminders that their championship relied on all kinds of massively unreliable characters: David Ortiz coming off an Achilles injury; a Jacoby Ellsbury who’d played just 18 and 74 big league games in two of the previous three seasons; John Lackey coming off of Tommy John; a Clay Buchholz who followed a 14-start 2011 with perhaps the worst year of his career; a Jon Lester coming off the worst season of his career, having posted a 4.82 ERA over 33 starts (albeit with better peripherals); a Felix Doubront who had been even worse than that; Ryan Dempster, at 36 years old, coming off a shoulder injury and an ugly turn in Texas after being traded by Chicago; a Mike Napoli, whose free agent deal was held up and slashed massively after it was discovered that he had a degenerative hip condition; Shane Victorino, who looked like a platoon player with slowing bat speed by the end of 2012; Jarrod Saltalamacchia and his back-to-back .288 OBPs; and a Stephen Drew, who was a below replacement level player in 2012.

Plus they traded for Jake effing Peavy at mid-season, and, if you believe in such woo-woo, added a manager who hadn’t shown himself capable of winning anything more than a politician lookalike contest during the first two seasons of his career!

In other words, even for the best teams, risk is simply unavoidable. A way to mitigate it, however, is to accumulate as many quality roster pieces as possible. That’s why I tend to think we won’t hear today that the Jays are simply going to let Josh Johnson– a player Alex Anthopoulos had long coveted this time a year ago– walk. Maybe I’m just being optimistic that they could spend so much money so frivoulously and still feel they have the resources to do everything else they want to, but I’d really be surprised to see Johnson playing somewhere else next year for an amount of money in the neighbourhood of the qualifying offer that we know would keep him here, were it to be offered.

But your guess is as good as mine.

Comments (113)

  1. The biggest factor here has to be the Jays payroll flexibility, no?

    If the Jays really have just $15-$20M to spend this winter, as guys like Davidi have mentioned as ‘what they’ve heard’, then how can they give $14M to a guy who, while full of upside, is pretty risky? That would mean they basically have to be close to cost neutral on every other upgrade they try to make this offseason, and surely they require a few.

    If they do give Johnson a qualifying offer, that’s a pretty good sign that they’ll have some nice financial wiggle room over the winter.

    • They are sitting at about 120M right now (including having picked up the options on DeRosa, Lind, and Janssen). Rasmus, JPA, Cecil, and Rogers are arbitration eligible, and if all 5 are tendered add about 10M to payroll (though JPA would be a non-tender candidate at 2.8M, dropping that down to about 7.5M). Reports I have heard have the Jays payroll being in the range of 150M, meaning they would have about 22.5M left. 14M for Johnson leaves 8.5M to cover 2B, catcher, and maybe another starter too, so yea, I kind of agree that it does stretch things thin. With Happ, Rogers, Hutchison, Redmond, and Stroman as the numbers 5-9 though (and Drabek, Nolin and Sanchez as more distant competitors), I think the Jays could afford to only sign 1 starter to go along with Morrow, Buehrle and Dickey, which would free up some of those resources.

      So, that would leave ~8.5M to fill catcher and 2B – not a ton of money – you’re not getting McCann and Cano that’s for sure – but the Jays may be able to find bargain, slightly below average options that represent a huge upgrade at that price.

      • Payroll is much more flexible than that, if what they say is to be believed. Davidi and Lott on PTS last week, for example, said that their target number last winter was $105M, and they blew past that.

  2. I get queasy at the notion of giving a guy 14-odd million dollars after watching him screw the pooch so thoroughly and proficiently as Johnson did in 2013. However, after seeing what the going rate for a starter with “potential” is, I just shake my head and offer up a silent prayer of gratitude that I’m not AA, and don’t have to make that kind of leap of faith.

  3. Speaking of Aaron Sanchez (briefly), did anyone see his start on Saturday’s Fall Stars Game? It looks pretty good from the box score (2 shutout innings, albeit with two hits, a walk, and a couple of line-outs) but I’d be interested in how he looked. It was live on MLB.com, but I can’t now find any video.

    As to Johnson, I’d QO him. The upside is massive, and the risk is just cash for one year — and not going all-in now would make a nonsense of last summer’s transactions.

  4. I don’t think he gets qualified. With Hutchison working so well in AFL I’d give him Johnson’s spot in the rotation (to loose) and look to promote from within or trade for a 5-7 yr proven #3 ground ball innings eater SP (yes, I know that’s a lot to ask for).

  5. The way I see it is, we’ve seen the worst of Josh Johnson. He can’t get any worse can he? So why not sign him to mitigate the risk of this turning into Kelly Johnson and Aaron Hill all over again? (Both subpar Blue Jays, above average players on other teams)

  6. I would be okay if they saved the money abs went five years for McCann.

  7. I hate that the Red Sox turnaround this year continues to give me so much hope for next year, but it’s just so easy to see the similarities:

    John Lackey’s 2011 numbers were worse across the board than Josh Johnson’s 2013. Lackey didn’t throw a single pitch in 2012, and still managed a nice comeback this year after major surgery.

    • Agreed. Mostly healthy years from Ortiz, Ellsbury and Pedroia, career years from Saltalamacchia, Nava and Iglesias before he was traded, bounce-back seasons from Lester, Lackey, and arguably Buchholz, plus Doubront, Breslow and Tazawa continuing to be solid, as well, plus the additions of Napoli, Victorino, Drew, Gomes, and Uehara all working out as well as they did… It shows you what happens when (mostly) everything breaks right.

  8. Qualify this man!

  9. I’d like to see him back. But if they don’t re-sign him with, or without a qualifying offer, I suspect it will be because AA has greater concerns about him than the money. It may be that his scouts and advisors are suggesting that Johnson may not be able to regain his form completely. I doubt this will be a money issue.

    Of course if he then does what they all do and bop over to the NL West and get the Cy Young I’ll be pissed. But it’s important for me to remember–on those occasions–that players can do a whole lot better in weaker divisions than they can do here in the strongest division of all.

  10. 14 mill will be cheap for a pitcher this winter. Do it.

  11. I’ll be dissapointed in no QO based on the upside, the acquisition cost, and some of the market alternatives.

    I’m in the minority I am sure, but again with the likes of Dickey, Buehrle, Johnson, Morrow, Happ, Hutch, Drabek, Romero, Nolin, Stroman and then eventually Sanchez, there is enough there to form a quality major league rotation. You add one of Jimenez, Garza or Tanaka and all of sudden you’ve got all kinds of depth to address 2B and C via trade. I would roll the dice on this roster once more before I look to anything drastic (read: trade Bautista).

  12. Let JJ go and sign Brian McCann. Than look for a Number 4 pitcher Chris Capuano, you have enough 5 to 10 type of pitcher. Including Hutchison, Rogers and many others.

    Trade from strength with your relievers, Stilson, Stroman and other AAA pitchers, can step in, and replace the relievers that are traded.

    • If we are spending 14-16 million a year, I would rather have McCann+Hutchison, then JJ+Navarro (?). Sure you have to lock McCann up for 5 years, but the numbers that people are projecting aren’t that bad. 5 years for 70-80 Million. The dude is only turning 30. He has been solid offensively and defensively.

      • But McCann has to agree to join the Jays, which by no means is a slam dunk even if the offer is the best. There is a tonne of risk in letting JJ go in order to sign him, including the possibility of ending up with Hutch and Navarro, instead of one or the other. I also think 5/70-80 is going to be too low. I think the possibility of a $90-100 mill deal was floated around about a month back.

        I like the idea of JJ on another one year trial with the possibility of draft pick compensation a year from now. If he sucks, there’s extra depth in the system compared to last year. If he’s good but the Jays suck, he’s a valuable trade chip before the deadline.

  13. If you value him at 10-12 million is the 2-4 million increase worth the chance that he signs elsewhere?

    • I think this is the key here. The question is whether a pitcher who had Johnson’s 2013 could reasonably be looked at as a $10-$12m pitcher? Like any signing so much will come down to the individual team’s situation. If $15-$20m is all this org has to work with this off-season… might be a tough sell.

      • He’s an asset. So if you value him on the open market at 10-12 mil then you have to extend him.

        If you value him at 5-7 then you have to cut bait. It comes down to simply, do you think he can return somewhat to form. If you believe that, then regardless of the over pay you have to extend him.

        You could use that money for ubaldo or garza but you’re also adding 3-4 years on those deals .

        I would offer Johnson a 10 million dollar contract with innings pitched incentives that could take it to 18-20 mil.

  14. ESPN in their AL East Off Season article suggests the following 3 names for the Jays

    Scott Kazmir – rotation depth
    Nate McClouth – Rajai replacement
    David Murphy – Rajai replacement part II

    I’d take a twirl with Kazmir .. not too worried about 4th OF types at this point in the off season ..

    • I wanted Jays to take a chance on Kazmir last year, figured if they were willing to roll the dice on McGowan, Kazmir could have had similar upside, and sure enough both had admirable seasons considering the circumstances.

      I dont know if I’d go after Kazmir now though, he’s proven himself a bit and other small market teams would be willing to offer him more, a team like Minny for example, and it’s not like the Jays lack pitching depth when it comes to semi-useful arms with upside.

      McClouth would be a decent pickup, as would Murphy, but the OF is crowded enough already as is . . . those guys strike me more as mid-season acquisitions when a playoff team is making push. I’d rather save the 2-3 mil and play a Gose and use that money to acquire a mid-tier SP or a 2b

  15. Heyman: “Hey people, I’m usually full of shit!”

  16. If they don’t extend this qualifying offer it will be another example of the lack of planning and foresight in AA’s moves over the past year. I find it hard to believe that the team gave up all those players in the Marlins deal to get Jose Reyes and Buerhle’s bad contract. That deal was obviously centred around Johnson. And if that was the case, I would hope that they saw a lot more in him than just 2013. Especially since it basically necessitated the Dickey deal which was even more damaging prospect-wise.

    The Jays know that JJ can get $10 million from anybody right now if there’s no draft pick tied to him. And there is no one on the free agent market that is anywhere near as good that they could get on a 1 year $10 million dollar deal. So we’re not talking about $14 million here, we’re talking about $4 million. i.e. should the Jays over pay by $4 million for short term and compensation if he leaves? I think the answer is obviously yes. If they don’t do this, I will be furious that the same $4 million we used to pick up Adam Lind’s option instead.

    • How is it a lack of planning? Don’t you think it would have more to do with the fact that JJ put up an awful season?

      • Because the for the Jays to have made the trade in the first place you would hope it was based on an accurate assessment of the player’s abilities and medical history. If there was any chance that one bad season would change their minds they should not have made the deal in the first place. You don’t trade that many players and prospects to get a guy that you would dump a year later if he has a down year.

        • So they should have had a plan based on the past and stubbornly stick to it?

          What if his arm literally fell off? Would that be poor planning too?

          You are the worst kind of fan. You form an opinion and then randomly invent explanations for it.

          Shit happens. He was shit. That we are even THINKING of re-signing the guy, shows how much they still think of him.

          • No, actually YOU are the worst kind of fan: one that invents evidence and completely excuses everything his team does. No critical thinking at all.

            Let’s stick to the facts. Josh’s arm didn’t fall off. Nothing major happened at all. His surgery was minor (cleaning our debris from a joint is routine for these guys). His peripherals were pretty good, he was bad from the stretch (either due to bad luck or mechanical issues), and he had bad results playing in front of a terrible defensive team that plays on turf, in a bandbox. There’s good reason to believe this can turn around.

            • You don’t have a clue about his medicals, for one. For two, you’re complaining about them not trading that many prospects for a guy that one bad year might lead you to dumping, but… um… they only traded for one year of him in the first place.

    • Also, that’s some funny accounting. The difference between the Lind and the JJ case that the jays were already spending money in the first one and they have spent zero in the second. The question is whether the Jays think they can do more with the 14 million. IF you get JJ back for 14 and he is still just a shell of his former self, then all of sudden that looks like very important resources that could have been better used. It would have been tough to find a better use for Lind’s money. He provides a ton of production on the one side of that platoon.

      • The Jays were already spending $2 million on Lind. It took another $5 million to bring him back. More than enough to have reduced the cost of JJ to the $9 million range that everyone seems to think is so reasonable. Streaky platoon bats can be head for less than $7 mil. Pitchers on the other hand, cannot.

        As for the resources being better used elsewhere, do yourself a favour and make a list of the free agent pitchers that you think the Jays would be able to sign on a 1 year, $14 million deal. Then compare their career stats with JJ.

        • Streaky platoon bats? Nice use of slant words.

          • Feel free to point to the evidence that suggests that Lind is anything other than:

            a) streaky
            b) a platoon bat

            • Feel free to not use blatantly obvious slant words for the guy who posted the 12th best wOBA against RHP this year.

            • I think the point is that most people don’t mind him being a “streaky platoon bat” if he puts up the 4th best wOBA among DHs. It’s like calling Mariano Rivera a one-pitch reliever or Tony Gwynn a poor defensive outfielder with no power. It may be true, but it says nothing at all about what the player actually provides.

            • Get with the program, Mark.

        • Why is streaky a bad thing anyway?

  17. Would Jimenez cost much more than $14 mil annually?

  18. Could this not be just posturing by sosnick to try and get the jays not to qualify Johnson so another team can sign him without forfeiting a draft pick?

    • These hypotheticals get dicey. It could as easily be a ploy to up the interest in Johnson ahead of the QO deadline, ratcheting up the risk of not qualifying him and losing him for nothing, resulting in the Jays overpaying for security. I think this is more probable if Sosnick believes $14m would be the most he can land for his client on a one year deal

      • He’s not going to find more than 14million on a one year deal. However, he will be able to pick where goes and that has some value. For example, he could go and play in San Diego, Minnesota, etc. for 1/$10m and then cash in next year. Might make more money in the long run if he gets out of the AL East.

  19. I just can’t imagine AA not extending JJ a QO. After coveting him for so long, for giving up so much for him, to watching him breeze through spring training, and then shit the bed.

    You gotta go all in. Have to.

    QO coming….tick tock doc.

  20. Or it could be Heyman needing something to say and making stuff up that he thinks might be true. How does he know what’s going on the the Blue Jays’ front office?

  21. The problem with not offering the QO is not knowing what you’ll be able to do for starting pitchers and all other areas of need. They have no idea (probably) if they can sign any other players they’re targeting. The devil you know, and all that.

  22. Interesting quandry.
    Before the 2013 season began,I woulda bet my left nut that JJ woulda been lights out.
    With a potential 7 years and 150 at stake and to prove that the previous year was an outlier,the motivation was there.
    But the performance wasn’t there.
    Now it’s being reduced to a hope that he can return to previous levels.
    A hope, that his fastball will have the same zip and his breaking ball will be what was one of the best in the game.
    A hope that a good year will produce value for a huge contract.
    Maybe he can bounce back and the last 2 years were an anomoly.
    Maybe they weren’t and that “hope” being placed in him should be directed somewhere else.
    I still hope for Romero to find his old form also.
    Interesting quandry.

    • You would think that the blind squirrel analogy would apply: ie, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while, or, out of all the promising but failing pitchers in the Jays’ employ, one should be at least serviceable for a year.

  23. Question here:

    Lets say the Jays paid someone like Saltalamacchia $12-13 million a year for a couple years, and then had Hutchison take Johnson’s spot.

    You could really substitute that situation with any position player, but catcher is a big need.
    If you can allocate the Johnson resources to a position player and then have Hutchison/Stroman take Johnson’s spot, would you do it?

  24. Interested?
    http://bit.ly/1aYcj5B

  25. i don’t like shellfish…not allergic, but i have an intense & immediate gag reflex when i bit into something like scallops.

    i have a similar (mental) gag reflex when i picture johnson re-signing with the jays for anywhere close to that $14M mark. i know, i know, open market value, blah blah blah, it’s only money, yada yada, dearth of starting pitching, yeah, I GOT IT.

    but holy fucking barf. maybe it’d be different if he was even fucking watchable…his games were the only ones i couldn’t watch more than a couple innings of (granted, that’s pretty much as long as he lasted most games, but still), they were just in-fucking-terminable. i don’t even care if the arm injury was the cause, that man was BROKEN mentally on the mound, and i’m not sure investing that kind of scratch when there are other, more obvious holes to fill is within sniffing distance of a reasonable idea.

    of course, he’ll sign for $12M/2 yrs with some asshole team & be the second coming of jim fucking palmer.

    • It’s perfectly reasonable.

      • i know…still makes me gag, that this – THIS – is a guy for whom $14M is a ‘perfectly reasonable’ annual salary.

        if we pretend that he just had his 2013 season for another team, and was a FA, would offering him a deal in that neighbourhood really make sense? because there are, apparently, at least a few teams lining up to pay him…something along those lines?

        i just can’t help but think that the primary reason we’re viewing his return at that cost as not absurd is for face-saving reasons over/above anything else. other FA pitchers are discounted as options the jays should go after whether due to performance, injury or cost/term (and usually rightly so), and yet we have someone who’s going to cost a lot, who’s had a spotty injury history, and who’s recent performance (one would think prior to injury) was pretty horrific…but he’s different from those FAs because, i guess, he used to be pretty excellent? so was johan santana. barry zito. lincecum. the list of top-flight pitchers who used to be great and now aren’t is pretty long, and that seems to be the direction he’s going (or is perhaps already there).

        again, i GET that he’s going to get an offer in that ballpark; just not sure why it should be with the jays. making a mistake is one thing; doubling down on it is another.

        • Because it’s only a one-year commitment, there’s certainty and there’s huge upside. Every pitcher on the market has warts, and no pitcher on the market is as certain to land with the Jays as Johnson would be if they make the offer (or, obviously, sign him today for less). There is a lot more value in that than you’re seeing. And if they do it, it will have zero to do with saving face.

          • Bingo. Perfectly stated.

          • i’m sure you’re right. all i’m seeing is a guy who couldn’t pitch from the stretch. i’m sure that’s fixable, and if not, just don’t let anyone get on base. or, just pitch from the windup, it’s not like JPA’s gonna throw anyone out anyway.

          • For me, the crux of the gamble is how high the upside actually is. Can he be better than league average? If you take his 3.5 WAR season from his last year with the marlins and regress a bit based on the different pitching environment (he’s going to give up more HR’s and thus his FIP will increase), what does that make him? A 2.5-3 WAR pitcher?? That’s above league average, but it assumes that he can even give the jays 150-175 innings, which is improbable at best. Plus the whole “if he can get back to how he was with the marlins” thing depends in large part on his current health issues, something obviously only the team has knowledge of. I’m not going to be disappointed if they extend the QO, but I don’t think the upside is as high as some are making out. I think ubaldo is a better bet (at least he has pitched 175 innings 4 years in a row), although that will obviously cost the team a couple extra years, $25-35mill more, and a 2nd rounder.

            • Could JJ have any value as a trade chip?

              Extend QO, sign him and then maybe add him to a package for 2B or C help?

    • You need to stop focusing so much on one bad year. Every starting pitcher has them. Lee, Halladay, etc. all had bad years before. You need to watch some older footage as well. Just because he doesn’t have a high-90s fastball anymore, doesn’t mean he can’t dominate. Most pitchers never had the weapon to begin with.

      • thanks, i get that he was a dominant pitcher, when healthy. trust me, i know.

        the flip side is that in his 8 seasons, he’s missed significant time due to injury in 4 of them, so it’s a bit difficult to get a read on just what he is, today, coming off surgery & about as forgettable a season as you could imagine. actually, can someone run an analysis on the worst hitter seasons & worst pitcher seasons in history, and tell me how JPA & JJ fared (i.e. has there been a worse hitting season & worse pitching season by two players on the same team, in the same year)? i know there have been worse pitching seasons than JJ’s, and worse hitting seasons than JPA’s, but together? that’s a thing of beauty.

        look, in the grand scheme, it’s a one year flier, so it’s not the end of the world. i’m allowed to not feel good about it though, right? i promise not to pop up on here in june when he’s got a 1.9 whip, if you promise not to rub it in my face if he’s unhittable, m’kay?

  26. Isn’t Saltamacchia’s defense as bad as JP’s?

    Arencibia was awful at the plate but would replacing him with a guy that will hit .230. with ok but not great power really make a difference for the Jays? Catchers are such shitbags in the current era, I didnt’ know we were so blessed when we had Darrin Fletcher and Greg Myers.

  27. Man, the media is all over the map on JJ’s worth, I realize this is from TSN but it’s crazy the disparity in numbers.

    From Ferguson at TSN:

    “Monday at 5:00pm et. is the deadline for teams to make qualifying offers of to their perspective free agents. The Blue Jays are not expected to tender right-hander Josh Johnson who went 2-8 in an injury plagued first campaign with the Jays. The Blue Jays were supposed to have met with their medical people over the weekend to determine if it was worth making Johnson any sort of offer at all, say in the $2-3M range for one season.”

  28. JPA. The only guy who goes 0-4 in batting practice..

  29. Extend him and be done with it, hopefully he has a bounce back year and we can extend him a qualifying offer again next year. It’s not as though there’s an abundance of quality starting pitchers on the FA market that would accept a 1yr/$14 million contract.

  30. Ugh. When is this Tim Lincecum MARKET SETTING DEAL!!!1 going to stop? One deal does not set the market. This came from the same team that gave Jeremh Affeldt 21 million last season. How many other 7th inning guys got that much last year?

    To infer anything from the market, we need a pattern. People said the same thing about a crazy market last year and a lot of guys like Lohse and Swisher got a lot less than anybody expected or what they wanted.

    • Lohse and Swisher aren’t a fair compariosn because they had draft pick compensation attached to them.

    • That was because of the qualifying offer, which isn’t going to be a factor for many guys.

  31. I doubt AA is going to offer anything that is very team friendly.. and I don’t see why he should.

  32. What better way to screw the red sox than to sign napoli. give him a 3 year deal. he’d probably hit 50 hr in skydome

    • Or one could take the pessimistic approach and say Napoli will either have a down year and/or suffer a season ending injury, while the Red Sox sign some journeyman for $3 million who then hits 30 HR.

      Just saying, free agents aren’t exactly automatic.

  33. If Seattle were willing, would you do Taijuan Walker and Michael Saunders for JBats?

    • To be clear I don’t want to trade Bautista, just killin time until “THE DECISION”

  34. Based on what AA has said in the past about being far more careful about signing guys with spotty medical histories, I can’t see how Alex will sign him. It isn’t just a $14 million one year contract.. If he signs JJ and he has a similar year to last, AA might be without a job.I bet he offers him something below market and sees what happens.

    I guess he will have to base his actions on the medical advice he gets. It is hard to let him walk but could be disasterous if he stays. Tough decision.

  35. @timdierkes 1m

    Josh Johnson is not getting a QO.

  36. According to a MLBTR tweet he’s not getting a QO

  37. Apparently not happening as per MLBTR. I’m sure they have a number in mind and will keep an eye on his market in case it falls, but I would think this is the end of his time in TO. For a guy looking for a pillow contract, he’ll probably take significantly less money to go pitch in a giant NL ballpark, knowing that if he does well, he’ll make it all back in spades with his next contract. Hes not coming back to a bandbox in the AL East.

  38. I think AA probably offers JJ a qualifying offer, but if he doesn’t, it’s either because he fairly certain he can sign Johnson for a lower price, he doesn’t want Johnson back with the Jays next season, or else he doesn’t think Johnson wants to be back with the Jays. (In the latter case, no one would sign Johnson if we qualified him, because no one will give up a first rounder for that; thus making the point of compensation moot–the only result would be us screwing Johnson over, in the event he wants to be gone.)

    One thing to consider is all the starters we have returning from injury next season. Going into spring training and/or early in the season, in the category of MLB ready starters:

    Morrow, Dickey, Buehrle, Rogers, Happ, (Johnson?), Hutchison, Drabek, with McGowan, Jenkins, Romero and Nolin on the fringe.

    With Johnson, there’s at least six starters on that list who have a right to think they should have a starter’s spot coming out of spring training, and Hutchison and Drabek probably can’t (shouldn’t?) be kept in the minors too long as well. It’s great to have all that “depth,” given the injuries that have hit the Jays the past two seasons; but you can’t put a major league starter in the minors without causing resentment.

    Note that we’re already talking about this before we got to the question of what starter we’re adding this offseason. You really want to send both Rogers and Happ to Buffalo?

  39. Are the Jays potential contenders into at least May this year?

  40. They must have an idea on acquiring someone better or cheaper, and I’m totally okay with that.

  41. It could be a possibility that the Jays medical staff doesn’t think Johnson’s healthy which is why there is no qualifying offer. Or it could be that AA is just willing to roll the dice that he can still land him with an offer of less than the QO would be.

  42. I think if Johnson doesn’t get qualified, AA will be forced to move one of Bautista, Rasmus or Sanchez for pitching.

    • Or he might sign one

      • Possibly, but the top free agent arms (Garza, Santana) will be looking for minimum
        5 yr/ $75M committment and no FA pitcher is dying to pitch in the AL east. So I would say a trade is required and those are the only assets that I forsee will get you a pitcher of any consequence.

  43. I have to think it’s health as well. With this market, Johnson at 14m doesn’t seem out of line.

    How long does it take to come back from bone chips? Johnson at 14 m for a half year would be horrible. Its possible they don’t see his full recovery complete until May/June.

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