We seem to have reached the portion of the evening where reports from today’s activity in Orlando will being filtering out. Or maybe we’ve just got this one, but either way, it’s a hum dinger, as Shi Davidi of Sportsnet tells us about all kinds of things Alex Anthopoulos has been up to so far today, which sounds as though it’s mostly centred around finding a new catcher and a high-end starting pitcher.

Obvious, I know, but given AA’s reluctance over the course of the season to acknowledge just how poorly J.P. Arencibia was playing, there have genuinely been concerns among fans that the club may have been willing to ride out 2014 while banking on a rebound from Gregg Zaun and Dirk Hayhurst’s favourite Blue Jay.

Fear not:

The catching market this off-season is a robust one, and as the general managers’ meetings opened Monday at the swanky JW Marriott Grande Lakes in sunny Orlando, Alex Anthopoulos has been in the thick of it, according to multiple sources.

Inquiries have been made on A.J. Pierzynski, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Carlos Ruiz and given the way Anthopoulos operates, you can bet he’s at least checked in on Brian McCann, as well.

Davidi goes on to tell us that the market may be slow in developing, and that his sources say that some unexpected teams had been looking into the free agent catchers as well, which could slow things down even more. But the important takeaway is, of course: holy fuck, we’re not going to have to watch J.P. Arencibia again next year.

Well… not up close, at least. With out luck I’m sure that, from afar, we’ll see him turn the corner both defensively and at the plate. But, honestly, who cares??? It’s entirely like the Aaron Hill thing: even if his departure works out as absolutely fucking abysmally as possible for the Jays– and Hill’s time in Arizona pretty much has (even though it’s a moot point, considering that the Jays were not going to pick up his option after 2011 anyway)– Arencibia simply isn’t ever going to work out here. Or… if it is, we just can’t be willing to wait for it any longer.

And there’s more: Davidi notes that the Jays have been kicking the tires on some starters as well…

 Top-end starting pitching will cost a fortune on the free agent market, as Ervin Santana has set his price at $100 million over five years and Ricky Nolasco at $80 million over five. In the current environment, they may get close to those numbers. Matt Garza would be in that neighbourhood too – all probably too rich for the Blue Jays – but one intriguing name is Ubaldo Jimenez, whom Anthopoulos pursued in the past.

. . .

Still, the Blue Jays have been casting a wide net as is their modus operandi, calling on everyone from Santana to Tim Hudson and Hiroki Kuroda (both not likely interested in the Blue Jays).

That all makes total sense, I think– both the “likely” lack of interest from Hudson and Kuroda, and the Jays’ potential interest in a guy like Ubaldo.

In a report at Fox Sports, Ken Rosenthal reiterates the stuff about Santana trying to get a $100-million deal, and gives us a taste of what the player’s agent, the awesomely-named agent for Jose Bautista, Bean Stringfellow, is trying to use to convince teams he’s worth it. Interestingly, it’s not Santana, nor Matt Garza, nor even Ricky Nolasco or A.J. Burnett, who is the second-ranked starter (and fourth-ranked player overall) behind Masahiro Tanaka on Keith Law’s top 50 free agents list at (Insider Only). It’s Jimenez, who– based on his second half in Cleveland this year– Law says “looks like a new guy out there.”

Establishing the fastball earlier in counts, throwing it for more strikes and getting more swings and misses on it. That allows him to set up his plus slider, short and hard at 85-87 mph, as well as a low- to mid-80s splitter with good bottom that helps him against left-handed hitters.

The lack of track record is terrifying, but a 30-year-old with this kind of stuff and his newfound control has to get four years, if not more, in this kind of market, likely for $14 million to $15 million a year.

There’s risk with everybody, and that’s still a tonne of money, but if the track record and the pick are suppressing his value, the Jays– as I apparently keep saying– could do a whole, whole lot worse. Josh Johnson-like upside in a body that, despite the funky delivery, has been remarkably durable, averaging 32.5 starts per season in his six years as a full-time big league starter.

Maybe I’m focusing too much on this one guy here, but I definitely do smell a fit– and one that, while I know isn’t universally loved, I definitely find palatable. 22.5 fWAR in six years as a starter will kinda do that, I think.

Among much more, which you should totally go and check out via the link to Sportsnet above, Davidi also notes that Munenori Kawasaki could still be in play for the Jays, and that the club’s new first base coach should be named soon, and may be Trey Hillman. Just released as the Dodgers bench coach, the former Royals manager (and two-time winner of the Japan Series as manager) had John Gibbons as his bench coach during his rocky tenure in Kansas City.

So… there’s that.

Comments (49)

  1. I’ll puke in my mouth if someone gives Santana $100 mil

  2. Signing Ubaldo Jimenez and Carlos Ruiz and then going with a Izturis/Goins platoon would be pretty acceptable to me.

    If they could sign another SP, like Kazmir or JJ or acquire Brett Anderson that would be even better. That depth seems pretty necessary these days.

    • Not sure why u would sign Ubaldo and Ruiz and then accept a Goins/izturis platoon ???They are either in or out as they proved last year. Let’s sign ‘em all +++++

      • because the Jays operate in the real world and only have about $25 million over their current commitments to spend.

        Jimenez will cost about $13 million over 4 or 5 years.
        Ruiz, maybe you could get for $7 million for 2 if you give him a generous option for the 3rd year
        And maybe you could get a riskier pitcher for $5 million plus incentives but probably not JJ. Maybe sign Mark Ellis for that $5 million over three years or something. But I’d rather the pitching, the Jays offense is fine and Goins’s defense is excellent. And makes sense to count on an offensive bounceback from Izturis.

        • I think there is still money to be moved around on top of that.

          • For example: moving or non-tendering Arencibia. Moving Happ. Could still move Lind or Jannsen in deals that aren’t cash-neutral. Might be able to get someone to give you a tiny bit of salary relief for Romero or maybe even Izturis.

          • as in potentially more than $25 mill to spend?

          • I hope that they would save money to sign Rasmus long-term, who himself may demand upwards of $75+ million. After all, BJ Upton signed for $75 million last season, and the market appears to be going even higher up for free agents this year. If Rasmus has another season like last, he may soon be a $100+ million CF’er (at which case the Jays should walk away from him).

            But you have to consider, if they plan on keeping Rasmus around, he is probably gonna cost a lot too.

            • It’s true. Though with Gose being close to ready, and capable of providing enough with the glove to at least not be horrible, maybe they go year-to-year with the qualifying offer, and take the pick if he walks.

        • …. The real world? Like the one you KNOW they operate in? You KNOW both what every FA will cost to sign and also what the Jays budget is? Like before last years off season you knew that they had the resources to take in as much $ as they did? … Come on man you don’t know anything …

    • I’d rather the Jays take a stab at signing aellis before going with a Iztarius/Goins platoon… Which sounds pretty bad to me.

    • I’m fine with this as well. Though I would like them to sign an good backup catcher if they bring in Ruiz.

      Sure a blackhole at 2B is bad, but with Ruiz as the #8 hitter, and if everyone stays healthy, the Jays have a pretty good lineup. And I think a starting rotation of Ubaldo. Morrow, Buerhle, Dickey, and then Hutch/Drabek/Nolin/Stroman would be a really strong rotation. The real key for the Jays next season though is probably just have some luck with health.

      • spot on. at some point, you just have to bet that the luckdragons that have been punishing the Jays so mercilessly for the last 2 seasons relent and things become at least more even-steven.

        you forgot Happ too. And Redmond, who is wholly acceptable as a 6th starter.

      • What about adding Jimenez, Ruiz and Ellis through free agency, then trading Delabar or Janssen to Oakland for Brett Anderson? A’s get the back end reliever they want at a reasonable price (especially for Delabar), and we have a solid starting 5 and enough depth to cover reasonable injuries (if we have injuries like the last two years, we’re fucked anyway).

        • I don’t know if that gets it done from Oakland’s perspective, but… yeah, sure. I don’t know if they need to spend too much in terms of assets to cover their fifth rotation spot, but depth can’t hurt.

  3. AA likes to strike early, and apparently Ruiz wants to sign a contract as soon as possible (so says Morosi). Ruiz does not seem like he will be an expensive option, as many are peg him to sign for only 2 or 3 years, at around $7 million per season. I think Ruiz would be an awesome fit, and hopefully can get a deal done soon.

    Only problem is, I’m not sure if Ruiz can catch much more than 100 games any more at his age, so you will still have to play JP a lot or find a suitable backup to him.

    • Well, presumably Thole starts 30 to 35 games as Dickey’s personal catcher. Sprinkle in another Thole start every couple of weeks and you’re at 115 games needed from Ruiz.

      • Does Thole need to be Dickey’s personal catcher if you have a starter who is capable defensively, like Ruiz?

        • Good question, I’m not sure. Though Blanco was seen as a good defensive catcher and Dickey seemed to have much more success with Thole.

          • correlation does not imply causation. you can’t assume Dickey’s success was due to Thole. it’s much more likely it was due to his improved health and adaptation to the AL.

        • Also “capable defensively” is different than able to catch a knuckleball. But just because JPA couldn’t do it doesnt mean Ruiz couldnt.

  4. I’ll be very happy with Jimenez and nearly any catcher who is at replacement level or above.

  5. How is he a weak pitcher?

  6. I would love so fucking much for the Jays to sign AJ. Seems extremely unlikely, but would that ever be great.

  7. The numbers being tossed around make it very clear that teams with small to mid range payrolls really need to draft and develop their own starters. Stoeten has said he hopes that the Blue Jays do not further dilute the assets on the farm and I could not agree more. Whatever they do, Sanchez, Nolan, Stroman and Osuna should be in the” untouchable” column. A few years down the road, they, along with Hutch may be the starting rotation.

    • FWIW, it seemed like that was sort of what Shi was getting at in his piece, saying stuff about the Jays maybe not having the prospects to make a huge deal, which I took (read: wanted to take) to mean that they’re going to be a bit reluctant, rather than that they strictly couldn’t do it. It would just kill the top end of the system.

  8. I can see a lot of waiting around this year as its not going to benifit any team starting a bidding war over a mid range free agent. AA needs to wait out the fray and there will be a few free agents that will drop their price a little and then he can pounce. The catchers look like they will be reasonably priced so he can start there.

  9. Yadda yadda yadda. ANY of the aforementioned are a very fucking welcome upgrade over the imbecile we currently have at catcher….And Cano just rejected the Yanx qualifier so he’s fair game now too. Worth opening the vault for, for sure. Can you imagine him with Reyes in the middle infield? Delicious.

  10. Am I the only person reading all these jays rumours and just having trouble giving a fuck? I remember last off season when my basically walked around with a boner for months waiting for the season to start and then spending the summer getting kicked in the junk.

    Right now, sure.. I care about the jays and who they sign but it’s hard to get excited about the upcoming season.

    My thoughts on it ?

    JP gone,,, don’t give a shit where, just get him the fuck out of Toronto. Put together a starting staff capable of winning and hopefully staying healthy, bring in a guy to play two bag, bringing in a guy cheap like Mark Ellis to mentor Goins because I think Goins could be something special. They could split time and be effective.

    I like all that…

  11. My bet is Arencibia will be the starter…down the QE way… Of course, a crazy arb award could change that. If it gets to arbitration, it’ll be really interesting to see how the HRs vs historically bad dichotomy is seen by the arbitrator.

    Can Johan Santana still pitch at all? Not as the top of rotation guy, but asking if you all think he’s worth a flyer. My impression was that he was effective between bouts of injury. Or could he have descended to the depths that Wang inhabits anymore.

    • The arbitration projections are almost always in the right ballpark, meaning that’s way too much for him to sit in Buffalo. Not happening. Same with Santana, unfortunately, I think.

  12. AA needs to call The Tigers GM and go, What do you want for Max, and hand it to him.

  13. Agents can ask and hold out for whatever they like. I know Boras gets a ton of respect as people believe he gets his players these great deals..but he hasnt recently. Go ask Michael Bourne and kyle lohse how that worked out for them last year.

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