I don’t exactly remember what I was going for with the above image, which I began using last year during the GM Meetings, but I’m sure it’s still apt. Alex Anthopoulos is still a man on fire, as he needs to make all kinds of magic at the event once again this year, despite laying the groundwork for all kinds of thrilling deals last year in Indian Wells– most of which kind of blew up in his face. This year the baseball establishment, and the assembled media, are in Orlando, and with all the news that’s coming out– or expected to come out– of these meetings, we’re keeping very close watch on all the rumblings.
Here’s what’s worth talking about when it comes to the Jays tonight:
Brian Hoch of MLB.com gets some quotes from AA, who apparently a very large contingent of Japanese media has taken notice of. “We never get into who we’re going to be after,” Anthopoulos said, about to wind us up like it’s 2011, “but I think I can say, just generally speaking, I think every team in baseball would like to have a guy like Tanaka. He’s very talented.” Do it, then! Another intriguing quote from the piece has Anthopoulos saying that all options are on the table when it comes to upgrading his rotation, including– theoretically– bringing in two, three, four, or more starters. “It could be a trade where one starter is going and another is coming in,” he says, emphasizing his flexibility, I’d wager, rather than tipping his hand about anything that’s actually in the works.
Shi Davidi has a piece up at Sportsnet highlighting some of the comments from the GM, on the heels of Mark DeRosa’s somewhat surprising retirement announcement. Key takeaways: despite some purely speculative rumblings that his club could take a run at Robinson Cano– hmmm– Anthopoulos says that they’re very comfortable with their policy that precludes them from signing contracts longer than five years. So you’re saying that to get Cano they’d just have to go with a five year deal with a super-high AAV? Sure! Or… actually what he’s saying is, “I don’t think I’d ever rule anything out under the right context and the right circumstances. If you’re prepared to pay someone five years at X, and a sixth year comes out at almost the same total dollars, sure, then you can explain that.” Rules, after all, were made to be broken. Or at the very least bent.
Two more quick notes from that Davidi piece: the GM says there is “strong” interest in some of his relievers, and that he hopes they can bring back Munenori Kawasaki, though they’re currently letting him explore other options (i.e. Japan, most likely).
Davidi has another, more recently updated version of that same basic piece, which adds some of the Anthopoulos quotes noted in the MLB.com post I referenced above, as well as a number of key additional details:
- “Affordability is not the question,” he says of the pitching market, “It’s do we see the value. There are plenty of players you like, but you like them at a certain price.” Hopefully he readjusts his bar to the new economic realities of the league! But his attitude being such as it is, much of Davidi’s work looks at the back-end starter options. One of those is Drew Hutchison, who Anthopoulos said would have no restrictions, in terms of innings, were he to make the team.
- We’re told that the Jays are, in fact, not the team that has put out the two-year, $20-million offer to Carlos Ruiz, and that things are developing slowly so far for the club. Davidi doesn’t believe that the club has extended any formal offers to players as yet. Last year the market moved much, much faster, but with all the new TV money empowering more teams to be players, it’s going to take a little while for everything to shake down. Or, at least, that seems a reasonable enough explanation. Doesn’t help that these meetings are being held a week later than they were last year, as well.
- Shi also confirms that Anthopoulos didn’t scout Tanaka in person, and that he went looking for Jeff Samardzija last winter. Hmmm, as they say.
Mark Normandin of Over The Monster narrows the list of possible clubs to have submitted the offer for Chooch– assuming it even exists– down to the Red Sox, Phillies and Jays, so… then there were two. Except… Buster Olney tweets that it wasn’t the Sox either.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, however, thinks Boston still ought to have interest in Ruiz, seeing as they need a shorter bridge to prospect catchers that are coming– and Brian McCann won’t be that– while he also notes that the reported two-year, $20-million deal is not far off the two-years and $17-million that the Pirates agreed to with Russell Martin last year, in one of the steals of the winter.
Posturing? Maybe, but a tweet from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says that Rangers GM Jon Daniels claims he’s out when it comes to starting pitchers. “We’re not looking to give out a big multi-year deal for a starter,” he says. More room for everybody else, I guess. I also guess they’ll be relying on guys like Matt Harrison, which would be insanity, of course, if he played for Toronto and was named Brandon Morrow. RIGHT, ASSFACE???
Speaking of Robinson Cano (weren’t we?), Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger tweets that the free agent second baseman will sit down with Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner next week, so don’t expect your pipe dream of him landing in Toronto to materialize… well… ever, really, but definitely not until at least then.
John Heyman writes about rumoured Jays target Brett Anderson for CBS Sports, saying that with Bartolo Colon possibly returning to Oakland– and he had earlier written that the A’s were interested in keeping the veteran (but only on a one-year deal)– Anderson is all the more likely to be traded. He’s a health risk, and I wouldn’t pay a whole hell of a lot for him, but he’d be a very nice piece for the Jays to add to their back-of-the-rotation mix.
Another Heyman piece from earlier says that Cleveland will be trying to bring back Ubaldo Jimenez, and are meeting with his agent this week in Orlando. Better act fast, Alex! Unless you want Scott Kazmir, who Heyman suggests is less likely to return, because Cleveland seems intent on only offering him a one-year deal, which he apparently can do better than. What a world!
Lastly, MLBTR tells us that the Phillies are considering tendering a contract to John Mayberry. A right-handed hitter who can play centre if you really need him to? Gee, Philly, think you could have a use for a non-tender candidate on the Jays’ roster that we can swap? Maybe if your catcher leaves? I mean, I’m not sure that Mayberry would be a better option for our DH platoon than Moises Sierra (or, ideally, someone from outside the organization who’s… y’know… good), or if it’s worth taking him on just to basically ensure that Sierra, who is out of options, will be gone. But, damn it, if it takes giving up Arencibia to Philadelphia to try him out and see if it works, then let’s do it already!