I can’t say for certain that, once again, this will become a regular feature around here throughout the winter, but today, and for the duration of both this week’s GM Meetings, and next month’s Winter Meetings, with all kinds of movement happening on the trade and free agent markets, and all kinds of decisions being made on players throughout the league who may wind up having some bearing on the Jays’ plans for the off-season, I think it will be a valuable exercise to comb through the latest from the astonishingly fantastic and comprehensive MLB Trade Rumors and add some Jays-related context to whatever is going on out there…
First, though, a few non-MLBTR items:
Rob Bradford of WEEI.com takes a look at the market for catchers– from a Red Sox perspective– and quotes a rival GM suggest that the pining over Brian McCann is essentially pointless. “He’s going to end up with the Yankees,” the GM said. Sure… sounds about right. I could deal with them having to pay him a shit-tonne of money five years from now, too.
Ken Davidoff of Newsday continues to report on the potential changes to the posting system by which NPB players are claimed by MLB teams, and… it’s pretty much still what he was saying yesterday. “The agreement is a tradeoff for both sides. MLB wanted to limit the amount of the bids, but the NPB players union wanted their players to have a choice of teams. So the bids can still be sky-high, albeit mitigated by the second-place bid, yet the winning team still will own considerable leverage with the player because his only other option will be to return to Japan.” He explains on Twitter that NPB is accepting this as a compromise, instead of having a capped bid, or– as many MLB teams apparently prefer– no bid at all.
Eno Sarris of FanGraphs looks at the potential posting system changes as well, and examines some alleged second-place bids, which under the new system would have changed the final price for the winning MLB club dramatically. For example, if it’s true that the runner-up in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes only bid $16-million, then the Rangers would have only paid $34-million for the right to speak with him, rather than the $51-million they actually did pay.
And now for reals, it’s Today In MLBTR…
Speaking of Masahiro Tanaka (weren’t we?), in a recap of Joel Sherman’s column this morning, we hear that that clubs are afraid of the way that Tanaka was used, especially in the just-concluded Japan Series, in which he threw 160 pitches one day, and got a 15-pitch save the next. He says that the physical the pitcher will undergo when completing his deal will be extremely thorough.
There is reported interest from the Cardinals in A’s shortstop Jed Lowrie, who would certainly look good at second base in Toronto, but ol’ Kenny Ken Ken shoots that one down, saying that Lowrie– who is headed into his last season before free agency– will be kept by the A’s, who always envisioned him as a stopgap while they wait for the arrival of prospect Addison Russell. Too bad.
Some notes on the Ohio clubs from last night centre on two players who the Jays might have interest in, as we’re told that Cleveland GM Chris Antonetti referred to having tried “a lot of different ways” to bring back Ubaldo Jimenez, but they were ultimately unable to. We’re told that Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer figures this means that they offered him a multi-year deal, and that Jimenez turned it down to test the market. Makes sense on his part– and sounds good for the Jays… except for the price.
The other guy mentioned in that note is Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan, who seems to be on his way out after the club brought in Brayan Pena as their new backup. Matt Klaassen of FanGraphs looks at the decision and thinks that Hanigan could have some value for a club, because of his good defence and a reasonable expectation of an on offensive bounce back. I don’t know, though, he was atrocious at the plate this year, he has no power, his walk rate is inflated by intentional walks, and while he may have struggled due to a wrist injury… man, I don’t think the trade-off is worth it, given the risk. The note, however, suggests maybe something bigger is up with the Reds, with presumed starter Devin Mesoraco potentially on the block– a “major trade,” according to John Fay of the Enquirer. I’m listening…
A look at the AL West tells us that the Mariners are trying to find right-handed power. I suspect they’d be better off on the free agent market than depleting their pitching to do so, but am I going to let that stop me from openly wondering again about something involving Bautista and Iwakuma? No. No, I am not. Also, in more serious rumbling, it sounds like we can stop pipe dreaming on sliding a bunch of expensive garbage to the Angels, as we’re told that Arte Moreno doesn’t want his club to go over the luxury tax threshold.
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer plays coy about the possibility of Jeff Samardzija being moved, according to a section giving us some notes on the NL Central clubs. He does admit, however, that they’ve had discussions about an extension with him that haven’t gone anywhere. “I think teams will certainly inquire about him. He’s really proved over the last two years he has great stuff and is a tough competitor. I think teams will ask us about him so to that extent there could be rumors,” he says.
It’s a J.P. Ricciardi sighting! The former Jays GM talks exclusively to MLBTR about what’s going on with his Mets.
What was that about the Yankees not breaking the bank this winter? Apparently Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran are their 1 and 1A on the market, though they’re looking at Jacoby Ellsbury, too, we’re told. It’s not what we’re hearing above, but… maybe they land everyone they one, I don’t know. It’d the damn Yankees. I mean, I still like the chances of those fuckers finally being too old to be a real factor in the division, but does that mean I would bet on it? Sadly, no.
In a piece on the Giants, we’re told that the club is looking at guys like Tim Hudson or Dan Haren, who they apparently would sign for “a one- or two-year deal with a higher average salary than one might expect.” Yeah… there might be some money floating around the game right now…