Interesting stuff from Foul Territory, the blog home of Rangers beat writers Jeff Wilson and Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, as they wonder if J.P. Arencibia might be a fit now that he’s eminently available. Or… y’know… now that his availability is known more publicly than it was prior to the Jays’ acquisition of Dioner Navarro.
The idea that Wilson puts forth is that Arencibia could be a fit to pair with the Rangers’ top backstop Geovany Soto– in fact, he says that Texas has discussed the idea internally. Of course, “discussed” can mean a whole lot of things without knowing how far the idea advanced, but they seem to think there could be a little bit of interest there, especially given the low cost– and also because “the Blue Jays have been studying the Rangers this off-season.”
Hmm. They continue:
Early in November the Blue Jays looked into left-hander Derek Holland and second baseman Ian Kinsler for a possible trade for outfielder Jose Bautista, according to a source.
Again, “looked into” can mean a lot, but it’s not like this is the first we’re hearing of these sorts of rumblings– it is, however, I think the most specific that we’ve heard about such a thing. Or maybe it isn’t– it’s definitely been speculated by fans… and probably shot down around here as being more than the Rangers would be willing to give up. And maybe it was, not that it matters now anyway, with Kinsler off to Detroit.
So… there’s that.
There’s also this:
Blue Jays still engaged in trade talks for J.P. Arencibia with at least one team, source says. Less than 8 hours until tender deadline.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 2, 2013
Maybe I’m a hopeless optimist on this front, but I kind of have a hard time believing that the Jays would have gone down this road without having something close to lined up. Guess I’ll be here all night waiting on it…
In the meantime, holy shit, Scott Kazmir got a two-year, $22-million deal from the A’s. The market for pitching is kind of nuts, huh? Which I suppose explains– as we’ve known all along– why the Jays would potentially consider dangling Bautista to get themselves some. Also: the A’s certainly have a surplus in their rotation now.
In his piece in favour of the deal at ESPN.com (Insider Only), Keith Law explains:
The A’s look likely go into 2014 with a rotatin of Kazmir, Jarrod Parker, Sonny Gray, Dan Straily and A.J. Griffin, with Tom Milone a potential sixth starter (or maybe a home-only pitcher, if they want to be clever about it), which means Brett Anderson, due $8 million for 2014 and effective when healthy, should be an attractive trade piece for a team with the flexibility to risk losing that money to the disabled list.
Texas and Toronto are obvious fits, as are the Nationals, who tried this with Dan Haren last year and might be willing to do the same, while the Angels could certainly use Anderson even if he only gives them 15 starts.
The Jays, we know, have been interested in Anderson for a while. I wrote about their supposed pursuit in September of last year– though it was noted in the source report on that post that they were also watching Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez, who they reportedly were very interested in last winter as well. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported last month about it as well, explaining that “It’s possible that the A’s will pick up Anderson’s option and then deal him; there are numerous interested teams, particularly Toronto, which has pursued the A’s Opening Day starter for two years and which had a scout following him again at the end of this season.”
Obviously Arencibia isn’t the piece who’s going to get that sort of a deal done– though he does have some value, as Jeff Sullivan’s warm fuzzy of a piece at FanGraphs about the Jays’ big upgrade today makes clear– and yeah, Anderson’s injury history coupled with the Jays’ atrocious track record of keeping arms healthy is a concern, but… shit, they’ve got to hit on one at some point right? Plus the health concerns could keep the cost down, and as long as they’re not relying on him to be anything more than their fifth-best starter (which… wouldn’t they???) I could see the appeal– especially if they could do it without giving up too much off their big league roster, and avoiding moving their biggest prospects.
Especially since the club’s minor league system, especially at the lower levels, isn’t anywhere remotely close to as bare as some of the folks who only look superficially at that kind of stuff would have you believe. To wit:
I think I’d rather have the #Jays #11-20 prospects than the #1-10 prospects of several orgs. The short-season arms are ridiculous.
— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) December 2, 2013
Anyway, at this point, we have no idea what the cost is going to be– and with the way deals like the one to Kazmir are looking, it could get crazy. That certainly seems to be the thinking of a lot of folks at this point, and I suspect it’s not going to change just yet.
“The Cubs endgame on Jeff Samardzija is to let the market play out,” wrote Peter Gammons to that point over the weekend. “Several teams including the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays have called on the righthander who will be 29 come January 25, but the Cubs’ feeling is that when the Masahiro Tanaka posting saga has played itself out and the free agent scrum has cleared, Samardzija and Tampa Bay’s David Price will be the jewels of the market. And their trades will lead us to and probably past Groundhog Day.”
Sure, there has been a bit of a backlog of rumours and minor deals coming into focus today, as the league wakes up from its Thanksgiving fog and begins looking to tonight’s non-tender deadline, but as far as anything major goes, Alex Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi last week the same basic thing that Gammons has heard:
“My early sense of the relief market is that it could be a very lucrative one for the players, and I think the value of our players and our relievers is actually going to climb,” he said. “I could be wrong, but I kind of see it (that) the longer the off-season goes along, their value is going to climb just because of the control and some of the contracts these guys are under, as well.”
It’s strange that Tanaka, who most seem to be simply assuming will land with the Yankees as they try to undo their luxury tax problems in one fell swoop, would be the reason that so much of the market is being held up. Maybe the Kazmir deal will change that– or maybe the Nolasco or Phil Hughes deals already did– but it definitely doesn’t seem like guys like Santana, Jimenez, or Garza are going to go anywhere until the Tanaka question is settled, and it probably won’t be until that stuff gets sorted before the trade option is explored by teams left holding the bag.
So what of Tanaka?
Tim Brown of Yahoo gives us a small update on the talks between the league and NPB, which appear to have resumed following a break over the Thanksgiving long weekend in the States:
The posting proposal to Japanese officials: There would be a max bid. In event of more than one, those teams vie in negotiations for player.
— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) December 2, 2013
That doesn’t sound particularly favourable for the Jays, who’d be much better off under a system where they’d get exclusive negotiating rights with the player. Of course, that assumes that they might actually make a serious bid, which I think they should, but… we’ve been down this road before, haven’t we?
Speaking of which, it was this time two years ago that Yu Darvish fever was hitting its height, and while it feels like it was a long time between when he was posted and when we finally learned who had won the bidding, it really wasn’t: he was posted on December 8th (note: beware of photo), and the Rangers’ winning bid was revealed on December 20th.
With no system in place yet, we’re still looking at more than a couple weeks before we know what’s up with Tanaka– assuming his posting process follows about the same timeline as Darvish’s did– and maybe at least that long before things really heat up. Or maybe they’re about to tonight! So far, though, it’s all talk. But with the Winter Meetings getting underway next week in Orlando, and a bunch of rumours already flying as the non-tender deadline approaches, it should at least be an interesting few weeks.
So… there’s that.