In a new piece at (Insider only), Jim Bowden posits some trade scenarios that might land Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs, and surely thanks to all the rumours surrounding the Jays’ potential interest, he’s been certain to dream one up for us. He also concedes that “the Cubs won’t get top pitching prospects Aaron Sanchez or Marcus Stroman in a Samardzija deal,” and yet still makes it almost seem unpalatable by the prospects that he does suggest the Jays could give up: Sean Nolin, Dan Norris, and Alberto Tirado.

Note: I said almost.

Of course, maybe that’s only seeming unpalatable in the wake of the Doug Fister trade– though it appears as though the world has come around, at least a little bit, on the notion that the Tigers must have really liked something about Robbie Ray (who Jason Parks– more on him later– says would rank as his number two prospect for Detroit), or… something.

Hey, but at least we can take a bit of consolation that the Jays maybe had a little coup themselves in the acquisition of Dioner Navarro, who looks maybe more today like a bargain than he did yesterday, now that word has broken of A.J. Pierzynski somehow making the Red Sox more hatable by signing there for just one year at the same $8-million price tag as we got Navarro for two, right?

Maybe I’m just being a little blinded there, though, by something like how Alex Anthopoulos, in his comments on a conference call with reporters this morning, astutely likened his new catcher to guys like Gregg Zaun, John Buck, and Rod Barajas, who blossomed here when finally being given the opportunity to be a starter after years in backup purgatory of their own. Or maybe it’s that he says he thinks A.J. Jimenez, though his bat could still develop some, is ready for big league action.

And holy confirmation bias, that’s what a nifty exercise from Carson Cistulli at FanGraphs, looking at the 2013 Steamer projections for Jays prospects, seems to say as well! The system figures that Jimenez, given 450 plate appearances, would accumulate about +1.4 WAR– a more than hefty-enough improvement on what J.P. Arencibia did last year in it’s own right, without considering that he’s now just cover for Navarro. I’ll take it!

Cistulli’s work, it needs to be noted, is actually pivoting off the just-released FanGraphs top Jays prospects list from Marc Hulet, and, frankly, that too is feeding my silly trepidation about giving away one lower-ceiling and two lower-level prospects for a guy like Samardzija– which… we were talking about that, weren’t we?

Hulet also sees Nolin as a trade candidate, and it’s hard to argue with his reasoning. He “has a chance to be a reliable back-of-the-rotation workhorse, and players of that description are harder to come by than you might think — especially ones that throw left-handed,” he says. “He might be attractive to another organization as a nearly-ready, southpaw hurler should trade discussions turn into something concrete this off-season.”

Nice enough, and definitely a trade chip, but it’s Tirado and Norris, in particular, who get some high praise from Hulet. The pair come in as his fourth and sixth best prospects in the system, sandwiching the injured Roberto Osuna– who himself “has the raw ability — assuming it bounces all the way back — to be a No. 2 starter at the big league level”– and coming in just behind Mitch Nay (an actual hitter!), Marcus Stroman, and, of course, Aaron Sanchez.

“Norris probably won’t ever show enough command and control to develop into a true No. 1 starter but he has the stuff to become a solid No. 2 or 3,” he explains. As for Tirado, “assuming his smallish frame holds up, Tirado has the makings of a No. 2 or 3 starter at the big league level,” he says– though, as with Norris, and every pitcher on the list (five of whom Hulet suggests have frontline starter ceiling), there is a tonne of risk that he won’t ever realize his potential. Obviously. Particularly when we’re talking about guys in the lower minors.

Still though, that’s pretty alright. Especially since, surprisingly, not among those five is Marcus Stroman. Hulet ranks him second in the system, but is a little faint with the praise, as he falls back on concerns about height, suggesting that he’s not likely to be a starter.

Cistulli’s post about the Steamer projections would seem to disagree, as Stroman was the only player among the Jays top 15 to project to above +2 WAR. (Interestingly, the system ranked Aaron Sanchez dead last among eight Jays pitching prospects, suggesting his 2014 big league production would be less than guys like Nolin, Tom Robson, and Jairo Labourt! Ugh.).

Another disagreement would surely come from Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus, whose own top Jays prospects list is set to drop tomorrow, and who has been absolutely drooling over the Jays system, and Stroman in particular, on Twitter for at least a couple of days now. (He also suggested the exact package for Samardzija that Bowden did, which, for the record… yeah, I’d do).

I gave a taste of some of Parks’s love yesterday, noting that he said that he might rather have our #11-20 prospects than several clubs’ #1-10 guys, but why stop there???

Nails much? I mean, we mind-bendingly lost out on Fister and have only managed to upgrade our catcher from steaming dogshit to “meh,” but… uh… nails much?

Comments (79)

  1. Stroman #2??? I guess the only knock is his durability to be a starter, so if he’s actually proves to be durable then we have someone really special then.

    • I’ve never seen anyone knock his durability, the question is whether he can keep the ball in the park enough to stick as a starter.

      Quite rightly, the jays are taking the view he’s a starter until big league hitters can prove he isn’t, not going with a decisiok based on a tape measure

  2. Parks mentioned the internal debate the BP Staff has had about Sanchez vs Stroman at #1. Over the course of the past week or two I think Parks has implied he thinks Stroman is the top guy, which would certainly be a break from the mold of most outlets. It’ll be interesting to see who ends up at #1, but needless to say the fact that they’re this close speaks volumes about how far Stroman has come in 12 months.

  3. I would trade nolin, one of tirado/norris, and a position player prospect for shark. I dont think AA would want to kill so much starting pitching prospect depth in one trade. Also, not a fan of jimenez. Jays just got rid of one catcher who cant hit, why go through another one. Use him as trade bait.

    • you’ve got to be kidding on the jimenez bit. he’s AAA defense-first catching depth. you want to trade him because he’s NOT Arencibia???

      • I want to trade him because i dont think hes a good hitter

        • I’ll take a good defensive catcher who doesn’t hit well – over a slugging catcher who couldn’t catch a cold. A catcher is up to bat only 4 times in a game….but has to handle over 120 pitches usually. He’ll end up costing you way more runs that he’ll ever produce.

          • I like the catcher mold that hits for some contact and can put the ball in play while being strong defensively much better than the Arencebia mold where they are mediocre defensively and low contact but power. Jiminez is good depth. Lets hope they keep him in the minors a couple more years so he is ready for MLB action when he gets called up. Would love to see them bring in catch and throw AAA depth off scrap heap and keep Jiminez in AA to help develop his hitting better.

    • Why would you want to trade away another catching prospect? Especially one who projects to have above average defense/receiving skills? He’s perfect as a AAA insurance policy this year.

      • I see your as busy as I am today, when are you coming to pick up your boots?

        • I’ll have you know that I’m extremely busy and was definitely NOT refreshing DJF every 20 minutes waiting for new content this morning.

  4. MS is a starting pitcher and the Jays will go that route with him. He will not get dealt this offseason and will break with the team this spring.

  5. Can we start talking Roy Halladay?
    What are the odds he resigns with the Jays?
    How much money will he command?

  6. I’d do that Bowden deal. Although it still seems like more than the Tigers got for Fister.

    • If that’s the measuring stick, sadly, I don’t think you’re going to get anything done this winter. Nobody will get a better deal than Washington did.

      • Fair to say the TIGERS deal is equivalent to “drafting for need” in the MLB draft?

        what a yucker for the Tigers ..

  7. ZiPS 2014
    Navarro: .268/.335/.429
    Arencibia: .221/.265/.420

  8. call it blind faith in AA, but I never really doubted the prospect pipeline. Sure we gave up some of the bigger name, closer-to-the-majors types last offseason, but the early work in the international FA market was bound to come through at some point

  9. There is another Blue Jays prospect list out on this site:

    Interesting to compare the lists and comments.
    Thing that struck me was that both sites had some love
    for Andy Burns (3B), a guy I’ve have not heard a lot about.

  10. definitely nails. much nails.

  11. Nice, something cool to look forward too. Seeing Stroman start at some point next season.

  12. MLBTR is reporting Ryan Hanigan is being traded to the Rays
    in what may be a 3 way deal.
    Probably means Loboton is going somewhere.

    Nathan to the Tigers was no surprise,
    but Jim Johnson to the As?

    Very surprised Beane would trade for a $10m closer
    when he had Cook and Doolittle available as in house options.
    Was thinking Oakland might be landing spot for Casey Janssen trade,
    but it looks like that is out of the question now.

  13. I worry a bit, i’m being cynical but AA really doesn’t have a lot of leverage in trades anymore.

    Last year he was under the radar, put some trades together and signed melky. This year teams know he has to improve his team.

    If you’re the cubs, are you not going to hold out from stroman or sanchez? You don’t have to trade the shark.

    Seems to me, that similar to the Dickey trade, we are all going to be shocked by the price we pay for a starter.

    • Leverage is what you make of it and it’s something that’s always going to be in flux depending on your trading partner. The fact is, he’s got the prospects and probably has the ability to take larger contracts. That’s about as good as you can do for a team in the Jays position.

    • Cubs don’t have to do a thing yes, but if Shark doesnt want to sign an extension, the cubs also lose some of their leverage. Leverage can be a two way street.

  14. Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan 1m

    Sources: Brett Anderson is not one of the players Oakland will be dealing. The deal does involve major league players, however.

    Wonder if it’s the Jays. Could be as no major league players involved.

  15. @jcrasnick 3m

    #Athletics and #rangers are in the middle of discussions on a significant trade, said a source.

  16. Its weird to see Oakland getting players and not trading them away.

    • The beauty of young cost-controlled players, gives you room for the odd free agent even on a bargain budget.

  17. Is it just me, or has there been a shitload of activity over the last 2-3 days?

  18. Pitching is so expensive and so random that I am perfectly willing to let Happ, Drabek, Hutch, Sanchez, Stroman, etc have at it all year long for the 4th and 5th spots.

    Then all we need to do is beat the Yankees 7 yr 160M offer to Cano and we have a team.

    • LOL, I read in one of the comments of MLBTR “few days from now – Breaking News, Cano signs with the Yankee’s for 220 million.”

      I wouldnt take the yankee’s too seriously

  19. Saltalamacchia has an offer from the Marlins, obviously he might not sign it but honestly who would want to sign there? Especially if you are good enough that other teams would want you, like he is. Would be interesting to see the numbers behind it after the Navarro deal though

    • His other option looks like Minnesota. Would that be much better?

      • IMO a million times better yes. How any player with other options would choose Miami would be mind boggling to me.

        • He’s from Florida. Just won a WS so probably doesn’t care as much about losing. If the price is right.. But I still think the Twins have the edge.

    • Well he’s from Florida, so that may impact his choice, too. You know, as long as they promise not to trade him…

  20. If that is the price for Shark, is there any reason that Rogers couldn’t stretch budget to accommodate both Shark and Ubaldo? I doubt they would, but that would certainly give us the ability to move some of the back-end rotational types (Happ, Redmond, etc) for 2B help.

  21. It’s a lot warmer in Florida…

  22. MLBTR reports that the Jays remain “infatuated” with Brett Anderson. Seems as though Oakland is ready to move quickly on that one.

  23. Tryin to make sense in the Fister trade.
    Washington has Zimmerman,Strasburg,Gonzalez and either Jordan or Roark with Detwiler returning from injury.Fans seem to think that Detwiler should be a reliever thus need for another solid starter.
    Detroit had 8 players headed for arb including Scherzer,Porcello and Fister.With raises to all 3 and Verlander scheded to make 28 mil in 2015, Fister was the one they chose to deal.Again according to fans, Drew Smyly is more than capable to be the one to go to the rotation, with Ray continuing to develop.
    So Washington gets their starter, Detroit saves some cash and puts Fister in the NL without significantly hurting their rotation.
    Does that sound right?

    • No amount of talk about clearing salary and using the money elsewhere can justify how horrible the return was. They could have saved more money by getting a couple high end prospects.

      MLBTR projected Fister to get $6.9 million in arbitration this year. They followed up the Fister trade by signing Joe Nathan to somewhere around double that. There’s just no justification.

  24. Jim Bowden and Jason Parkes on the exact same page of something baseball related?


    Maybe now we can find peace in the Middle East, maybe now we can come together to build bike lanes on Bloor St.

    Or maybe this is a sign of the impending Apocalypse.

  25. There’s a part of me that wonders what we could get back in prospect capital if we traded everyone away (well, everyone older than Lawrie away), and just built a team on Sanchez, Stroman, and whatever young players we get back. Surely Edwin would be worth a king’s ransom, and there are quite a few other valuable pieces.

    But we have a team right now with the potential to be very good, and there’s never a guarantee you can get back there. The current core deserves one more shot at proving they can make the playoffs, or at least be better than .500.

    • I just hope the Jays take this path in 2015/2016 if they are losing when the vets contracts are nearly up. Go for it next year and if not winning I say trade them all and rebuild next offseason. They could realistically double the prospect potential seeing some trades that have happened. Need to get the player development on track to have the best chance for this to succeed as you get the best return for guys in lower ranks usually.

      If they do well in 2014 then have at er in 2015 but trade at deadline if they are losing. If they win both years ride it out through 2016.

      Way too often teams wait until it is too late to trade their veterans when they aren’t contenders and end up starting a rebuild with little in the pipeline or else remaining mediocre for decades (sadly the Jays are an example here)

      Miami is a team that had done this – trade away WS champs then win WS again when the prospects they got were in MLB.

  26. You can’t operate your off-season based on the fear you might lose and have to rebuild. Are some of you fucking serious?

    • Assuming the jays have similar year next year, which I dont think will happen, I say trade the vets if you can get a good return. Why should you expect a team who has lost badly two straight years to win in the third when they are even more past their prime? Not starting rebuild early would ensure mediocrity for longer

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