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Yesterday was a crazy day in the big leagues, in terms of transactions, and the always-invaluable MLB Trade Rumors has got all of it covered. And… uh… since I haven’t covered any of it just yet, let’s just pivot off of what they’re saying, shall we?

Brad Lincoln is dealt to Philadelphia! The Jays shipped out one of their many out-of-options relievers, getting quad-A catcher Erik Kratz and Rob Rasmussen, a left-handed reliever with many options (Kratz has one too!) and some success this year at Double-A (though not so much in Triple-A), who was acquired from the Dodgers in the Michael Young trade at the end of August. It’s far too small a deal to call it great, but there’s a lot to like here– and not just because it undoes a disturbing trend where Anthopoulos goes the other way and moves catchers for relievers. Lincoln evidently wasn’t in the plans, and so the Jays turned him into some nice pieces. Kratz has started more big league games in the last two years than Dioner Navarro (!), projects by Steamer to 1.5 WAR this year, has a strong defensive reputation (he ranked 23rd by Matt Klaassen’s method this year, with much less playing time than some of the leaders), and has some power, too (18 HR in 417 MLB PA)– in other words, watch your back, Josh Thole. Rasmussen struggled in Triple-A, but a year ago was ranked 13th in the Dodgers system by Marc Hulet at FanGraphs, as he explained, “I was given a loose comp to lefty reliever J.P. Howell, formerly of the Royals and Rays. If Rasmussen can find a way to get on top of the ball and create downward action on his pitches, while also harnessing his breaking balls, he could be a valuable piece of the Dodgers bullpen as soon as mid-to-late 2013.” Yep. Definitely a win.

You may be surprised to learn, yesterday a team in the AL East made an even bigger splash than that, as the Yankees signed Johnny Damon Jacoby Ellsbury for seven years and $153-million. It doesn’t look like they’re done throwing money at their problems, so I won’t even bother to try to assess how this impacts the AL East. What it really impacts for the Jays, though, is Colby Rasmus,who is headed into his free agent year next year. Last season Ellsbury was a full win more valuable than Colby, but in about 180 more plate appearances. Colby doesn’t provide nearly the value on the basepaths, and his high BABIP makes the offensive numbers he put up this year (and in his other elite-calibre season, in 2010 in St. Louis) somewhat suspect– as Blake Murphy wrote excellently about this week at RotoGraphs– but if Ellsbury can shake the injury prone tag and get a deal like this, another season of strong production from Colby, who is three years younger, is going to send his market value to these sorts of astronomical heights. I’ve written about it before. And while I think it’s worth it to the Jays to potentially cost themselves a tonne of money on an extension by waiting and getting just a little bit more certainty, it’s definitely something to watch.

The Yankees have also signed Kelly Johnson, apparently. Whoopty fuck. Though, actually, that could be a pretty nifty pickup at $3- or $4-million. Hey, but don’t worry, Anthopoulos is still mind-blowingly claiming he’s comfortable with Goins and Izturis (though, granted, he still says he would like to upgrade, and obviously he’s not going to give anybody leverage by knowing he needs an upgrade, right? Right???).

The Pirates are targeting James Loney to fill the first base position formerly, temporarily, held by Justin Morneau. But another name they’ve apparently looked at is Adam Lind! Cue thoughts of maple cocks, sap welling hard inside them, ready to punt Lind over to Pittsburgh and go get the man with the right passport. Except… Morneau has signed with the Rockies. Awwww, sad flaccid maple trombone.

The latest on Brett Anderson is that he’s likely going to be dealt next week at the Winter Meetings, with many suitors still involved– including the Yankees. It’s still a scary proposition, given his health, but I remain adamant that I’d take him, at the right price, even if I was unsure about getting more than 15 starts out of him. He’s not going to turn your rotation around, but the whole idea of “injury prone” is, to me, pretty flawed: just because he’s been hurt doesn’t mean he’s necessarily going to get hurt again, and if you build the risk into the cost, why not? It’s not like the Jays won’t have a bunch of very interesting arms at Triple-A, should they need to bring someone up. Not the Ortizes, Wangs (note: heh!), or Laffeys of last season.

The Marlins actually signed a free agent! A lot of us though that would never happen again, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia went ahead and proved us all wrong– mostly because of a Florida discount, it would seem. He’s from the area, and as the MLBTR piece notes, the state’s lack of income tax makes the three-year $21-million deal (which, really, isn’t that much bigger than the Jays paid for Dioner Navarro) a smaller one than other clubs might have had to pay to land him. That fact makes it more difficult to argue that the Jays should have been harder in on him– though the term isn’t so hot, really, either.

The latest on the negotiations with NPB regarding the posting system suggests that there may end up being a maximum bid, but not one as low as the $20-million MLB has proposed. That sounds terrific, except for the part– which I’ve seen contradicted elsewhere, including in a tweet I posted about yesterday– where the team with the worst winning percentage in the previous year among those having made the maximum bid would get the player. If that were to come to fruition, I guess we’re just going to have to hope for some serious forgetfulness in the Cubs’ front office during the week that the bidding is open.

Ryan Hanigan has been dealt to the Rays. The rumoured Jays target ended up there in a three way deal that also saw the Rays get Heath Bell, the Reds get pitching prospect David Holmberg, and the Diamondbacks getting Justin Choate, a player to be named later, and cash. Doesn’t exactly seem like the kind of price that the Jays couldn’t have beaten, so maybe their supposed interest wasn’t quite as hot as we believed. Then again, I don’t actually know enough about the prospects being exchanged to say that for sure. And what am I gonna do, look them up? Not at this point in the post!

The Tigers have reinvested all their savings on Doug Fister into… Joe Nathan? Holy shit! Nathan is a very, very good reliever, no doubt, but seriously? I mean, remember when people tried to give Dave Dombrowski a pass on the weirdly low return because of his track record and because he probably had something real smart up his sleeve? Yeah, about that… (Then again, supposedly the Tigers are still very interested in Shin-Soo Choo, so maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to slay him.)

Dexter Fowler went to the Astros for Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes, and… hey, they play in the American League, don’t they! I dunno, it was a trade– interesting that Fowler went, but I really have no thoughts on this one at this point.

Lastly, Brandon Phillips is no longer likely to be traded. “ESPN’s Jayson Stark spoke with three teams that inquired on Phillips, each of which got the sense that Reds ownership wants to trade Phillips more than the front office does,” they explained. So… actually, given the contract length and the scary dip in offensive production while now on the wrong side of 30, uh… yeah. That’s probably pretty OK, actually.

Comments (61)

  1. According to some other tweets from Kennedy, AA also told reporters that he’s “not optimistic” about signing any free agent pitchers, and that there’s “three-ish” starters he’s specifically targeting in trade. He’d like to add one, and hopes to add two.

    • wow…. just pure stupidity…

      • You know what pure stupidity is? Believing anything a GM is saying at this point enough to actually think “wow… pure stupidity.”

    • I’m not sure I understand the point of trading for Brett Anderson in lieu of signing a free agent pitcher. I understand the financial ramifications involved, but if Anderson is making $8 million+ in 2014 and you can get an FA pitcher for $14 million without giving any prospects up, why wouldn’t you do that?

      My other thought is, Josh Johnson, another guy with injury history, cost $8 million, so it would seem smarter to have stuck with JJ than paying another guy with injury history the same amount plus prospects.

  2. I wish you had written wah-wah-waaah before the flaccid maple trombone bit…

    Thanks for the handy updates all in one place…

  3. so, who’s still in on Cano?
    same as before?
    I’d think Orioles, Tigers and Dodgers are gone…. maybe atlanta?

    • Seattle and NYY… Maybe the Mets….Dodgers and Tigers have the money but likely not the desire….
      I can’t see Atlanta spending enough. Same for Orioles.

      He’s going to end up back with the Yankees. Isn’t he?

      • every time i think Boras fucked one of his clients, I’m wrong, and I don’t think this will be any different. Assuming A rod’s suspension is overturned and they have to pay him, they’ll be paying jeter, tex, arod, CC, Ellisbury and Mccann…. just those six would be around 125 mil, I don’t see how they get him and stay under the luxury tax. I thought tigers too but they have kinsler now, Dodgers have that import guy… I’m just trying to think of someone looking to win and has the need for a second baseman and some money.

  4. Rasmussen is a lefty.

  5. God dammit the Jays have such a glaring hole at 2nd. And the best in the biz is available. After seeing what Rogers coughed up for hockey rights, I gotta think they have the dough to get the deal done…..no??

    • Be serious.

    • Why do people say things like this? I mean… you realize the NHL rights purchase was an investment on which they intend to make a ton of money over the years, right? That they didn’t just fill a bag with money and light it on fire?

      In what way could anyone possibly think it has any effect on how much the Jays can spend on a second baseman?

      • I admit I have shamed myself- but you gotta think there is an investment to be had with Cano being on your team. Playoff dough, ticket sales, jersey sales, and Jay-Z playing the Skydome twice a month….

        • It would definitely be an investment, but it still has nothing to do with hockey.

          • He merely pointed out that the Jays’ owners have thrown heavy duty money around recently and hopes that they will do the same with their baseball team. How much more does Rogers want to invest in sports though?

            • Thats just it, none of us know that answer. Anyone who says we can’t afford Cano because it would push the limit is completely making that up because it sounds reasonable and pushing it off as fact. It’s not a contest of who gets the most wins per dollar, it’s just wins.

              • True but it’s certainly unlikely that it happens. Making New York play Johnson everyday and putting Cano in our lineup is probably the single best way to increase our playoff chances. After that we only really need a starting pitcher and you can call it an off season. 2B is definitely something to talk about because if Goins and Maicer are splitting 162 games next year we’re not going to make the playoffs.

                • Jays are in go for it now mode, and I’m not sure how much of the future they really want to give up via trade.
                  Why not overpay stupid dough for Cano and hope the next couple of years brings playoff success.
                  If it doesn’t work out I’m sure teams will be more than happy to take Cano, Reyes, Bautista off their hands for quality return and get the rebuilding phase under way.
                  Jays fell off the Tampa Bay model last year with the big trades and huge salary increase. Time to go all in.

  6. Cock content is up 238% in todays post.
    Maple syrup holding strong at 102%.

  7. yeah wishful douche thinking got the best of me again…..

  8. Lind for Snider?

    just kidding.

    The ellsbury signing is significant though, obviously Colby is not quite there but he’s close (and also 3 years younger) so even if colby stands pat and doesnt progress or regress, its not completely absurd to see him command a 100 million buck contract.

    At that point, is the team not better of trading colby + for and arm and looking in to seeing how cheap Kemp can be had if we take on his contract. The contracts will almost be a wash, and i get that kemp was off last year, but his bat in the middle of bautista and EE just makes my mouth water.

  9. I would think AA claiming he’s comfortable with Goins and Izturis is as much about expressing confidence in the players, too. I’m sure the last thing he wants is to say “I don’t think Goins and Izturis are good enough to handle the job at second base in 2014″ and then end up being unable to make an upgrade,

  10. Latest update, 20 million is going to be the max posting fee after all.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/12/latest-on-the-posting-system-negotiations.html

    • A little surprised by that.

      • Me too. It seems like MLB had basically all of the leverage. I mean, I know they held the purse strings, but I would have thought all the big-market compete teams would be opposed to this move because it shuts them out of ever competing for a star Japanese player.

        There aren’t a lot of teams that can’t pony up $20 mil in today’s MLB

        • Most teams could probably afford 20 but then there’s obviously also the contract.
          He’s not as good as Yu Darvish from what I’ve read but with the crazy influx of TV dollars and the starting pitcher inflation we’ve already seen this offseason I imagine he’ll demand a similar contract as Yu’s 6/56 million. (complete speculation on my part but I think it makes sense)

          • My biggest concern is about the way the guy has been used. I know very little about him but I do know he has been left in for long periods in quite a few games. Probably just my paranoia about fucked up arms as a Jays fan talking.

          • I do concede that point, though that’s not really all that much AAV. What I’d also add, though, is that there is also the incentive on the part of certain players who would like to leave Japan to play in MLB. There could be a real desire there to play in the best league in the world for some of these players.

            So, even if Tanaka says he needs 10mil per year, he may acquiesce to less because he wants to be in MLB and he only has one option to negotiate with…

    • At that rate, I’d expect there to be A LOT of teams offering the max. I’m not sure how they’ll settle ties but that if it goes, as the rumours are suggesting, by record then I could see at least Seattle and Chicago having priority over the Jays. Maybe even the Marlins in light of them signing Salty.

      • There’s still a few rumours out there suggesting player gets to decide which team to negotiate with in an event of multiple maximum bids.
        Not sure which one I like, in one hand the lowest record team gets the player assuming they have the highest bid and in the other the player decides. But both are flawed, losing record team bids just to prevent others from getting player and the other could be really flawed if back door deals happen where multiple teams bid 20 m and player gets to decide but team A is promising a chit ton of money in to his agent behind closed doors and money is still the deciding factor where the player goes. In theory even know lets say the Jays, tied with Yankees, Dodgers, Angels in the bidding and they all have an equal opportunity for the player and it’s just where the player wants to go.
        the Yankees call up his agent and throw out what they’d be willing to sign said player for, and is sounds so good, the player picks the Yankees again only because of money. Which is what this new posting system is supposed to fix.

  11. Of course I want Cano.

    But given how unrealistic that is, I can’t believe we lost out on KJ for such a low price. I mean what are we paying Izturis? Isn’t it nearly the same?

    Fucking Yankees. Once they sign Cano this will be the biggest offseason free agent spend by any team ever I guess.

    • Do we really think Kelly Johnson is coming back to the city where he had one of his worst years for that money?

      • Because how he played during those years was a consequence of the fact that he was playing in Toronto. Because if a player plays well in one city, leaves, and then returns, he’s exactly the same player he was when he left. Good logic there.

        I think I’ve just solved the problem of no second baseman: let’s re-sign Roberto Alomar.

        • Everyone knows that if all things are equal, and KJ gets to pick between one of the most famous sports franchises of all time and a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 20 years (and a team that he had a poor year with previously), then KJ is going to sign with the Yankees everytime.

  12. Um hot do you figure that a contract worth nearly three times as much total value and nearly double AAV is “not much more” than we paid for Navarro? I mean, compared to the GDP of Spain it’s not I guess.

    • Agreed Salty got close to twice what Navarro got. I’ll take our guy and hope the team puts the $13 million they would’ve saved elsewhere.

  13. Zaun on PTS tells us that Ellsbury’s deal doesn’t comp at all to Rasmus because — and I’m trying to get this right — Rasmus lacks in grittitude, wintastic championness, and stolen bases.

    So don’t worry Andrew…After all we have Gose. #thingsilearnedfromzaunie

    • Colby said he’s stealing 30 this year. So, after the Jays win the WS this year and he’s deemed a ‘winner’, he’ll be well on track to a 150M contract.
      Meh, hopefully the extra WS money will let them sign him.

  14. Can we all please start talking about Erik Kratz 2012 stats, and the fact that he is 6’4″? I think we all can all say now that he’s pretty much Matt Wieters.

  15. Part 1 of Jonah Keri’s always entertaining MLB Trade Value Rankings are up, there’s some avian content.

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/10074900/mlb-trade-value-rankings-part-1

  16. I heard Edwin told Cano to sign with the Blue Jays. They are buds you know..
    done deal

    • It would be awesome if the Jays were willing to(evidence if not going five years and such are against it happening) would be amazing.
      If the jays did match Seattle bid, or offered more than Yankees: strong chance he would come to Toronto, really good friends with Edwin, and Reyes and I believe best friends with Melky.

    • you mean just like Ortiz and Bautista?

      • Not sure I follow, Boston actually gave Ortiz what he wanted be not sure Jays even called his agent.
        I don’t think Jays go after Cano but there’s more chance it looks like of Cano not getting the offer he wants from Yankees where as Ortiz did.

    • I keep hearing this conversation…
      EE – “Cano…get your ass here. We’ve got me, you, JoeyBats, Reyes and Melky.
      We can OWN THIS FUCKING TOWN!”
      Cano – “Let me call JayZ and tell ‘em it’s a done deal”

      Then I always wake up laughing….

  17. It’s still early and no doubt double A is being coy. But there’s know way a contending team can have 3 positions that would be the worst on paper anyway in the AL East.
    LF, C, 2B jays upgraded the catcher position and like the contract. But Navarro is still the most uncertainty at the catching position in the AL East. So in my opinion you can’t have the worst production at 3 positions to and perhaps 1B as well(wont know until offseason is over) and expect to contend in The Al east.
    Looking at the prices for pitching I would rather the jays overpay in trade or Cano for second base and fill the rotation with somewhat realiable arms and just hope your offence is so good Texas a few years ago like that pitching doesn’t really matter as much. No matter who the jays get Garza, Shark, Santana, Jiminez well get lit up in the Rogers centre. So spend the money on cheaper arms and upgrading offence in my opinion.

  18. Personally I believe this is the year the Jays/Rogers need to decide if they are playin’ with the big boys or not.

  19. I’m okay with the Jays potentially costing themselves millions of dollars on waiting to extend Rasmus, I’m not sure I’m okay with them costing themselves Colby Rasmus by waiting to extend Colby Rasmus…

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