As the reporters and baseball men in Orlando start to trickle into the bar, and the news starts to trickle out more lightly– at least for another few hours, most likely (unless I’m totally just making it up that everybody’s getting shithammered and will rush back with breathless half-baked innuendo later in the night)– there are a few interesting notes or thoughts to pass along on a trio of pitchers who are available this winter– one of them, surprisingly so.

Justin Masterson

The Clevelands were making big splashes on the free agent market last season– bargain hunting as they may have been, waiting out Nick Swisher until January, and Michael Bourn until February– and so while it seemed possible then that they may have dealt their best pitcher, Justin Masterson, with two years left before his free agency, they made the choice to make a run for the playoffs with him on staff instead, and did pretty damn well for themselves (thanks in no small part to the heisting of Yan Gomes from the Jays). Now, with only one year left before his contract expires, according to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal, they might really be ready to move him this time:

MLBTR projects Masterton to earn $9.7-million this year, which would certainly fit the Jays’ pay structure, and I project that his wicked ground ball rate and spike in strikeout rate in 2013 would make him a hell of an attractive commodity to the club– and, well, any club, really– but it’s hard to see an immediate, obvious fit here in terms of lining up on a trade. Or, well, anywhere, really.

Cleveland isn’t about to punt on the season, so they’d want a quality, big-league piece back. Maybe not as good as Masterson, but one that’s cheaper, controlled for longer, and better tested than Jays possibilities like Marcus Stroman or Drew Hutchison, or just flat out better than any of their other fringe starters. Shit, even Brandon Morrow is only under control for this coming season, plus an option for the next– and not particularly cheaply, either.

With the prospect of a draft pick if he walks, or the potential to maybe get him extended, would I move Stroman for one year Masterson? If I really secretly believed he’d be a reliever then I might– might– but I don’t want to believe I’d believe that! So probably not. Hutchison would be slightly easier to do, but even if you do really think that five or six years of him is worth the one-year difference Masterson (who was worth just 1.9 wins in 2012 and 2.1 in 2010) would make, is that sellable to the folks in Cleveland? Or, better question, is it not beatable by an offer from any number of teams?

I mean, I guess if Cleveland is genuinely concerned about him leaving they may be motivated to sell for something less attractive, but you’d kind of feel better about the fit if there wasn’t so much of a disparity between the years of control involved, right? I mean, you want Happ and Santos? Done. Otherwise… I don’t know… I kind of smell a “feeling out the market in case we need to move him at the deadline” thing here anyway. Just spitballin’, though.

Brett Anderson

I wrote earlier about the trade of two weeks ago that would have sent Sergio Santos to the Texas Rangers but was nixed because a player involved in the deal failed his physical. There still seems to be talk about the A’s moving Brett Anderson out there, which– if it was him– you’d think may have stopped by now. Still, though, there are definitely some clues that suggest that it could have been, including how the timeline works.

The A’s and Rangers, somewhat oddly given their position as division rivals, lined up for a deal last Tuesday, which sent Craig Gentry and Josh Lindblom to the west coast, while Michael Choice and Chris Bostick moved to Texas. That all came about as the league woke up from it’s dormant period over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, meaning that it may entirely fit the two-weeks-ago timeline to think that the deal was being worked on the week prior, to be completed before the holiday, fell apart, and was put back together without the Jays by Oakland and Texas in the early days of the following week.

The optics– not that they were horrible– wouldn’t have been quite so bad, in terms of the intra-divisional trade, had a third team been involved, and the Jays… well… the Jays may have ended up with a pitcher they coveted– albeit one who’d be hard to sell the fan base on, given his injury history. The fact that they might have been able to do it for something involving Santos and J.P. Arencibia (who we know the Rangers were after, too) would have certainly softened the blow, though.

Of course we don’t know who else may have been involved, or even if this is remotely close to what the trade was. And it’s a moot point now, because don’t want him if he’s hurt, but it makes a bit of sense, I’d figure.

And so the market narrows. Ugh.

Masahiro Tanaka

This is from earlier today, and has probably been contradicted by now, but oh, how I want to believe it’s true. It comes by way of Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, who lays this on us:

The Dodgers and New York Yankees are widely considered the likely favorites to land Tanaka, [but] there are indications neither team might engage in an all-out bidding war to get him.

The Dodgers are interested in Tanaka, but not with the win-at-all-costs mentality that marked their pursuit of Hyun-jin Ryu last winter, according to two people familiar with the team’s thinking.

He then points us in the direction of Joel Sherman of the New York Post, who last night wrote that “the Yankees are most likely to go the trade route rather than spend on Omar Infante or Stephen Drew, and have become more dubious that they will pursue Masahiro Tanaka, even if a posting system is finalized and Tanaka actually gets posted. When it comes to a starter, the Yankees likely will follow the path from a few years back when they bottom-fed for success with Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, and see if they can unearth a veteran with some fuel left.”

That is, of course, because of their luxury tax situation and the uncertain status of Alex Rodriguez, Sherman says. Much like the Ryan-Goins-as-starting-second-baseman stuff, I’ll believe those two teams aren’t going to be all over Tanaka when I see it. Then again, I’ll believe the fucking Yankees are going to get a gift of a giant, CBA-defying suspension in the A-Rod case when I see it too.

And there are rumblings about Tanaka emanating from Orlando, as well. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports explains:

Sources told Yahoo Sports that Yozo Tachibana, president of the Rakuten Golden Eagles, plans to arrive at the winter meetings here on Tuesday. His appearance may lend clarity to Rakuten’s plan of whether to accept a $20 million posting fee for the right-hander’s transfer to an MLB team this offseason or reject it and rob the pitching market of its jewel.

OK, then! A resolution on the horizon perhaps. That’d be a little bit damn nice, eh?

So… there’s that.

Comments (22)

  1. Loving this time of the year – SO MANY POSTS! Can’t get enough!

    I wouldn’t mind Anderson. As long as it isn’t the only thing done to address the rotation, which I don’t think it would be. I mean, I kinda like our rotation as is right now, but after AA has said repeatedly the #1 priority is the rotation, only acquiring Anderson would be a let down.

  2. i think there was some pining for Masterson as a potential jays target last year, they may want a closer there…maybe a possible fit…also I think there’s no way A-Rod gets suspended for too much more than 75 games, there’s just no precedent for the 200 plus game ban they’re looking to give him.

    • IF the 211 game ban is upheld by the arbitration, it doesnt sound like ARod will stop at that. He’s got lots of $$ and lots of legal advice. There may be a settlement in there somewhere.

  3. I may have missed it but was it said that the player in the deal that failed the physical was NOT a Jays player? Just wondering because of the comments Gibby made about Melky..

    • Santos was almost traded but the deal (a 3 way) fell through because the player coming back (a starter) failed his medical. We have to assume Santos passed his medical.

      • I don’t think it was necessarily the starter coming back– though that’s the speculation. Think it was just said that it was “another player in the deal.” Could have been a side piece, though the starter idea definitely makes sense.

  4. I’m now kicking myself because about a week ago I saw a tweet from an Oakland fan that said that the Blue Jays trade falls through because the player fails his physical. I never posted anything because I thought that the guy was full of shit and I didn’t read about it anywhere else. I also thought you guys would think that I was full of shit because there weren’t any specifics which there wasn’t. The tweet never mentioned who failed the test but I think now we can conclude it was Brett Anderson that failed the test and I’m so glad we didn’t make the trade

  5. The reason I know it is Brett Anderson is because all the sites at that time was reporting that he was on the verge of being traded and then they said that something happened preventing the deal and now he probably won’t be traded until at least another week

    • as has been mentioned, it could very well have been one of the other players involved (and it isn’t documented how many were involved).

  6. The rockies are looking for a back end reliever which the jays have plenty of. Do the rockies have anything the jays would want though?

  7. If we were moving Santos and Arencibia and getting back Anderson, then him failing his physical really fucking sucks.

    of course we don’t know if we were sending more, but if the report is that Santos was going to be traded I’m sure he would have been the biggest name.

  8. Am I the only one who would rather have santos than anderson?

  9. If I were AA, I’d be going hard after Domonic Brown . He slowed down a bit after getting concussed and hurting his foot last year and is not much defensively but he was the top minor leaguer in the game a couple years ago and his offensive upside is almost unlimited. It doesn’t seem like Philly wants him and we don’t have a position open for him but it looks like he could be had relatively cheaply. I’d give up Sanchez plus for this guy in a heartbeat.

    • Why? Unless Bautista is going back and we’re getting Lee / Hamels why even bother? Sanchez for a player we don’t really need?

    • ‘I’d give up Sanchez plus for this guy in a heartbeat.’


    • His offensive upside is almost unlimited???

      He’s not a good defensive outfielder, and he stopped being a top prospect after he kept trying his hand at the big leagues and not being good. He’s already 26.

      By fWAR he was worth 1.6 wins last year. In over 1000 career big league plate appearances he has a wRC+ of 107.

      He’s a nice piece and it would be great to get him and have him keep up what he did last year while also not being godawful defensively, but this talk is kinda nuts.

      • What all that means is simply that he hasn’t been great yet. My point was that I think, unlike you and the Phillies, that he’s about to blossom offensively. I’m aware that his stats have not been good in the past but all that really proves is that he has not been good in the past. He’s only 26 and showed the potential for greatness last summer, not for the first time though last year was his first as a regular. Sanchez is a great prospect who hasn’t done a damned thing yet, like all great prospects. Brown has already proven he can perform at a very high level. I’d rather have a guy who can perform rather than a guy who might or, more likely given the nature of prospects, might not perform at the MLB level. What’s kinda crazy is that you seem to think he’s already all washed up even though he hit 27 homers and had an ops over .800 in 139 games last, despite playing through a concussion and a lingering foot injury in his first real shot playing full time. He’s never had more than 200 at bats in a year before this year which really makes all your sabermetric measuring pretty pointless in this instance due to the small sample size. Using that same small sample approach, I could point out that he hit 12 homers last May before he got hurt.
        What I was also trying to get at it my previous post is that trading to fill holes on a team is not always the best strategy. The same is true of draft strategy: do you draft to fill the hole on your team or do you take the best player available, regardless of position? I think there are times that you need to be flexible and its often a good idea to grab a good young player at a discount even if there is no obvious position immediately available for him. That is neither crazy nor stupid.

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