Here’s a hastily put together collection of links to get you ready for the Winter Meetings, as we get set to begin playing
the waiting game Hungry Hungry Hippos in hopes of some actual Jays-related news…
Ken Rosenthal says at Fox Sports that the Royals may not fall short of the Yankees on just Carlos Beltran– who they pursued– but also Omar Infante. The second baseman, who the Jays also ought to have some interest in, “is a target of the Yankees — and perhaps a primary target.” He adds that “the Royals are talking to Mark Ellis, the next-best second baseman on the market. The Yankees are not.” Honestly, I have a really hard time believing Alex Anthopoulos when he says that he’s comfortable with what he’s got at second– look at what he did behind the plate, after all the talk of needing to go defence first, right?– so I wouldn’t be surprised happens in this regard, though it wouldn’t exactly fit the pattern to be a free agent.
Elsewhere in the Rosenthal piece he talks about Masahiro Tanaka, whose Japanese club– the Rakuten Golden Eagles– is reluctant to part with via the newly agreed-upon posting system. Rakuten isn’t in exactly a great spot, being left having to make the decision, “Accept the new $20 million posting fee for Tanaka now, accept it after next season or receive nothing for the pitcher once he becomes a free agent after the 2015 campaign.” Even if he doesn’t wind up with the Jays, you’d kind of like to see him posted, if only because that makes for one less very appealing candidate on the market, which will turn the attention of other clubs to players perhaps more realistic for Alex Anthopoulos.
Holy shit, Seattle Mariners. And no, I’m not talking about the Cano thing– I’m talking about the bomb dropped on that front office thanks to some outstanding digging around from former Toronto Star reporter Geoff Baker, in his latest for the Seattle Times. Read it. Fascinating stuff– and the talk of baseball over the weekend, apparently.
And it’s double Mariners-related intrigue, as George A. King III of the New York Post speaks to a friend of Robinson Cano who says that the newest Mariner didn’t want to play for Joe Girardi, and was upset that he wasn’t batting in the middle of the order, in order to increase his value. Uh… I think he did just fine. Did nobody seriously tell him that front offices– except the maybe the one that just gave him all the money– think about value in a different way these days. Hey, but those guys don’t know, they didn’t play the game, right J.P.?
Here’s a scary thought… for the National League, at least: according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers are interested in David Price.
Switching to Jays stuff, Gregor Chisholm has an excellent Jays-focussed primer on the meetings at BlueJays.com, looking at needs, trade chips, available players, and explaining that “at this time last year, Anthopoulos already had pulled the trigger on the blockbuster trade with Miami. But it was at the Winter Meetings where the groundwork was laid for a deal that would bring Dickey to the Blue Jays. More groundwork will be put in place this time around as well, but Anthopoulos likely hopes at least a move or two immediately comes with it.”
Bob Elliott also primes us for the Winter Meetings at the Toronto Sun, talking about Meetings past, the price of Price, and an “evaluator” who thought Marcus Stroman was “so-so” in the AFL, and who would put Drew Hutchison in the Jays’ rotation “ behind R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle.” Not sure if that’s some kind of comment on Brandon Morrow, but I hope not, because it sure would be nice if we could actually talk about the trouble he’s had staying on the field– which is definitely real, I’m surely not saying it isn’t– in a slightly more realistic way that waving our hands and writing off any possibility of contribution. Shit, he took a ball off the shin in 2012 that looked like it was going to be pretty bad, and went out and made his next start– it’s not like he’s made of glass, and it’s not like the injury that derailed him that season was arm-related either. Anyway, nice words on Hutchison, and sadly, the evaluator is not on an island when it comes to Stroman, either.
Some love Stroman, though, like the team at Baseball Prospectus, who have him atop their very impressive list of the top Jays’ prospects. He wasn’t a unanimous choice over Aaron Sanchez, though, and BP has a Prospect Debate piece up about the two that proves it. Both items are paywalled, and showed up a little too close to the Winter Meetings for me to devote a lot of time to looking at them in full, but maybe we’ll get to that if we hit a lull, or later in the week.
For free, though, you can hear a whole bunch of top ten list author Jason Parks’s thoughts on last week’s Blue Jays Plus Podcast.
“I can’t really begin to rationalize all the reasons the Rangers might have for pursing Arencibia,” writes Jen Mac Ramos of Beyond The Boxscore. “All the numbers — and the intangibles, even — point to this being a bad deal for them, even if Arencibia spends all of 2014 on the bench. The potential upside he has is very low. He’s not a productive three true outcomes type of player — if he were, that would at least make some sense for a signing.”
For his part, Arencibia says he has “no hard feelings” towards the Jays, according to Sean Fitz-Gerald of the National Post.
Back to Bob Elliott for the last word (ever here?) on Arencibia, as he writes about him at the Canadian Baseball Network, ostensibly about how he fell victim to the curse of being the Jays’ “Catcher of the Future,” but with some excellent insight beyond that. It follows much of the same pattern we’ve discussed ad nauseam, I think– calls Arencibia a good guy while highlighting instances where I’d say he’s totally not. Money passage: ” ‘Those guys played in the majors, they know how hard it is,’ Arencibia told me [about Hayhurst and Zaun]. ‘I’d would never rip someone like Shi (Davidi, Sportsnet) or you.’ As I was considering how to answer, Arencibia added ‘you guys never played, you guys don’t know the game.’ ” What an assclown.
Elliott also tweets that former Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton is headed to the Cubs organization, and specifically, Triple-A Iowa.
Elsewhere in the Post, Bruce Arthur doesn’t tell you what you want to hear: he tells you that finding the kind of starting pitching upgrade everyone is convinced the Jays require is going to be a tall order.
Anthony Gose is headed to play winter ball in Venezuela, according to a piece from Sportsnet. Since he still doesn’t quite have that somewhat-critical “hitting” thing down, uh… I think that’s probably a good idea.
Elsewhere at Sportsnet, Ben Nicholson-Smith tells us that Melky Cabrera has changed agents.
Ben also gives a brief primer on some of the big questions that may be answered over the next three days.
Though from last week, it’s worth a read to check out Gregor’s full transcript of the chat Alex Anthopoulos had with the media following the non-tendering of J.P. Arencibia, and the signing of Dioner Navarro. It’s up at his North of the Border blog.
Lastly, hey! Look at this! I helped out the guys at Cespedes Family Barbecue riff on some Jays shirseys that are floating out there on teh internets, as they look at the top ten team shirseys out there, coinciding with the release of that club’s Baseball Prospectus Top 10 Prospects list.