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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.

Comments (28)

  1. Melkman has a new agent just in time for his monster-come back, free agent walk year.
    Read it here first.

    • This could be interesting. Hopefully he’ll have plans for a big 2014 in hopes of a huge contract for 2015.

  2. I can just imagine AA at the winter meetings – methodically working the room like a hooker at a Shiner’s convention.
    Somehow, I think the upcoming deals will be the underwhelming “depth” kind….the kind where you say “meh”.
    I’ve learned to keep my expectations low – as not to get totally bummed at the end of it all.

  3. Stoeten – given the current state of the market – what moves would you make to improve the rotation and second base?

  4. OK suppose AA does not land the starter he wants and we go with what we have. How does the rotation go 1-5 and who is kept in the wings for 6 and 7?

    • 1 – dickey / 2 – buerhle / 3 – morrow / 5 – happ / 6 – hutch or stroman or drabek or nolin or redmond or rogers or jenkins or mcguire or mcgowan or romero

      • Do we just forfeit every 4th game? Or let the bullpen handle that one like they did last year?

        • haha oops… yeah id take the bullpen approach

          • I hope you’re joking

            • nope. it’s pretty well-documented in analytics community: if you don’t have an average starter or above, it’s actually more effective to piggy back pitchers from the bullpen for a few innings. it’s a way a small market team with a mediocre rotation but strong bullpen could compete.

              http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20635

              the playoffs prove this point every year when managers are more willing to try things and have a quick hook on their starters.

              • Bullpen piggybaacking can work in the playoffs, but over the course of a full season? I thought our bullpen was a prime example of what can happen when you overwork a good bullpen.

              • Here’s an idea to get your panties in a knot

                Have 3 starters and 4 X 4 innings per outing. Stats are glaring that SP are way less effective second then third time through the order. So why not have 2 guys planned to pitch 8 innings total?

                1) Dickey
                2) Morrow
                3) Buehrle
                4) Hutch and Drabek
                5) Happ and Stroman

                Bullpen
                Jansenn
                Santos
                Dalembar
                Cecil
                Loup
                McGowen

                In the past it was SP goes whole game until he is done then bring in a reliever for the rest. Now it is SP goes so far then bring in guys for extrememly short outings. Is there a happy medium here?

                There is no science to pitcher having 4 days rest then going 100 innings or else pitch 1 inning 2 out of 3 days.

                I’d say if you built the team right try going with 8 SPs piggybacking in 4 turn rotation with 4-5 bullpen guys. 32 starts with average of 5-7 innings per becomes 40 starts with average of 3-5 innings per. Have top 4 guys start the games and others come in. If starter isnt dominating then pull him out before thrid time through the order.

                Use the 4-5 pen guys at the end for high leverage situations

    • Dickey, Buerhle, Morrow, Happ and one of Stroman, Huthc, drabek / anyone who makes it out of spring training.

      Not the most inspiring of rotations, but if morrow is healthy, and Dickey shows his 2nd half performance from 2013, it’s not a bad one either

    • This is why AA – as much as he talks about how the rotation is in better shape because they have depth – really has no choice but to add to it.

      If you need to add Stroman and Hutchison to the Opening Day rotation, suddenly you don’t have much depth anymore – and you have quite the risky rotation.

      With no additions, you probably get Dickey, Buehrle, Morrow, Happ, Hutchison on Opening Day, with Stroman next in line.

  5. Report on MLBTR this morning that the White Sox are “open” to discussions on trading Sale, Quintana or Santiago.
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/12/white-sox-notes-sale-quintana-santiago-uribe.html

    If Sale (14:$3.5M, 15:$6M, 16:$9.15M, 17:$12M, 18:$12.5M club option ($1M buyout), 19:$13.5M club option ($1M buyout according to Cots) is on the market, the conversation should start with “any 4 prospects you want and we’ll take Adam Dunn’s salary off your hands. Do you want Lind back?”

    • Unfortunately Sale’s trade package would be a kingdom’s ransom, as opposed to a package to acquire price. Stroman and sanchez might not be enough sadly.

  6. Congrats Bobby Cox. Safe to say his mark was left on the Jays as a successful franchise both during and after he managed here.

  7. That Geoff Baker/Mariners article… wow. It’s really unfortunate for all involved because while I’m sure many within the organization would love to leave, I can imagine they’re afraid and/or hesitant because they’d be unlikely to receive a letter of endorsement from their former employer, something that is invaluable in that world. It probably has an even greater impact on the young minds in the organization, as they don’t have the track record and history to fall back on. Sad.

  8. Jays to make an announcement at 12:30, the team’s Twitter states.

    • No worries it is just to announce they have reacquired jpa and Jo-Jo Reyes because all of the JA Happ love wasn’t enough

    • nothing on the rumor net yet

    • Jays announce bobblehead day of Bautista, EE and Reyes, making bobblehead collectors very happy.

    • Morosi… “Hearing Blue Jays press conference today is not necessarily related to a player move.”

      and “Blue Jays announcement will not change their 40-man roster, I am told.”

  9. Halladay is retiring… sad…

    happy news… Jays are signing him to a 1 day contract so he retires a Jay

  10. That Elliott piece in Canadian Baseball Network is just such a smooth takedown. He lets Arencibia’s comments speak for themselves except for the closing line.

    There was some hand wringing in some corners about the loss of value on Arencibia. I think with the passage of some time, the consensus will be “good riddance”.

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