As I’ve mentioned at least a couple of times today, Jays fans seem to be getting awfully antsy about the fact that their club hasn’t made a major move yet. Shit, some hopeless person calling in to Jeff Blair’s show this morning was telling folks to book it that the waves made by the Jays’ big off-season splash had already calmed to nothing– they were getting Dioner Navarro, and that’s it.

For fuck sakes.

I know I’m preaching to the choir on a thing like that here, but it really does seem, especially as these Winter Meetings are now half over, with the Jays having done nothing, like it’s a battle to help people maintain perspective out here. Not that that’s any different than any other time of the year, I guess, and not that it’s not at least a little bit worrisome that the Yankees have gone out onto the market wielding a giant club made of money, but with the Jays focus being so clearly on pitching, there are a few things that we’d do well to keep in mind.

Namely: Tanaka, Garza, Jimenez, Santana, Burnett, Arroyo, Hammel, Colon, Price, Masterson, Lee, Hamels, Samardzija, for starters. And how about the fact that, as I noted in the last post, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto says that there’s “a long list” of pitchers they’re considering.

For those of you who’ve forgotten the title of the post, here’s a hint who might be out there:

Here’s another one:

Now, obviously that one doesn’t exactly help the Jays’ rotation depth issue, necessarily. And since Anthopoulos had been acknowledging he’s taken calls on just about everybody on his roster ($1000 says it’s only “just about” because of Melky and Maicer– though no, because even they might get calls from clubs hoping the Jays would pay a bunch of their salaries), I’m not sure it’s terribly newsworthy.

Then again, I wrote about Buehrle’s surprising value last month, noting that he’s been quite a bit more valuable over two years by both versions of WAR than Santana, Jimenez, Garza, or Tim Lincecum, whose new extension the two years and $37-million left on Buerhle’s contract looks like– and if the Jays are willing to eat some money there to save some 2014 payroll, increasing their flexibility, and getting back a better return? Uh… yeah, there could definitely be something there, given where the market is.

But that’s pie in the sky kind of stuff, where my more specific, bigger point here is, there is still a tonne that’s out there.

And yes, this feels an awful lot like one of those in-season “it’s early” posts that I always live to regret because too many people can’t make the distinction between someone reminding them that “it’s early” and someone telling them “it’ll be fine.” I have no idea whether it will be fine. I have no idea if the Jays will overpay for a starter. I have no idea if the Jays will stand pat and hope for the best with what they’ve got. But I do know that the third option– the one where they pay the perfect, magical, palatable price for the perfect, otherworldly pitching piece to fit into their rotation puzzle– is really, really hard to pull off.

Is there time still to pull it off? Of course. Don’t forget, it’s really only just the beginng on this particular side of the ball.

So, is the narrowing market really all that narrow, given that we can still rattle off ten or fifteen available names, and that there are surely others out there we’re not aware of yet? It isn’t! And is part of pulling off the trick that we all want so badly to see materialize in front of us possibly exactly waiting things out right now like we are? Of course it is! Otherwise it would have been done already.

On the brighter side of that notion, I’m pretty sure that if the Jays were ready to go ahead and make an awful trade just to be sure they filled a hole and had something shiny and new to talk about at the State of the Franchise in a couple of months, they probably would have already gone ahead and done that too!

It’s at least a little comforting, right?

So… there’s that.

Comments (58)

  1. I hope that AA doesn’t get rid of Buehrle. He was very good (and sometimes excellent) last year and will age better than the average fireballer, given that he’s only throwing 85 mph right now. Don’t do it…

    • Yeah he’s alright,

      but he’s getting paid $11million this year, 18 the next and 19 the next.
      Get rid of him now so you aren’t stuck with $38million for 3 years of a average pitcher.

    • This is absolute insanity, FYI.

      If they can eat enough money to get a good piece or two back for Buehrle at what looks to the other club like a below market rate, they could add a tonne of flexibility on the free agent market.

      I like Buehrle too, but look at what Anderson just went for. You tell me you wouldn’t rather have a return above that, plus an extra $10M to spend elsewhere, than Buehrle? I like him too, but I don’t think that’s good asset management.

      Maybe I’m delirious from working so much that I think that’s honestly realistic, but I think I might!

  2. It’s a good point. I mean, the Jays main need this offseason is starting pitching, and movement for starters hasn’t even begun yet (other than the Fister trade and Hughes signing I guess).

    If Jiminez, Garza, Tanaka, Santana, Colon, Price etc all go elsewhere, then we can start to worry nothing will happen.

    • Pretty much the only team that’s made a move for FA pitching is Minnesota. So ya, you’re pretty much exactly right.

  3. Would love it if they could turn Buehrle into money for a free agent starter and pieces to either trade for a 2nd starter like Samardzija or use for a 2nd basemen. Would be the best of both worlds for me and keep them under $150 million with maybe a few left over for a bench player.

  4. Seems like something might actually happen soon!

  5. You just had to go mention the Reds…a starter +phillips= a great xmas lol

  6. Mat Latos?

  7. I think waiting out for free agents last January and February worked out well for the clubs involved mostly. Sometimes it’s best to be the guy with the most money when players held out too long.

    • It’s a good strategy but it’s really a risky one as well and then you’d end up doubling down on that gamble if you have to go with some combination of Stroman, Hutchison or Happ for the last 2 spots.

    • Wondering the same myself. Waiting things out might reduce the number of takers for a guy like Buerhle and his contract. Wouldnt mind some real news to chew on though.

  8. Just Win Baby!

  9. The logic behind this makes sense but why would another team give up a good return for Buerhle (even if some money if eaten) when they themselves could simply hold onto their trade chips and sign a FA starter themselves??

    • For the same reason the Jays have had to use the trade route in the past. Simply because said free agent doesn’t want to go there or the commitment in years is too much for them.

      Say a team like the Indians for example, can’t afford a Mark Buehrle at full pop, then the next best alternative is for them to trade pieces or prospects to the Jays if the Jays will eat say $5 mil a year for the remainder of the contract. They don’t even have to be premium pieces either. Like the Marlins trade it takes away the players choice in reporting to a place like Cleveland.

    • Although he has a pretty high salary, Buehrle’s contract is only a two year commitment (I think), so teams could avoid making long term commitments on the FA market. Just guessing though.

    • Because of the flexibility a two year contract offers.

    • …. BC they (who ever may consider a scenario) have a deep system or match well with the Jays and thus get a good SP at less then it would cost $ wise vs signing equivalent FA pitcher

    • The other factor with Mark is you absolutely know what you are paying for. With the volatility of the “top” guys on the FA market, the uncertainty of which Usbaldo you’ll get, which Santana you’ll get, you will know you will get consistency with Buehrle. His Baseball reference page looks like someone just kept copy and pasting the same 200 innings and stats for the last decade.

      He’s as close to a sure thing as you can get.

  10. I would suspect there are quite a few more pitchers available then the ones you have mentioned. GM’s use the media, they float the names out there about guys they want other teams to inquire about. Also some names are quite obvious (teams who have vets and are rebuilding, guys in the last year of a contract prior to free agency…etc)

    There are probably quite a few guys out there that are quietly on the market. Players who GM’s wouldn’t want the media to know about because it could cause a public out lash by fans, or upset the player being mentioned in case they are not dealt. Good examples are Fister and then the Kinsler/Fielder deal. Unwanted attention can hurt deals like that.

    Imagine if the media had gotten wind of the Fister deal prior to it being finalized.

    Point is I’m sure there are some very talented pitchers out there who AA could get his hands on other then the finite FA list and the few guys that have been publicly muled for months.

  11. As I’ve said before it only makes sense it you get some pieces back for buerhle. If we can get Kendrick plus back from the angels, then sign an fa. Why wouldn’t it be considered?

  12. I think Jays and Reds match up well on a deal with Buehrle and extras going for 2 SP’s if Reds want to bring Arroyo back.

    • why would they trade two starting pitchers in order to get back two starting pitchers ?

      • Salary relief while obtaining additional assets. Maybe 2 of Latos / Bailey / Cueto, plus Phillips for Buehrle, Cecil, Gose plus assets. Then Reds re-sign Arroyo.

        AA does like to make large, exuberant deals. Why can’t we think big?

  13. If they can trade Buerhle and not eat any of his salary, they should do it. I don’t care what they get back, if it frees them up to add a higher upside guy through FA or trade, it will be worth it. Buerhle is reliable, but you can get a lot more than reliable with that extra money.

  14. If the Jays aren’t going to make any moves, or should I say additions, they may as well trade Buehrle, and not to mention Bautista. Because this team won’t compete this season and those guys aren’t getting any younger.

    I know it’s early, but I’m just concerned that the Jays will either come away empty handed, or make a move that really doesn’t improve this team all that much, and if that happens, they also missed an opportunity to get something for players that won’t have value when they finally realize this team is not good enough.

    • “I know it’s early”
      Stopped reading there.

    • Just delete your post and come back and repost in March if nothing’s happened by then. Until then…come on, be serious.

    • 1. you underestimate what they have on the team already

      2. Its early, no need to panic

      3. You have no idea what AA is working on now

    • Holy shit balls, I didn’t realize I walked into the Mike Wilner eternal optimist society.

      I just want the Jays to either make the moves it takes to win, or blow this thing up. I’m sick of watching sports teams in Toronto that are always somewhere in the middle.

  15. Elliott says that the Blue Jays have offered Rasmus to two different teams for starting pitching.

    • Noooooo!! Not Cletus.

    • Like I said on another post, trade Colby for pitching and sign Choo for LF. Gose goes to CF and Melky DHs most of the time. Lind can then be traded for other parts.

    • That’s interesting if true. Guess it sounds like they won’t be able to sign him to an extension. Smart if you’re Colby I guess considering the free agent market is a joke next year. Someone will seriously overpay for him, but I would rather have him play out this season and collect a draft pick for him next winter. We need his left handed power for this season.

    • That better not be the case. No fucking way will I or many other people be happy with gose starting in CF. That already creates a blackhole in the lineup. If AA trades rasmus, im done supporting him. UNLESS he replces him with a very good outfielder, but we all know jays arent signing choo (boras).

      • Not sure Gose is ready but I’m OK with selling Rasmus at a high point. Assuming we actually get a solid SP.

        BABIP and K rate scare me a bit.

  16. Off topic but might Matt Harrison be the “failed medical” in the busted Santos trade?

    Maybe it wasn’t a 3rd teams player that failed.

  17. I can just imagine AA sitting there, reading this stuff – and killing himself laughing.

  18. I like AA’s strategy this year. Just like other GM’s have done in past years, lay low until the big spenders have burned up all their available dollars than scoop up the leftovers for a fraction of what they were asking for in the first place.

  19. *shrugs* If Mark Buehrle were on the market right now for another team, we’d be overjoyed to acquire him. I can’t fathom going into an offseason claiming “we’re looking for two or three starting pitchers”, and then trading your current number 2 starter and having it all work out.
    Deal from your strengths to address your weaknesses. Not the other way around.

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