Do we smell the seeds of a blockbuster?

I highly doubt it, but on the heels of last night’s report that Cleveland is listening on Justin Masterson comes this from Jon Morosi:

Now, on the surface this certainly looks intriguing for a club like the Jays who need help in the rotation and the middle infield, but I’m not so sure. Cabrera, though he played at second base more than any other position in his first full season, back in 2008, and acquitted himself fairly well by UZR, and especially by DRS, in over 1300 innings from 2007 through 2009, but he hasn’t played there since. He also has never earned high marks by those metrics at shortstop– a trend that seems to have been worsening in recent years.

He also is coming off a poor year at the plate, with a sub-.300 OBP and a wRC+ of just 95. Not necessarily great second base production, but not even that bad, at his worst– and with a .263/.324/.430 line over his last three seasons combined, there’s still some upside there. Especially with the off-season’s now-familiar refrain of “at least better than Goins” in mind.

He’s owed $10-million for this season, and will then become a free agent, which is pretty much the same as could be said for Masterson– and, as I also said on that front, one can’t help but wonder if they’re just feeling out the market in case Masterson and Cabrera become sought-after rentals in July.

Even if they’re serious, there isn’t exactly an obvious fit in terms of lining up with the Jays. Cleveland has a shortstop of the future in Francisco Lindor, but he’s only played 21 games at double-A, so it’s not like he’s exactly ready to step in and contribute. And it’s not like the Jays have anything that realistically be expected to help them there in the meantime– I mean, a serious club wouldn’t actually think of starting Maicer Izturis or Ryan Goins, right?

A third team could be involved maybe, or… y’know… I don’t know. It’s the same basic drill as on all these rumours– maybe something could work? I don’t know. The pieces on Cleveland’s end sure look intriguing, at least. Especially if their closeness to free agency lowers the cost– but I kind of suspect that would be a contentious issue, and would probably make a deal harder to forge, rather than easier.

So… there’s that.

Comments (40)

  1. Cleveland definitely needs bullpen help. Not that you could land Masterson for bullpen help, but you would think Asdrubal could.

  2. Bastian suggested in a tweet that Cleveland has a similar philosophy to Toronto in that they will “listen” on anyone. But that doesn’t mean they’ll actually move em.

    • Some GMs enjoy using AA’s name to build interest in a guy in order to deflect their own inner machinations, ie saying Pitcher A from Toronto is available in order to drive down the price of Pitcher B from Otherteam that the GM is really interested in because the market is now crowded with available pitching.

      Could be something similar with stuff like this. It was also my first thought when Lee and Hamels’ names came up.

  3. I actually like the idea of Cabrera at 2nd. AA says we need 3 SS in the infield now that he believes in defense. It solves 2 holes. We’d probably lose a few of our prospects…but the good thing about having low level prospects available is that we get a whole bunch of new ones this year in the draft.

    Lets get them to throw Gomes in that deal too and ship them a list of top prospects from fangraphs and say pick your favorites and throw in iztrus, and a closer of their choice.

  4. Trading for these guys now allows you to make a qualifying offer next November if they perform to or near expectations. Trading for them at the deadline will likely have a similar cost (fewer viable suitors but more desperation) and make them ineligible for the QO. If these are the guys you want, you make the move now. They’re only under control for 1 year so having that QO option — especially for a guy like Masterson, but even Stephen Drew got a QO so maybe Cabrera as well — gives you the long-term protection without the commitment of a player under contract for multiple years.

    • This is a very good point and probably why Cleaveland is listening on them, once the season starts their price tag goes way down.

    • And if you want to talk about how the teams potentially match up:

      Only 2 of the Indians top 10 prospects are pitchers, they come in at 4th and 10th, and neither has a particularly exciting ceiling.

      A package fronted by Aaron Sanchez for future help, and maybe a Sean Nolin for present help, as well as some lower level wildcards, might get the conversation moving.

      • you lost it here.

        Sanchez isn’t going to get moved for someone who only has 1 year of control left.

        Also, Cleaveland isn’t punting the season, they would need a SS and pitcher that’s ready to step in now.

        • Nolin is ready to step in now, and they don’t need a shortstop. Francisco Lindor will probably be up in June, and they have Mike Aviles to fill in for the first 2-3 months. He’s hardly a world beater, but he’s a solid replacement, and if the Indians REALLY wanted they could use some of the 20 million they save in the trade to find a different replacement on a 1 year deal. You don’t have to fill a team’s every need in one trade.

          And I think we’ve reached the point where Sanchez IS in play, even for a player on a 1 year contract when you consider the qualifying offer angle. You’re basically saying 6 years of Aaron Sanchez is worth more than 1 year of Justin Masterson plus 6 years of whoever we draft with his pick, presuming we don’t re-sign him. I’m not sure I believe that. Sanchez has pitched in the AFL but not above High-A in the regular season. He has tons of upside but is still a monster gamble, and considering his raw command, it’s unlikely he’ll be a huge factor in 2014/2015 when our current roster is competing for playoff spots.

          • if nolin is ‘ready to step in now,’ then why not have him ‘step in’ for the jays (note: no)? CLE & TO are in similar ‘win now’ positions, so to assume that nolin is ‘good enough’ for CLE (but not for the jays) is a bit dubious.

            • If the Indians were in the same “Win Now” perspective as the Blue Jays they wouldn’t be shopping Masterson. They’re trying to field a competitive team without weakening the future while working under a significantly smaller budget. Completely different situations.

              And Nolin is ready. But I don’t think he’s better than Dickey, Buehrle, Morrow, Hutchison, Stroman, or Happ at this point, so that’s why he’s not in the discussion for Toronto’s rotation.

      • Holy shit, six years each of those guys for a single season of Cabrera and Masterson???

        That’s crazy. And this is why it would be hard.

        • You can’t just think of it as 1 year of Masterson and Cabrera because of the Qualifying Offer option. It’s 1 year of them plus 6 years of the player we get from their draft pick. Assuming you draft well (a stretch, I’ll admit), you’re basically acquiring Masterson for the 3 years of development time spent on Sanchez/Nolin. Not sure if that makes any sense but hopefully I explained it half decently.

          Plus, there’s only a finite number of roster spots. Depth is awesome, but there comes a point where guys like Nolin with their limited upside (MAYBE a 2 WAR peak?) become redundant when you have the Stromans and Hutchisons and Happs and Drabeks and Redmonds all vying for that 5th spot as well.

          • There’s no guarantee of a qualifying offer though. Josh Johnson was a sure bet. You can’t factor that in because there is every chance that if he blows up and shits the bed you lose that draft pick too.

            • Quickly compare and contrast Johnson and Masterson’s injury histories. Spoiler alert: one of those things is not like the other.

          • I think you have a point with Nolin, and maybe the 6 years of control is enough to incentivize the indians to make a move.

            Sanchez and Stroman shouldn’t be moved for a 1 year player, regardless if you get a QO pick back from them because there are too many scenarios where that doesn’t work, if the player gets a serious injury, or a team with a protected pick signs him.

            The reality is, if you move a sanchez or stroman for 1 year of masterson, you then lack pieces for high end trades in the future.

            • It means nothing if a team with a protected pick signs him, you still get a pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds, the only difference is they lose their 2nd round pick instead of their 1st. It was the old CBA where you took the team’s spot in the draft order.

        • But maybe it is too much, I don’t know. If the trade did go down and Sanchez/Nolin was the core of the return, I wouldn’t be upset. If it was less than that I’d be pleasantly surprised. But as the title says, it’s Bullshit Rumors, and not something not worth getting worked up over unless we start seeing Toronto seriously linked to their names.

    • I agree with this. Which is why I think is why these guys cost at least a top prospect or a couple MLB ready players. Maybe the new market inefficiency is signing guys with a year or 2 left on their contracts that will warrant a QO.

  5. they should just send masterson to us as a thank you for Yan Gomes

  6. Sounds like a good fit for the Jays anyways.

    If they did this deal, they’d at least have no holes in the lineup, and 4 quality SPs.

    • For this year, yeah. Next year, after Masterson and Cabrera are free agents and fuck off for greener pastures – the Jays are back in the same boat with nothing to show for it.

      • except the draft picks they get for a QO..and if that drives their price down..we re-sign.

      • Yeah but if we hold onto the young’ns and wait for the coaching staff to destroy them like they have all young talent that’s come through the system in the past decade, we’ll have less than nothing. Might as well deal them and try to convince some in-the-majors talent that we’re a place worth committing to.

  7. Could the Indians be interested in Drew at SS and trading Cabrera for bullpen help?

    • The better question is should the Jays be interested in bringing in Drew for MI help.

      He looks pretty solid at SS – Reyes should move to second if AA is suddenly a strong believer in defence.

      Dont give me this Reyes would never do it BS. He is being paid 22M for the next 5 years to play for the Jays and doesn’t seem at all like he has an ego problem. You really think having him move to second is going to cause issues? This isn’t Hanley HeadCase Ramirez we are talking about here and he will be happy to do what is best for the team and gives the best chance at a winner

      • you have to give up a pick for drew.

        • Should come cheap then. Especially if they target more than one FA with pick compensation,

          • Only works if Drew is desperate. And if he is he’ll probably pick the sox who could probably offer him more without giving up the draft pick.

            • I see him going back to the Sox too. Why does he have to be desperate to come to Toronto exactly? Toronto isnt the complete black hole that no FA would ever go to that seems to be believed. Sure there are reasons FA dont come here but seems to me the biggest one is that our GM doesnt want to “overpay” for anybody and would rather trade propsects for proven players than sign anyone to any sort of significant long term deal.

  8. Trade for Lee instead, who cares if he gets north of 25 Million a season, its Cliff Lee!!!!!

  9. I’ve seen Cabrera play a lot. His glove is still first rate, but his bat is in decline.

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