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recap

Here’s a handy digest of what went down during Day Two in Orlando, which… once again was pretty effing slow…

We woke up on Day Two finding Harry Crumb on the case, ferreting out for us a bunch of fresh reading material, including what may have been the most intriguing bit of innuendo we’d see all day: Buster Olney’s tweet that the Phillies are listening on Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. (Note: All of the prospects, Alex. All of the prospects.)

The Rajai Davis era ended in Toronto, as the Jays’ now-former fourth outfielder signed a two-year, $10-million offer with the Detroit Tigers, allowing all kinds of Jays fans to piss and moan about how great a fit he was on the roster (he was) while being completely oblivious to the fact that a guy like Anthony Gose will cost literally about a tenth of that much over the same time period. Resource allocation, people. Resource allocation… brought to you by Rogers (TM).

Baseball America’s Ben Badler noted that it’s possible that both of Japan’s top two pitchers may wind up in the big leagues in 2014, as he passed along rumblings that Kenta Maeda– who made the all-tournament team at last spring’s World Baseball Classic– may be posted this winter.

Cleveland’s Justin Masterson is reportedly on the block– or at least being listened on– and apparently so is Asdrubal Cabrera. Could they both find their way to Toronto? They could, but probably not. Might fit, though.

It was revealed by Shi Davidi that the Jays have named a first base coach, and it’s Tim Leiper, who was promoted internally from the player development side, has worked with Canada Baseball, and is former manager of the Ottawa Lynx!

Rumours swirled about Brett Anderson being coveted by other teams, and I wondered if the reported interest meant that he wasn’t the player who’d failed his physical in the fallen-apart Sergio Santos deal that became knowledge yesterday. Anderson ended up on the move, getting traded to Colorado.

In the middle of a sloooooooow day, I noted that Kevin Youkilis doesn’t appear to be a fit for the Jays. Ugh. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks, Angels, and White Sox pulled off a trade that was the talk of the league most of the afternoon, and when it became official, I took a look at the market-shaping implications it may have on the Jays.

At the end of the afternoon Alex Anthopoulos met with the media, revealing that some free agent prices had gone down, that he was reluctant to move his best starting pitching prospects (i.e. Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman), and talking a little bit about The Policy– the club’s supposed policy about limiting player contracts to five years or less.

We then got an update at the Masahiro Tanaka situation, which is still unresolved, and soon after took a look at the pitching market, which I reminded is only just beginning, really. In the same piece I passed along word that Mark Buehrle has been asked about during these meetings, which led to a tanent about his surprising value, and how moving him could actually be a very large help to the Jays.

The pitching market remained the focus, as we next looked at a report from Bob Elliott, suggesting that Colby Rasmus is being shopped for pitching. In the piece I wondered if a one-for-one deal with Cincinnati that would bring back pitcher Homer Bailey– who is also in his final year before free agency– might make sense for both sides.

Lastly, I went back to Elliott’s piece to look at his surprise that Alex Anthopoulos is now referring to the club’s window for contention as being five years long, and did my best to unpack all the nonsense surrounding the Jays’ supposed policy of limiting free agent contracts to five years long. It’s the economy, stupid.

Comments (100)

  1. Yo dis offseason gettin me streesssssed right now

  2. I am really getting sick of AA’s “we called on this guy” “we almost had this guy”. I don’t want to hear his lame excuses. He better sign a pitcher or else he’s just a joke of a gm. 10 years and the only free agent pitcher we’ve sign is aj burnett is inexcusable.

    • We’re not really starting this shit again are we?

      Baseball free agency heavily favours players, you almost never get full value from the top end of the market.

      Plenty of teams succeed with out using free agency and plenty of team fail while using free agency.

      • Plenty of teams also fail when trading prospects for players signed to free agent type deals. Eg: 2013 Toronto Blue Jays. If you are going to acquire players and pay them full rate why not try and do it WITHOUT giving up your fucking prospects.

      • the jays have shown they can’t develop pitchers, won’t sign free agent pitchers and end up trading top prospects for old washed up pitchers. This is a recipe for disaster.
        Good pitchers cost a premium. You just have to accept it and take the risk.

        What is the diffference between that and the wasted money on romero, johnson, morrow etc?

        • Name one top prospect traded away contributing at major league level. Yan Gomes excluded as he was not top prospect

          • almost all the ones we traded last year…….or do you want the names?

            • They were “prospects” – which means they’ve not done shit at a MLB level yet. They might never.

            • Yes coach. Name them, as none have contributed at MLB, even the heavily regarded Snygen.

              • Hechavarria
                Travis E. d’Arnaud – injury slowed him, but is their starter now
                Henderson Javier Alvarez – 17 starts last year – did well

                and the rest will make impacts this year….

                So…..middle finger in your general direction….lol

                • You have no idea what Hechavarria did this year, do you?

                  • the question was….

                    name one prospect we traded that “Contributed”

                    he may have hit like a weaker Aaron Cibia, but he still….Contributed

                    Alvarez getting a No NO should have made all those post stupid anyways.

                    • One no-hitter does not mean a player contributed. His overall season was pretty good, though. He works for “contributed.” He was a nice back-end starter.

                      Nobody else did, though. Hechavarria going out and being one of the worst regulars in the game sure doesn’t.

    • ugh.
      ok tough guy.

  3. I’m tired of this whole ‘five years window to contend’ nonsense. I don’t care if it’s three years or five years or seven years. That shit started with Ricciardi using double-speak to buy himself yet more wriggle-room. The team should be built to attempt to contend year after year. I haven’t heard about these kinds of windows from NY or Boston.

    • Waah
      Wahhh
      I’m too impatient

      • Really? I’m the one who has been advocating that AA stand pat and not go charging out and grab whatever has been hung out there. And so far he hasn’t. Which actually makes me pretty happy. But this ‘window to contend’ nonsense? I think it’s shit no matter how shiny it sounds.

        • That kind of thinking – while somewhat understandable from a fan’s POV – is what eventually lands you an albatross of a contract.
          It’s reactive – and looks like a desperate act. I’m not sure why I should trade our pieces (Sanchez, Stroman…even Colby) to get a guy whose numbers might be totally replicated by our in-house guys.
          I’m not convinced the grass is always greener over there…or that just because something’s new, it’s better than what we have.
          As I said…a bad deal is worse than no deal at times.

          • Green grass you say? I think there’s a 5 year window on that too.

          • Fastball, I’m not sure if this is where you intended to put that post. But if it is, I don’t want AA to act now and I think I’ve made that pretty clear. And I certainly don’t want him to react now. However I don’t like the time-frame-thinking. Any and every move that AA makes at any given moment should be to improve the chances of the team he has at that moment. Sometimes that might mean making no moves or very minor moves. For example, I don’t like this harping on ‘we need a starting pitcher’. We do. But we need the right starting pitcher and that may not become available before the season begins. I’d rather see what we have in Hutchinson and Drabek etc before we trade off a valuable future piece for a pitcher who may well turn out to be another version of Josh Johnson. I’m not braying for a trade. But this 5-year thing just serves to take the pressure of the right now.

            For a long time, until very recently, I’ve thought that AA was a good GM. Now I’m not so sure he is. He has made some serious mis-steps to go along with his VW-coup. He hired the wrong manager. And then let it be known by his words when he hired Gibbons that he was pushed into hiring him. If he thought Farrell was the wrong guy he should not have been pushable. He built a team that should have been an offensive powerhouse but by his own admission he paid little attention to defence. In a stadium that’s a band-box and has a surface that plays faster and harder and maybe more unpredictably than any other stadium in mlb. In the face of a lot of evidence to the contrary he gave the starting catcher’s job which has to be the most important on-field position to a kid who had an unimpressive batting average, lousy defensive skills, and a very poor approach to the plate. Turned out none of these things could be improved because said kid proved to be unteachable. Not only did he give him the catcher’s job, he got rid of all the other reasonably useful catchers.

            I look at that record and I really start to wonder whether AA is the guy for this job. And then we hear about the Ricciardi-like ‘window of opportunity’. And I wonder some more.

            • +1

              Thank you for putting into the words the bulk of what has been starting to cause me agitation.

              Doubt is creeping for me too.

            • This all very true and all, but could any of us have forseen Arencebia’s ego fill up the entire dome?

              And while bemoaning the fact our defense was terrible in the first half, it actually normalized in the second half thanks to lawrie and removing melky and izturis from the field. Not to mention none of us foresaw Izturis turning into a turd and Melky having a bloody tumour in his back. We had a ton of bad luck, basically the left end of a bell curve that usually does not happen. In a parallel universe our season would probably be a lot better.

              And who was AA gonna hire as Manager at that point? The mnagaerial pool sucked at that point when he needed one, gibbons is probably the best one of the bunch.

              • Sorry Revolu, I didn’t express that properly. The ‘him’ AA apparently was pushed into hiring was Farrell. Not Gibby. I don’t love the Gibby hire but I don’t hate it. And as you say, there wasn’t much available at the time.

                • Ah ok, but I still wouldn’t attribute that as AA fault either. Like we seriously ahve a lot of bad luck. Farrell leaved the Sox organization because he believes Francona will be there until he retires. Next year Francona is fired. Red Sox decide to hire the worst manager of MLB. They fire him in the beginning of offseason. Farrell sees opportunity and really wants to go for it. AA has no choice but to let him go cause Farrell heart is not in the right place at all.

                  Not even a magic eight ball can predict this kind of stuff. Seriously

                  • Yeah but after 20 years of bad luck I have to wonder how much of that luck was and is mismanagement.

                    • Wasn’t 20 years of bad luck.
                      It was changing priorites over 20 years by different owners in different conditions.

                • He was not pushed into anything.

            • A GM making trades and signing FA’s thinking only about the team “he has now” would be how a fan would run the team. And that fan might end up with one successful season, but they would quickly run into problems with no more assets to trade, and no more salary room.

              • You guys, being guys, will probably never have read Alice In Wonderland. I’m not a guy so I have. In that book, in Wonderland, the Red Queen offers Alice some bread and jam. When Alice accepts, she is told that she can have jam ‘tomorrow’. In Wonderland you can have had jam yesterday and you can have jam tomorrow but you never get jam today. Translate that into baseball-speak and you get the ‘three/five/whatever-year window of opportunity’.

                • Nope.

                • Ok , you do understand he answered ’5 year window’ to placate the masses? And since when are we taking full face value of what a GM says.

                  He clearly just debunked the 5 year policy. Whya re we assuming his “5 year window” window will stick.

                • Who doesn’t love some good old fashioned gender-based superiority amirite?

                  • And if I’d said ‘those of us who have read Alice in Wonderland…’ Oh the hilarity that would ensue.

                    In any case, whether he gets a pitcher or he doesn’t. Whether he makes a trade or he doesn’t. Whether he has a five-year-window or he hasn’t. The bloom is off AA for me. And, like I said, I’ve only just started to think this way. And I’m not crusading to fire him either.

        • Regardless of windows and time-frames and all of that nonsense, there’s a very real trade-vs-sign split that is growing with the fan-base, and I don’t quite get it.

          People keep saying that the Jays don’t want to overpay for a free agent. Well, isn’t it less dangerous to overpay money from a wealthy company to a free agent rather than overpay in prospects and trade chips for a guy that was deemed expendable by his former team? That’s where I’m coming from on this. The other thing that is frustrating about this off-season so far (though I know, it’s very early in the process) is that yesterday, two tweets came out directly quoting AA:

          1) FA prices are coming down and we don’t want to give up Stroman or Sanchez
          2) We envision a trade rather than a FA signing

          Wait, what? You want to keep the two guys that everyone is asking for in a trade, but you want to make a trade. That makes little sense. If they can somehow get Lee or Hamels or other without moving Rasmus, Gose, Stroman or Sanchez, sure – go for it. But, if not moving those guys will only net you a number #3 pitcher at best, shit, I’d rather see Hutchison or Drabek or Stroman in the rotation. If this was Tampa Bay, without the benefit of a wealthy ownership group, I’d say a trade is the best option. There’s a lot of good free agent arms out there though, and Matt Garza won’t even cost a pick. We can actually have our cake and eat it too this off-season – keep the kids AND sign a big arm. Really makes you wonder what’s happening behind the scenes.

          I don’t mean to be panicky; I think I’m just frustrated. Not from a “do something big and do it now!” sense, but more from a “is AA going to bullshit and pander too long and have the market yanked out from under him” sense.

          • It’s pretty clear to me that the most obvious area where we need an upgrade is pitching. The free agent market for picthing has been very slow. I don’t see why we’re blaming AA for not making a move. Everyone is waiiting for Tanaka. Wha if AA primary move is to aquire Tanaka and aquire another starter by trade? We honestly have no idea what his plans are, but we can be sure if he’s going to take the free agent route, it’s gonna take a while.

  4. Anderson is now with the Rockies…..

  5. I just wish AA would shit or get off the pot. He is no Pat Gillick nor will he ever be. I almost fell off my chair this morning when I saw the Rasmus trade rumor. If the front office gets rid of Colby for Gose, I’m done. Gose can’t hit the broad side of a barn.

  6. Stoeten: unreal work these past few days. Having the fresh news is great but the analysis adds nice depth – and actually assumes the reader knows something about baseball (unlike mainstream outlets). Always good work, but especially in the past few days. I appreciate your HOT TAKES.

    Sincerely,
    A bored government employee

  7. Irrational Jays fans are a best explanation for how Ford became mayor.

  8. I’m gonna ask this here, in case the “5-year window” post isn’t too active anymore…

    But what the heck does a five-year window even mean?

    I can understand the idea of a five-year plan, where you strip down all your quality parts and wait for prospects to develop. I can understand a one-to-three year window, where you deal your prospects and spend your cash, so once your big league quality players get old and/or hit free agency it would be hard to contend.

    But a five-year window? Does that mean you for five-years they’ll trade all their good prospects? Isn’t it very possible – and hasn’t it seemed like the plan – that the Jays dealt a ton of chips and spent a ton of money last offseason, heavily upgraded their big league talent, and would now try to supplement that talent going forward while being more conservative with prospects to rebuild the farm system to help out when those guys get old/move on?

    Maybe I’m over-analyzing a throw-away line by AA, but it jumps out to me.

    • To me, at least from what I’ve read, he believes that with the current roster and prospects that he’s got now, the Jays should be in contention during that span (3-5 years). I think he went on to say that it was really beside the point (the 5 year timeline) and that they better be contenders this year. What he didn’t say was that they will contend in 3-5 years which I think is what is upsetting some people.

      Obviously he’s trying to balance a win now mentality with the mid-term goal of being sustainable down the road. Otherwise like he said, they would just trade everything in the system for this year and or next.

  9. Today is no bullshit Wednesday. The baseball gods will give Stoeten something to write about and Jays fans something to smile about.

    Or not.

    • If it’s no bullshit Wednesday, you’re going to have to give me some help with my excuse when I call in sick in an hour.

    • Apparently the Marlins want to move Justin Ruggiano. I think he’d be a good fit for the Jays off the bench. Stoeten could write about that if he really wanted to.

  10. Thought I’d move my question to this newer post, as it’s relevant here too:

    Stoeten (and others), what would you trade for either Lee or Hamels? What do you think would get the deal done for both sides?

    • i would give up a lot for Hamels.

      It would take 2 top prospects and some other stuff

    • I don’t think the Phillies are as serious about trading either as it was made out to be. Sure hand over the keys to the farm+ and you might get something done.

    • just saw a report that listed Gose, Hutchison and Sanchez as possible to get Hamel

      I would rather put Stroman over Hutchison. We already know Hutch can start.

      That would give us….
      Hamel
      Dickey
      Marrow
      Mark
      Hutch

      Happ being traded to someone, or Happ starts year, and Hutch as back up.

      • this doesn’t kill our depth, but i would be ready to see our two top prospect go for the 6 years of watching one of the best pitchers every 5 days.

      • That’s dumb, Stroman clearly has more value then hutch, why are you willingly giving them more value on the deal.

        • Stroman has more possible value. we dont know for sure what would happen with him pitching in the homer dome.

          Hutch has proved to be a good starter when healthy. Hutch is a safer bet to provide long term value atm.

          • He’s also had tommy john, there’s risk with both. I dunno, I really doubt anyone’s getting Hamels or Lee beside the Phillies.

      • Define “report.”

        • BP was speculating on who could line up with the Phils for Lee or Hamel

          BlueJays were one of 5 teams listed.

          • BR sorry

            • Ooooh. That’ll hurt your chances of being taken seriously.

            • BR??? As in Bleacher Report?

              Yeesh. Don’t read that garbage.

              • you thinking it would take more the Gose, Hutch, Sanchez?

                Because thats a lot to give up imo

                Hutch could be a really good starter.
                Sanchez could be the Next Hamel
                Gose, well, he runs fast.

                • Maybe not, if Philly is paying zero money, but yes. Putting a Hammels comp on Sanchez is tough. He’s cheap and getting close to the majors. He’s had nowhere near that kind of success, though, nor is it fair to expect he will.

                  • ok, then the real question

                    would you pull the triger on this trade?
                    or the one having Hutch out and Stroman in?
                    or – none of the above?

  11. Elliott posted another story late last night. There’s nothing specific, so it’s not very useful, but he does say the Jays were talking about pitchers with Arizona before the D’Backs completed their Trumbo trade:

    http://www.torontosun.com/2013/12/10/blue-jays-trade-talk-with-dbacks-scuttled

  12. Random target: I realize this means the team might lead the league in strikeouts next year. But how about Mark Reynolds as a corner IF depth + DH vs LHP guy?

  13. If we trade colby this was all for nothing

  14. Davidi saying interest in lind is picking up. Much rather deal lind + than rasmsus + for pitching

    • That one is hard to understand. Lind (at least not alone) isn’t going to bring back a #3 or better starter that AA wants. Again if we’re talking about building around the team in place especially where there aren’t a lot of obvious overlapping position players, I don’t get moving Lind or Colby. There’s so much pitching depth in the minors you’ve got to deal that first I would think. I know teams also want guys that can help now, but you’re just creating new holes to fill by trading off your roster.

      Of course, if this were an alternate reality the Jays could trade Lind and prospects for a top starter move Melky to DH and sign Choo. lol oh I kill myself sometimes

      • I see a Lind trade as addition by subtraction. Also, if they could somehow land a decent 1B/DH in another move, it would be gravy.

        • That is just plain wrong.
          Lind is a very useful piece for a team, provided he’s used correctly.
          Certainly a LOOOONG way away from an “addition by subtraction” situation

        • Probably because you’re an idiot Peter! You should look into that.

          • Funny how much difference a year makes. Last year there was no chance Lind would ever be useful, and now I’m an idiot to say this team is better off trying to get rid of him now and try to use the $7 million saved more productively.

            • The issue is that you’re obviously not appreciating how productive Lind was in 2013.

              • The issue your not appreciating his how little production I’m expecting from Lind this season. If I expected him to repeat his production, he would definitely have value.

                • Oooooh. So it’s your expectations that define a player’s value.
                  Bill James did NOT see that one coming.

        • Ridiculous.

          • Ridiculous might be an understatement on this one…

            • We are talking about a guy with chronic back problems who has had one good season in the last four, and plays a premium offensive position. Any expectations from him is foolish and there is a reason the Jays are trying to trade him.

        • Well it depends on which Lind shows up and how he’s used. By wRC+ he was tied for 32nd best hitter in ALL of MLB last year. That tied him with guys like Beltran who just signed for 3 years $45 million, just behind Longoria and Bautista, ahead of guys like Mike Napoli, Prince Fielder, Dominic Brown, and Justin Upton all for the meager sum of $7 million in 2014.

          If Gibby sticks to using him vs RHP you’re not going to find a better bat out there for that price.

        • Corey Hart?

          He’s likely a good value as he’s coming off an injury year.

          Trade Lind + a bullpen piece for a SP. Sign Hart to a 1 year deal.

      • You don’t get moving Colby???

        • Not when it’s doubtful that one year of Colby is going to be bring back the #2 starter we’d need in return by himself. I know there’s POSSIBLE regression to factor in just as there’s a chance that he has an even better year going into his age 27 season.

          Basically a combination of Gose+Mystery Starter has to equal what Colby+Free Agent starter would produce. I figured that to be roughly 6 fWAR for Colby and the FA starter combined after some regression from both (I took a 1 WAR off each player from their 2013 totals).

          Being extremely generous and giving Gose 2 fWAR for a full season, that would leave your mystery starter 4 fWAR to make up on his own.

          A 4 fWAR starter puts you in the top 20 for all of MLB in 2013 and top 17 in 2012. You can see the leaderboards for the kind of names you’re talking about. And since we’re regressing Colby and the FA starter you’re going to have to do the same to the Mystery Starter to be fair.

          The cost for Colby+Free Agent starter is money obviously and the loss of a 2nd round draft pick this summer less the 1st/2nd round pick you’d back in 2015 if you gave him QO this winter. Again with a Free Agent starter you can backload his deal to offer additional flexibility for this season. Also don’t forget the money for the free agent starter isn’t as expensive in terms of $/WAR when you consider where the Jays would be on the wins curve.

          The cost for Gose+Mystery Starter is the 1st/2nd round pick you would have got for Colby+ what ever additional prospects (and their future value) it takes to get that #2 starter as Colby would not likely be enough if we’re talking about a guy who is under control for a multiple years.

          Mystery Starters salary would likely be less than Colby’s this year but not by much and would be less than the Free Agent Starters going forward.

          • You’re expecting Rusmus to produce 6 War? From what stats? At least use projections, Fangraphs, have him as 3.3 WAR. If you compare 2013 and expect for regression, predict around 4- 4.5.

            6 WAR my god.

            • Read what I said, that 6 fWAR is for him and the Free Agent Starter COMBINED. I regressed Colby to 3.8 fWAR and the FA to 2.2 fWAR.

            • Thats 6 war from Rasmus AND A STARTER, not Rasmus alone

          • Uh… I got as far as the first sentence. Nobody is saying definitely move for whatever you can get. But you said “I don’t get moving Lind or Colby” because there is pitching depth in the minors to be moved. That’s ridiculous too, because teams looking to win now don’t want guys in the low minors. But especially ridiculous is saying you don’t get moving a guy who has a cheap replacement ready, is likely to be really expensive in a year, and could bring back something decent. Again, not saying you definitely do it, but to say you don’t get it is missing some very obvious reasons why it makes sense. Maybe you touched on those in the bits after I stopped reading your comment.

            • I don’t get it in the context of what keeping Colby means to the team this year when there are far better options available for getting a starter.

              Maybe not getting it was the wrong thing to say, let me just say I don’t think it’s any where close to the best option.

              Maybe the Colby plan is far more viable when AA’s struck out on all his starter for prospects options and the free agent route.

  15. Yeah, the Colby thing sorta caught me unawares. OK, Gose can run like the wind and has a decent arm, but he could actually…well, hit worth shit – I’d be warming to it.
    I’m not sure what I’d rather have (especially at the cost of Colby) – a decent second base guy or another 8-win starting pitcher.
    Remember, Colby’s in for a payday too….and it’s not gonna be chump change.

    • Agreed. I think Colby has earned his price and if was AA I would have no problem paying him for his value. Gose needs more time to mature as a hitter, but hey I’m an arm chair coach like the rest of us.

  16. Gibby is speaking at the Winter meetings right now. I await gold.

  17. Garza could sign in next 24-48 hrs. Jays should be all over this guy provided the price is not insane. Cmon rogers!!

    • Don’t think they will be in on him or any Free Agents from what AA has been saying, at least for now. Sound like he is hoping Ubaldo or Santana can’t find bidders because of the comp pick attached to them.

      Garza will probably be the most expensive )outside of Tanaka) pitcher because he has no comp pick attached.

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