As I noted last night, by this time last year the Jays contingent at the Winter Meetings was headed home. That’s very much not the case this year– or, if they are, they’re doing so with a lot still on their plate, it would appear.

For example, we have this:

And this:

Can’t sleep because of the big deal brewing, right? Right???

Also, most intriguingly, this:

That’s… interesting. Butler is coming off a down year– just a 116 wRC+ with his lowest ISO since 2008– but it’s still an impressive basic line that he posted, hitting .289/.374/.412. He has negative defensive value, though, which means he’s never been more than a +3.2 WAR player in any season, by either Baseball Reference or FanGraphs. In 2013, he was worth only about a win-and-a-half.

But hoo boy, can he hit! Which… isn’t exactly what this team needs right now, but improvement is improvement. And if the Jays have something in their back pocket that might involve getting a pitcher for a package involving Adam Lind– who, though needing a platoon partner (which Butler wouldn’t– another advantage) is coming off a better year (132 wRC+) and has a more favourable contract ($7-milion, plus remaining $7.5- and $8-million options, compared to Butler’s $8-million 2014 salary, plus one $12.5-million option)– then that’s even better.

Or maybe Lind would head back the other way, or– most likely of all– maybe this is entirely nothing.

Blair adds this:

Prospects and Butler could make for a pretty big deal– a three-way, perhaps? With the prospects received going elsewhere for a pitcher???

Or it could be that they’re lower-end prospects, or that they’re to offset whatever prospects the Jays might be giving up in this theoretical supposed deal, or… who knows?

The big takeaway here– and it’s an important one– is that just because the meetings are soon ending and the Jays have yet to make a big splash doesn’t mean that there isn’t still all kinds of activity still brewing. Following that line of thinking, if the next move involves a guy that doesn’t appear to be terribly needed here, that’s OK. Improvement is improvement, and the off-season isn’t over. Maybe an interest in Butler signals that the club has decided to take their chances with pitching and try to hit the fuck out of the ball– getting both Country Breakfast and an added roster spot that would have gone to Lind’s caddy could certainly help in that regard– but it absolutely doesn’t necessarily mean that at all.

This is a good thing– Anthopoulos is looking at all avenues, and isn’t getting bogged down by the narrow kind of priority-focussed thinking that so many fans seem to think needs to be employed by the club, as though it isn’t exactly their job to have multiple balls in the air and to create all kinds of paths to find the outcomes needed. I hear it a lot when I talk about second base that it needs to be low priority, because the club’s desperation for pitching is so overpowering.

Yes, the team needs to prioritize in terms of which trade chips are used to do what– obviously they shouldn’t waste their best ones on positions of lesser need– but the idea that they ought to be all about one thing until that’s solved is just mind-boggling to me. Of course they don’t! They could do a thing like this and still have all kinds of ways to add the starter or two that they covet.

They probably won’t end up doing a thing like this– which isn’t to shit on Blair’s report or sources, I’m just playing the odds based on the number of rumoured talks this time of year that get turned into actual deals– but if they did, it wouldn’t stop them from improving in the places we think they need to improve. And it would actually be kind of awesome. Country Breakfast, man! Billy Ray Butler!

So… there’s that.

Comments (142)

  1. Blair has another tweet saying prospects would come Toronto’s way. Talks just preliminary right now.

  2. Billy Butler? I like.

    But more dominoes to fall, one would have to assume.

    • Milwaukee is in dire need of a first basemen.

    • Yeah, totally doesn’t make sense unless other dominoes fall.

      I just don’t know where you move Lind… unless it’s Edwin that’s going to help you get Price dear god what have I just put in my head.

    • Lind or EE play LF vs RHP?

    • I had this thought as well. Could be an Edwin Jackson scenario again; the team the Jays want a pitcher from doesn’t want a left-handed bat (Lind) but a right-handed power bat. Then, the Jays flip Butler and sign someone like Mark Reynolds, maybe? I dunno.

  3. Shit’s about to get interesting. Butler would be great.

    Also it would give us a chance to flip Lind to Milwaukee for Jimmy Nelson.
    Me likey Nelson.

  4. HOLY FUCK I love Billy Buter.

  5. Can he pitch?

  6. This only makes sense if Jays are shipping out Lind+ and getting back Butler and either a 2B or pitcher.

  7. would gladly welcome Billy Butler & his OBP on this team.

    A couple years ago I went to a mid-week game vs the Royals. There was no one there…it was bleak & so quiet you could hear the stadium lights buzzing. Butler was at the plate & someone in the 500 level yelled: “Billy you’re a pig!” & it was the one time I swear the players on the field had to have heard a 500 level heckle.

  8. I hope this happens…I would love to see Billy Butler on the Jays!

  9. I like how Jeff Blair thinks that Gibby and Seitzer being from the KC coaching system has any impact whatsoever on the Jays liking a player who is in his 8TH MLB season. Like – Butler is a little known secret that only those super close to him could appreciate. The guy has been 1.5-2.5 WAR for his whole career. He’s pretty known.

    • they’d still know him better. just like why i go to my doctor and not just any doctor

      • Ok sure – but is that WHY this makes sense? Gibby’s coached a lot of players. Blair thinks that because he was a coach with KC that he automatically loves Butler?

      • and also – unless your physical results are posted to a league wide group of doctors, and they can watch you perform physical activities on TV 162 times per year this is so not even close to the same thing.

        • I think it’s cause Seitzer is attributed to helping butler find his swing, much like Dwayne Murphy and Bautista.

          • So without Seitzer, AA doesn’t try to bring in a guy with a career .357wOBA and a 120 wRC+?

            My issue is that Blair takes two bits of information and ties them together without explaining why.

  10. Wait, is that Emilio Bonafacio’s music I hear?

  11. Fuck yeah, Billy Butler. I’m down with this.

  12. this is all wrong… we need some brothas on this team

  13. Also now reports Royals close to trading Justin Maxwell for Dee Gordon…Escobar coming to TO with BB? A guy can dream.

    • I’m not sure even Ryan Goins is physically capable of hitting as terribly as Escobar did last year. Why would you want him?

      • LOL…he’s 26 years old with upside. What in the fuck is going on that people are willing to use Goins name in the same sentence as Escobar? Since you want to cherry pick shitty seasons, why not look at his 2012 rather than 2013?

        • How is that cherry picking stats? You want to go back another 2 years after that? Better yet, let’s take a look at his career: .258/.295/.342

    • I don’t like Escobar either…but Dee Gordon would be interesting.

      • Wait, what? You DON’T like Escobar…but you DO like Gordon? Similar players, basically same age. Escobar proven at the MLB level, Gordon can steal bases but…you need to get on base for that.

        • I would gladly take Escobar over Goins but I wouldn’t be excited about it. Escobar does not seem like a very good defender at SS. I guess a transition to 2b may benefit him but the turf may cancel out the benefit. I’d personally be more excited about Dee Gordon because there is more upside there IMO. Either way I wouldn’t be jumping up and down screaming 2014 Postseason, like I was last year.

          • you guys are insane. both escobar and gordon are mid .600 OPS glove players.

            The cost to acquire them would negate the minimal upgrade they would be over goins, not to mention that all things considered, Izturis is more proven and better then both of them.

            What would be the point of that ?

            • I’m talking about as a piece coming back WITH Billy Butler. I wouldn’t target either one separately but as an additional piece, why not? Escobar hit well in 2011 and 2012, doesn’t strikeout much and has some speed. Dee Gordon is a little less proven but would be interesting as a secondary piece as well. I don’t think this would break the Jays bank at all as most of the cost associated with this would be for Butler. Billy Butler knows how to get on base and we have needed more of that for years now!

            • everyone hates Izturis. ya he had a year to forget last season, but he was a pretty good player before that. plus hes a switch hitter who can run too..i dont get it.

  14. any specualtion?

  15. Chris Cotillo tweeted about Heyman, Morosi and Rosenthal exploding over their phones. Even if it’s not with the Jays, something might be happening!

  16. This seems like a odd deal must be a third team involved that needs butler and we get a good pitcher in return

  17. I like Butler but could see him being shipped off to Brew crew with us getting a pitcher.

  18. James Shield, anybody?

  19. This is what i wrote in the prior thread

    Are there guys who just are up all night wandering the halls looking for deals to be made? (I picture AA being the guy who never sleeps..just wanders the halls)

    Well, based on his own tweet, I guess i was right!

  20. Gibbons: “You there! Hit the fuck out of the ball!”
    Jays player: “OK Skip!”
    *hits home run*
    Gibbons: “I told him to do that!”

    • That’s my favorite episode. “You just don’t know when to shut your mouth do ya Saxxy boy?”

      • I thought I told you to shave those sideburns?

      • I was really pining for the Jays to acquire Bomer Bailey from the Reds, if only to post the ‘Homer’ chant from that episode

        • Homer, not Bomer

          • WTF did I miss?

            • Simpson episode, Springfield vs Shelbyville power plants annual softball game.
              Mr. Burns wagers a million bucks and then brings in MLB ringers.

              Steve Sax
              Darryl Stawbeery
              Mike Scocia
              Donny Ballgame
              Griffey Jr

              and some others. Great episode, Griffey gets Gigantism of the head from Burns brain tonic. I’d link to it but my workplace blocks youtube.

              • I guess it’s not surprising I missed that one seeing as there’s 24 (?) years worth of epsiodes. Thanks for this though Smasher..

  21. I wonder if the prospect comming back is bone face?

  22. If we do end up doing something like this I hope we don’t play “just the tip”.
    Open it up and get a slinger, time to go balls deep.

  23. Butler is good, but not great. Jays better not be giving up their prime trade assets in a deal like this that doesnt fill a major need.

    • Butler is vary underrated, he would fit in nicely in the jays lineup, takes walks, has some pop, would be a really good fit.

      plus he only has 1 year left plus an option/buyout, he’s not going to require ‘prime’ trade assets.

  24. I mean, I like the idea, but what would the Jays have to give up to get Butler? It’s not like their bullpen is particularly weak, so I can’t see them being too interested in the Jays.

    Fuck, it’d be really cool though.

  25. I’m not sure why people think Toronto doesn’t need to improve their offense. If you adjust their home runs scored to account for park factor they finished 9th in the AL in home runs score, which would match their rank of 9th in the AL in road runs scored. This is a team that was slightly below average offensively last year so I would fully support a move to improve the offense.

    For those that are curious, here is the park factor adjusted runs scored at home ranking:
    Boston – 436
    Oakland – 397
    Cleveland – 384
    Texas – 380
    Detroit – 373
    TB – 368
    LAA – 364
    Balt – 361
    Toronto – 340
    Seattle – 313
    NY – 310
    Chw – 303
    KC – 299
    Min – 297
    Hou – 277

    • sure when you take all context out of your analysis you can spin it any way you want.

      There was also a stretch of games that goins,gone, sierra, thole, davis were all starters.

      Reyes, Lawrie, Bautista, Melky, Rasmus, all missed significant time, and for now all of those players are healthy and ready to start the year.

      not to mention our catcher who posted record lows for OBP is no longer on the club. Addition by subtraction.

      The team is very clearly an above average offensive team provided they remain healthy. If they were a big budget team then they could look to add to both pitching and offense. but the reality is they need to be smart about their assets, and should look to improve their starting pitching which ranked 2nd last in almost every major category last season

    • To keep in perspective though, most of their best offensive players were injured for big chunks of the season. I wouldn’t use 2013 results to estimate 2014

      • Injuries are going to happen every year, you can’t avoid that. Also, the Jays 2012 offensive numbers were very similar, so this is not just a one year thing.

    • Jays defninitely need to improve the offense. How much is Butler’s .800 ops going to help though? Is he taking lind’s spot? Again, he is a good hitter but not a huge difference maker.

    • Just for the record. The position starters for last year’s team lost a combined 306 games to injuries yet still finished middle of the pack in runs scored, that’s roughly 20% of all the games. Add to that fact guys like Reyes, Lawrie, EE, and Melky played long stretches without being close to 100%. Just imagine if they improve on that count by even half.

  26. I would be pretty excited if they got Billy Butler- almost to the point of not caring who they gave up. Due to his lack of defensive value and the fact that he never blossomed into the power hitter they thought, I think that he is underappeciated. He is a great hitter.

  27. Just spitballing…but could Rasmus be tied into this (I really hope not)?

    I remember hearing a year or so ago that Dayton Moore had long coveted Colby & it always seemed to me that he hit very, very well in KC when the Jays played there (a couple of looong ass home runs as I recall).

  28. Nothing groundbreaking, but Gregor has some AA quotes from today that shed a bit of extra light on where things stand:


    • Good link Bret , Thanks. It could be a full time job interpreting what AA says. This quote however is pretty clear:

      Does the bonus pool money impact the Cuban shortstop that has been working out in Mexico?
      “No, he’s too old, it’s irrelevant….”

  29. Theres no way in hell we get Butler. Would be nice though.

    • Thanks for that valuable insight.

    • hmm, that is almost certainly false. Is it likely? Probably not, but no trades are really that likely. However, I guess you can feel free to assert definitive statements at your hearts content. Just recognize that they are false.

  30. Baseball Reference’s similarity scores by age:

    22. Keith Hernandez
    23. Kent Hrbek
    24. John Olerud
    25. John Olerud
    26. John Olerud
    27. John Olerud

    Since John Olerud was kinda the best, I really want them to get Butler now!

  31. Butler’s splits are pretty significant too. Is it possible they are considering him as the Lind Caddy? Rather than as a replacement?

    • I’m pretty sure there isn’t even the remotest possibility of that happening. You don’t bring in a guy with a .350 wOBA against righties and then only let him bat against lefties.

      • No I suppose not. I guess his role would need to be larger than that.
        But there’s still potential room for Lind as well…. They could use the LH power.

        … though the Jays don’t want to go full Mariners and SIGN ALL THE CORNER IFs!

        • That’s the big concern for me. That would leave them with Lind, Encarnacion and Butler as 1B/DH. If they were to acquire Butler, I’m sure one of Lind/Encarnacion would be shipped out for pitching/second base.

          I wonder how much this has to do with the Lind rumours. It would make sense: team makes an offer for Lind. Toronto doesn’t want to move Lind without a replacement, so they inquire about Butler to see if the cost makes it worth their while.

    • That’s what I was thinking too.

    • No, you can’t carry two full-time DHs.

  32. Love Billy Butler, but don’t see how we match up with KC.

    Our positions of depth are back-end starters and relievers, they have all kinds of both. They’re weak at second base and in center field. The only thing we have that makes sense for them is Colby, and trading an athletic up-the-middle talent for a plodding bat-only player is the complete opposite of AA’s approach.

    Unless they want Lind to save money or we can swap Lind for pieces they want, I’m not sure how this works.

    Butler could probably jack 35+ with a monster OBP in the Skydome though…

  33. Remember also that the Jays have been in need of a run producing average hitting guy as well. Butler would look fantastic hitting around EE and Jose.

  34. I think my Twitter is broken. It keeps spewing out the same bullshit rumours over and over again.

  35. If Butler was involved in a trade with the Jays I don’t see the Jays keeping him at all as he would seem to be the piece to move on to another team for the Jays to get their starter. If anything tDH/1B is position we’ve actually got some positional depth at. I wonder if Tampa wouldn’t be an ultimate destination for him. They are in search of a 1b/dh type guy. Maybe he goes as a big piece of the Price puzzle. Probably a stretch, but you never know.

    I like the Lind platoon just fine. Even when you factor in another RH bat the cost is very reasonable. If the Jays can get someone reasonable for 2nd then they can still carry 5 outfielders. Don’t get me wrong if the Jays needed more platoons elsewhere then I can see him being the ideal guy but the great thing about the Jays position players is that they are mostly set.

  36. “The fourth is a little more challenging but I think there could be a domino effect with the fourth and if we do some other things then the fourth becomes more realistic.”

    Butler to jays for prospects. EE to Rays for Price.

  37. Es posible que los Azulejos tienen la intención de adquirir Mr.Butler con el fin de enfrentar a él en contra de la grasa de cerdo de un primo Andrew Stoeten en un concurso de la mezcla para panqueques resoplando

  38. in any event it sounds like aa has decided to start making some decisions and pull the trigger either on trade or fa’s. I maintain that 4-5 should start as cecil and mcgowan with hutch, happ and stroman as quality depth.

  39. how about this one: lind and happ to the brewers… weeks to the royals… butler to the jays.

    the money works out about equally.

    • Ok

    • IMHO, that significantly undervalues Happ

    • It’s not bad except the Royals lose on that one big time. Weeks has fallen off a cliff the last 2 years and has become horrible defensively. Weeks is a buy low proposition in hopes that he rebounds to something closer to his 2010/2011 seasons. Milwaukee would have to give up a lot more to the Royals for Weeks.

      If you want to look at approximate value for Butler then look at Trumbo as the FLOOR and move on from there accordingly.

      • “It’s not bad except the Royals lose on that one big time.”

        That hasn’t prevented the Royals from making moves in the past.

        • Yep that’s true, but considering the flack they got for the Myers trade, I imagine they’ll be a little smarter about things going forward. Then again I hear they are linked to Infante for 4 years and $40 million.

  40. If this where to happen would I have to stop calling him Grimace?

  41. This is intriguing, but not terribly interesting until we see the other shoe. FWIW (less than nothing), I wound up trading/waiving Lind for Butler in my fantasy league this year and it was pretty much a wash. Definitely a useful on-base guy but like…for what?

  42. Is there really that much difference between Lind and Billy? All you need is a righty caddy for him and you have a player similar to Butler.

    Lind had a great year last year with the bat and I surely wouldn’t want to part with the prospects needed to get Butler. Of course Lind had 3 stinker years before and Billy has been consistently very good…

  43. I would think it would be Butler/prospects to Jays….Jays send Butler + to Brewers for Jimenez….and something to Royals

  44. I for one am not as worried about the starting staff as some are. Dickey finished up decently after starting the year pitching through pain as well as getting used to a new league and Buerhle was as advertised. If Morrow can actually put it all together this year (a big IF I know), we could have three solid starters at the top of the rotation. J.A. Happ, Sean Nolin, Marcus Stroman, Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison are all decent enough pieces that it’s not a lot to hope that one or two of them put together a decent year behind these three. I also think that last years numbers need to be taken with a rather large caveat when you factor in the defense playing behind the mound. Bonifacio and Izturis may as well have stayed in the dugout for all the help that they provided at second, and replacing the elite defense of a Brett Lawrie with Mark DeRosa is a definite hole. You have to think that a hit or two per game could be accounted for with the loss of athleticism and range across the diamond, and you need to also factor in the outs that were turned into doubles by an injured Cabrera in left. I’m not saying that a one or two hole starter wouldn’t be a huge upgrade especially with some of the if’s remaining with our current rotation, but I don’t think that an off-season in which the Jays don’t pick up a starter is necessarily an epic failure. This team as it stands now (if healthy) is better than the 74 wins they put up last year. I wouldn’t be delighted if the Jays went into 2014 with the lot they have now, but I can honestly say I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed either.

  45. From blog The Brewer Nation:

    I woke up this morning to a text message saying that the Brewers met with the Atlanta Braves last night. Despite the previous talk this off-season about the Braves coveting Kyle Lohse, the part of the conversation I was alerted to dealt with another Brewer. That’s not to say there wasn’t more and differing topics on the table, but I was just told what I was told.

    Then, later in the morning the same player was brought up in that the Brewers were discussing him with the Toronto Blue Jays.

    The player in question is second baseman Rickie Weeks.

    The Braves conversation was just that. The sides talked. No word on whether they made progress toward anything.

    The conversation with the Blue Jays, however, got a little more specific. I was told that there was a trade discussion centering around Weeks and 1B Adam Lind. While I worked on corroborating that, a Twitter follower let me know that something similar was discussed on Canadian radio. That seemed to puff up to a three-team deal with Lind still coming to Milwaukee but Weeks heading to Kansas City and Billy Butler moving north of the border.

    The Weeks part of that equation does make sense. If you recall the Royals expressed some interest in acquiring Weeks during this past season. Also, Ned Yost still manages in K.C. and we all know his affinity for Weeks.

    This afternoon though, I was told that currently nothing is building with Toronto as they are reportedly posting a high asking price. To me that sounds like Toronto wants more than just a straight up swap, whether that be two-way or three.

    Still, it’s telling that there would be conversations about the veteran second baseman during the Winter Meetings. It may not lead to a deal before the Brewers report to Maryvale, but as they say: feeding your grass before the snow falls often yields a lush lawn come springtime.

  46. Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense for Weeks to go to the 2B-less Jays and Butler to go to the 1B-less Brewers?

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