My brain seriously needed a break from the Winter Meetings this evening, and Alex Anthopoulos made sure it was smooth sailing for me, continuing to not do a damn thing– at least not publicly– while I was lounging around kinda not giving a shit. Here’s what we missed!

OHKA CRISIS!!!! An actual move, and holy shit, it’s for Tomo Ohka! The one-time member of the doomed Ohka-Thomson-Zambrano triumvirate has reinvented himself as a knuckleballer and, according to the tweet from Shi Davidi breaking the news of the deal, he may start in double-A. Can you say knuckleball practice for new catcher-of-the-future A.J. Jimenez? Because Gideon Turk of Blue Jays Plus sure can.

The Jays made another move this evening, too, sending out a press release notifying us of their having officially removed Thad Weber from the 40-man roster so that he can complete his move to the N.C. Dinos of Korea– the same team Eric Thames will be playing for! The move could be Rule 5 related, as the open spot could be used to select someone. Last month at FanGraphs, Marc Hulet listed his favourite potential pick-ups, and while it’s not a terribly impressive group (Marc’s top pick is Jays reliever Ryan Tepera), there’s a potentially intriguing infielder there… though he hasn’t played above A-ball. So… yeah, a big whatever on the Rule 5.

The real fascinating item from tonight, though, was a tweet from Jon Heyman, who says that the Yankees– yes, the Yankees– were offered Brandon Phillips by the Reds in exchange for Brett Gardner, but were rebuked. In case you don’t know, like Colby Rasmus, Gardner is centre fielder a year away from free agency. I’d ask incredulously if that’s how bad Phillips’ contract is viewed, but then there’s also this hilariousness from another Heyman tweet: “before Yanks turned down Phillips-for-Gardner bid, Phillips asked to re-open his contract (add $) to agree to deal.” (Ken Rosenthal adds that he hears Phillips has a no-trade clause that includes the Yankees, which explains this, and makes it far, far less hilarious.)

It’s certainly possible that the Reds just don’t want Rasmus (perhaps money– he’ll make about double this year what Gardner does– or because of Walt Jocketty’s connection with St. Louis)– and I’m assuming here that the two clubs would have at least known about the mutual interest– but… yeah, is Phillips’ contract that bad? I don’t think it’s great, but that bad? Is the Jays’ lack of comfort with Anthony Gose the issue? The money that’s owed Phillips this year? Beyond? We’re getting pretty deep into thinking about a trade discussion that we don’t know ever even happened, but the similarities of the players’ situations and the teams’ perceived surplus makes you kind of think that it must have. Right?

The Phillips thing wasn’t the only craziness going on this evening, because apparently there was also a report from a Minnesota radio guy at some point today, suggesting that the Tigers were in on Ervin Santana. Like… jeez, guys, I know Dombrowski got hosed on the Fister deal, but that doesn’t mean you can just come up with any old bullshit about him and make it sound believable. Come on.

And that’s not even the end to the craziness, as there was an altercation between agents in the parking lot at the Dolphin hotel– part of the Swan and Dolphin Resort at Disney World, where the meetings are being held. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports has the details.

As far as the Jays go, it sounded earlier like there could be something actually brewing with the Jays. Gregor Chisholm tweeted that Alex Anthopoulos had said to reporters that, “I think one thing that we’re pursuing, would most likely have a three-team component to it that I think could work.” However, Ben Nicholson-Smith added an AA quote in which he explained that it’s not like he’s sitting on it– “If a deal makes sense — trade, free agency — and you find the right value, you normally don’t let it wait,” he said– while Gregor came to the same conclusion, saying with regard to the first comment that “The way I interpreted that comment from Anthopoulos was that the third team would still need to be found. But I could be wrong.” It’s still not over yet, at least. I’ll take a little bit of solace in that.

Of course, making a deal isn’t going to be easy: in a piece at Sportsnet, Benny Fresh addressed the behind the scenes back and forth, looking at the art of the deal. Great stuff.

Richard Griffin recaps the day in a piece for the Toronto Star, treading a lot of ground we’ve already covered, but adding some interesting things, like the GM’s comments about new first base coach Tim Leiper– who he says was Gibbers’ hire, “it’s his staff,” but who he sees as an excellent up-and-coming coach. And, of course, because it’s Griff, he had to get in some kind of a dig at the supposed lack of catching instruction available to J.P. Arencibia this year, which he does as he adds that “the Jays have room for an extra coach on the staff this year, but the thinking at this stage is that catching instructor Sal Fasano will continue with responsibilities to the organization, but will make more frequent visits in uniform to the major-league team.” Mmm-hmm.

Lastly, another one from Griff, as he speaks to Brandi Halladay, Roy’s wife, as she talks appreciatively about the fans in Toronto and her and her family’s time here. “Brandy was asked what message she’d like to send to the people of Toronto. She did not hesitate,” he writes. “Thank you for always supporting us. Thank you for being behind us every year of Roy’s career and for welcoming him back home. You will always be in our hearts and thoughts.”

So… there’s that.

Comments (103)

  1. Finally…

  2. Maybe this is somewhat about getting AJ Jimenez some reps with a knuckleballer?

    • Ohko, Thompson and Zambrano, my Christ that was a long season. If my mind serves me correctly I don’t even think Ohko was the biggest piece of shit of the bunch.

  3. Thought AJ was slated for AAA and Ohka for AA.

    • I don’t believe it’s been announced that AJJ will start in Buffalo. Kratz is in the mix too now. Ohka could also be quickly promoted to Buffalo… a lot of stuff can happen.

      In any case, I like the move.

      • it will be pretty dumb to not have Jiminez or some catcher that has potential to make the big league roster to catch him.

  4. I’d like to know what Phillip’s no trade is. Is it just directed at big clubs so he can leverage more money or is at for all teams.

  5. OHKA CRISIS! I love it.

  6. So winter meetings is basically almost done. How would you rate this winter meetings compared to previous one? Gotta say, this one has been reaaalllyyyy quiet. Usually you have news leaking out late at night. At this one it seems like activity is done by early evening. Lame.

    • Thought it was just as slow last year.Somebody was mentioning that the winter meeting aren’t as important as they used to be,as far as trades during the meetings.It’s like FA signings going as late as February. They used to be completed much earlier. Changing landscape,I guess.

      • A++

        Alex has a plethora of bad moves to point to as justification for staying out of the market. At the end of the day, getting excellent value and laughing at other teams for paying market (or above market – let’s be fair) rate is what it’s all about.

        Alex reminds me of myself when I’m browsing the Loblaws flyer for a sweet deal on Bounce dryer sheets. I’m proud of him for holding out, walking the extra 8 blocks to No Frills and pocketing the $2 by getting No Name.

        Ohka… I guess he must have tossed Alex a friendly nod in his photocopy gopher days back at the Big O. Good to throw an old friend a bone.

        • Can you please go back to reading the Loblaws flyers.

        • Mayor Ford is that you?

        • The problem with that analogy is that it assumes that the bounce sheets don’t have $2 more value than the no name sheets. To contiinue with the analogy you also go out and get the no name detergent and stain remover and spend $4 less say. At the end of the day you have potentially shitty sheets, detergent and stain remover and maybe your clothes fall apart in 6 months. But if you got the bounce sheets, tide detergent and no stain remover for the same price your clothes may last a year and have unnoticable stains on them anyway,

          At some point it needs to be considered about maximising the talent and balance on the team with respect to being able to win rather than 100% about maximising for value on every single deal.

  7. if phillips really asked for more money to be moved he’s my new hero

  8. Would think that jays would be on the no trade list but ..

    One for one I think Phillips would be a better fit for the jays and save money. He is not that old and he was on fire last year then got hurt. Solid D up the middle. All star 3 of 4 years. Contract ends when he is 35/36 which is under the qualifying offer amount for next 4 years? not too bad. Behind Goins (Goins!!!) the depth chart is totally bare at 2B

    Rasmus is good but a lot of his skillset the Jays have as a strength already. Wouldn’t be the worst to lose the power and strikeouts for speed and solid defence of Gose and not having to have Goins or Izturis play second. If the jays keep him you are looking at at least qualifying offer amount for many years.

    Hope they would get some backup CF off the scrap heap.

    And if team rebuilds you unload him in the same timeframe as the other guys

  9. There’s some joke about Halladay and Ohka and 2007, but I don’t have it in me…

    And I was definitely under the impression that Phillips’ contract is considered awful to the point where a Phillips-for-Gardner trade is borderline ridiculous the other way (esp with the Yanks’ OF now sans Granderson).

    • He has been an all star three of last four seasons and is in his early thirties with gold glove at premium position. His contract is under the qualifying offer that is for the top 20% i think? I dont think 1 in 5 guys are going to get 3 all stars in 4 years. Gardner is one year to FA about to get paid at the new increased rates. Cant believe the Yanks turned it down would have been perfect replacement for Cano.

      • 32 year old in decline phase owed guaranteed money for four more years. Not saying I wouldn’t consider him, but the contract is not loved.

        • The two starting pitchers we can best expect to flirt with 180 innings next year are 35 (when the season starts) and 39… Let that sink in.

      • 2nd base is a “premium position”? Since when?

        • Since it’s up the middle. Defense is extremely important from those positions, as this last season taught us many times.

      • Unless you mean there’s just so little talent going around at the position, in which case OK.

        • I think 2B is more important on D than 3B. So little talent at 2B because not many people who have the skillset to play it defensively can hack it much with the stick – many of those with the skillset that can hit well also play SS.

    • Sans granderson? You know they added Ellsbury and (to a much lesser extent) Beltran, right?

  10. I’m just going to assume Tanaka and Ohka are former neighbours and old buddies in Japan and it’s all part of the master plan.

  11. Re Griff’s dig at “the supposed lack of catching instruction”:
    If there isnt any, shouldn’t there be?
    Zaun mentioned it too. After Wakamatsu left, they’ve been bringing Fasano in
    once or twice in a season.

  12. Awww thanks Brandi Halladay, your words are as empty as my soul

  13. This means Phillips can be had for a song… AA should get on that or perhaps Espinosa.

    or…… Tomo Ohka LOL while AA is at it, why not bring back Robert Coello, Jesse Chavez, David Pauley, Brian Tallet, maybe BJ wants to come out of retirement?

    Good times, here I am waiting for something to happen and I get Tomo Ohka… it’s just so good. lol

    • I think Phillips might have negative value… or very close to it.

      4 years and $50M for a 32 year old guy guy who has seen his defense heavy fWAR go from 5.6, 3.7, to 2.6 over the last 3 years.

      his ops has gone from 810 to 750 to 706 over that same span.

    • don’t throw Coello in that group. He had 23 K’s in 17 IP before getting hurt last year.

    • you forgot josh towers

  14. So who knows how the dealings work at the meetings? Im literally talking about where the GMS get together and talk.

    Do they show up to a conference room and speed date?
    Do they just knock on each other’s doors and see what happens?
    Do they get shit faced at local bars and then talk deal?

    a combination?

    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)

  15. Benny Fresh!!! lol

  16. The Jays have made a couple of small roster moves, and everyone is expecting more. And rightly so. But, does anyone have a list of clubs, that so far have done absolutely nothing with their 25 man roster?

  17. Couldn’t we assume that Rasmus could potentially earn more as a free agent than Gardner after next season? Might be that a team wouldn’t want to chance on Rasmus for the same reason the Jays might want to move him – he’ll command too much in FA salary (at least compared to Gardner).

    • if you think rasmus is going to command a big payday it virtually guarantees you a draft pick if you let him depart… so even if you have no intention of resigning him he has value – 1 year of control + a pick.

      • Plus if he repeats last year he either or gives us a great shot at the postseason or if we stink (praying not) he can be dealt at the deadline for prospects that would be more valuable then a supplemental pick. Either way he has value.

  18. Wow, I guess I’m the only one in complete disagreement on Colby for Phillips. I like Phillips, quite a bit in fact and I railed for us to trade for him a few months ago but Colby is too big a price to pay in my books. And it has nothing to do with Phillips contract, in fact I think his contract is at the higher end of fair. But Colby is a plus-plus defender in CF and is well above average offensively which is rare for the position. If I were the Yanks I also wouldn’t do it for Gardner.

    If the Jays do trade Colby (and I would rather they don’t) it had better be for a really good starting pitcher. (see 1-3 in rotation)

    Although this years free agent crop is unusually bare at the keystone, it is usually a position that is flush with good options. And there are always the failed SS’s who can be moved over.

    The long winded point I’m trying to make is, good all round CF’s are like women with 3 tits. You can hope and wish all you want to find one but it’s pretty rare that you do. And if you do, you marry her.

  19. Looks like the Jays picked up LHP Brian Moran from SEA in the Rule V draft.

    • And… he’s gone. That didn’t take long.

      • I had such high hopes for the Moran era.

        • Hopefully the money has been applied to the Buy Some God damn Cubans Fund.

          • I don’t think cuban players count towards the international pool

            • I think they do under certain circumstances… I seem to recall reading that the Jays were looking at some guy from Cuba who couldn’t sign last year because he lied about his age in an attempt to circumvent the bonus pool rules.

        • That’s a sweet little move. Free bonus money.

          • It’s an awesome move, for sure. Draft a player everyone knows you don’t have room for and flip him for a $244,000 international slot. AA is so good at making clever little moves like this.

      • Thought if the guy did not stay on your roster he had to be offered back to the team that he was claimed from.

        • Yeah this is a new one to me.
          I thought if you picked up a player in the rule 5,he had to stay on the 25 for a year or given back to the original team for 25 K.Or a trade worked out for that player.
          Why wouldn’t the Angels just pick him anyways?
          How do the Jays own his rights without offering him back?
          Can’t think of any exaples of this being done before.

          I gotta research this.
          Another example of Beeston gaming the system through AA?
          And what are the Jays targetting with that extra 240,000?
          Just shows how little we know.

  20. Bart Simpson is stoked.

  21. So I’m guessing the Winter snorefest meetings are petty much wrapped up?

    • friday is the last day, though the amrket is moving slow thanks to MLB being stupid and finalzing the posting system on monday. Why the hell would it take an entire week to finalize paperwork i have no idea.

  22. After JP’s disaster they have to give some strong thoughts to a MLB catching coach as their extra coach don’t they? Like why not? What’s the cost of an extra coach on the staff, 200k?

  23. The important question is how the hell did the Jays not draft Russell Wilson in the Rule 5? WTF AA STEP YOUR GAME UP YOU’VE DONE NOTHING!

  24. anyone else catch Blair saying on his radioshow that Brandon Phillips has the Blue Jays on his ‘no trade’ list & that he wouldn’t accept a trade to the Blue Jays?

    Oh & this:

    @GloBlair 15m

    Jays source tells me Royals-Jays have talked re. Billy Butler/prospects. Gibbons/Seitzer connection with KC makes sense.

    • @GloBlair 1m

      To be clear: source tells me Jays would also receive prospects plus Butler, but hasn’t moved beyond discussion stage.

      • Interesting… Not sure who would be heading the other way.

        And if this trade was done, would it mean that Lind is being shipped out? I don’t really see room for both Butler + Lind.

        • KC needs pitching and would probably love a guy like Happ who could come in and give them some innings.

          Happ + fringe reliever seems fair

          Butler would be a really nice pick up for the jays. He can take all of Lind’s AB’s vs LHP. and his .360+ OBP would go a long with in stretching out the jays lineup.

  25. What’s better, having Rasmus in centre this year, signing him long term at some point, while having some scrub (let’s say Goins) play second base, or having Philips’ albatross contract and shitty RBI-centric attitude (along with his talent, let’s not ignore), with Anthony Gose in CF? I think I’d prefer hanging onto Rasmus/Goins than I would getting Philips/Gose.

    Philips is five years older than Rasmus, and is owed about $61MM over the next four seasons. His 2.6 fWAR last year is nearly 2 fewer than Rasmus’s 4.4, although in his previous 3 seasons he has had 11.9 fWAR to 6.4 for Rasmus. But it’s reasonable to say that Rasmus, who will be 28 and profiles more as a power hitter than Philips does (higher career ISO and higher career SLG) will age better than Philips, before we even consider the fact that Rasmus is on the right side of 30 and Philips is on the wrong side of it. Philips will be paid $14MM in his age 36 season.

    Meanwhile, in the two lesser players, I think you’d rather see Gose play than Goins, but it’s far from obvious. Goins obviously brings more glove than bat, and Gose has his baserunning abilities. Still, however, Goins’ AAA line of .257/.311/.369 from 2013 is basically the same as Gose’s AAA line of .239/.316/.316. Gose’s 2012 line from AAA was better, it should be noted: .286/.366/.419, almost fifty points higher in each category than he was in 2013. Was 2012 more representative of Gose’s ability than his 2013? I don’t know. Small sample defensive metrics like Goins better than Gose, but let’s not pay too much attention to that. Gose’s baserunning likely makes him the better asset of the two, but again, not by a lot. Goins, at 24, is two years older than Gose.

    So given the choice, I think that you have to consider the lesser players of the debate here (Gose/Goins) to be a wash, and an analysis of the more talented players favours Rasmus, even if he gets $85/6 or something next season (as has been speculated previously), is likely going to be a better signing than Philips will, by the time all is said and done.

    And that’s before we get into the options to bring in a 2B to replace Goins, while hanging onto Gose. This is yet another point in favour of not trying to deal Rasmus for Philips and relying on Gose to play CF.

    • Fair points, but you’ve failed to account for Rasmus’s potential for regression, plus the fact we 1) havent signed him to an extension so saying we will is moot, and b) we dont; know what kind of extension Rasmus would agree to, so we don’t have that kind of value of a contract either.

      I don’t want a straight swap Rasmus for phillips either. Phillips isnt very good.

      • It’s definitely possible that Rasmus could regress from 2013. He has been terrible in years gone by – his 1.6 fWAR over two seasons (not per season, but total) from 2011-2012 aren’t worth much. And banking on him not being that guy again is a risk that I could certainly understand team management not taking.

        And yes, I realize that he hasn’t been signed. But working on the premise that he’ll be getting something in the vicinity of what Adam Jones, BJ Upton, Michael Bourne have got over the last few seasons is reasonable. Rasmus has similar value and name recognition, plus there’s more cash in baseball to pay him. If the Jays put an offer of $85/6 in front of him, I don’t see him spitting at that and going to free agency.

        Lastly, yes, the deal would likely be more complex than just a straight swap, but you can reasonably assume that they’d be the centre pieces, and the hole that would be most glaring for Toronto would be in CF, forcing Anthony Gose into the spot.

        Bottom line though: I don’t see why they would make this deal. It secures an aging, highly-paid player and force a young, unproven quasi-prospect (Gose) into a critical position at the cost of a younger, cheaper option who can still be signed long term for a slightly higher price (or let go and receive a compensation pick). And with Rasmus having had the vastly better season last year, this doesn’t seem like a win of a deal for the Jays to make. They don’t have to make this trade now; they could hang onto Rasmus and try to resign him while enjoying his low-cost play in 2014, all while not forcing Gose into a position that I don’t believe he is ready for. A wait and see approach seems best to me.

    • Didn’t Gose play in Las Vegas in 2012…?

      • Yes, a good point. Could this account for a fifty point bump? I don’t know. But it’s reasonable to say that it’s worth some kind of bump.

        • The team slash line in 2012 was .298/.370/.455; in 2011 it was .307/.378/.470. Teams with relatively ‘normal’ numbers aren’t anywhere near the Pacific Coast or the Rocky Mountains (Nashville, Memphis, Iowa, New Orleans). The rarified air can even turn someone like JP Arencibia into an MVP…

          You need to either disregard any effort by Gose in Las Vegas, or do something to account for it. By “do something”, I mean use some mathematical formula that normalizes the incredible numbers put up in the PCL…

  26. Nothing doing? I’m happy. I agree with the post above. I’d like to keep Colby at least for a while. He could be an in-season trade-chip. And I would not be unhappy to keep Goins for a while as well and, again, see what develops mid-season. This isn’t the most stellar free-agent year. And there isn’t a lot out there in trades that won’t cost an arm and a leg. Standing more-or-less pat sounds prudent to me.

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