Toronto? You think I’m gonna waive my no-trade to play in Toronto??!?
The good feelings produced by the P.R. Easter egg placed among the coverage of the Jays’ State of the Franchise event sure didn’t last long, did they? Because it looks today as though the Jays were never as close to landing Ian Kinsler as they would have liked us to believe.
Ken Rosenthal quickly went about clarifying the report in a piece on the Jays’ off-season for Fox Sports:
The Kinsler talks, on the other hand, had not been previously reported. And while Davidi reported that the discussions were “scuttled” by Kinsler’s no-trade clause, the Rangers never actually asked Kinsler to approve a deal, major league sources said.
He goes on to say that it was actually Edwin Encarnacion — not Jose Bautista, as I speculated last night — who seemed to be the primary target for Texas, at least according to some of the conflicting information he has heard. The Jays, one source tells him, wouldn’t deal Encarnacion. He also hears that Sergio Santos and Ricky Romero also had their names come up in discussion, which obviously wouldn’t be nearly enough. Either way, he reports that the Jays decided it was “pointless” to continue with talks after learning they were on Kinsler’s no-trade list.
In the Toronto Star, Richard Griffin tells a similar story, explaining in his latest that “it may be overstating the moment to suggest there had been a deal in place for Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler that “fell apart” in November due to a no-trade clause attached to his five-years, plus an option contract, signed prior to 2013. Preliminary discussions, yes. A deal that fell apart, no.”
He also says that it was Encarnacion who was involved, but suggests that at some point Kinsler did get the opportunity to balk at the idea — mostly, according to his report, because of the awful turf it would have meant playing on, and the toll it may take on his body, and, by extension, future paycheques.
So… there’s that. Can’t blame Davidi for running with it — and, in fact, if you look closely at his words in the original report at Sportsnet, they actually line up with today’s clarifications. Last night he wrote that “a potential deal was scuttled by the three-time all-star’s no-trade clause.” There were times, when tweeting and writing about it, that I considered taking a short cut and simply saying that Kinsler used his no-trade to block a deal, as you could be forgiven for thinking it implies, but couldn’t let myself do so, because that’s not precisely what Shi had written. It certainly could work to think that the “scuttling” was the Jays’ ultimate realization that the pursuit was “pointless” because of the no-trade. So… there’s also that.
Griffin also adds a note on A.J. Burnett at the end of his piece (Rosenthal doesn’t mention Burnett, but it would have taken way too many words to explain that better in my title), after we learned yesterday of his sudden interest in pitching somewhere other than Pittsburgh next year, when it has long been understood that it was going to be either retirement or the Pirates.
There are all kinds of reasons that I think this would be tremendously awesome, the least of which would be the explosions in the heads of so many local media members. And, in fact, a fan who was at last night’s event — gigantic grain of salt that this needs to be swallowed with – tweeted that he saw Anthopoulos on the concourse, said that he should sign A.J., to which the GM supposedly replied, “We really want to.”
I know, I know.
Anyway, there could be an advantage in that Burnett won’t be scared off by the city or the border crossing, having done it before, and perhaps by the lure of being here in his own spotlight, not Roy Halladay’s shadow. But not so fast, says Griffin:
It’s hard to go back in time. Remember, Burnett left the Jays to sign with the Yankees to be closer to his Maryland home. He still wants to pitch with the same familial proximity and he will be asking for more 2014 money in a one-year deal than the Jays will have to pay annually for either Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana. Or in fact for several other of the remaining free agents on the starting pitcher list still available. A.J. won’t happen.
It’s hard to argue with, really. Perhaps it’s just because I’m trying hard not to get my hopes up — seriously, it would be so good if they signed him — but I can’t see it happening in the slightest. In fact, I can’t see his sudden willingness to hear other offers as much more than a negotiating ploy to ratchet up some leverage with the one club he really wants to play for. But… I dunno… do it!