I can’t yet say that this will be a daily feature from here until July 31st, but with the Jays still doing swimmingly, trade season heating up, and the club still with plenty of use for many parts, big and small, it probably will serve us well to have a look at what the invaluable, fantastic, and comprehensive MLB Trade Rumors is telling us about today (and maybe yesterday, too)…
Not MLBTR- or trade-related, but great stuff at theScore, as Drew spoke to Jose Bautista about his bumpy road to the big leagues. Read it.
Also not at MLBTR, but definitely worth our attention: Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish hears that Jeff Francoeur has a “rolling opt out” in his deal with the Padres (as long as he’s not in the Majors, which he currently isn’t), and could leave if he was given a big league offer — like one that may be on its way from the Jays. Francoeur is an interesting-enough fourth outfield candidate, I suppose. He has a Kevin Pillar-like one walk in 68 PA against lefties in the minors this year, but who needs walks when he’s hitting .348 off them with a .530 SLG? Um… well… a big league hitter kinda does. And Francoeur has been hot garbage in the Majors in recent years. He has a 66 wRC+ over his last 859 plate appearances in the bigs, and has been weirdly equally bad against lefties and righties over that span (66 wRC+ vs. LHP, 65 vs. RHP). So… um… pass. Still probably better than Brad Glenn, though.
Another thought to consider before we get to the MLBTR stuff: A.J. Burnett. The former Blue Jay has possibly turned his season around, posting a 2.89 ERA, 3.26 FIP, and 3.78 xFIP over his last five starts. He hasn’t exactly been facing offensive juggernauts — other than a complete game gem against St. Louis, he’s faced Miami (twice), Chicago, and San Diego — but his velocity has looked a little better than in his first ten starts, and he’s not owed a tonne of money for this year and next, especially if Philadelphia pays the $7.5-million in signing bonus dollars still owed him. His deal is weird: he makes just $7.5-million in salary this year, and has a $15-million mutual option with the club for 2015, or a $7.5-million player option that increases based on the number of starts he makes, up to a maximum of $12.75-million if he takes the hill 32 times. He already has 18 starts under his belt, so he’ll be a bit expensive going forward, and he has limited no-trade protection that might allow him to veto a trade here. But fuck, if he keeps this up, wouldn’t he kinda be perfect? Concerns about his performance, yes, but he’ll definitely give you innings, won’t nearly cost what Samardzija does, can be a dependable piece for a couple years, and… y’know… he’s kinda the fucking best. Do it!
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that, as I pointed out in yesterday’s Daily Duce, MLBTR pointed us to a Nick Cafardo piece that suggested that the Jays were one of the teams most aggressively scouting the Phillies. And don’t get too excited about all those scouts possibly being there to see Cole Hamels, as we’re told via Ken Rosenthal that Hamels has the Jays on his no-trade list.
Some notes from around baseball’s Central divisions tells us that the Jays have sent numerous scouts to watch the Chicago Cubs over the past several weeks, which we already knew. What we didn’t already know? According to Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune, the Jays have been watching Jason Hammel just as closely as Jeff Samardzija. Noice!
In a roundup of non-Jays AL East notes, we’re told that the Yankees are looking at Ian Kennedy, Wade Miley, and Brandon McCarthy, all of whom would be reasonable enough additions to the Jays, to some degree. Meaning: I still kinda don’t believe in Kennedy, for some reason. Don’t think I’d complain if they landed him, though, especially if they end up getting a pitcher without surrendering Aaron Sanchez, Daniel Norris, etc. That’d sure be a damn coup, wouldn’t it?
A look at the AL East tells us about a Ben Nicholson-Smith piece for Sportsnet, in which he says the club is noncommittal about where it wants to improve, but sounds very reluctant to move pieces of its big league roster to do so. They also note that there is a video that accompanies the piece in which Alex Anthopoulos talks, among other things, about the draft picks his club just signed, and the fact that they felt they got a discount of sorts on Jeff Hoffman by signing him for slot money, simply because he fell to pick nine because of his injury.
The Mets haven’t had talks on Daniel Murphy of late, suggesting that he’s not going to be moving anywhere anytime soon. Y’know maybe. Either way, last we heard he wasn’t really on the Jays’ radar, because they’d prefer a better defender at second base. Because, y’know, they care so much about defence they’re having Edwin Encarnacion start in left field a second straight game tonight. (They’re probably right to aim higher, though.)
Baltimore is trying to work out a trade for Nolan Reimold, who they D’d FA last week. Or maybed this week– who cares? He’s a right handed outfielder, sure, but his platoon splits are pretty even, he doesn’t play defence, and Baltimore wouldn’t exactly want to help the Jays anyway, so… look elsewhere.
Today in available left-handed relievers of some small interest, the A’s D’d Jeff Francis FA, which will certainly get the maple cock cheese flowing. But he’s not even such a bad option on a team that could probably use some lefty depth that isn’t Rob Rasmussen. The results were bad in Oakland — 6.08 ERA, 9 earned in 13.1 innings — and weren’t much better in Cincinnati earlier in the season, but 10 strikeouts and 3 walks isn’t bad, and the awful 44.1% strand rate can’t really be sustainable, right? Hasn’t been great against right-handers, though, and I’m not sure the Jays, with the way they shuffle guys around, would see the sense in making a move for a LOOGY they can’t stash in the minors, but… I dunno… maybe? If not him, same idea with Scott Downs, who was just released by the White Sox.
No Jays-related candidates among the names reportedly being looked at by the Padres as they search for a new GM. I believe it.
The Yankees have gone nuts with signing international prospects. Seems a smart way to game the system, if you ask me, as long as your team really believes that this year’s class is much better than next year’s one (which they’ll be heavily penalized in due to their blowing past spending limits this time around).
Today in schadenfreude: “While he was once thought to be on the Matt Harvey/Zack Wheeler summer promotion track, top prospect Noah Syndergaard now might not even be called up in 2014 at all, manager Terry Collins told reporters yesterday (including Mike Puma of the New York Post). One club source told Puma that team officials have struggled to get a read on Syndergaard, and some feel he would benefit from a full year at Triple-A. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News wrote earlier today that a club official recently told him Syndergaard is “not even on our radar” at this point.”
Lastly, Bud Selig has given the A’s permission to leave Oakland, in the latest bit of gamesmanship related to the club’s ongoing stadium issue. You could do worse Bell. You could do a whole lot worse.