This hasn’t quite been a daily feature, but may still end up one from here until July 31st, especially with the Jays still holding on for dear life in the AL East, trade season sizzling, and the club with plenty of use for many parts, big and small. So let’s have a look at what the invaluable, fantastic, and comprehensive MLB Trade Rumors is telling us about today (and maybe yesterday, too)…
A look at a piece from Jim Bowden touches on just about everything in the latest from the wacky ex-GM over at ESPN.com, but not the fact that, as we’ve known, the Jays are looking for a right-hitting third baseman — and more likely to trade for one of those than a starting pitcher. There aren’t a lot of options, though. Among the best third basemen with at least 50 plate appearances against lefties Martin Prado (15th in the split with a 126 wRC+) really seems like the only option, with everyone else either belonging to a true contender or being highly unlikely to move (think David Wright). Chase Headley has a 78 wRC+ against left-handers, FYI. And the best second baseman in baseball in the split? Steve Tolleson. I shit you not.
Meanwhile, Bowden also talks about Cole Hamels being unlikely to move (but Cliff Lee being a potential August trade target), the fact that the A’s may be active once again in territory the Jays are looking at — this time being the second base market — and that “some possible trade partners increasingly believe” that David Price won’t be moved. Part of the reason? “The club still wants to see if a post-season run remains possible; though the club sits 9.5 games back at the break, the division does still look somewhat vulnerable.”
Speaking of what constitutes a viable playoff scenario, a look at the Red Sox suggests that club is still considering whether to buy or sell at the deadline, “thinking that there may still be time for them to climb back into the race.” In a Quick Hits piece it’s suggested that Cleveland has been looking at the Rays system, and that maybe this means they have some interest in Price, even though they’re currently 7.5 games back. The Mets, seven games back in the NL East, are still weighing whether or not to pursue deadline improvements to help them in 2014, apparently. Hey, but the Jays, at four games back, are totally fucked, right???
Over the weekend the Angels were looking to make a deal with the Padres, which could have seen them land both Ian Kennedy and Huston Street. The Padres also have Chase Headley, of course. Could the Jays swoop in with some one-stop shopping of the poor-man’s-Billy-Beane variety? How about with the Diamondbacks? I mean, I don’t know how thrilled I’d be with giving up an Aaron Sanchez for a Martin Prado, but Prado and Brad Ziegler? Headley and Kennedy? It’s a little more palatable, at least. (As of Wednesday it seemed like the Angels’ pursuit of Kennedy was off, so… there’s that).
Speaking of Street, a look at the closer market suggests that the Padres are reluctant to move either him or Joaquin Benoit. Jonathan Papelbon is another name that’s out there, and while the Jays obviously don’t need a closer, their bullpen could certainly use a lift — though it’s at least encouraging that Neil Wagner is making progress, and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session this week, per a tweet yesterday from Ben Nicholson-Smith.
One name that’s now off the market is a familiar one: on Wednesday the Rangers dealt the Sausage King, Jason Frasor, to the Royals for 26-year-old Triple-A starter Spencer Patton, who didn’t rank among the club’s top 30 prospects according to Baseball America this year, we’re told.
The Yankees have officially released Alfonso Soriano, making him a free agent. He’ll likely sign for the league minimum somewhere, if he continues to play. He’s a right-handed bat, but his wRC+ against lefties has slumped to just 80 this season, meaning he’s not really of any value to anybody — certainly not the Jays — on a big league contract. If he wanted to go to Buffalo though, for some reason, that could do.
If they decide to be sellers, the Mets are considering making Bartolo Colon available. Theoretically the Jays could have just signed him last winter, but regardless, he’s an option that’s not without intrigue. Tough to see the club going with all three of Buehrle, Dickey, and Colon in the rotation next year, though it sure would help bridge the gap to the Norrises and Sanchezes of the world. Plus, he’s only owed $11-million next year, plus about $3.75-million for this. Still though, probably not a great idea.
Speaking of bad ideas, A.J. Pierzynski! The Red Sox officially released him yesterday, so if anyone’s looking for a shitty catcher nobody likes, one’s available.
A Quick Hits piece tells us about another A.J., and that A.J. Burnett wants to stay with the Phillies and doesn’t know what he’ll do if asked to waive his no-trade clause. It also says that — hold on to your hats! — the spate of recent injuries and underperformance from big name, big money pitchers (think Tanak, Verlander, Sabathia) might give teams pause when offering massive, lengthy deals to free agents this winter. Could Beeston have been ahead of the curve!?! Also: we’re told that Dodgers 17-year-old Julio Urias was impressive at the Futures Game, and that some think he could pitch in the big leagues at 18. Not that Roberto Osuna is the same calibre of prospect, but being in the Majors that young isn’t a crazy thought, apparently, and believe it or not, the Jays youngster will already be 20 in February.
A piece on the AL West tells us that the A’s are considering dealing disappointing reliever Jim Johnson — former closer of for the Orioles — and possibly willing to eat most of his remaining salary to do so. If the price is right, I’d take a flier. Johnson has been walking far too many batters, and he’s been homer prone, but the velocity is about the same (though the K-rate isn’t) and the batted ball profile isn’t terribly different from last year. Meanwhile, we’re told that the Rangers may have to shed payroll next year after a disappointing season on the field has led to a disappointing season at the gate. Oh, is that how that works?
The most minor of the minor from Sunday: Bobby Korecky cleared waivers and is back in Buffalo, meanwhile, Chien-Ming Wang (remember!) opted out of his deal with the Reds. And one from Monday: the Jays released catcher Hector Gimenez, who apparently they had acquired at some point. One more, even though we already have discussed it, is that the Jays picked up Brett Wallace as corner infield depth. The former Jay (and Cardinal, and A, and Astro, and Oriole) has a .265/.329/.389 line in Triple-A this year, and has been worth -1.0 WAR as a big leaguer in 311 career games. Can’t miss bat!
Lastly, in a look around the blogosphere we’re pointed to a piece from Baseball Hot Corner that gives twenty names of players the Jays could go after over the next two weeks. All the usual suspects are there, plus a few interesting ones you may not have thought of. Just be careful for the eye-roll moment you’ll run into when the Jays being fleeced in the R.A. Dickey deal is mentioned — because, y’know, let’s maybe wait for those prospects to do anything first (that is, if you can’t comprehend the import of the Jays going for it when they did, and as heavily as they did).