Archive for the ‘GM Meetings’ Category

WYWH-AA

I don’t exactly remember what I was going for with the above image, which I began using last year during the GM Meetings, but I’m sure it’s still apt. Alex Anthopoulos is still a man on fire, as he needs to make all kinds of magic at the event once again this year, despite laying the groundwork for all kinds of thrilling deals last year in Indian Wells– most of which kind of blew up in his face. This year the baseball establishment, and the assembled media, are in Orlando, and with all the news that’s coming out– or expected to come out– of these meetings, we’re keeping very close watch on all the rumblings.

Here’s what’s worth talking about when it comes to the Jays tonight:

In his most recent report at Sportsnet, Shi Davidi pivots off AA’s quashing of today’s rumours, insisting that fans not get worked up about any rumour involving Jose Bautista that doesn’t suggest an elite starter is coming the other way, because that’s the only thing he believes the Jays would move him for. He also look notes that the Jays are expected to make a push for Jeff Samardzija, and that they’ve kicked the tires on Ryan Hanigan (as well as Jason Castro, though he says it seems like Houston isn’t terribly inclined to move him).

You’ll notice that those are players under contract to other clubs. That’s because, as Davidi explains in the piece, “the reading of Blue Jays’ intentions at the moment is that they plan to exhaust their potential opportunities on the trade market first before taking serious runs at any free agents.”

Beyond all of that goodness, by far the most noteworthy stuff to pass along on this evening of the GM Meetings has come out of the scrum Alex Anthopoulos had with media members late in the afternoon.

Davidi wrote about the scrum earlier for Sportsnet, focussing again on the GM’s dismissal of today’s reports out of Philadelphia– and, specifically, Howard Eskin– about both a Jose Bautista trade, and a Carlos Ruiz offer. Basically, he simply fleshes out some of the comments that he relayed in the tweets that I wrote about in this afternoon’s Daily Duce.

A piece on the dangers of believing everything you hear at this time of year followed from Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, while that sort of stuff also provided the bulk of the piece filed by Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun.

Buffery, however, pivoted off a couple of other interesting things that Anthopoulos said, as well. For example, the GM explained– as we’ve heard at other times so far this week, as well as in Davidi’s latest– that the market for trades is developing slowly this year. He says he’s still mostly gathering information, and added, “I don’t know that I’m closer to anything right now.” This slowness so far, the GM speculates, may hinder the market for free agents, as well. “I think you’ll see much more activity at the winter meetings,” Anthopoulos said.

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WYWH-AA

I don’t exactly remember what I was going for with the above image, which I began using last year during the GM Meetings, but I’m sure it’s still apt. Alex Anthopoulos is still a man on fire, as he needs to make all kinds of magic at the event once again this year, despite laying the groundwork for all kinds of thrilling deals last year in Indian Wells– most of which kind of blew up in his face. This year the baseball establishment, and the assembled media, are in Orlando, and with all the news that’s coming out– or expected to come out– of these meetings, we’re keeping very close watch on all the rumblings.

Here’s what’s worth talking about when it comes to the Jays tonight:

Brian Hoch of MLB.com gets some quotes from AA, who apparently a very large contingent of Japanese media has taken notice of. “We never get into who we’re going to be after,” Anthopoulos said, about to wind us up like it’s 2011, “but I think I can say, just generally speaking, I think every team in baseball would like to have a guy like Tanaka. He’s very talented.” Do it, then! Another intriguing quote from the piece has Anthopoulos saying that all options are on the table when it comes to upgrading his rotation, including– theoretically– bringing in two, three, four, or more starters. “It could be a trade where one starter is going and another is coming in,” he says, emphasizing his flexibility, I’d wager, rather than tipping his hand about anything that’s actually in the works.

Shi Davidi has a piece up at Sportsnet highlighting some of the comments from the GM, on the heels of Mark DeRosa’s somewhat surprising retirement announcement. Key takeaways: despite some purely speculative rumblings that his club could take a run at Robinson Cano– hmmm– Anthopoulos says that they’re very comfortable with their policy that precludes them from signing contracts longer than five years. So you’re saying that to get Cano they’d just have to go with a five year deal with a super-high AAV? Sure! Or… actually what he’s saying is, “I don’t think I’d ever rule anything out under the right context and the right circumstances. If you’re prepared to pay someone five years at X, and a sixth year comes out at almost the same total dollars, sure, then you can explain that.” Rules, after all, were made to be broken. Or at the very least bent.

Two more quick notes from that Davidi piece: the GM says there is “strong” interest in some of his relievers, and that he hopes they can bring back Munenori Kawasaki, though they’re currently letting him explore other options (i.e. Japan, most likely).

Davidi has another, more recently updated version of that same basic piece, which adds some of the Anthopoulos quotes noted in the MLB.com post I referenced above, as well as a number of key additional details:

- “Affordability is not the question,” he says of the pitching market, “It’s do we see the value. There are plenty of players you like, but you like them at a certain price.” Hopefully he readjusts his bar to the new economic realities of the league! But his attitude being such as it is, much of Davidi’s work looks at the back-end starter options. One of those is Drew Hutchison, who Anthopoulos said would have no restrictions, in terms of innings, were he to make the team.

- We’re told that the Jays are, in fact, not the team that has put out the two-year, $20-million offer to Carlos Ruiz, and that things are developing slowly so far for the club. Davidi doesn’t believe that the club has extended any formal offers to players as yet. Last year the market moved much, much faster, but with all the new TV money empowering more teams to be players, it’s going to take a little while for everything to shake down. Or, at least, that seems a reasonable enough explanation. Doesn’t help that these meetings are being held a week later than they were last year, as well.

- Shi also confirms that Anthopoulos didn’t scout Tanaka in person, and that he went looking for Jeff Samardzija last winter. Hmmm, as they say.

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DeRosa DeRetires!

derosalawrie

Of course something like this would happen while I’m out grabbing a bite, but… uh… this is interesting: according to a team release from the Jays, Mark DeRosa has decided to retire.

And here it sounded to me two weeks ago as though he was pretty certain he wasn’t ready to hang it up, after finally feeling that his wrist was back to where it needed to be in order for him to actually compete, which hadn’t been the case for the three years previous. I suppose 2013 will ultimately prove to have been a nice swansong for him, but it’s a little strange, seeing as he’d been spoken about as the possible platoon partner at DH for Adam Lind, while serving as a backup infielder.

He was also, as we’ve frequently heard, a supposed clubhouse leader and mentor for Brett Lawrie, who the Jays, by exercising his $750K option, demonstrated that they wanted back.

Ahhh, but about that option. In his piece on the sudden retirement, John Lott of the National Post writes:

Even though he agreed to the club option when he signed his Toronto contract, in the end he decided he was unwilling to play again for that salary – the same amount he was paid in 2013.

It’s an interesting explanation– one that, unfortunately, makes you wonder if there’s more to the story– because DeRosa has a young family, and could easily have used that as his reason for not playing.

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chooch

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post– or whichever Denver paper is still around these days– the Colorado Rockies have made an offer to free agent catcher Carlos Ruiz, formerly of the Philles. But that’s far from the most interesting part of his report for us:

Colorado made an offer to Ruiz over the past 48 hours, and that has them in the mix for the veteran catcher. It may take an over pay in either money (something Colorado has some flexibility to do) or years (something the Rockies rarely do) to keep them at the table with the Phillies, Blue Jays and Red Sox all interested in Ruiz.

Of course, as we discussed in the Nick Cafardo post earlier today, the Jays are going to show at least some level of interest in pretty much everyone. So, it’s not like this necessarily means a whole lot– and it’s also not like Shi Davidi didn’t link the Jays and Ruiz in his post at Sportsnet last night– but… I don’t know. You could do worse.

That said, there are giant red flags on just about every player available this off-season, which is especially true of the catchers, and Ruiz is no exception. He had a very poor 2013, with a pronounced platoon split, a third straight sizeable decline in his walk rate, and a near-total loss of the power he showed in 2012. He’s looking for a multi-year deal, he’s going to be 35 in January, and he’s coming off a PED suspension, having missed 25 games at the start of the year for taking a banned stimulant.

And it’s not like he’s going to come all that cheap, either. Ken Rosenthal tweets the following:

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Nick Cafardo, sports

I don’t even…

That’s three M’s in Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo’s “hmm” there, for those of you counting.

As for the actual content of his tweet, I’m reminded of the fact that seemingly every single time I write a post that has to do with whatever this man has to say about the Jays, I find myself compelled to use the word “insanity.”

That probably tells us all we need to know right there.

Of course, this tweet of his isn’t insane, per se, but… doesn’t this happen every single goddamned year? Doesn’t the fact that the Jays are secretive about the specifics of their plans, kick the tires on absolutely everybody, and are potentially backed by a multi-billion dollar corporation lead to this same exact scenario playing out at the Winter Meetings, and now the GM Meetings, like… always?

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castro-jpa

Now here’s one of those names Shi Davidi was maybe talking about yesterday as being a surprising entry onto the catching market: Jason Castro of the Astros (holy shit, I just noticed that rhymes!).

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that Houston could see an opportunity in dangling their starting catcher, given the dearth of anything resembling a decent one on the market… that is, beyond Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia– who, FYI, Castro is probably actually a whole lot more appealing than.

Castro’s name hasn’t previously come up as a trade possibility, but the Astros have been known to trade players, even young ones. It isn’t certain how serious they are about dealing Castro, who became an All-Star in 2013 for the first time, but Houston is said to like catching prospect Max Stassi very much.

Well well well!

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07-BigAnthopoulos

Where’s the money, Anthopoulos?

On Prime Time Sports last night, during the segment with Shi Davidi that I noted in last night’s GM Meetings After Dark post, Bob McCown says that he’s heard from a source that he thinks is credible *COUGH* Paul Beeston *COUGH* that the Jays’ payroll for the 2014 season will be $150-million, echoing a number that I’ve heard from David himself and a number of others as well– including Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun, whose report I commented on yesterday.

It’s an impressive number when you remember that the club’s payroll was just $83-million in 2012, and $70-million the year before. It’s not so much an impressive number, however, when you consider all the heavy lifting that Alex Anthopoulos is faced with this winter, and the fact that the club already has $120-million committed, plus more still to be accounted for: something on the order of $4- or $5-million for pre-arb players, and another $11.2-million in projected salary for arbitration eligible players Colby Rasmus, J.P. Arencibia, Brett Cecil, and Esmil Rogers.

The “true” figure, then, is more like $135-million, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for Anthopoulos to operate on a free agent market that has already seen the agent for Ervin Santana announce that his client is looking for a $100-million contract, while it’s believed that Ricky Nolasco is looking for $80-million. Crazy numbers, but probably not very far off from reality.

So what the hell can Anthopoulos do, then? Is he essentially stuck already? Not necessarily.

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