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)…
We’re still seeing the Jays’ name come up in whispers, but one wonders what they might really be thinking, and just how willing they’ll be to patch the ever-growing holes in their 2014 roster with pieces of their future. As if it wasn’t a difficult enough question already, the Jays could still add pieces hoping to help weather the storm and position themselves for a strong August and September with a (hopefully) healthy offence, but over the last couple of weeks the likelihood has certainly increased that whatever they do may be all for naught.
It would be easy to think that Alex Anthopoulos, given what’s at stake for him personally, in terms of his job and his ability to again ascend to the highest position within an MLB franchise, that the lean would be to do all that he can to win with this roster and to sort out the future later. But is that necessarily the case?
The latest from Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal doesn’t seem to indicate either way, as on one hand Morosi tweets that the Jays are one of three clubs looking at Rangers reliever Joakim Soria — the Angels and Tigers being the others — though Rosenthal counters by saying that the Jays are first weighing the possibility of bringing up Aaron Sanchez to help the club in the bullpen.
Rosenthal goes on to add that the Jays are looking at possibly moving Dan Norris to Buffalo, and that he could surface in the major league bullpen later — they’re hoping, he says, to limit their innings while repeating the Cardinals’ success last season with youngsters Trevor Rosenthal and Carlos Martinez working out of the ‘pen.
Interestingly, Rosenthal also says that the Jays have changed Sanchez’s arm slot, and that he’s been pitching better since. I don’t know how much stock we can put into that without seeing him succeed with it for an extended period, but it’s noticeable that in his last three starts for Buffalo have been better than his first three. Over the first three he pitched a total of 13.1 innings, allowing nine runs (seven earned) on 13 hits and 12 walks, with 13 strikeouts. Since then, over three starts, he’s pitched 19 innings, giving up nine runs (eight earned) on 19 hits and five walks, with 12 strikeouts. So… not wildly different, but the reduced walks and the increased innings sure look encouraging.
Not that they would have interest at this point, I don’t think, but if the Jays wanted to trade for the Phillies’ Marlon Byrd, they’d have a tough time doing so, as they’re one of just four teams on his no-trade list. The Jays, for a geographic reasons, and for reasons to do with the division they play in and the high-resource competition they face, are quite often on players’ no-trade lists. Oh, and for this reason, too: “Byrd adds that he included Toronto and Tampa on his list because of the artificial turf and the risk that poses to him as an aging player (especially one with a vesting option based on plate appearances).”
Moving on, and away briefly from MLBTR, a piece arrived today from former big league GM Jim Bowden over at ESPN.com about what it might take for the Jays or the Giants to get Martin Prado off the Diamondbacks, and… well… it’s a weird one. The Giants, he says, might offer Heath Hembree (“who has a big arm but hasn’t quite developed the control and command needed at the major league level”) and a minor league reliever. But for the Jays, it’s top 50 prospect territory. Or, at least by some standards, as he suggests the Jays give up Dalton Pompey (but not after being asked, and rejecting the overture, for Mitch Nay). We’re also told, somewhat inexplicably, that “the Blue Jays prefer Lawrie at second base rather than third, but what they like most about Prado is, like Lawrie, he can play both second and third. Unlike Lawrie, Prado is an above-average defender at both.” Huh?
One more non-MLBTR item, as Ben Badler of Baseball America reports that the Jays have signed Mexican pitching prospect Guadalupe Chavez. He wasn’t ranked among Badler’s top 30, but he calls him “one of the better young pitching prospects in Mexico. He’s a good athlete with a skinny 6-foot-2, 150-pound frame and already throws up to 93 mph while flashing an above-average changeup that’s ahead of his curveball, with good pitchability for his experience level.”
The injury to the Reds’ Brandon Phillips may have put a wrinkle in the Jays’ plans, as there is now another team looking to the trade market for second base help.
In a roundup of NL West notes, we’re told that the Giants and Rays have been doing some heavy scouting that may involve Jays fans pipe dream Ben Zobrist, while the Diamondbacks may be looking at a payroll crunch next year, which is why they could be extra inclined to move Prado and/or Aaron Hill. Beyond, y’know, the obvious.
Not that we should necessarily be thinking this way anymore — and not that we shouldn’t be scared off by the high cost and the results that don’t match the declining peripherals — but Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon says that he’d waive his no-trade clause to move to a contender. Does that mean the Jays at this point? It probably does, right? Right??
Speaking of Papelbon, in an NL East notes piece, we’re pointed to a piece in the Philadelphia Daily News, where his trade value is examined, and it’s figured that a Papelbon/Burnett package could have some appeal to a team like Baltimore. The Jays too, though, perhaps?
Jorge de la Rosa of the Rockies, a rental, could supposedly be obtained in exchange for a “young impact starter.” Yeah… good luck with that. Better news, though still about as unlikely to happen, is the fact that the same report adds that Troy Tulowitzki has given his subtle blessing to be traded to a contender. All the prospects for him. Right now. Do it.
Lastly, among other things (none of which are Jays-related) an AL East Notes post, we’re given a link to a piece from Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, who writes about the clubhouse discord in Boston surrounding A.J. Pierzynski, who apparently wasn’t liked by his teammates. “A microcosm of Pierzynski’s approach was mentioned by more than one of the backstop’s former teammates, who revealed his propensity to spend a significant amount of time looking at his phone while at his locker during games. In one instance, after a particularly rough outing in which the starting pitcher had been pulled early in the game, Pierzynski could be found staring at his phone while the pitcher gave off the appearance of being an emotional wreck just a few feet away. That incident paved the way for at least one complaint to management from a teammate.” Amazing.