I think I can probably, by now, say for certain that this will stay as a regular feature around here for the early winter, as again today, with any number of rumblings out there on the trade and free agent markets, and all kinds of decisions being made on players throughout the league who may wind up having some bearing on the Jays’ plans for the off-season, I think it will be a valuable exercise to comb through the latest from the astonishingly fantastic and comprehensive MLB Trade Rumors and add some Jays-related context to whatever is going on out there…
Tonight at midnight is the deadline for clubs to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players, meaning that the free agent class is about to be expanded by several cheap players who might be of interest to the Jays. It also means that we’ll be keeping our eye on Bobby Wilson, the potential back-up catcher who currently gives Alex Anthopoulos the flexibility to deal one of his bigger pieces. Wilson won’t cost a whole lot if the Jays tender him a contract, and because contracts with arb-eligibles are non-guaranteed, the Jays could always cut him some point before mid-March and be on the hook for only 1/6th his salary– a hit of about $100K. That seems like a small price to pay to keep their options open, but if Wilson isn’t tendered a contract, it’s a very strong signal that the Jays are going to go forward with Arencibia starting, Buck as the backup and d’Arnaud in Triple-A.
Russell Martin has signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates, agreeing to a two-year, $17-million deal. The Bucs, apparently, went just far enough to put the Yankees out of the running to retain him, which is fantastic for a couple of reasons. The Yankees now have to go find someone else, it would seem, and will probably need to deal assets to do so. And while they almost certainly won’t be making that deal with the Jays, we do happen to have a catching surplus, and the value of JP Arencibia– and even John Buck– in contrast with the price tag on a very average free agent like Martin, has to be looking pretty good, right?
Oh, what could have been: the Mets have extended David Wright for seven years, and more than $100-million. Wright, of course, was once offered to the Blue Jays for Jose Cruz Jr., who in his walk year, and ended up not being traded at all. Fun times! And, rather ironically, a member of the front office that’s giving this massive extension to Wright is JP Ricciardi, who turned down the offer all those years ago.