I can’t yet say that this will be a daily occurrence (weekdays, that is — I don’t do weekends) from here until July 31st, but with the Jays still doing swimmingly, trade season about to heat 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)…
Trade candidate Daniel Murphy could also possibly an extension with the Mets, apparently. Last week, in a piece that I meant to write about but… didn’t, Andy Martino of the Daily News wrote that the Jays, along with the Giants, have some interest in the hot-hitting (117 wRC+), lefty-batting, not-great-defending second baseman. Depending on the cost, do it! Defense would definitely be a worry — and the advanced metrics make a pretty clear case he’s below average — but you don’t even have to platoon him! I’m cool with that. Although…
Not via MLBTR (at least not yet), but Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Jays are exploring the market for infielders, and that while the team wants a starter, they’re willing to upgrade anywhere. As they damn well should be! What this means, though, is that Murphy is hardly their only potential target. Some interesting talk on Twitter — at least on my Twitter about the possibility of flipping a lower-level lottery ticket or two for an Owings or a Gregorius or a Nick Ahmed — a real shortstop! (Now someone just has to convince Jose to move off the position and we’re golden!)
Kyle Farnsworth was D’d FA by the Astros, and has now elected free agency. The Rays got some use out of him in 2012, but… yeah… pass.
An intriguing option to help the bullpen, though, could be our old friend Scott Downs. He hasn’t been great — he’s walking way to many batters — and he has a $4.5-million contract option that will vest if he makes just 17 more appearances this year, but the peripherals (3.69 FIP, 4.07 xFIP) look alright. The contract thing would seem to be the sticking point. I liked the Downs that we all remember, but I can’t claim that I’d have nearly enough belief in him to take on the risk of that option vesting and that portion of the budget turding to shit. If he ends up getting releasedby the White Sox — I’m not going to even bother looking into the CBA permutations to see how any of that would work in his case — he could be a helpful piece, though. Don’t hold your breath.
Here’s something crazy: in a piece rounding up some morning chatter (more on the rest of it in a moment), we’re told about the Phillies potentially moving some of their veterans, and another looking at some relief arms that the Angels could be looking at. Enter Jonathan Papelbon. No, really. Or… probably not really — his ERA is great, he’s Jonathan effing Papelbon and has an excellent track record, but… he doesn’t induce ground balls, and he has yet to allow a home run this year, which has led to an xFIP of 4.39 despite an ERA of 1.48. The Ks are down, the walks are up, the strand rate is ridiculous, the velocity is down three-and-a-half MPH since he left Boston, and he’s owed $13-million next year, with an option for that much in 2016 if he finishes 55 games next year, or 100 total over this and next. It’s literally crazy. If Ruben wants to throw in a bunch of money, though, or give him away for nothing, and… I dunno… would be funny, at least. And you can probably manipulate it to keep the option from vesting. I’d still probably have a hard time betting against him being kinda terrible, though.
Elsewhere in the roundup we’re told that the Mets aren’t inclined to deal Bartolo Colon, however, we’re pointed to a Sportsnet piece from our old friend Benny Fresh, who looks at the possibility of Brandon McCarthy being a fit, as Arizona is definitely in sell mode. “McCarthy has an NL-worst 1-10 record and a 5.38 ERA. But three scouts and executives on opposing teams told Sportsnet that McCarthy intrigues them nonetheless,” Nicholson-Smith explains. The peripherals have been good: strikeouts, walks, and ground ball rate have all been good, while his BABIP and HR/FB look unsustainably inflated, at least for a pitcher with his track record who doesn’t seem to have anything wrong with him at the moment. McCarthy is also a free agent after this year, making just $9-million on the season. DO IT, ALEX!
Another item noted in the roundup was Jim Bowden’s latest at ESPN.com, in which he lists a bunch of hitters who could be available, and what he thinks the likelihood they’ll be traded is. The middle infielders are the ones that should intrigue us the most, and in that group there are big names who might move (Zobrist), big ones he thinks won’t (Utley, Rollins), and some other intriguing possibilities (Murphy, Hill, Everth Cabrera, and Stephen Drew). Someone better than what we’ve got would be nice, eh?
Apparently the Rangers are “willing to listen” on everyone. Cue Jays fans getting ridiculously worked up about Beltre and Darvish, even though Jon Heyman tells us that those two are “on another level” and hard to envision being moved, because “the Rangers expect to be good next year when Prince Fielder, Derek Holland, Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez and others have returned to health.” Uh… yeah. And if you’re not giving the Rangers something that’s going to help them a lot in 2015, you’re not getting close to touching those two pieces. Move along.
And lastly, uh… am I really making Chris Capuano being D’d FA the last item here? Yeah, I guess I am. Meh. Pass.