Archive for the ‘Talkin’ Trades’ Category

Daniel-Norris

Dan Norris

Hey! Prospect stuff!

Remember prospect stuff?

Around here we used to get in a real lather any time that something like the mid-season top prospects lists from places like Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America — both of which released their mid-season 2014 lists yesterday. It’s not like that stuff became less important, it’s just with the depletion of the club’s upper minors with the trades of Noah Syndergaard (9th for BP, 19th for BA), Travis d’Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino, etc., and the shift in focus by the Jays from prospect-hoarding to turning farm pieces into big league roster players, it simply wasn’t of the same concern. And now… well…

As much as my knee-jerk reaction to the Jays’ recent might be to write things like “this is not the week I want to deal with morons insisting the Jays should be sellers” *COUGH* the prospect question becomes ever more interesting the more the Jays flail. Sadly, the club has floundered so badly — and has been hit by key injuries to Brett Lawrie and now Edwin Encarnacion, with guys like Adam Lind and Jose Bautista playing while ailing — that it is no longer outside of the realm of honest assessment to wonder about the wisdom of dealing away prospects to patch the holes on the club’s current roster.

I mean, I’d absolutely argue that the season is still eminently salvageable — and that’s not even a word anyone should be using, given the club’s still-excellent position in the standings with nearly half a season still to go — but there are certainly reasons to wonder about what a future would look like with the players being praised today on these lists.

For Baseball America it was Dan Norris and Dalton Pompey — and, perhaps surprisingly, not Aaron Sanchez — who made the grade.

Norris jumped from outside their pre-season top 100 into the 25th spot, ahead of Sanchez (previously 32nd), and ahead of guys like Kyle Zimmer (Royals), Alex Meyer (Twins), and Hunter Harvey (Orioles), slotting in just behind the injured Jameson Taillon. A “lefty with three potential plus pitches (fastball, slider, change) and an average curve,” is what they call him, which sure sounds good to me.

Pompey (47th) also jumped from outside the top 100, placing the 16th rounder ahead of first-round outfielders Stephen Piscotty (Cardinals) and Brandon Nimmo (Mets), as they write that the “toolsy center fielder’s bat has caught up to rest of his tools in a breakout start in the Florida State League.”

For Baseball Prospectus, Sanchez (29th) still reigns among Blue Jays, but it’s with a heavy dose of cold reality — as has been the norm of late. “It’s been a familiar tune for the right-handed starter this season: electric overall stuff clouded by concerns as to whether the fastball command is going to grow enough to lead to consistency at the highest level. Sanchez has moved a few spots, but given graduations to The Show his status has probably moved a bit backward. This arm tends to tease visions of a legit frontline arm with his stuff, but the clear-headed line of sight points to a mid-rotational starter,” writes Chris Mellen.

Mellen also provides the write-up for the ninth-ranked Syndergaard, FYI. Ugh.

Norris (33rd) is nipping at Sanchez’s heels for the top spot in the Jays’ system because of the “ a developmental step forward” he has taken over the last calendar year, which shows “no signs of slowing.”

There are intriguing pieces in the low minors, too, and ones that were just drafted (one, Roberto Osuna, just about to get back on the mound after last year’s Tommy John) — and, obviously, a pair of excellent arms already in the big leagues — that make it a still-intriguing collection of talent, but it’s the upper level talent that matters most. That’s where the Jays will likely be forced to trade from if they choose to make major upgrades for the 2014 season, but that’s also where the foundation — small a base as it may currently be — for the future may lie.

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edwinhurt

All sorts of news-y stuff going on this fine Sunday afternoon, and — as is the case with everything related to your Toronto Blue Jays of late — not a whole lot of it good. Here’s a brief rundown:

For those of you watching last night, and not basking in the afterglow of a too-narrow victory over an impressively disciplined Costa Rica, you’ll know that Edwin Encarnacion left yet another Jays loss with some kind of a leg injury, needing to be helped off the field by a pair of the club’s trainers. Motherfuck. He is not in today’s lineup, as he’s getting an MRI to determine the extent of the damage, and Shi Davidi writes for Sportsnet that the club is expecting him to hit the DL, and quotes Edwin as saying he felt a “pop” in what we now know was his quadriceps. Jesus.

Barry Davis tweets a picture of Brad Glenn and Jose Bautista taking some reps at first base, so… yeah.

But apparently that was just busywork, because Glenn has been D’d FA in order to clear a spot on the roster, according to a Shi Davidi tweet. I’m sure teams will be lining up to put a waiver claim in any second. Oh, and that was necessary because…

Some small, small measure of help is on the way, as yesterday’s waiver claim, Cole Gillespie, is in the lineup and in right field this afternoon for the Jays. He’s a right-handed hitting outfielder who has been awful in his short big league career against lefties — he sports a putrid .221/.286/.271 line in the split — and hasn’t been any better against them in the minors since 2012. An utterly, utterly pointless move. But hey, at least he’s not Bad Glenn, I guess.

Better move: the Jays have claimed Nolan Reimold on waivers from the Orioles. He’s not a great defensive outfielder, and despite being a right-handed bat, doesn’t have any sort of pronounced platoon split, but shit… he’s a warm body who isn’t Brad Glenn or Cole Gillespie, so that’s definitely something. He has a career .252/.327/.439 overall line in the majors in 1056 plate appearances, alternating between some pretty good stints with the bat and some dogshit ones. Lightning in a bottle? Let’s hope so.

Glenn’s D’ing FA clears a spot for Gillespie on the active roster, and also for Reimold on the 40-man. Edwin probably hits the DL (the 15 days he’d be required to miss also include the All-Star break, so, as Richard Griffin tweets, it probably makes sense just to do it) in the reciprocal move… um… I think. Gregor Chisholm tweets that, when asked if Edwin’s injury was serious, John Gibbons replied, “I would think.” Ugh ugh ugh.

Meanwhile, Alfonso Soriano has been designated for assignment by the Yankees, leading fans who stopped paying attention to Alfonso Soriano years ago to hope that the Jays somehow pick him up. He has a .286 on-base over his last 864 plate appearances (but has been about a league average hitter nonetheless because of his power, and… actually he’s hit .279/.325/.511 against left-handers over that span, so… shit, do it. I take it back.

Cock.

Worse still, Soriano was D’d FA in order to make room for the Yankees newest pitcher: Brandon McCarthy. Don’t tell Marc Carig, but it’s a pretty smart pickup, though it cost them current less-than-good MLB starter Vidal Nuno, who has a lot of team control left, which is why, apparently, he was attractive to the Diamondbacks. Surely the Jays could have offered something comparable, and with Arizona eating half of the $4.1-million still owed McCarthy, I’m not entirely seeing why it wouldn’t have been a nice move for them to push harder on, except… well… their pitching really isn’t the issue at the moment, is it? Gotta save those chips for a bat, maybe? Sheeee-it.

The good news there, at least, is that the Diamondbacks are definitely now open for business, which could hasten the departure of someone like Martin Prado, who we know the Jays have been looking at. Prado and Reimold instead of Glenn and Mastroianni sounds pretty alright to me. And there is other mildly good news on the trade front. To wit…

Jon Heyman writes that the Twins appear set to move a couple of their free-agents-to-be, pitcher Kevin Correia (pass), and RHB Josh Willingham. That’ll play. Fuck, it’s almost like every option out there is better than what the Jays are currently running with.

Kenny Ken Ken mentions the Twins stuff, too (though he says that they’re aiming to hold their chips until after they host the All-Star game — ugh), but also says that the Cubs were eager to deal Jason Hammel, in part because they feared that the market would become saturated with similar pitchers. So… yeah… bring on that saturation already.

And the big one today was a piece from Jon Morosi, who tells us that the Rays are open to trading David Price in the division, and spitballs that the Jays could land him if they were willing to give up two of Sanchez, Norris, and Pompey. Would obviously be a huge add, but again, kinda would like to see some offence, eh? Maybe that’s living a little too much in the moment — the team will definitely hit better, and the pitching staff could certainly use a Price — but… well… either way, I don’t see it happening. COULD SOMETHING MAYBE HAPPEN THOUGH?

I mean, seriously… this is not the week I want to deal with morons insisting the Jays should be sellers.

Oh yeah, and Jose Bautista hates replay. So… there’s at least that.

aaspeaking4

“Two years ago, the Houston Astros constructed ‘Ground Control’—a built-from-scratch online database for the private use of the Astros front office. It is by all accounts a marvel, an easy-to-use interface giving executives instant access to player statistics, video, and communications with other front offices around baseball,” explains Barry Petchesky of Deadspin. “All it needs, apparently, is a little better password protection.”

And thus we begin a journey into ten months of internal trade talks, leaked by someone who evidently figured out a way around that poor password protection, and posted at Deadspin, and also at Annobin, which we’re told is “a site where users can anonymously share hacked or leaked information.”

It’s all very interesting stuff, and worth scanning through for more than just the Jays bits, but, of course, that’s the stuff we’re most interested in.

The talks being around last year’s trade deadline, with the Astros looking to move Bud Norris. The Jays don’t appear to have been terribly seriouslyt involved in the Norris stuff, but they’re certainly mentioned in regard to that pursuit, withseveral off-seasonJays conversations also logged in the database. So… um… let’s take a look at what Alex Anthopoulos was really doing, and what he really thinks…

7/19/2013

[Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos] texted [Luhnow] and asked what it would take for Norris. AA said Aaron Sanchez is off the table but might be willing to talk about anyone else.

7/20/2013

[Luhnow] told [Alex Anthopoulos] that we would consider Stroman +. AA said he had a bunch of balls in the air at once but would get back to JL.

7/29/2013

[Alex Anthopoulos] texted [Luhnow] and asked what a package around Stroman might look like. JL said Stoman + Gose would be in consideration.

These ones are all about Bud Norris, and — as Petchesky puts it — it’s pretty amazing how this talk “really isn’t too different from your fantasy league, with front office types kicking around ideas, making preposterous demands, gossiping, and discussing various contingencies.”

The Jays obviously didn’t pull the trigger on a deal like this — not that it was really up to them, as the Astros had dialogue with multiple teams about Norris — and that would seem to be a pretty damn good thing. Not sure how Bud Norris — or anybody — was helping the 2013 by the time the trade deadline rolled around — though he was/is still under team control until the end of 2015 — but Anthopoulos was at least interested enough in the possibility of dealing Stroman for Norris that he followed up on what the rest of the package might look like.

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kinslerface

Toronto? You think I’m gonna waive my no-trade to play in Toronto??!?

The good feelings produced by the P.R. Easter egg placed among the coverage of the Jays’ State of the Franchise event sure didn’t last long, did they? Because it looks today as though the Jays were never as close to landing Ian Kinsler as they would have liked us to believe.

Ken Rosenthal quickly went about clarifying the report in a piece on the Jays’ off-season for Fox Sports:

The Kinsler talks, on the other hand, had not been previously reported. And while Davidi reported that the discussions were “scuttled” by Kinsler’s no-trade clause, the Rangers never actually asked Kinsler to approve a deal, major league sources said.

He goes on to say that it was actually Edwin Encarnacion — not Jose Bautista, as I speculated last night — who seemed to be the primary target for Texas, at least according to some of the conflicting information he has heard. The Jays, one source tells him, wouldn’t deal Encarnacion. He also hears that Sergio Santos and Ricky Romero also had their names come up in discussion, which obviously wouldn’t be nearly enough. Either way, he reports that the Jays decided it was “pointless” to continue with talks after learning they were on Kinsler’s no-trade list.

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kinsler

And here I was getting set to write a big post about how nothing particularly interesting came out of the Jays’ State of the Franchise event.

I’ll share a bunch of thoughts on AJ Burnett, defensive shifts (yes to both), and the like tomorrow, but tonight Shi Davidi dropped something of a bombshell on us, and it’s one requires some more (relatively) immediate examination. According to his latest for Sportsnet, he reported that, in addition to the one for Brett Anderson we’d already heard about, the Jays had a deal fall apart that would have landed them Ian Kinsler, who was then with the Texas Rangers, but has since been moved to Detroit.

Or… “fall apart” isn’t quite the right terminology. He writes:

“A potential deal was scuttled by the three-time all-star’s no-trade clause, leaving the Rangers to look elsewhere, and the Blue Jays to anoint rookie Ryan Goins as the front-runner at second base.”

Fair enough on Kinsler’s part. It’s his right, and it’s hard to begrudge him that. Potentially this relates back to something that actually came up earlier today, when Sports Illustrated mistakenly called Toronto a “loathed city” when passing on a CBS Sports report that actually said it’s “a place some others are loathe [sic] to play.” There is definitely a sense out there that Toronto isn’t the place where a lot of guys want to come — at least not until they’ve played here — and we’ve all heard the issues before. Of course, we have no idea if Kinsler wouldn’t drop the no-trade clause for anything to do with any of that, or if he was simply hoping to avoid the turf, or to stay in Texas.

Whatever the reasoning, avoiding getting a player who doesn’t want to be here isn’t the only thing to feel good about here (which is especially good since that’s kind of a dumb way to look at it anyway). Actually, there are sort of a lot of things to like.

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Fister For What???

fister

With all the talk of the extravagant prices on the pitching market this winter, and the millions of dollars and sparkling prospects it’s going to take for Alex Anthopoulos to do what he needs to do to fix his rotation, uh… how the hell did he not get in on Doug Fister? How did he not beat the offer the Washington Nationals were making for Doug Fister?

Shit, how did anybody not beat this offer?

IT SAYS UTILITY PLAYER IN THE DAMN OFFICIAL TWEET!

Anthopoulos is certainly not the only GM with some explaining to do on this– Dave Dombrowski, come on down!– but Krol is a hard-throwing (93.5 per FanGraphs) left-handed reliever with a bunch of team control left on account of how he only has 27.1 big league innings, during which he posted a 3.95 ERA, a 4.69 FIP, and an unsustainable strand rate. Mark Hulet had him as the A’s 15th best prospect prior to 2012 (he moved to Washington in the Mike Morse deal last year). Ray is a Double-A lefty starter with some promise on one hand, and a place among Carson Cistulli’s fringe prospects exercise at FanGraphs on the other. BP’s Jason Parks seems to sum up popular sentiment on Ray quite nicely:

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buehrlegroan

Here’s something rather interesting, though there isn’t a whole lot of meat on it as yet. And by “not a whole lot,” I mean nothing more than just this, basically:

Mark Buehrle rumours?

The fantasy-focussed site KFFL.com seems to have noticed the tidbit, but all they’re adding at this point is this:

The Toronto Blue Jays are shopping SP Mark Buehrle this offseason. It’ll be difficult to deal him because his contract was heavily backloaded.

Hmmm…

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