My brain seriously needed a break from the Winter Meetings this evening, and Alex Anthopoulos made sure it was smooth sailing for me, continuing to not do a damn thing– at least not publicly– while I was lounging around kinda not giving a shit. Here’s what we missed!
OHKA CRISIS!!!! An actual move, and holy shit, it’s for Tomo Ohka! The one-time member of the doomed Ohka-Thomson-Zambrano triumvirate has reinvented himself as a knuckleballer and, according to the tweet from Shi Davidi breaking the news of the deal, he may start in double-A. Can you say knuckleball practice for new catcher-of-the-future A.J. Jimenez? Because Gideon Turk of Blue Jays Plus sure can.
The Jays made another move this evening, too, sending out a press release notifying us of their having officially removed Thad Weber from the 40-man roster so that he can complete his move to the N.C. Dinos of Korea– the same team Eric Thames will be playing for! The move could be Rule 5 related, as the open spot could be used to select someone. Last month at FanGraphs, Marc Hulet listed his favourite potential pick-ups, and while it’s not a terribly impressive group (Marc’s top pick is Jays reliever Ryan Tepera), there’s a potentially intriguing infielder there… though he hasn’t played above A-ball. So… yeah, a big whatever on the Rule 5.
The real fascinating item from tonight, though, was a tweet from Jon Heyman, who says that the Yankees– yes, the Yankees– were offered Brandon Phillips by the Reds in exchange for Brett Gardner, but were rebuked. In case you don’t know, like Colby Rasmus, Gardner is centre fielder a year away from free agency. I’d ask incredulously if that’s how bad Phillips’ contract is viewed, but then there’s also this hilariousness from another Heyman tweet: “before Yanks turned down Phillips-for-Gardner bid, Phillips asked to re-open his contract (add $) to agree to deal.” (Ken Rosenthal adds that he hears Phillips has a no-trade clause that includes the Yankees, which explains this, and makes it far, far less hilarious.)
It’s certainly possible that the Reds just don’t want Rasmus (perhaps money– he’ll make about double this year what Gardner does– or because of Walt Jocketty’s connection with St. Louis)– and I’m assuming here that the two clubs would have at least known about the mutual interest– but… yeah, is Phillips’ contract that bad? I don’t think it’s great, but that bad? Is the Jays’ lack of comfort with Anthony Gose the issue? The money that’s owed Phillips this year? Beyond? We’re getting pretty deep into thinking about a trade discussion that we don’t know ever even happened, but the similarities of the players’ situations and the teams’ perceived surplus makes you kind of think that it must have. Right?
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