Archive for the ‘Winter Meetings’ Category

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I don’t think there is a lot of value in producing a tonne of Assorted Weekennd Thoughts this morning, as I already covered so much as it happened. But definitely check out Friday night’s pieces on the debut of Daniel Norris, the injury to Melky Cabrera, and Saturday’s game threat, in which looked back at John Gibbons’ over-managing on Saturday, and the meaning of Melky’s comments about wanting to stay here in Toronto.

But before we depart, let’s have a quick thought and a look at the road ahead.

One quick thought…

An ERA of 3.51, a 4.24 FIP, and a 3.98 xFIP. Over six-and-one-third innings per start. 139 Ks and 51 walks in 166.2 innings.

No, those aren’t exactly ace-type numbers, but they’re not awful, either. Certainly not in the AL East, and certainly not for a guy who routinely outpitches his FIP.

Those numbers, of course, represent the last 25 starts the Jays have gotten from R.A. Dickey. Again: not what we ever expected, and ultimately disappointing, but you sure can do whole lot worse for $12-million per year, too.

I dunno…

The Road Ahead

The Jays lost two of three to the Boston Red Sox over the weekend, both of which were close, and one of which was positively gut-wrenching, blowing, as they did, a three run lead in the eighth and a two run lead in the tenth. Remarkably, though, the Jays only lost a half game in the race for the Wild Card.

Of course, losing any ground while also having three fewer games left on the schedule is hardly a good thing. It’s a major, major problem for the Jays’ dimly flickering hopes — especially dim as they now are, with Melky Cabrera out for the season. But they’re not licked yet! And they’ve especially got a fighting change with the lowly Cubs — loaded, as they are, with impressive young talent — coming to the Rogers Centre for three, and because the teams ahead of may well beat up on each other.

As we did prior to the weekend’s series, let’s take a look at who we ought to be cheering for this week.,

Cubs @ Jays (Obviously!)
Astros @ Mariners (Not good having to rely on the Astros, eh? At least the Jays have 4 left against Seattle.)
Royals @ Tigers (Could go either way on this, but would love to see KC drive the Tigers out of the race.)
Angels @ Cleveland (A single make-up game. Go Halos!)
Twins @ Cleveland (What’s worse: the unbalanced schedule or Cleveland’s racist logo?)
Orioles @ Red Sox (The Jays are 10 back, but have six games left with Baltimore. Also: fuck ‘em,)
A’s @ White Sox (A’s trying to put the other WC back in play? Do it! Will cheer for them this weekend, though.)

The weekend’s schedule doesn’t look terribly awful for the Jays, either! To wit: Rays @ Jays, A’s @ Mariners, Red Sox @ Tigers, Yankees @ Orioles (x4), Cleveland @ Tigers.

Go Jays!


Now a little something to kill time on a Friday afternoon: it’s the DJF podcast!

And today we’ve got just Drew and I, with no one filling in for the hopelessly disinterested Wally Pippp, as we talk about the Winter Meetings, from a Jays perspective– as opposed to the Getting Blanked Podcast we recorded just before, which looked at them on the whole! (You should listen to that one, too, FYI).

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San Francisco Giants v Toronto Blue Jays

This was going to be just one part of a larger post on Day Four of the Winter Meetings, but… it’s done now, and I’m sort of thinking, why hold it while I write up a bunch of other stuff? So… here you go!

An interesting development that, in addition to the Rule 5 draft, I slept through this morning was some talk about the Jays becoming a breeding ground for knuckleball pitchers.

In yesterday’s reignition of the Ohka Crisis the Jays made a shrewd move, giving A.J. Jimenez a knuckleballer– which Ohka returns as– to practice catching with in double-A. The move also means bringing an extra knuckler to camp, in order to give Josh Thole, Eric Kratz– maybe even Dioner Navarro!– the chance to work with the pitch without having to be exclusive with R.A. Dickey

Most impressive of all, though, is that this doesn’t seem to be just a catcher thing:

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This was going to be just one part of a larger post on Day Four of the Winter Meetings, but… it’s done now, and I’m sort of thinking, why hold it while I write up a bunch of other stuff? So… here you go!

While you were sleeping– or… wait, was that maybe just me?– the Rule 5 draft happened down at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, and the Jays actually made a selection!

Shi Davidi was the first in my timeline to tweet that the club had selected RHP Brian Moran from the Mariners. Brendan Kennedy was the first one in my feed to later tweet, though, that the Jays had immediately flipped him to the Angels for international cap space. And it was Gregor Chisholm who tweeted later still that the amount of the cap space the Jays have added is $244,000.

That’s a tidy piece of business, I guess, but it’s also slightly unfortunate, because it means for a minute we have to try to wrap our brains around the international spending pool limits, and how the trading of those resources actually works. At least a little bit.

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Between yesterday’s flurry of rumours and my sudden and severe Winter Meetings fatigue I wasn’t able to get around to posting about this, but I absolutely will today, because it’s not often that the biggest name in the baseball business world throws his weight behind bringing the game back to the city of Montreal. But that is, I think, a fair characterization of über-agent Scott Boras, and indeed what he did yesterday.

Maybe don’t go jumping for joy just yet though, Montreal– unless it’s simply for the unrelated fact that you’re Montreal, and therefore awesome, with or without baseball– because it’s not exactly like he was Mussolini at the balcony (too soon?) demanding that baseball be brought back post haste.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that someone of his stature in the game would suggest that it’s viable. I just think that if you look at the full extent of what he said that his passion about it wasn’t quite as strong as it appears in the following clip…

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As I noted last night, by this time last year the Jays contingent at the Winter Meetings was headed home. That’s very much not the case this year– or, if they are, they’re doing so with a lot still on their plate, it would appear.

For example, we have this:

And this:

Can’t sleep because of the big deal brewing, right? Right???

Also, most intriguingly, this:

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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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