Archive for the ‘Winter Meetings’ Category

colbyhit

I’m not sure if he was just “hearing” this from Bob Elliott’s report, which I addressed last night, but here’s Joel Sherman of the New York Post in the vaguest of terms on Colby Rasmus:

It remains a smart move to consider on the Jays’ part, with the very cheap Anthony Gose already in the fold, and able to contribute enough with the glove and on the bases to keep his bat in the lineup, and with Rasmus staring at free agency a year from now, where another strong season– which is hardly a given– will push his price to astronomical, Ellsbury-like levels.

Colby did make mechanical adjustments over his first couple of years in Toronto, the culmination of which may have been his outstanding 2013 season, but the BABIP– oh, man, the BABIP. For his career, when he’s put the ball in play, Rasmus has hit .298 over 2600 plate appearances. However, in his two outstanding, four-plus win seasons in 2010 and 2013 the mark spiked, jumping to .354 and .356 in those years respectively.

I don’t know if you can quite call those proper outliers, given that we’re talking about two of his five full, big league seasons, but it’s a bit scary to think about where his bat ended up in the other three years, posting wRC+’s of 89, 90, and 83.

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recap

Here’s a handy digest of what went down during Day Two in Orlando, which… once again was pretty effing slow…

We woke up on Day Two finding Harry Crumb on the case, ferreting out for us a bunch of fresh reading material, including what may have been the most intriguing bit of innuendo we’d see all day: Buster Olney’s tweet that the Phillies are listening on Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. (Note: All of the prospects, Alex. All of the prospects.)

The Rajai Davis era ended in Toronto, as the Jays’ now-former fourth outfielder signed a two-year, $10-million offer with the Detroit Tigers, allowing all kinds of Jays fans to piss and moan about how great a fit he was on the roster (he was) while being completely oblivious to the fact that a guy like Anthony Gose will cost literally about a tenth of that much over the same time period. Resource allocation, people. Resource allocation… brought to you by Rogers (TM).

Baseball America’s Ben Badler noted that it’s possible that both of Japan’s top two pitchers may wind up in the big leagues in 2014, as he passed along rumblings that Kenta Maeda– who made the all-tournament team at last spring’s World Baseball Classic– may be posted this winter.

Cleveland’s Justin Masterson is reportedly on the block– or at least being listened on– and apparently so is Asdrubal Cabrera. Could they both find their way to Toronto? They could, but probably not. Might fit, though.

It was revealed by Shi Davidi that the Jays have named a first base coach, and it’s Tim Leiper, who was promoted internally from the player development side, has worked with Canada Baseball, and is former manager of the Ottawa Lynx!

Rumours swirled about Brett Anderson being coveted by other teams, and I wondered if the reported interest meant that he wasn’t the player who’d failed his physical in the fallen-apart Sergio Santos deal that became knowledge yesterday. Anderson ended up on the move, getting traded to Colorado.

In the middle of a sloooooooow day, I noted that Kevin Youkilis doesn’t appear to be a fit for the Jays. Ugh. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks, Angels, and White Sox pulled off a trade that was the talk of the league most of the afternoon, and when it became official, I took a look at the market-shaping implications it may have on the Jays.

At the end of the afternoon Alex Anthopoulos met with the media, revealing that some free agent prices had gone down, that he was reluctant to move his best starting pitching prospects (i.e. Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman), and talking a little bit about The Policy– the club’s supposed policy about limiting player contracts to five years or less.

We then got an update at the Masahiro Tanaka situation, which is still unresolved, and soon after took a look at the pitching market, which I reminded is only just beginning, really. In the same piece I passed along word that Mark Buehrle has been asked about during these meetings, which led to a tanent about his surprising value, and how moving him could actually be a very large help to the Jays.

The pitching market remained the focus, as we next looked at a report from Bob Elliott, suggesting that Colby Rasmus is being shopped for pitching. In the piece I wondered if a one-for-one deal with Cincinnati that would bring back pitcher Homer Bailey– who is also in his final year before free agency– might make sense for both sides.

Lastly, I went back to Elliott’s piece to look at his surprise that Alex Anthopoulos is now referring to the club’s window for contention as being five years long, and did my best to unpack all the nonsense surrounding the Jays’ supposed policy of limiting free agent contracts to five years long. It’s the economy, stupid.

anthopoulos2013WM

This, I think, despite it’s unseemly J.P. Ricciardi-ishness, is actually a good thing– despite what Bob Elliott will try to suggest to you through the power of all-caps in his latest for the Toronto Sun. In that piece, after dropping the Colby Rasmus rumour that I addressed in the previous post here, he tells us, rather sarcastically, that “in other news” the Jays are “one year into a five-year window.”

He goes on:

Somehow, we remember from last December general manager Alex Anthopoulos saying the trades gave the Jays a chance to win the next three years.

“I said three-to-five years,” said Anthopoulos during his daily briefing.

Indeed, we’ve all been using the three-year bit of it, but AA’s right! Ken Davidoff of the New York Post certainly added the “five year” bit in a piece back in January, and Elliott suggests there are other instances, as well. And that’s a great thing!

Why, you ask? Because even though Elliott says that “the Jays HAVE to contend next season” (see what I mean), they really don’t. I mean they should, and a lot of jobs would be in jeopardy if they didn’t, and we obviously all want them to, but “have” is a bit of a strong word, and “HAVE” is plainly ludicrous. Like… what would happen? Pestilence???

Fortunately for all of us– though he may feel more desperation than he lets on in his posturing– Alex Anthopoulos quite obviously gets this. Elliott explains:

The new news about this new, five-year window came when Anthopoulos was asked since the 2014 season is of more importance compared to last year or any other year, why he would not trade prospects for immediate help?

“It depends, I don’t look at it that way, if that was the case we would trade everybody (prospects),” Anthopoulos told reporters. “You have to balance the short terms vs. the long term.”

This is who you want running your team, folks– provided, that is, that you don’t have an Ilitch or a Steinbrenner at the top. Certainly not media guys egging on the braying moron set into championing causes against their own interests– which, it turns out, papers like the Sun are kinda good at.

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rasmus-gose

Bob Elliott’s latest for the Toronto Sun cuts straight to the point from the first patented Sun-style sentenceragraph:

Colby Rasmus is on the market and has been offered to two teams by the Blue Jays for starting pitching.

Well, OK then. That’s not entirely surprising, and if another team bites with interest in giving up a huge arm for him, I can understand why the club would be comfortable going with Anthony Gose in centre.

That may seem inconsistent to those who’ve noticed how not comfortable I am with the suggestions of having Ryan Goins play second base, but it’s really based on two things: the fact that Gose brings his elite defence to a position that’s more important than second base, and the fact that he’s two-and-a-half years younger than Goins, and having about the same amount of success. In fact, Gose was in New Hampshire a year before Goins, and at three-and-a-half years younger, he put up a .348 wOBA to Goins’ .336. Neither setup is ideal, of course.

Speaking of Rasmus, though, here’s a thought: as we discussed in the last post, the Reds may be looking to deal a starter. One of the possibilities there for them would be moving Homer Bailey rather than keeping him as he heads into his last season before free agency. Billy Hamilton is pencilled in to play centre for Cincinnati, but if they want him to get more seasoning before handing him the job– his line in his first crack at triple-A was just .256/.308/.343– or if they move Brandon Phillips with the thought of shifting Hamilton to second base, maybe Rasmus for Bailey works. Both are in their final arbitration years– with Rasmus projected to make about $3-million less– and they both occupy a position of strength for their current clubs, and would be moving to a position of weakness the the acquiring team in a deal.

Just crazy enough to work? Hmmm…

So… there’s that.

There’s also another interesting angle in Elliott’s latest, but I’ll save that for the next post!

buehrle

As I’ve mentioned at least a couple of times today, Jays fans seem to be getting awfully antsy about the fact that their club hasn’t made a major move yet. Shit, some hopeless person calling in to Jeff Blair’s show this morning was telling folks to book it that the waves made by the Jays’ big off-season splash had already calmed to nothing– they were getting Dioner Navarro, and that’s it.

For fuck sakes.

I know I’m preaching to the choir on a thing like that here, but it really does seem, especially as these Winter Meetings are now half over, with the Jays having done nothing, like it’s a battle to help people maintain perspective out here. Not that that’s any different than any other time of the year, I guess, and not that it’s not at least a little bit worrisome that the Yankees have gone out onto the market wielding a giant club made of money, but with the Jays focus being so clearly on pitching, there are a few things that we’d do well to keep in mind.

Namely: Tanaka, Garza, Jimenez, Santana, Burnett, Arroyo, Hammel, Colon, Price, Masterson, Lee, Hamels, Samardzija, for starters. And how about the fact that, as I noted in the last post, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto says that there’s “a long list” of pitchers they’re considering.

For those of you who’ve forgotten the title of the post, here’s a hint who might be out there:

Here’s another one:

Now, obviously that one doesn’t exactly help the Jays’ rotation depth issue, necessarily. And since Anthopoulos had been acknowledging he’s taken calls on just about everybody on his roster ($1000 says it’s only “just about” because of Melky and Maicer– though no, because even they might get calls from clubs hoping the Jays would pay a bunch of their salaries), I’m not sure it’s terribly newsworthy.

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tanaka3

I guess I’ve been covering this Masahiro Tanaka business quite a bit over the course of the off-season so far, which I’m not sure it is the best idea, given the way the whole Yu Darvish debacle went down. But while I don’t want to get my hopes up anywhere close to that much that the Jays might land him, Tanaka is just such a central figure in how this off-season is going to play out that whatever happens with him bears watching. And right now, that “whatever” doesn’t seem to be much…

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that MLB has undersold themselves on this one, and that having the top pitcher in Japan pitch for them for two extra years is worth $20-million (plus whatever Tanaka’s salary would be) to Rakuten, but… I still think he gets posted. (Passan also tweeted that Sasaki said it’s Tanaka’s dream to play in the United States, which probably isn’t going to get in the way of a pure business transaction, but you never know.)

I’m hopeful that he does, at least, because the market– and the Jays, in particular– could use another top-quality body for everyone to go drooling over. Not that they wouldn’t also be involved themselves, by the sounds of it, but more realistically, Tanaka would probably end up somewhere else, which would at least take that club out of the running for whoever remains on the market.

Justin Masterson and Jeff Samardzija are two of those names, of course, and the Jays certainly have interest there. But they’re hardly the only ones.

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anthopoulos2013WM

What!!?! An actual new picture!

There hasn’t been a whole lot for the local reporters who have made the trip down to Orlando to report on today, and Alex Anthopoulos wasn’t giving them a whole lot of meat when he met with them this afternoon, but he did give them a few things, as he laid out the tightrope that he’s trying to walk as he aims to make his club better without killing the upper levels of his farm system or taking the budget to a place where he’s not authorized to go.

Nobody ever said it was going to be easy. And… uh… yeah. Turns out it’s not. But part of it not being easy, I think, is that this little game of poker we’re involved in by proxy requires quite a bit of patience. That’s not made any easier by the fact that rival clubs have been out there splashing around cash, but let’s not forget that last year the shoe was on the other foot, and in future seasons, with a bit more cheap, young talent hopefully on the roster, and a few giant commitments off the books, it can very well be again. That is, if Alex Anthopoulos is able to keep his young talent in the organization, which… at the moment it looks like he’s trying as badly to do as we’ve all been hoping.

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