Archive for the ‘Winter Meetings’ Category

trumbo

The talk of baseball all afternoon– mostly (OK, entirely) because it’s all that there was to talk about– has been the three-team deal between the Angels, Diamondbacks, and White Sox that is finally fully brewed, it seems, after hours of percolating.

In the end outfielder Mark Trumbo has moved to Arizona (along with a couple PTBNLs), pitchers Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago go to Anaheim, and outfielder Adam Eaton winds up in Chicago. And… wow, really? The Angels added two halfway decent pieces to their rotation for Mark Trumbo? Right-handed power, man.

It’s hard to relate this to the kind of return that Jose Bautista could bring in a similarly structured deal, because Trumbo is just about to enter the arbitration process for the first time, but… man. The guy has had an up-and-down career, but it’s evened out to a .250/.299/.469 line over 1850 plate appearances. He’s been liked by the defensive metrics at first base, where… he won’t play in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks already employ America’s First Baseman, Paul Goldschmidt. He’s not rated as highly in the outfield, and… so… sub-.300 on-base, OK defence, two genuine rotation pieces? I mean, Skaggs didn’t have a good year and some of the shine came off him as a prospect, while Santiago isn’t great, but that’s still pretty alright, I think.

Whatever we think of it, the move will certainly end up helping to shape this winter’s slow-developing market. Here’s what’s changed:

- The Angels look like their five-man rotation is set, adding the two new pieces today to an existing triumvirate of Jared Weaver, C.J. Wilson, and Garrett Richards. I’m sure it would still behoove them to search for depth, but probably not at the cost of losing another significant bat, which will make Howie Kendrick harder to extract.

- The other side of that, though, is that the Angels– though nobody took them too seriously as a potential destination in the first place, considering their already bloated payroll– are no longer competition for the starting pitching that the Jays seek.

- The White Sox, on the other hand, have less of that pitching to offer, now that they’ve dealt away Santiago. Ideas of a Chris Sale deal, given his age, contract, and skill was always really, really fanciful, and it seems even more so now.

- Conversely, though, the Diamondbacks appear set to jump into the free agent market for starters, now that they’ve dealt away Skaggs. Nick Piecoro tweets that the club’s GM, Kevin Towers, had said that he wanted to add a power bat and starter (a front-line starter, according to a Ken Rosenthal tweet), and that he’d like to do one through free agency and one by trade. He’s now halfway there.

- On the other hand, Piecoro notes that Arizona could still aim to accomplish that goal through trade, and while they’ve depleted some of their best trade chips by moving Eaton and Skaggs, he wonders if one of their shortstops could help accomplish that goal. Hmmm.

Probably not for a front-line starter, no, but he adds that Didi Gregorious went for Trevor Bauer at this point last year, which could maybe be a template for a deal to send him the other way. I still don’t think the Jays fit here. Gregorious was OK defensively, by the metrics, and his bat disappeared quite considerably in the second half after a hot start to 2013. He’s a right-handed bat and might look pretty nice in a platoon with Ryan Goins if he moved over to second, but that’s not exactly the kind of role you’re going to move a piece Arizona would actually want to move into their rotation for.

- Via the Twitter, an excellent point from @BVHJays as well, as he suggests that losing Skaggs probably removes Arizona from their pursuit of Jeff Samardzija, as well.

In other words, some possibilities we’d considered for the Jays have closed down, some have become more favourable for them, and other new ones have perhaps opened up. Now it’s all up to Alex Anthopoulos to just pull all the right strings.

So… there’s that.

youk

Seriously, an item on Kevin Youkilis?

Yep. That’s where these winter meetings are at, here on midday Tuesday. Which… isn’t exactly why I’ve shut the rest of my life off for these three or four days, but that’s alright. I’m at least not like the many, many other fans getting stupidly antsy about why the Jays haven’t done anything yet, as though they can– or should– force the issue, or as though last year’s Marlins deal was supposed to have been a template for what happened this week– while, apparently, the long-dragging Dickey saga was not.

Anyway, I hadn’t thought a whole lot of Kevin Youkilis– late, of course, of the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and New York Yankees– before he was brought up as a possible platoon partner for Adam Lind in a piece this week by Chris Toman at Gamereax.

He explained, somewhat cautiously:

Youkilis’ 2013 year was so brief — he only played 29 games and made 119 plate appearances — that it’s almost not worth assessing. The season was a write off for him and he didn’t play a game past mid-June after a herniated disk forced him to go under the knife. His ugly year looked like this: .219/.305/.343, .290 wOBA, 78 wRC+ (it was -19 against southpaws).

There’s a lot not to like here, such as his age, injury history, decline, and the Rogers Centre turf. Those were the same concerns associated with DeRosa, though, and that relationship worked out pretty well for the Blue Jays. Youkilis suffered through an injury-plagued 2013 season with the Yankees but has a good track record at the plate, including a strong ability to get on base. The Blue Jays could do better, especially when factoring in the level of risk attached to signing Youkilis, but there’s also potential for reward.

Fair enough points, though clearly the risk is a major factor, as would the fact that, by making a move for the husk of the former Greek God of Walks, the club would make it a lot harder to find themselves a platoon partner for Ryan Goins– which, if they’re seriously going to try to carry his bat (and they shouldn’t), is an absolute necessity.

Ahhh, but it’s all for not, as Nick Cafardo tweets that Youk is starting to draw interest, while Jack Curry adds– both via MLBTR– that he’s told the Yankees that he’d rather play on the west coast. Awww, too bad! But not really.

So… there’s that.

anderson

As easy as it is to speculate that Brett Anderson was the player who failed a physical and nixed three-way deal involving the Jays and the Rangers that would have sent Sergio Santos to Texas and brought a starter back to the Jays– and it is easy, believe me!– maybe we’re being a little bit hasty in just going ahead and assuming that’s what happened.

I don’t say that because, as I noted last week, Anderson’s reputation as a man made of glass slightly more misleading than what those who just look at the starts miss want to assume. On the DL in 2013 for an ankle sprain/foot fracture; on the DL in 2012 and 2011 because of Tommy John surgery; on the DL in 2010 with elbow issues that (presumably) led to the following year’s surgery.

I mean, yeah, it’s four years derailed by injury, but three of those stints are entirely related– not to mention, hopefully, dealt with now that he’s had the elbow reconstruction– while the other is entirely unrelated.

But like I say, that’s not why I suggest we might be a little bit hasty in assuming he was involved in what fell apart for the Jays. I say it because of a thing like this, from Troy Renck of the Denver Post:

The Rockies are moving on multiple fronts Tuesday, revisiting talks with Oakland on starter Brett Anderson while continuing to push to land a late-inning reliever.

The pursuit of Anderson, for now, has discussions for a reliever, which were developing quickly on Monday night, fading slightly. Oakland isn’t in any hurry to deal Anderson, but the deal continues to percolate.

I’ll be honest with you: I don’t know for sure how this stuff works, but you’d kind of think that if a player failed one physical, his team might be reluctant to bother continuing to do work in the hope of moving him elsewhere. Sure, they could hope to pull a fast one on another team, or maybe the Rockies ultimately have a lower bar in terms of what they think is acceptable, medically– or maybe that’s been built into the price– but if he does get dealt, and does pass the physical with the acquiring club, shouldn’t that kind of indicate that he wouldn’t have have failed an earlier one with the Jays? I don’t know. Not necessarily, I guess. But if other teams are still interested, maybe the Jays can still swoop in.

If he actually wasn’t the guy we were speculating about yesterday, given that his injury history is somewhat less troubling than it looks, maybe they should.

So… there’s that.

leiper

That’s him on the left.

Well, they had the Tim part right, it seems, but it’s not the much-rumoured Tim Raines who we’ll see patrolling the first base coach’s box at Rogers Centre next year, but former Ottawa Lynx manager Tim Leiper.

Who, you ask? Tim Leiper! He has a Wikipedia entry and everything! And it looks like he’s on Twitter, at @timleiper! But first, Shi Davidi’s report from Sportsnet:

The Toronto Blue Jays will name Tim Leiper their first base coach next week, rounding out the coaching staff under manager John Gibbons, multiple sources told sportsnet.ca.

The 47-year-old gets promoted from within after serving as a senior advisor, player development for the club last season.

Shi adds that the club is still considering whether to add an extra coach for this season.

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cabreraasd

Do we smell the seeds of a blockbuster?

I highly doubt it, but on the heels of last night’s report that Cleveland is listening on Justin Masterson comes this from Jon Morosi:

Now, on the surface this certainly looks intriguing for a club like the Jays who need help in the rotation and the middle infield, but I’m not so sure. Cabrera, though he played at second base more than any other position in his first full season, back in 2008, and acquitted himself fairly well by UZR, and especially by DRS, in over 1300 innings from 2007 through 2009, but he hasn’t played there since. He also has never earned high marks by those metrics at shortstop– a trend that seems to have been worsening in recent years.

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maeda

Above we see Kenta Maeda. The buzz out of Japan this winter– and all summer long, really– has focussed almost entirely on Masahiro Tanaka, but according to Ben Badler of Baseball America (it’s not paywall’d! read it!), Maeda is a very good pitcher in his own right, and apparently he wants to pitch in the big leagues.

To wit:

Maeda, 25, ranked as Baseball America’s No. 7 prospect at the WBC among players not affiliated with a major league team. Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena, who recently left Cuba to pursue a major league contract, was the No. 10 prospect on the list, while Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu, who signed a six-year, $68 million contract with the White Sox, was No. 3.

Now there’s sentiment that Maeda could be available this offseason once the posting system is finalized.

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rajaicelebrates

It’s not official-official, but it’s official enough that I think I can say… uh… officially that Rajai Davis is no longer a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. I suppose that was true as soon as he hit free agency– we knew it was extremely unlikely he was coming back– but now we know where he’ll land and for how much, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet has confirmed that he’ll sign a two year deal with the Detroit Tigers, while Jon Morosi adds that the terms will pay him $9- or $10-million over the two years.

Benny Fresh further adds that it’s a straight deal, with no options.

That’s a pretty good deal for Rajai, even though he won’t be getting the starting job that he coveted, and he’ll definitely be missed here– the CF-capable, lefty-mashing speedster was actually a perfect fourth outfielder and platoon partner for Adam Lind on this roster– but that salary is also, quite literally, ten times more than a league minimum guy like Anthony Gose, Kevin Pillar, or Moises Sierra will earn this year, should they assume the club’s fourth outfielder role.

And if the Jays can find a cheap caddy for Lind to fit in elsewhere– like the infield? Well, then they’ll be fine, and for quite a bit less money, too.

Works for all involved then, I guess? OK! I mean, Rajai sure looks happy– but who wouldn’t if they just got handed $10-million to be a platoon outfielder?

So… there’s that.