The Untouchables

With the Winter Meetings still a week away, we are officially in the baseball wilderness. Signings pop up here and there but mostly it is baseless speculation and wish fulfillment by writers and fans alike.

Bob Elliott attracted some attention this week when he wrote the Blue Jays are both “in” on Heath Bell and considering trading Colby Rasmus to the Royals. Amazingly, only one of these things is beyond the realm of possibility.

I have a friend — no, wait, a SOURCE! — who works for the Blue Jays. This source is tangentially connected to creating materials (collateral) for the upcoming season. The directive came from on high at 1 Blue Jays Way – there are only two “safe” names to use on Jays promotional materials this winter – Jose Bautista and Ricky Romero.

That’s it. Two guys. All the rest, Brett Lawrie included, are fair game.

Alex Anthopoulos and his cabal of scouts and evaluators are not in any position to hold many cows as sacred. Acquiring talent is their job and the talent they have is constantly in flux. It isn’t so much about selling high and buying low as it is about getting more and more better players, at all positions.

If moving out Colby Rasmus in favor of a high-end relief pitcher is a move they need to make, they will do it. If trading Brett Lawrie for a number one starter appears on their laps, they’ll take it.

The new CBA removes the net in some ways. The pipeline of talent into the Jays system just had its capacity reduced. They need to be even more nimble than before, always vigilante in search of the upgrades they desperately crave.

In some ways this is obvious and counter-intuitive. Of course they’ll trade anyone. Only a fool doesn’t pull the trigger when some other GM comes calling to overpay. It was a little bit shocking for me to hear this laid so bare. Only two names.

That said: would Vernon Wells’ name have appeared on this list this time last year? Consider this a more conservative approach to past years, when gigantic images of recently traded players featured prominently around the Rogers Centre.

No one is safe. Be on your guard at all times. Buy a new jersey at your peril! Alex Anthopoulos cares not for your feelings and gladly breaks hearts without a moment’s notice. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.