Hot Stove log: November 18th

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Only one
major move to speak of yesterday in terms of transactions, and it involved the
Jays.  We’ll get to that in a
second.  First off, I’d like to
congratulate Ron Gardenhire on
finally winning the AL Manager of the Year. 
He’s been the runner up for the award five times in eight years and could have won the award any one of
those years in my opinion.  He routinely
takes a Twins team with moderate
talent on paper and makes them into perennial contenders.  The things he gets out of his teams are
nothing short of amazing. 

Bud Black took home the honours in the NL for
leading the Padres to a completely
unexpected season and but for a late season swoon, could have won the NL West
title over the eventual champs.

Now on to the
stove…


The
Toronto Blue Jays acquire OF Rajai Davis from the Oakland Athletics for RHP Trystan Magnuson and RHP Danny Farquhar.

The Jays add
some outfield depth by acquiring speedster Rajai
Davis
from the A’s for two Double-A relievers.  Acquiring Davis is likely more of a depth
move than anything else as he can effectively play all three outfield positions
and is easily the Jays’ biggest stolen base threat going forward. 

This does
mean that Fred Lewis‘ days in
Toronto are likely numbered as he does not appear willing to accept a fourth or
fifth outfielder role; don’t expect the Jays to tender him before next week.

If I were John Farrell (which I fairly certain I
am not) and the current Jays roster was my opening day roster, Davis would be
my starting centerfielder.  He’s much better there than Vernon Wells who if slotted in either
right or left field would become an above-average fielder again, something he
has not been in centerfield for a few years now. 

I’ve said all
along that Jose Bautista is more
valuable as a third baseman because quality defensive third basemen with formidable
bats are much harder to find than corner outfielders.  Playing Travis
Snider
, Wells and Davis in the outfield would give the Jays a legitimate
leadoff hitter in Davis who when combined at the top-of-the-order with Yunel Escobar could be just what the
Jays need for the power-heavy middle of the lineup.

If however,
the Jays acquire another infielder (they are apparently at least showing
interest in Adrian Beltre, although
the price tag is likely way too high
as I’ll explain soon), conceivably Bautista would stay in RF with Davis
becoming a viable fourth outfielder with speed off the bench.

The Jays gave
up two arms that both have realistic shots at being quality major-league
relievers in Canadian-born Trystan
Magnuson
and closer-type Danny
Farquhar
.  Chances are only one of
them will stay in the majors for any length of time so this deal is a solid one
for the Jays who have a wealth of quality relievers in their system.



Now on to the
rumours, and there are a lot…


Rumours

Justin Upton
As I mentioned yesterday, D’Backs GM
Kevin Towers has floated the idea of
trading young future superstar Justin
Upton
.  If I were the GM of the D’Backs,
I would never consider such a brash move, but it’s clear that Towers wants to
shake things up in the desert.

Not
surprisingly, there is interest from half
the league
.  The most serious four
teams from what I can tell are The Red
Sox
, Yankees, Rockies, and Marlins.

SI’s Jon Heyman tweeted yesterday that one
AL exec. told him, “what [the Diamondbacks] want is ridiculous”.  As Heyman acknowledged, it should be.  He’s a future superstar!

What the D’Backs
want is a package of four to five players that would include two young and
controllable major-leaguers and two to three high impact prospects.

According to
Heyman, although the Rockies and Yankees have both “kicked the tires” about
Upton, the Red Sox have the most logical shot at landing him.  The package would start with Jacoby Ellsbury
and Daniel Bard and would likely
also include Casey Kelly among
others.

There were
rumours that the Marlins showed serious interest and were said to be considering
parting with Rickey Nolasco and Logan Morrison to get the talks
going.  I haven’t seen anything else that
would suggest the Fish are any closer to a deal with Arizona.

The Yankees
are unlikely to part with the talent Arizona is looking for, which is smart as
they would butcher their already mediocre (at best) farm system and likely
would also have to part with Phil Hughes.

As for the
Rockies, Arizona would likely have to receive even more compensation for Upton
to consider trading him within their division. 
Colorado has been persistent though, so maybe they’re willing and able
to make a deal.  Multiple sources have
confirmed that Colorado is still inquiring about the young outfielder.


Adrian Beltre
Yesterday started off with the A’s apparently formally making an offer to free
agent third baseman Adrian Beltre
reportedly worth $45-million over 5 years. 
However, the Red Sox are said to have a ceiling of 4 years and
$52-million on Beltre so that deal would fall short.  Later in the day, it was revealed that the A’s
would go as high as $60-million over 5 years for the slugger, but Beltre’s camp
is reportedly using Torii Hunter‘s
deal as a blueprint (i.e. $90-million over 5 years!!!).

Needless to
say, it’s doubtful that Beltre will get that kind of money, especially since
the only team interested in him that could offer that amount is the Red Sox, or
maybe the Angels.

The Jays were
reportedly interested in Beltre, but even at $9-million a season (which appears
to be the absolute lowest being
offered to him), the Jays will likely be out of the running, at least for a
deal lasting 4 to 5 years.

Here’s my
take on Beltre:  The guy only seems to
perform at a truly elite level in contract years (remember when he hit 48
homers with the Dodgers and then cashed in long-term with Seattle?) so I find it hard to believe that anyone would give him
the kind of money he’s asking for, nor should
they consider it.  More than likely,
Beltre’s numbers will fall slightly in the coming years.  Note to Alex
Anthopoulos
: STAY AWAY!!!!!

Other teams reportedly
interested in Beltre include Baltimore,
the Angels, Cleveland, San Francisco,
Colorado and Pittsburgh, but most if not all of those teams will be out of the
running for the kind of money that will land him.


Albert Pujols
Here’s an interesting tidbit:  Heyman
also talked to Cardinals President Bill DeWitt yesterday about the looming
contract talks with Albert Pujols.  DeWitt reportedly told Heyman that using Alex Rodriguez‘s 10yr/$275-million deal
as a blueprint was out of the question and apparently when Heyman asked about
an 8yr/$240-million offer, DeWitt questioned the $30-million salary that deal
would imply.

I would
suggest that any other team interested in acquiring Pujols (i.e. the BoSox,
Mets or another large market team with deep pockets) will be perfectly willing
to offer Pujols, the game’s best player by far, $30-million a season.  Allegedly, the Cards are not willing to spend that. 
This s**t’s about to get interesting.


Odds and Ends
In other news, the Rays appear
to be willing to part with shortstop Jason
Bartlett
but are less likely to move Matt
Garza
or B.J. Upton (Ken Rosenthal)

The Padres will likely tender arbitration-eligible
outfielder Ryan Ludwick who had been
pegged by MLBTR as
a non-tender candidate.  This means San
Diego has a lot of depth in the outfield, especially with the recent
acquisition of Cameron Maybin.  Expect more trades from SoCal.

The White Sox and Tigers appear to be leading the charge for free agent OF/1B/DH Adam Dunn.  The Sox are also pursuing Hideki Matsui.

The Phillies and free agent OF Jayson Werth are reportedly very far
apart on a deal.  So far apart that
Philadelphia is looking at short-term replacements in Carlos Quentin, Jeff
Francoeur
and even the exiled Jermaine
Dye
.  Also, the Red Sox, who are said
to be frontrunners for Werth, are apparently not willing to pay him his requested $100-million.

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, Colorado is looking to upgrade at third base.  Ty
Wigginton
, Jorge Cantu, Jose Lopez, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Beltre are all rumoured.  Also according to Renck, Washington, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are all aggressively pursuing Jorge de la Rosa.  It’s likely, however, that he will wait until
after Cliff Lee signs so that more
large market teams become interested.

The Yankees
are reportedly about to offer Derek
Jeter
a 3-year contract somewhere between $45-million and $60-million.  They are willing to go over market value for
their captain, but only for three years. 
Jeter apparently want four or five years.

Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reprted that a baseball official (whatever the hell that
means) says he could see Texas, Milwaukee and Toronto becoming involved
in talks for Zack Greinke.

Finally, according to
Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Marlins intend to spend the money they saved on Dan Uggla on an established starting
pitcher such as Javier Vazquez or Carl Pavano who had his best year in
South Beach.

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