Hot Stove log, November 19th: Jays make strong push for Upton

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Isn’t this just
the cat’s *** (not sure what that means; kind of disturbs me).  When new first broke that the Diamondbacks were shopping young
superstar outfielder Justin Upton,
all I kept hearing was Red Sox, Yankees and maybe Marlins, Rockies.  I said to myself, “Self, why aren’t the Jays
dipping their toes in these proverbially bluest of blue waters?”



Turns out, Alex Anthopoulos was way ahead of me. 

Just before
writing my update yesterday, there were rumours that a ‘mystery team’ had
stepped forward with interest in Upton that pushed the Red Sox to the ‘back-burner’.  I thought, “Self, it couldn’t be the Jays,
could it?”

It was the
Jays.  Anthopoulos continues his
aggressive nature this offseason (which I love
by the way, it’s been a long time since the city of Toronto has seen a gutsy
and savvy GM for any of its major
sports teams) and has stepped forward with interest in one of the game’s
brightest young stars that has knocked the financial pantheons of the game off
the trail.  Even if he doesn’t pull off a
deal, well done, sir, well done.



So, let the speculation begin: Who would the Jays have to part with to land
Upton.  Dave Parkes over at thescore.com has a great piece wherein the
comments throw some things back and forth.

For my part,
knowing the D’Backs want the farm in return for Upton, the Jays will likely
have to give up prized young outfielder Travis
Snider
in the deal.  Parkes
speculates that they Jays would also have to include one of their three
prospect catchers in the deal, either J.P.
Arencibia
, Travis D’Arnaud or Carlos Perez and then they would likely
have to round out the deal with pitching; one major-league ready starter and
one prospect.

That is an
awful lot to surrender, but let’s consider just how much Upton would mean to
the Jays.  He’s signed through 2015 at
just under $50-million.  Reasonable for a
guy who most think is about to step up into superstardom and is already
considered one of the better five-tool players around.  23-year-olds with his pedigree, talent, and
resume never become available.

The Jays have
serious depth in pitching and could afford to give up some pieces to get
Upton.  Snider is the piece that would
admittedly be hardest to give up, but really, if you could start Snider or
Upton at one of your corner outfield spots, I think the choice is obvious.

People say
that Arencibia is untouchable, but here’s something to chew on:  The Jays are reportedly still very interested
in signing catcher Miguel Olivo, who
would likely receive a 2 year deal with an option.  The fact that the Jays are considering
signing Olivo shows me that they could consider moving Arencibia.  They would have Olivo and Jose Molina in the fold for next year
with promising prospects Travis D’Arnaud
and Carlos Perez on their way.  Arencibia becomes expendable if Olivo is
attained.

If the Jays
were to offer a deal centered around Snider and Arencibia, they might not have
to give up as much pitching.  Throw in Shaun Marcum (easily the most tradable
of the big four, not that I like saying that) and either Josh Roenicke or Zach
Stewart
and I can see the D’Backs seriously considering a deal.

Having said all that, I still think it’s a very
small possibility that Arizona deals Upton at all and we’re all ignoring that
Upton does have a four-team trade veto list. 
If I was a betting man, I would suggest T.O. is on that list.  American players tend to not want to come
here when they’ve had no real experience in Canada.

Like I said
at the outset, the fact that Anthopoulos is being so aggressive for top-tier
(but still financially-feasible and young) players shows me that this guy knows
what he’s doing.  He rebuilt the Jays
sorry farm system in less than a year and is using it to entice teams to trade
their superstars.  Upton, Uggla, Greinke,
the list goes on and will likely get bigger.

There were
also a couple small trades yesterday and some minor moves today…

 

The New York
Yankees
trade 1B Juan Miranda to
the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Scott Allen.

Miranda isn’t
exactly a bonafide everyday player, but there is some talent there.  He was being blocked at first base in New
York by Mark Teixeira and with Jorge Posada moving to DH, there was
literally no room for him in the Bronx. 
In Arizona, he’ll potentially have a spot playing first if the D’Backs
can’t fill the hole.  If not, he could be
a quality bench player.

Allen is a
19-year-old who was drafted by the D’Backs in the 11th Round in 2009
draft and has some upside, but he’s a long way from the majors.


The
Colorado Rockies trade INF Clint Barmes to the Houston Astros for RHP Felipe Paulino.

Barmes was a
long-time Rocky who had earned the respect of his teammates and is considered
one of the “good guys” in baseball.  He
was likely going to be non-tendered by Colorado with their crowded infield
situation so the deal made sense for the Rockies who turn it into a quality
young starter.  Barmes will likely get
the chance to play every day at short for the ‘Stros and shouldn’t see his
number drop off because of leaving Coors Field. 
Houston’s band-box may be more hitter-friendly.

The
27-year-old Paulino owns a career 6-21 record with a 5.83 ERA over parts of
three seasons in Houston, but has always had talent.  His biggest problem could be his conditioning
at 6’2″ and 270lbs.  The Rockies will
wait and see if his talent develops and he’ll likely get a shot at the rotation
in the spring.

 

Odds
& Ends

·        
Upton
is not the only big name potentially on the move away from the desert; The D’Backs
have reportedly receive a lot of interest for slugging 3B Mark Reynolds.  The A’s have
been linked, but Reynolds has the right to reject trades to Oakland.

·        
The
Twins are reportedly interested in retaining Carl Pavano and one of his former teams, the Marlins, are also
interested, as are the Rockies.  Pavano
reportedly wants “Lilly money”, i.e. 3yr/$33-million, which likely prices out
the Fish.  I find it hard to believe he’ll
get that money and if I were a GM, I’d be running away as fast as I could.  Talk to the Yankees if you need confirmation
on that.

·        
Rangers
President Nolan Ryan expects the
Yankees to outbid them on Cliff Lee.  It’s looking more and more like he’ll be
wearing pin-stripes next season.

·        
Both
the Yankees and Phillies are interested in the bevy of left-handed relievers on
the market: Pedro Feliciano, Scott Downs, J.C. Romero, Brian Fuentes,
Hisanori Takahashi, and Arthur Rhodes.

·        
Jayson Werth is pretty certainly not coming back
to Philadelphia.

·        
The
Nationals will likely trade OF Josh
Willingham
before next year.

·        
6
teams are said to be interested in trading with the Red Sox for Marco Scutaro and they are looking for
bullpen help in return.  The teams right
now are the Cardinals, Reds, Padres, and Giants if they can’t bring back Juan Uribe.

 

More tomorrow
on Derek Jeter who is about to
receive a low-ball offer from the Yankees of 3yr/$45-million.  I’m going to wait for this one to develop
more before I comment.

Also tomorrow, I’ll
try to fit in some talk on Zack Greinke
and the trade talks with him.  Do the
Jays have a chance?  Should they want
him?

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