Tagged: trade rumours

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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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.

Hot Stove log, Part I

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With the GMs
convening in Orlando this week for the annual Winter Meetings, the Hot Stove
season is in full swing.  For me, this is
as good as it gets.  I love the rumours
and speculation that come out of this time of year, so much so that I finally
signed up for a Twitter account just to follow the rumours as they happen.  I’ve never been a fan of twitter in the past,
but simply for this reason I think it’s a great utility.

So let’s get
to the happenings in the last few days. 
I’ve already gone over the David
Dejesus
trade so let’s start with the next major move from November 13th.

 

The Florida
Marlins
trade OF Cameron Maybin
to the San Diego Padres for RHP Edward Mujica and RHP Ryan Webb.

I like this
deal a lot for the Padres.  They have a
ridiculous amount of depth in their stellar bullpen and giving up Mujica and
Webb doesn’t effect their expected performance in that department for 2011 all
that much.

People are
down on Maybin because he’s been around for a few years and has yet to live up
to the massive promise he once had in the Tigers’ system, but let’s not forget
that he’ll still only be 24 next year.  I
think the Marlins gave up on him for immediate bullpen help and that this deal
may bite them hard in the future.


Now on to yesterday…


The
Florida Marlins trade 2B Dan Uggla to the Atlanta Braves for UTIL Omar
Infante
and LHP Michael Dunn.

Trade rumours
began to surface for Uggla last season when the Marlins seemed to be dragging
their feet on a long term deal for their slugging second baseman and they
caught fire about a week ago when Uggla reportedly turned down a 4-yr/$48-million
offer from the team. 

Uggla was
reportedly seeking a 5 year deal with Chase
Utley
-type money (just under $15-million a year).  After he rejected the deal, Uggla came out
and said he wanted to stay with the Marlins long term, but that they had
stopped the negotiating process, leading to further speculation that Uggla was
on his way somewhere else.

The Blue Jays showed some serious interest
in acquiring Uggs with the idea of moving either him or Aaron Hill over to third base. 
According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal,
the Jays offered a package of prospects headed by relievers Josh Roenicke and Danny Farquhar with a third prospect (either SS Ryan Goins or OF Darin Mastroianni) also in the mix.

Although the
Fish were looking to upgrade their bullpen in the deal, they were looking for more
proven major league arms and were also looking for a major-league infielder in the
deal.  That’s where the Braves come in.  Reportedly, the Marlins wanted Martin Prado but settled instead for Omar Infante along with lefty reliever Michael Dunn. 

This deal
confuses me a little.  I understand that
the Marlins don’t have a lot of money to throw around and that Uggla likely had
to go, but let’s not forget that not only is Uggla probably the best and most
consistent offensive second baseman in the game (aside from maybe Robinson Cano), he’s one of the most consistent
sluggers at any position. 

Over the last
five years (after being selected in the Rule
5
draft) he’s averaged 31 HR, 93 RBI and a respectable .349 OBP.  He’s also coming off career-highs in almost
every category including batting average which he increased to a .287-mark.

Uggla
deserves Chase Utley money and will no-doubt get it after this year if he has
another consistent campaign, but it seems to me the Marlins could have held out
for a lot more returns for the rare power-hitting two-bagger.



The Florida
Marlins
sign C John Buck to a
3yr/$18-million deal, pending a physical.

The Marlins
are busy.  To replace some of the power they lost in
giving up Uggla and to bolster their backstop situation, the Fish ink Buck to a
3 year deal.  Buck spent last year with
my Jays and was an all-star, but didn’t figure into the team’s long term plans
with catching prospect J.P. Arencibia
appearing ready to take over next year. 

In Buck, the
Marlins get a dependable starting catcher with plus power and improving
defense.  He also proved very adept at
handling the Jays’ young pitching staff and should do the same on South
Beach.  I like this move for the Marlins
as I think last year’s version of Buck is the version you’ll see from now on.



The St. Louis
Cardinals
re-sign RHP Jake Westbrook
to a 2yr/$16.5-million deal.

The Cards
re-upped Westbrook for two more years after he pitched well for them down the
stretch posting a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts. 
Westbrook proved his long list of arm injuries were behind him in 2010
pitching in over 200 innings for the first time since ’06.

The Indians reportedly had interest in
bringing Westbrook back, but never formally made an offer.

I think
Westbrook is a quality middle-of-the-rotation arm when healthy so I like this
move for the Cards.  He has post-season
experience and should be an asset.  Any
more than two years would have been foolish given his injured past so I think
the Cards did the right thing.

And now on to
today…

The Detroit Tigers
sign RHP Joaquin Benoit to a
3yr/$16.5-million deal.

The Tigers
remain busy early in this offseason.  After
re-upping infielders Brandon Inge
and Jhonny Peralta for two years
each, the Tigers go outside the organization to help bolster their bullpen with
Joaquin Benoit.

The second
happiest person in this deal besides Benoit is Rafael Soriano, who just saw his market-value sky-rocket as a
result of this deal.

I’m not sure
about this one, though.  My philosophy is
to never spend a lot of money on your bullpen as it’s so unpredictable what you’re
going to get from one season to the next.  Giving Benoit 3 years and $5.5-million a
season seems foolish, even if he steps into the closer role with the
Tigers.  Benoit had a terrific year last
year, but he probably won’t do it again. 
Anyone who has a breakout year at 33 terrifies me.  I don’t think this deal will work out for
Detroit.

 

RUMOURS:

Apparently
the Red Sox are considering trading
former Jay Marco Scutaro after only
one season in Boston.  Scutaro’s OBP (his
main selling point for signing with the Red Sox) dropped back closer to his
career-average (shouldn’t have been a surprise) and the BoSox are weighing
their options. 

Scutaro is
set to make $5-million in 2011 and has a three-pronged option for 2012.  The Red Sox have a $6-million option, Scutaro
has a $3-million option and there’s a $1.5-million buyout.  This means that Boston is currently on the
hook for at least one year and $6.5-million and more likely two years and
$8-million given that Scutaro will likely enact his end of the option if he has
another disappointing season. 

This contract
could prove difficult to trade unless someone out there believes he can get
back to his ’09 form.

Jon Morosi reports that only the Cardinals have shown even mild interest
and that the Padres, Pirates, and Reds could use an upgrade at the position and could be potential suitors.

Finally, the Diamondbacks are said to be open to
trading Justin Upton and Stephen Drew.  Arizona’s new GM Kevin Towers has said he would have to be blown away to trade
either one, but reports indicate that Upton is becoming a stronger possibility
for a trade because of the high interest in him from other clubs. 

The Marlins are rumoured to be involved and
could possibly give up Rickey Nolasco
and Logan Morrison.  The Red
Sox
and Yankees are also testing
the waters and the Rays are expected
to weigh in soon.  This could get
interesting, stay tuned.

Blue Jays inquire about Greinke, Gordon: Toronto Sun

Well, this is interesting.  According to Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun, the Jays have inquired about Royals superstar pitcher Zach Greinke and former first overall pick Alex Gordon.

The Blue Jays have inquired about the availability of Kansas City right-hander Zack Greinke.

With Cliff Lee the top free agent on the market, Greinke would
appeal to also-rans in the Lee sweepstakes such as the Texas Rangers,
Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels.

The Royals are looking for two “can’t-miss prospects” as a starting
point in talks on the 2009 American League Cy Young award winner.

Grienke, 26, was 10-14 with a 4.17 ERA in 33 starts this season and will make $13 million US next year.

The Jays have also discussed obtaining Alex Gordon, a former No. 1
draft pick. Gordon started as the Royals third baseman before being
demoted to triple-A Omaha in May to play the outfield. A left-handed
hitter, Gordon batted .215 with eight homers and 20 RBIs in 74 games
with the Royals. He hit .315 with three homers and 44 RBIs in 68 games
at Omaha.

Although, I love the idea of the Jays acquiring Greinke, I think it’s important not to jump on this.  The Royals want at least two front-line prospects for Greinke which means the Jays would likely have to part with Kyle Drabek who would be under control of the Jays until at least 2016.  Greinke, on the other hand, is owed $27-million over the next two years and then is a free agent.  I also find it hard to believe that the Royals would part with Greinke at any point this offseason.  If he’s traded, it will likely be some point during the season or next offseason, depending on how the Royals play this year.  Since the Jays probably won’t realistically be contenders in the next two years, i feel like it would be a bad move, unless Alex Anthopoulous plans to acquire him and then flip him before the deadline if the Jays aren’t contending.

Now Alex Gordon is a different story.  Gordon is a former 1st overall pick who has not panned out, but he has shown flashes of brilliance at times.  Alex Anthopolous could probably wrestle him out of KC for very little.  I have a feeling Gordon could be a very good defensive first-basemen and I believe that’s where he’d play if the Jays got him.  I don’t know what evidence I have to go on, but I really think Gordon is a prime late-bloomer candidate who could do well from a change of scenery.

Winter Meetings — Days 1 and 2

Tomorrow, I send my MLB.com internship application in overnight-mail to Arizona in hopes of securing a spot writing for one of seven teams next spring.  For now, I wait…and write.

I love the Winter Meetings.  As a baseball geek, they help pass the arduously long period of time between the end of the World Series and the beginning of Spring Training.  I also love the fact that there is so much live streaming on MLB.com this offseason.  I get so much baseball, even when the bats have fallen silent in this part of the world.

As usual, this year’s Winter Meetings have not disappointed.  Roy Halladay is still a Blue Jay, but what a surprise it was to hear that the Rays are now interested in his services.  The biggest reason that excites me is that the Rays have probably the best minor league system in baseball.  Grabbing a slice of that delicious pie could make the bitter pill of losing the best pitcher in baseball during his prime taste a tiny bit better.

Even with Halladay still a Jay, there has been a lot of activity in the first few days of the Meetings.  Today, a seven-player, three team blockbuster trade between the Yankees, Tigers and Diamondbacks was executed.  To the Yankees, All-Star centerfielder Curtis Granderson; to the Tigers, four prospects, the juiciest of which is pitcher Max Scherzer.  The Tigers also grabbed pitcher Daniel Schlereth from the D’Backs and outfielder Austin Jackson and lefthander Phil Coke from the Yankees.  Arizona nabbed pitchers Edwin Jackson from the Tigers and Ian Kennedy from the Yankees.

On paper, this deal is a winner for all three teams.  The Yankees get a centerfielder who can do just about anything, the D’Backs get a proven talent to slip in their rotation behind dual-aces Brandon Webb and Dan Haren, and the Tigers dump salary, but get four players in return; two of which have already proven they can succeed at the major-league level.

I think this is a brilliant trade by Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski.  They lose Edwin Jackson who had a great year in 2009, but replaced him with Max Scherzer, who could very well be better already.  They also lose clubhouse presence and fire-starter Curtis Granderson, but gain a bright young outfielder in Austin Jackson who could crack the opening-day roster.  Throw in two other pitchers with tremendous upside, and I really think the Tigers have a winning deal on their hands.

The deal also makes the D’Backs the contenders I thought they would be last year.  If Webb can return to form in 2010, how can they not challenge in the NL West with Webb, Haren and Jackson at the top of their rotation.  They have a great young lineup and I think they’re poised to have a bounce back year in ’10.

As for the Yankees, they get Granderson, but only give up prospects who didn’t look like they were ever going to be given an opportunity in the Bronx.  Jackson, Coke, and Kennedy all have upside and might actually get to prove it with new teams that have fewer obstacles standing between them and the majors.

There were some signings in the first few days of the Meetings as well.  The Red Sox grabbed former Jays shortstop Marco Scutaro just before they commenced.  Even though he only played two season in Toronto, and only one as an everyday player, Scutaro will go down as one of my all-time favourite Jays.  I love the way he plays the game.  Julia and the rest of Red Sox Nation are very lucky to have his services for at least the next two years and he will be an instant fan favourite at Fenway.

The Nationals made waves by signing future Hall-of-Famer Ivan Rodriguez on day one of the Meetings and now have a nice mentor for catcher Jesus Flores and an extremely young pitching staff.  Pudge has a reputation for not being the best game-caller, but his experience will no doubt be an asset to a team with youth across the board. 

The Mariners snagged free agent third-baseman Chone Figgins to a 4-year, $36-million deal with an option for a fifth year.  The team apparently still has interest in re-signing Adrian Beltre to play third as Figgins’ versatility could allow him to play any number of other positions and he is open to switching.  I like this deal for the M’s right now, but I think it’s a little long.  Don’t be surprised if they regret the deal come year three when Figgins’ legs start to break down.

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The
Cardinals upgraded their pitching staff on day two by inking free agent pitcher
Brad Penny to a one-year, $7.5-million deal.  There is also a $9-million
option for 2011.  Penny saw his form return in the second-half with the
Giants after an injury-plagued 2008 and a dismal first half with the Red
Sox.  The Cards are hoping his second-half resurgence is a sign of things
to come.

The Royals are showing interest in free agent catcher and soon to be former Jay
Rod Barajas.  The Royals have made it clear that they would like an
upgrade at the position given the bust that is John Buck.  Barajas would
be a nice fit as an everyday player

Tomorrow’s a busy day, but if anything major happens, I’ll be writing.

Should the Jays trade Roy Halladay?

This is a question I’ve been pondering since the Jays were eliminated from post-season contention last season.  On the surface, the idea of trading away one of the best pitchers in the game in his prime sounds ludicrous.  Without Halladay, the Jays might be one of the worst teams in the league, especially this year with Dustin McGowan and Shaun Marcum keeping the infirmary in good use.

Halladay2.jpgIf they Jays contend this year and look to have a realistic chance at making the playoffs come July, then trading Halladay would be career suicide for Blue Jays GM J.P. Riccardi, but if they are out of it, here’s why I think trading Halladay sometime before the beginning of the 2010 season might be a great move for the Blue Jays.

Halladay will be a free agent after the 2010 season.  You would have to think that the chances of the Jays resigning him are pretty slim, especially when teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers are willing to spend anything to attain top free agents, and there’s little doubt that Halladay will be a priority for all of the big spenders.

If the Jays can’t resign him, they would almost be stupid to not trade him this off season.  Next season, the Jays will have their three young pitchers Dustin McGowan, Jesse Litsch, and Shaun Marcum, as well as a bundle of young talented prospects vying for spots in Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, Brad Mills, Marc Rzepcynski, and others.  Trading him with a full year left on his contract and given that he is still, quite possibly, the best pitcher in baseball, could yield a fantastic crop of young talent coming back the other way.  The Jays could build around the two or three tier 1 prospects they could get in return for their ace.

Obviously if the Jays surprise the critics (including me) and contend, you wouldn’t dare dream of trading Halladay.  But if they don’t, I think it would be the right move.

Don’t you think a team would give up their best pitching prospect and maybe even a top-tier positioned prospect in return for the services of Halladay for at least a year?  I know I would if I was in the position to do it.  Just something to think about if the Jays don’t contend.

Toronto has a terrible habit of letting their best players go for nothing.  If they would just trade them and get some prospects in return, it might actually work out for the better.

Will Jake Peavy be traded? If so, where?

jake-peavy.JPGThe talk all offseason was whether or not Jake peavy would be traded from the San Diego Padres.  The Friars were/are changing ownership and like most MLB franchises were unsure of their financial future.  Of course, the trade never happened and the Padres have broken camp with their ace in toe.  The Braves, Cubs and Yankees were all said to interested in Peavy, and why not?  He’s one of the best in the game and has a hall-of-fame trajectory. 

The deal with the Braves fell through after they refused to give up highly-touted prospect Tommy Hanson, which the Padres said was a prerequisite for a deal for Peavy.  The Yankees lost interest after they were able to sign both C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and the Cubs were curiously unable to secure a deal.  So this begs the question, will Jake Peavy be a Padre for the entire ’09 season?

The Padres ownership situation is still in limbo and that appears to be the biggest snag as to whether or not a deal will be done.  Peavy loves San Diego but has made it clear he would prefer to play for a contender.  SO let’s play devil’s advocate.  Peavy gets traded, but where?

The Cubs
Chicago seems like the most likely destination.  They want a fifth starter and Peavy would give them the best rotation in baseball with the likes of Zambrano, Harden, Dempster, and Lilly.  The Cubs also have the minor-league talent to make a deal, but lack the true blue-chip pitching stud that the Padres want in return.  If the Cubs were to get Peavy, a third team might have to be drawn in.  That might be a further hinderance to a deal.

The Braves
If the Braves contend this year, their tune may change in regards to Tommy Hanson.  As of now, they are coming off a 90-loss season and want players like Hanson to secure a strong future.  If the Braves are contending by June or July, they might be more willing to deal Hanson to make a push well into October.  It seems as though Hanson is the only thing the Padres want from the Braves, however, so if they still refuse to deal him, Peavy won’t be a Brave.

The Yankees
Anytime a high-priced talent is on the trading block, the Yankees have to be considered a strong contender to bring him in.  They have highly-touted young pitchers in the likes of Phil Hughes, Humberto Sanchez, and Andrew Brackman and if Joba doesn’t pan out in the rotation, Peavy would put the Yanks over the top.  This one’s not impossible, especially if Joba pitches in the ‘pen or if Pettitte or Burnett hit the DL for an extended period of time.

The Red Sox
Anytime the Yankees are involved in trade talks, you can go ahead and assume that their proverbial Joneses, the BoSox are in those talks too.  Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Lester are locks in the rotation, but if Smoltz, Penny and Wakefield can’t stay healthy/effective, the Red Sox might be in the Peavy market.  The problem is that they would likely have to part with Clay Buchholz and I doubt one of the brightest minds in baseball (Theo Epstien) would give him up.  If Smoltz, Penny, and Wakefield can’t stick, it’s likely that the Sox would just give Buchholz the chance he already deserves.

The Padres
Peavy is still young and has a lot more effective years to pitch; if Padres ownership is willing to pony-up the bills and can convince Peavy that they will contend within the next year or two, there’s no reason why an extension beyond this year can’t be reached.

The Blue Jays
Not a chance in hell.  But hey, a fan can
dream, right?  Imagine how good Peavy would look in the Flashback
Friday Powder-Blues.  Pretty great right?