Tagged: trades

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.

On the DeJesus-Mazzaro trade

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The other day, the Oakland
Athletics
and Kansas City Royals
pulled off the first major trade of the 2010-11 offseason.  Headed to Oakland is long-time Royals
outfielder David DeJesus, who was in
the midst of a career year before a thumb injury stopped his season in its
tracks.  The Royals snag two pitchers in
highly-touted Vin Mazzaro and minor-league
lefty Justin Marks.

David-DeJesus-2.jpg

On the surface, this looks like a trade of necessity for
both clubs.  The Royals exercised their
2011 option on DeJesus on October 2nd and will make
$6.0-million.  Given that this is a
reasonable amount for a potentially above-average outfielder, the Royals likely
thought it was better to exercise the option and try to get something in a
trade, than let Dejesus go via free agency.

 

The A’s seem quite focused on playing to their spacious park
and instead of spending money on big, cumbersome slugging outfielders; they are
attempting to create an athletic core of players with moderate power and
above-average range.  Ryan Sweeney, Dejesus, Coco Crisp, Rajai Davis, and Conor
Jackson
are all under contract or in control for next year and are all very
similar players; athletic fielders, solid contact hitters, average to below
average power.  Overall, DeJesus is
definitely a player who’ll fit in nicely in Oakland for 2011.  He’ll likely jet via free agency after next
season.

 alg_mazzaro2.jpg

That’s what makes this deal perplexing.  Clearly the A’s are a team that sees
themselves contending next year, and certainly they could in the unpredictable
AL West, but DeJesus is a 31-year-old injury-plagued player with one year left
on a deal.  Mazzaro, on the other hand is
a potential stud.

 

His numbers in the majors aren’t terrifically impressive,
but they aren’t bad either; he got significantly better last year over his ’09
rookie performance.  His minor-league
number were solid and has all the makeup of a pitcher who could eventually be a
top-of-the-rotation talent.

 

Marks, like Mazzaro, is a former third-round pick, however
he has yet to show anything at the minor-league level that would lead me to
believe he’s a major-league player.

 

Overall, I think the A’s didn’t need DeJesus enough to give
up a pitcher like Mazzaro.  On the other
hand, they are probably the best equipped organization to give up some pitching
talent given the wealth of it they possess.

A trade of Brandons may be a crucial one for young Jays

The Jays are about to finalize a deal with the Seattle Mariners that would send right-hander Brandon Morrow to Toronto and righty-reliever Brandon League as well as a prospect to the Northwest.

I think I like this Anthopoulos guy.  He made a deal for Halladay that was better than anything I was expecting and now is prepared to pull off this deal which I think is a great one for Toronto.

brandon_Morrow-763026.jpg

This may be the most important trade of this offseason for Toronto as it pertains to the 2010 season.  The players the Jays got in the Halladay deal will likely not see significant Major-League time until at least 2011, but Morrow is a different story.
Brandon League.jpg
I’ve always liked Brandon League, his stuff is great, but he just hasn’t put it all together yet and maybe a change of scenery is needed for him to realize his potential as an elite setup man in this league.

Morrow on the other hand is a former 1st round pick who is also looking for a change in scenery.  He can start, he can work in middle relief, he even has the stuff to close.  I think it would be a shame to put his talent in the bullpen, however.  I imagine the Jays will put him in their rotation and hopefully he blossoms into the player the Mariners thought he’d be when they drafted him.  His numbers at the Major-League level aren’t bad, but he has at times been phenomenal.  I’m excited to see where his ceiling is.  I think he can be a number 3 starter on a good team, capable of 12-15 wins annually.  

Looks like the day is finally here

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The day
every Jays fan has been quietly dreading for a couple years now is finally
here.  With the news that Roy Halladay
has agreed to a contract extension with the Philadelphia Phillies, the trade
for the ace of aces looks to be final. 
The best pitcher to ever don a Blue Jays uniform will be displaying his
wares for another team, another city, halladay-757029.jpganother country.

 

This should
be, without a doubt, a day of mourning for all Jays fans, but fear not my
beleaguered comrades; the future is still bright.  And Halladay deserves the chance to pitch for
a winner; he’s earned that much.  Let’s
face it: The Jays won’t be contending any time in the near future and Harry
Leroy Halladay should not waste any more of his prime years pitching for a mediocre
team.  The Phillies will be a World
Series contender again in 2010 and on behalf of Jays Nation, I’d like to wish
him good luck in getting that coveted ring. 

 

Rookie GM
Alex Anthopoulos appears to have made a deal that ensures the Jays will bounce
back.  The Phillies ship their own ace,
Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners for a package of prospects that gives them
both the financial flexibility and the replenished farm system necessary to
make the trade for Halladay.

 

So here are
the unconfirmed details as of right now:

 

To Philadelphia:

To Toronto:

RHP Roy Halladay

$6-million cash

RHP Kyle Drabek

OF Michael Taylor

C Travis d’Arnaud

 

To Seattle:

To Philadelphia:

LHP Cliff Lee

RHP Phillippe Aumont

OF Tyson Gillies

RHP Juan Carlos Ramirez

 

On top of
that, I’m being told as I write this article that the Jays may turn around and
send Taylor to the A’s for corner infielder prospect Brett Wallace.  Wallace, a former first-round pick of the
Cardinals, was acquired by the A’s in July in the Matt Holliday deal.  Confused yet? 
Me too.

 

drabek.jpg

The blue
chipper the Jays get in this deal is without a doubt, Drabek.  Son of 13-year Major League veteran Doug
Drabek, Kyle was regarded as the top pitching prospect in the Phillies
system.  He was drafted in 2006, 18th
overall and has tremendous stuff.  There
are some concerns with his arm, but he appears to have fully recovered from the
Tommy John surgery he had last year and by all accounts appears to be better
than before he went under the knife.  He
was also arrested in 2005 for public intoxication.  The charges were later dropped, but some
question his maturity.  I, personally,
don’t put much stock in things like that; he was 19 at the time.  We all do stupid things at that age.

 

Drabek
consistently throws between 92-94 mph with his fastball which has great tailing
action and can reach back and hit 97 when he needs to.  His mid-80’s slider has tremendous bite and
he has a curveball that rivals anyone’s in baseball.  He’s also working on a changeup but needs to
maintain his arm-speed for it to be a truly effective pitch; he did make
strides with it toward the end of last year. 
Drabek was a shortstop in high school and is a plus athlete.  He also seems to be developing a strong work
ethic; something that could separate him from his contemporaries.

 

arnaud.jpgTravis d’Arnaud
was a sandwich first-rounder in 2007 and is projected by many to be a starting
catcher in the future.  The Jays have
lost some faith in J.P. Arencibia and Brian Jeroloman, their two “catchers of
the future” so d’Arneau will serve as a motivator and could fuel a
position-switch for Arencibia.  Scouts
say he could develop 20 HR-power if he cuts down on swinging at bad pitches and
is above-average defensively.

 

If the Jays
retain Taylor, they will have one of the most physically imposing prospects outwk6_MichaelTaylor.jpg

there.  At 6’6″ and 250 pounds, Taylor will
likely put up monster power numbers and has a .312 career average in the
minors.  His size would suggest a long
swing and a high number of strikeouts and his defense leaves something to be
desired, but the bat would be a big plus.

 

brett-wallace.jpgIf the Jays
are indeed planning to send Taylor to the A’s for Brett Wallace, I think that
could end up being the most important part of this deal.  Wallace has tremendous upside with the bat,
but struggles defensively wherever he plays. 
He’s currently a third-baseman, but will likely end up at first.  At 6’1″ and 245 pounds, Wallace may battle
weight problems in his career and some say that could lead to a lot of knee and
back issues.

 

Overall I
believe Anthopoulos did a nice job in this trade and hopefully it will be one
of a few moves that will turn the franchise around in the next couple of years.

 

As for
Halladay; it was a pleasure watching him pitch for the last 12 years.  In my opinion there’s no better pitcher in
baseball, and he’s definitely the best pitcher to ever play in Toronto.  I will always be a Jays fan, but I might find
myself cheering on the Phillies quite a bit in the next few years.  Thanks Roy.

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.