As the craziness of the winter meetings continue, we will be updating this link to keep all Jays fans as up-to-date as possible to what’s being said and heard with the freshest information at the top of the list. For now, here is the latest and greatest concerning the Jays and other major happenings at the meetings:
- Alex Anthopolous quote of the day: “If there’s not a lot of separation in our minds in terms of performance and talent and it’s close, then you take the one that’s available at the best price”. It sounds obvious, but it tells us that Alex will not overpay for a player simply because he’s a bit better than an other option that’s available. Translation – the Jays are going to be patient and will make sure their target is the most attractive. Sounds good to me!
- Bored while waiting for the next Jays move? Read this 10 question and answers with Kyle Drabek from MiLB.com. The best quote from the questions was when asked about what he wanted to improve, Kyle answered “I want to be able to be consistent with my windup. To be able to stay consistent so I don’t tip pitches and things like that. It’s mechanical. I just need to work on that and tune up all my pitches, because if I want to make the club, I have to fight for my spot. That’s what I’m going to go into Spring Training and try to do.” Good stuff.
- It’s a very slow day on the Jays front, so I’ll touch on Cliff Lee again. There is now the possibility of 2 teams offering Cliff Lee more than $20 million per season for 7 years. The Angels have come out to say it wasn’t them, and other executives have stated that the Nationals are not one of those teams either. This leads me to ask the crazy sounding, but still possible, scenario: could the Jays offer such a contract? It doesn’t seem possible…..does it? Hmmm…when you consider that the Jays only have $43.943 million allocated to this year’s budget – although they still have top sign 5 Arbitration Eligible players including the soon to be very expensive Jose Bautista – you get the feeling that the Jays do have that kind of money to spend if they want to. Adding $20 million to this year’s budget would result in $63 million or so being committed, and the signing of Bautista is expected to reach $8-9 million or so. The total only reaches $72 million at the high end, which is still below the $78 million spent in 2010. Even with the 4 other Arbitration Eligibles, the Jays would be nowhere near the heights of their budget in 2008 – $97,973,900. I’m not suggesting at all that I actually believe the Jays are the bidders because Alex Anthopolous has stated numerous times that the Jays will improve through trade, not a big splash. However, is it impossible? Not even close. It is very possible, and it would actually make the Jays a true contender in the AL East – even with the long term risk associated with such a contract. I doubt that Lee wants to come to Toronto and I still make Texas the favorite, but this is getting more and more interesting as the offers “supposedly” pile in.
- With the Nationals reportedly offering Cliff Lee 7 years and a ton of cash, the Rangers AND the Yankees could both be vying for Zack Greinke’s services, further decreasing the chances that he’ll land in Toronto. If both the Rangers and the Yankees miss the boat on Lee, and neither lands Greinke, there will be hell to pay when they face their fans. The Rangers are still a possibility to land Lee as they have not closed the door on offering a 7th year, but they’ll have to go to the maximum of their limitations to keep the Nationals from landing the ace. The Yankees could turn their attention to Greinke very quickly, but he has been reluctant to go to big spotlight teams and NY is the pinnacle of such a place, so I’m not sure the Yankees want to invest much in Zack and have another episode of Javier Vazquez on their hands. Where does that leave the Yankees? Will they chase Felix Hernandez instead?
- There are apparently “A Lot” of suitors for ex-Florida prospect LHP Andrew Miller. The Jays and Alex Anthopolous could very well be part fo that group as they look to replace LHP Scott Downs in the pen. The current best option on the team to take the LHP role is David Purcey, but having more than 1 LHP in the pen would be an ideal situation for the Jays. If they can’t convince a decent LHP, or Matt Guerrier who is just as effective versus both LHB and RHB, to come to the Jays, Miller could be the perfect project for the Jays. With John Farrell and Bruce Walton on board, not to mention Pat Hentgen taking over pen coaching duties, Miller would get plenty of support to develop the quality of his pitches. If all goes well and he winds up developing enough to become a viable starter once again, so be it! If not, the risk is minimalized by having him in the pen and being able to select the situations Miller pitches in. He won’t cost the Jays much and is all upside as a result.
- Shaun Marcum was apparently surprised to be traded since the Jays had approached him about an extension just 2 days earlier. Chances are that the information gained from that conversation was used to lure the Brewers into a deal, because the Brewers cited Marcum’s willingness to sign an extension as a major reason that they agreed to trade their top prospect.
The Call to the Pen staff and other site leads, including yours truly, also added their 2 cents about the Jayson Werth deal, and you can read the very interest takes on it here.