Blue Jays Winter Meetings Summary: Monday

The Winter Meetings are officially underway, and the rumor mill is churning out some interesting tidbits. Like we did last year, we’ll be consolidating all of the Jays nuggets and other interesting points into one spot every day for your viewing pleasure, so I’ll be updating this throughout the day. If there’s something that’s more notable or of particular interest, I’ll be sure to write up a separate article on it.

Here’s a full rundown of everything that’s been mentioned today, with links:

  • ESPN’s Jim Bowden (via Twitter) said early this morning that  Scott Boras “has meetings scheduled with the small group of teams that are actually ‘in’ on Fielder. Teams rumored are Milw,Sea,ChC,Wsh,Tor”
  • Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel feels that the market for Fielder is shrinking, also mentioning “you hear rumors about Seattle, Toronto and Baltimore being interested in Fielder but insiders say no.”
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch mentioned that the Jays are believed to be a potential player for Albert Pujols, but that it would seem an odd fit “for a player who has indicated a strong preference to land with a contender.” Sure.
  • Jonah Keri was on Sportsnet 590 with Jeff Blair this morning to discuss a variety of topics, including his unwillingness to rule out the possibility of Fielder landing in Toronto. Blair also mentions that Jays people have told him the team really likes Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens, which I not only doubt but also am against acquiring, as I pointed out at the beginning of November.
  • Speaking of the Braves, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Jays want infielder Martin Prado, but also that the two teams don’t match up in a trade because the Braves are looking for a left field “thumper”. Prado still remains one of the more sensible and versatile trade options that the Jays could consider to fill their hole at second base.
  • Mike Wilner posted a blog entry around lunchtime, revealing that Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, the Jays’ spring training facility and home of the Hi-A Dunedin Blue Jays, will have their grass surface completely redone for next season. Wilner also opines that the Jays should pursue Angels starter Ervin Santana and Royals reliever Greg Holland. I agree about Holland, who I profiled last week.
  • Wilner also walked past Evan Grant, the Dallas writer that voted Michael Young first on his AL MVP ballot, this afternoon. “My only thought: “Michael Young? Really??”
  • Gregor Chisholm put a quick entry up on his blog, North of the Border, commenting that Rockies closer Huston Street remains on the trade block and that Colorado is impressed with the Jays’ bounty of solid pitching prospects. Of course they are, who wouldn’t be?
  • According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post (via Twitter) and contrary to reports last week, the Marlins plan on tendering Juan Carlos Oviedo, the closer formerly known as Leo Nunez, a contract even with Heath Bell officially signed.
  • Speaking of Bell and the Marlins, Shi Davidi tweeted that Bell said he “heard great things about the ownership” in Florida. Davidi also adds that Montreal Expos fans might tend to disagree.
  • J.P. Arencibia was asked on Twitter who he’d like to see at second base for the Jays with all the rumors swirling. His answer? “Benny ‘The Jet’ available? #He’spro”
  • ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter) had some interesting remarks regarding the Blue Jays and the new CBA this afternoon in terms of revenue sharing:

“View of some officials: Blue Jays will be among teams taking biggest hit with new labor agreement, because of shift in revenue sharing.

“If TOR concurs with the read that they are impacted by reduction in their revenue sharing checks, it could impact their aggressiveness.

“Quite simply, an early read on details of labor agreement is that Jays’ revenue-sharing checks are being reduced. It’s lost income for them.”

  • Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times tweets that if the Angels sign third baseman Aramis Ramirez, they could have a taker for Alberto Callaspo in the Blue Jays, who apparently “really” like him.
  • Gregor Chisholm notes on Twitter that the Jays are unlikely to make a move on a potential second baseman until Kelly Johnson makes his decision on whether to accept or decline arbitration. If Johnson accepts, Chisholm also notes that the Jays remain open to signing him to a multiyear extension, but it appears likely that he’d get a better offer on the open market if he hits free agency this year given the weak market for second basemen.
  • Another unexpected piece of “news” comes from CBC’s Doug Harrison, who tweeted that Anthopoulos is meeting with former Blue Jays reliever Octavio Dotel tomorrow.
  • A decent batch of Alex Anthopoulos quotes courtesy of Chisholm via Twitter yet again:

“I’d love to fill all of our needs here but I think the last 2 Winter Meetings have shown that we haven’t been able to do that.

“Most times we gather a lot of information, move things forward with agents and GMs and if we’re going to finalize things, they’re normally after these meetings. I’d love to have everything done…but realistically they’ll probably get done after we leave here.”

  • Closer remains a top priority for Blue Jays, Chisholm says, but AA said as of right now “we’re not close to doing anything there.”

“Right now we’re pretty adverse to signing players to extensively long contracts — 7-8 years, things like that. If there are players out there that are going to require those kind of deals, we probably won’t be a factor for those players.”

AA on trades: “We’ve had a lot of dialogue, there is the framework of a lot of things that we can do but we’re not real excited to do them and we don’t necessarily feel they are the best deals for the club right now.”

“We’re not as advanced. I think we’re a few weeks behind of where we were in the past,” Anthopoulos said in reference to the whole league.

  • Mike Wilner reiterates a lot of this in his early evening blog entry, and mentions how there will be a half-hour sit-down media session with Jays manager John Farrell tomorrow.
  • Speaking of blog entries, Chisholm’s “evening edition” over at North of the Border has, unlike Wilner’s entry, quotes from Anthopoulos on a variety of things that didn’t make the cut on bluejays.com, like whether Papelbon and Bell set the market for relievers, untouchable prospects, lefties in the bullpen, and more. Check it out.
  • Also, Kevin Gray of the New Hampshire Union Leader has a Monday notebook entry up, including quotes from Nestor Molina about starting and relieving.
  • Right-hander Matt Capps, one name linked to the Jays as a possible closing option, has signed a one year deal plus an option according to SI’s Jon Heyman. The AP is reporting that the deal is for $4.5 million and includes a $6 million club option for 2013 with a $250k buyout.
  • According to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, “the possibilities at closer also remain varied for the Blue Jays, whose meetings Monday included one with the representatives for Frank Francisco.” I was a supporter of Francisco closing for the Jays next year when I analyzed him back at the end of September (Figuring out Frank Francisco).
  • Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star has an article on closers with quotes from Anthopoulos. Griffin feels that former Reds closer and free agent Francisco Cordero could be a fit, because his agent, Bean Stringfellow, has a good relationship with Anthopoulos considering Bautista is also one of his clients. We pointed this out on Twitter back in the middle of November, just saying.

  • Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun notes that the Jays spoke to Capps’ agent at last month’s GM meetings in Milwaukee, and that Cordero is the only remaining free-agent closer that the Jays would have interest in — only on a short-term deal.

That’s about everything to mention as the first day in Dallas draws to a close. Anything else that is found will be slotted into tomorrow’s “Day 2″ post, so check back throughout the day tomorrow!

- JM

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