May 12, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Gammons: Blue Jays Hoping For Santana or Jimenez To Fall To Them

According to a new post from baseball insider Peter Gammons, the Toronto Blue Jays are still in play to find pitching help, but they have conceded that their best chances of improving their rotation is through signing either Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez.

This time around, they admit that the only way they’re going into the pitching free agent market is if Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez fall down to them, in which case both might go back from whence they came.

That would seem to indicate that both pitchers may opt to try to work out a deal with their former teams in the neighborhood of the $14.1 million qualifying offer both rejected earlier this winter. You’ll also notice that Gammons’ “official” doesn’t make any mention of Toronto in regards to the bidding for Masahiro Tanaka. The same could be said for Matt Garza, who could be a lower-priced alternative to either Jimenez or Santana.

Admittedly, it is a short blurb from Gammons, but it is strikingly similar to the other information we’re hearing (or not hearing) out of Toronto. The high demands of both pitchers, rumored to be north of $80 million, coupled with the uncertainty of Tanaka has slowed their respective signings. Both pitchers are seen as the best available on the market, but both also come with significant question marks as to performance over the course of a long-term deal. Both pitchers have been inconsistent over the courses of their careers, but both are taking advantage of solid 2013 seasons and a weak pitching market to maximize their take-home.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are giving serious looks to their recovering pitchers Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison, while also trying to figure out if Marcus Stroman is ready to make the leap to the Major Leagues or start the year at Triple-A Buffalo. Sean Nolin, Todd Redmond, and countless others are also in the mix. That may not ease the fan base much, but it seems to be the direction the team is looking in heading into the 2014 season.

Feasibly, the Blue Jays could look to stand pat this winter and hope for the best, then be poised to strike when David Price, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Hisashi Iwakuma, Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, Max Scherzer, and James Shields all currently set to hit the open market. A decidedly better market to say the least, making it more difficult for the team to make a move for the sake of making a move.

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  • RyanMueller

    I really appreciate the comment in your last sentence. It appears that many fans want management to make a move, any move, just so they feel like management is making an attempt to improve. Often this results in over paying for free agents.

  • Andrew van Laar

    can anyone tell me what the knock is on Garza and why the Jays wouldn’t want to sign him cheaper than Jimenez and Santana? Looking at his stats quickly is is injury concerns because of the last two years? If so you are weighing a cheaper Garza with possible injuries but we know he can pitch in the AL East vs more expensive, less injury concerned other two that have demonstrated some worrisome inconsistency over the years (much more so for Jimenez).

    In my opinion I would pick Jimenez last of the three just because he’s been bad for so long that I wouldn’t bank on his play during a contract year. That’s just me though.

    • Lucas Silva

      Bad for so long? Outside of 2012 he’s been very effective since 2008. His HR/9 was 1.27 in 2012, much higher than his previous career high of 0.81, and that number reached as low as 0.41 in 2010 Colorado. His groundball rate was 38.4% in 2012, much lower than his previous career low of 47.2. Plus his walk rake spiked, and his K rate tumbled. All of those totals returned to career norms last year, and he put up much better numbers.
      ERA and FIP from 08 to 12
      2008: 3.99 – 3.83
      2009: 3.47 – 3.36
      2010: 2.88 – 3.10
      2011: 4.68 – 3.67
      2012: 5.40 – 5.06
      2013: 3.30 – 3.43
      Clearly, there’s a distinct relation to his awful peripheral’s and his ERA/FIP totals. Outside of 2012, he’s been reliable, durable, and he misses bats. Three things the Jays need.

      • Justin Jay

        It’s Jimenez’s mechanics that scare the crap out of people. He has trouble repeating his delivery. But, of the 3 guys out there, I’d take Jimenez before any of them. To answer Andrew’s question, Garza has been deemed a clubhouse liability. It’s why the Twins traded him in the first place for, ironically, Delmon Young. The Rays kept him in check for the most part. There were moments where it was tough for Maddon and crew. They traded him to the Cubs, who traded him to the Rangers… and the combination of Garza not being a clubhouse guy and him also being somewhat pricey were factors to all of these changes. It’s also a major reason why he’s still a free agent. If he was less of a headcase in the clubhouse, some team would have signed him by now because he would be considered one of the top pitchers on the market

  • Gary Kimbrel

    Pretty sure there’s been a lot of “quiet noise” coming from the FO, intentional leaks to media and such, to keep the fan expectation/craze from getting where it did during the Darvish race. Probably a solid strategy. Keeps agents from pushing.

    I’m hoping they add a SP this off-season and next. It may not happen if Morrow is good this year and they exercise his $10M option, but Cabrera, Janssen are coming off the books, maybe Happ, Lind, Rasmus, Morrow. If Rasmus extends and Sierra steps up, the outfield would be Bautista/Rasmus/Sierra/Gose (probably, for the D and speed). Pretty cheap, relatively.

    After 2015, when all these contracts are over, they will need a foundation for the rotation. Signing Jimenez this year, and maybe De La Rosa or Masterson next year, would get us through the mini-rebuild. Hutch/Stroman/Nolin/Sanchez/ whoever else would compete for the final 3 spots. It’s also why I’d really like to see a reliever traded for Franklin or Ackley (preferred), because Rasmus, Lawrie, Ackley, Sierra, Goins, AJ Jimenez is a core you can build around.