As we head ever-so-close to Spring Training, 2011 edition, we hear more Jays chatter and are about to embark in what should be a very entertaining arbitration eligibility year. Here are the notes for today:
- What does it mean when a team is “said to be still considering Manny Ramirez“, as has been reportedby Jon Heyman on Twitter? Does that mean they’ll just answer his agent’s calls, or that if his price comes down low enough they’ll willingly make an offer to him? Either way, it doesn’t sound like the Jays are “chasing” Man Ram. It’s more likely that they’re waiting to see how his market plays out before they close the book on him altogether.
- Heyman also reports that the Jays avoided arbitration with Carlos Villanueva after signing him to a reported $1,415,000 contract this week. He should be an interesting addition to the pitching staff in 2011, and one that could prove helpful after the loss of Brian Tallet as a long reliever. Carlos has enough starting experience to fill that role.
- The Jays are going to have to show Brian Fuentes the money if they want to lure him up to Canada. He seems to be more confident in Oakland’s ability to compete in the AL West (who can blame him?) and is from an area 2 hours away from its stadium. Good luck competing with that Alex! It would be another coup for his cap if the Jays are in fact able to lure him to Toronto. I’m thinking more and more like he’s been looking for another option than Toronto for a while now, and that the Jays may very well already have made their best offer. If he hasn’t taken it by now, I don’t expect to see him taking it at all.
- Since Brian Fuentes is looking like more of a long shot than anyone else out there, the Jays have kept very close tabs on Jon Rauch who is also being chased by the cash-strapped Rays. He’s a mammoth of a man at 6’11” 290 and would provide the Jays with yet another veteran RHP in the pen with some closing experience. The mix would result with Jason Frasor, Octavio Dotel, and Rauch all competing with David Purceyfor that closing role amongst Jays relievers. Competition, exactly what Alex Anthopoulos wants in his pen and rotation at all times.
- Russell Martin signed with the Yankees even while offered the same amount of cash to sign with the Jays, according to Richard Griffin’s tweet. I don’t have much to say other than thank goodness we saved some money on this one, not to mention playing time that should rightfully go to J. P. Arencibia. Enjoy working with their rotation Russell, and make sure you take good care of that wonky hip! I’d say “good luck to you in ’11”, but I wouldn’t mean a single letter of that sentence.
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe hits us with the blazing news that Jose Bautistawould rather play RF than 3B. It’s pretty old news that’s been around since before Christmas, but I thought it was worth mentioning once again that Jose’s inflated defensive abilities in RF are only based on his canon of an arm and fail to look at his limited range. His dWar (defensive wins above replacement for position player) number in 2010 was a lowly -1.5 and his Rtot (total zone total fielding runs above average) was even worst at -13 in RF. In basic terms, he’s not a great Right Fielder, he’s simply a great thrower. The Jays are putting him at 3B as a polite way of saying thanks for the memories of all of those assists Jose, but we’re better off with you at 3B. End of story.
- I’ll just touch on the Eric Chavez reports a little tiny bit: please don’t do it unless he’s headed to AAA. Enough said.
I’m looking forward to seeing where minor league players are sent, how arbitration works out, and how much Jose Bautista ends up costing the Jays in ’11 and beyond. It’s going to be a very interesting week for Jays fans, so stay tuned to JJ as we try to break it all down for you and make sense of the chaos that is the “off season”.