Good Morning. Wipe the sleep from your eyes because we’ve brewed up a fresh pot of Blue Jays goodness to start your day. Here’s your Blue Jays Morning Brew.
With the Blue Jays picking up Justin Smoak off waivers from Seattle, I got really excited. I remember hearing his name a while back and hearing what he is capable of. It hasn’t worked out that way. Some are saying that this move is just organizational filler. Others suggest this might be signalling the end of Adam Lind. The truth may be somewhere in the middle. Bob Elliott discusses the move and its implications at The Sun.
Smoak has a $3.65M option ($150K buyout), which the Blue jays have to decide upon. Lind’s is $7.5M. With other teams checking in on Lind, could the Blue Jays be picking up Smoak in case they end up trading Lind? Is it a $150,000 insurance move? *After I wrote this, I stumbled upon a Shi Davidi tweet that kind of explains what I mean:
Personally, I hope they keep Justin Smoak. The future puns are already spinning in my head.
Brendan Kennedy of The Star discusses the obvious ‘wishlist’ of the Blue Jays heading into the off season. He points out that retaining Melky Cabrera is the priority. That much we know. What stands out in Kennedy’s piece is the notion that the Blue Jays will extend a $15.3M qualifying offer and Melky will “promptly decline”.
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The question is whether Melky really wants to risk that. Will he want to risk hanging around all winter and ending up like Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales? This whole qualifying offer thing is not risky at all for the Blue Jays. Extend his contract and give him up to 5 years at $15M per year (as Kennedy suggests he’ll be looking for) is a win for the club. Make the qualifying offer and he accepts, the club wins as they get another year (which is bound to be the best of the 5 anyway) and can negotiate with him for the next 12 months, which is a win for the club.
He can reject the offer. The club picks up the drfat pick and can sign him anyway. Granted, they’ll have to compete with 29 other clubs, but if he didn’t want to sign anyway at least they get the draft pick. While it is in the team’s best interest to wrap this up quickly, it would appear Melky is taking on more risk.
Kennedy does drop an idea that I wish he had explored more. He suggests that if Tampa Bay picks up the $7.5M option on Ben Zobrist (and why wouldn’t they?) he could be made available in trade. The cost might be high for a trade within the division, but the Blue Jays had better do more than “check in” or “kick the tires” on that one.
If you are in to forecasting and projecting and creating a roster, you should check out Bluebird Banter’s Mock Offseason. Let’s just say, if they had their way, there would be a lot of changes next season. Of all the changes they suggest, I’m intrigued by the trade of Dioner Navarro for Hank Conger of the Angels. A catcher that has studied under Mike Scioscia has o be a good bet. They refer to Conger’s framing, which has been overlooked by the Blue Jays in recent years.
Among the myriad of roster moves they’d make I question the signing of Brandon McCarthy. I’m not sold on his healthy shoulder. He did look good last season when he went to New York, though. And, I’m not willing to give him 3yrs/$39M. But, this is what makes this time of year so much fun. We all get to speculate and debate potential deals. There are so many variables and arguments to be made. Let the games begin!
Finally, Mohammad Arshad of Bleacher Report gives us a rundown of the Blue Jays players participating in the Arizona Fall League. Aside from the obvious ones to watch (Dalton Pompey, Sean Nolin and Roberto Osuna) I was really interested in checking in on Arik Sikula who is lighting it up. As well, I wanted to hear about Jon Berti who played 2nd for New Hampshire this past season. I am really trying to figure out what the Blue Jays are going to do about the apparent organizational void that is second base. As such, Dwight Smith Jr is also an interesting guy to follow. He’s getting reps at 2nd in the AFL. His bat is doing well, but I’d be interested in seeing how his fielding comes along.