Blue Jays Prioritizing Trade To Land Closer
It’s been a while since there has been an impact move to get us all excited about the Blue Jays. But, rest assured, that doesn’t mean there is nothing brewing.
This is not really all that surprising. We know they Blue Jays would rather improve via trade 99 times out of 100. They have a severe aversion to spending on over priced talent. Now, we could argue the merits of this all day (and I feel like we have), but I’d rather not.
Instead, let’s look at what this tweet from Heyman means. We know that Dioner Navarro is going to be the first name that is put on the trading block. Could Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopoulos be comfortable parting with more of his depth to acquire a closer? Should he?
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Steve Adams at MLBTR.com suggests that Jonathan Papelbon can be had. Undoubtedly, the Phillies would love to unload his contract. He’ll earn $15M in 2015 and has a vesting option in 2016 for another $13M. He is coming off a season where he saved the second most games in his career (39) while putting up the second lowest WHIP of his career (0.905). In 66 innings, he picked up 63 Ks while only giving up 15 walks.
Other options available according to Adams, we’ve already explored here at Jays Journal. We looked in on Royals’ closer, Greg Holland. He’s 5yrs younger than Papelbon and less expensive. He’s eligible for arbitration and won’t be a free agent until 2017. So, where Papelbon would cost dollars, Holland may cost more talent given his team control, etc. And, rightfully so. His 93 saves over the last 2 seasons is worth heaps. An All Star in 2013 and 2014, Holland saw his WHIP rise all the way up to a mere 0.914 last season. In 62 innings, he picked up 90 Ks.
Another option (as pointed out by Steve Adams) is Nationals’ Tyler Clippard. We looked in on him too. Clippard saved 32 games in 2012 and was an All Star in 2011 and 2014. His 10.9K/9 and WHIP of 0.995 are certainly appealing. As well, he is 5 yrs younger than Papelbon. He would be cheaper, too. But, he is due a raise from his nearly $6M salary of last season.
As you can see, the cost for a closer is going to be high. And, why not? Some would argue that it is worth it. Having a ‘Terminator’ available to come into the 9th inning and shut the door on your opponent is huge! Saving 35-45 games is going to cost you. In trade, it is going to cost you talent. Do the Blue Jays have enough to go this route?
If not, as Heyman suggests, they’ll look at the free agent market. Obviously, the less appealing of the two, free agency options have dwindled over the last few weeks. But, there are still quality (read ‘expensive’) arms to be found. Steve Adams mentions Rafael Soriano and Francisco Rodriguez and some less expensive options as John Axford and Brian Wilson.
In looking at these names, one has to wonder if the Blue Jays are willing and able to spend on free agency. Adams points out that after the arbitration process, the Blue Jays will land about $17M shy of last year’s payroll. Adams says the club SHOULD be able to land a quality closer with that money. But, we’ve also heard the team wants to lower the salary.
Is that money going to be spent on a closer? Time will tell.