Blue Jays Trade Rumors: Talks with Padres, Money an Issue

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If you’re like me, you are probably getting a tired annoyed by the many Blue Jays rumors that have been circulating about their search for pitching help. More and more, we’re learning that rumors are just that. If you combine that with the frustration of watching another game slip away in rather discouraging fashion, you probably feel like screaming. Well, here’s something else to fuel that fire. Fox Sports Jon Morosi tweeted the the Blue Jays are still in talks with the Padres, but there is an interesting conern.

Now, this rumor has to be taken with the usual caveat that it isn’t fact until we see players changing uniforms. But, it is still an interesting one. Firstly, the Blue Jays were “talking” to Oakland and Cincinnati about Scott Kazmir and Johnny Cueto respectively. Regardless of how intense those talks were, the Blue Jays missed out. It would make sense that they would turn their attention to the Padres who’ve been said to be looking to unload pitching. 

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

They have Tyson Ross, Andrew Chashner and even James Shields as potential starting options. They also have a pretty successful closer in Craig Kimbrel. All of these options would appeal to a Blue Jays club who has seen its rotation perform at various levels of disappointing. Ross is making $5.25M and has 2 more years of arbitration remaining. Cashner has $4M this season and one year of arbitration remaining. Shields is in the first year of his 4yr/$75M deal, which he can opt out of at the end of this season.

So, each of these starters bring a level of appeal that Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopoulos loves to target. The team control issue is one that often seems more important than the impact the player will actually have. So, it remains unclear which of the starters he’d prefer. For my money, I’d target Ross. But, this part of Morosi’s tweet is not really the confusing part.

Craig Kimbrel is 27 and owed a lot of money over the next few years. At 27, he’s already collected 215 saves. He’s striking out nearly 35% of hitters with a fastball that is averaging over 97 mph. He’d be a great closing target. But, the issue of whether the Blue Jays can “fit him into the payroll” is what has my eye. Since the start of the season, we’ve heard that the Blue Jays hare roughly $7M to work with this season. With Kimbrel’s $9M salary and 1/3 of a season remaining, they’d be on the hook for $3M. It’s basic math, but it’s roughly what we’re looking at. Can the Blue Jays really not fit that in?

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  • What about the remainder of his contract? That is where he becomes really pricey. It breaks down like this: 2016- $11M, 2017- $13M, 2018- $13M. That’s $37M the Blue Jays would have to try and find money for. That’s stretching the boundaries of what we know this club can do. Now, one could make the argument that Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey will not be returning and their contracts will be coming off the books. That frees up a substantial amount. So, with an affordable amount remaining this season and apparent available funds next season, why not try to make it happen? Is there really an issue as Morosi claims?

    Actually, here is the issue. The Blue Jays just put Aaron Sanchez in the bullpen. Him teaming up with Roberto Osuna creates a pretty good tandem at the back end of a game. Is there really a need for a closer at this point? Maybe after this year, there might be if the club decides to bring Sanchez back into the rotation. But, right now, the Kimbrel conversation should not even be happening since this club needs a starter. Yes, Kimbrel would be nice, but at the end of the day, we’re not expecting what would be “nice”.

    A closer is not the priority for the Blue Jays heading into the Trade Deadline. It could be if this club is looking into the future a couple years. Maybe throwing out the financial concern will help in negotiations to make it seem like taking on money is so bad that they shouldn’t have to give up prospects. Or, maybe there is nothing to it since they’re looking at having more money next season. Maybe, this is nothing more than connecting a seller to a team that should be a buyer. We know the Blue Jays need pitching. Everyone does. We should probably wait until we see players change hands to try and make sense of this. Because right now, some of these rumors are more confusing than anything else.

    Next: Blue Jays Need Better Bullpen Management

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