Toronto Blue Jays-related news and notes for Tuesday, December 20th
A pair of moves on Tuesday by Blue Jays’ rivals calls for a rare Afternoon Brew.
To catch up on the Blue Jays-specific news of the day, read more here on the Jon Morosi report that the Jays and Mets remain in dialogue regarding Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson, and here on the report of Jose Bautista not being offered anything above one year, $17.2 million from Toronto (and why that might be).
Red Sox deal Buchholz, free up $13.5 million
The Boston Red Sox made a big move this morning — at least financially.
In trading Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies, who will take on his full salary for 2017, and taking back only a minor-leaguer in return, the Red Sox have created $13.5 million in payroll. It wouldn’t be very Dombrowski-like to just sit on that cash, either, especially in the middle of an off-season that has already seen them add one of the game’s best pitchers in Chris Sale. (Though it’s worth noting that staying under the luxury tax threshold could be a driving factor here).
From a Blue Jays standpoint, all minds will fearfully rush to one conclusion: Edwin Encarnacion. Perhaps so, but the Sox do already have Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland at first base while third-baseman Pablo Sandoval can factor into the 1B/DH position.
**Update – 12:10 p.m. ET** — Joel Sherman seems to have put those fears to rest already with this report.
Boston did address the losses of Koji Uehara and Brad Ziegler with a deal for reliever Tyler Thornburg, but the bullpen could be another area they choose to strengthen. Instead of adding one more “big name” to the roster, this payroll flexibility could instead be used to protect the roster with above-average depth, as well.
The Phillies are lining up nicely now for a deadline sell-off, which isn’t the most optimistic way to enter a season, but their current pieces on expiring contracts could help to provide a welcome jolt to their rebuild process.
Regardless of how it plays out, Boston’s moves are looking good for the 2017 version of the Red Sox, and bad for the rest of the American League East.
Colabello lands in Cleveland
Wait — isn’t this supposed to happen the other way around, with players and executives coming “north” from Cleveland?
Colabello’s fall from grace was well-documented in 2016, but he’s landed on his feet rather quickly. Following his departure from Toronto, there was legitimate reason to believe that he might need to wait past spring training for another shot, or even play internationally for a season.
This June 1st opt-out, as Sherman reports, is not uncommon for veterans signing minor league deals and should work in Colabello’s favour come that time. If opportunity does not present itself in Cleveland, that will represent the ideal time for Colabello to jump ship and sign with a team that offers less competition for an MLB job.