Archive for the 'American League Rumours' Category

Leaked MLB Trade Chat: Blue Jays Were Willing to Move Marcus Stroman For Bud Norris?

Have you ever wondered how active today’s general managers are in terms of discussing potential trades?  Have you wanted to know exactly how they communicate with one another and what they are discussing?  Well thanks to a Julian Assange like leak in the Astro’s front office you can now get a pretty solid look.

Dave Cameron posted this story on Fangraphs today and it is well worth a look for yourself if curious.  The Toronto Blue Jays were front and centre in discussions/negotiations and it appears the reputation of Alex Anthopoulos frequently ‘checking’ in on players and gauging value might be true.

Here are all of the details involving the Toronto Blue Jays.

1) Blue Jays were willing to part with at least Marcus Stroman for Bud Norris.

7/19/2013 “AA texted JL and asked what it would take for Norris.  AA said Aaron Sanchez is off the table but might be willing to talk about anyone else.”

7/29/2013 “AA texted JL and asked what a package around Stroman might look like.  JL said Stroman + Gose would be in consideration.”

Well consider this a bullet dodged.  The Astros were apparently asking for the moon for league average starting pitcher Bud Norris last season.  They asked the Orioles for Dylan Bundy and the Red Sox for Xander Bogaerts before finally settling on the much less exciting package of L.J. Hoes and Josh Hader from the Baltimore Orioles.

Bud Norris was awful for the Orioles last season in only 50.2 IPs (4.80 ERA, 1.68 WHIP) and though he has actually been pretty serviceable for them this year (87 IPs, 3.62 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 4.49 FIP) he is certainly not amazing.

If the Blue Jays valued any type of veteran starting pitcher that highly it seems quite likely they would be willing to give up nearly anything for Jeff Samardzija or David Price.  Hopefully they don’t jettison Marcus Stroman to the Chicago Cubs for Jason Hammel though I think it’s safe to assume Stroman’s value is a lot higher now than it was last summer.

I wonder if the Blue Jays brain trust had questions about Marcus Stroman’s attitude or worries about his potential as a starting pitcher around this time last year?   It seems the Jays were more than willing to add his name to trade discussions.

2) Blue Jays asked about the price of catcher Jason Castro – desperately wanting to upgrade over JP Arencibia in the off-season.

10/18/2013 “TOR reached out on Jason Castro.  They said their #1 priority this offseason is to upgrade over Arencibia.  They want to get a sense for what the price would be on Castro.”

Alex Anthopoulos is rumored to be extremely thorough and is an avid window shopper, asking about nearly any player in the league to gauge value and price.  No details were discussed surrounding price but you can believe Marcus Stroman + + + would have been required.  This type of inquiry is still fairly easy to wrap your head around JP Arencibia had one of the worst seasons in baseball and Jason Castro would have been a huge upgrade.

3) Blue Jays still viewed Brett Lawrie as a cornerstone heading into the 2014 season.

11/13/2013 “AA said Lawrie is untouchable.  Sounded like they might consider a smaller deal for Stroman but later in off-season.”

Even after a bit of a rough season (compared to expectations) the Blue Jays front office were not panicking.  They still feel Brett Lawrie is a potential leader of this ball club.  Prior to his injury I have been quite satisfied with the player he has become.  Stellar defense at two infield positions along with solid power shown at the plate make him fairly indispensable at this stage.  In 69 games he has hit 12 HRs to go with a respectable .419 SLG% and has amassed a solid 1.5 fWAR.

It goes without saying that I am certain the Blue Jays (and all other teams included in this report) are likely furious this type of data was leaked.  While it was anonymously uploaded by a rogue employee this type of thing shouldn’t happen.  You can also bet that teams will be looking into their own information and data security protocols quite closely as we speak.

The Astros have issued the following statement regarding the leaked notes:

“Last month, we were made aware that proprietary information held on Astros’ servers and in Astros’ applications had been illegally obtained. Upon learning of the security breach, we immediately notified MLB security who, in turn, notified the FBI. Since that time, we have been working closely with MLB security and the FBI to the determine the party, or parties, responsible. This information was illegally obtained and published, and we intend to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent.

“It is unfortunate and extremely disappointing that an outside source has illegally obtained confidential information. While it does appear that some of the content released was based on trade conversations, a portion of the material was embellished or completely fabricated.”

It certainly made for some interesting reading and was exciting enough to force this lazy blogger to actually write a new piece!

New York Yankees Sign Jacoby Ellsbury

Well I think Ellsbury can expect some massive booing upon his return to Fenway Park for the foreseeable future as he has agreed to join the New York Yankees – a bitter rival.  While it would have been nice if Ellsbury signed in the National League from a Blue Jays perspective this is essentially neutral.  He strengthens a rival and weakens one at the same time.  If it limits the Yankees ability to sign Robinson Cano perhaps it is even detrimental long term for the Yanks.

UPDATE: 8:41pm: Ellsbury’s deal is worth $153MM over seven years, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).  That tops Carl Crawford‘s deal by $12MM.

As per MLBTR:

The Yankees have agreed to sign Jacoby Ellsbury, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (via Twitter).  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported that the two sides were closing in on a seven-year pact.  It is believed the deal will top Carl Crawford‘s $142MM, seven-year deal with one estimate pegging the deal at about $150MM, according to Heyman.

Ellsbury offers more pop than the typical center fielder, with a career slugging percentage of .439 and isolated power of .141.  While his power is more of the doubles and triples variety, which is aided by his speed, he did hit 32 home runs in his stellar 2011 campaign.  In that year, Ellsbury led all of baseball with 9.1 wins above replacement, finished second in the AL MVP voting, won a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove, and made the All-Star team.

The 30-year-old has also consistently posted above average UZR and DRS numbers in center field.  While he has come back to earth somewhat since ’11, he checked in with 5.8 wins above replacement in 2013, which is second only to Robinson Cano among free agents.

Yankees people envision Ellsbury in center with Brett Gardner moving to left.

MLB Rumour Round Up – November 24, 2013

A few tidbits including an absolutely massive AL East signing by a Blue Jays rival.

From MLBTR:

-The Yankees and Brian McCann have agreed to terms on a five-year, $85MM deal with a sixth-year vesting option, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. The sixth year option could boost the value of the deal to $100MM, Rosenthal says, adding in a second tweet that the deal is simply pending a physical. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that the contract includes a full no-trade clause. McCann is represented by B.B. Abbott.

As Rosenthal notes in his article on the deal, the average yearly salary McCann will receive, $17MM, is the highest ever given to a catcher in free agency. While Joe Mauer‘s average yearly rate of $24MM remains the record for catchers overall, the Twins have said that Mauer will transition to first base on a full-time basis beginning next season, meaning McCann is set to become the game’s highest-paid backstop.

QUICK TAKE: While I was pretty much resigned to the fact the top free agent catcher wasn’t coming to Toronto my initial reaction is disappointment.  McCann would have been a massive upgrade for the Blue Jays and the fact he joins an AL East rival is doubly hard to take.

-As the Red Sox survey their options for alternatives to free agent Jacoby Ellsbury, an interesting name has popped up on their radar.  The Red Sox are one of several teams who have made inquiries on Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, a major league source tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

 Jhonny Peralta‘s asking price has been said to be significant, but to this point, reports have only indicated that he’s seeking “much more than $45MM.” Joel Sherman of the New York Post sheds some light on his demands, reporting that he’s seeking something in the four-year $56MM to five-year, $75MM range.

-The Angels and Cardinals have officially announced a trade that will send center fielder Peter Bourjos and outfield prospect Randal Grichuk to the Cardinals in exchange for third baseman David Freese and right-hander Fernando Salas.

-The Blue Jays discussed a trade for Matt Kemp with the Dodgers at the GM meetings,reports Shi Davidi of SportsNet.ca. Those discussions appear to have gone nowhere, but Davidi says they are indicative of a trend throughout MLB — teams are entertaining ideas of big trades (like the recent Prince Fielder / Ian Kinsler blockbuster) rather than diving into a free agent market that’s become increasingly expensive. Here are more notes from around the East divisions.

MLB Rumour Round Up – November 19, 2013

A few notable items from around the majors according to MLBTR:

Josh Johnson has narrowed his decision down to three or four teams, agent Matt Sosnick tells Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and the Pirates are among the finalists. A deal could be done “in the short-term,” Sawchik adds, reminding that Johnson is seeking to rebuild his value on a one-year deal (Twitter links). Last night, Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Johnson reached out to the Padres and Giants early in the offseason to inform the teams that they were his first choice.

Johnson, 30 in January, posted a bloated 6.20 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 81 1/3 innings. Sabermetric stats such as xFIP (3.58) and SIERA (3.73) feel that Johnson was victim to some bad luck, and his .356 BABIP and 18.5 percent homer-to-flyball ratio would back that line of thinking up.

QUICK TAKE: Well what a bust for the Blue Jays.  They got absolutely zero value out of Josh Johnson.  I wouldn’t have offered him the qualifying offer but I really thought he would feel some obligation to give the Blue Jays at least one decent season.  My guess is he bounces back in San Diego in a much better league and ball park.

-The Red Sox have had “serious dialogue” with free agent oufielder Carlos Beltran, hears Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter link).  Boston has been said to have interest in the veteran, but the Yankees, Orioles, Royals, Indians, and Mariners are also said to have interest.

QUICK TAKE: Beltran is a player I really wished the Blue Jays were able to sign two years ago however the turf at Rogers Centre played a factor apparently in his refusal to sign with Toronto.  I would still like him as a DH type but probably not for the money he will eventually settle for.

-The Orioles have some interest in free agent right-hander Gavin Floyd and have been monitoring his progress as he recovers from elbow surgery, industry sources tell Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.

Corey Hart told Jim Bowden of SiriusXM (Twitter link) that his agent has talked with the Brewers, Red Sox, Rays, and Rockies amongst other interested teams.  Hart added that he won’t officially get 100% medical clearance until December 3rd when he visits his doctor in Los Angeles, but he’s fully healthy (link).

A Few Thoughts On Jose Bautista For Domonic Brown Rumours

Sometimes a rumor comes out of nowhere and surprises you a little bit.  When I read that the Blue Jays and Phillies were potentially discussing a Joey Bats for Dominic Brown trade (that has since been debunked) my initial thoughts were, “that’s all we could get?”.

Brown is a fine player, only 26 years old and coming off a breakout season where he swatted 27 HRs and slashed a respectable 272/324/494.  Over 139 games Brown had a .351 wOBA and was worth 1.6 WAR.  Pretty solid but I think the notion that he is about to become an ‘elite’ slugger are probably misplaced.

Bautista had another “off” year yet still slugged 28 HRs, slashes 259/358/498 and in only 118 games was worth 4.2 wins.  In other words Bautista is still a monster when factoring offense, defense, arm and positional diversity.  Brown offers little to no defense, can only play left field and isn’t an on-base machine.  Brown also has a pretty one-sided platoon split as he doesn’t hit lefties that well.

Basically, Bautista is still a monster under a reasonable contract and I think the Blue Jays could do  a lot better if they actually were to move him.

Dave Cameron made some great points in his piece today:

A common criticism of Jose Bautista’s future value is that he’s 33 and is trending the wrong way. Both of these statements are true. Over the last three years, Bautista’s wOBA has gone from .443 to .378 to .372, driven primarily by a significant reduction in power; his ISO actually declined for a fourth consecutive year, and has now gone from .357 to .309 to .286 to .239 since the start of the 2010 season. If you just extrapolate the line on its current path, Bautista begins to look much more like like an ordinary player over the next few years rather than the star he has been.

However, extrapolating trends into the future is often completely incorrect, because the reality is that performance often regresses back towards the average of a larger sample performance rather than continuing to move further and further away from a peak. Or, put another way, players who are labeled as “trending downwards” often have a very good performance in their recent history which should continue to inform our opinion of what they will do in the future.

Just like old players can have “fluke” seasons, so can young players, only when a young player has a fluke season, it’s usually called a breakout instead. Maybe Domonic Brown really did take huge sustainable steps forward last year, but history suggests that it’s probably more prudent to expect him to maintain or regress than it is to improve yet again. Just like Bautista shouldn’t be expected to linearly trend downwards, taking Brown’s 2013 performance and forecasting upwards from there is also a mistake.

As stated previously the Jose Bautista rumor season is just starting.  Stay tuned.

MLB Rumour Round Up – November 12, 2013

Here is the latest and greatest from MLBTR, including more action involving the Toronto Blue Jays.

-The Blue Jays‘ priority is improving the rotation, but they’re also keeping an eye out for help at second base and catcher, writes Heyman.  It’s no surprise to hear that they’re interested in Robinson Cano, but his price tag will probably prove to be too much since they need to direct their bucks towards starting pitching.

QUICK TAKE: Never say never but it would be a pretty big surprise if the Toronto Blue Jays actually landed one of the games best overall players.  Saying that the Jays roster has many Dominican connections and stranger things have happened.  If this occurred, WOW.

-With uncertainty over Alex Rodriguez and the future of Robinson Cano, theYankees have contacted free agent Kelly Johnsontweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Johnson has primarily played second base over the course of his career but he also offers experience at left field and saw some time at third base in 2013.

-It’s not a huge surprise, but teams are inquiring on Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).  Whether they are willing to move him is another story.

Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran are targets 1 and 1A for the Yankees, a person familiar with their thinking tells Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Fellow outfielderJacoby Ellsbury sits a hair behind the other two stars.

-Veteran infielder Mark DeRosa is set to retire this offseason, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos tells Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (via Twitter).  Toronto exercised their $750K option on the veteran late last month.  Toronto has confirmed the news via press release.

-The Astros are receiving significant interest in catcher Jason Castro, and interest could pick up once big free agents like Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia go off the board, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Their interest in trading Castro isn’t known, but Houston is said to like catching prospect Max Stassi very much.  Heyman sees the Yankees, Rangers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Angels, Rockies, and Twins as teams that could possibly have interest if Castro is on the block.

MLB Rumour Round Up – November 11, 2013

Let’s have a look at the juicier rumours making the rounds on MLBTR.

–The Tigers have told teams that they’re open to trading either Max Scherzer or Rick Porcello, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).  Scherzer has been involved in trade whispers for the last few weeks as the Tigers are considering their options in the event that they can’t hammer out a new deal before he hits the open market after the 2014 season.

-It appears the New York Mets plan to be aggressive and have been linked to Jhonny Peralta, Corey Hart and Curtis Granderson.

The Mets have plans to meet with Curtis Granderson‘s agent this week, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter).  The outfielder is turning down the Yankees’ $14.1MM qualifying offer.

-Just hours after announcing that Joe Mauer will be transitioning to first base full-time in 2014, the Twins have already started looking into out-of-house options at catcher.  Minnesota is showing preliminary interest in free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a baseball source tells Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN.

The 28-year-old Saltalamacchia enjoyed his best season in 2013, batting .273/.338/.466 with 14 home runs in a career-high 470 plate appearances.  Not only is he one of the best catchers available, but he is one of the youngest free agents on the market this offseason.

-The Rangers and Cardinals remain strong potential trade partners with the Cards wanting Jurickson Profar or Elvis Andrus and Texas liking Shelby MillerOscar Taveras, and Matt Adamstweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.com.

-Almost everyone sees Robinson Cano staying put with 19 votes for the Yankees, one vote for the Dodgers, and one for the Cubs.  Nearly everyone sees Cano getting a seven- or eight-year deal worth $160MM-$230MM and no one expects him to approach the $300MM figure he was asking for from the Bombers earlier this year.  It should be noted that the GM that picked the Cubs said that he has no inside info to support that pick.

-Nine execs see Masahiro Tanaka landing with the Dodgers while six chose the Yankees.  All but a handful of those surveyed think his payout will exceed the $60MM Yu Darvish got from the Rangers.  Tanaka is ranked as the top available pitcher by MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes.

-When asked to pick the best pitcher between Matt GarzaErvin Santana, andUbaldo Jimenez, ten execs chose Garza.  Most seemed to agree that the lack of quality starting pitching available will lead to all three being overpaid.  One American League scout seemed to like Jimenez on some level but was skeptical of him long-term.  “Ubaldo has the best chance to give you impact in the short term, but I am not buying him over the course of 3-4 years,” the scout said.

-The Orioles are intrigued by free agent starter Tim Hudson and have discussed him internally, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.  The 38-year-old righty fits the Orioles’ profile, and the O’s have Braves connections in recent hires Dave Wallace and Dom Chiti.


AL Eastbound On Twitter!

  • Washington rolls from here. This might end up their toughest series IMO. Good job Buds. Still a great season. 1 day ago
  • Would be nice if JVR was dressed tonight. 1 day ago
  • I can't believe it but I agree with Zaun here. This team needs to avoid firing up any opponent right now. Stroman needs Netflix and chill. 1 day ago
  • How bad would a hitter have to be for Tabby to NOT give the green light on 3-0? 1 day ago
  • Ha Tabby touting plate discipline for Pillar. Career low walk rate and above his career swing rate. 1 day ago

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.