Monday, December 12, 2011

Aramis Ramirez to the Milwaukee Brewers

Third Basemen Aramis Ramirez has signed a three year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. 

The deal is said to be worth between $34 and $37 million.

Jays Acquire Ben Francisco From Philadelphia

The Toronto Blue Jays have traded minor league left handed pitcher Frank Gailey to his home town Philadelphia Phillies for outfielder Ben Francisco. 

Francisco batted .244 with 6 HR's and 34 RBI's in 100 games for the Phillies in 2011.

To make room on the roster, the Jays have designated relief pitcher Jesse Chavez for assignment.

Gailey spent time in both New Hampshire and Dunedin over the course of the 2011 season.

For the Blue Jays, this gives them another outfielder in an already crowded outfield.  They now have Francisco, Davis, Thames, Snider, Rasmus, Bautista, and technically Mike McCoy available for the outfield in 2012.

I think there is another deal coming, and if I'm a betting man, I think we've seen the last of Travis Snider in a Jays uniform.

If I'm really going to speculate, I think he's headed to Oakland for a certain left handed starter.  But that's just me.

But, I'm wrong more often than I'm right.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson Sign With The Angels

A month ago, I wrote that I thought Pujols would stay with the Cardinals, and Prince would go to the Cubs.  It appears I'm going to be wrong on both counts.

The team I said "might" be a factor, turned out to be more than just a factor.  Today the LA Angels of Anaheim signed Albert Pujols to a ten year, $254 million contract.  A quarter of a billion dollars over the next ten years...  Pujols current career earnings are at $104 million.  So assuming that he retires at the end of this deal at 41, he will finish his career having earned a whopping $358 million.  A ten year deal with a no trade clause...  What is the baseball world coming to?  What makes the whole situation seem  even more insane, is that the Florida Marlins reportedly offered him $275 million for ten years, without a no trade. 

But the Angels weren't done yet.  They also signed free agent pitcher CJ Wilson to a five year, $75 million contract. 

No word on who Prince will sign with yet, but it appears the Cubs won't be his landing spot.  The Cubs have said that they won't be able to afford him.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Day Late, A Buck Short

Well, one day later here are my thoughts on the Nestor Molina for Sergio Santos trade.

To keep it short, I like it.  Anyone who is upset about losing Molina to bring in Santos should consider this:  Nestor Molina is probably less than you would have had to give up to bring in Huston Street or Andrew Bailey (and frankly, I'd rather have him than either of those two), and the Jays would have had to pay out way too much cash to lure the likes of Madson, Cordero, or K-Rod into coming here.

At the start of this off-season I was a little frightened when Alex announced it as his mission to bring in a closer.  I was afraid that we might overpay for a Pappelbon, Madson, or Bell.  But then again, I was also under the impression that the Blue Jays had money to spend.  Which, according to Alex Anthopoulos yesterday, they do not.  *cough* bullcrap *cough*. 

Then when the rumours started to come out that Toronto was interested in trading for Andrew Bailey or Huston Street, I got really worried.  After Bailey's injury last year, and Street, even though he wasn't terrible, putting up a season where he posted career highs in both ERA and WHIP.  I'm not convinced that either one of those guys would be a better option than trying Casey Janssen or Jesse Litsch in the ninth, and I shudder to think what we would have had to give up to bring them here.

I am not in favour of paying top dollar for a closer.  I'd much rather a bat to hit behind Bautista.  Yes I am aware of how many blown saves Toronto had last year.  However I'm also aware of how many of those games they still won, and that some of those blown saves came in pairs. (two in the same game).  Was it frustrating that they did blow so many saves?  Of course it was.  But I still think that signing a closer to a multi-year deal is risky business.  There are not that many that you can point a finger at and declare them effective for four seasons or more in a row.  There are some, sure.  But do you think Pappelbon, Madson, Bailey, or Street is going to be as dominant for four more seasons moving forward?  I'm not so sure.

Santos' return to Toronto gives the Jays a reliever with quality stuff to fill the ninth inning role.  This season he saved 30 games in 36 tries, and struck out 92 batters in 62.1 innings, while pitching to a WHIP of 1.105 in his first season as a closer. 

What makes him even more appealing is his contract.  At age 28, Santos will make $1 million in 2012, $2.75 million in 2013, and $3.75 million in 2014.  Then he has options for 2015, 2016, and 2017 at $6 million, $8 million, and 8.75 million.  Each option carries only a $750k buyout.  So, Santo's is only guaranteed $7.5 million paid out over the next 3 seasons.  Heath Bell and Jonathan Pappelbon have already signed deals paying them more than this for just next year.  No, I'm not saying that Santos is in the same class as Bell and Pappelbon.  Just saying he's a lot cheaper, and very well could be in the same class.

Santos' came to the Blue Jays once before as a short stop prospect with Troy Glaus in the deal that sent Orlando Hudson and Miguel Batista to Arizona.

Nestor Molina spent most of this season in Dunedin (A), and then made four starts in New Hampshire (AA) where he was absolutely lights out, to finish out the year.  At the two levels combined, he posted a record of 12 wins and 3 losses, with a 2.21 ERA, a 0.997 WHIP, and struck out 148 over 130.1 innings.  He looks like he could be great.  He could very well come back to bite Toronto in the butt.

Before you get too upset though, try googling former Jays first round draft pick Steve Karsay, or 1991 first overall pick Brien Taylor, and check out the numbers they posted in high A ball in 1992.  Very similar to Molina, and neither went on to any notable achievements at the Major League level.  In fact, Taylor never even made it.  Karsay's career spanned 11 seasons, where he posted a losing record, with a career ERA of 4.01, and a WHIP of 1.38.  It just goes to show that you never really know what you have when it comes to prospects. 

As for the money comments from Alex Anthopoulos yesterday.  Are they true?  Your guess is as good as mine.  What he said about the payroll rising as revenues rise makes sense, however I tend to lean towards the belief that he just said this to deter the media from continuing to report that the Jays are interested in Fielder.  

Given what Anthopoulos has done so far since he's been sitting in the big boy chair though, it does appear that he is working within a budget.  They sure haven't spent much.  Considering that their payroll keeps decreasing, while television ratings and to a lesser extent, attendance are on the rise.

Time will tell.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's That Time of Year Again!

Once again, the most wonderful time of the year is upon us.  No, not the holidays.  It's Winter Meetings time again!  The winter meetings generally are when the off-season moves really start to happen in the baseball world, and I think that Jays fans should expect to hear at least some news coming out of these meetings. 

Anthopoulos has a wish list.  His wish list doesn't match mine necessarily, but he does have one.  As far as we know he will be heading to Dallas shopping for a second basemen, some bull pen help, and if all goes well a starting pitcher as well.  Alex got one item checked off of his list yesterday when the Blue Jays found their replacement for Jose Molina and acquired their new back up catcher in Jeff Mathis. 

Mathis comes to the Jays from the Angels by way of a trade sending pitcher Brad Mills the other way.  I'm not really sure how I feel about this deal.  On one hand, Mathis is a good defensive catcher, and has a reputation of being an asset in helping develop young pitchers.  On the other hand, Mills is a left handed starter who has had a fair amount of success at the triple A level, and I'm not sure he won't develop into a fair, or even a good starter at the major league level.  Time will tell.  On the surface, I would have preferred to have picked up a back up catcher from the free agent market rather than trade to bring one in.  I'm not really thrilled about sending Mills packing just a few months after shipping out Zach Stewart and Marc Rzepcynski.  I just don't think that giving up an arm for a back up catcher (for one year none the less) is a great idea. 

Anthopoulos has stated numerous times this off season that the Blue Jays intend to try to add through trades, and not by signing free agents.  He has also said that the Jays will not pursuing any big name free agents.  So I wouldn't expect to hear of any big free agent acquisitions coming our way.  Once again Jays fans will have to wait, and find out what we have to give up to fill the holes we need filled.

My prediciton:  Travis Snider is not a Blue Jay this time next week.

A lot of GM's view Snider the way that Anthopoulos viewed Colby Rasmus.  High ceiling of talent that hasn't been realized yet.  So there is interest there, and I can't help but get the feeling that the Blue Jays would rather move forward with Thames in LF over Snider.  But hey, that's just me.

Personally, I would like to see Adam Lind in LF, making room for our new first basemen:  Prince Fielder.  However, we all know that isn't going to happen.

Happy Winter Meetings everyone!