Blue Jays Still Mulling Starting Pitching Options

The Blue Jays are still interested in acquiring a starting pitcher, but won't say how interested they are in Masahiro Tanaka, the Toronto Star's Brendan Kennedy reports. "I have said that we’re definitely going to inquire on any free-agent pitchers that are out there," is about as specific as GM Alex Anthopoulos is willing to get.

If they don't sign Tanaka (and with the Yankees, Dodgers and other big-payroll teams interested, that might be a tall order), the Jays could pursue pitchers like Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez and Matt Garza, whose markets have been slow to develop due to the uncertainty over Tanaka's status. Kennedy suggests that the Blue Jays would be in an especially favorable position with regard to Santana and Jimenez, who declined qualifying offers, because the Jays' first-round picks in 2014, ninth and 11th overall, are both protected.

It's still possible, also, that the Blue Jays could acquire a starting pitcher via trade, but Anthopoulos isn't sure whether a trade or free agency will be the best route. "I would say it’s 50-50 at this point," says Anthopoulos. "Free-agent prices tend to change as the winter goes along. I don’t know that I’d say one is more likely than the other at this point."


88 Responses to Blue Jays Still Mulling Starting Pitching Options Leave a Reply

  1. Toronto’s Asian market has really boomed over the past 10 years. Tanaka would be a very marketable personality for them.

    • Runtime 2 years ago

      I’ve been saying this all along. It’s a smart marketing move. The amount of tourists that come to see Ichiro/Darvish/Matsui is always very high.

      • JaysFan1996 2 years ago

        Did you see how many people brought flags to cheer for

        Chien-Ming Wang and his ERA of 7? 2 full sections

        And when Wang was on the Nationals and made a start in June of last year in Toronto…. a full section.

        • malna 2 years ago

          Jays games were broadcast by Omni Television as well, to provide viewers with the game in their own language.

          • JaysFan1996 1 year ago

            yeah the first time they did that Wang pitched 1.1 innings and gave up 6 runs to Boston. Way to establish a new fan base

    • rikersbeard 2 years ago

      ugh, to these comments. Japanese community is not very big in TO.

      • WindsorJaysFan 2 years ago

        He said Asian community, not Japanese community

        • LAAdesign 2 years ago

          Yes. Big difference. I come from a city that has a significant Korean population. Unless they’re a baseball or Angel fan, they wouldn’t go to a game for a Japanese pitcher, even if they are a superstar.

          • Zak A 2 years ago

            Not enough Jeremy Lin effect, China 1.3 B ppl, Japan .127 B people. .

        • Morley C 2 years ago

          Which is irrelevant. Koreans and Chinese people don’t care about Japanese pitchers.

          • johnsilver 2 years ago

            No disrespect intended toward anyone, but that is all related back to WW2 and not pitchers of course.

            Most large cities have a Japanese and a Chinese area. Imagine Toronto does also. Boston (example) Had a large showing from their own community just when Matsuzaka and Okajima started in ’06.

            To get a new base fired up, maybe bring back Kawasaki for some call ups with the MLB club (think he resigned a MILB deal) could be great for energizing a new base in Toronto.

          • LAAdesign 2 years ago

            The amount of Japanese-Canadians in Toronto represents about 0.5% of the entire population, while Chinese is roughly 10%. Yes, 0.5% of about 5,500,000 people is still a lot of people, but taken into consideration the amount of them who actually care about baseball, it certainly won’t be enough of a fan base to make a noticeable difference in attendance.

          • WindsorJaysFan 2 years ago

            I never said they did, I was just pointing out that the original comment said Asian community, not Japanese

        • rikersbeard 2 years ago

          exactly. Why assume that non-japenese people care about japanese pictures? Just because you lump them all together doesn’t mean they see themselves that way.

      • They can visit from Vancouver. That’s why Canada put so much money into its railroad way back when.

        • malna 2 years ago

          Conveniently, one can now get from one coast to the other via rail in several days.

          God bless the 21st century, so much better than traveling via sail boat from Vancouver to Toronto.

      • Oren Jungreis 2 years ago

        Coming from someone living in downtown toronto i can say that there is a very large asian community in toronto…

      • MuskokaBoyInOakville 2 years ago

        were you at the Jays-Dodgers game when the Dodgers Korean pitcher played? Two entire sections cheered his every move on the field.

        • rikersbeard 2 years ago

          Asian =/= Japanese.

          • John 2 years ago

            Which means that Jamaican fans should swarm to see Dominican J. Reyes because of their Caribbean proximity?

    • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

      why do you assume Toronto’s “Asian Market” cares about a Japanese millionaire? most Asians in Toronto are from India or China.

      • Because when he throws a ball, many people swing and miss at it.

        • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

          so if that’s what fans care about then the Jays should just spend half the money on a guy, like Jimenez, who is about as good as Tanaka.

          • I’d be pleased if they did, other than the homer horn in Roger’s might go off a little higher than they’d like when he’s on the mound.

          • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

            right… and Tanaka is a guaranteed Ace. just like Dice-K and Kei Igawa.

          • alphabet_soup5 2 years ago

            Tanaka is seen as a #2 by most, not an ace. Money aside I think every GM would take Tanaka over Jimenez, he hasn’t been elite for 4 seasons now and is only getting older.

          • Jeremy Russell 2 years ago

            And money aside every GM would take Robinson Cano over Shin-Soo Choo, but heres the thing, money matters.

          • alphabet_soup5 2 years ago

            Ubaldo is getting at least a 4 year contract with decent money; Ubaldo’s contract vs Tanaka’s isn’t going to be like Mike Trout salary vs A-Rod Salary.

            If a team can pony up for Ubaldo, they should be able to pony up a respectable offer to Tanaka. Nothing can be done if the Yankees or Dodgers blow everyone out of the water.

          • rikersbeard 2 years ago

            Wait, why think this? There is a good chance that Tanaka will make almost double of Ubaldo.

          • bjsguess 2 years ago

            Since when is a 7/$160 commitment about the same as a 4/$65 deal. They are two totally different types of deals.

  2. BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

    Dear Jays’ fans,

    Don’t get your hopes up. I think that it’s unlikely the Jays are going to sign Tanaka. The rumored price that’s floating around – 6 or 7 years at $20-22 million AAV for a prospect (albeit an elite one) with no MLB experience – just doesn’t seem to jibe with Anthopolous’ philosophy. Unless the years or AAV get lowered – dramatically – I just can’t see the Jays doing that.

    I could, however, see the Angels or Mariners pay that for Tanaka.

    That said, Jimenez, at his projected contract, seems like he could be a fit for the Jays, if they can draw him to Toronto.

    • ice_hawk10 2 years ago

      I think Jimenez is pretty likely to end up with the Jays actually. Protected pick, more modest salary and all. And there’s also long standing interest in Jimenez from the Jays perspective dating from when he was sent to Cleveland. Much better fit than Santana and more durable and younger than Garza.

      • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

        great point. and Jimenez’s changes in mechanics seems to bode well and the kind of edge the Jays are always looking for.

    • Jared S 2 years ago

      AA thinking of just waiting and hoping to get Jimenez on a Kyle Lohse deal perhaps? Thats risky, but a thought.

      • BrettLawriesnewesttattoo 2 years ago

        yeah absolutely. that seems to be what’s going on, doesn’t it? waiting out Santana and Jimenez and Garza.

      • ice_hawk10 2 years ago

        I think that’s exactly what is going on. AA only likes free agents at what he values them at and as of yet has no player friendly contracts to his name. He can’t like what he sees at the moment given the exorbitant price of pitching so far this offseason, but in a couple months the market for the guys with draft pick compensation attached may crater. How much he is willing to wait probably depends as much on how much he likes the chances of Happ, Rogers, Redmond, Stroman or Hutchison occupying a rotation spot next year.

        • John 2 years ago

          As things currently stand, you would need two of that group (with Dickey, Buehrle, Morrow), which is obviously unacceptable.

          • Jaysfan724 2 years ago

            I wouldn’t hate Stroman and Hutchison as the 4/5, it’s just tough to bank on them in a time where the Jays are built to contend. Not to mention the question marks that come with them (Hutch coming off TJ, Stroman’s performance/innings limit)

    • Dave Andres 2 years ago

      I think the jays try to make a run at him but with so many teams interested the chances are slim to none he signs on with the jays when there will be more desirable traditional markets trying to get him like the Yankees and Dogers

    • Thank you for your logical and actually thought-out comment. Bang-on on all points.

  3. macdice 2 years ago

    Trade Jose Bautista to the Mariners for some of their young pitching.

    • Jared S 2 years ago

      Depending on what comes back, I would entertain that thought.

      • macdice 2 years ago

        Probably wouldn’t be Walker but Paxton +. The Mariners also have Smoak and Franklin/Ackley available depending on what rumor you want to believe.

        • Jeremy Russell 2 years ago

          A 2B would be sure to return, but not Paxton+. Paxton is nowhere near good enough to get an affordable player like Bautista. Walker obviously is too much for Bautista, but someone like Hultzen is probably who would be returning.

          • macdice 2 years ago

            Hultzen had surgery in October on his shoulder. Won’t pitch in 2014, don’t think that he would be of much interest to the Jays.

          • Jeremy Russell 2 years ago

            I didnt know that. Regardless, it doesnt have to be Hultzen specifically, it can be any similar prospect.

          • rikersbeard 2 years ago

            If the Jays are trading JB, they need something which makes the 2014 roster better. That would be very difficult to pull off, which is why a JB trade is very unlikely. Jays probably want Iwakuma, Mariners probably don’t want to move Iwakuma (because he’s awesome).

          • Jared S 2 years ago

            Paxton, Miller or Franklin (to play 2nd), Michael Saunders and maybe 1 more A+-AA player who is maybe another bullpen guy who can be ready in a year or two for Bautista, and Mariners eat the contract in full, then sign Matt Garza with that Bautista cash?

            Collectively, all together, that’s a better team.

            Mariners get an elite player with a good contract with spare parts, they become reputable and got an opportunity to compete ( and save Jack Z’s job).

          • rikersbeard 2 years ago

            Does that make the 2014 Jays better? I suppose if you can land Garza it probably does. However, what if you keep JB and get Garza/Jimenez anyways and then run shlubs out at 2B?

          • Jared S 2 years ago

            Yeah, it does. I think the joke ballparks in the division would make Saunders a much better player in Toronto than in Seattle.

            Garza is going to probably give your team a shot every time out, 2-4 runs a game.

            Paxton looked impressive throwing 97-98mph and has the chance of being really good.

            Both Miller or Franklin give you youth and your future 2nd basemen and the ability to have an OBP above .300, and if your lucky, Seattle gives you a throw in that may becomes useful when Janssen, Cecil, or Delabar leave.

        • ice_hawk10 2 years ago

          Would have to be for pieces that help right now, can’t see the Jays having interest in prospects. Try Iwakuma and Seager.

          • macdice 2 years ago

            Teams are going to trade for him based upon the player that he is now not the player that he used to be.

    • Oren Jungreis 2 years ago

      if the jays were to do that…

      paxton pike and franklin would have to come back

      • Jared S 2 years ago

        Mariners would need to believe they are a much better team to trade away young MLB ready talent and they would nee to convince AA that the talent coming back is worth the gamble of trading your main franchise guy. Paxton looked filthy in limited action however.

    • Charlie 2 years ago

      How about Homer Bailey etc in a deal for Bautista?

      • Jeremy Russell 2 years ago

        Would have to be a lot more than that, Bailey has one year left. Rasmus for Bailey is a lot more realistic.

        • Gary Kimbrel 2 years ago

          Especially since they both have 1 year left. I’d prefer to extent Rasmus though, him and Lawrie should be building blocks.

      • Oren Jungreis 2 years ago

        Bailey is an FA after this year, if the reds want jbats we would want stephenson and phillips with lots covered in a deal id think.

      • JBats trade value is at its lowest since he became an elite player. They have very little incentive to trade him.

  4. Gary Kimbrel 2 years ago

    Toronto might be more attractive to FAs if they made a trade or two that takes some of the risk out of the team.

    • jdsmith84 2 years ago

      Made a trade or two? They traded half their farm system already last off-season. Free agents are mainly attracted to money.

  5. Zak A 2 years ago

    Shouldn’t they try and target pitchers that have had success vs the AL East? I mean that only seems logical. That means No Jimenez or Santana – terrible vs Yanks & Sox can’t play the O’s everyday. Garza is average vs the AL East, and Tanaka has no track record. Just go with Jake Westbrook/Barry Zito/ same amount of sub-par stats for 1/2 the cost. Maybe take a flier on Jeff Niemann.

    • rikersbeard 2 years ago

      wait, did you just compare Zito to Tanaka? Good luck with stuff.

      • Zak A 2 years ago

        You don’t live you to your handle. You should learn how to read. I said Tanaka has no track record. And in regards to the other players who I mentioned were pretty sub-par in the AL East, going with Westbrook/Zito et al at a fraction of the cost would be a better idea.

        • John 2 years ago

          Sub-par in the AL East? What are you expecting in the best-hitting division in baseball, a 2.00 ERA?

        • rikersbeard 2 years ago

          Oh, I got it. I just don’t get how it is possibly a better idea. Zito wasn’t even a replacement level player last year. I don’t care how much you pay him, you’re probably wrong.

          • Zak A 2 years ago

            It’s not like Tanaka is a sure thing. Igawa & Irabu were studs coming to the US. Darvish dwarfed both of them and Tanaka is somewhere in between. If they project him as a #2 and they pay him as a #2 and he performs like a #5, what’s the difference between giving Zito +100 MM then and Tanaka +100 MM now? Zito could cost 5MM or less now though and provide 4/5 production.

          • rikersbeard 2 years ago

            One very important difference is the age. Even with the extra mileage on Tanaka’s arm he is four years younger than Zito was. Second, Zito was coming off of three “meh” years before he signed that contract. Many people thought it was a bad deal at the time. Third, FA salaries are much higher compared to what they were seven years ago. Fourth, there is no reason to expect Tanaka to be a Zito (as you point out that Tanaka is projected as a 2-3 starter). Finally, Zito on a major league contract for 2013 is a terrible deal. Seriously go look at his numbers. He was -2.3 win player last year.

          • Zak A 1 year ago

            1 – MiLB players do not become free agents at age 24-25 unless they start the clock at 18 are are AAAA guys that get a shot and then are released. So the age factor doesn’t hold much water. 2 – You’re comparing apples and oranges, Zito had a CYA under his belt, and pitched like a 2-3ish SP the few years following that before becoming a FA. 3 – Zito was paid towards the top as far as AVV goes in MLB when he got that deal, yes it wasn’t a great deal and he didn’t look like a 1-2 at the time and I said Tanaka has no track record, they’re projecting him as a 2 and based on the salary + posting fee he’ll likely AVV out towards the top above guys like Garza/Santana/Jimenez that are fringe 2s and more like #3s but will probably will post similar if not better performance than Tanaka. 4 – 2013 already passed, and giving Zito a contract for 2014 is not a terrible deal, yes Zito didn’t post stellar WAR, i lean more toward fWAR than rWAR though which incorporates FIP was -.6. If discount 50+ innings in 2011, this is the first negative fWAR he’s ever posted. You could say that Ervin Santana was garbage after posting -1.0 (worse than Zitos) in 2012 according to your logic though and that KC was out of their mind trading for him. The entire point of throwing out names like Westbrook/Zito is $ for performances since they’ll come in around 3-5 MM on a 1 year deal. The only way Tanaka is worth the contract is if he performs like a 2-3, and his AVV isn’t higher than 17 MM. There have been a lot of overpays like E. Jackson, Sanchez, Danks, Nolasco for guys that pitch like a 3, I have a feeling that Tanaka will be another one of those. If given the choice between paying the same amount for Tanaka vs Jimenez/Garza/Santana I’d take the latter.

    • Erin Carr 2 years ago

      Are you serious Garza is average in the Al East??

      • Zak A 2 years ago

        2.14 ERA vs the Jays who he’d be playing for…. so throw that out.

        B+ 3.03 vs the O’s but can’t play them everyday.
        C to C- 3.83 vs Sox so yea average.

        D+ 4.03 vs Yanks so yea more average.
        So yes, Average is pretty well put. Gotta look up things in baseball, the entire sport is about statistics, doesn’t hurt to look @ splits to get a rough idea of how he’d perform, even with different players the MO is still the same, it’s not as if the Sox and Yankees have become the Astros.

        • Erin Carr 2 years ago

          Ummm if you consider those stats average in the al east you must not watch alot of baseball

          • Zak A 2 years ago

            You must be related to Ruben Amaro Jr.

          • Erin Carr 2 years ago

            Nice ad hominem attack but I hate to break it to you, Garza has had a lot of success in the al east, in three seasons pitching for the rays his lowest era was 3.91 with his lowest WAR clocking in at 1.7. Also I don’t know if your aware that he won’t be pitching every game against an al east opponent,which even if he was wouldn’t be to bad considering that other then the yankees his highest era against any team in the division is 3.83. He’s no ace but definitely a solid number three

          • Erin Carr 2 years ago

            Which for the record is not average

        • John 2 years ago

          If a 3.03 ERA is a B+ in your books, and 3.83 a C-, your expectations for excellence are ridiculously high.

          • Zak A 2 years ago

            Is it? This isn’t Full Season we’re talking about. We’re talking about splits vs an individual team. A would be like Cliff Lee vs the Marlins 2.29 or vs the Mets 2.42 or vs the As 2.45 or A+ would be him vs the Cubs 1.95, vs LAD 1.70, vs Giants 0.88. So you think his 3.03 would be an A based off of that? I mean if the conversation were about him playing for the Yankees whom he has the worst splits against, then yea he’s a bit better than average isn’t he? But the topic is about him playing for the Blue Jays.

          • John 2 years ago

            Right, but notice that the top AL East teams have had consistently better offensive output than your listed teams in recent history (barring the Rays, until recently).

    • Dave Andres 2 years ago

      The challenge od playing in the AL East is the small ball parks that are like launching pads , They need pitchers who are ground ball pitchers or strike and miss guys .

      Smart GMs focus more on the ground ball pitcher because every guy that seems to be able to throw hard to get SO and then after a year or 2 blows out his arm seems to be the guy that gets the overpayment of a contract

      • Zak A 2 years ago

        Westbrook 2nd behind Burnett & Wang in GB% among FA SPs and holds a 58.7% GB career.

      • bjsguess 2 years ago

        Smart GM’s go after good pitchers, whether they are more ground ball or fly ball oriented. Talk all you want about guys who are strike throwers that get hurt. Some of the most prolific ground ball guys have experienced devastating injuries. Mulder and Webb are two obvious ones.

        Now, does it make sense to target pitchers that pitch to the strength of your team (either stadium or defense)? Sure. But only to an extent. There are plenty of fly ball pitchers who have thrived in the AL East.

        • Zak A 2 years ago

          Yea I suggested guys that were Average and Cheaper versus Average and 15MM/season realm.

  6. James F 2 years ago

    My guess would be they sign Matt Garza.

  7. 416jays 2 years ago

    jays have the money so is safe to say they will be in the hunt for tanaka

    • GRN_ 2 years ago

      Garza or ubaldo is more likely. Jays have the money but likely won’t pony up the money that Tanaka is going to command.

    • Governator88 1 year ago

      It’s less about the annual $ and more about the length of contract that will take the Jays out of contention for Tanaka, let alone trying to convince him to choose Canada. AA simply doesn’t sign guys longer than 5 years which isn’t going to land him.

      • TO647 1 year ago

        AA has stated that he’s willing to go a
        bit longer (6 or 7 years) if need be. Guess we’ll have to see.

  8. Chris March 1 year ago

    Whatever happened to the Jays/White Sox talks — Danks & Beckham ?

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