Casey Janssen Rumors

Blue Jays Likely To Keep Lind, DeRosa, Janssen

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters that there's a "good chance" they'll exercise Adam Lind's option for 2014, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (on Twitter).  Veteran Mark DeRosa is also in good position with his option and Casey Janssen is a lock to have his club option triggered.

It now looks like Lind will get $7MM to stay in Toronto next season rather than getting a $2MM buyout to ply his craft elsewhere.  The Jays also have options on Lind's services for 2015 ($7.5MM) and 2016 ($8MM). In 2013, Lind has hit .287/.356/.497, his best slash line since 2009. 

DeRosa's $750K option was expected to be triggered, but he could opt to retire rather than return.  The 38-year-old, who has a .229/.322/.398 slash line on the year, has earned nearly $30MM over the course of his career.  Meanwhile, Janssen's $4MM option is a slam dunk after turning in a 2.56 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 56 relief appearances.

Anthopoulos also expressed confidence that the Blue Jays' rotation can turn things around with "a starter or two" added this offseason, Davidi tweets.


Blue Jays Notes: Bullpen, Izturis, Bonifacio

The Blue Jays have been one of the busiest teams this offseason, per MLBTR's Transaction Tracker. GM Alex Anthopoulos has traded a manager (John Farrell), hired his replacement (John Gibbons, his second stint in Toronto), acquired the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, Jose ReyesJosh JohnsonMark BuehrleEmilio Bonifacio, Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas, and Esmil Rogers while signing free agents Melky Cabrera, Maicer Izturis, Henry Blanco, and Mark DeRosa. Is there anything left for Anthopoulos to do before pitchers and catchers report to Dunedin on February 12? MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm answered that question and others when he opened his inbox recently.

  • The remaining moves the Blue Jays have left to make are minor league signings for organizational depth, writes Chisholm. 
  • The only real area of competition is the bullpen. Casey Janssen and Sergio Santos will battle to be the closer. Right-hander Jeremy Jeffress is a favorite to win a job, as he is out of options. Chisholm thinks Brandon Lyon would add a reliable veteran presence to the bullpen, but doesn't see the Blue Jays re-signing the right-hander because the team has reached its payroll limit.
  • It appears Izturis received some sort of promise from the organization he would be the starting second baseman before agreeing to his three-year, $10MM deal, according to Chisholm. Look for Bonifacio to be used in a super utility role even though, in Chisholm's view, he has more upside than Izturis and would bring another element of speed to the lineup.
  • Don't expect Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison, both recovering from Tommy John surgery, to make a major impact until 2014.
  • The Blue Jays' farm system has been weakened by the flurry of trades this offseason. Chisholm notes there's talent in the lower levels, which is at least three years away, but that isn't a concern for the Blue Jays because their core is tied up for a similar period at the big league level.    

Blue Jays Looking To Add Players

The Blue Jays, now 40-40 and in fifth place in the American League East, are looking to add to their team as the July 31st trade deadline approaches. General manager Alex Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that he’s discussing ways of making this year’s team better.

"Every dialogue I’m trying to have now, it’s all about trying to improve the 2012 product, that isn’t going to change," he said. "I’m active in having talks, that doesn’t mean anything is going to get done, but definitely all the trade dialogue I’m handling right now is all about making the 2012 team better."

Anthopoulos told Davidi the Blue Jays have talked about some potential short-term additions, including players headed for free agency. The GM added that this year’s Blue Jays team has a stronger core than in previous years.

Only three MLB teams have out-scored Toronto, but the Blue Jays could use pitching reinforcements after losing three starters to the disabled list and adding Carlos Villanueva, Aaron Laffey and Brett Cecil to their rotation. The Blue Jays are unsurprisingly interested in adding starting pitching depth.

Two scouts told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com that Anthopoulos should sell this summer. One scout suggested Casey Janssen could become a trade chip. Meanwhile, a rival official said the Blue Jays are “souring” on Yunel Escobar and Knobler suggests the Blue Jays could decide to trade the shortstop just one year after extending him.



Blue Jays Extend Casey Janssen

The Blue Jays announced that they have agreed to a two-year, $5.9MM contract extension with right-handed reliever Casey Janssen. The deal, which eliminates the need for an arbitration hearing, includes a 2014 option worth $4MM. Janssen will earn $2MM in 2012 and $3.9MM in 2013, MLBTR has learned. 

The contract buys out Janssen's final year of arbitration eligibility and his first free agent season. Janssen and agent Jim McDowell had asked for $2.2MM in arbitration, with the Blue Jays countering at $1.8MM.

The 30-year-old posted a 2.26 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 47.3% ground ball rate in 55 2/3 innings last year, when he earned $1.095MM as a second-time arbitration eligible player. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca first reported that the sides were nearing a two-year deal.

As MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows, Alex Anthopoulos has now completed seven extensions since becoming Toronto's GM.


Blue Jays Nearing Two-Year Deal With Janssen

The Blue Jays are nearing a two-year deal with reliever Casey Janssen that includes a third-year option, tweets Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.  As the Blue Jays are a file and trial team, a multiyear deal was the only way to the impending arbitration hearing.  Janssen and the Jays had a $400K spread, with $2.2MM and $1.8MM submissions, respectively.  The two-year deal would buy out one free agent year with an option on a second.

Janssen, 30, posted a 2.26 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 0.32 HR/9, and 47.3% groundball rate in 55 2/3 innings last year.  He earned $1.095MM in 2011, his second arbitration year.  Janssen's extension would mark the seventh in the career of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, according to our transaction tracker.


Quick Hits: Athletics, Cabrera, Jeter, Braves, Janssen

Let's take a look at some links for Monday night..


Blue Jays Aim For Bullpen Depth

San Diego's relievers combined to strike out more than a batter per inning over the course of the 2010 season, while limiting hits, walks and homers. Manager Bud Black saw five of his relievers appear in 30 or more games and emerge with ERAs under 2.00 at the end of the season and the Padres' NL West rivals weren't the only ones to notice.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says he'd like to have a deep bullpen in 2011, like the Padres did last year. He says he's happy to keep more relievers than usual on his roster this year and that the acquisition of Frank Francisco doesn't mean a trade is imminent. The Blue Jays' plans for their relievers haven't changed.

"No impact at all," Anthopoulos said yesterday on a conference call to announce the acquisition of Francisco from the Rangers. "They're all quality relievers and we love having depth in the bullpen one through seven."

Or maybe one through eight. The Blue Jays have discussed the possibility of opening the season with an eight-man bullpen to accomodate their arms and provide manager John Farrell with a variety of options. Though the Jays could open the year with an extra arm in the 'pen, Anthopoulos said a traditional seven-man ensemble is more likely at this point. The Blue Jays' rotation is relatively young and inexperienced, so the team's front office would like to support starters like Brett Cecil and, possibly, Kyle Drabek with steady relief pitching.

"It's certainly part of it," Anthopoulos said. "We don't want to overtax our young starters."

The Blue Jays don't want to overtax their relievers, either. Anthopoulos says there can be a ripple effect when teams have deep bullpens. If every reliever is capable of performing in meaningful situations, no pitcher gets overused. But Anthopoulos has no illusions; even qualified, well-rested relievers struggle and the 2011 Blue Jays won't be any different.

"We all know that they will get hurt," he said. "Some of them won't perform. They'll have bad months."

Take Jason Frasor (pictured), one of the holdovers in the team's new-look bullpen. He walked nearly a batter per inning in April, 2010 and posted an 8.38 ERA through the season’s first month, but recovered from his turbulent start and put together a fine year. He'll join Francisco and free agent signings Jon Rauch and Octavio Dotel, the relievers Anthopoulos expects to compete for the Jays' closing job.

Frasor

Shawn Camp, Casey Janssen and Carlos Villanueva are also right-handed relievers under team control for $1MM-plus in 2011, so the Blue Jays have a surplus of big league arms and could hear from pitching-starved teams before the season begins.

The Jays have seven established right-handed relievers, but Toronto's left-handers have considerably less experience. David Purcey, an out-of-options 28-year-old, was reasonably effective in 2010. He's a leading candidate to make the club, though his walk rate and fly ball rate have been high throughout his brief MLB career. Jo-Jo Reyes is also out of options, but he has made just 11 relief appearances as a pro. Jesse Carlson, who was a mainstay in 2009, could also crack the team's roster.

While their AL East rivals to the south, the Rays, had to lower payroll this offseason and rebuild their bullpen on a budget, Anthopoulos reaffirmed that he has the flexibility to ask for more money if necessary. The Blue Jays can continue spending on their bullpen, even as their young starters become more expensive.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Monday

Teams and players exchange arbitration figures tomorrow if they haven't already come to terms for 2011. That means plenty of players will likely avoid arbitration today. We'll keep track of them all right here and with our Arbitration Tracker; the latest updates are at the top of this post:


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Noon ET today was the deadline for both the team and player to submit their salary figures for arbitration, however the two sides can come to an agreement at any point before the actual hearing. The hearings are scheduled for the first week of February.

We'll keep track of the players who avoid arbitration today by agreeing to deals here. Make sure you check back in for updates, and be sure to click the "Continue Reading" link to see today's full list of settlements.  Yesterday's list can be found here.

  • Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels avoided arbitration with Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits by signing the duo to one-year deals.  Napoli will earn $3.6MM in 2010 with a $100K bonus if he makes 120 starts.  Willits' contract is worth $625K. 
  • Zach Duke's one-year contract with Pittsburgh is worth $4.3MM with no performance bonuses, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • The Padres and reliever Mike Adams have agreed to a contract, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter).  Brock's follow-up tweet says Adams' deal is worth $1MM, virtually splitting the difference between San Diego's $875K offer and Adams' $1.2MM demands.
  • Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins have agreements in place with all eight of their arbitration eligible players.  In a follow-up tweet, Christensen reports that Francisco Liriano agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM and Jesse Crain agreed to a one-year contract worth $2MM.
  • Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the Mets avoided arbitration with reliever Sean Green (via Twitter).  The one-year deal was worth $975K, according to the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron.
  • The Tigers avoided arb with Gerald Laird and Zach Miner as well according to James Jahnke of The Detroit Free Press.  MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets the details on the one-year contracts: Laird will earn $3.95MM, Miner will earn $950K.
  • Christensen tweets that the Twins avoided arb with Brendan Harris, signing him to a two year deal worth $3.2MM with another $650K in possible incentives.
  • The Tigers and Bobby Seay avoided arbitration according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter), agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.475MM.
  • Thesier tweets that Matt Guerrier agreed to a one year deal worth $3.15MM with the Twins, avoiding arb.
  • Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, with Delcarmen getting $905K plus incentives according to Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal. Boston avoided arb with Jonathan Papelbon as well.

(more…)


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Morosi’s Latest: Blue Jays, Sanchez, Correia, Holliday

Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com suggests the Blue Jays might want to set their sights on 2010, after which they stand to lose Lyle Overbay, Scott Downs, Scott Rolen, and Roy Halladay to free agency. Not to mention Cito Gaston and J.P. Ricciardi, whose contracts will both expire barring an extension. Morosi writes,

"Six pitchers currently reside on the disabled list, and ace Roy Halladay was a recent visitor. Vernon Wells and Alex Rios, signed through 2014, haven't been hitting. The team is in fourth place and would probably need to climb the standings quickly in order to convince ownership that additions to an $80 million payroll are warranted this month."

Morosi adds the following:

  • Halladay is not going anywhere.
  • Ricky Romero and Scott Richmond are most likely staying put, says Morosi, and I doubt anyone here disagrees.
  • Pitching is not a need for 2010 with the anticipated return of Jesse Litsch, Shaun Marcum, and Dustin McGowan.
  • The Jays are almost certain to keep Downs, who has become a premier reliever in the American League.

Morosi suggests, the Jays trade a pitcher or two to boost their team OPS which lags in the AL East behind the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays. Given the above, Morosi suggests Brian Tallet as a trade chip. "Tallet could be looked upon as a viable option for teams looking for a mid-rotation left-handed starter, particularly if the Mariners stay in the race and elect not to move Erik Bedard and Jarrod Washburn."

They may also look at dealing from their collection of right-handed setup men, such as Casey Janssen, Jeremy Accardo, Brandon League, or Jason Frasor. Just speculating here but Janssen may be the most attractive since he can start. As a reliever in 2007, Janssen had a 2.35 ERA in 72.2 IP with 6 saves before missing 2008 with a torn labrum.

Morosi has a few more bullet points to discuss:

  • Freddy Sanchez's contract contains an $8MM option for 2010 that automatically vests after 635 PAs, or only 600 if he makes the All Star team. So, it stands to reason that Sanchez will either make the All Star Team or see his trade value increase. This may be moot given Sanchez is on pace for 660 plate appearances. Morosi says one Mariners official doesn't think Pittsburgh is considering trading Sanchez. The M's have need for a pure hitter as well as a second baseman given concerns about Jose Lopez ability to stay at 2B long term.
  • The M's asked about Jeremy Hermida, but there wasn't a lot of movement. Morosi notes Hermida's trade value has fallen significantly.
  • Kevin Correia is pitching fantastically but the Padres haven't put him on the open market. Morosi doesn't report much excitement among other clubs.
  • Morosi says "one person in the industry who knows Oakland general manager Billy Beane well," guessed Matt Holliday will stay with the team so Beane could collect the compensatory draft picks. Morosi quotes the source: "Billy loves the draft."