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- Right-Hander Norge Ruiz Leaves Cuba, Will Seek Deal With MLB Club
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- Braves, Dodgers To Swap Callaspo, Uribe In Six-Player Deal
- NL East Notes: Wright, Amaro, Phillies, Harper
- Cubs To Release Phil Coke
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- Minor Moves: Brett Hayes, Cole Garner
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Casey Janssen Rumors
Here’s the latest from the game’s eastern divisions:
- The Marlins are interested in Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera, reports Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Olivera recently defected with hopes of becoming an MLB free agent, and Miami is certainly one of several clubs that looks in need of an acquisition up the middle.
- Giancarlo Stanton‘s season-ending injury does not change the Marlins‘ plans to make a push at extending him this winter, the Associated Press reports (via the New York Times). “There’s no hesitancy, no reservation or doubt he’ll return and be even better,” said Miami president of baseball operations Michael Hill. “We’re going to do everything in our power to keep him a fixture in our lineup for many years to come.”
- The Red Sox are not giving up on Will Middlebrooks in spite of building frustration, but president Larry Lucchino did make clear that the team is “looking for a left-handed hitting third baseman,” as he told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan (via WEEI.com’s Andrew Battifarano). Though Lucchino said that prospect Garin Cecchini could be that player, he also emphasized that the team will not “make the same mistake that [we] made this year, which is to assume that so many of our young players are ready for prime time.”
- Two long-time Blue Jays — reliever Casey Janssen and DH Adam Lind — are approaching the possibility of finding new homes, as Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca writes. Janssen, a free agent, says he does not yet know whether Toronto will make him a competitive offer. If not, he says, he will “embrace a new city and try to bring a championship to wherever that next stop is.” Lind, on the other hand, is subject to a $7.5MM club option. Though expectations are that it will be exercised, Lind says he hopes the front office will give him a clear sense of its intentions before the season ends.
6:50pm: The Jays have exercised their options on Lind and DeRosa, while declining their option on Kawasaki, Sportsnet.ca's Shi Davidi writes. Lind hit .288/.357/.497 while splitting his time between first base and DH in 2013. DeRosa hit .235/.326/.407 while playing first, second, third and DH. Kawasaki provided a feel-good moment or two for the Jays in a season in which they had very few, but he split his time between Toronto and Triple-A Buffalo and only hit .229/.326/.308 in the Majors. Davidi notes that the Jays could re-sign him to a minor-league deal.
5:04pm: The Blue Jays have exercised their $4MM option on closer Casey Janssen, Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish tweets. Janssen pitched 52 2/3 innings in 2013, posting a 2.56 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9, so the decision was likely a relatively straightforward one. The option came as part of a two-year, $5.9MM deal signed prior to the 2012 season. Janssen made $3.9MM in 2013. He is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season.
The Jays have yet to announce decisions on options for first baseman / designated hitter Adam Lind ($7MM with a $2MM buyout), infielder Munenori Kawasaki ($1MM) and utilityman Mark DeRosa ($750K with a $25K buyout).
The Yankees have made a substantial offer to keep manager Joe Girardi, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reports. A source tells Marchand that Girardi could think about the offer through the weekend. "We are going to give him a real good reason to stay," says GM Brian Cashman. Rumors have connected Girardi to the Cubs' managerial job, which might be a possibility if he chooses to leave. The Nationals and Reds also have managerial openings that Girardi might find attractive. Girardi is currently under contract with the Yankees through the end of October. Here are more notes from the AL East.
- Last offseason, the Red Sox and Royals discussed a possible trade involving Jon Lester and Wil Myers, Lester tells WEEI.com's Alex Speier. "[Royals manager Ned Yost] is actually a pretty good friend of mine. I flat-out called him one day and was like, 'Hey, what do you got on this?' He said, ‘Yeah, we’re trying to make it work,'" Lester says. One reason the trade ultimately didn't happen is that the Royals finally traded Myers and three other players to the Rays, the Red Sox's current ALDS opponent, for a package headlined by James Shields.
- One assistant GM proposes that the Rays could trade David Price to the Dodgers for Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Julio Urias and Chris Withrow, Peter Gammons writes. That would give the Rays two very good hitting prospects in Seager and Pederson, a very young arm in Urias, and a big-league reliever in Withrow. MLB.com ranks Pederson and Seager the top two prospects in the Dodgers system, with Urias at No. 4.
- The Blue Jays are "sure" to pick up their $4MM option on closer Casey Janssen, writes Shi Davidi of SportsNet.ca. Janssen is coming off a strong season, so the decision would seem to be an easy one. Davidi notes that Janssen would likely make twice as much on the open market, and win a multi-year deal to boot.
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.
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 Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio 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.
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.
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.
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.
Let's take a look at some links for Monday night..
- Jane Lee of MLB.com writes that Athletics manager Bob Geren believes that his club has improved by leaps and bounds this winter.
- Recent addition Orlando Cabrera might not hold the Indians' starting second-base job for long, writes Jordan Bastian of MLB.com.
- Yankees captain Derek Jeter is not going to be happy about the comments made by Hank Steinbrenner earlier today, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out that Braves GM Frank Wren is now under contract for the same period as manager Fredi Gonzalez, whom he hired to replace Bobby Cox. Earlier today the two sides agreed to a two-year contract extension.
- There may not be a spot in the Blue Jays' bullpen for pitcher Casey Janssen but the veteran says he's not looking for a way out of Toronto, writes Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.
- New to San Diego, Jorge Cantu says that he's ready to produce even though he'll be asked to move around the diamond, writes MLB.com's Tom Singer. The Padres offically inked Cantu to a one-year deal worth $850K towards the end of January.
- Speaking of brand new members of the Pads, Kevin Frandsen is delighted to be back in the National League, tweets Dan Hayes of the North County Times.
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.
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.