Colby Rasmus Rumors
The Blue Jays are looking for a closer this offseason and Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun says the team has checked in on free agents Francisco Cordero and Matt Capps. Heath Bell is another option for the Blue Jays, who had interest in Jonathan Papelbon before he signed with the Phillies. Here are more notes on the Blue Jays, who have yet to make a major move so far this offseason...
- The Blue Jays would listen to offers on 24-year-old first baseman David Cooper, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. Cooper, the Blue Jays' first round draft pick in 2008, debuted with the team in 2011 and posted a .678 OPS in 81 plate appearances. He won the Pacific Coast League batting title with a .364/.439/.535 line this past season, adding nine home runs and 51 doubles.
- Blue Jays president Paul Beeston isn't a fan of the posting system and Elliott suggests Toronto's interest in Yu Darvish is "lukewarm."
- The Yankees are interested in Kyle Drabek, according to Elliott. Drabek started the season in the Blue Jays' rotation before being demoted to the minor leagues. He had a standout season in 2010, but struggled with command in the Majors (6.3 BB/9) and in the minors (4.9 BB/9) in 2011.
- The Royals have some interest in Colby Rasmus because of concerns that Lorenzo Cain may not be ready for an everyday role, Elliott reports.
- The Phillies have discussed ways of re-obtaining Travis d'Arnaud, the Double-A catcher who arrived with Drabek in the 2009 Roy Halladay trade. As Elliott points out, the Blue Jays would need a ton to part with this year's Eastern League MVP.
Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun has a host of Blue Jays news including numerous quotes from GM Alex Anthopoulos:
- Elliot hears that the Blue Jays have been "shocked" by the asking prices they've received when contacting the representatives for free agent closers. Anthopoulos sounds wary of signing closers to four- and five-year deals. Noting some research he did on injuries long-term deals for relievers when he was still an assistant GM, Anthopolous said: "...basically if you were giving out a five-year deal you were only going to get a player for four seasons."
- When asked what the club's greatest surplus was, Anthopoulos replied "prospects," which Elliot speculates could hint that the Jays may try to acquire a closer via trade.
- The Blue Jays aren't prepared to trade J.P. Arencibia because of Travis d'Arnaud's minor league success. The 22-year-old d'Arnaud ranked 36th on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list prior to a 2011 campaign that saw him hit .311/.371/542 and crush 21 homers at the Double-A level.
- The organization is at least one year away from considering d'Arnaud for the Major Leagues, and the same goes for shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.
- The Blue Jays are content with Colby Rasmus as their center fielder for 2012, and Anthopolous calls him an upgrade defensively.
- The Jays need an everyday second baseman, which leads Elliot to speculate on Brandon Phillips.
Weather permitting, we''re just a few hours from watching the Cardinals represent the NL Central in Game Three of the World Series in Texas. While we wait, let's round up some links on the Cards and a couple of their division rivals....
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak discusses the Colby Rasmus trade with Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, noting that there was some internal opposition to moving the center fielder: "I'm not going to point anybody out specifically but there definitely was a robust debate internally on what we should do. But in the end, everybody believed it was what was best for the organization."
- In a highly recommended piece at Bloomberg Businessweek, Rob Gloster revisits another July deal, providing an in-depth look at negotiations between the Braves and Astros for Michael Bourn.
- ESPNChicago passes along a few quotes from Ryan Dempster regarding his future and the Cubs' new president. Dempster praised Theo Epstein and said he'd talk to the new front office regime before making a decision about his $14MM player option: "Hopefully it's not just picking up an option for this year, but I'll go out there and play the best I can and be here for a long time."
Blue Jays president Paul Beeston sat down with Richard Griffin of the the Toronto Star to talk about the state of the club, free agents coming north of the border, and even his own contract. Here are some highlights..
- Beeston was reluctant to tip his cap on whether or not the Blue Jays will make a run at Yu Darvish, but he did say that "I think those people at Rogers who never heard of him before, now know this player is in existence." Despite that, he has yet to inform ownership that he is ready to spend extra payroll dollars.
- Beeston said that he's happy for the ex-Jays that made it to the postseason this year with other clubs. Ultimately, he says that there's no way of knowing if the Blue Jays would have made it to the playoffs if they still had players such as Roy Halladay, Shaun Marcum, John McDonald, and Aaron Hill in the fold.
- When discussing Hill, Beeston said, "I think that [General Manager] Alex [Anthopoulos] had determined that he wanted to make a move with Aaron." Toronto shipped Hill and McDonald to the Diamondbacks for Kelly Johnson in an August trade.
- Halladay "made it quite clear" that he was not going to re-sign with the Blue Jays after the 2010 season.
- The Blue Jays didn't make a serious run at Cliff Lee in free agency last year and Beeston believes that doing so would have been a "waste of time".
- Even though the senior people at Rogers aren't baseball fans, Beeston still keeps them informed of major decisions. For example, Beeston discussed the Halladay trade with management before pulling the trigger. Beeston says that Rogers has yet to interfere with or object to a front office decision.
- At a fan get-together in February, Beeston said that the club could possibly spend up to $120MM on payroll. Beeston clarified those comments and says that the $120MM figure is in reference to salaries on the 40-man roster and not including draft bonuses and international free agency.
- That uptick in payroll could happen this year or next year. Beeston plans on adding a big piece at the right time for the right price. He later added that the team first has to show that they can contend before they can land the premier free agents on the open market.
- The Blue Jays have built up the farm system and they're reassured of their talent by the amount of inquiries they get from other teams. The Colby Rasmus trade showed that the club could afford to trade several attractive pieces without mortgaging their future.
- Rumors of Beeston re-upping his contract through 2015 are not true. In fact, he says that he hasn't talked to anyone about an extension of his current deal.
- Beeston said that he sees an opening in the AL East because of the uncertainty in Boston, aging stars in New York, and limited capital in Tampa Bay.
- Even though attendance in down in Toronto, revenue continues to grow for the organization. The belief is that the pace will pick up once the team is contending again.
Here are some links to check out before the NLCS kicks off later this afternoon..
- Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel points out that the somewhat low payrolls of the remaining playoff teams are examples of the importance of drafting, scouting, and player development. The Tigers have the largest payroll (10th), while the Cardinals (11th), Rangers (13th), and Brewers (17th) round out the pack. It's also worth noting that the Diamondbacks rank 25th and the Rays were 29th.
- The progress of center fielder Jon Jay allowed the Cardinals to trade Colby Rasmus at the deadline, GM John Mozeliak told Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, and Octavio Dotel have been key parts of the team's drive to the NLCS.
- Some people think that C.J. Wilson has keen interest as a free agent in New York, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated. He adds that the Yankees are probably the early favorite to sign him.
- A Lakeview, Illinois resident is "99.9 percent sure" that he saw Red Sox GM Theo Epstein at a Starbucks in Lincoln Park, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Boston ownership has yet to acknowledge a report that the Cubs have asked for permission to talk to Epstein.
- The Angels continued their front-office purge by not renewing the contract of player development director Abe Flores, a major league source told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Flores spent four seasons as the team's player development director after spending the previous six as the team's manager of baseball operations.
- No matter what kind of career pitcher Pedro Strop has, the trade for left-hander Mike Gonzalez at the August deadline was worth it for the Rangers, writes Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.
Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus has hired Beverly Hills Sports Council to represent him, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Rasmus, who turns 25 Thursday, had been a TWC Sports client. Current Blue Jays Aaron Hill and Jesse Litsch are also BHSC clients, as our Agency Tracker shows.
Rasmus heads to arbitration for the first time this winter and is under team control through 2014. Based on arbitration rewards for comparable players such as Adam Jones ($3.25MM this year) and B.J. Upton ($3MM in 2010), Rasmus will likely earn $3MM or so in 2012.
A couple items of note as former Red Sock Justin Masterson battles his old team in Boston ...
- Indians right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, acquired from the Rockies in a pre-deadline blockbuster, never asked to be traded out of Colorado, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, although he wanted a resolution on the situation, and he didn't mind having the opportunity to waive his 2014 option with the commencement of the trade (via Twitter).
- The Giants activated Mark DeRosa from the 60-day disabled list today, but they haven't announced a corresponding 40-man roster move yet and "are being evasive about it," according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (via Twitter). Baggarly speculates that the Lads could activate Pat Burrell from the 15-day DL and release him.
- The Red Sox were willing to discuss a trade with the Cardinals involving center fielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Colby Rasmus in 2010, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter), but the talks never gained traction. That would have been a heck of a trade. Rasmus, of course, was traded by St. Louis to the Blue Jays prior to last month's trade deadline.
- The Indians were very close to drafting Ellsbury at No. 14 overall in the 2005 draft but instead opted for Trevor Crowe, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (via Twitter). So close, in fact, that team officials asked Ellsbury, a Native American, his feelings about the team's logo, the so-called Chief Wahoo. ... Edes' sources didn't provide him with Ellsbury's response, though.
The pace quickened in the Padres' trade talks involving relievers Heath Bell and Mike Adams yesterday, tweeted ESPN's Buster Olney. The Rangers and Cardinals are in the mix for Bell, at the least. The latest:
- The Cardinals are in the mix for Bell and the Rangers remain the favorite to acquire him, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- Bell told Scott Miller of CBSSports.com that he would be willing to take a discount to re-sign with the Padres after the season (Twitter link). "I said I'd take a discount, and I want to stay here," said Bell. "Everyone knows that."
- Jon Heyman of SI.com says (on Twitter) that baseball people around the league expect Bell to wind up with Texas because they have the need and the prospects to get a deal done.
- Bell told Scott Miller of CBSSports.com that a trade is "going to happen" (Twitter link).
- Don't expect the Angels to trade for Bell if the Rangers can't swing a deal for him, Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times writes (on Twitter). The Angels may not have enough upper-level prospects to sway the Padres.
- The Rangers are "pushing hard" for Bell, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
- The Rangers say any deal for Bell is doubtful today, since the sides aren't close, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter).
- Miller reports (on Twitter) that the Padres have not seemed willing to trade Adams.
- The Padres' asking price on Bell is too high for the Rangers currently, tweets Scott Miller of CBS Sports. The Padres are asking for three players for Bell and the Rangers remain "very interested" despite the Padres' asking price, according to Miller.
- An executive of one team told ESPN's Jayson Stark the Padres are "getting closer" to a major bullpen deal, and talks "could end quickly." The Rangers appear to be the favorite for Bell, though they've been in on Adams and Chad Qualls as well. The Phillies seem to view Adams as a better fit than Bell, and could try to swing a deal that also includes Ryan Ludwick. Though the Padres are talking actively with the Cardinals and Angels as well, they're higher on the Rangers' and Phillies' prospects.
- The Padres and Rangers are engaged in substantive talks on Bell, tweets Rosenthal. Similarly, Jon Heyman says the Rangers are making progress on Bell and Scott Miller says Texas has pushed harder today. Miller says they've had "good talks" but nothing is imminent.
- There's been little substantial dialogue between the Phillies and Padres regarding Bell, tweets MLB.com's Corey Brock.
- Colby Rasmus was a central part of the Cardinals' discussions with the Padres for Bell, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Colby Rasmus is making his Blue Jays debut in Toronto, where he’s batting second and starting in center field tonight. Here’s the latest on a Blue Jays team that could make another move or two before Sunday afternoon...
- Though the Blue Jays have said they're likely done making deals, other teams believe they may still trade Jon Rauch and/or Frank Francisco, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- The Diamondbacks, who had interest in some of the relievers the Blue Jays traded, aren't willing to mortgage the future for middle relief, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). Octavio Dotel, Jason Frasor and Marc Rzepczynski were dealt yesterday.
- Rasmus' father, Tony, says Cardinals manager Tony La Russa pushed his son out of town. “Tony needed pitching and wanted to force the GM into making a trade, so he belittled Colby to the fans,” the elder Rasmus told Bob Eilliott of the Toronto Sun.
- One MLB executive told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the only thing he's sure of is that Toronto GM "Alex Anthopoulos is the smartest dude in the game." Rosenthal warns his readers that forming snap judgments about trades is dangerous, but most of his sources like the deal for the Blue Jays.
The latest on the Red Sox, who have the best record in the American League...
- The Red Sox are “still looking at all options,” including outfielders, but their focus may be shifting to pitching, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
- Lauber hears that the Red Sox didn’t actively pursue Colby Rasmus.
- The Red Sox will consider Rich Harden, Erik Bedard, Hiroki Kuroda, Jeremy Guthrie, Aaron Harang, and Ubaldo Jimenez as they decide whether to add a starting pitcher, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. ESPN's Jayson Stark names Kuroda, Bedard, Harden, and Jimenez as pitchers on their radar. He notes that the Red Sox have "stayed involved from the beginning" on Jimenez.
- The Red Sox wouldn't give up anything really good for Kuroda, opined MLB Network's Peter Gammons on WEEI's Mut & Merloni show.
- Gammons believes the Cubs' Reed Johnson is the most logical fit for an outfielder for Boston.