Toronto Blue Jays Rumors

Toronto Blue Jays trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

AL Notes: Hamilton, Cabrera, Toritani

The Angels have discussed potential trades involving Josh Hamilton with the Rangers and Padres this offseason, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports. That might not mean much right now — MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets that the conversation between the Angels and Rangers lasted two minutes, and today’s Wil Myers deal would seem to rule out the possibility of a trade sending Hamilton to San Diego. Rosenthal himself describes recent Hamilton trade talks as merely “exploratory,” and quotes Angels GM Jerry Dipoto asserting his faith in Hamilton. “We do believe in Josh,” says Dipoto. “We’ve seen him hit balls that humans shouldn’t hit. What he does, 99 percent of the players can’t do.” There’s also, obviously, the problem of Hamilton’s trade value being down significantly right now after a mediocre 2014 season. But the possibility of the Angels trading Hamilton (who has a full no-trade clause and is owed $83MM over the next three years) could be worth keeping an eye on in the coming years. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • The White Sox are “comfortable” with Melky Cabrera‘s past troubles with PEDs, J.J. Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com writes. “Obviously we’re aware of what happened in the past and no one condones what he did,” says GM Rick Hahn. “But we are talking about an instance where there was a mistake he made and took ownership for and showed honest remorse.” Another PED suspension would cost the White Sox an entire year of Cabrera’s three-year deal, but the White Sox are confident that Cabrera’s PED issues are in the past.
  • GM Alex Anthopoulos confirms that the Blue Jays have interest in Japanese infielder Takashi Toritani, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes. “We’ve scouted him quite a bit,” Anthopoulos said to Jeff Blair on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. “We have some scouts that like him and he’s someone that we’ve certainly talked about internally. Beyond that I probably wouldn’t get into anything else, but certainly a guy like that would fit.” The 33-year-old Toritani, who hit .303/.406/.415 for Hanshin in 2014, could be an option at second base for the Jays.

Blue Jays Sign Ryan Kalish

The Blue Jays have announced a minor league deal with outfielder Ryan Kalish. The 26-year-old gets an invitation to big league camp this spring.

Kalish spent most of last year with the Cubs after making the roster out of camp, putting up a .248/.295/.347 line in 130 plate appearances at the major league level. He carried a .726 OPS in 319 Triple-A plate appearances on the year. While neither of those batting lines looks to be a huge endorsement for Kalish’s future prospects, it is important to bear in mind that Kalish was working back from serious shoulder and back surgeries and did prove that he could return to a high level of play.

The Jays will presumably consider Kalish in a reserve outfield role, perhaps expecting that he will ultimately serve as minor league depth.


Blue Jays Sign Daric Barton

The Blue Jays have added first baseman Daric Barton on a minor league deal, the team announced via press release. Barton joins a mix of secondary first base and bench bats that includes Justin Smoak and Chris Colabello.

Barton, 29, saw only 64 plate appearances for the Athletics last year, his lowest tally in eight big league seasons. He struggled badly at the plate in the bigs, though his numbers at Triple-A (.261/.371/.411 over 375 plate appearances) were better. Since a big 2010 season as a regular, Barton has managed only a .216/.323/.284 slash over 600 trips to the plate at the MLB level.



AL East Notes: Red Sox, Rasmus, Craig, Blue Jays

With research revealing the strike zone has dropped by the diameter of a baseball over the last few years, the Red Sox have targeted pitchers and hitters who can control that area of the plate, John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval is one of the best lowball hitters in the game. Hanley Ramirez, meanwhile, is a lifetime .346 hitter in the lower third of the zone. On the pitching side of the equation, Wade Miley, Rick Porcello, and Justin Masterson are all above average in ground ball/fly ball ratio, with Masterson (1.33) standing as one of the most extreme examples in the game.

Elsewhere out of the American League East:

  • The Orioles are being pushed to take Colby Rasmus on a one-year deal, tweets Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com. Earlier today, we learned the Cubs have met recently with Rasmus and are one of several teams to show interest in the free agent center fielder.
  • MLB.com’s Richard Justice profiles Red Sox first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig as an overlooked trade candidate, noting the 30-year-old, who has been hobbled by foot injuries the last two years, is a driven and serious man obsessed with putting his career back on track. The Marlins and Brewers have been linked to Craig so far this offseason.
  • With Melky Cabrera coming to terms with the White Sox, the Blue Jays will receive a compensatory pick after the first round, lessening the blow of forfeiting the 18th overall selection for signing Russell Martin, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.

Blue Jays Interested In Rizzo To Replace Beeston

6:35pm: Rizzo says the Jays have not contacted him and that he remains focused on his job with the Nationals, Wagner tweets.

2:51pm: The Blue Jays are interested in Nationals GM and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo to replace president and CEO Paul Beeston, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Jays have also been connected to Terry Ryan of the Twins, Kenny Williams of the White Sox and Dan Duquette of the Orioles to fill the position, although all have either been denied permission to interview for the job or have said they’re not interested. What will happen with Beeston isn’t yet entirely clear, with one report indicating that Beeston would remain on the job through 2015.

Rizzo’s level of interest, if any, in the Blue Jays job is unclear, and the Washington Post’s James Wagner tweets that the Nationals haven’t been contacted regarding Rizzo’s potential candidacy. Rizzo signed a new long-term deal with the Nationals in August 2013, which is when he was promoted to president of baseball operations.

Rizzo took over the Nationals’ GM job after Jim Bowden’s departure in 2009. Since then, the Nationals have made the playoffs twice, losing in the NLDS in both 2012 and 2014. He was named the BBWAA’s Executive of the Year following the 2012 season.


Minor Moves: Roe, Wilson, Brown, Velez, Lopez, Gindl, Fox, Sizemore

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Orioles have agreed to a minor league pact with righty Chaz Roe, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports on Twitter. The 28-year-old reliever has only seen 24 1/3 innings at the big league level, but has posted strong numbers in the upper minors over the past two seasons, including attractive K/BB rates.
  • The Rays have announced the signing of three players to minor league deals with Spring Training invites, via Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune (Twitter link). Catcher Bobby Wilson, outfielder Corey Brown, and utilityman Eugenio Velez will be joining the Tampa organization. Wilson has not seen much MLB time since serving as a backup with the Angels, and the same holds of Velez, who was a semi-regular with the Giants five years back. Brown, 29, spent most of last year at Triple-A in the Red Sox system.
  • Likewise, the Blue Jays have added a trio of minor league contracts that include spring invites, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter). Righty Wilton Lopez, outfielder Caleb Gindl, and corner infielder Jake Fox will take a shot at making the Toronto roster. Lopez, 31, was a pen mainstay for the Astros and then the Rockies before suffering through a rough 2014 in Colorado. Gindl, just 26, showed some promise in 2013 with the Brewers but struggled last year at Triple-A and in a brief big league stint. And the 32-year-old Fox has not reached the bigs since 2011, but launched 38 home runs in the upper minors last year with the Phillies.
  • The Marlins have added outfielder Scott Sizemore on a minor league deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets (a deal that Chris Cotillo of SB Nation recently said was in the works). Sizemore, 29, has seen action in parts of four MLB seasons, and owns a useful .240/.327/.383 slash with 14 home runs over 614 career plate appearances.

AL Notes: Melky, Jays, Red Sox, Masterson

With the Winter Meetings in the books, be sure to check out this interesting piece from Joe Lemire for Medium.com regarding the change wrought on the process by changes in communication technology. Texting has replaced in-person dealmaking and reporting, writes Lemire, which in some ways undermines the purpose of teams gathering in one place. Of course, as we found out this week, the annual meet-up is still capable of supporting a hotbed of transactional movement.

Here’s the latest from the American League:

  • The Mariners have made free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera a three-year offer, Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com reports (Spanish language link). Cabrera is looking for at least one more guaranteed year, says Rojas. This news reflects a recent report from Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, who suggested that the sides were at something of a standoff along those lines.
  • The Blue Jays are looking at the free agent market for a second baseman but are not interested in guaranteeing more than three years, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter. “You won’t see any four or five-year deals,” said GM Alex Anthopoulos.
  • Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald (Twitter link) rejects the idea that the Red Sox made a mistake by not landing Jon Lester. That assessment, says Silverman, will depend upon whether the team finds a suitable alternative.
  • Justin Masterson says that the Rangers were one of several claims to make him an offer before he signed with the Red Sox, the Herald’s Scott Lauber reports on Twitter. That offer was for $6MM in guaranteed money, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford tweets.

AL East Notes: Red Sox, Miley, Cashman, Bruce

Even with Justin Masterson, Rick Porcello and (eventually) Wade Miley now in the fold, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington didn’t close the door on the possibility of more pitching moves.  “I think we’€™re going to keep working and see what comes to us. Our hope was to really strengthen our rotation, our position with the rotation, this week, or at some point soon. Hopefully we’€™ll be able to do that,” Cherington told reporters, including WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.  The GM said he thinks teams can get by without having a frontline ace atop their rotation, though also pointed out his roster has “a lot of younger pitching that we think in time, some of them have a chance to develop into that type of guy.”

Here’s some more from around the AL East…

  • The Miley trade hasn’t yet been finalized since the Red Sox and Diamondbacks are “still squabbling about the extra player,” Arizona GM Dave Stewart tells reporters, including MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert.  The player in question is a prospect Boston will be sending to the D’Backs along with Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster.
  • The Yankees talked to the D’Backs and Tigers about Miley and Porcello, Brian Cashman told reporters (including George A. King III of the New York Post).  “Did I call Arizona? Yes. Did I call Detroit? Yes. I didn’t have [Yoenis] Cespedes to send to Detroit. We are waiting for something we are comfortable with,” Cashman said.  The GM said he “threw a lot of different ideas a lot of different ways” during a quiet Winter Meetings for the Yankees and he’ll “keep conversations alive” throughout the offseason.
  • The Orioles “kicked the tires” on Reds outfielder Jay Bruce but couldn’t match up on a trade with Cincinnati, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.  In the wake of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis signing elsewhere, the O’s have a definite need for corner outfield help.
  • Scott Boras told reporters (including Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi) that the Blue Jays were one of the teams who had expressed interest in Japanese middle infielder Takashi Toritani.  This would be a rare case of a Boras client signing with Toronto, a disconnect that the agent attributes to the club’s policy against contracts longer than five years.  “They’re the only team that has said that limitation is five years. When you do that, you are cutting yourself off from a pool of talent that makes it very, very difficult to compete, particularly in the AL East,” Boras said.  (It should be noted that the Jays’ five-year policy probably isn’t applicable in Toritani’s case, as the 33-year-old infielder is very unlikely to receive that long a contract from any team.)

AL Notes: Blue Jays, Yankees, Rangers, Santos

Now that Andrew Miller, David Robertson, Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek are off the market, the Blue Jays are likely to try to upgrade their bullpen through trades, Shi Davidi of SportsNet.ca writes. GM Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t want to trade any of his top pitching prospects, and he might not have as much of a budget to work with as is commonly believed, but he might part with a lower-level prospect to acquire the right reliever. The team could also use C/DH Dioner Navarro as a trade chip. Also, Davidi writes that the Jays have interest in Japanese second baseman Takashi Toritani, who might be available on a short-term deal. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman says he’s taking a “patient” approach in the Winter Meetings, Chad Jennings of the Journal News reports. The Yankees continue to look for both starters and relievers. Cashman adds that he asked about both Dee Gordon and Jimmy Rollins before their teams agreed (or reportedly agreed, in Rollins’ case) to trade them Wednesday, and says that the Yankees are unlikely to select a player in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft.
  • The Rangers have had talks with free-agent reliever Sergio Santos but are not close to signing him, FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi tweets. Santos had a miserable 2014 season with the Blue Jays, allowing 22 runs in 20 innings and getting outrighted twice, but he had success in the big leagues as recently as 2013.

Blue Jays Notes: Romo, Anthopoulos, Rule 5

Here’s the latest from Toronto…

  • The Blue Jays don’t appear to have checked in on Sergio Romo, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets.
  • The lack of interest in Romo may not be surprising, given what GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters (including MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm) today.  The Jays are “probably turning our attention a little more to trades right now in terms of the relievers.  That’s not to say that’s how we’ll ultimately end up but….We’re exploring some trades right now that might make a little more sense for us.”
  • The costs were seemingly too high for the free agent relief arms and Anthopoulos also said there’s only so much the Jays are willing to give up in deals for bullpen help.  “We knew what the prices were in free agency and we weren’t prepared to go to that price point, and we’re still talking about some trades.  We’re not looking to trade our young, big league ready, or close to ready big league arms, for relievers. That’s not something we’re contemplating right now.”
  • The Jays are reportedly planning to “raid the Mets” during the minor league portion of tomorrow’s Rule 5 draft, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin tweets.
  • The Jays had discussed Francisco Liriano before the lefty re-signed with the Pirates, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports.  With Liriano off the board, Elliott wonders if the Blue Jays will now target another second-tier starter in Brandon McCarthy.