Toronto Blue Jays Rumors

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

AL Central Rumors: Williams, Rodriguez, Indians

The latest from the AL Central..

  • We learned earlier that the Blue Jays had interest in White Sox executive Kenny Williams, but the club did not grant Williams permission to interview. Chicago’s chairman Jerry Reindorf spoke about the decision, saying “this is not the right time,” reports Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune.  He went on to say the club is focused on building a contender for 2015.
  • Francisco Rodriguez is among the many relievers that the White Sox are looking at, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
  • Now that the Indians have added Brandon Moss, they will shift their focus to pitching, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Specifically, they’ll aim to add more starting pitcher depth. This is already a strength for the club, but as they say, you can never have enough pitching. Presently, veterans Zach McAllister and Josh Tomlin are listed as the sixth and seventh starters.

Blue Jays Notes: Anthopoulos, Navarro, Gibbons

Earlier today, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos addressed reporters in San Diego.  Here’s a look at some of the highlights from that plus more..

  • When asked about how much trade interest there has been in catcher Dioner Navarro, AA said: “I’ve had clubs ask, that’s probably as far as I would go with it,” according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com (via Twitter).  The GM went on to say (link) that the Blue Jays are a “better team with Dioner Navarro…There’s no doubt about it.”  While AA wouldn’t rule out trading the catcher over the weekend, he says that he won’t be going anywhere unless he gets a fair return (link).
  • Anthopoulos says the Blue Jays still do not currently have any offers out to free agents, Chisholm tweets.
  • There was, however, one free agent the Blue Jays wanted, but he signed elsewhere.  “There was someone that signed that we really liked that we wanted to get,” the GM said, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter).  However, the Jays never got to the point where they would make an offer, AA said, because that player really wanted to play in a certain place, Chisholm tweets.
  • Money may be tight for the Blue Jays, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. After adding Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson, payroll projects to about $103MM with another $14MM via arbitration. The team spent $137MM so if money’s tight, it might mean the club’s budget has decreased.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan also crossed the Blue Jays radar in their search for a new team president. Scott Miller of Bleacher Report tweets that Ryan is “staying put” in Minnesota.
  • Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons told reporters, including BN-S (via Twitter), that he wants to see a couple of relievers added to the team.  He added that he likes the team’s current lineup and he isn’t sure if there’s a real second base upgrade out there.

Brad Johnson contributed to this post.


Orioles Notes: Upton, Young, Breslow

Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette addressed the media this afternoon.  Here are the highlights..

  • Duquette says the Orioles have not talked to the Braves about Justin Upton, as Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com tweets.  A report earlier today indicated that Atlanta is fielding interest from the O’s as well as the Rangers and Padres.
  • Duquette expects to meet with Delmon Young‘s agent in the next few days, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.   The Orioles are reportedly trying to bring back Young on a one-year deal, but they may be open to including an option.
  • For what it’s worth, Duquette grinned when asked about his potential interest in left-hander Craig Breslow, according to Kubatko (via Twitter).
  • Even though there has been plenty of interest, Duquette says he would be reluctant to trade a starter, Ghiroli tweets.
  • Duquette indicated that he’s looking for a right-handed bat and a left-handed outfielder/DH, according to Kubatko (on Twitter).
  • When asked if the rumors of the Blue Jays’ interest in him would hinder the O’s efforts this week and throughout the offseason, Duquette responded “I would hope not,” according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter).
  • Duquette says there’s a better chance right now that the O’s will sign a free agent than make a trade, Kubatko tweets.


Blue Jays Claim Chris Colabello From Twins

The Blue Jays have claimed first baseman/outfielder Chris Colabello off waivers from the Twins, Toronto announced via press release. He could compete with or complement Justin Smoak at first or provide another bench bat and outfield option for Toronto.

Colabello, 31, owns a .214/.284/.364 slash over 401 plate appearances across the last two seasons with Minnesota. The Twins plucked him from a long independent ball career, but his fascinating story did not end with a regular role in the Twin Cities.


Latest On Royals Relievers

11:01am: Kansas City is also receiving interest in Herrera, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). The Royals are telling teams that they would prefer not to move any of their relievers, but feel they must listen because the free agent market is so light on bats.

2:22am: The Blue Jays are pursuing a trade for Royals closer Greg Holland, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports.  Holland is “available, but they’re [the Royals] asking for a lot in return,” according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

Holland has been one of baseball’s top relief arms for the last four seasons, yet with a rising price tag through the arbitration process (MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects him to earn $9.3MM in 2015), the right-hander may simply be getting too expensive for Kansas City to keep.  The Royals will continue to hear offers for both Holland and Wade Davis during the Winter Meetings, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star writes, and could be moved to part with either bullpen ace for either an outfielder or a starting pitcher.

The Royals’ top relievers demonstrated their importance throughout the team’s run to the World Series last fall, but the team is currently projected to pay nearly $24MM next season to five bullpen arms — Holland, Davis, Kelvin Herrera (who’s also arb-eligible), Jason Frasor and Luke Hochevar.  Between Holland and Davis, McCullough feels the Royals might prefer to trade Holland, whose delivery and build might lead to fears that he won’t hold up over time.  Holland is also more expensive due to his two remaining arbitration years, whereas the Royals have cost-certainty on Davis due to the club options they hold on his contract.

Holland would obviously generate considerable interest if he was shopped, though McCullough notes that getting top value for him might be tricky.  “The interested club must be close to contention, willing to spend on a niche resource and uninterested in the newfound prevailing logic on relief pitchers,” McCullough writes, namely the fact that teams are less willing than they once were to pay heavily for a “proven closer.”

The Jays check at least one of those boxes since they’re hoping to challenge for the AL East title in 2015, and they’re known to be looking for relief help during the Winter Meetings to address their vacancy at closer.  While Holland would be expensive over his two remaining years of team control, the Blue Jays might prefer giving a big salary to a closer for two seasons rather than guaranteeing four seasons to David Robertson, who Toronto has also been linked to in rumors.  One obstacle to a Holland trade could be that the Jays are themselves a little short on outfield and starting pitching depth, having already traded or non-tendered Anthony Gose, John Mayberry, Andy Dirks, J.A. Happ, Sean Nolin and Kendall Graveman in several transactions this offseason.


White Sox Interested In David Robertson

The White Sox are the latest team to express interest in closer David Robertson, George A. King III of the New York Post reports.  “They like him a lot and he is definitely on their radar,’’ a source tells King. “They have several things they want to do and he is one of them.”

Robertson is looking for a contract in the four-year, $50MM range and the Sox are reportedly “aren’t blanching” over the idea of giving the closer that big a guarantee, King writes.  Chicago’s first round pick (eighth overall) is protected, so they’d only have to give up their second-rounder as compensation to sign Robertson, who rejected the Yankees’ qualifying offer.  Robertson would provide a major boost to a White Sox bullpen that posted a cumulative 4.38 ERA in 2014, the third-highest mark in baseball.

The Astros, Blue Jays and Yankees are three of at least a half-dozen clubs who have shown interest in Robertson, though King cites reasons why all three could bow out of the race.  The Jays may not be willing to meet Robertson’s asking price, the Astros “don’t believe Robertson wants to pitch for them” and the Yankees would prefer to give their former stopper a deal closer to the $40MM threshold.  New York had also been hesitant to give Robertson more than three guaranteed years, though the team “may be softening” in that respect.


Anthopoulos On Rotation, Relief Market, Robertson

Here’s the latest from Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays, courtesy of a series of tweets from Ben Nicholson-Smith and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, plus a full piece from Davidi…

  • Rumors that the Jays could be shopping Mark Buehrle or R.A. Dickey are untrue, as Anthopoulos said the club is counting on the two veterans to provide innings.  “I’ve read at various times that they’re available in trades or being shopped – completely false. They’ve never come up at any point in time, their names have never come up once, and we need them to be on this team,” the GM said.
  • The Jays could still be looking to add more outfield depth, particularly one who could provide a stolen base threat.  “In a perfect world we’d like to add some speed, obviously a guy that can play centre field but we don’t need that…Ever since we lost [Anthony] Gose, that speed element, we’ve been trying to find that guy,” Anthopoulos said.  Davidi opines that Eric Young could be a possible fit for this role.
  • Several teams have shown interest in Dioner Navarro, who wants a starting catching job that obviously is no longer available in Toronto thanks to Russell Martin‘s presence.  “If we can find the right deal for Navarro we’ll do that, we find him an everyday job, we’ll do that, but there are scenarios he can still get playing time,” Anthopoulos said, noting that Navarro could see some time at DH with the Jays.
  • Anthopoulos would “ideally…like to add more than one” reliever to the bullpen, with two new relief arms seemingly the aim.  They figure to target relief help, but it doesn’t sound like they’ll find it immediately. Anthopoulos says it’s “telling” that the Blue Jays don’t have any offers out to relievers right now.
  • Anthopoulos says that the Jays, who have already added Martin, Josh Donaldson and Michael Saunders this offseason, feel good about their position players.
  • The Jays do notloveDavid Robertson or any other player, Anthopoulos says, denying a recent report.  Anthopoulos’ comments sound mostly theoretical, however, and perhaps shouldn’t be taken as an indication that the Jays aren’t interested in Robertson.
  • Anthopoulos would not comment on reports about the future of president and CEO Paul Beeston, but said the situation would not impact the Jays’ ability to sign free agents.

Blue Jays Eyeing Duquette, Williams, Ryan

MONDAY, 12:10am: Beeston will continue to serve as the Jays’ president through the 2015 season, sources tell Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.  Elliott also gets comments (a couple of them tongue-in-cheek) from a number of GMs and executives about the rumors, with some expressing skepticism and others speculating why Beeston could be leaving the job.

SUNDAY, 4:33pm: Twins GM Terry Ryan is high on the list of possible replacements for Beeston, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Berardino’s source calls Ryan “a great name,” but is unsure if the Blue Jays have requested permission from the Twins to speak with Ryan about the position, which would be a promotion. A Blue Jay official tells Berardino he “would prefer Terry anytime” to the candidates that have surfaced to date.

4:10pm: Duquette appeared on MLB Network Radio (Twitter links/audio link) and told hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette, “I’m with the Orioles. I’m here to represent the Orioles at the meetings. Other than that, I have nothing to add. I do have a contract and I’ve always honored my contract.

3:35pm: Addressing the Duquette reports, Orioles owner Peter Angelos told reporters, including the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly, “We are very pleased with his performance, and we expect him to satisfy his contract. We not only want him to, but we expect him to. We don’t want him to go away, and we don’t expect him to go away. And he’s given no indication he wants to go away. Suffice to say there is a contract that binds both parties to a four-year contract and binds Dan as the GM of the Orioles.

2:13pm: Duquette has declined comment saying he will wait until tomorrow to speak at his previous scheduled news conference from the Winter Meetings, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.

1:11pm: Rosenthal tweets Duquette wants to become the Blue Jays’ president/CEO, with the blessing of some within the Baltimore organization, but owner Peter Angelos is standing in the way. Rosenthal adds (on Twitter) the Orioles could demand compensation for Duquette much the same way the Red Sox did when Theo Epstein left for the Cubs. Rosenthal also raises the question of how can Duquette give the Orioles his full and undivided attention when he wants to run the Blue Jays (Twitter link).

11:42am: When asked about his next step, Williams told Rosenthal (Twitter link) that he’s “focused on helping the White Sox win another championship.”  However, when asked if he could resign from the White Sox, he said, “I’ve considered all options as anyone would given the set of circumstances” (link). Williams told Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune he was denied an opportunity to interview with the Blue Jays and the issue was “not new” and “that ship has sailed.

11:00am: The White Sox are balking at giving permission to Williams to speak with the Blue Jays, according to Rosenthal (via Twitter).  Williams, in turn, is considering resigning (link).

10:48am: Duquette is very highly valued by the O’s and is under contract for three more years, so it’s very unlikely they would let him go, according to Olney (via Twitter).  The Blue Jays have also discussed White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams for the role (link).

9:32am: Orioles GM Dan Duquette is a top candidate to become the next president of the Blue Jays, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  He adds that the move would be a promotion and it would be difficult for the O’s to stand in his way.

Duquette, 56, took over as the Orioles’ Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations in November of 2011 after an extended hiatus from baseball.  Duquette served as the GM of the Red Sox for many years but had not been a part of a MLB front office since 2002 when he was let go by Boston.  Since then, Duquette has helped turn the Orioles around as Baltimore has enjoyed three winning seasons, including playoff appearances in 2012 and 2014.

Toronto ownership is actively seeking a replacement for president and CEO Paul Beeston and sources tell Buster Olney of ESPN.com that their search has progressed to the point where it is identifying possible replacements and reaching out to other teams in cases where they need permission to talk.  Olney says that Duquette has been discussed internally, which would indicate that the Blue Jays have yet to reach out to their AL East rivals for a greenlight.

Duquette’s contract with Baltimore is set to run through the 2018 season.


AL East Notes: Yankees, Scherzer, Red Sox

David Ortiz plans to give some guidance to Hanley Ramirez as he begins his next chapter with the Red Sox, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.  “He looks at me as one of his older brothers,” Ortiz said. “I’m going to try to encourage him to do the right thing as long we keep on playing [together] and probably beyond that because I don’t have the time that he has left. I’m going to, like we normally say, take him under my wing and show him whatever I can help him with and make sure he’s really successful in Boston.”  More from the AL East..


Quick Hits: Upton, Robertson, Headley, Ethier, Mets Shortstop

Justin Upton might be the best hitter on the market, but that’s not the only reason teams want him, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports. With one year and $14.5MM remaining on his contract, Upton is a financial steal. If a team acquires him this offseason, they’ll also be looking at a free draft pick when he declines their qualifying offer. He’s in his physical prime at 27 years old, and he’s a former number one overall pick. Heyman lists the Royals, Tigers, Mariners, Orioles, and Padres as possible destinations. We can expect the Braves to receive a notable player in return – after all, they netted Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden.

  • The Yankees would like to re-sign Chase Headley and David Robertson, reports Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. However, New York refuses to go overboard, which may let other clubs swoop in on the pair of free agents. Headley is said to have a four-year, $65MM offer on the table, and the Giants are reportedly “getting aggressive.” It’s unknown at this time if San Francisco is the team that offered the $65MM deal. The Yankees aren’t expected to value Headley that highly. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays supposedly “love” Robertson, and the Astros are in on him too. After New York signed Andrew Miller last week, there is less urgency to sign another relief ace.
  • A proposed swap of Andre Ethier and Miguel Montero fell through, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Diamondbacks would have received Ethier and catcher Tim Federowicz for Montero and lower level prospects. The Dodgers would have also kicked in money to help balance the extra $16MM guaranteed to Ethier over the next three seasons. Rosenthal lists a couple reasons the deal may have fallen through. DBacks owner Ken Kendrick is a fan of Montero, and Arizona may be hesitant to trade with their former GM Josh Byrnes on the other side of the negotiations (Byrnes is now the Dodgers Sr. VP of Baseball Operations).
  • Shortstop tops the Mets wish list at the winter meetings, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post. While club officials keep saying they’re comfortable with Wilmer Flores, an upgrade would be welcomed. Unfortunately for the Mets, there aren’t many options available. The Mariners have a couple shortstops, but they have talked about using Brad Miller in the outfield. Other trade targets like Alexei Ramirez, Starlin Castro, and Troy Tulowitzki strike me as unlikely to move. As we know, the free agent market is bleak. Many clubs prefer Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie at second base. The next best options, Stephen Drew and Everth Cabrera, have a lot to prove before a team trusts them as a starter.