Alex Anthopoulos spoke to Jeff Blair of The Fan 590 before his plane took off for Orlando yesterday, and the Blue Jays GM said he was trying to get a signing done right before the radio show call. Some have speculated on Manny Ramirez, who's been hanging out in Toronto lately, while others point out that at the very least the Jays would wait a week until after the White Sox have declined to offer him arbitration. At this point we know Manny likes the Blue Jays but not whether interest is mutual. It does appear Manny needs the Jays more than they need him. If a Blue Jays signing of any kind is to happen before the 23rd, it'd have to be a free agent not ranked as a Type A.
Anthopoulos went on to say that his talks with agents over the last week suggest the free agent market might move faster than in years past, as people "try to jump out early and get things done."
On the topic of Edwin Encarnacion, Anthopoulos explained that the third baseman is in line for an arbitration raise of $1-2MM on top of this year's $4.75MM salary. That salary, plus Encarnacion's desire to play every day, wasn't a fit for the Jays. Encarnacion was claimed by the Athletics, but he could still be non-tendered on December 2nd. Anthopoulos has not closed the door in the event that happens.
Anthopoulos described the market for John Buck as "very, very strong" after talking to his agents at ACES. He says Buck is "sitting on years and dollars that might be a little steep for us," but that the catcher's agents will give the Jays a chance to match before he signs. We saw extra contract years tossed around for multiple free agent catchers last year; could a 30-year-old Buck find a three-year deal?