In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that there were two disasters in the city of Toronto last year: mayor Rob Ford and the Blue Jays. Despite the high expectations, the Blue Jays fell flat and they'll have to rally back this season to re-energize their fan base. The Blue Jays are at a disadvantage, Cafardo writes, because players aren't always open to playing north of the border and tend not to realize how great it is until they're there. More from this week's column..
- The Brewers need a first baseman and Mike Carp of the Red Sox appears to be a good fit. Whether Boston would deal him remains to be seen, however, as they enjoyed his off-the-bench contributions last season. Carp has shown that he can play every day but he won’t get that opportunity with the Red Sox unless there’s an injury to Mike Napoli.
- While the Red Sox don’t believe they can carry another outfielder, they have expressed some interest in the Padres' Chris Denorfia, a righthanded bat with a little power who can play center field. The Red Sox might be able to swing a move like this, Cafardo writes, if they deal Carp or Daniel Nava somewhere.
- A few general managers think that a one-year pillow contract would make sense for free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz. It seems that he needs to reestablish his value and if he'd do a one-year pact, it could open more opportunities for him with clubs like the Mariners, Mets, Blue Jays, Orioles, and others. The 33-year-old remains one of the best power hitters out there, but teams are wary about PED guys after they’re off the stuff.
- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp could still be trade bait as he starts to show what he can do in spring training. Said one scout familiar with Kemp, “I think he’s going to be a guy who will be OK this year, but you’ll get the best of Kemp the following year as he’s recovered completely from the ankle.”
- The Reds have been very quiet this offseason, but Homer Bailey’s name has come up quite often as possible trade bait. In fact, they could possibly bring back Bronson Arroyo if they can deal Bailey.
I don’t foresee Denorfia being available for trade, unless Byrnes is blown away. With Maybin not proven to be ready and Quentin always a question mark, Byrnes can’t take a chance on letting him go. He’s way too valuable to SD, not only as a player, but as a personality in the clubhouse.
If they got Bryce Brentz or Alex Hassan back in the deal a young outfielder I’d see the padres pulling the trigger. Idk if the sox would offer 1 of them for Denorfia but Josh Byrnes doesn’t give players away for free. Bass was traded for a young lefty arm. Gregerson was traded with one year left for 1 year of a lefty power bat instead of letting Gregerson walk for free (despite his era and numbers Gregerson wasn’t as effective as people think given his 70% left on base and -0.8 meltdown), and Guzman was traded for infield depth which Is amazing that any team would give something decent for Guzman.
Couldn’t agree more
If Nelson Cruz will get a one year pillow contract, add the Pirates to the list of suitors. If Gregory Polanco is ready midseason we can trade him or use Polanco as an asset off the bench. If Polanco isn’t ready obviously we keep Cruz and give him a QO at the end of the year. The only downside would be losing the draft pick, but we get it back next year.
That could work. Cruz is better than the Pirates’ current RF options, and, assuming he plays well (which isn’t exactly guaranteed for a 33-year-old slugger coming off of a PED suspension), half of a season of Cruz + the return in a midseason trade is probably more useful than the #27 pick in the 2014 draft.
As a NL team, I would be scared that Cruz stinks it up playing everyday, especially in PNC’s right field. That place is tricky with the scoreboard and Cruz is already a below average defender.
The only thing he could bring value-wise would be his bat, which is something the Pirates admittedly need. Still seems like a unnecessary risk when Tabata, Lambo and eventually Polanco are available.
I don’t think that Nelson Cruz is a fit for the Mets (even on a cheap one-year deal), especially after the Young and Granderson signings. Lagares brings enough value defensively to be considered the everyday CF, so there’s no room for him in the Mets’ OF unless teams are considering Cruz as a 1B.
The Mariners don’t seem like a fit, either. They already have a glut of corner/DH types in Morrison, Hart, and Smoak – plus I doubt any M’s fan wants to see Cruz trying to man a corner OF spot defensively at Safeco.
I was just about to post something similar. There is zero chance the Mets get Cruz, and I can’t imagine a scenario where they’d even be interested in him the way their roster is currently set up. Where would he play? And what benefit to the Mets would it be to sign him to a one year deal? And if they’re going to spend another $10+MM to sign him, wouldn’t they just spend that money on someone like Drew, who would actually play and would make them better, instead? I’m at a loss as to why they were mentioned.
Nelson Cruz had 27homers, an OPS+ of 123 and an OPS of 833.. What is it that he is reestablishing?. Pillow or no pillow.. the guy rakes & that’s what he’s paid to do.. not his defensive prowess (or lack thereof).. That comment makes no sense..
Especially since no one is going to give up a draft pick for one year of him…
Anybody with a protected pick would give up a pick in the mid-40’s and then with a QO they get back one in the mid-30’s next year.
A player who has no plate discipline, very little defensive value, and whose power is 27 hr. 2010 he was phenomenal, but aside from that I wouldn’t sign him for $15M a year and give up a draft pick.
I think that gson’s point is that Cruz’s 2013 season was in line with his historical performance (and, other than the 2010 season that you mentioned, it largely was) and that he should not need to “reestablish” his market value.
A one-year deal could still make sense, though. There are few teams in need of a corner/DH type player in this offseason, and their could be more suitors next year.
Exactly.. if a team like the Mariners want to score runs at a rate that puts them in the bottom third of MLB, then the M’s and their fans will get to watch the playoffs taking place in other cities, again.. The top five scoring teams in MLB in 2013, made the playoffs.. Nellie Cruz will help any team score more runs..
That’s 27 homers in 450 PA. That rates out to about 36-39 homers in a full season.
The guy is 33, and just got busted for PEDs, whose effect can be debated. I would tend to think that he will stay around the same level that he has been over the past 3 years.
Cruz really doesn’t do anything other than hit home runs, and because of that, his value isn’t quite what his statistics suggest. And because of the PED issue, the stats are suspect anyway.
Patrick the Pragmatist
You are right, he does not need to reestablish his power so much. He needs to establish that he can hit outside of Texas and so far in his career he is .242/.299/..435 on the road. I know he was a little above average on the road last year but that still means nothing for a team with a pitchers park like Seattle.
Why would a team give up a pick for one year of Cruz?
It’s a gamble, but it’s not a crazy idea. If Cruz plays well in 2014, you offer him the QO next offseason (when, presumably, there will be a greater market for his services) and take the pick from the team that signs him. You end up getting a year of Cruz below market value and the same number of draft picks.
The risks are that Cruz collapses (especially on an NL team where he has to play in the field every day) or that the 2015 draft compensation position is significantly worse than the signing team’s 2014 pick that they give up to sign him now.
So you think that a 34 year old outfielder who has terrible plate discipline skills, and who you are worried about playing the outfield, has something to gain by taking a 1 year deal?
Market value is what he can get, not the $80M he asked for. He has some value, but not at that price, and especially when you give up draft pick.
The problem is with offering the QO to Cruz, and he accepts it, you will be stuck paying him probably close to $16 mill. I was worried Morales was going to accept his this year. I really hope Seattle does not sign him. I have a feeling we sign Tanaka, and then make a trade for an OF’er. I would imagine Z has a few players in mind, or at least I hope he does. Iwakuma will help to get Tanaka, and if they have to overpay, the Japanese tourists we will get will help pay for that. Seattle had multiple tour buses show to many games when we signed Ichiro, I think with those two here it could be the same.
Denorfia? Not much power. If the Sox want to deal for a center fielder with power they should work out a deal with the Blue Jays for Rasmus! Maybe bring the Brewers in and pull a three team deal (send Carp to Brewers and let Milwaukee send someone to Toronto – maybe we throw in Delarosa or someone to Toronto too). I love Carp – but if it gave him a chance to play everyday that would be good for him.
One problem. Rasmus is a lefty. And AA won’t trade him within the division for pennies on the dollar (he’d want something solid from Boston’s farm since Milwaukees is probably bottom 5 in the mlb) , also his replacement is likely Anthony Gose who still can’t hit all that consistently and hasnt proven to be an everyday mlb starter
Yeah, Rasmus is a left-handed hitter, and the Red Sox are already very lefty-oriented. And the Blue Jays would want a boatload of talent for him coming off a season where he slugged over .500.
my bad – yeah, lefty – but power!
Adding Denorfia at the expense of dealing Carp or Nava doesn’t seem like an improvement. Except for the fact that Denorfia can play center (so can Victorino), it’s just changing faces.
Precisely, Cafardo’s suggestion to trade either Nava or Carp for
Denortia is plain silly. A trade for the sake of a trade never works
favorably for any team. Nick, I know it’s slow baseball-wise in Beantown
right now, but c’mon man.
Boston could have signed Franklin Gutierrez who just got 1m to play all 3 OF positions. Why would they want someone who isn’t as good with the glove as Gutierrez (when he’s healthy) and cost more when they are just back up options for Bradley in CF in reality?
Denorfia cost less than 2.5 million; I’d say he’s a bargain and can mash lefties.
Rasmus would be an utter disaster in Boston. Sure the guy is mega talented. But the fact is he doesnt play the game with any joy or intensity. He melted in STL because they asked him to play the game the right way and held him accountable.
I’m sure Colby has plenty of joy playing baseball for a living. As for intensity, its really irrelevant. Could easily say that mentally Colby is as solid as a rock, never too high or too low. Its why speculating on a guy’s mindset is meaningless, cause regardless off how they appear you can put a positive or negative spin on it. Two years ago guys like Napoli and Gomes would have been prime suspects in the chicken and beer saga in Boston, yet they and the rest of the Sox are getting praise heaped all over them for their chemistry given the teams success this year. Its amazing how wins and losses colour our views on personalities and team chemistry.
Playing with joy and intensity? Playing the game the “right way”? What is this, a poetry reading?
I think the usual knocks on him are wearing a bit thin. It’s all stemming from something that should have been water under the bridge a while ago.
I’ve met the guy, had a 10 minute conversation with him outside his house. The man is a legitimately nice guy. Yeah, he’s not jumping with energy but thats just the way he is. You can take my word for it, he plays the game with as much joy as he needs. Plus, he’s being paid pretty nicely and much more then many of us are sitting on the internet, anyone getting paid millions would be joyous in my mind.
Anyways, its up to you.
The border isn’t really the problem. I think most players know that Toronto is a major city with a lot of offer in terms of nightlife and whatnot. The turf is a concern, but the more important problem is the fact that they’ve haven’t fielded a contender in a long time. They’ve signed free agents when they’ve been willing to pony up the money. What big free agents have been heavily linked to Toronto?
Not certain, but taxes might be an issue as well.
How many HRs would Cruz hit at Fenway?
If he continues to cheat or not?
not many. he won’t be signed there.
Most Oriole fans want Nelson Cruz as much as we want Fernando Rodney!
If any team with an unprotected pick signed Cruz to a one-year deal, it would probably rank as one of the dumbest moves in recent free agent history.
Chris Denorfia would be great. If his defense is as good as it was last season (the reason for his inflated WAR) he’d be a great pickup for the Red Sox.
Great item on the entire Geddy family (including daughter) to play at fenway park, thought she just for hockey. only one in history like that.
I remember his 1st year in pro ball at Winter haven, right after he was drafted the kid had terrible allergies here. his face was red all the time and his nose would run and he was constantly sneezing that summer. He still did good. Pete Ladd and team mate Dennis Burtt on that same Hasox team let him room with them after he got assigned to the hasox. A really great guy, actually all 3 of them.
Unsure as to why Cruz would be linked with Toronto besides the fact that Toronto has been friendly to PED users in recent history (Cabrera). Judging by the fact Melky is owed another 8 mil this year and is supposedly healthy, I don’t see AA wasting 5 mil for an “upgrade” there. CF and RF are obviously locked down. Unless Lind is moved he’s got DH and Encarnacion stays at 1B.
Where does Cruz fit in there? Is he a wizard at 2B and nobody knows it yet?
but teams are wary about PED guys after they’re off the stuff. I am surprised nobody bothered to point out to Cafardo the recent contracts of both Peralta and Colon before this was published. The big knock on Cruz is his defense. He hits for power many teams crave but his defensive woes pretty much make up for his offense and he is a break even player.
Probably the only fit for Cruz would be a one year contract with Texas as their DH…they don’t need him to play OF…plus they won’t lose a pick…but he will have to change jersey numbers…lol
Nothing has changed on the Kemp front. If Kemp is healthy enough to trade, then he is too valuable to trade.
And if he isn’t healthy, which would be the assumption if you paid attention to this past season, then he would be traded away at this lowest possible value. Not sure you would want to do that either way
Right, that’s one of the main problems with all of the Kemp trade theories. The other is it leaves the Dodgers with no good options for CF.
True, you would only really do it if his contract is in some way preventing the Dodgers from resigning Kershaw.
If they needed to clear any payroll for that or any other purpose, then the player to trade is Ethier. They have another good option for RF, but not for center. But I don’t think money is an issue.
Lionel Bossman Craft
Unless they work a trade with the Yankees for Gardner.
Doubtful. Ownership has already stated that they aren’t going to trade top prospects for temporary solutions. I’d pick a healthy Kemp over Gardner anyway.
I can’t find any statistical analysis that proves Kemp a better defensive centerfielder than Ethier. It could actually be argued Ethier has performed better there. Now Kemp is Younger and more athletic but also more injury prone to this point. Not to mention way more expensive. Kemp is three years younger with more upside going forward IF he can stay healthy. BIG IF. I know Ethier has knee issues but so far Kemp has been less reliable as far as taking the field. I’m not saying I would rather have Ethier going forward. I am saying that an argument can be made for either given considerations to everything. Ethier has 20.2 fWAR over 4536 PA. Always around 3 WAR every year. Kempis worth 20.6 fWAR over 3897 PA. 8.5 fWAR came in 2011, 5 fWAR came in 2009. This is closer than most would think.
Defensive stats are virtually useless, especially if you’re going off only a couple months playing the position, which is all you’ve got for Ethier. Just watch what team the Dodgers field next year for your answer about who they think is the better defensive outfielder. I’m a little tired of hearing about how Kemp is such a huge injury risk. The only one of his injuries not the result of in-game incidents was the hamstring, which is a very common sports ailment, and very rarely chronic.
Yeah they are pretty useless in SSS and nowhere above did I point to Ethier’s “successful” short term run in Centerfield. Over larger sample’s THEY ARE NOT useless and Kemp has not been a good defensive centerfielder period. He is good enough to man the position if he hit’s well and stays healthy. Bottom line Blue Sky. Your team has a lot of money tied up in the outfield that will last the next 4-5 years and your team needs to do something. Puig you are keeping and Crawford is going to be there for four more years so you will be stuck trying to do something with Kemp or Ethier. Kemp has been hurting for a year and a half, has been inconsistent over his career, has never been good defensively and is on the books for 6/120. Those are just facts. Oh yeah as a Red Sox fan…..THANK YOU for picking up the trash.