The end of August is in sight, which means that final player transaction jockeying is taking place. To this point, we haven’t heard of many players to have cleared waivers, but the details of the process are rarely revealed as they unfold. August maneuvering involves multi-factor strategies that play out largely in the dark; that makes this time of year fascinating, in theory, but generally difficult to examine.
This evening’s reporting has revealed a few intriguing nuggets, though, two of which we’ve already covered (see here and here). And now we can add some new names to our list of players that can be freely traded, according to a report from Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak went through without a claim. While that’s perhaps surprising at first glance, other organizations are surely aware that the Jays won’t be allowing the 31-year-old to walk for nothing. Accordingly, a claim isn’t likely to do much to facilitate an agreement. The switch-hitting slugger has largely carried forward his surprising 2017 output, turning in 487 plate appearances of .257/.363/.465 hitting on the current season. But he’s cheap this year ($4.125MM) and controllable for an affordable rate ($6MM) for 2019. While there’s obviously no reason to believe that Smoak is particularly likely to be dealt, he could still be an interesting chip for the Toronto organization — particularly if other quality hitters don’t make it through the wire.
- The Rays have been rewarded for rolling the dice on first baseman C.J. Cron over the winter, and could now cash him in via trade. Of course, the 28-year-old first baseman cleared waivers in large part because there’s no pressure for the Tampa Bay club to part ways with him. Cron is earning just $2.3MM in 2018 with two more years of arbitration control remaining. He’s sporting a .250/.317/.480 slash with a career-high 24 long balls.
- Elsewhere, Mets infielder Wilmer Flores has long seemed like an interesting target for a club in need of a little defensive versatility and an option against left-handed pitching (though he has, atypically, produced reverse splits this year). He’s earning a reasonable $3.4MM this year and comes with another arb year as well. Flores has been a steadily above-average producer at the plate for the last several years and has taken his plate discipline to another level this season (7.2% walk rate vs. 9.4% strikeout rate). While he has never been loved for his baserunning or glovework, he’s capable of playing anywhere on the infield (at short only in a pinch).
- Former Flores teammate Lucas Duda, on the other hand, finds himself on this list for different reasons. The 32-year-old has struggled this year with the Royals, slashing just .235/.304/.395 with 11 long balls in his 313 plate appearances. But he has still handled right-handed pitching, with a 111 wRC+ when batting with the platoon advantages this year, and has certainly shown more overall in years past. Duda is also earning just $3.5MM this year before reaching free agency.
It amazes me how the Angels are paying someone 10x more for the same type of production at first base
Seemed like a good idea at the time.
Those big dollar 10 year contracts are killers.. Hope the Red Sox stay away. Bad enough they get burned with 5 year contracts.
No, it never seemed like a good idea, which is why his old team didn’t bother.
Pitches Love Velocity
They actually did bother though. Idk how you can claim they didnt bother with a 10 year 210 million offer.
Cardinals wanted him to stay, but didn’t want to pay him as the best 1B in MLB for a decade which he was. Somebody else did.
Why? You guys are paying Pablo and Hanley 15 times as much, for not even being on the team. And you’re soon gonna be paying David Price to do the same.
It’s how it works: sometimes a big contract works out great (the Nats are paying Scherzer a lot of money, but they’re getting three times the production they’re paying for), other times it doesn’t.
The Angels took a risk. Didn’t pay off. It could have, but didn’t. So what? Only way to get great players, if you don’t draft them, is to take a risk when they’re free agents.
And there was a line of at least 15 other teams willing to pay!
The Pujols signing was always about the tv contract for the Angels. Cron has had 8 homers since the beginning of June. Two of which he hit this past series. Cron is and always will be a garbage time player. Great in blowouts. But can’t hit when the pressure is on. Never has even came close to 100 RBI’s in a season. Spare me your lame thing about RBI’s being a meaningless stat.
That’s 8 more homeruns than Buster Posey has hit since the beginning of June.
RBIs are not meaningless, but your rant may be.
I’ve been very pleased with Cj Cron’s RBI production and clutch hitting with the Rays. He just needed FT at bats to become a force. If the Rays didn’t have to please 1b rookie jake bauers and others with ABs, Cron would have 75 RBIs today easily finishing with 100 this year. Your complaint has no merritt.
……A hurt Buster Posey,not saying much
Agreed, that was a Crazy and stupid contract the Angeles gave Pujols. Especially at his age at the time, a 10 year mega contract didn’t make sense. I missed him in a Cardinal uniform, but I’m so glad the Cards got second on that deal!! Had Pujols elected to stay in St. Louis. Just his contract the Cardinals offered him would has been a ball and chain on the teams future spending!!! But I’m another light, the amount of the Cardinals owners money wasted by John Mozeliak since 2012 could have actually supported Pujols contract.
I agree totally with your last sentence, C17.
I do believe that the Angels signing of Pujols was a good move, and I believe that they were not just looking for 10 years of superstar production. He had already achieved that status, and has continued to produce, bring in fans, achieved MLB records and HOF status.
I believe the most important reason that they signed Albert Pujols was for him to be there to mentor Mike Trout who was drafted in 2009 out of high school. Trout’s first full season in MLB was 2012, and there were few, if any, players even near Trout’s skill and talent in the game EXCEPT for Albert Pujols.
For nearly a decade, Pujols was the best player in the game, and Trout has been the best player in the game for the past 7 years. There really aren’t any other players in that peer group. Pujols has been the perfect player for the Angels to have on the team since 2012.
I hope Yankees trade for Lucas Duda or Justin Smoak.
Why? Greg Bird should be the everyday guy. Why waste system talent on someone who isn’t the future and play him over someone who is.
They’re trying to win now, and while I’m not sure about Duda, Smoak is a major upgrade.
JD I definitely agree, I’m not gonna go into any numbers, because they should be totally obvious.
I sure agree with you about Bird.
X…… Are you writing off Bird?
He shouldn’t be totally written off, but for this run they obviously need more production. They’ve given Bird about as much leeway as possible, but they need a productive bat at first now, and overall he isn’t getting it done.
Smoak would be an upgrade. Duda not so much.
What we don’t know is the prospect cost to acquire him in addition to Bird becoming excess.
Does he have options remaining?
Yankees are a dead team walking. No Mojo. Tigers beat them in NY with their 4A and AAA guys. Boston has that all wrapped up Yankees will lose in the first round might even lose the one game playoff.
I hear Tyler Clippard cleared waivers as well. Todd, can you confirm?
I’m hoping they can move clippard and Smoak. Free up 1B for Donaldson next year when he accepts his QO and have space for Vlad Jr to play there if his 3B Def is sub par after his may call up
I could even stomach a year of Morales at 1b if it means a top 10 draft pick
And hopefully they can get some value for Stroman and Sanchez this winter. Younger pitching prospects that fit the core better
Need Stroman and Sanchez healthy and pitching next season to fill out the rotation, and if they are healthy they can be traded with value.
Hopefully, and this is a stretch here, a non-contender takes on Morales even if the Jays have to eat much of the salary. It gives them flexibility to DH guys like Donaldson, potentially Tulowitzki and Teoscar Hernandez.
Turner, sounds like a great plan to me. I’m for it.
Trim, Now that Morales has got his eyesight working again, he has a very good bat. He is useless in the feild. Not sure he can play defence. A contender would have to be plenty desperate to trade for Morales and the return would be negliable.
Hernandez needs to play winter ball and have someone work with him on his defence. He is still a a AA level defensively so 1B makes sense, but I like Donaldson and Tulo there too. In other words at the moment this team is full of 1B candidates.
2019/2020 are going to be a joke for the Blue Jays competatively speaking.. If they can win 60 games next year I would be surprised. This mess is exactly what I didn’t want after the 2016 playoffs when I called the Jays executive to blow it up then.
Please please please fire Atkins now.
Jimmer the win total will all depend on how good the Jays play against the bad teams. That’s the only thing that has prevented their record from being disastrous this season.
One potential trade partner for Morales could be KC for Ian Kennedy. Since the Jays aren’t winning the next year or two that’s the guy to get. Best case scenario he pitches well for a few months and you deal him next year. You ask KC to pay Kennedy’s salary in 2019 (Jays pay Morales in 2019) and then the Jays take over 2020. This deal opens the DH spot which is what they need to do.
I hear you with the blowup. It’s the half-in/half-out approach that should tick fans off. After 2016 the Jays needed to spend more than their self-imposed payroll and remain under the luxury. They sprinkled on Morales, Bautista, Pearce etc…just like the following year with Granderson, Garcia etc….no stars (Bautista was already fading).
2021 is about right. I’d still take a run at Bryce in the offseason despite not contending for a year or two. You give longterm deals to 26-27 year olds, not 30.
I think 2021 can be a really good year unless the Jays executive want to speed up this rebuild and do a dombrowski and trade some near ready guys for pitching. I honestly think that won’t happen, Shapiro has a plan and likes to develop his own rotation from the farm which means 2021 at the earliest, 2022 likely for playoffs again.
Of course Rogers might see how all this affected the bottom line and say to the Jays executive, spend spend spend and be in the top 3 budget teams and load up…..we can only hope….
Probably not Jimmer. Jays will eventually need to spend on pitching, most likely, in 2020=2021. Front office can point toward the Cubs as an example of what not to do.
Problem; Cubs made these big splashes because of how they built their team from the ground up, and saw the holes they had to cover. So despite some signings or trades that haven’t work out (for now), they had to make these moves to push the team over the top. Can’t blame Epstein and company for that approach.
We’ll see how this plays out. We will be waiting for a while to see if the young crop pan out.
Yup. I do like the Cubbies approach. A least they tried with Darvish or Chatwood etc etc. I liked the Chatwwod signing, didn’t like Darvish at all.
I wanted the Jays to go for Chatwood. I still think he will show up and do well although maybe he needs another spring training to work it out. Darvish was gonna be a dog all along. When healthy he’ll be tops a #3. As I said in spring training, Darvish’s dominating days are over.
As far as 2019 FA’s goes, I like Andrew Miller and Cody Allan of the tribe. Unfortuantely Miller looks like he might be done but Allan still looking good.
As far as taking a flyer on starters go, I would look at Sabathia. Corbin, Anibal Sanchez, & Eovaldi.
Same on Chatwood. Only because he’d fit in the budget plus he’s younger.
As for next year, rolling Sanchez, Stroman, Borucki, Reid-Foley….I’d go after Corbin if the Jays want to win sooner than later. That would also mean my insane idea of going after Bryce. So, at this point the #5 could be a vet via trade or a 1-year plus option. Or the guy they got from Houston.
Bullpen I’d let Gaviglio be the long man, let Biagini stay for one more year, Tepera, Pannone (potential 2019 starter), Giles, and let the last couple spots be up for grabs by someone in AA or AAA (Mayza, Shafer, Romano, Harris, someone that throws 99 mph). Bullpen is where the team can penny-pinch.
That’s close to what we are going to see rolled out there in 2019 Unfortunately the results will be poor because it will be a learning year.
Bourcki needs to put on 20 lb of muscle, It’ll be 2 years until he is a stud.
Unfortunately Sanchez is heading to the pen because of that finger issue we all want them to fix but might never come around,
This organization is producing #4;s, Gaviglio and Reid Foley are #4’s. Pannone is a mop up guy or a weak #4 or minor league depth. I don’t think he amount to much in the majors.
Stroman has elite stuff but can’t put it together consistently and I don’t think ever will. He’d be a great closer so would Sanchez. I really like Mayza but then he goes out and throws everything centre cut and gets hammered. If he can learn to consistently hit corners he could be very good.
NAte Pearson has an elite arm but has been injured so it has held back his development. I think he’ll be a good one. One of the guys they got from Houston also has a great arm. After that quality Minor league pitching depth is thin at the near ready state.
No matter what the Jays do, they will only be the 3rd best team in the division and at best 7th Best in the AL. Might as well go full tank and rebuild.
has everyone that has been placed on waivers been announced? hard to believe the reds have not placed Harvey on waivers. of course that is the kind of things that happens when you have a banker running the team.
Smoak’s 2019 option is up to $8M.
Smoak? Oakland. Smoakland.
They have this guy named Olson which may be a bit of a problem. You need to settle with Olsland
Flores to the Brew Crew.
Then they would have like 20 infielders
That already happened.
Brewers need Flores and Duda to round out the infield.
I don’t get why GMs would allow Smoak to clear. You should always claim guys who have more value than money owed. Even if you’re a seller, and you’re just doing it to keep him off the market, and drive up the price of your own trade bait.
Yanks should’ve claimed him too, to keep him where he is until winter…because, in the winter, if Bird doesn’t turn it up dramatically, they should be looking for a first baseman. Even if it’s not Smoak (Belt makes more sense), having Smoak on the market lessens the competition for Belt.
I’m with you on this. I don’t understand the conclusion that “other organizations are surely aware that the Jays won’t be allowing the 31-year-old to walk for nothing. Accordingly, a claim isn’t likely to do much to facilitate an agreement. ”
Any team interested could have made a claim and made themselves the only eligible bidder. That surely helps to facilitate an agreement by making yourself the sole option for the Jays.
Is there some sort of gentleman’s agreement between GMs not to claim players that they don’t seriously intend to negotiate for? If I was any sort of contender I’d be claiming guys all day long just to prevent them going to anybody else I might have to face in October.
Plus Smoak has an option. Minnesota would have been a good spot now that Morrison is out.
Wasn’t Bryce Harper put up the same day as Murphy?????
Just my opinion, with no factual background: someone claimed Harper as reported, but the gnats fear trading him. May be because they feel like he won’t re-sign for next year. If true, that is a problem to fear a player. But that is the only logical explanation if he is not dealt today.
After the Smoak cleared, he was still on the Blue Jays.
I like Justin Smoak, Got a room at the Sky Dome hotel for my 75th to watch the game last year. After the game it was 11 at night and Justin was doing laps in the outfield. I watched him for an hour.. but then I realized I was staring at a man trying to exercise and felt bad. My grandson said it was okay because he’s an athlete and people pay to watch him.. I still feel bad.
I have never been a big fan of defensive runs saved. Smoak is a classic example, this guy is an absolute vacuum at 1B, any balls that come his way are in his glove. He definitely passes the eye test for defense. I am surprised he cleared, but I am guessing rival organization knew he wouldnt come cheap with due to his cheap salary/cheap option.
If Smoak was an absolute vacuum, he wouldn’t be playing first base, he’d be playing a position where you get to field a lot of balls.
There are no above average fielders starting at first, at all, in the majors. The starting first baseman is invariably the guy with the worst defensive tools. No competent farm system would ever move an above average fielder to first, because it’s the position where you have to field the fewest balls. (Especially these days, when teams put the third baseman in short right field, against lefty hitters who pull the ball. )
It makes perfect sense that a great shorstop gets +3 dWAR, while a “good” first baseman gets -0.5 dWAR. If your good first baseman was playing short, he’d be getting -2 dWAR at best (I don’t mean if he was suddenly moved to short…if he was put there after getting drafted, and played there all his career).
Meanwhile, if the great shorstop was at first (he was moved to first in the minors, by an incompetent farm manager, and taught the position), he’d have no problem getting +1 dWAR every year. He would look like a god, compared to all the other first basemen.
Umm…Smoak is left handed so no team would have the stones to play him at 2B, 3B or SS. And Catcher.
Not fast either. Scrap CF and LF.
Arm strength? Smoak rarely shows it off so scrap RF.
That leaves a 6 foot 4 dude with soft hands for first base. Your first paragraph about playing another position wasn’t a strong one. Good effort though.
I wish I could say the same to you…but you either can’t read, or you just can’t be bothered to read before you reply. Either way, total lack of hustle.
And just so you know: being a lefty doesn’t mean you can’t play shortstop. You just have to learn to throw right handed…which has been done…by some of the greats, even.