The Blue Jays have expressed preliminary interest in Garrett Richards, per Ben Nicholson-Smith with Arden Zwelling on sportsnet.ca’s Blue Jays’ podcast. That’s not a head-spinning development, as Toronto is largely expected to kick the tires on most of the top names in the free agent pool. Still, “preliminary interest” means slightly more given the Blue Jays’ status as one of the more eager buyers on the market.
The Jays are known to have made a three-year, $40MM offer to Kevin Gausman, according to the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. In terms of their process for free agents like Gausman with qualifying offers attached (J.T. Realmuto, George Springer, DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Bauer), the Jays have a fairly specified process, per the same podcast as above. They take the dollar number that they’ve assigned to the draft pick they’d lose by signing a given free agent, and subtract that number from the offer made to the player. In a vacuum, that makes sense.
Predictive player evaluation models, of course, assume a range of potential outcomes, making for a murkier process than the one described above. To take any valuation of a player as gospel is unrealistic. Furthermore, putting the onus of the lost draft pick on the player largely neglects the competitive aspect of free agency. The only players Toronto could ever expect to sign would be ones they rate higher than the market norms (or those that could be convinced with supplemental appeals, such as culture, the tax situation in Canada, or the quality of the roster).
Granted, in a literal sense, that is exactly the free agent process – winning a free agent bid means signing those players for whom the Jays are willing to pay more than everybody else. That doesn’t just happen when the Jays find value in a player that nobody else can see – such as might be the case with the mythical “diamond in the rough” a la Max Muncy or Justin Turner signing with the Dodgers. In practice, most players have explicit appeal that multiple teams all see at once. This is why the dollar value of a player in free agency is by necessity a dynamic thing. In effect, it’s hard to know where exactly Toronto’s dollar value began with Gausman, only roughly where it maxed out.
Still, the greater point here probably comes from simply knowing Toronto’s thinking. As noted on the podcast, many conversations happen during the courtship process and only some actually end in contract offers. Though Richards comes from a different pool of free agents than Gausman – meaning free agents unburdened by a qualifying offer – there’s still no indication that Toronto has moved beyond those initial meet-and-greet level of courtship with Richards.
After missing out on Gausman, however, the Jays are clear about their desire to acquire someone else to fill out their rotation. Richards fits the profile. The former Angel isn’t at the tippy-top of the pitching market, but he did land 24th on MLBTR’s list of top-50 free agents. The 32-year-old posted a 4.03 ERA/4.28 FIP across 51 1/3 innings with San Diego last season, presumably showing enough in his full-speed return from Tommy John to prove that he’s back to full strength. For the Jays, that’s likely to put him up near the top for starters in their price range, speculatively speaking.
Will free agents be hesitant to sign with Tor. due to their Tor. / Buffalo location uncertainty ?
I would imagine so, at least for multi year deals. Toronto has to be more appealing for the long haul, so a year in Buffalo would be pretty whack and feel like ‘moving’ twice and give one a year of living less comfortable perhaps.
I don’t think players on a one year deal would be too deterred by Buffalo because then it means they never have to bother getting settled in Canada (assuming they live in the USA already).
1 Goose Man
They should just stay in Buffalo
Again, Richards would be fine if they had two or three good starters, but the only starter in their rotation I would call reliable is Ryu. They need to trade for someone like Musgrove or Lynn or sign at least one of of Bauer, Paxton, Kluber
Agreed. Richards and Robbie Ray are fine as back end starters with upside, but they need one more reliable top of the rotation arm if they really want to compete next year.
Seem like a great partner for a Lynn trade
Nate Pearson? He could be more this coming year. Ryu / Pearson is not bad if he lives up to the hype.
Ahhh there it is.. the daily blue jay rumour! Needed my fix!
Haha, there’s a big Springer related Blue Jays rumor out today as well.
Got spoiled today with these rumours!!
I like Richards a lot as a potential low-risk, high-reward signing. He has always had underrated stuff, always just been a question of health with him.
Will he be a starting pitcher, a reliever, or utility type of pitcher. I think Richard’s may work best from the pen.
I wouldn’t call Kluber reliable. I have read where the Jays feel like they have several young pitchers nearly ready so with Ryu and now Ray I would say 1 more pitcher, but what bat protects all those young kids in the middle of the lineup? They need one.
What was up with the tone of this article? Really seemed like the guy who wrote this was trying his hardest to paint Toronto/Canada as an undesirable destination. Have you ever been to Canada? It’s actually a great country.
I don’t think it was the tone so much as the writer didn’t outright state the reasons players often have for not wanting to sign with Toronto, which was a mistake in my opinion. He stated that the organization might need to sell the “culture, the tax situation in Canada, or the quality of the roster” as extras to players. Management has said for years that they have difficulty luring free agents because players often don’t want to live in Canada for six months out of the year, constantly traveling through customs and dealing with transferring Canadian earnings into US dollars. Now with Covid, travel restrictions make traveling between countries even less desirable. All that said, the writer isn’t trashing Canada.
All players are paid in us dollars. Jays have complained in the past that a large chunk of their earnings are in Canadian dollars ( tickets, merchandise) but they pay out team salaries in U.S. dollars.
Yes, I think that’s negotiated in contracts, but I guess players would still have to deal with the opposite problem while in Canada. I read somewhere that players saved quite a bit of money because their 30 “home” games were in Buffalo, something like 17% of their salaries.
Jays need top of the rotation guys, not injury-prone 4 or 5s. When Richards is on he’s good. But staying healthy has been a problem and both 2019 and 2020 leave a lot to be desired.
Hopefully his buddy,Trout can persuade him to come back to Anaheim.
Would be nice to see him back in an Angels uniform. Not sure he is what we need though.
Interesting that the Padres have not even made contact with him.
Are you sure? I thought I read in the Athletic that they had been discussing him returning to the Padres.
Not since the season ended. Preller expressed interest before the 2020 season re-started in July of having Richards back, but nothing since the season ended.
Yeah I don’t think he’s coming back to the Padres. Richards did a good job for us, and I liked watching him pitch, but after the Padres moved him to the bullpen I don’t see him coming back to us.
I don’t think a reunion makes sense for either side. He’s pricer than SD is going to want to spend on a depth rotation piece and he probably wants more innings than they can give him.
Makes more sense for SD to let some combination of Morejon/Patino/Weathers/Gore take his place and it also makes more sense for Richards to go somewhere with more opportunities for a rotation spot.
Having a conversation with yourself again eh? Why do you even bother?
not that i think richards is bad per se, but the kind of lip service the front office has spouted off about, makes me think they can (should?) aim a little higher. I don’t think he raises the floor much – if at all were he to sign.
Richards to Boston makes a lot of sense, mainly because that’s what I picked in the free agent contest.
Who isn’t on Toronto’s radar?
Who isn’t on the Blue Jays radar these days?
Sorry didn’t see the previous comment but WTF already with the Blue Jays being in on every player out there….reminds me of the Padres and their constant and consistent IN on every guy too!
sf giants mania
I feel like he would be a good pick up for the giants. Either a 4/5 in the rotation or a long reliever. Look at smyly and Gausman they both had a good year and they both signed good contracts. The giants know how to develop pitchers
No, just no. Hard pass.
What’s wrong Jimmer? Not down with Garrett Richards? I predict the Jays sign Annibal Sanchez too. Look at the stellar guys they’ve looked at? Kevin Gausman which would have cost them a draft pick for a perennial underachiever. Robbie Ray.
Jays are not looking at elite SP. Odorizzi is not elite in my books.
Glad to see the Jays were in on Gausman as it looks like something clicked for him over the last year. Must be spin rate as his so/9 went up huge. He should have a great year this year.