So, last night, I'm having a nice night out with my youngest boy, shopping (he likes clothes) and his hockey practice when I start getting emails.
First I get the press release that the team has declined the options on Kevin Gregg, making him a free agent. That one surprised me. I thought they would pick up the one year option. I figured, with Downs and Frasor likely leaving, that they would want to keep a veteran to close out games. Clearly Alex Anthopoulos values supplemental draft picks highly. We'd find out later how highly.
Gregg is the one of the three I would worry about accepting arbitration. I think Frasor might accept too, but I don't think he'd get that much from the arbitrator. Gregg? He has 121 saves over the last 4 seasons. We can say he isn't really that good but he does strikeout a batter an inning. It is likely that an arbitrator would give him more money than the option was worth and maybe more than he could get as a free agent. But then I don't think the Jays are afraid to spend money on a one year deal.
Next I get the press release that the Jays have traded for Miguel Olivo. Now this came out of nowhere. Not knowing he was coming up on arbitration, I thought that maybe the team intended to move Molina and have Olivo and Arencibia as catchers this year. Olivo seemed to be in the Buck/Barajas mold. A big upgrade in offense from Molina.
But no, an hour or so later I get the press release saying that we are declining his option and he is a free agent. So we spent the $500,000 plus whatever we are sending to the Rockies to get a supplemental draft pick. Without knowing what we are sending to Colorado, it seems like a really smart move. Now, Alex says that just because they declined the option it doesn't mean that they won't go after him, but realistically I can't see it.
Why didn't the Rockies decline the option and take the draft pick? Reading things Olivo has said, it looks pretty clear to me that he would have accepted arbitration from the Rockies. Clearly he wanted to stay there. They didn't want to spent the money he would get for, what for them would be, a backup catcher. Also, from things he has said, it looks like there is no chance he would accept arbitration from us.
Is a supplemental pick worth $500,000?
In 2001 there were 14 supplemental picks. 8 of them made the majors. The best of the 8 was David Wright. After that it's Jeff Mathis, Jayson Nix, Noah Lowery and a few that just have had a few major league games. Is it worth $500,000 for a 1 in 14 shot at David Wright? Oh yeah.
In 2002 there were 11 supplemental picks. 3 made it to the majors. Mark Teahen is by far the best.
In 2003 there were 7 picks, 5 made the majors. Matt Murton, Adam Jones and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were the top three.
In 2004 there were 11, 7 have made it to the majors. The best are J.P. Howell, Huston Street and Gio Gonzalez.
So I'd pay $500,000 for a supplemental pick anytime. Great move Alex.
Title is from the John Lennon song, Nobody Told Me.