Anyone else getting bored of the offseason? Other than the odd waiver claim or minor league signing, it has been quite some time since the Blue Jays have made a significant move. Let's jazz things up a bit and discuss some of the recent rumours and potential targets around the league. Looking forward to hearing your opinions in the comments.
1) Let's put an end to the Jeff Hoffman for Dan Duquette rumour. I just can't see it happening. The Orioles can tell the media what they want, but this level of compensation simply just does not happen. It was rumoured that the Jays wanted Clay Buchholz for John Farrell, while the Red Sox reportedly asked for Matt Garza or Starlin Castro in return for Theo Epstein. How did that work out?
In my opinion, the Jays have the leverage here. Paul Beeston seems willing to remain in his role for the 2015 season, meaning there is probably no rush to find a team president. It seems like the Orioles cannot allow Duquette to make any major moves until this situation is resolved. Denying their general manager from a promotion before giving him the keys to run the team might not be the best idea. In the end, I expect Duquette to join the Blue Jays, but I can't see Jeff Hoffman being involved.
2) It may very well be the best time to trade Aaron Sanchez. The majority of prospect evaluators seem to rank him as a top prospect (A- grade from John Sickels), but whether or not he can become a MLB starter remains a huge question mark. How he is ranked ahead of Dalton Pompey on some lists is beyond me. Sanchez's walk totals have been a problem throughout his minor league career and he does not exactly pile up the strikeouts either. If he does join the Jays bullpen for 2015, it will be tough for him to substantially work on his third pitch and control. If the same question marks remain in 2016 when he is entering his age-24 season, I'm not sure his trade value will be this high. If the Jays do make a major trade, I expect Sanchez's name to be involved before Norris or Pompey are included.
3) Both Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann have been the subject of trade rumours after the Nationals signed Max Scherzer. While both players are terrific pitchers, I just don't see a trade for either player making sense for the Jays. Jordan Zimmermann has been worth more than 4 WAR only once in his career. For just one year of him, I wouldn't be giving up Sanchez, Norris, or Pompey. I just can't get behind paying a haul for just one year of him.
I don't see the Jays "stealing" Strasburg either. Given his pedigree and numbers, I can't see him being traded for anything close to a bargain. If the Jays are going to give up a substantial package for a star player, I'd be aiming for a player with more control. Taking a major run at Tulowitzki makes much more sense to me, though I wouldn't count on that happening anytime soon. Daniel Norris' 2014 minor league numbers are pretty similar to Yu Darvish's career numbers in the majors. He's quite the prospect and should solidify the rotation sooner rather than later. A trade for a starting pitcher is just not worth an overpay for me, though it would be nice to add depth.
4) I really have no idea where James Shields will end up. There just does not appear to be a clear fit out there. The Jays already have Mark Buehrle and R.A Dickey to "eat innings", which seems to be Shields' best attribute. He has yet to pitch his home games in a homer-friendly park, yet fly balls have left the yard quite often over his career. His xFIP over the last 2 seasons is 3.64 and he will be 33 next season. Unless his price has dropped significantly, I'd be wary of paying him significant money for his decline years.
5) The market for Dioner Navarro appears be be shrinking pretty quickly. The White Sox just signed Geovany Soto but could still be potential trade partners. I wonder if the Tigers or Mariners could make some sense. The Diamondbacks seem like a great fit, so maybe that will happen after all. Navarro's pitch framing skills could hurt his value, but more importantly I hope the Jays play Russell Martin as much as possible. There is probably better ways to spend five million dollars.
6) As I said in a previous post, it would be great to add some CF depth by adding Will Venable or Cameron Maybin from the Padres. As much as I love Dalton Pompey, the Jays could probably benefit from a strong Plan B. I would love to know the price for Jarrod Dyson. If Pompey struggles or gets injured, I wouldn't count on Pillar or Carrera for a significant amount of time.
7) Daniel Murphy makes quite a lot of sense for the Blue Jays. Despite grading out as a weak defender at second base, he would represent a huge upgrade up the middle. The Mets have Dilson Herrera to man 2B for the longterm, while Daniel Murphy is a free agent after this season. He would help balance the Jays surplus of right handed hitters in their lineup. It would be great to get some production out of second base.
Cliff Pennington, Mark Ellis and Brian Dozier also make some sense to me. If the Mariners acquire Allen Craig or Shane Victorino from Boston, Dustin Ackley could make a lot of sense as well. I can't see Everth Cabrera or Rickie Weeks happening.
8) I still expect the Jays to add a late inning reliever. K-Rod, Janssen and Soriano are still free agents but I wouldn't be surprised if AA takes the trade route. He seems hesitant to spend a significant amount money on the bullpen, which leads me to think he could pull off an unexpected trade. The Padres have quite the surplus in the bullpen, so maybe Nick Vincent is a potential option. Glen Perkins maybe? I'm expecting the unexpected here.
Anyways, that's it for me. Curious to see what everyone else thinks of all these potential options. Look forward to hearing from everyone, as always.