Since there’s nothing that fans like more than baseless trade speculation, here are three trade proposals that would improve the Jays’ rotation depth without breaking the bank on one of the remaining free agents.
1). RA Dickey and Jordany Valdespin for JP Arencibia, Daniel Norris, Moises Sierra and Sean Nolin
The Mets are not ready to compete in 2013 and could use a young, controllable catcher like Arencibia. Norris struggled in 2012 but as a young, fireballing lefty he still retains a lot of value. Sierra is a serviceable stop gap with a cannon of an arm, plenty of raw power and the gall to run through stop signs. Nolin is the obligatory DeSclafani/Comer/Musgrove/Rollins/Wojo of this deal. He has had success in the minors, but lacks the scouts’ backing. The Mets might also be interested in one of the Jays’ recovering starters (Drabek/Hutchison).
2). Brett Anderson for JP Arencibia, Anthony Gose and Sean Nolin
Oakland was rumoured to be in the market for a catcher but it’s hard to believe they would value a power-heavy player like Arencibia with a home park like the Coliseum over what they have already in Derek Norris. This might seem like an overpay for a pitcher who has yet to pitch more than 175.1 IP in a year and is coming off Tommy John surgery, but Anderson is signed to a very reasonable contract that will pay him $5.75M in 2013 with team options for 2014 at $8 with a $1.5M buyout and 2015 at $12M with a $1.5M. He’s shown himself capable of elite production, but has yet to stay in the lineup for a full season.
Though Colby Rasmus has yet to return to the near-elite production he flashed in 2010, he is still under team control through 2014 and was still worth 1.4 WAR in 2012 despite a disappointing offensive season where he struggled for long periods of time. Though they are likely each 4-5 years away at least, the Jays have Dalton Pompey and DJ Davis in the pipeline and could afford to move Gose in the acquisition of another potential front-of-the-rotation starter knowing that the team’s anticipated success would draw a free agent stopgap should Rasmus depart when he hits free agency. Gose’s best tool is his speed which is already available to John Gibbons throughout his lineup and would not be sorely missed. The A’s have Coco Crisp for one more year but he is declining. Gose’s speed in the outfield would play well in Oakland’s massive park where his offensive toolset might be better suited as well.
3). James Shields for Noah Syndergaard, Anthony Gose, AJ Jimenez, and Moises Sierra
The Rays are reportedly seeking a package similar to what they received for Matt Garza prior to the 2011 season. A package like that might something like the above which is some serious assets for a pitcher with warning signs like Shields has. Still, the Rays are motivated to move him because of his escalated price and they likely covet a cheap, young replacement for BJ Upton who will not be returning after he hit free agency. Syndergaard would hurt to give up for the Jays, but his secondary stuff has yet to develop and may limit his long-term potential as a starter. Jimenez is rated as a plus defender that could provide at least adequate production with the bat. The Rays also lack catching depth in their system and could use his services in ~2014.
The cost of doing business with the Rays might be even greater since the Jays are within the division. Either way, the Jays will likely avoid the Shields’ sweepstakes which could get out of hand if teams are still in need after the big free agents sign.