Category Archives: Rumours/Speculation

Potential Platoon Partners for Adam Lind – Pick Your Poison

Although the Jays’ roster pretty much set for the 2013 season, there remains the need for a right-handed bat to partner with Adam Lind to prevent him from flailing helplessly against left-handed pitchers. Rajai Davis may wind up as Lind’s platoon partner since he’s hit lefties well during his career, but ideally the Jays would like to keep him on the bench to be used as a pinch runner/4th outfielder.

However, considering the Jays’ massive increase in payroll for 2013 after years of running on a constrained budget and ‘if you come, we will build it’ talk from Paul Beeston, Alex Anthopoulos might not have a lot of extra money with which to work. In the wake of the R.A. Dickey trade, AA revealed that the Jays needed to jettison John Buck‘s $6M salary in order to take on more salary. This likely means that as it stands, he will need to find the Jays’ 25th man for close to the league minimum.

Internal Options:

SPLIT PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BABIP
vs LHP as RHB 31 30 12 2 0 2 4 0 0 1 8 .400 .419 .667 1.086 .500

Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table

Internally, the Jays also have a few options in some of their recent minor league free agent signings but the best of those is probably Russ Canzler, the 2011 International League (AAA) MVP. Canzler has hit well against LHP in limited MLB plate appearances over two years. Over the last two seasons in the minors, the 26-year old 1B/OF has hit .299/.370/.496 in AAA in 303 PAs. However, there have already been 3 teams that have given up on Canzler including the Cubs, Rays and Indians. Based on this, the odds that Canzler is a AAAA player that will never quite put it together at the highest level are fairly high.

Free Agents:

Though the Jays might not have the payroll space to sign even a modestly-priced free agent at the moment, it could open up if Darren Oliver decides to retire and the Jays decide that they’re satisfied going into the season with Aaron Loup on the MLB roster and Evan Crawford as the next lefty in line. Loup was dominant for the Jays in 2012, but only in a very limited sample size. Considering the lofty expectations of the team, Anthopoulos may be hesitant to go into the season with such little left-handed pitching depth. However, if he believes in Loup going forward, it could free up some cash to go after a quality platoon partner for Adam Lind in free agency.

Split PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
vs RHP as RHB 201 185 43 10 0 3 27 1 1 9 23 .232 .269 .335 .604 .244
vs LHP as RHB 138 127 33 4 0 6 20 0 2 9 12 .260 .312 .433 .745 .245
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2012.

The Jays’ much-maligned former left-fielder that arrived in the Vernon Wells trade and purchased in July, 2011 by the Dodgers could actually fit the Jays’ needs if he’s willing to accept a reduced role on a contender for less money. Rivera would likely be cheaper than any of the other free agent options outlined here because he’s coming off his second straight down season. Despite his struggles overall, he’s actually been rather decent the last two years against left-handed pitchers especially when you consider his BABIP was well below his career average and he played his home games in a pitcher’s park. His OPS was 80 points higher away from the Dodgers’ pitchers’ park and a return to hitter-friendly Rogers Centre would likely treat him a little better than in his first tour of duty there.

With the the return of Carl Crawford from injury, the Dodgers have little use for Rivera and there has been little interest in him from other teams. If he were given a minor league contract with incentives based on MLB plate appearances, the Jays could gain a productive player at a bargain basement price if he bounces back anywhere near his career production.

Split PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
vs RHP as RHB 419 392 97 15 0 11 48 0 2 16 79 .247 .279 .370 .649 .278
vs LHP as RHB 189 182 56 12 1 7 26 0 0 4 33 .308 .333 .500 .833 .345
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2012.

Everybody’s favourite anti-Semitic former 1st overall draft pick, Delmon Young, should also be available on the cheap this offseason. Though fuelled in part by a .345 BABIP against left-handed pitchers, Young managed yet another .800+ OPS in 2012 against LHPs. Considering his off-field issues, horrible outfield defence and an inability to hit right-handed pitchers with any kind of authority, Young is another candidate to fill the Jays’ need for a right-handed bat.

Some people believe that his off-field issues could disrupt a good thing in the clubhouse, the Detroit Tigers seemed to do just fine with him on the team. If Young fails to secure a full-time contract from a good team, he may consider trying to re-establish his value on a one-year deal with a team like the Jays who would use him primarily in favourable situations.

Split PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
vs RHP as LHB 191 158 38 5 1 8 24 0 0 24 30 .241 .361 .437 .798 .246
vs LHP as LHB 72 61 12 1 1 4 10 0 0 8 17 .197 .306 .443 .748 .195
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2012.
Though he’s left-handed and not an ideal partner for Adam Lind, Travis Hafner, if healthy (and that’s a huge if), could potentially replace Adam Lind when who’s last guaranteed year is 2013. In his career, Hafner has absolutely destroyed right-handed pitching for an OPS of .925. Against left-handers, Hafner has still been quite effective with an OPS of .805. However, he hasn’t played anything close to a full season since 2007 at age 30 and has played more 94 games just once since then.
When he’s in the lineup, Hafner has proven he can be a big-time contributor. If the Jays could sign him to an incentive-laden contract and he managed to remain relatively healthy, he has the potential to be the free agent signing that provides the greatest surplus value. Considering he’s only been to the playoffs once with Cleveland in the last decade, Hafner may be itching to sign on with a team like the Jays for a discount in order to make a run at an elusive World Series ring.

Trade Candidates:

Split PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
vs RHP as RHB 466 430 113 27 2 24 83 5 2 29 113 .263 .315 .502 .818 .302
vs LHP as RHB 149 131 34 6 0 8 25 1 0 15 40 .260 .342 .489 .831 .310
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2012.
It’s been rumoured for a while now that the Chicago Cubs were looking to move former All-Star turned overpriced left-fielder Anfonso Soriano and that they would be willing to eat most of his remaining $36M in order to bring back a legitimate prospect in any trade. Soriano does not have the pronounced splits that Delmon Young or Juan Rivera possess but the Cubs are still willing to part with him in order to build their future.
It would likely take a prospect like Aaron Sanchez or Roberto Osuna to make a deal happen with so much salary being eaten by the Cubs. A larger package of prospects that are either further away like DJ Davis, Matthew Smoral or Chase DeJong or have a lower ceiling/are closer like John Stilson, Sean Nolin, or injured starters Kyle Drabek/Drew Hutchison might appeal to the Cubs as well, but they would probably prefer one of the Jays’ blue-chip pitching prospects.
In the end, the Jays may choose to roll with one of the cheap internal options to partner Adam Lind. If Oliver doesn’t retire and there are no other moves to shed salary, it’s unlikely that the Jays would add a MLB veteran. However, if they do possess a little extra cash, AA may take a long, hard look at the aforementioned names in an effort to push this team over the top. After all, it could mean the difference between being an also-ran in the style of the 2012 Los Angeles Angels and a division winner.
Is there anyone else you’d like to see in the DH slot for the Blue Jays in 2013?

The Quest for the Jays’ 25th Man

With the major acquisitions of the offseason seemingly complete, the Blue Jays must now figure out where everything fits for the upcoming 2013 season. With the rotation locked in and the bullpen’s pieces likely already in place, the Jays must decide upon another player to round out its bench which currently consists of Rajai Davis, Emilio Bonifacio and Josh Thole.

Starting Pitchers
RA Dickey
Josh Johnson
Brandon Morrow
Mark Buehrle
Ricky Romero

Bullpen
J.A. Happ
Brad Lincoln
Brett Cecil
Darren Oliver
Steve Delabar
Sergio Santos
Casey Janssen

Position Players
J.P. Arencibia
Edwin Encarnacion
Maicer Izturis
Brett Lawrie
Jose Reyes
Melky Cabrera
Colby Rasmus
Jose Bautista
Adam Lind
Bench
Rajai Davis
Emilio Bonifacio
Josh Thole
?

40-Man Depth (Starters)
Chad Jenkins

40-Man Depth (Relievers)
Aaron Loup
Jeremy Jeffress
Esmil Rogers
Evan Crawford
Sam Dyson

Injured Pitchers

Dustin McGowan
Drew Hutchison
Luis Perez
Kyle Drabek

40-Man Depth
Anthony Gose
Moises Sierra
A.J. Jimenez
David Cooper
Ryan Goins

Here is an updated 25/40-Man Roster for the Toronto Blue Jays: Google Drive

At times, the 2012 Blue Jays resorted to the use of the 8-man pen, but presumably those days are over with the improvements made to the rotation. Still, there are a number of interesting options in Esmil Rogers and Jeremy Jeffress who are both out of options and would need to clear waivers in order to be assigned to AAA Buffalo. If AA truly believes that one of the two will be an effective MLB reliever, then he may decide with the flexibility that the Jays have in their lineup to carry them as the 8th man in the pen. Though one of them may already be line for a job in the bullpen if Darren Oliver retires, the team might be more inclined to replace him with another LHP, specifically Aaron Loup.

The Candidates:

Position Players:

Considering his removal from the 40-man roster and the vast improvements made to the team, Mike McCoy no longer seems like a remotely reasonable option and fellow AAAA super-sub Yan Gomes is no longer with the organization. Considering the flexibility in the team having Maicer Izturis who is capable of playing 2B, 3B and SS and Emilio Bonifacio capable of playing all the outfield positions plus 2B, there is a lot of flexibility in the lineup that should allow John Gibbons to adjust easily to injuries.Having Bonifacio/Izturis available allows Gibbons to give anyone on the infield the day off including Izturis who could give way to Bonifacio.

Similarly, Rajai Davis and Bonifacio could give anyone in the outfield the day off, though they’d likely be more hesitant to use either in CF. The next options in line for the OF are Anthony Gose and Moises Sierra who would likely benefit more from full-time at bats in Buffalo than sitting on the Jays’ bench. However, if an opportunity opened up because of injury or under performance, then Gose would certainly be given strong consideration to take over in CF for the Jays full time.

Adam Lind could definitely use a platoon partner to remove him from the lineup vs. LHP, but the team has already that it could use Rajai Davis in that role who hit them for a .285/.345/.437 line in 2012. When you consider his speed on the basepaths, Davis is more than adequate in a platoon role. If he falters in 2013, it would not be too difficult for AA to find another right-handed platoon partner.

Pitchers:

With the rotation now solidified barring injury, only the bullpen remains in flux based mostly on the indecision of Darren “Black Magic” Oliver. This article presupposes that he will choose to return for one more season and he’s just being dramatic. Casey Janssen, Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver and Steve Delabar seem like locks for mid-to-late inning relief work, though the latter may not have put together a sufficient track record to warrant ‘lock status’ yet. Sergio Santos must also return from his shoulder issues the same pitcher that possessed the best out pitch in baseball in 2011.

Beyond the core, there is a number of intriguing options. Brett Cecil is out-of-options and seems an almost certainty to be with the team as a reliever. He had an uptick in velocity and performance after returning to the Jays as a reliever and he may find himself filling the role that Aaron Loup did in 2012 as a lefty specialist who got more work against right-handed batters as he proved himself capable. Brad Lincoln has an option remaining but seems well-positioned for a role as a middle reliever with the possibility of moving later in the game as roster changes dictate.

With the acquisition of R.A. Dickey, the Blue Jays also drastically improved their bullpen by pushing J.A. Happ into the swingman role. Considering he was a more than serviceable starter as recently as last year, Happ may win the title of Best Swingman in the Biz in 2013. It seems very unlikely that the Jays would choose to keep Happ stretched out in AAA rather than utilize him in the swingman position but perhaps with the quality of the rotation, they don’t believe he’d get enough work to keep him fresh and efficient.

It’s possible, but certainly unlikely, that the Jays would choose to option Happ and keep one of their acquisitions in Esmil Rogers (who cost the Jays Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes in trade) or Jeremy Jeffress (who was acquired for cash considerations). They could also re-sign one of Jason Frasor or Brandon Lyon if they prefer to have more experienced arms relieving the vastly improved rotation. This is after all a frontrunning team and not a Wild Card pretender anymore.

Another candidate for the bullpen is sidewinder Aaron Loup who pitched quite effectively in 2012 for the Blue Jays after his surprise call-up. Because of his available options, Loup is most likely to find himself in the minors at least to start 2013. If Oliver were to retire, the Jays would likely give more consideration to bringing Loup back in order to retain a late-inning left-handed reliever.

Personally, I think the Jays will find that a strong bullpen will not be such a glaring need as it has been in years past because of the upgrades made to the rotation. I can’t foresee the need for an 8-man pen anytime soon barring some short-term exceptional need. As for position players, Anthony Gose is the closest to making a contribution at the MLB-level but could have his development hurt by irregular playing time. If the Jays were to carry a position player already in the system as their 25th man, then I would lean towards Moises Sierra who lacks the ceiling to make irregular playing time too much of a concern. He possesses a strong arm from the outfield, is quick (but, at times,stupid) on the bases, and has some of the best raw power in the system. Perhaps MLB-coaching could unlock that potential which has not been fully converted to game play.

Who do you have penciled in as your 25th Blue Jay?

Josh Johnson’s Agent: JJ is open to an extension

Josh Johnson‘s agent, Matt Sosnick, told Brendan Kennedy that:

On the possibility of an extension:

“It hasn’t come up in any of our conversations,” said Matt Sosnick, who represents the six-foot-seven right-hander, one of the five players the Jays acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins last week.

On whether he had discussed an extension with Alex Anthopoulos:

“(GM Alex Anthopoulos) hasn’t volunteered it and I haven’t asked him about it. It’s probably something that if he wants to talk about it we’ll talk about it down the road… If there is anyone in the game I’d be receptive to talking to about it it’s (Anthopoulos).”

A pending free agent with 6+ WAR upside willing to forego the free market in order to sign an extension with the Blue Jays. Yes. Please. This is likely just Sosnick using the media as leverage in any potential negotiations. If the team does not re-sign Johnson, then it would appear that they were not willing to commit the money even if the demands were exorbitant because the team does not discuss contract negotiations in the media.

I have a feeling that Alex Anthopoulos does not dig Matt Sosnick’s style. But that should not get in the way of an extension if the price is right.

The Curious Case for Another Catcher: AJ Pierzynski

I never thought I’d find myself writing these words… but I think the Jays should inquire about … A.J. Pierzynski. Weird..

Considering the Jays acquisition of defensive wizard Bobby Wilson and veteran John Buck to complement incumbent starter J.P. Arencibia, the team’s top prospect Travis d’Arnaud and recently 40-manned AJ Jimenez, it seems that the last thing that the Jays need is to acquire another catcher. However, there is a case to be made about one free agent catcher in particular that may interest the suddenly active Toronto Blue Jays. Left-handed hitting AJ Pierzynski, most recently of the Chicago White Sox, could serve as the perfect complement to any of the catchers already in the system. For his career, he’s hit .291/.334/.442 for .776 OPS vs. right-handed pitchers in 4857 PAs; and in 2012, was even better, hitting .287/.338/.536 for an .874 OPS in 399 PAs. He’s a solid defensive catcher as well providing positive dWAR in all but one of his full seasons (2011).

I believe Pierzynski will find a full-time role and more money elsewhere, but I believe if the difference were not so great between the Jays’ offer that of a non-contender, he may opt to leave money on the table in order to be a part of a run at a championship.

If the Jays could sign Pierzynski, it would allow them to move Buck and/or Arencibia knowing the position would not be a black hole in the lineup. Given that Arencibia would fetch the greatest return given his youth/remaining upside/years of control, I’d imagine Alex Anthopoulos would prefer  to move him in any potential deal, most likely in a package for starting rotation depth. Moving John Buck would likely require the team to eat a significant portion of his 2013 salary of $6M or include prospects without even garnering any return. Considering Buck’s familiarity with 4/5ths of the Blue Jays starting staff and his past success in the Rogers Centre/AL East, you would be hard pressed to find a team that Buck would be more valuable to than the Blue Jays anyways.

If Pierzynski were signed and Arencibia traded for rotation help, the team would likely start the year with a catching tandem of John Buck/AJ Pierzynski with Bobby Wilson serving as the 3rd catcher. When d’Arnaud has shown he’s recovered from his knee injury and perhaps more importantly, avoided Super 2 status (potentially saving the team millions of dollars), the Jays would be free to flip John Buck when his salary remaining is less and teams are in need of a mid-season injury replacement.

Though he may not be the most likable guy in baseball, Pierzynski has shown he can be a useful hitter especially against right-handed pitchers. A pick-up like Pierzynski might help push a team like the Jays over the top if he were deployed correctly and John Gibbons has shown in the past he is the man to try it. He’s likely looking to improve upon the $4M per deal he signed after a poor 2010, but considering his age and poor history against left-handed pitching, it might not be that much more. Giving him a two-year deal with an option/small buyout at $5-6M per season would not bankrupt the team and might actual be the ideal way to ease the Catcher-of-the-Future Travis d’Arnaud into his new role. However, he’ll probably wind up getting paid more. If go-for-it teams like the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees fill their void at catcher elsewhere (Arencibia), then Toronto could become more attractive than a fringe competitor.

Joel Sherman: Jays are a potential suitor for RA Dickey

Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote that the New York Mets should consider trading 2012 Cy Young Award-winner R.A. Dickey to help facilitate their rebuilding process. The 38-year old Dickey has one year remaining on his contract at an incredibly value-laden $5M for 2013 and does not fit into the team’s long-term plans. His career-high K/9 in 2012 (8.9) was well above his previous career clip (5.5) and the preceding 2 seasons (2010 – 5.4; 2011 – 5.8) and this could be a warning sign for potential suitors like the Jays who would be tempted to sign Dickey to a multi-year extension.

Dickey did not come out of nowhere as he has had success in 3 consecutive years producing 6.5 rWAR in 2010 and 2011 before exploding for 5.6 rWAR this past season pitching 616.2 IP over that span. Against the AL East, Dickey was absolutely dominant against the anemic offences of Tampa Bay and Baltimore holding them to just 2 hits in two complete games while striking out an incredible 25 batters. Baltimore’s best hitters couldn’t get to Dickey who was in the midst of his scoreless streak. Wieters struck out 3 times swinging and Adam Jones grounded out in 3 at-bats. An infield single was the only blemish for Dickey against Baltimore.

Against the crosstown rival New York Yankees, Dickey was not as sharp in 2012 giving up 5 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in 6 IP with just 3 strikeouts. Dickey admittedly didn’t have the best knuckler in his game against the Yankees and was uncharacteristically wild. His scoreless streak ended with a Texeira sac fly and a Swisher home run. However, in 2011 he held them to just 2 earned runs on 6 hits and 5 walks over 11 IP with 9 strikeouts in two starts.

If he were made available to the Jays, Anthopoulos would certainly inquire as to the cost for Dickey who at the moment is more valuable than typical rental players because of his very team-friendly salary for 2012. The Jays are rumoured to be in the market for further rotation depth in the wake of the franchise-altering trade with the Marlins and signing of All-Star Melky Cabrera after having experienced first-hand how injuries to the rotation can undo a team’s season.

The Mets would obviously love to acquire some of Toronto’s wealth of talent developing in the minors but the Jays will be reluctant to give up any of their top remaining prospects including Travis d’Arnaud, Aaron Sanchez or Noah Syndergaard. If the Jays could make a deal happen for a package based around JP Arencibia and/or Colby Rasmus and lesser prospects, they should be expected to strike acquire Dickey but it would be surprising if the market for Dickey doesn’t get inflated by his 2012 Cy Young season.

Though the acquisition of Dickey may seem like overkill to some after raising the payroll to ~$120M, DrunkJaysFans’ Andrew Stoeten has suggested that the acquisition of one more premiere starter could be the difference between a 90 and a 95+ season. At this point, the additional salary would be well spent if it meant the difference between a Wild Card-contender and a Division-winner. However, the team’s philosophy under Anthopoulos/Beeston has been to build a team capable of sustained success and though the team may be close, they are no doubt aware that they will need a pipeline of talent to address the team’s needs as the current core ages/departs.

If the price is right, do it. If not, there’s plenty Dicks out there.

Report: Jays to sign Melky Cabrera at a PED-influenced discount

There have been many persistent areas of need for the Blue Jays under the direction of Alex Anthopoulos which the young GM has addressed through trades and free agency. Centerfield was plugged in 2011 with the acquisition of former top prospect Colby Rasmus who will be with the team at least until Gose or another prospect is ready to take over full time. The bullpen was an obvious area of need which AA filled with power arms in Santos, Delabar, Oliver, and Lincoln. The starting rotation was exposed in 2012 undone by injuries but AA has done more than expected in acquiring veterans Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from the Marlins. The hole in left field which had been plugged with forgettable performances from the likes of Juan Rivera, Eric Thames, Travis Snider and Rajai Davis in recent years, but with the exception of Snider, there was never hope that they would become the long-term solution.

With the signing of Melky Cabrera for 2 years at $8 M per season, the Jays have filled their greatest positional need with a player who is motivated to perform (he’s got to re-establish his value to cash in in 2014) and who could perform at an elite level providing oodles of surplus value. Even if Cabrera fails to perform at the level he did for the Giants, it seems implausible that he would collapse to the point that he did not provide at least ~3.3 WAR (and therefore roughly fair value) in 2013-14.

Cabrera gives the Jays another legitimate threat at the top of the order that should set the table for one of the better power-hitting duos in Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Cabrera is a legitimate switch-hitting on-base threat whose average on-base percentage over the last 4 seasons split between the Yankees, Braves, Royals and Giants is .345. Though he lacks some of the power traditionally expected from a corner outfielder, Cabrera should still see a slight boost playing in the Rogers Centre and has the potential to hit 15+ HRs for Toronto. However, the vast majority of his value is derived from his ability to get on-base and by legging out doubles and triples which should result in a lot more runs scored in 2013 with the infinitely superior weapons that will presumably follow him in the order.

In addition to his bat, Cabrera is a decent baserunner having stolen 50 bases in the last 4 years at nearly a 75% success rate, though his defence has provided negative dWAR in every year since 2008, averaging -0.5 dWAR over that span. Considering the players that have been charged with defending the position over the last three years, Melky Cabrera should seem like Mike Trout-lite to Jays fans.

With this signing, there is no longer a consensus upon the Jays’ biggest area of need. Second base will likely be filled by a combination of veteran Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio (who is one year removed from a 3 WAR season). Adam Lind could do with a platoon partner unless his long-lost ability to hit left-handed pitchers miraculously returns, but that could be found in Rajai Davis without any great cost. Though the team would obviously prefer to have an everyday DH/1B like David Ortiz, they are considerably more expensive than the status quo and would likely require the team to dump one of Lind/Davis and possibly eat some of their remaining salary. Those resources could arguably be better dedicated to the acquisition of greater rotation depth, but the fact that there is even such a debate is a reason for great optimism for the future of the Blue Jays. Dustin Parkes of Getting Blanked suggested that the Jays should sign Johnny Gomes to serve as platoon partner and keep Rajai Davis in the role his skills are best suited to: pinch runner/4th OFer.

With rumours persisting that the Jays are not yet done making moves, Parkes also mentioned Greinke as someone who would be expensive but could make the difference between a 90-win team and 95-97 win team and therefore the difference between a Wild Card candidate and a division winner. As crazy as it sounds to those conditioned to be frugal, the extra ~$22 per year is actually a wise investment if you believe it will ensure you multiple years of competitive baseball complete with all the revenue increases that entails in jersey sales, advertising revenue, and attendance. The fact the team is owned by the same entity that owns its broadcaster and outdated, but adequate stadium bodes well for the future finances of the team as well.

Anthopoulos and Beeston have picked a perfect time to strike as the AL East’s usual powerhouses are rebuilding, aging/losing key free agents or suffering through never-ending revenue shortfalls. The rotation currently ranks up as the second-best in the AL East that could very well challenge for the title with a bounce back from Romero and healthy, productive seasons from the others. The offence now compares favourably with the best in baseball as well. With potential All-Star hitters from 1-5 in the lineup and and a bottom half of the lineup featuring players who have shown in the past to be capable of star-level 3-4+ WAR seasons in the bottom half, the Jays could possess one of the most potent in baseball in 2013.

Note to John Farrell: You mad, bro?

Selig: “not happy” w Jays-Marlins swap; now “under review”

In seemingly unrelated news, the sale of pitchforks have seen a dramatic spike in sales in the Toronto-area. Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart have set corporate rivalries aside to coordinate a massive shipment to meet demand.

But in all seriousness, if the Blue Jays trade with the Marlins is disallowed by Bud Selig it would be an unprecedented move. The MLB hasn’t intervened in a baseball trade since the 70s when three stars were traded for cash according to Mike Wilner on twitter. Shi Davidi is probably correct that Selig is just running interference on the taxpayers of Florida but nonetheless this is not welcome news.

If the deal sending Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck and a reported $8M in cash to Toronto in exchange for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jeff Mathis, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino and Anthony DeSclafani is blocked by the league it would be a first of its kind and the source of great ire for fans of the Toronto Blue Jays for the rest of eternity. The “best interests” of baseball could however be invoked in order to prevent the deal from taking place if Bug Selig decided that the optics of the firesale a season into the life of an expensive publicly-funded stadium were too unsightly to be tolerated like the attempt by Frank McCourt to sell the Dodgers’ TV rights as he dealt with a divorce and bankruptcy proceedings.

Though the optics are poor especially considering this is not the first Loria discount sale, there are many analysts who actually believe this could be a very good baseball move. Buehrle’s declining velocity and advancing age could make his contract a black hole of negative value by 2015. He also may not be looking forward to playing north of the border and could become a distraction for the team if he starts venting his frustration or allowing it to affect his on-field performance. Jose Reyes is advancing into his 30s and relies heavily upon speed to be effective. With his recent history of hamstring problems, his contract that will pay him nearly $20M/season through 2017 could be the Jays’ next Vernon Wells. Josh Johnson is only under contract for one more year and though his value may have been more in a smaller deal, the inclusion of Bonifacio and him in the trade was what helped offset the huge risk involved in taking on Reyes and Buehrle’s backloaded deals.

Though the Marlins will be hard-pressed to stay out of last place in 2013, the deals made in 2012 have positioned the team to field a good, young team `