White Sox Sign Melky Cabrera To A Three-Year Deal

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Prepare for certain Jays fans to lose their minds: Melky Cabrera is going to the Chicago White Sox.

Or so tweets Bruce Levine of Chicago’s 670 The Score, who says that it’s a three-year deal, pending a physical. No dollar figure has been reported just yet (Update: MLB.com’s Scott Merkin tweets that his colleague, Jesse Sanchez, has been informed that the deal is between $42- and $43.5-million), but that no team was willing to go to four years, and that Melky was willing to settle on three and not keep waiting, maybe says something about the soft market for his service — one that said certain Jays fans will be upset that the team didn’t get harder in on, despite the fact that they already have filled his position much more cheaply, and with a player who has been more valuable on a per-plate-appearance basis, and that Melky has a say in it too.

Even if the Jays were close, if you’re Melky, do you want to bash about on the Rogers Centre turf for three years before hitting free agency again at age-33? Probably not.

It was a good run here — especially 2014 — and a good bit of business that Alex Anthopoulos did in taking a chance on Cabrera the way that he did coming off his P.E.D. suspension in 2012, but he just wasn’t as invaluable to the club as a lot of folks want to believe. A really good player, mind you, but one whose defence and base running pissed away enough of the value of his bat to make him, in the overall, not quite as great as just the offensive statistics alone made him look.

Which isn’t to say that the Jays wouldn’t have been better off bringing him back — they certainly would be — it’s just not as bad as it seems. Nor was it their choice anyway (theoretically, at least, though they did choose to not offer him enough money above and beyond his value to make him change his mind).

And this, of course, means that the Jays have added back a decent draft pick — it will fall between the end of the first round and the beginning of Competitive Balance Round A (which precedes the second round) — after having lost theirs for signing Russell Martin.

All that simmering down stuff said, though, it really sort of does look like a pretty damn nice deal for Chicago, and one the Jays probably ought to have been in on, Saunders or not. If, y’know, the money was there to do it — COUGH — and everything else they still need to do. COUGH COUGH

But before you get too conspiratorial about it, so should a bunch of other teams at that price, no?

Image via Keith Allison/Flickr

Saturday Night Rumblings – December 13th, 2014

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A few small items worth making note of that came about today, which for the sake of completeness of coverage, I probably shouldn’t just sit on until Monday. To wit:

Rizzo No You Didn’t!

“The Toronto Blue Jays have expressed interest in Mike Rizzo, the Washington Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager, as a candidate to replace Paul Beeston as team president and CEO,” wrote Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com on Saturday, citing “two industry sources.”

For what it it’s worth — because what else would he say? — Rizzo responded to the report, telling James Wagner of the Washington Post, “I have not been contacted by the Blue Jays. My sole focus is on the Nationals and bringing a World Series to the District.”

Gonna be real cool when the guy that eventually gets hired is plainly your sixth choice, Rogers. Gonna be real, real cool.

Hey, but if it’s not the guy behind the Stephen Strasburg innings limit business of a couple years ago, maybe that actually will end up being alright.

A Cabrera By Any Other Name?

Here’s the Google translation of part ofa report today from Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes about Asdrubal Cabrera:

The New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets are the clubs that have shown more interest in Cabrera, who last season played 92 games at shortstop with Cleveland and 48 at second base with Washington.

First things first, Google sure does a way better job with Spanish to English than Japanese, eh?

As for Cabrera, earlier in the piece Rojas tells us that “the versatile free agent Asdrubal Cabrera would not mind moving to third base, provided it is a contract of at least four years.”

If the same stipulation is in place for second base, I think we can very confidently say that the Jays aren’t going to touch him. But the fact that it’s unlikely any club would go to four years on him perhaps puts them back into play.

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Toronto Blue Jays Have Made Big Strides This Off-Season — But So Have Their Competitors

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Image via Keith Allison/Flickr

Baseball’s annual gathering of club executives, the winter meetings, finished with a flurry of moves consummated early Thursday morning at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, none of which directly involved the Toronto Blue Jays, but several of which will have a profound impact on the club’s chances for 2015.

Alex Anthopoulos had vaulted to the front of the field among executive of the year candidates in November, reshaping his roster with a trade of Adam Lind, an apparent disinclination to re-sign Brandon Morrow, Casey Janssen, Colby Rasmus, Dustin McGowan and Melky Cabrera, coupled with an out-of-character splash of huge dollars on free agent Russell Martin, and a win-now trade that moved Brett Lawrie and prospects to Oakland for one of the game’s best players, third baseman Josh Donaldson.

But it hasn’t taken long for the Jays’ mighty off-season to begin to look somewhat pedestrian compared to the transformations taking place in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, thanks to the activities of this week.

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Olney: The Dan Duquette Situation Still “Has Legs”

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Has the Paul Beeston-Dan Duquette stuff been put to rest for the year, now that it’s been reported that Beeston will remain with the Blue Jays through the 2015? Nope! Not, at least, if we’re to judge by the latest from Buster Olney at ESPN.com (Insider Olney), where he laid this on us, explaining why Duquette was one of his “winners” from the Winter Meetings:

He was reminded the other day by Baltimore owner Peter Angelos that he has an existing contract that runs through 2018 and that he will be expected to honor that contract, rather than pursue the job of CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays.

In spite of that declarative statement, however, this situation has legs. There are folks in Major League Baseball who want the Orioles to allow Duquette to go to the Blue Jays, given his past work in Canada as the general manager of the Montreal Expos. If a deal can be worked out to satisfy Angelos, a hard negotiator, then Duquette may well be on the move. The Orioles are in position to demand a significant concession from the Blue Jays’ ownership, which is more about the macro than the micro, and it probably wouldn’t hesitate to part with something good if it can get the man it wants.

If the Jays don’t give Angelos what he wants, well, he won’t let Duquette go. Anybody who knows Angelos’ history as a negotiator knows this.

I’m not sure why it matters so much that Duquette ran the Expos twenty years ago — it’s not exactly the same environment now, and, y’know, not even the same city — but what’s most interesting is the stuff about the “significant concession” it would take to land him.

That simply doesn’t sound like the sort of thing the Toronto Blue Jays do, does it? Maybe if it was something on the order of “Here, take Tony LaCava!” who, you’ll remember, turned down the Orioles job that Duquette eventually got, choosing instead to remain in the Blue Jays front office. But if we’re talking about giving up a player? I don’t know.

And here’s a question that may not actually matter, but which I nonetheless find interesting: who is the point man for either team in the negotiation if it’s over a player? Duquette would be for the Orioles if he weren’t the one going the other way. And for the Jays, is it Beeston or Anthopoulos, one of whom would by then already be halfway out the door, the other who may not entirely be inclined to come to an agreement to bring in another G.M. to look over his shoulder? Because it certainly isn’t one of Rogers’ non-baseball people — I mean… get fucked if you think it’s cool for Edward Rogers to get his fingers all over this.

I have no idea whether we’ll actually get to the point of finding out how all that would work, or just what an under-contract team president is actually worth to the Jays. But if MLB higher-ups really are putting pressure on the Orioles to let it happen, as Olney suggests, I don’t think it’s entirely outlandish to think that we still might.

And I don’t think I’d complain about the architect of the ’94 Expos and a guy who has been hands-on working with the modern crop of GMs while running his own very successful club coming in to run the Jays, either. Depending, that is, on the cost.

Image via Keith Allison/Flickr

Japanese Newspapers Might Be Incredibly Amazing

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The Takashi Toritani saga hasn’t had much movement, so far as I can tell, since last night. But holy hell, would you look at that incredible newspaper! (The hearts between Gibby and Toritani are a particularly nice touch).

That alone is worth a post, though I do have a little more, as a friend of the blog sends this rough translation of some of the stuff being reported yesterday:

The Jays are considered to have the inside track but the Orioles, Nationals and the Astros are also in the mix. The Astros would use him as their SS.  The deal required is thought to be around 3/10. 

Boras is looking to get the deal completed before the end of the year. The majors is not a done deal because he might also consider returning to the Hanshin Tigers. FWIW Boras is saying his skills are ones that should translate well to the Majors.

Meanwhile, @Daisy_child tweets that “Apparently Tori is a pretty quiet and serious-looking man. Opposite of the Japaneeeeese guy we had and loved. Can Toronto make him smile?”

Call me crazy but, knowing almost nothing about him, I kinda hope we get try.

Crotch grab in the direction of @BluJays_ for the pic.