The deadline for signing free agents to new teams passes at midnight tonight. While free agents can sign tomorrow, generally they don't but some do try and sign before the winter meetings in a month. However this year is different and with the new CBA some of the timelines have changed. This could speed up the signing of free agents as some of the uncertainty around draft compensation and options has been either removed or advanced in the calendar. It will be interesting to see if free agents sign any faster this year. Today is also the last day that clubs have the exclusive right to talk to their own free agents. But if you believe there are not back conversations taking place with player agents you are perhaps naive.
This year is also the last year of the old TV deal. A new national US TV deal kicks in next season and that increases the revenue for all teams. With only 25 or so guys to give the money to, will we see salary numbers that shcok this off-season? I think we might. Also the Dodgers and the Cubs have new owners with big wallets.
The Jays have made a trade, see the bottom of the article for details
MLB Trade Rumours produced a list of the top 50 free agents with predictions. They say that Edwin Jackson is the only top 50 free agent headed to Toronto.
Keith Law will publish his top 50 on ESPN later today. He has said in a chat that the top tier of players is thin but that there is a lot of depth in the 30-50 range.
Jon-Paul Morosi had a short note basically stating that the Jays are interested in all pitchers, even Zack Greinke:
The Toronto Blue Jays are casting a wide net in their search for rotation upgrades, already showing interest in free agents Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse and Ryan Dempster, among others, according to major-league sources.
His colleague Ken Rosenthal focuses on the big dollars that are likely to be offered:
The top free agents this offseason are not as appealing. But a perfect storm exists for a winter of irrationality, and not just from the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose three-year, $22.5 million signing of “closer” Brandon League kicked off the proceedings quite nicely. Consider:
- Labor peace is assured through 2016.
- Baseball’s new, eight-year national television contracts will spin off $50 million per team starting in 2014.
- The new restrictions on amateur spending, both domestically and internationally, create more flexibility for major league payrolls.
- The breakthroughs of teams such as the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles this year increase the pressure on struggling franchises.
- And, based on prior history, the mediocre quality of the free-agent class is unlikely to deter clubs from spending lavishly.
So, $100 million for center fielder Angel Pagan? Maybe not. But right-hander Zack Greinke, for one, could hit a massive jackpot
The dollars make for a tough call for teams. Do they sit back and see how other teams are reacting to the new revenue, or do they blow the doors off with a huge offer to their top target? If history is a guide it will be the latter.
So get ready for full hot stove action with rumours flying over the next few weeks. Trade talk could pick up too.
Meanwhile the Jays need a manager but AA has said he is in no hurry to fill the role. Jeff Blair talked to AA about the search in today's Globe:
And Anthopoulos has noticed something about those decisions. Some work, some don’t, but the ones that keep him awake at night are the ones that didn’t work out after he listened a little too much to his democratic angels, where he analyzed and absorbed opinions and information trying to be, in his words, “a good leader,” instead of following his instincts.
Nobody knows, yet, whether Anthopoulos will get the choice of a new manager right, but one thing is apparent from a conversation with him on Thursday: The final decision will be his, and he won’t overanalyze it the way he seems to think he did in hiring Farrell.
Anthopoulos is clear: Even today, he does not think there is anything that suggests Farrell won’t be a good manager. But he also admitted that in hiring Farrell two years ago, he was more concerned with “checking all the boxes.”
Good face? Yep, Farrell had that. Former major-leaguer? Done. Player development? Check. Knows pitching? Triple-check. Check, check, check.
“What I didn’t do,” Anthopoulos said, “was go with my gut. I didn’t give myself enough credit.”
Anthopoulos would not say where his gut would have taken him during the process. That’s no surprise.
So John Farrell was not his number one manager choice, in his gut. Who was it? No-one knows. Is that manager available now, maybe not? So we sit and wait for AA's gut to tell him it's time.
Is anything else happening?
Saturday update: The Jays have traded Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes to the Indians for pitcher Esmil Rogers. Rogers was at one time a highly rated prospect. In 2012 he pitched out of the bullpen in Colorado and Cleveland. His 3.50 ERA in Cleveland was a lot better than his 8.06 ERA in Colorado. Rogers never had an ERA under 6 in parts of three seasons in Colorado.
This trade frees up one spot on the 40 man roster and clears out an extra catcher, the Jays already have a boatload of catchers. But does this setup another trade? The Jays could opt to try Rogers as a starter but that would be a surprise. This could set up another trade. We all know that closers are over-valued. With Janssen and Santos the Jays have two closers. Janssen's value could be high, could this trade setup a Janssen trade?