I admit to parting with half a buck most days for the Toronto Star, despite Richard Griffin. And I like the Saturday Globe for the features. I refuse to buy the paper that claims to be "National" (and is, if the nation is Bay Street and Alberta) or the annoying tabloid, but sometimes people leave them on the subway, and I'll look anywhere on the Web for baseball news.
This link to Bob Elliott's latest Sun column is provided for a couple of reasons. Elliott, although his prose is mundane and his facts are occasionally wrong, seems to have good connections. He rarely resorts to commenting on rumours started by other reporters (the tactic that feeds baseball coverage in the Big Apple) and has often scooped his local rivals.
Although today's trade-gossip piece completely ignores the Jays, the stuff about the Giants, if true, throws cold water on some of the previous speculation in this rectangle.
Elliott says, with some certainty, that the Giants are interested in Brian Giles, and the Pirates want a package including Russ Ortiz in return. Presumably, that package would contain Jerome Williams, or one of the other great pitching prospects some of us have been coveting, somewhat optimistically, for Jose Cruz Jr. If Brian Sabean has a choice between Giles and Cruz, it's a no-brainer. Ortiz-for-J.D. Drew rumours have also come to Elliott's attention, further suggesting that serious Giants-Jays talks may be wishful thinking on the part of Toronto fans.
Earlier this week (also in the Sun) Mike Rutsey quoted J.P. Ricciardi:
"Unless we get hit with something that is really going to help us address our major need which is pitching, we'd just as soon keep our players because we like them. Lots of teams are interested in a player like Hudson for the same reason we like him but there also comes a time too where you have to look up and say, 'I've got all these players but I've got no pitching. What can bring me the best bang for my buck?'
"We're not trying to move money, we're trying to make baseball trades. So sometimes we don't match up with people. They're trying to get us to take money that we just spent a whole year ridding ourselves of. We don't want to get back in that jam."
It sounds like the Blue Jays may have little choice but to take the present roster to Florida in February. That isn't a bad thing; the longer Ricciardi keeps his "MVP" -- payroll flexibility -- the more likely he can take advantage of another team's increasing desperation. The new economy of baseball favours the patient and conservative. If J.P. maintains his stance through the winter meetings, and other teams "blink" -- falling into the traditional trap of overspending on questionable assets -- Toronto moves further ahead of the pack by doing nothing.