Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
According to this article from the Toronto Star the Expos finally received their 2003 payroll budget from the Office of the Commissioner yesterday.

JPR apparently is interested in acquiring Vazquez, who is arbitration-eligible, if the right package can be found. That seems unlikely to me, given that the Jays appear to be near their own payroll budget (acknowledged to be $45-55 million) and Vazquez will likely command more than the $4.8 million he got last year.

More and more, I think it might be Guerrero who will be traded out of Montreal, since that solves the payroll problem in nearly a single stroke. The lineup of potential buyers will be quite long if that is the case. Would the Jays be interested? Trading Cruz, Hinske and Lopez for Vlad and Fernando Tatis would be a blockbuster deal, but is there any way the Jays could take on an extra $11 million in salary?
Jays show interest in Vazquez | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Jordan - Friday, December 06 2002 @ 12:24 PM EST (#101677) #
On the one hand, it's sad to see the Expos about to be broken up one last time. With the NL East in an uproar, a good season out of Montreal/PR could get them close to the playoffs. But unfortunately, life is what it is, and if the Spos are unloading their stars, I'd of course much prefer to see them land in Toronto than elsewhere.

Acquiring Vazquez is obviously an intoxicating prospect, particularly with his salary fairly predictable for the next two seasons. If they got him, they'd have to decide by mid-2004 if they wanted to deal him away again or sign him to something more long-term. By the end of '04, though, Carlos' salary will be off the books, so JP should have a lot more payroll flexibility. His younger stars (Hinske, Wells, Phelps, etc.) will still be renewable, and I don't see Ricciardi making Gord's mistake of signing arb-eligible players to guaranteed contracts. So it's not out of the question that Ricciardi could hand over several million a year to keep Vazquez around longer. (Now that I think of it, Halladay has more service time than the other youngsters, so he may need to be dealt with before then.)

So I think the financial resources would be there. The next question would be, is Vazquez the guy to get? I've written elsewhere about my concerns with Vazquez's workload, a thousand innings logged by 27. Better minds than me would know whether he's a true risk or not, but that looks like a red flag to me. Certainly, a healthy Vazquez (to the extent any pitcher is ever guaranteed health) teamed with Halladay would be a devastating 1-2 punch, allowing Lidle to slide into the #3 role he's better designed for and giving Miller and Hendrickson time to either develop into good pitchers or keep the spots open for the prospects.

Could it be swung? Montreal needs inexpensive young talent, and the Jays have that. It would cost them either Hudson or Lopez for a start, certainly one or two of their young pitchers like Bush or Maureau, and maybe some guys who have no future in a Ricciardi operation, a Quiroz or a Bernhardt. Make the return high enough and maybe you could snag Jose Vidro too. The problem, of course, is the payroll: add Vazquez and Vidro to what Halladay will shortly cost them, and you're knocking against the salary ceiling, if not cracking through the plaster. But this is part of JP's challenge: to budget not just for this year's team, but for every team for the balance of his five-year contract.

I'll tell you what, though, if I had the choice between Vazquez and Guerrero and the money were somehow doable, nolo contendre as to who most of us would take. Not just because Vlad's the superior talent, a true impact player who could benefit tremendously from Toronto's teachers, but also because I think he fills a greater need within the organization. Toronto is short on pitchers right now, for sure, but there is help on the way: Bush, Maureau, League, De Jong, Peterson, Hanson, Chulk and maybe even Rosario if he recovers from surgery. But the Blue Jays really have only one impact outfielder -- Gabe Gross -- anywhere in the organization, and while I'm still a Gross believer, there are more questions about him now than this time last year. Jayson Werth is nearly ready at AAA, but he's likely going to be a good, not great player. The other prospects are guys like Alex Rios and Rich Thompson, who've not shown much power. Guerrero will be a year-to-year MVP candidate.

But of course, he would cost them accordingly, in talent and in dollars, and Toronto would be back to having one guy siphoning much of the payroll. It's not the blueprint this team is following ... but it's sure nice to think about.
Coach - Friday, December 06 2002 @ 12:28 PM EST (#101678) #
As much as the fantasy of Vladimir in Toronto is enjoyable, I don't think it's going to happen. Guerrero will be the ultimate mid-season rental for a contender with the resources to sign him. But it's one of the few scenarios where "trading" and "Hinske" in the same sentence is acceptable to me. Vladi is a lot of fun to watch -- he can hit a double on a pickoff attempt -- but the Jays will score enough runs without him.

Vazquez would be similar to Cory Lidle. If they pay him $5-6 million for 200 quality innings, that's a reasonable return without a foolish commitment. If he wins 20, he becomes too expensive and moves on; if he wins 10, they let him go. Chances are he falls somewhere in the middle, and if it's a perfect fit, he could even stick around. At worst, he buys time for the kids in the farm system. At best, the Achilles-heel rotation becomes a strength and the Jays contend for a wild card.

If the deal includes Cruz, it's not a huge fiancial stretch, and it's a lot easier to find a RF replacement than a legitimate #2 starter. That's what I like best about this rumour: Lidle goes from a question at #2 to an answer at #3. It may be just a backup plan for J.P. -- I wish Jeff Kent would do something, so the Jays and Giants could get serious.
_Jan Jansen - Friday, December 06 2002 @ 01:10 PM EST (#101679) #
This is my favorite part:

"We don't know exactly which way this Rubik's cube is going to spin," Tavares said.

Last time I checked, you don't spin a Rubik's Cube. Unless, of course, you're an idiot.
_Jordan - Friday, December 06 2002 @ 01:30 PM EST (#101680) #
I think it's amusing enough that he's making a Rubik's Cube reference. That Tony Tavares is one plugged-in guy.

"Chasing the pennant will be as challenging as chasing Ms. Pac-Man around the maze."

"To sing the national anthems on Opening Day this year, please welcome, Human League!"

"Fernando Tatis is as guaranteed of future success as is fellow young superstar Zach Galligan."
Jays show interest in Vazquez | 4 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.