Tuesday, November 24, 2015 | by Ian Hunter
There's almost no chance David Price is going to re-sign with the Blue Jays. Or is there?
It was essentially a foregone conclusion that David Price would not be re-signing with the Toronto Blue Jays. And yet, here we have dual reports from David Kaplan of ESPN and Baseball Essential which indicate Toronto is the number one destination for David Price (in his mind).
The reason why most have been quick to dismiss these reports is because everything else reported has run contrary in the David Price sweepstakes. If anything, it's Chicago that's been tabbed as the ideal landing spot for Price.
Is there any truth to these rumours or is this simply (as Stoeten mentioned at last night's Pitch Talks in Waterloo) David Price's agent posturing and driving up the asking prices from other teams?
Like most, I've basically written off any and all chances of David Price re-signing with the Blue Jays. Not that Price doesn't want to come back to Toronto, it's just that the Jays wouldn't be able to match offers made by other teams who were in desperate need of an "ace".
Here's why I think things have changed; were Alex Anthopoulos still at the helm of the Toronto Blue Jays, they might still have a shot at re-signing David Price. Not because of Anthopoulos per se, because we've seen the cost-cutting measures employed by Mark Shapiro, we've seen his attitude towards prospect capital and building the farm system.
To me, Shapiro's style runs counter to signing David Price to a long-term contract extension. Plus. In no way has ownership really tipped their hand as to whether they've even met with David Price or even tabled an offer to him.
I don't doubt that David Price would love to come back to Toronto. The Blue Jays put forth one hell of a recruitment campaign, and that came in the form of August, September and October in Toronto. The Jays could not have shown David Price more potential than they did.
He was revered as a true superstar during that brief period with the Blue Jays. Even though Price has been the best player in the league, he really wasn't treated as such until he came over to the Blue Jays at the 2015 trade deadline.
The fact remains that the Blue Jays need at least one more starting pitcher. Who better to sign than David Price? If they're going to break the bank, spend a tonne of money and commit five or more years to a pitcher, why not do it for the best pitcher on the market?
Why get the BMW of free agent starting pitchers when you can go out and get the Ferrari? Say the Blue Jays are going to commit that kind of a term and that much money, why wouldn't they get a better quality pitcher in David Price?
If I'm the Blue Jays, I'm either putting all my eggs in the David Price basket or I'm not signing another free agent pitcher at all. Why even bother going four years on Jeff Samardzija or five years on Jordan Zimmerman or three years on Hisashi Iwakuma?
Why wouldn't the Blue Jays go for the best player they could; one who already wants to play in Toronto and has made it abundantly clear that he loves the city and loves the environment.
The Blue Jays have already convinced David Price to play in Toronto which is arguably the hardest part; swaying a free agent to come to the Blue Jays in the first place.
With David Price, those barriers have already been broken down and that comfort factor is already there. That kind of comfort level is something that's very valuable and can be priceless. So if David Price has experienced that after spending only three months in Toronto, maybe he feels like Toronto is the long-term home for him.
The Blue Jays already check two of the three most important boxes for David Price; the Jays are poised to be a competitive team in the short term and by all accounts, Price loved playing with in Toronto.
So if the Blue Jays can check the third box (albeit, likely the most important one) which is dollars and term, then Toronto suddenly becomes an ideal destination for David Price to play out the next six or seven years of his career.
Nobody would fault David Price for signing elsewhere and going for the most money possible. But as tempting as places like Boston, New York or Chicago would be, some of those organizations would be tough sells.
Think about the Boston Red Sox; they've got a really tough sell to David Price after the debacle of a year they had. But the Blue Jays' sell job seems fairly simple and it's one that's fresh in the mind of David Price. He has three months of great memories within this organization; something he doesn't have with the Red Sox, Cubs or Yankees.
Dollar for dollar, if the Blue Jays were to match any other potential offers out there, I think David Price might actually be willing to accept a deal in Toronto.
Image via AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Monday, November 23, 2015 | by Ian Hunter
One year in Toronto might've been all it took to convince Josh Donaldson to stick around for a very long time.
Late last week, Josh Donaldson spoke to TSN about his MVP-winning season. When Kate Beirness broached the subject of his looming arbitration case, Donaldson expressed his desire to stay with the Blue Jays long term.
Although the direct link to the video at TSN doesn't seem to work anymore, hat tip to @atedaryl for this alternate link to the video.)
"I would love to end my career in Toronto. I love playing there; I would love to be able to do something, but I'm not the one calling the shots. Obviously, it's a business too, but I love playing in Toronto and I really feel blessed to in the situation of where I'm at right now."Donaldson also echoed the same sentiment earlier this morning on Jeff Blair's show as well.
"I really love the city of Toronto and could see myself spending my entire career here.So Josh Donaldson skipped completely past his upcoming arbitration case and went not only to a long-term contract, but one that would see him end his career with the Toronto Blue Jays.
I feel like this is a great environment for me. It really sets up well for what I'm capable of doing and I think it's a great place to be, and I'd like to be here for a while."
To me, it was very surprising to hear Donaldson say this because he's spent just one year Toronto, and even if he doesn't get a contract extension from the Blue Jays, he's going to get paid handsomely through salary arbitration.
If there was only one player for the Blue Jays to invest in long-term, without question it would be Josh Donaldson. We may have only witnessed the tip of the iceberg in terms of Donaldson's production, and thus he'd be the building block for this franchise for many years going forward.
It still may seem a little early to ink Josh Donaldson to a contract extension, but Jeff Blair went into it on his piece at Sportsnet.
Why the rush to lock up a guy who isn't even 30 years old yet and just barely more than three years of service time under his belt? If Josh Donaldson factors into the Blue Jays' long-term plans whatsoever, now would be the ideal time to get a deal done before his asking price becomes way too prohibitive.
Now that Donaldson has already collected one MVP award, it would be in the best interest of the Blue Jays to get a deal done sooner rather than later.
Image via Yahoo Sports
Friday, November 20, 2015 | by Ian Hunter
Welcome back, Jesse Chavez.
It turns out one Blue Jay making his second tour with the Blue Jays was dealt for another. Interim GM Tony LaCava has made the first trade of the Jays offseason sending Liam Hendriks to the Oakland Athletics for Jesse Chavez.
At first glance, this might seem like a puzzling move; Liam Hendriks was a decent reliever and the Jays' bullpen needed as many arms as possible. It turns out Toronto's immediate need for a starting pitcher like Jesse Chavez far outweighed the need for middle relief.
The Blue Jays aren't getting an ace in return by any means, but in Jesse Chavez, they are getting a mid-to-back end starting pitcher in return. Chavez' return may conjure up those bad memories of his dreadful days with the Jays in 2012, but by all indications, he isn't that pitcher anymore.
At the very least, Chavez should be penciled in for around 20 starts and something around 150 innings. That's really what this trade is all about; innings. The Blue Jays are subtracting innings from the bullpen but adding more innings to the starting rotation.
It was fun to see Liam Hendriks reborn as a reliever with increased velocity, but he was used predominately in low leverage situations. That area of the bullpen seems like the easiest replace, whereas the Blue Jays truly need back-of-the-bullpen arms.
This may not be a trade that moves the needle very much for the Blue Jays right now, but it addresses their need for starting pitching depth in the short term.
It's funny because this was the atypical trade made by the Blue Jays; normally they're accustomed to trading for relievers rather than giving them away. To me, anytime you can get a starter for a reliever, it's a win.
The only thing that irks me about this deal is giving up four years of team control under Liam Hendriks for one of Jesse Chavez. This may just be a bridge solution for the rotation until someone like Roberto Osuna can be effectively stretched back out into a starting pitcher.
Speaking of Roberto Osuna and Aaron Sanchez, their roles with the Blue Jays next year may have factored into the motivation behind this trade in the first place. Would the Jays knowingly trade one of their relievers if they were going to move Osuna or Sanchez into the rotation?
On that same note, if at least one of Osuna or Sanchez were to be converted back into starting pitchers, it would give the Blue Jays six starting pitchers. Even with the acquisition of Jesse Chavez, by no means is work finished on replenishing the rotation, but it's a start.
As of now, the Blue Jays 2016 starting rotation projects to be Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada, R.A. Dickey, Jesse Chavez and one of Drew Hutchison, Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna.
Now that I think of it; maybe the Blue Jays feel like they could groom Drew Hutchison to become Liam Hendrik's replacement in the bullpen? It certainly would be a cost-effective measure; the million dollar question is whether Hutchison could resemble a half-decent reliever.
In the meantime, the Jays now have one less arm in the bullpen but one additional arm for the starting rotation. In just over one week, two spots in the Blue Jays starting rotation have been solidified.
Now all they really need to do is shore up one more.
Image via MLB.com