Tag:Blue Jays
Posted on: July 30, 2010 9:13 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 9:47 pm
 

Jays simply have to trade Bautista

Jose Bautista
Dear Toronto Blue Jays,

Trade Jose Bautista. Right now. Best offer you can get by Saturday afternoon, take it.

Yes, he's the talk of the town, and one of the only reasons anyone is paying attention to Blue Jays baseball. The fans will raise a stink. But you have to bite the bullet and do it anyway. 

The night before the trade deadline, the guy hit a grand slam. He's showcasing himself! By the time the ball cleared the wall, Alex Anthopoulos should have been hitting speed dial for whatever GM made the last offer. The idea is to sell high, and his value is never going to be higher than it is right now.

Nearly 14 percent of the times Bautista has come to the plate this season, he has hit a home run. He's hit 196 fly balls, and 31 of them -- nearly one in six -- have gone over the wall. These are not, as the stat folks say, "sustainable skills." Other teams will know this, but other teams who are under immense pressure to win a championship will not care at this particular moment.

Fact is, Jose Bautista is a .241 career hitter who other than this year is good for about 15 homers a year. The overwhelming odds are that he is going to go back to being that guy, or at least closer to being that guy than the monster you've seen this season. In all likelihood, 2010 Jose Bautista is 2000 Richard Hidalgo (44 homers, no more than 28 any other season). He's 1996 Brady Anderson (50, 24). Bautista is 29 and he's been in six organizations -- if he's got Albert Pujols potential, someone would have figured it out by now.

You're trying to build a team, and you don't need career-average Bautista as much as you need the multiple pieces you can get for him in the next few hours.

Trade him.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 29, 2010 2:13 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 5:24 pm
 

Oswalt headed to Philly

Roy Oswalt The Phillies have completed a deal for Houston's Roy Oswalt, which will give the Phillies a vaunted Big Three in the rotation along with Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels.

Wednesday night, we learned that the Phillies and Astros agreed on an Oswalt trade, with only the ace's approval needed. That has come.

Oswalt will bring a 6-12 record that will unquestionably start trending positive with the Phillies behind him. What the Phillies want more than that record is his 3.42 ERA in 129 innings, having struck out 120 and walked 34. Oswalt looked like the years of being a bona-fide ace were behind him after a poor 2009, but his 2010 has answered those questions and more.

While Philadelphia clearly erred in letting Cliff Lee go, it's to GM Ruben Amaro's credit that he struck for another pitcher and hasn't allowed the trading of Lee in the offseason to impact his decisions. Unlike some would do in his position, Amaro realized that the Lee deal was done -- finished. A sunk cost. You don't make decisions about the best way to improve your club moving forward by bemoaning moves of the past.

In addition, while Lee is a superior pitcher to Oswalt, Amaro also positions his rotation better for future success what with Oswalt under contract for 2011. Lee, of course, will command an exorbitant price as a free agent this offseason.

The Phillies also scored a coup by getting Oswalt to agree not to demand his 2012 option be exercised. According to ESPN's Amy Nelson, Philadelphia will instead allow Oswalt's no-trade clause to be retained as well tacking on an extra million to his 2012 buyout.

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that the 2012 option is actually a mutual option, and if Oswalt declines his end of the option, the buyout is unchanged. If the Phillies exercise their end and Oswalt opts out, that's when the buyout increases -- thought to be $2 million.

Given Philadelphia still retains the potential to pick up the option for $16 million, that extra million is certainly worth the protection of not having to lock into 2012. Given Oswalt has had multiple back problems along with a bevy of wrist issues, not being locked into a soon-to-be 33-year-old is a smart move. 

But that's not all the money Philly saves. The organization will also receive cash to help cover Oswalt's deal -- $11 million to be exact, according to ESPN.com . Oswalt is due roughly $25 million for the rest of the contract, including the 2012 buyout. The fact that Houston will foot the bill for almost half that total is impressive.

The trade is a three-for-one deal, with J.A. Happ the centerpiece headed to Houston along with two minor-leaguers.

Happ broke through in 2009 with a sterling 2.93 ERA in 23 starts and 12 relief appearances. While he helped propel Philly to a second consecutive NL pennant, he is simply a mirage. His BABIP has been unbelievably low in his major-league stints with a sky-high runners-stranded-on-base rate without a K/BB ratio approaching solid. It's why his xFIP last season was 4.49, and why one shouldn't be fooled by his 1.76 ERA through three starts in 2010 with an xFIP of 6.33. Anyone who strikes out five batters a game and walks seven will not see a sub-2.00 ERA last long.

Happ was injured in mid-April after making two starts and recently completed a rehab assignment but was assigned to Triple-A to continue his rehab. He was called up to the bigs to start on Sunday after Jamie Moyer hit the disabled list. Happ is essentially the NL version of Daisuke Matsuzaka -- doing it all with smoke and mirrors.

The two prospects in the deal are Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar .

Gose is only 19, and is currently trying to make his bat come alive at High Class A Clearwater, an aggressive level for his age. He's hitting .263/.325/.385 in 461 plate appearances, swiping 36 bases. He has a lot to learn about baserunning, however, as he's tacked on 27 times being caught stealing. Gose was ranked the No. 6 prospect by Baseball America in the offseason and was also named the best defensive outfielder in the system.

Gose is being spun to Toronto, who wanted the youngster in the Roy Halladay deal -- and uses a trade chip acquired in the Halladay deal to get it done. According to Rosenthal, Brett Wallace is being sent to Houston, whowas traded to Toronto from Oakland for Michael Taylor, who had been acquired from Philadelphia in the Roy Halladay trade. One could argue, then, that the Jays apparently preferred Gose to Taylor, but that Philadelphia wouldn't give him up.

The 23-year-old Wallace is hitting .301/.359/.509 for Triple-A and is in his first season as a full-time first baseman. He figures to be the long-term replacement for Lance Berkman in Houston, although one has to wonder about Wallace's talent now that he's been traded three times in a two-year span. (He was sent to Oakland by St. Louis in the Matt Holliday trade last season.)

As for the prospect from Philly that is staying in Houston, the 19-year old Villar is playing for Class A Lakewood and hitting .271/.322/.358. There is not a lot to like here about the shortstop, though he is admittedly raw. Gose is raw too, but has a higher ceiling and some semblance of tools. One thing Villar has going for him is he can pick it on defense despite a staggering 42 errors in 99 games which isn't really indicative of fielding talent at that level.

Altogether, it is a rather underwhelming return Houston received for Oswalt. It is clear that the Astros sold Oswalt at a discount, much like Arizona and Dan Haren.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 28, 2010 12:21 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 2:16 pm
 

Trade deadline profile: Scott Downs

Leading up to Saturday's trade deadline, the MLB Facts & Rumors team takes a look at the biggest names on the trade block. Wednesday examines perhaps the best reliever on the market, Toronto's Scott Downs.

Scott Downs Career stats: 26-28, 3.80 ERA, 359 G, 50 GS, 551 2/3 IP, 204 BB, 433 K
2010 stats : 4-5, 2.34 ERA, 47 G, 42 1/3 IP, 10 BB, 35 K
Contract status: Signed a three-year, $10 million contract for the 2008 season. Making $4 million on the year and is an impending free agent who stands to be Type A.

Why he's desirable
At 35 years old, Downs doesn't exactly have many years remaining in him. However, the former starter-turned-reliever has emerged as one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. Over the last four seasons from 2007-10, Downs has appeared in 242 games, posting a 2.27 ERA.

Of non-closers, that's the second-best ERA of any reliever with at least 150 games over the same time period -- Arthur Rhodes has a 2.10 ERA in 174 games (128 1/3 innings). Rhodes, however, missed the entire 2007 season due to injury.

Including closers and Rhodes, Downs has the sixth-lowest ERA in the bigs since 2007 (Mariano Rivera, Rhodes, Joakim Soria, Jonathan Papelbon, Billy Wagner). In short: He's good.

Why he's available
The Blue Jays are a rebuilding club, their seemingly-annual first-half run of success notwithstanding. The team is 12 games behind the Yankees, fourth in the AL East with a dwindling 52-49 record. With Downs an impending free agent and a strong market for quality arms in a quality-depleted environment, Downs is a hot commodity. He can bring back a strong prospect that can further Toronto's rebuilding efforts. And let's get real -- when the Jays are ready to seriously contend, Downs could very well be retired.

Scott Downs Who is interested
The Yankees and Red Sox seem most hot after Downs services, as both AL beasts are contending with left-handed relief struggles as well as poor bullpen performance overall. While the Yankees and Red Sox should be considered forerunners, the list of suitors for Downs is expansive. Among the suitors are: Dodgers, Mets, Phillies, Reds, Rockies and Twins.

Of that list, it's tough to imagine the Mets and Rockies pulling off a deal. The Mets are falling behind the division race and recent reports have the Mets seeking an underpriced reliever. The Rockies, for their part, are also slipping out of the race and may choose to stand pat now that they've gotten Troy Tulowitzki back. Philadelphia is in a similar position with many injured and the Braves pulling away in the East.

The Twins are more interested in a starting pitcher, but could choose to bolster the bullpen instead. The Dodgers have some space to add payroll at the deadline, but like the Twins, are more focused on starting pitching. The back of the Reds' bullpen is fairly thin, so Downs could combine with Rhodes for to bring two shut-down lefties to the NL Central race.

UPDATE: The Giants are also in on Downs, but they figure to focus on acquiring a bat.

Expected return
The Blue Jays are asking for a ridiculous amount in return for Downs. As a potential Type-A free agent, Downs can bring back a first-round pick plus a complementary pick after the first round, provided the Jays offer arbitration. Even if Downs accepts, he would make in the neighborhood of around $4-6 million for 2011, a more than affordable deal for such a prime shut-down reliever.

George King of the New York Post reports that the Jays asked the Yankees for top prospect Jesus Montero, an exorbitantly high price for a middle reliever about to become a free agent. GM Brian Cashman of the Yankees had previously made Montero available in a deal for Cliff Lee but maintains that was the only player on the market Montero would have been swapped for.

The Jays also had a high price for the Red Sox, requesting either starting pitcher Casey Kelly or shortstop Jose Iglesias in return for Scott Downs. You can bet Theo pressed the "end call" button on his cell phone seconds after that request. Alex Speier of WEEI.com reported that the Jays have been heavily scouting Roman Mendez of Boston. Mendez is currently pitching for low Class-A Lowell.

While a prospect the caliber of Montero, Kelly or Iglesias is simply impossible to happen, the Jays can definitely extract a blue-chipper with an intriguing profile -- ala Mendez -- for Downs and could even haggle a second prospect out of the interested team. The only question is if it will be enough for Toronto to trade in the division. None of the other suitors seem remotely close or as interested in Downs as Boston or New York.

What happens
The guess here is that while the Jays like Mendez and move to acquire him, the Yankees will sweep in with an offer just good enough to bring Downs in. New York has designs on a second straight World Series, but that won't happen with a bullpen as porous as it currently is. It needs massive upgrading, and Downs is the salve to the Bronx Bombers' open wound.

More trade deadline targets -- Jorge Cantu | Roy Oswalt

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 25, 2010 9:56 pm
 

Jays asking high price on relievers

Scott Downs The relief market may have just heated up in Boston.

Hideki Okajima continued his worst major-league season to date and was directly responsible for giving up three runs in a Mariners rally on Sunday.

That might be good news for the Blue Jays, who have Jason Frasor, Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg on the market. Downs would give the Red Sox a second lefty in the bullpen -- and their only reliable one. The Jays, however, are asking a ton for Downs.

As FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says , the price is so high that the Dodgers went scurrying away.

Other teams named in the hunt for one or more of the Jays relievers include the Yankees, Mets, Reds and Twins, says Rosenthal's co-writer, Jon Paul Morosi. None of these names comes as a surprise -- virtually every team in contention every year is always in the market to add more relief pitching.

Toronto won't give away any for pennies on the dollar, though. Frasor is a free agent after the year and should theoretically be the easiest to get. By the same token, however, he's not as sought after as Gregg or Downs. Gregg has an affordable club option for 2011 -- and potentially one for 2012 as well. He's had a successful year closing for the Jays.

Downs, a lefty, has been one of the best setup men in the game for a while and will likely qualify as a Type A free agent. This means that if he signs with another team, the Jays could potentially get a first-round and complementary pick after the first round. That's keeping Downs' price up as even accepting arbitration wouldn't make Downs' 2011 salary prohibitive for Toronto. Understandably, then, they are asking a significant amount.

A deal can't get done, though, if Toronto doesn't realize that for all of Downs' talents, he's a reliever. You don't trade top prospects for a reliever unless young and extremely good -- like Joakim Soria. Downs' value is suppressed somewhat by saves, but he's still better than some of the closers in the game.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 22, 2010 9:17 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:39 am
 

Dodgers may be able to add payroll


Despite the nasty divorce of owner Frank McCourt that has been rumored to handcuff the Dodgers, the team may add to its payroll at the trade deadline, Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports .

The Dodgers are looking for pitching help and Jackson writes the team is "zeroing in" on Houston ace Roy Oswalt.

Jackson is one of several starters the team is interested in and made some initial contact about. The others are Ben Sheets, Dan Haren, Ted Lilly and Paul Maholm.

Jackson notes the team's more urgent need may be bullpen help. Toronto's Scott Downs and Jason Frasor have been "scouted heavily" by the Dodgers.

"Pitching continues to be our priority," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "With Manny [Ramirez] going down and Reed Johnson still out, we might look at trying to shore up our outfield as well."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


Posted on: July 22, 2010 4:05 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2010 4:31 pm
 

Top international bonuses

Baseball America today released a list of the top 15 all-time international signing bonuses, and four of them have come during this year's international signing period, which began July 2.

This year's signings include No. 4, Venezuelan pitcher Adonis Cardona (Blue Jays, $2.8 million); No. 5, Dominican outfielder Ariel Ovando (Astros, $2.6 million); No. 11 (tie), Dominican outfielder Phillips Castillo (Mariners, $2.2 million); and No. 11 (tie), Venezuelan third baseman Renato Nunez (Athletics, $2.2 million).

The top signing bonus ever, $4.25 million, was given by the Athletics in 2008 to Dominican right-hander Michael Ynoa. He missed 2009 with elbow problems and has pitched three games this year in the Arizona Rookie League

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.




Category: MLB
Posted on: July 22, 2010 1:39 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2010 2:46 pm
 

Trade deadline sellers: Toronto Blue Jays

As the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline looms, the CBS Facts & Rumors team will look at the biggest players leading up to the deadline. This week we'll look at the teams who will be talked about the most; next week will be the players who might be moved.

Alex Anthopoulos The Blue Jays have a winning record, and for a while it sounded as if they were going to load up and make a serious run at the playoffs.  But after taking a realistic look at the landscape in front of them – they are fourth in their own division – it looks like the boys up north have decided to punt. They already pulled off one trade, swapping shortstop Alex Gonzalez for younger model Yunel Escobar on July 14.

Record: 48-47, 12 games behind and in fourth place in the American League East. Seventh in the AL wild-card race, 9 ½ games back.
General manager: Alex Anthopoulos, first year
Expectations: Building. The Jays are in the frustrating position of being a decent, but not great, team in a division that includes a couple of payroll bullies. But as the Rays have shown, you can overcome that by building smart.
Payroll status: Opening day payroll was $62.7 million, 22nd in baseball. The Jays have about $44 million committed to contracts and pro-rated portions of signing bonuses for 2011.

What they have to offer

Scott Downs might be the best reliever on the market. The left-handed middleman has a 2.52 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings, and hasn’t given up an earned run since June 6. He had some neck and arm soreness just before the break but has been unrestricted since.

The Jays are apparently asking a lot for Downs, scaring away some suitors. But he’s likely to be a Type A free agent after the season, which means Toronto could get two first-round picks if he leaves as a free agent. Even saving the rest of his salary (about $2 million left for the year) doesn’t make it worth trading him if they can’t get at least that level of talent back.

Major-league home run leader Jose Bautista (.238/.354/.542) is looking like a very attractive quick fix for teams in need of power. He can play any outfield position as well as third base. But he doesn’t hit for average, he will get a big salary bump in arbitration next year, and the Jays are reportedly asking a lot for him. Still, the Giants, Braves, Tigers and White Sox appear to be in play.

Scott Downs Reliever Jason Frasor has been erratic this season (check out his ERA by month: April 8.38, May 0.82, June 6.75, July 1.35) but when he’s on he has shown the ability to be effective against righties and lefties.

First baseman Lyle Overbay (.251/.330/.412) is an impending free agent the Jays would like to deal, though there are better first basemen on the market and Overbay is making $7 million this year.

Catcher John Buck (.285/.315/.518) was an All-Star and is an attractive and cheap ($1 million left for this year) power option, and the Jays have prospect J.P. Arencibia waiting in the wings.

There are conflicting reports on whether Toronto is shopping closer Kevin Gregg, who has been reliable and has a manageable $4.5 million club option for next season.

What they want in return?

The Jays are reportedly asking for middle infielders, which is odd because they control both of their starters through at least 2013. Maybe they’re looking for someone they can convert to third base.

They could use some starting pitching prospects to throw into their mix, and if they trade more than one of their relievers they’ll need reinforcements there.

Predictions: Bautista goes to the Giants, who finally give in to Toronto’s demands. The Mets get either Downs or Gregg. Overbay goes and Buck stays.

-- David Andriesen

More trade deadline chatter -- Buyers: New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels; Sellers: Florida Marlins

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 21, 2010 7:41 pm
 

At least four teams interested in Bautista

Jose Bautista Unsurprisingly, home-run leader Jose Bautista is drawing trade interest from multiple teams.

Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reports that interest has been expressed by the Braves, Giants, Tigers and White Sox. All are in sore need of offense, and the versatile Bautista can play any outfield position as well as third base. While he doesn't have much experience at first and second, he has also appeared at those positions.

With 26 home runs, Bautista can bring serious punch to any offense willing to live with his .241 batting average backed up by an excellent .358 OBP. He is also tremendously affordable, making just $2.4 million in his third year of arbitration. He has one more year to go before becoming a free agent and will be in line for a massive pay raise, which is undoubtedly part of San Francisco's motivations.

SI.com's Jon Heyman says the Jays could be seeking middle infielders, with Emmanuel Burriss and Ehire Adrianza from the Giants drawing interest. It's unclear why Toronto would want middle infielders given they are pretty set with Aaron Hill and Yunel Escobar up the middle, but they don't have a ready-made long-term third baseman that one of these middle infielders could fill. Escobar has also been bandied about as someone who may eventually need to move to third.

Continuing the middle infield theme, the Braves could dangle All-Star utility infielder Omar Infante, who could stand to grab more playing time. They don't have a top prospect down the farm, although third baseman Mycal Jones is intriguing.

The Tigers have a sore spot in middle infield, so they wouldn't seem to be a fit there. In fact, Bautista would be leveraged to help fill the hole that was created by Brandon Inge's injury.

The White Sox have top prospect Gordon Beckham, but he's not moving unless for a major piece like Prince Fielder. Brent Morel or Dayan Viciedo -- both third basemen -- could be had, however.

It's certain that the Jays will also be on the hunt for an outfielder to replace Bautista as well as the biggest commodity in ball: pitching.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com