Day 1

Ted Lilly hasn’t signed a contract with the Cubs. Despite that fact — not to mention the other notable tidbit being that his agent, Larry O’Brien, hadn’t arrived in Orlando yet — rumors swirled around the lobby inside Disney’s Swan Resort here this afternoon that Lilly had indeed signed up to pitch for Chicago. OK, maybe "swirled" is a bit much. The rumor lasted a solid 15-20 minutes and was quickly rubbed out after a few phone calls.

Reports indicated later, though, that O’Brien did meet with the Jays once he arrived at the hotel late Monday night and the Jays may have made an offer. One thing that’s known is that Lilly’s agent plans on meeting with the Cubs, Giants and Yankees, along with Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi on Tuesday. O’Brien has said that the Cubs have offered a four-year deal to Lilly and the pitcher is seeking something near $37 million. Now that Vicente Padilla has agreed to a three-year deal worth $33 million, Lilly could command upwards of $40 million easily.

Toronto also reportedly met with the reps for free-agent starter Gil Meche on Monday. Ricciardi and some other front office sources denied that they met with the pitcher, but such a meeting doesn’t seem too farfetched. If the Jays seriously want to sign both Lilly and Meche, they might need to get one contract done before these Meetings are done on Thursday. Ricciardi has acknowledged that Jeff Suppan and Mark Redman could be backup plans.

Ricciardi was invisible for much of the day, opting to stay in his suite rather than test his luck in the lobby, where the media horde was waiting and watching for any of their sources to show up. It’ll be more of the same on Day 2, but perhaps a little more clarity will be shed on the Lilly and Meche situations. With both agents now in Orlando, there’s bound to be discussions taking place.

What will be interesting is to see how high Toronto’s payroll is actually going to go. It’s been speculated that the payroll would be between $90-95 million, but if Ricciardi is intent on signing two starters — one of whom could require an annual salary of around $10-11 million — that figure might actually be more around $100 million. We just have to keep waiting. Toronto won’t make the payroll public until the Rogers Communications board of directors approves it. But Jays president and CEO Paul Godfrey did say this:

"I do believe that J.P. should be able to do the things that he wants to do with the number that’s being suggested."

So stay tuned…

7 Comments

I think JP is aware of what he has and knows that (fianancially) he’ll be able to sign both of the starters he’s looking for. I don’t blame him for not commenting about anything else. It’s good to see that he believes he can sign both, which makes me beleive that the payroll is higher than anticipated. I’d love to see both Lilly and Meche on the roster, especially since Lilly put up some career numbers last season, I can only see him doing better with the team JP has put together so far.

If the Jays are really in the hunt for Lilly and Meche, and as a consequence, willing to spend an estimated $18 to $19 mm on the pair over 3 to 4 years, why not go after Zito? Chacin has the talent to be a #4 starter on most teams and we have the arms in our system to fill the #5 spot (Towers, Marcum, Janssen, Tallet, McGowan…). We might even be able to save a few million annually on a Zito contract given that he is looking for around $100 mm over 6 to 7 years. Thoughts?

I really don’t think we will sign both Lilly and Meche, or any two pitchers for that matter. If we get one, then we will leave a roster spot open for one of our young arms. Alot of wich have some MLB experience as a starter. Whoever shows up to camp and impresses will probably win the job, hopefully at least one of them wants it. To me Lilly is expendable, is he really worth $10M? He is a .500 pitcher at best, and can be very streaky. I’d rather have Chacin in our 3rd spot, for some reason he seems to win alot more games. I think if this Jays team had the money to go after Zito or Schmidt we would be. Who knows what the number will be they are obviously keeping it hid for a reason. Like Zaun said these guys play hardball, and probalby don’t want to give any advantage to their competition. If a team knows they only have 5 million to spend, who’s stopping the other guy from offereing 5.5 million?

InsideTheDome.com is reporting the Jays matched the Cubs offer for Lilly, made the highest offer for Meche, and are currently the favorites to land both players? Are you hearing similar rumblings?

There are reports that JP has talked to Ken Williams regarding Wells. I think that if there is a perfect team for the Wells situation, it would be the White Sox. They have the pitching we need and they could also throw in a prospect or two. I think Burhle or Garcia can be had for Wells, plus one of their outfield prospects. It seems to be a perfect fit. Have you heard anything on this situation??

Perfect situation would be with the Marlins. Dontrelle plus ROY Ramirez for Wells and something.

Gives Jays **** and speed and a starter but then Marlins wouldn’t have ****. It would be a good deal though.

Come on,let’s get serious here, Lilly and Meche for 17-20 million per?Give me a break. I know, how about Jason Schmidt and pay him less than 15 million per and make due with Markum. Now we would have a real good if not great pitching staff, all competing with each other as well, not to mension a great hitting lineup and a better than average defence. Does that not sound like a contender?

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