Day 2 and into 3…

I’m sitting in the MLB.com workroom at the Dolphin Hotel, killing some time before meeting up with Larry O’Brien, Ted Lilly’s agent. A few minutes ago, Cubs manager Lou Piniella held court in the larger media workroom next door, discussing his club and, among other things, Lilly and free agent Gil Meche. As you know, Lilly and Meche are Toronto’s top two targets right now.

Piniella was in Seattle when Pete O’Brien, Larry’s brother, was a pitcher with the Mariners. That’s one small connection that could help sway Lilly to the North Side if Pete is talking Lou up to Larry, who is frequently reporting back to the pitcher. Lilly obviously has more familiarity with Toronto and the American League East — that’s one reason why a) the Jays aren’t out of the picture, yet, and b) the Yankees could be a bigger player than we’ve been led to believe at this point.

O’Brien said late Tuesday night that New York hadn’t tabled an offer, but rumors have questioned that. The Yankees were thought to be cooling on Lilly after winning the negotiating rights to lefty Kei Igawa, but New York is a place Lilly has pitched before — not to mention a place he enjoyed. If the Andy Pettitte to New York rumblings turn out to be nothing more than rumors, the Yankees might quickly become stronger competition for Lilly.

As far as Meche goes, he pitched for Piniella in Seattle, too. That could make the Cubs a very high priority team for the right-hander. Basically, Lilly and Meche have plenty of big-market suitors who could leave the Jays going 0-for-2. Backup plans? Jeff Suppan and Mark Redman’s names have been batted around.

Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said on Tuesday night that he was interested in free agent outfielder Matt Stairs. Stairs could provide a much-needed left-handed bat off the bench and would serve as a fourth outfielder. He could also possibly provide another backup at first base.

There’s also rumors that free agent reliever, and former National League Cy Young Award winner, Eric Gagne — a native of Quebec — has listed the Jays as a team he’s interested in. On Tuesday, Scott Boras, who represents Gagne, said, "It doesn’t hurt to have a hockey town involved." Ricciardi said no one from Gagne’s side had contacted the Jays and the Jays hadn’t contacted them. Right now, Toronto plans on having Brandon League serve as the setup man and B.J. Ryan is locked in as the closer. There doesn’t appear to be room in the bullpen or in the budget for Gagne, so don’t get your hopes up.

22 Comments

JP might to overpay for Meche (like Burnett last year) a lot to get him. Since Lilly has said he is not returning, there is a lot of pressure on JP.

I’m not to keen on overpaying for Suppan or Redman.

Wells might have to be used as trade bait for pitching…

Since when has Lilly said he isn’t coming back? I’m pretty sure it says that the Jay’s arnt out of the picture yet. But I have a feeling Lilly wont be back, sounds like the Cubs are the front runners right now.
Hopefully we can get Meche I think he would be a welcome addition to the rotation. The thing with free agency is if there is more need than there is supply everyone gets overpaid, its the way the market works. If you want a guy your going to have to go get him and throw alot of cash at him, the choice is either pay for him and make your team better, or have nobody, the choice to me is obvious. If we could add a guy through free agencey that would be so much better than trading our best player. We can add without subraction, I would feel very confident with alot of guys coming in just because we have Halladay and Burnette to lead the way. All we need after that are guys who will be consistant and give us a chance to win. With our offence to lead the way I dont think we are going to need the best pitching staff around to compete, just guys who can eat up innings and let our offence do their job.

Lilly said about half an hour before my post that Toronto is not an option anymore.

after blowing his brains out on Frank Thomas, another expensive ‘big’ right- handed bat with no defensive assets, Riccardi comes up even larger. the Cubs have paid 40 million for Ted Lilly,an outrageous amount of money for a guy who you never know what he has to bring out from one game to another -so he at least won’t have to eat crow on Lilly’s behalf. A glorious one year deal with a late-30’s something shortstop who has already played with 10 other teams, and a hack 39 year old part-time DH from New Brunswick is all he has to show for so far. if the Cubs and Piniella have their way, Riccardi’s next messiah, Gil Meche, will end up in Wrigley beside Lilly, and JP will end up leaving Florida with a lukeward bowl of stew between his legs – the next big turn around in T.O.’s baseball community will come when Ted Rogers buys Riccardi his overdue one-way ticket to Massachussets

i dont know what the **** filletjazz is talking about. thomas was a great aquisition and would have led the jays in HR and RBI last year. i have a feeling we will get meche. lilly is off and on and not that big of a loss. meche was pretty consistent last year and is a better pitcher (too bad he isnt left handed). riccardi has done a great job as the jays gm. props to j.p.

So Lilly is gone, so sad, he wasn’t going to get us there anyway, if J.P. is serious on playing in Oct. like he says he is, then another ‘A’ pitcher would be required. Since there are none left in free agent market, let’s make a trade, strait up, Wells for…, and spend the money on another good CF. Dont get me wrong, I think Wells is one of the best in the league, but at the same time he likely wont be in a Jays uni in 08. Timing is everything.

So Lilly is gone, so sad, he wasn’t going to get us there anyway, if J.P. is serious on playing in Oct. like he says he is, then another ‘A’ pitcher would be required. Since there are none left in free agent market, let’s make a trade, strait up, Wells for…, and spend the money on another good CF. Dont get me wrong, I think Wells is one of the best in the league, but at the same time he likely wont be in a Jays uni in 08. Timing is everything.

I think the roster should stay as it looks to be for now. Keep Wells for this year and hope he takes an extension sometime throughout 2007. Hopefully acquire Meche for the #3, give #4 to Chacin, and let the rest battle it out. With Meche in, we can have a pretty good rotation. Maybe not the absolute best it could be, but at least worthy of contending. The offense (with Wells in it) should produce quite well and keep the Jays in good shape all year.
If we were to trade Wells, then any transactions that JP just made (or is thinking of) would be useless. You want to build on whats there, not take away one of your best producers both offensively and defensively.

Trade Wells for $12M+ in cash and use the money to sign Zito. I don’t expect anyone with a pitcher worth the Jays’ time (and with more than a year on contract, which would be the key to making any straight trade worthwhile) to trade him for 1 year of Wells, but if you trade him for that much cash then it’s like the other team is getting a 1 year deal on a free agent at his market price.

Why don’t we try to sing Wells for a 3 year extension, If we can trade a couple prospects, I would much rather trade Adam Lind than Wells. Lind’s defence is weak, and would probably be best suited to play first. We wont have a place for him untill Overbay is gone.
If there is a team with surplus of pitching talent, we could probably bring in somone pretty decent for Lind he has proven he can hold is own and is MLB ready.

Riccardi needs to find out if Wells is serious about staying here, if he is sign him, if not trade him the time is now. You do not trade Wells for $12M Dollars, that would probably be the worst desicion this team could make.

Lind won’t get Jays an impact pitcher. His defense is no worse than Cat’s except he is younger and can be better.

If Jays want an impact pitcher, Wells will be the one.

Unless Wells re-signs, I think Jays will deal him this offseason for pitching because they could not cover the holes with Meche or Lilly.

I think the jays should have focused on one premier arm in the first place ie. Barry Zito. Now that Meche is not an option, they need to either trade or sign VW to an extension before camp. If he doesn’t sign, take away the distraction and aquire a high quality pitcher. The offense will be better than average without Wells, the rotation won’t cut it unless they add a “qualilty” arm.

Sure trading Vernon for pitching sounds great, but lets look at the bigger picture. Who would the jays use in center. Reed Johnson, Alex Rios, they are no Vernon Wells, and Alex has only had one good year as well as Reed. Also if the Jays trade Vernon away, there will be more than him involved to get a top pitcher, what then happens to the defense?
The Jays are going to have to pay big bucks for Vernon, but he is worth it, but then again can they afford it, more important can they afford not to?

Keeping Wells is good only if they can re-sign him. If not, they should trade him.

Both Reed Johnson and Rios’ defense is very good, not Vernon Wells-good but still solid.

I think worrying about having two holes in the rotation comes before defence right now.

I don’t think anything is scarier then hearing that Towers will be the #5 starter. Trading Wells for a KO machine like Vasquez from the white sox, would be an asset. If Toronto could afford a 20 mil guy like Wells next year then they would have already have signed him. J.P. needs to get creative.

I for one am glad J.P didn’t overpay for a couple of career .500 pitchers.Neither Lilly or Meche have the potential of say a Burnett.It’s now time to get down to business with Vernon.I think Towers can be as good as Lilly or Meche if he gets his confidence back.After he got the contract last year,he tried to do to much and it blew up in his face.Ryan Houston could also Prove interesting.Remember,a healthy Haladay,Burnett and Chacin to begin the season is better than last year when they had Halladay,Lilly and whoever can fill in this week.If they are going to break the bank short term to get to the show at least make a run at overpaying Andy Pettite for one year.Otherwise, sign a steady journeyman to eat innings untill the young arms step up.

With two aces to lead the pack and Chacin following them in the rotation, I too, think that Towers and even Houston and Marcum could step up. Obviously we would have spent 20 million this year on both Lilly and Meche and JP offered them both 40 for four years. Why not take some of that and try to sign Pettite? Will leave a bit left over and then have more to offer Wells.
Like I said before, trading Wells away will make evrything that was done so far seem useless, as he’s been in the plans the whole way.

Could you imagine if they were to get Pettite? I’d hate to be coming into a series and have to face Halladay, Burnett, Pettite (in any order) and then face that crazy middle of the batting order…Well, Thomas, Glaus, Overbay…..OUCH

why dont the blue jays go after mark mulder or steve tracshel? steve had 15 wins las year with the mets and he is better than lilly and meche. if they resign vernon and have to overpay for steve, then they would have halladay, burnett, tracshel, chacin and marcum. maybe they could get zito to so it could be halladay, zito, burnett, tracshel and chacin/marcum. that would work out. better than halladay, burnett, lilly, chacin and marcum. the blue jays cant really trade vernon because then that would be a big hole in there line up. the blue jays need to get tracshel while they still can and throw money at zito

Now with the money the Jays have left they should sign Vernon to a long term contract like 4-5 years. Petite is back and if possible sign him although the yankees are saying that they are willing to spend $15 million per year. If not petite i think Jeff Suppan is pretty good and if Mark Mulder can go back to his old form sign him. If not then take the chance with Marcum and Towers/Janessen as 4 and 5 starters. If the Jays can’t sign Vernon wells to an extention right now then trade him. This is the best time to get something good in return, but i feel that the Jays should try hard to extend his contract first.

The redsox have really improved their line-up with Lugo, Ortiz, Ramirez (for now), J.D. Drew, Mike Lowell, Crisp and Jason Varitek (don’t know how to spell his last name properly). They also have Papelbon, Schilling and Beckett.

I don’t think that we will be able to pitch our way into the play-offs but we will have to blast our way into the playoffs. For that we will need a health thomas, wells and Glaus. Also Rios and Overbay.

They should definitely work on Wells first, that way they can see how serious he is about staying it T.O. I am sure that JP can give him what he wants now, and if Wells turns down a good offer, then JP will know that its time to make the trade. I would hate to see him go, but we could get quite a bit for him.
If Wells, does take an extension, then I would say to sign one of the middle-class pitchers that are still on the market. I agree, A pretty good “proven” starter will be better to have in the rotation than starting a struggling Towers or taking chances with other pitchers. The bullpen should hold up okay, and we obviously don’t need a closer.

With all that we have now, I don’t want to see anything else happen with the starting lineup…we now have a great defense/offense, if we can find a way to get that pitcher we are looking for without touching the starting lineup, i think we will see the playoffs in 2007.

Wells is a very good player, but is he worth over 20% of a 90-100m payroll? Even if he is worth the 20M a year, the Jays can’t afford him, it would be a bad decision to keep him. By keeping him, it would hurt the Jays in the future in term of financial flexability.

The Jays must remember that history repeats itself. The Free Agent market is starting to lose control again & all these GM thinks they are playing with Monolopy money. So what happens if the economy swings downward and the Jays’ budget goes back down to 50-60M. If this happens, could you imagine the Jays’lineup..or rotation.

I think this is the best time to trade Wells while his value is up. The Dodgers sounds like a great trading partner. They have the pitching and the prospects, they are not in the same standing/league so that Wells won’t come back & haunt them. Besides the Dodgers still need a few more Players before they are qualify as a Championship caliber.

Wells is good & a rare five tools player, but baseball is too much of a team sport. I think they should trade him now and get some good pitching to help the team. The offense is excellent right now even without Wells.

I was hoping that Toronto would be able to lock up one or both of Lilly and Meche. But now, after seeing the type of money it took to get them, I’m glad that the Jays lost out on both. Lets face it, Lilly is a .500 pitcher with injury problems plus he’s never pitched 200 innings in a season. Meche is in pretty much the same boat. Locking up Wells should be at the top of the Jays list now. He’s one of the most complete players in teh league and he’s just hitting his prime. i feel that Toronto does need to address their pitching situation. Barry Zito is out of the pitcher a this point. Riccardi should now focus his attention to a proven commodity like Jeff Suppan and/or trade one of his young arms for a good arm. Dustin McGowan has a ton of potential but his future in Toronto is beginning to dim. He could get alot of attention over the phones as could Shawn Marcum. The Dodgers have a plethora of starting pitchers as do the Cubs, Tigers and Angels. I wouldn’t be suprised to see a trade with one of these teams or any other team for that matter.

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