Winter Meetings, Day 1
NASHVILLE — So Day 1 here in the massive Opryland Hotel is in the books. I’m still carrying a map of this place in my back pocket, but I’ve learned my way around the joint pretty quickly.
Sure, I have to hoof it over a few bridges, across the indoor river a couple times and work my way through the crowds, but all and all in ain’t too hard to navigate through this madness.
The Jays have been quiet all winter, but it’s sounding more and more like they might retool their roster via trades if given the right opportunity. Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi admitted today that the team would listen to offers for A.J. Burnett (he’s likely to opt out of his deal if he has a decent showing in ’08), is talking to "a couple clubs" about possible trades for a backup catcher and that the Jays aren’t done exploring other options for left field.
Personally, I think Reggie Willits of the Angels would be a good fit. He’s an on-base machine, switch hits, can lead off, play left and is controllable for another four or five years — nevermind the fact that the Halos have a surplus of outfielders. I’d hate to see Reed Johnson go, but he’s a free agent next winter, is an injury risk this season and is going to command a hefty salary.
Ricciardi said the team is still talking to catcher Sal Fasano, too, about possibly re-signing, and the GM said Toronto is hoping prospect Robinzon Diaz might be ready to join the Jays by June or July. Paul Bako has also been rumored as a potential target for the backup job.
As for Matt Clement, he’s getting a fair number of suitors and the Jays appear to only be interested if he agrees to an incentive-laden deal. Jeff Blair wrote in the Globe and Mail that he believes the Jays might be able to get in on the Erik Bedard trade discussions — them and everyone else, though.
In the same story, the Giants are reported to possibly have interest in third baseman Troy Glaus and SanFran has Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain as trade bait. I say, done. You never know what’s going to happen when the Mitchell Report comes out, or if Glaus can be the same offensive force after battling leg/foot injuries the last few years. If anyone shows interest in Glaus, with his salary and his other baggage, I think the Jays would be wise to consider moving him.
Ricciardi also said the Jays were in on Troy Percival, but only if it were a one-year deal. He signed for two at $8 mil with the Rays on Saturday. This begs the question, do the Jays really believe B.J. Ryan will be 100 percent by April? Why add a late-inning reliever to a stacked ‘pen if you think Ryan’s fine? I’m sure we’ll try to follow up on that.
Jays also lost Ty Taubenheim to waivers to the Pirates on Monday. Ty’s a great guy and I enjoyed working with him, so I personally was upset to see him go. But he’ll get a better chance in Pittsburgh and he did have a rocky tour with the Jays since coming over with Lyle Overbay in the deal with the BrewCrew back in ’05.
Jays removed Taubenheim from the 40 to clear a spot for Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft. Ricciardi said the club has its eyes on a couple guys. Perhaps it could be a utility type guy to add to the mix for the final bench spot (they did that last year with Jason Smith) or an arm to add to the bullpen mix. We’ll see.
There were some trades that went down on Monday, though Johan Santana and Miguel Cabrera remain with the Twins and Marlins, respectively, for the time being. The D-backs sent Carlos Quentin the White Sox and the Nationals acquired Elijah Dukes from the Rays.
The Santana sweepstakes will carry on into the night and on over into tomorrow and throughout the Meetings — deadline set by the Yanks or not. I don’t buy the deadline thing. This is coming from the same club that said if A-Rod opted out they wouldn’t negotiate a contract with him. Hmmmm.
Anyway, I am about to wind my way through the maze that is this hotel and make my way to the light at the end of the tunnel — the Irish Pub. Nothing caps off a good day of standing around in a hotel lobby like a cold Killians in my hand.
Stay tuned for all that will be Day 2…