Jays part ways with Towers

Towers_2 TORONTO – After publicly saying they were considering bringing Josh Towers back, the Blue Jays opted instead to cut ties with the right-hander on Wednesday night.

Toronto non-tendered the 30-year-old Towers (5-10, 5.38 ERA last season), who is now eligible to become a free agent. Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi was not available for comment.

Towers was chilling in his hot tub in Las Vegas when I got him on the phone to talk about his newfound freedom. He said he had "mixed emotions" when Ricciardi delivered the news, but obviously Towers knows this move could be a good move for him:

"I get a new opportunity, just like I did when I came to Toronto. I get to go start over and prove myself to a whole new organization and a whole new bunch of people that I don’t know. I kind of like that situation. Maybe I can try to go to the National League. You never know where I’m going to end up, but it’s just a new opportunity, being a free agent in a not-so-good pitching market."

That "not-so-good pitching market" was one of the reasons Ricciardi talked about bringing Towers back. Then again, Toronto would’ve had to shell out at least $2.4 million to retain the righty. The Jays could still bring him back, but only if he’d accept a Minor League contract.

Towers sounded more keen on testing his worth on the market. He said he’d love to pitch in San Diego, which showed interest in him at the Winter Meetings. Towers’ style might work well in Petco Park and he said he’d love the chance to be teammates with Greg Maddux.

"Just about every National League West team I’d like to play for. Obviously, San Diego would be ideal. They’ve got a huge ballpark and that West coast weather at night and I’d get an opportunity to play with Greg Maddux. That would be pretty unbelievable. I think I could learn a lot from him."

Towers said he would’ve liked to come back to Toronto to try and redeem himself after a 7-20 showing with a 6.50 ERA over the past two seasons. But, he’s a realist and being the type of person he is — one never known to bite his tongue about himself or the team — Towers worked in a shot at himself.

"I haven’t really done much the last two years. So, I understand why. I would’ve parted ways with me, too.

"I believe it’s a good thing. But in the end, I think I really would’ve preferred to stay. I’m not too happy about the way I left Toronto. I really didn’t feel like I did them justice and I kind of wanted another crack at it. That’s not how it’s going to be."

Towers has been working out this offseason with Reed Johnson, who did receive a contract offer along with Toronto’s other unsigned players. Exchange of arb figures comes in January and the arb hearings are later in February.

CATCHER WATCH: Ricciardi indicated that the Jays wanted to see what catchers were non-tendered on Wednesday and if they might figure into Toronto’s quest to find a backup backstop.

Well, the Marlins parted ways with Miguel Olivo and the Mets non-tendered Johnny Estrada. Olivo, 29, made $2 million last year and Estrada, 31, made $3.4 million — both as starting catchers for their respective clubs (Estrada with the Brewers).

With the Jays, Toronto needs someone who can backup Gregg Zaun (switch hitter), who is better as a left-handed hitter. So, ideally, the Jays could use a right-handed hitting catcher with a decent arm to help snuff out the running game.

Olivo (.237 AVG, 16 HR, 60 RBIs in ’07) threw runners out at a 33-percent clip last year and hit .295 vs. lefties, but he had 12 errors and 16 passed balls — yikes. Estrada (.278-10-54 as a switch hitter) hit .313 vs. lefties and had six errors and five PB, but had a 13-percent caught-stealing average — not good.

Of the two, Olivo would probably fit into the picture. Sal Fasano is still an option, too. Ricciardi said there could be news on the topic by the end of the week.

Now, about that Mitchell report…tomorrow should be fun. Goodnight all.

7 Comments

So the 5th starter battle looks to be between Jansen, Litsch and Chacin. I’m hoping they try out a guy like Clement or Benson to compete for that spot with the money they just saved on not offering Towers. My choice would be Benson provided he and Clement are of the same health.

Not sure what happens in spring when/if Jansen and Litsch have solid springs as starters. My opinion is Litsch is needed in AAA to fill in when an injury happens. These days (especially with any rotation with Burnett) almost requires 6 starters. Lets say Litsch breaks with the team and Jansen goes back to the pen… Who then fills the 1st starter call up??? You can’t bounce Jansen back and forth or you will hurt him and I don’t see another major league ready starter in their system. I say get rid or Chacin he carries no value as far as i’m concerned.

Foxsports is reports the Jays are close to signing David Eckstein!

I think that’s an indication that Johnson isn’t going o be playing a lot since Eckstein can leadoff.

Losing Towers isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as his numbers have been pretty terrible over the past couple seasons.

As a Phillies fan, I know a lot of other fans who would love the Phillies to give Towers a shot. Personally I hope they stay away from him. He’s numbers are worse then Adam Eaton.

http://www.fightingphils.mlblogs.com

Cubs didn’t offer a contract to Prior… I would put him in the group with Benson and Clement of potential reclemation projects.

I like the Eckstein deal (if there is one) Jonny Mac is the best utility guy in baseball but saying that he isn’t a starter… Why did we get Scutaro if Mac is going to be the super utility??? I don’t see a need of having Mac and Scutaro both on the bench when one would suffice.

He’s a good kid, that Towers. Hopefully a change of scenery helps him out.
As for the Rios-for-Lincecum deal, I guess now we’ll have the opportunity to see how well that elbow ligament holds up, if in fact it is an issue.

Too bad about the dead Rios-Lincecum talks. I’m not sure what the Giants are thinking giving Rowand five years. Sure, he’s one of those good attitude/hustling guys, but he also had his career year at the age of 30 while playing in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the Majors. I think he’ll continue to put up decent numbers, but he’s hardly the kind of bat you want to centre a lineup around.

As for Towers, it’ll be good for him to get a change in scenery. I really hope he gets picked up by some N.L. team, or else his big league career might be a short one.

rmatty
I wouldn’t say Chacin has no value. He is 15-8 as a starter for the Jays, so when he is healthy he is nothing to sneeze at. Don’t forget that he’s a lefty, so he will have a job as long as he cqn climb up on the mound. I think if he doesn’t nail down a starting spot, he would do well as a long reliever, since his first time through the order is always better than his second and third pass. This would leave Downs to be a lefty specialist. There is always a good chance that one or more of our young arms is going to suffer from the sophomore blues, in which case we will need all the starting pitching we can get.

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