Winter Meetings Day 1

las-vegas.jpgLAS VEGAS — I’m currently sitting in the work room here at the Bellagio in Vegas, where Day 1 of baseball’s annual winter meetings are underway. As Blue Jays rumors and reports surface, I’ll do my best to keep the ol’ blog updated.

I actually landed here on Saturday and took part in the Las Vegas half marathon on Sunday morning (ran the 13.1 miles in 1:41.41 for those who might be interested). This being my first visit to Sin City, that was a great way to experience the Strip for the first time.

But, it’s back to work. Toronto will probably be quiet for the most part this week, maybe looking into some potential trades, if anything. The Jays will probably have a meeting with A.J. Burnett’s rep, who has a growing list of suitors for his client. The latest is that the Cardinals, who pursued Burnett prior to the ’06 season, are the latest team to show interest.

I spoke with Darek Braunecker last night, when Burnett officially rejected Toronto’s arbitration offer — the expected outcome — and the agent said he believes the Jays are still in the running, considering the club hasn’t told him otherwise. No matter where Burnett ends up, Toronto will likely be approached before it’s all said and done.

“They don’t have to sell anything to him. He knows what he’s got in Toronto,” Braunecker said. “They were providing us the luxury and respect to go through the process and kind of circle back with them at the appropriate time. Unless their position has changed, or changes going forward, then by all means we anticipate visiting with them and concluding the process with them involved.”

More as the day unfolds…


2:40 pm ET — Greg Maddux is currently holding a press conference, announcing his retirement. I remember watching Maddux when I was growing up in Chicago. He was definitely an amazing pitcher, cut from a different cloth style wise. Winning 350+ games in this era is quite a feat. He can start working on his Hall of Fame induction speech.

3:08 pm ET — There’s a brief item in the Newark Star-Ledger, noting that the Blue Jays and Mets have discussed the availability of Toronto closer B.J. Ryan. The Jays reportedly want outfielder Fernando Martinez, but no way New York deals him for Ryan, especially with other closer options on the open market. Ryan is owed $10 million in each of the next two seasons.

5:47 pm ET — A Major League source declined to comment on a report in the Newark Star-Ledger claiming that the Blue Jays and Mets had discussed Ryan’s availability, but hinted that the rumor was unfounded. There have been conflicting online reports about whether or not the two clubs actually met.

8:53 pm ET — A couple things: The Jays did not talk to the Mets about B.J. Ryan and Toronto doesn’t plan on shopping him, says GM J.P. Ricciardi. Also today, Ricciardi sat down with Tom O’Connell, the agent for free-agent pitcher Carl Pavano. O’Connell said the meeting went well and said the Jays have “significant interest.” The agent plans on meeting with roughly 10 teams this week and doesn’t necessarily anticipate Pavano signing before the Meetings here in Vegas end. Ricciardi, meanwhile, said the Jays may have to free up some payroll through trades in order to accomplish some of their goals. Some of Toronto’s relievers could be packaged in a deal and Ricciardi didn’t deny that the club listen to offers for Alex Rios, though he did say they weren’t actively shopping him. Acquiring pitching help is the priority. If the Jays don’t land any arms, Ricciardi foresees a rotation that might include Roy Halladay, Jesse Litsch, David Purcey, Casey Janssen and maybe Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Brett Cecil or Ricky Romero. More later on…

11:21 pm ET — Heading out to dinner, but before I go… A report on Yahoo! Sports is saying that the Jays might yet be a player for free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal. Haven’t been able to get this confirmed or denied, but Toronto would have to shift payroll to make it happen, and I don’t see how — given Ricciardi’s comments today — they could top the Oakland offer that Furcal rejected. But, I guess you never know… Eatin’ time.



    On yahoo rumors, it says that the mets and the bluejays have had discussions about trading B.J Ryan. But it also says that the jays want their outfield prospect Fernando Martinez. Don’t we have enough talent in the outfield???


    They can always use an outfielder for another trade….be it Rios, Wells, Lind or Snider. If they can manage to unload Ryan and one of Wells or Rios the team suddenly has some money to spend.

  3. gsjays

    I want us to trade Ryan, but I think now is not the time. Ryan should be fully recovered from TJ surgury by spring and be back to 2006 level. With all the closing talent available as free agents, I expect we’d be selling at the low if we trade him now. Trade him in May/June at which time he’ll be healthier and command a better prospect than Fernando Martinez-who at best is a B level prospect.


    PAVANO!!!!!?????? Are you friggin cidding me!!!??? J.P is a retard! I can see him maybe trying for Byrd or Garland etc. But Pavano?????????


    Wouldn’t surprise me if they do end up with Pavano. J.P. has a history of low-risk, potentially high reward moves.


    JP also has a history of boring moves that cost the team and produce little results. Pavano? Good grief!

    Don’t you think that JP wants to sign guys like Bradley, Giambi, Ibanez, Sheets, and AJ? His hands are tied and can only acquire players through trades, or pick up guys on the cheap like Pavano. He’s not going to garner a 4/40 type deal like he did 4 years ago, so getting him is clearly low-risk, high reward. Just completely baseless JP bashing. Whats new!

    PAVANO!!!!!?????? Are you friggin cidding me!!!??? J.P is a retard! I can see him maybe trying for Byrd or Garland etc. But Pavano?????????

    You want him to sign Garland who wants something like 3/30, but not Pavano who can probably be had for 1 mil plus incentives? Wow. Garland sucks, look it up.

  7. gsjays

    Of the multiple reclamation project type free agent players JP has signed can anyone remember one single guy who worked out? I can’t.

    Signing a Pavano, Garland, Sheets, Ibanez, Bradley or Byrd is not going to change where we will finish next year-4th or 5th place.

    Come on JP, smell the roses and trade all our high priced contracts for prospects and let’s rebuild for 2010.

  8. gsjays

    You’re right about Furcal being expensive. Check out this story from the LA Times.

    “Furcal has reportedly rejected the Oakland Athletics’ take-it-or-leave-it offer, which said was for four years and between $35 million and $40 million. ”

    In my opinion, there is NO WAY, Beeston would give JP the ok to sign this guy. If JP tops the offer made by Oakland, which has already been rejected or supposedly rejected, we’re hung for 4 years.

  9. welikeroywelikeroy

    There are so many reports that come out linking the Jays to a top 10 free agent?? It is very misleading and plays with mind, because I don’t think are even the range of the top 20, without making things seriously tight for us.

    Without even looking into it, reporters think we have been big players in the free agent market before, so why wouldn’t we be again?

  10. mikedg

    all i hear on here is negative!!all the jays need next year is some luck to stay healthy and productive.their lineup is as good as anyones,except maybe the yankees or boston.they just need a key piece here and there and they could be right in the mix!!don’t shoot them down before the season starts!!


    Right now, I would think they are good for 82-86 wins. Their pitching can only regress, and their hitting can only improve from last year. 2010 is the year in which they can do damage. With everyone healthy in 2010, they could potentially be great. Blowing the team up as some have suggested is stupid. Trade BJ or Overbay, let Lind and Snider improve, and be set up for 2010-2011.


    I agree with you Plus… There is no sense blowing up this team when they aren’t a crappy team. This team as you suggested is set up very for 2010 with the core players entering their primes. If we have bounce back years from some of our position playes and the pitchers continue to domintate as they have proved they can, with a few bounces and some good health this team will compete next year. With the improved parity in the AL East no one is going to run away with the division next year, making it possible the Jays can hang right in there.

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