Winter Meetings Day 1
LAS 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 bluejays.com…
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.