Know when to fold 'em…

LAS VEGAS — Yup, the Winter Meetings have come to a close, with the boys in the Big Apple making the most noise this year. No surprises there, I guess. As for your Toronto Blue Jays, it was a quiet week — aside for some sitdowns.

Today, Toronto agreed to a Minor League contract with free-agent pitcher Matt Clement, and the deal could be announced as soon as Friday. Clement is coming off 2006 shoulder surgery, so we’ll see what kind of shape he’s in health wise. Toronto has also had talks with free-agent Carl Pavano this week.

The biggest news was the re-emergence of the Jays as players for shortstop Rafael Furcal — a few weeks after GM J.P. Ricciardi said the club’s interest had diminished. Now, Toronto is hoping to land the shortstop to boost their offense, which has lacked a true leadoff hitter for a while now.

The Jays aren’t saying they’re out on A.J. Burnett, but it seems highly improbable that he’d wind up back north of the border. The Yankees are apparently offering him five guaranteed years, which is something the Jays aren’t willing to do. Between the Braves and the Bronx, I would wager that Burnett winds up in pinstripes.

As for Rule 5 rumblings, the Jays lost infielders Anthony Hatch and Ryan Klosterman in the Triple-A phase and picked up outfielder Cody Haerther and pitcher David Shinskie in the same round. No activity in the Major League portion, so no Jason Smiths or Randy Wells types this season.

In the search for a backup catcher, the Jays have met with free-agent catcher Michael Barrett. Toronto is probably hoping to sign him to a Minor League contract as well. That would provide some depth behind Rod Barajas, and would allow the Jays to keep J.P. Arencibia playing every day in the Minors.

With that, I’m going to get out of here. I have some time to kill before I have to catch a Red Eye back to the GTA and I feel like I still have never been to Vegas. I’ve been stuck in the Bellagio pretty much this whole week. Catch you all from Toronto…



  1. gsjays

    LAS VEGAS ( From SI )– The on-again, off-again trade of Mike Cameron for Melky Cabrera appears back on again. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel there’s “a strong possibility it could still happen.” And before he left here, Yankees GM Brian Cashman also spoke fairly positively to some people about the chances for a trade with Milwaukee.

    ***Well, there goes our chance of trading Wells without taking a serious haircut ourselves. Well done JP, now we’re probably hung with paying Wells that $117 million over the next 6 years or eating a huge chunk of it when traded. Talk about deja-vous-anyone remember the Delgado contract that hamstrung us for so many years. Well guess what????

  2. Byrne

    Thanks for the update JoBa. Regrettably we can observe the status quo: a slate of boring potential moves. What the heck is Furcal going to do for our anemic offense? He certainly won’t help the middle or back end of the rotation!!! Ah well, if 2009 goes down the way it seems it will maybe I’ll get the firesale I want…



    Jorden hope you enjoyed something of Vegas. At minimum the Bellagio is a great hotel. I am very frustrated with last year, the offseason, JP’s media and player relations, JP in general, the freakin yankees and the Burnett situation.

    Maybe now that we have a team here in Victoria, I’ll go watch live instead or cheer for the Mariners, at least they made a trade to shake things up.


    Tanandmur.It would be a shame to see you quit on the Jays,One more year and with luck JP will be gone.
    The Yankees have done this every year and have not won the world series for a few years,Big money does not always win,look at TB.


    If Burnett goes to the Yankees I hope he breaks down,If he goes to Atlanta I hope he has a great year.
    Furcal will not help this team,They need a big bat,he does not carry a big stick,also he is an injury risk.
    It looks like another year of hasbeens,Why does JP have to make a poor deal just to make a deal,When JP leaves the Jays he will never be a GM again,you can bet on it.


    NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees have reeled in another top pitcher, reaching agreement with A.J. Burnett on a five-year contract.
    Burnett won a career-high 18 games with Toronto this season and then became a free agent.
    Earlier this week, the Yankees reached a deal with ace CC Sabathia for seven years and $161 million.
    Burnett’s agreement was confirmed Friday by the office of his agent, Darek Braunecker. It was first reported by
    Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  7. gsjays

    For once, JP states something I liked to hear and hope he means it for the young starters we’re going to throw to the wolfs, Lind, Snider, Arrencibia and others. LETS PLAY THE KIDS.

    “”We’ve got the big picture in mind,” said Ricciardi, referring to relying on younger arms. “We know those kids are going to fail at some point. They’re not all just going to hit the ground running and take off. Any time you play young players, you’re going to go through that. We’re willing to let those guys go through the development curve.”


    yes my threat to leave the blue jays is likely idle, but I did do it with the Leafs. i was born and raised the leafs and haven’t watched a game in three years. I honestly don’t miss it at all. they suck too. i do like mcgowan, downs, hill, rios, rolen and mcdonald and cito. do we have any idea of who we would like to replace riccardi?

  9. welikeroywelikeroy

    The Yankees are just reeling the pitchers in aren’t they? Last year we had the best rotation in the A.L. East I’d argue. Halladay, Burnett and Marcum were solid. Too bad the Yankees now have Sabathia, Wang and Burnett.

    I don’t mind Burnett leaving, I just didn’t want him to go to the Yankees. If Burnett is healthy, there is no way the Yankees will have an ‘off year’ in their new stadium. We thought the A.L. East was tough before! With Tampa now, this doesn’t look good. The ’09 Jays will have to face a lot of adversity. Hope they are up to it with Cito.

    Although, with the big contracts now, it would be very entertaining to see the Yankees fail. The A.L. East, being as tough as it is, there are no guarentees for any team I believe.

  10. inception

    Patience. If the Jays fall flat on their faces as most of us expect, and if the Yankees, Sox, and Tampa all appear to be contenders at the trade deadline, the climate may be right to allow Halladay to be moved to a contender, preferably in the national league. There is really no hope for this team, until it moves its most valuable asset for a bevy of legitimate young studs. Once Halladay is gone, the house cleaning can begin in earnest. The most important question facing this club is who is going to be running it after the 2009 season? No potential GM would come to toronto pretending that the team is a bat or two away from contention. I would like to hear from you guys as to who you think the right man is for the job, given that JP is likely gone during or after the 2009 season.

  11. lndigo

    The thing is if we trade Doc, Riccardi would handle the trade and heaven knows what he would get in return . I would rather keep Doc then let Riccardi handle his trade .

  12. gsjays

    I agree with Indigo, the last guy I want to do the trades is JP Riccardi. Actually, I don’t think any major moves will be made at this point until Beeston finds a new President, although I wish he’d take the job himself.

    About the only thing we can hope for is the new President cans JP, brings in a new GM and starts the rebuild process at that time. I cannot imagine any new President would want to keep JP after reviewing his record here. Lets hope it all starts soon.

  13. inception

    But is there a “star” GM out there that any new president, no matter who he (or she) is, should be looking at for turning this ship around? I can’t think of one that would be attracted to Toronto, given the fiscal limitations of working with a Canadain dollar in the most competitive divison in all of baseball.

  14. gsjays

    ( From
    According to several baseball officials, the Yankees remain in the Mark Teixeira hunt. But the same connected voices insist if the Yankees don’t land the switch-hitting first baseman, they will turn their money toward controversial slugger Manny Ramirez. “If they can’t get Teixeira, they are right there on Manny,” an official with knowledge of the Yankees’ plan said yesterday.

    New York Post


    JP will probably be the GM for 09 no matter who the new president is,Halladay will not be traded this year or next,why would the Jays trade the best pitcher in the game today just for some prospects that you don’t know if they will make it or not.
    If money is the problem bring in Manny and another big bat like Tex and they will fill the house.All you have to do is give the fans hope and they will come to the games,even with the poor economy people will spend money on good entertainment,so bring in the two players i mentioned above and let’s rock.
    The Jays keep saying they are interested in Furcal so why haven’t they made an offer yet.

  16. inception

    The reason that you trade your best pitcher is so that you do not end up with two draft choices (like Burnett) when he walks away. Who cares how well Halladay pitches if we are in 4th position? In fact, if you do nothing, and recieve the picks, you could argue that they may not make it to the big leagues. However, if you obtain at least one (or two) young prospects that have made it to the major leagues (or are on the verge of making the jump), you can be assured of getting some value back. If you let him go for draft picks, it becomes a crap shoot. The real lunacy here is pretending that this team is a contender. Does signing Furcal, or ten more guys like him, make this team a contender? Since when was baseball about having the best pitcher in the game? It is about having the best team in the league? Moreover, Halladay is not the best pitcher in the league, and his value is likely only to diminish over the next two years as the arm gets older, and his numbers start to diminish on a 4th place team. Why can CC get traded — arguably a superior pitcher to Halladay — but we can’t trade Halladay? It is this type of backward thinking that has got us into this mess in the first place. Trade Vernon, no. We can’t do that. Let’s give him a 117 million dollar contract to keep the fans happy. That will solve all our problems. Happy fans are paying fans…at least for the home opener. Then the attendance goes back down to 20K on game 2 of the season, since everyone knows this team is a pretender, not a contender. Sorry for the ramble…I just wish that people would see that there is a way out of this problem, but some hard decisions must be made to do it.


    San Diego isn’t getting what they want right now for Jake Peavy so I don’t understand how people can think it’s so easy to just deal Halladay away for some maybe prospects.

    In my opinion the only way Halladay should be dealt would be if they can get an established young star in return. Guys like David Wright, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton or Scott Sheilds are the types i’d want back. Otherwise I want him to stay. You have to remember too that his contract is a bargain right now compared to many major leaguers, that on its own has value.

    I Just read Jordan’s mailbag and it said that they aren’t willing to go 4 years, at the salary he wants for him so I suppose they figure why bother…

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