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…