Day 3: Winter Meetings
Hello from Day 3 of the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis. Day 2 saw a big three-team, seven-player trade between the Yankees, Tigers and D-backs, with the centerpiece of the deal being Curtis Granderson donning pinstripes.
All was quiet on the Roy Halladay front for the most part, with the exception of knowing that the Yanks’ move does not necessarily mean they are out of the running to acquire the ace. The Angels, Red Sox and Dodgers are all still involved as well.
Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston arrived yesterday as well and general manager Alex Anthopoulos noted that the skipper will be consulted on some player moves that impact the 2010 season. We’re scheduled to sit down with Gaston today to get his thoughts on all the offseason happenings and about his final season on the bench.
Behind the scenes, Anthopoulos is busy beyond just the ongoing Halladay talks, which are still in the early stages. It would be very surprising if the Jays dealt Doc here in Indianapolis. If Toronto does make a move, it’s more likely to be one that addressed one of the many other needs for the club.
Anthopoulos has noted that he has told rival GMs that every player on the Jays is available, just to initiate some creative conversations and to gauge what type of offers are out there — not to necessarily move the players. The Jays rookie GM is also working on three- and perhaps four-team scenarios to help the process.
“We have so many needs and we do want to add a lot of quality players,” Anthopoulos said on Tuesday. “I’m actively working on as many things as I can, to be honest with you. Most deals, in my mind … you may get five pieces back and four of the five really fit for you, and the fifth one might be a better fit for somebody else.
“If you can maximize your return moving that fifth piece to get something else, those are the type of things you try to do. The other scenarios are obviously if you like a player on a certain team and your roster doesn’t have a fit with that team. Well, maybe with your trade talks with other teams you can get something.”
In Halladay, Anthopoulos has a player who could help speed the process of stengthening the core of Toronto’s roster. The Jays want Major League-ready talent and young, controllable players to build around in order to improve the team’s long-term chances of contending. Free agency does not factor into that part of Anthopoulos’ plan.
“Free agency is something that’s going to fill the big league team for 2010,” Anthopoulos said. “We have some immediate needs — the first being behind the plate more than anything. It’s definitely there. Right now, the market just isn’t there for us — the values don’t line up with us and agents. But, there’s a lot of players out there that we like. I’ve certainly contacted a lot of the agents to try to get a sense of what their asking prices might be. Right now, I don’t see a fit.
“I’ve also contacted some agents for players that I felt we might go after should we trade a player and open up a spot. I’ve wanted to just touch base and know that, should we trade Player X, if we wanted to get a replacement, what might that expense be? So, when I’m looking at what the net return on the trade is and what the cost might be in signing a player, I can evaluate it before making that trade.”
On the catching front, the Blue Jays continue to be linked to Ryan Doumit of the Pirates. Toronto has inquired about the catcher with Pittsburgh and the teams are rumored to be discussing a potential deal — one that could include a third team. Anthopoulos reiterated on Tuesday that nothing was imminent or close in any of his trade talks.
Beyond finding a new starting catcher, the Blue Jays are also in the market for a corner outfielder and perhaps some help in the rotation and bullpen. As Toronto looks to address those needs, the club is interested to see which arbitration-eligible players might join the free-agent pool if they are not tendered contracts before Saturday’s deadline.
“Our conversations are moving along at the right pace,” Anthopoulos said. “We know that there are some dates that are going to fast approach and impact things — like the tender deadline — and that may impact things a little bit with respect to players becoming available and players we might go after. That may change things for us a little bit.”
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