Thursday, 22 December 2011

Just Missed it

Thanks to MLBTR for re-mongering the rumor about literally anybody having any clue about the Yu Darvish bid that the Jays made.  I linked to Richard Griffin's misleading post about the Jays' bid yesterday, so now I may as well link to a post claiming that they weren't even close, nor was anybody, to the Rangers bid of $51.7MM.  A number of sources are claiming that the Rangers won by a landslide, which is funny in my opinion, based on what happened with Dice-K a few years back.  Jeff Blair was the first guy to step up and call bullshit publicly about Griff's article, but, like I said yesterday, he doesn't explicitly say that the Jays bid $50MM+ in his article, and frankly, the title of his article looks like someone else read it and made their own title falsely quoting him or something.

Anyway, within that MLBTR link above, Buster Olney and Jon Heyman both say that the Jays were definitely in on Darvish, but didn't come anywhere close to matching the Rangers bid.  I'd have to do some research, and I probably won't since I don't really care all that much, but I'm pretty sure both originally reported once the posting was finished that the Jays made a "whopper" of an offer, soooo... I dunno, this seems like National "lose-your-credibility-as-a-reputable-source-for-baseball-rumors-and-maybe-stick-to-just-writing-about-things-you-see-instead-of-trying-to-be-an-insider" week for guys like Kevin Gray at least, maybe he's got some company.  Either way, I doubt we'll ever know exactly what the Jays bid on Darvish, so we may as well quit speculating.

Elsewhere, Kenny Williams is at it again... instead of trading away John Danks and actually rebuilding his team the way he claimed to be doing as recently as a week ago, he instead extending John Danks, giving him a 5 year, $65MM contract, buying out his final year of arbitration and his first 4 free agent years.  Who knows, he just traded away Sergio Santos for the Jays 18th best prospect 3 months after extending him, so he could do the same with Danks if he really wanted to, I suppose.  This still strikes me as odd though.  This is going to be the most expensive rebuild ever, with Adam Dunn and Alex Rios being pretty much untradeable without eating a bunch of salary.

The Danks deal comes at a pretty fair valuation, so that's obviously not what I'm making fun of.  I just don't understand, with today's market for pitching, why Williams wouldn't trade Danks for prospects.  The haul that Mat Latos brought in (Latos is younger and has less service time) makes me believe that Williams still could have gotten a nice haul, especially if he allowed for negotiations for an extension, the way Bill Smith did with the Mets and Johan Santana. Smith got fucking worked over on that trade, mind you, but I think that was more of an anomaly in the sense that none of those prospects turned in to anything useful.  Basically, I don't see the point in committing $65MM to one player if he's only going to help you win 70 games.

There are still useful pieces on the roster, such as Carlos Quentin, Gavin Floyd, Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez, but if he's not willing to part with Danks then who knows what's going to happen?  A closer look:

  • Konerko is essentially the Chicago Todd Helton, so he probably won't be traded.  Even if he is, there probably won't be much of a haul; he's making $12MM this season, and $6.5 next, as well as deferred payments from 2014-2020.  He's still productive, and has aged magnificently, but will be 36 on opening day, so he could just turn to dust any minute now.  Chicago would probably have to assume some money on any trade to get anything useful in return.
  •  Quentin isn't incredibly valuable, as a slightly-above-league-average player.  His value is entirely found in his bat, which, I suppose is fine for a LF.  He was worth 2.6fWAR this season after back-to-back dumpsterfires in '09 and '10, mostly due to missing time and defensive ineptitude.  Bill James projects a .351 wOBA, so as a DH he could be fairly useful, but he's arbitration eligible for the 3rd time this year before becoming a free agent next year, and he'll probably make over $6MM.
  • Ramirez is locked up through 2015 (option for '16), so the Sox could totally just hang on to him.  He's pretty close to league average offensively (which is very good for a SS), and fields his position well.  He's their best trade chip by far, but is also a guy that will probably not get moved, since by the time this rebuild should be finished, he'll still be very useful.  In this market, I'd probably intend on hanging on to him, but would obviously listen.
  • Floyd is pretty comparable to Danks, though several years older.  He'll make $7MM this year, and will have a $9.5MM club option for '13.  He put up a fip of 3.81 this past season, and was fairly unlucky with a 67.7% LOB, which is one of those luck dragon things like babip.  I fully expect him to be traded, now that Danks has been extended, but he's sort of at a nadir in value after having his ERA balloon by almost half a run.
Does Williams really think he can hold on to all of those guys and rebuild just by moving Rios/Dunn/Peavy?  I fucking hope so.  This rebuild might take 20 years.

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