Friday, 25 November 2011

Way over Yonder, there's rumors a'transpirin'

I couldn't find a photoshopped version of Yonder Alonso in a Jays uniform, especially the new ones, so I suppose I had to go with this.  Anyway, it appears that the Reds are shopping Alonso for a #2 pitcher or a closer.  We've heard, through MLBTR, that the Reds were offered Andrew Bailey in exchange for Alonso, and that it wasn't enough.

Jared from Jays Journal examined whether there is a fit or not for the Jays, if they decide that they want to pursue Alonso, and really, it doesn't look likely, but I'd still like to expand upon what he wrote.

First, you'll remember that I mentioned Alonso in my "Tradeables" series, but I think I may have underestimated, or at least misrepresented, what the Reds would be looking for in exchange for Alonso, when I said that it would cost something like Thames and one of the top pitching prospects.  This was assuming a few things that I am now finding out to be less accurate now that these rumors have come to the surface:

  • The Reds would want, among other things, an MLB-ready outfielder.
  • They would also want prospects (most likely starting pitchers), instead of MLB-ready arms.
In my NL Tradeables piece, my assumption was that between the 7 guys who started 13+ games for them last year, plus Aroldis Chapman, the Reds could find 5 guys to piece together a pretty good rotation, and considering the ages of all but Bronson Arroyo, who should be an expensive reliever from hereon in, it's a relatively controllable group.

As it turns out, they're looking for a #2 starter, which, on this team, is Brandon Morrow, or a closer, which, on this team, is ???????????  If Andrew Bailey wasn't enough, I think we're safe to assume that the Jays don't have a closer that they can offer.  But would the Jays move Morrow?  I have a hard time thinking that they'd do it, with all the potential Morrow has to be a top-tier pitcher.  His numbers are improving, despite his ERA, and his fip of 3.64 this past season is up there with guys like Gio Gonzalez and Jon Lester.  Seriously, if he could just induce the odd groundball...

If this were happening in next year's offseason, there's a much higher chance that the Jays could be players for Alonso's services.  Guys like Hutchinson, Molina, and Mcguire would be another year closer to the majors, and we'd have a much clearer perception of what to expect from guys like Edwin and Adam Lind, the guys who are kinda-sorta blocking a Yonder Alonso trade from happening.  I don't mean that as a way of saying that a trade won't happen exclusively because Lind/EE are there, because if AA thinks Alonso is an upgrade, he'd have no problem pulling the trigger, but if either gets moved, it will be during the season when their trade values become more well-known.

If the Jays can land a pitcher in free agency or via trade, I think the chances of an Alonso trade would certainly go up; right now, Morrow is a clear-cut #2 in a rotation that still has some question marks.  If a Buerhle, Jackson, Gio, etc. type is acquired, Morrow becomes a lot more expendable, assuming the Jays get someone like Travis Wood or Homer Bailey with Alonso.  Even if the acquisition of a pitcher does happen, however, I really feel like the way Jocketty and AA value Alonso and Morrow respectively just wouldn't really match up.

I think a pretty good precedent here would be the Shaun Marcum-Brett Lawrie trade from last offseason.  At the time, Lawrie was a 2B, which is a much more premium position than Alonso's 1B/LF, and I think there was a little more hype surrounding Lawrie.  As for Marcum, even with the past history of arm problems, his value was a bit higher than Morrow's is right now, after coming off an excellent 2010 season.  

Ultimately, I think Morrow and a non-top-10 prospect could get the job done, but what it really boils down to is the Jays having too much faith in Morrow, and not enough faith in the current MLB rotation to make this happen.  If Morrow were to go, I think AA would require another pitcher in return, whether or not it would be at the cost of another player.  I obviously don't know how CIN values their players, but I'm sure they'd want a 1b/2b just in case they happen to lose Votto or Phillips a year or two down the road, and an MLB-ready OF to replace Alonso in the field wouldn't hurt either. This could be a ways off, but something like Morrow, Thames and one of Mike Mcdade/Gustavo Pierre/David Cooper for Alonso and one of Bailey/Travis Wood is the only thing that makes much sense to me.

I don't think I'd do it, mind you, but I think that's a pretty decent beginning to any discussions we might see if the Jays happen to be players in the Alonso sweeps.


MLBTR examines the market for Kelly Johnson, now that the price of signing him is significantly lower than it once was.  They name the Jays, Tigers, Cubs, and Rockies as potential suitors, but since he's the best 2B on the market, I can see another surprise team or two getting in there and having a look.  If Johnson signs somewhere that isn't Toronto, the Jays will get 2 draft picks.

Scott Boras doesn't like the new CBA, but is probably overreacting a bit.

Alex Anthopoulos got fed up with Boston asking to talk with John Farrell about their managerial opening, so he apparently asked for Clay Buchholz in return, which shut those discussions down pretty quickly.  Maybe this is a little convenient, seeing as the Red Sox and Cubs are probably going to need a third party to step in and finish the Theo Epstein-compensation talks soon.  Looks like Garza is headed to the Red Sox! [note: not really]

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