Welcome to Blue Jays from Away’s live blog covering the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida! With the Blue Jays trying to improve on the mound and at second base, we could either be in for a few days of exciting baseball news or for a snooze cruise.
The Winter Meetings are generally a time where all of baseball comes together and things can really happen although looking at last season, all of the big moves that the Blue Jays made came before the Winter Meetings in kind of a preemptive strike.
As we get closer to Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft, well preview it a bit more but don’t expect to see the Blue Jays make any selections at the major league level with the 40-man roster full. The Jays have been active in the past few years at the minor league level so they may very well pick up some talent there.
On to the Live Blog!
Fixed the clock?
Ok that’s weird. I fixed the clock, so now the latest updates are coming up in the middle. Oh well.
Jays won’t get Trey Ball. He goes to Boston!
Royals go for a position player to replace Myers?
Big surprise. SS Hunter Dozier goes to KC. Harold Reynolds thinks he’s the best. Harold thinks everyone’s the best.
Great analysis by Jonathan Mayo. Cutting through the hyperbole.
Harold Reynolds doesn’t get it. Clearly. That’s why he’s not a GM
Pirates take Austin Meadows. Bastards. Blue Jays on the Clock. McGuire? Shipley?
Here We Go… Jays are up.
Blue Jays select HS RHP Phillip Bickford.
I like the bite on the breaking ball. He’s a youngin who hits 97. Jays go with upside.
Ok Peeps! I’m out. Jays get Bickford. Let’s hope he turns out!
20 minutes to draft!
15 minutes to go. I’ve muted the MLB Network now. Not really interested in the hype machine.
I love how the MLB Network guys have a “best available” screen on their draft board and they have to say that no one’s off the board yet. Duh. It hasn’t started.
Shots from the Blue Jays draft war room! Great to hear that MLB is going to give Canada some love on their broadcast.
MLB Network had a great feature on one-handed pitcher Jim Abbott.
Keith Law is saying the Houston will take RHP Mark Appel!
Here we go!
don’t forget! Blue Jays will be represented at the draft by the Crime Dog — Fred McGriff.
Houston is on the clock!
Appel to the Astros! No surprises yet!
Cubs on the clock
I wonder if Harold Reynolds realizes that July is less than a month away.
Cubs go with the hitter: Kris Bryant, 3B, College hitter from U of San Diego
No surprise. RHP Jonathan Gray goes to Colorado. He can hit 100mph on the radar gun.
I assume the Twins take Kohl Stewart here, as they’ve been heavy on him all spring.
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) June 6, 2013
HS Righty Kohl Stewart goes to Minnesota (exactly as KLaw said).
Ladies and Gentlemen! We have a God sighting. Thanks to Mark Appel. And God.
Darn. My hope for the Jays was Clint Frazier who went to the Cleveland Indians. Boooooo.
Look at Bud smile for the camera.
3B Colin Moran goes to the Marlins. Hasn’t been connected with the Jays by anyone I’ve read or heard.
Also in the news: Jake Marisnick has been called up to the Miami Marlins.
Today, a couple of moves for the Lansing Lugnuts were confirmed. As reported, C Daniel Klein and 1B Jordan Leyland were promoted (Leyland went 0 for 4 with an RBI in his Lansing debut) while C Seth Conner was demoted to Vancouver and SS Jason Leblebijian was placed on the 7-day DL. More info to come!
Finally, a couple of moves were confirmed. Matt Boyd has been added to Lansing’s roster while Justin Jackson has been promoted to A+ Dunedin. To make room for him, RHP Marco Grifantini was released.
Other moves in Dunedin: RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx was placed on the Temporary Inactive List, SS Peter Mooney was placed on the Disabled List (he came out of last night’s game with an injury) and C Chris Schaeffer was activated from the DL.
The first bit of news to come out of the Winter Meetings is that the Blue Jays will be holding a press conference in a little under two hours to announce … well, something.
Initial reaction was that it might be an announcement of Tim Raines as the new first base coach but according to Shi Davidi, isn’t roster or coach related:
Not roster or coach related RT @BlueJays Blue Jays to make announcement at 12:30 today at Winter Meetings in Orlando.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) December 9, 2013
Wow. This one could a biggee, especially for Blue Jays fans.
Roy Halladay is retiring
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 9, 2013
Updated: The Blue Jays mystery announcement is solved, thanks to Jon Heyman. I’ll let him explain himself:
Halladay and Blue Jays will announce a 1-day contract at press conference so he retires as a jay
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 9, 2013
While the Roy Halladay retirement press conference was going on, Jon Paul Morosi has tweeted that Adam Lind is one of the players that the Pittsburgh Pirates have been inquiring about to fill a vacancy at 1st base.
Pirates discussing multiple trade options for first base vacancy, including Adam Lind and Logan Morrison, sources say. @FOXSports1
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 9, 2013
A couple of news pieces here. It looks like the Blue Jays are going to look to add pitching via trade at the Winter Meetings, thanks to this Shi Davidi tweet:
AA repeats #BlueJays focused on SP through trade, feels FA Ps with comp may drag into Jan, indicates new posting system may open Tanaka bid
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) December 9, 2013
Additionally, it also looks like former Blue Jays first baseman David Cooper has signed major league deal with the Cleveland Indians. Cooper is trying to come back from an experimental back surgery after missing the entire 2013 season.
While I was working there were a couple of revelations from the Blue Jays that are interesting to pass along.
First of all, from Shi Davidi, we have reports that the Blue Jays have sold the rights to Thad Weber to NC Dinos of the Korean League. This will drop the Blue Jays back down to 39 players on the roster:
#BlueJays nearing deal to sell Thad Weber’s rights to South Korean club NC Dinos. Once completed, they’ll have 39 players on 40-man roster
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) December 9, 2013
Additionally, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, there was a three-way trade in place between the Blue Jays, Rangers and a third team that would have involved Sergio Santos but fell through because of another player failing his physical.
One last update before I hit the sack for tonight. MLB Trade Rumors has some info that ex-Blue Jay outfielder Rajai Davis is close to a deal. It’s kind of a weird report because it comes Dan Duquette, the Baltimore Orioles’ GM, but it doesn’t say if the Orioles are the ones who are going to be signing Davis.
And with that bit of weirdity, I’ll bid you good night and until tomorrow, Blue Jays fans.
The first bit of news: Following up on what we had last night in that Rajai Davis would sign imminently, the news comes out today that Rajai Davis signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Tigers.
We also get confirmation that former Blue Jay, Eric Thames was released from his contract to head to Korea next season.
Good afternoon! We’re learning from Shi Davidi that the Blue Jays are going to name Tim Lieper their new first base coach, taking over from Dwayne Murphy. Unfortunately, this news will upset some Blue Jays fans who were hoping that imminent(?) Hall of Famer Tim Raines, who is already in the Blue Jays organization as a base running and outfielding coach, would be named to the position.
Alrighty, this will be it for today. Not much happening, Blue Jays-wise. Brett Anderson did end up getting traded to Colorado. The A’s got back a couple of young pitchers in Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen which is actually not a huge return on the oft-injured lefty.
AA was interviewed and said the usual stuff. Other teams have asked about everyone. Everyone wants Sanchez and Stroman for a top flight starter, yada yada. I’m not particularly convinced that there will be much action in the coming days but, hey, if I knew what was going on, I’d have a job.
Hopefully, there will be more news tomorrow and hopefully, this head cold that has sunk in won’t be as annoying tomorrow!
Ok, I wasn’t going to go to sleep without passing along this little bit of juicy information courtesy of Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun: “Colby Rasmus is on the market and has been offered to two teams by the Blue Jays for starting pitching.”
So the Jays are offering Colby around. It’s not surprising. They want to believe that Anthony Gose is the CF of the future and Colby is definitely getting more expensive despite having a terrific 2013. Could Gose provide that kind of offensive production? I don’t really think so but at the major league minimum, he’s going to save the club about .5 million over what Colby will get.
The other fact here is that the Jays keep working out one-year contracts with Rasmus rather than extending him. I can understand this philosophy, especially considering the inconsistent track record that he’s had thus far in his career. I think the Jays have a good idea of what the floor is for Gose: a guy who gives the club outstanding defense and speed on the bases while providing about a .675 OPS. The upside, however, is something more along the lines of a .750 OPS and 40+ steals. I’m not going to go into more detail here as I’ll probably save it for a post.
Thanks to Mr. Elliott for this little tidbit of “news” (although nothing is really new here).
Apparently Jamie Campbell has tweeted that Dustin McGowan will be at camp as a starter. This isn’t really news. I was assuming that the Jays would want to stretch out whoever they could to start and if they couldn’t do it in the rotation, then they shall be banished to the bullpen. Same with Jeremy Jeffress, same with Esmil Rogers (both of whom are also out of options).
Obviously this makes the most sense, especially for McGowan. No one will believe that he’s going to break camp with the team until he actually does, given his history. Remember, it’s much harder to stretch a pitcher out to start in the middle of the season than it is in Spring Training and there has always been a camp within the Blue Jays organization that believes that a regular workload as a starter is better for McGowan than the willy-nilly, high-intensity work that comes out of the bullpen.
So, ummm…. Yeah. yawn. Wake me up when something happens.
Oooh! Things are picking up now! Word has come out that the Mariners have continued their buying spree, picking up Logan Morrison from the Miami Marlins for Carter Capps, a hard-throwing, 23-year-old righty.
The question for us Blue Jays fans is what does this do to Adam Lind‘s trade value? With James Loney and Kendrys Morales on the free agent market and with Lind’s very controllable contract will teams be willing to give up more than a reliever with some gas? Apparently, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh are all looking for upgrades at 1st base.
The Rule 5 Draft is about to get going!
Toronto Blue Jays LHP Brian Moran from the Seattle Mariners in the first round of the Rule 5 Draft.
Who is Brian Moran? Moran is a 6’3″ lefty who had an excellent season in Triple-A Tacoma. He had a great K/BB ratio at 4.25 and struck out 85 in just 62 2/3 innings with just 20 walks.
The Blue Jays lose their first player in the draft – Lefty Evan Crawford from the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to the Chicago White Sox.
The Jays then selected RHP Roberto Espinoza from the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Double-A roster.
The Blue Jays take another player in the Triple-A phase – LHP Richard Bleier from the Texas Rangers’ Double-A club.
Toronto selects RHP Scott Shuman from the Giants in the 3rd round of the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft.
According to Gregor Chisholm, the Blue Jays will trade Rule 5 draft pick to the Angels for international signing cap space.
#BlueJays will trade their Rule 5 pick (Brian Moran) to the Angels for additional international cap space. Number not disclosed.
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) December 12, 2013
SOOOOOO pumped up for the draft! Let’s get it started!
They just showed the Mets draft room – with the #10 pick, the Mets could play spoilers for the Blue Jays as they’re in between the Jays’ #9 and #11 picks!
AHHHHHHHH SO EXCITED!!!!!! Just about to start!!!!
Ok people. Enough filler. People are still going to watch without your little music videos.
Classy move by Bud to remember Don Zimmer. I like to remember him by watching this video:
No surprise with Brady Aiken as the #1 pick. He’s much more handsome without a baseball cap on though.
Tyler Kolek is #2! 102 mph fastball and consistently touching triple digits all through the season. Miami takes someone who won’t necessarily get there all that quickly. Rodon continues to slip!
White Sox take Rodon! Three picks, three pitchers. Rodon doesn’t far too badly and will probably get some nice coin to sign.
Brady, is it crazy? Was the whole experience crazy? Tell us what you thought of getting drafted….
Kyle Schwarber! A “surprise” listed at #17 by Baseball America. Whammy indeed!
The Minnesota Twins are up. They’ve been really stocking up their system lately – last 2 first rounders? Kohl Stewart and Byron Buxton.
Twins get a very solid infielder with Nick Gordon. They’ve already got Miguel Sano (3B) to play on the left side of the infield so the Twins could have a very good infield if Gordon pans out!
Alex Jackson, a catcher/outfielder with power, was taken by Minnesota at #6. That’s a bit lower than he was projected – as high as #2 in some mocks.
Approaching the Blue Jays’ first pick at #9 – The Phillies are up at #7. 2013 they picked HS SS J.P. Crawford and didn’t have a true 1st round pick in 2011 or 2012. Last one before Crawford was Jesse Biddle. Both Biddle and Crawford are having great years. Biddle in AA, Crawford in Class-A.
It’s Aaron Nola. Very good pitchability despite not having “off-the-charts” stuff. Great pitcher. I like these kinds of guys who know what they’re doing on a baseball field rather than the “big tools” guys.
Rockies are up! They had a big pick last year – took RHP Jon Gray #3 overall last year.
Wow. Another pitcher off the board with the selection of LHP Kyle Freeland! The Blue Jays are on the clock!
Well, Jays fans… it’s just about time? Who will it be? Trea Turner? Max Pentecost? Michael Conforto? Touki Toussaint?
East Carolina U righty Jeff Hoffman, just had Tommy John surgery, was drafted by the Jays. Called a “great gamble . . . a clean operation.” Taking Hoffman here will save the Jays more money against the bonus pool cap. Do they gamble with higher rated guys later on because of that?
OF Michael Conforto goes to the Mets!
Just watched some video of Jeff Hoffman. Long and lean and seems to have very quick arm, exploding towards the plate.
Heard some interesting stuff on the radio with Dr. Kevin Wilk this past week. Wilk said that there’s a study that shows that pitchers who throw at max velo most often are at most risk for elbow injuries. Guys who don’t always throw 100% and have a big difference between FB velos could protect the arm more.
Is that what some guys are guilty of?
With #11, the Jays select Max Pentecost! A catcher who’s got good speed. BA reports average defense but they think he can stick behind the plate.
Interesting selection – so far the Jays have picked 2 college players. Last year, the first 4-year college player the Jays selected was Matt Boyd in the 6th round.
Blue Jays are in the hole for their second round pick! Will the Jays select someone that Kyle Matte thinks will be a best fit for the club (check out his Twitter @KyleMatte for his players)?
Top guys left on the Baseball America list: HS pitchers Sean Reid-Foley and Monte Harrison
And the Jays go with BA’s top rated guy left on the board. Ranked #19 by BA, it appears that the MLB panel don’t really know why he slid so far in the draft (to #49). Panel also loves the Jays’ draft so far through their first 2 round (3 picks).
In round 4, the Jays take Alabama HS catcher Matt Morgan. This is a really interesting pick: The Blue Jays have a tendency to go for organizational guys for their catchers, selecting them in the 30-35 round range. Guys like Derrick Chung, Jack Murphy, Jorge Saez, and Chris Schaeffer were all taken in that area. Even top minor league catcher A.J. Jimenez was a 10th rounder and Mike Reeves was taking in the 21st round. Scouts like Morgan’s defense and they think that he can have some thump from the right-hand side of the plate.
Wow. The Blue Jays are really deviating from last year’s plan. In the 5th round, the Jays took Lane Thomas, a high school right fielder from Bearden HS in Tennessee. Scouts seem to like his quick bat and his ability to drive the ball, making consistent hard contact. Other positive reviews go for his makeup, defense and speed.
The Jays’ sixth round pick is a guy that seems to fit the club’s most recent profile: 6-foot-2 lefty Grayson Huffman from Grayson County College. A community college lefty, he throws around 90 mph and has a good changeup that scouts like to go along with a weaker slider. He’ll be a “save some money” type of guy that should sign below slot. The Jays have taken one-year community college guys in this area to get guys who are still young (Huffman just turned 19), with some projectability but who aren’t as well known. This pick reminds me a lot of Daniel Lietz, a young, one-year JUCO lefty that the Jays took last year in the 5th round and signed for about 0,000 under slot.
In round 7, the Jays are going with Zack Zehner, an outfielder from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I’m not sure how to classify him: the school’s site says he’s a junior but he has two years of Junior College playing experience at Santa Barbara College under his belt. MLB has him as a senior but I’m not so sure about that, especially if he’s played for three years (he red-shirted his first year at Santa Barbara). He hit .316 without a lot of power and stole 5 of 7 bases. He is a big boy at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds.
And the Blue Jays’ eighth-round pick is in and it’s University of Florida right-hander Justin Shafer. Shafer spent most of this season (his junior season) in the bullpen, throwing 36 2/3 innings with a 4.17 ERA, 7 walks and 27 strikeouts. He’s listed as 6-foot-2 and 210 lbs.
In the 9th round last year, the Jays selected LHP Chad Girodo, a reliever who was a teammate of 8th rounder Kendall Graveman. Both are teammates with the Dunedin Blue Jays and are playing very well right now.
This year, in the 9th round, the Jays selected Ryan Metzler, a 21-year-old second baseman from the University of South Carolina Aiken, an NCAA Division II school, for which he’s hitting .357/.423/.524 with 7 home runs.
In the past two seasons, the Blue Jays have drafted service academy baseball players who would sign for very little in the 10th round of the draft. The 10th round is significant in that it is the last of the rounds in which the slot-value is added up for an overall total. In 2012 and 2013 the Jays selected Alex Azor and Garrett Custons (from the Naval Academy and Air Force Academy (respectively)), both of whom signed for only 00, saving the Blue Jays well over 0,000 in slot money.
This year the Blue Jays have bucked that trend, selecting Jordan Romano, a 6-foot-6 right-handed junior from Oral Roberts University. Romano is significant to the Blue Jays because he comes from Markham, Ontario, making him the first Canadian draft pick for the Blue Jays in 2014. A former Junior National Team member, Romano was a reliever for ORU, throwing 40 2/3 innings with a 2.66 ERA and a solid 49-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Congrats Jordan and welcome to your hometown team!
Interesting stat from the commentators (probably Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis) – about 31% of players have stuck with new teams, 33% last year.
Oscar Hernandez gets some speculation about going #1 overall.
D-backs are up – select Oscar Hernandez from Tampa Bay!
Colorado is now up. Take Mark Canha from Miami.
Texas Rangers – Delino DeShields Jr. from the Astros.
Astros – Jason Garcia – RHP from Red Sox
Minnesota Twins – RHP J.R. Graham from Altanta Braves
Boston Red Sox – Jandel Gustave from Houston – GUSTAVE!
Chicago Cubs – SS Taylor Featherston from Colorado
Phillies – David Herrera from the Rangers
Miami – LHP Andrew McKirahan
Mets – LHP Sean Gilmartin from Minnesota
Braves – RHP Daniel Winkler from Colorado Rockies
Toronto Blue Jays pass.
New York Yankees pass.
Seattle Mariners – LHP David Rollins – from Houston – Former Blue Jay – sent to Houston in J.A. Happ deal
Pittsburgh, KC, St. Louis – pass.
Baltimore – RHP Logan Verrett from Mets
Angels pass – Rd 1 complete.
Phillies – LHP Andrew Oliver from Pittsburgh
Blue Jays lose no one and take no one in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft.
Triple-A Phase of the Rule 5 draft
1. D-backs take RHP Tim Crabbe from Cincinnati
2. Colorado – Kyle Simon RHP – Phillies
3. Texas – Rock Shoulders 1B – Cubs
4. Lost the feed!
Minnesota – RHP Greg Peavey – Mets
Boston – pass
White Sox – RHP Peter Tago – Colorado
Cubs – OF Ariel Ovando – Houston
Cincinnati – C Cameron Maron – Mets
Miami – LHP Matthew Tomshaw – Twins
SD – SS Juan Gamboa – Mets
TB – Pitcher? Outfielder? Luis Urena – Pirates
NYM – pass
Atlanta – C Steven Rodriguez – Arizona
Cleveland – RHP Francisco Delvy
San Francisco – RHP Ramon Del Orve – Miami
Detroit – RHP Jason Manzueta . . . and I lost the feed again.
And we’re back!
Angels – Chris Curley
Rangers – SS Hiram Martinez – Marlins
Cincinnati – RHP Eucletus Lyre (no idea how to spell this) – White Sox
Miami – 1B Harold Riggans – Cincinnati
TB – RHP Michael O’Brien – Baltimore
SF – RF Brett Jackson – D-backs
Dodgers – Alexander Santana – RHP – Baltimore
Angels – SS Pedro Ruiz – Arizona
Miami – LHP Alexander Burgos – Detroit
Dodgers – RHP Randy Fontanez – Mets
Angels – OF Kentrail Davis – Milwaukee
Dodgers – SS Nate Sampson – D-backs