Archive for February, 2012

Blue Jays Interested In Jorge Soler?

MLB Trade Rumours states multiple teams are interested in young 19-year old Cuban outfield prospect Jorge Soler, and the Blue Jays are among the teams listed.

7:57pm: The Yankees and Phillies are in hardest on Soler now, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan tweets.

5:21pm: Marlins president David Samson said on 790 the Ticket that the club doesn’t have interest in Soler,’s Joe Frisaro tweets.

2:51pm: The Marlins are interested, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal hears Soler’s power is comparable to that of Miami outfielder Mike Stanton — high praise to say the least.

12:59pm: The Blue Jays watched Soler and others Wednesday at the team’s complex in the Dominican Republic, writes’s Jesse Sanchez.  The Orioles will be in the D.R. to watch him Sunday.  Sanchez lists the Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, Phillies, and Cubs as other interested parties.

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus stated Soler would rank in the top 40 if eligible for the 2012 Top 101 prospect list.

There aren’t many great scouting reports given what little is known about him but most information I have read has been positive, though the kid is apparently asking for a hefty signing bonus. 

Here is a quick scouting report from Baseball America’s Ben Badler:

Listed at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds … Power is Soler’s best tool, as he shows great bat speed, the ability to hit balls out to all fields and the potential to hit 25 home runs per year. While scouts like his power and some like his swing, he bars his front arm and the stiffness in his stroke is a concern for some scouts. Scouts have offered differing opinions on his ability to hit breaking balls, but he has a history of laying off pitches outside the strike zone in international competition and has more on-base potential than Cespedes.

Soler is athletic for his size and there are reports of him running the 60-yard dash in 6.5 seconds—a time that grades out as well above-average speed—but several scouts have said he’s really an average runner at best … Depending on how much bigger he gets, there’s a chance he could end up at first base down the road, but he should be able to handle right field for the near future. Scouts are mixed on his outfield instincts but he does have an above-average arm.

As always there is no indication the level of interest the Blue Jays potentially have in the young OF prospect but I am sure they are putting in the necessary inquiries and due dilligence.

AL East Rumour Roundup – Tuesday, February 14

A slow day after the plethora of signings and rumours in the AL yesterday, here are a few:

Ben Nicholson-Smith reports on Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler

-The Yankees have serious interest in Soler,’s Buster Olney tweets.

12:33pm: Many teams remain involved in the bidding for 19-year-old Cuban prospect Jorge Soler, according to Jon Heyman of (on Twitter). The Cubs have been extensively linked to the outfielder, but they’re not the only club involved. 

The Yankees are in on the bidding, tweets David Kaplan of CSN Chicago, and Heyman suggests the Marlins could be involved. Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald hears that “a good number” of teams have interest (Twitter link). Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus explained yesterday that Soler would rank 38th or 39th on his list of top prospects.

No word if the Blue Jays have their hat in the ring, they have been aggressive on the international signing front and were linked to Aroldis Chapman, Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes and have signed Cuban SS Adeiny Hechavarria and Venezuelan SP Adonys Cardona.

-AJ Burnett to the Pittsburg Pirates continues to be discussed.

-Tampa Bay extends manager Joe Maddon for three more years, he will earn $2MM per season.

-The Orioles and center fielder Adam Jones have avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal, the team announced via press release. Jones will earn a base salary of $6.15MM with $50K in performance-based bonuses — $25K apiece for reaching 620 and 635 plate appearances, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.

Kevin Goldstein Releases Top 101 Prospect List – Five Jays Make the Cut

The respected prospect evaluator Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus released the top 101 prospect list today and as expected the Toronto Blue Jays were well represented.  We already reviewed Keith Law’s list where the Jays also had five representatives, although the B.Pro list contains a couple different arms. 

Here is the top 15 overall:

2012 Top 101 Prospects
1. Matt Moore, LHP, Rays
2. Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
3. Mike Trout, OF, Angels
4. Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers
5. Julio Teheran, RHP, Braves
6.Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles
7. Jesus Montero, C, Mariners
8. Manny Machado, SS, Orioles
9. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates
10. Shelby Miller, RHP, Cardinals
11. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Diamondbacks
12. Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins
13. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pirates
14. Taijuan Walker, RHP, Mariners
15. Jacob Turner, RHP, Tigers

I agree with this top five a lot more than Keith Law who slotted Manny Machado ahead of Jurickson Profar, BP feels Profar is the fourth best prospect in the game, just slightly ahead of Machado.  Like most other sites they also didn’t have Travis D’Arnaud in their top ten overall like Law.

The Jays top prospect catcher Travis D’Arnaud ranked #16 on the list, behind only one other ‘catcher’ Jesus Montero.  Again like most sites OF Jake Marisnick (ranked #28) was ahead of Anthony Gose (who ranked #68).  Not surprisingly for me, the Jays top rated arm was lefty Daniel Norris (ranked #54 overall).  Near the end of the list one more Jays hurler made the cut as big right hander Noah Syndergaard ranked #93.

All in all it was another impressive showing for the deep Blue Jays farm system.  It appears the top two Jays prospects in the minds of the experts are C Travis D’Arnaud and OF Jake Marisnick.  Most feel Gose is toolsier but Marisnick is the safer bet to actually reach his potential as a major league regular and possible occasional all-star type season.  There is absolutely zero consensus on the various young and promising arms in the Jays system, whether it is who is number one or who belongs on any of the top lists period.

I think in one year’s time that clouded picture will become a lot more clear and we will have another full season of data to really evaluate who the tops arms truly are. 

Here is the full Baseball Prospectus top 101 list.

Blue Jays Extend RP Casey Janssen

Good news for Casey Janssen fans today as the Toronto Blue Jays announced they have agreed to a two-year, $5.9MM contract extension with the right handed reliever.  The two sides were expected to head to arbitration but have avoided that messy process and the new deal will keep a key relief pitcher around for a couple more seasons.

The 30-year-old posted a 2.26 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 47.3% ground ball rate in 55 2/3 innings last year, when he earned $1.095MM as a second-time arbitration eligible player.  Janssen was a 1.3 WAR reliever last season with a very solid 2.45 FIP, 1.10 WHIP and a paltry .227 batting average against.

The revamped Jays bullpen should be among the leagues best.  Check out the Jays 2012 ZIPS projections for the pitching staff.

AL East Rumour Roundup – Monday, February 13th

A pretty eventful day with a few big notes from around the American League:

From Ben Nicholson-Smith at MLB Trade rumours:

-The Athletics made an unexpected move today, agreeing to terms with Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on a four-year, $36MM contract. The agreement allows him to hit free agency after the 2015 season and leaves suitors such as the Marlins and Cubs empty-handed.

Here are some reactions to the deal…

Cespedes told Jesse Sanchez of that he’s “super happy” and that his first goal is to make the team and stay healthy all season long.

Agent Adam Katz told Kevin Kennedy and Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio that four to seven teams were seriously interested.

A’s director of player personnel Billy Owens told Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on MLB Network Radio that Oakland’s scouts have watched Cespedes play for four or five years and consider him a center fielder.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports weighs in on the deal and explains why Cespedes remains an unknown, even though we’ve seen his skills on YouTube.

One A’s person told Danny Knobler of that the club is “not trying to finish in last place” and explained that free agents are reluctant to take Oakland’s money.

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus hears that Katz sought either an eight-to-ten-year deal or a four-year deal and suggests Cespedes’ tools are as impressive as any player’s.

The Tigers were interested in Cespedes, but not at $36MM, GM Dave Dombrowski said, according to James Schmehl of

Word was the Jays were interested but it seems doubtful they were even close given the final contract numbers handed out to the Cuban outfielder.

-“Vladimir Guerrero has made it known to the Yankees that he wants their DH spot,” tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney, but Raul Ibanez remains the frontrunner.  Ibanez had a slightly worse 2011 season, but the Yankees seem to prefer his left-handed bat.

-Hours before today’s arbitration hearing, the Red Sox and designated hitter David Ortiz settled at the midpoint for $14.575MM, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney.  The new contract represents the largest-ever average annual value for a DH,

Ken Rosenthal: Jays Out Of Manny Ramirez Hunt

Ken Rosenthal reports that the Toronto Blue Jays will not be pursuing oft-troubled slugger Manny Ramirez. There was talk the team was at one point interested but talks did not progress.

Analysis: It was more of a novelty move than for baseball value. Some have compared it to the Frank Thomas situation a few years ago but Thomas was younger and not coming off a suspension.

AL East Recap – The Weekend Update

A quiet weekend of Jays and AL East rumours, here are a few:

-According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe the Athletics, Orioles, and Blue Jays remain the main teams interested in Ramirez.

-A player we have not touched on here for the Toronto Blue Jays but a possible guy who could add a veteran presence to the Jays rotation and a guy who has pitched well over his career.  It would take the Astros picking up a good majority of his remaining $36MM contract but he would likely cost only a top prospect in the 20-25 range.

The lack of interest in Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez is surprising considering that the club would assume a fair portion of the $36MM left on his deal.  Houston is also surprised at the lack of interest in righty Brett Myers, who would appear to be a good piece for a contending club.

-Any money that the Yankees save in a potential A.J. Burnett trade will be put toward a lefthanded-hitting DH/outfielder type, with Raul Ibanez and Johnny Damon likely in that mix.

-Don’t be surprised if Vladimir Guerrero, Magglio Ordonez, Xavier Nady, or Manny Ramirez wind up with the Phillies.  The Phillies really want to add a righthanded hitter who can pinch hit and occasionally play the outfield.  However, they’re extremely close to luxury tax territory.

-The Roy Oswalt market appears to be very weak, it is too bad he already ruled out a one year deal with the Jays, it seems like a deal that would benefit both sides.  The Boston Red Sox remain in talks, but nothing is imminent.

-The Yankees likely will pay $19-23MM of $33MM remaining on Burnett’s contract and receive multiple minor leaguers in return, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Those prospects would not be players on the Pirates’ 40-man roster, the source said.

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