Brad Lincoln has been a plug, there is no other way to put it. In 22 games for Toronto last season he had a 7.1 K/9 and a shoddy 6.3 BB/9. He was essentially worthless to the organization until tonight when Alex Anthopoulos turned him into backup catcher Erik Kratz and reliever Rob Rasmussen. Kratz was a former long time Blue Jays farmhand and rejoins the team that originally drafted him.
Only a day after appeasing a Blue Jays fan base that had grown increasingly frustrated with catcher JP Arencibia by signing Dioner Navarro the team now adds another useful backstop in Kratz. Kratz, who will turn 34 in June was actually very underrated in 2012 as he posted a 248/306/504 slash line and 1.3 WAR in only 50 games. He is known as a solid defender and will be a great compliment to Navarro and a guy who can hit lefties off the bench as a pinch-hitter.
Kratz slipped in 2013 as injuries took their toll but Steamer still projects a .312 wOBA and 95 wRC+ over 165 PAs next season s – probably conservative projections. It cost us nothing and will definitely help our overall depth and bench. Two areas that were in dire need of improvement.
Rob Rasmussen is turning 25 years old and has shown some promise in the past however it is doubtful he contributes anything to the major league roster at any point. He was a starter last season during stints in AA/AAA with mixed results. Rasmussen combined to post a 4.11 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 28 games (24 starts) for the Dodgers Triple-A and Double-A affiliates.
I think this was a solid addition for the Blue Jays at basically no cost. Kratz has shown the ability to mash (in small sample sizes) in the past and will compete with Josh Thole for the backup catcher spot.
The Blue Jays signed a catcher and JP Arencibia will not be returning to Toronto. Does anything need to be said? Well actually yes because the new catcher is actually fairly useful as well, both offensively and defensively.
A rumoured acquisition target has actually come true today when the Toronto Blue Jays announced the signing of catcher Dioner Navarro to a 2-year $8MM dollar contract. Fans of the team have grown disenchanted with the body of work from former starting catcher JP Arencibia and are glad there is a new sheriff in town so to speak.
My initial reaction was “alright I like this signing” and after looking at the thin free agent market and alternatives I am happy the Blue Jays brought in a serviceable backstop at a reasonable rate. Navarro, who will turn 30 at the beginning of the season is expected to be the starting catcher in 2014. Steamer projects a pedestrian 2014 slash line of 254/321/398 in 334 PAs – good for a .316 wOBA.
That isn’t amazing however do not forget he is replacing JP Arencibia who managed to post a horrendous .259 wOBA & 57 wRC+ in a full season of games last year. I think the projection systems will punish Navarro, deservedly so, for a few putrid offensive seasons prior to last.
Last season Navarro slashed a very fine 300/365/492 in about a half seasons worth of plate appearances (266 PAs) for the Chicago Cubs. He cracked 13 HRs and walked at an 8.6% clip while only striking out in 13.5% of his at-bats.
Defensively UZR has pegged him as above average every season in the bigs. Any way you slice it this is a huge upgrade for the Blue Jays. Hopefully he will have a shiny new starting pitcher joining him over the next few weeks. Oh and in case were wondering about the future of JP Arencibia, he will not be a Toronto Blue Jay next year according to MLBTR.
Sadly, in the end I think this signing is more about who is not coming back than who was added. That is just how pathetic JP Arencibia was in 2013.
Dave Cameron wrote a good piece about Tim Lincecum re-upping with the San Francisco Giants. As the Jays head into an offseason filled with question marks (again), this piece should be mandatory reading for Jays’ fans as they consider whomever the Jays acquire.
Take a look when/if you get the chance. Whether you agree, disagree, or you fall somewhere in between, it’s well worth the time spent.
As we await the pending blockbuster trade between the Jays and Marlins to be approved by major league baseball Alex Anthopoulos continues to shake and bake. According to MLB trade rumours Melky Cabrera has signed a two-year deal with Toronto worth $16 million.
Fangraphs author Jeff Sullivan astutely wrote:
Likewise, the Blue Jays aren’t paying Cabrera to repeat his 2012, and they aren’t even paying Cabrera to repeat his 2011. According to our numbers, the last two years Cabrera has been worth 8.8 WAR over 268 games. If the Blue Jays were paying Cabrera to be that sort of player, they might’ve guaranteed $16 million over one year or $32 million over two years. They’ve opted for half that, and Cabrera has accepted.
Do you know what an outfielder needs to be to be worth $16 million over two years as a free-agent acquisition? Something in the general neighborhood of league-average. Even slightly worse than that, or league-average and injury-prone. Cabrera was that sort of player in 2009 with the Yankees, when he posted a 94 wRC+. He was just kind of average at everything. If Cabrera could be that guy for two years, the Blue Jays wouldn’t have made a bad investment, and if Cabrera could be better than that guy for two years, the Blue Jays would have made a solid investment.
To say nothing of the Blue Jays’ current position on the win curve — extra wins to them right now might be worth more than extra wins for many other teams. The Blue Jays see an opportunity to compete in the AL East right now, and they’re going after it, which makes the Cabrera move a lot more interesting than it would be if Cabrera signed for a year with some cellar-dweller. Cabrera could once again play a prominent role in a pennant race.
Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports had this to say:
Now they take a chance on Cabrera, who might very well have been National League MVP had the man with the plastic cup not showed up one unfortunate summer afternoon. They can’t have the slightest notion whether they’ve just bought the Cabrera who did very little for the Atlanta Braves in 2010, the Cabrera who lost some weight and added some game for the Kansas City Royals in 2011 or the Cabrera who was among the best players in the league for the San Francisco Giants in 2012.
So, it appears, the Blue Jays will hold open left field, pay him for something in between and hope those unreasonable levels of testosterone weren’t the explanation for the upward trend. He is just 28 years old, certainly has gotten into better shape, and presumably could be a late bloomer. Cabrera went from a guy who, by WAR, cost the Braves a half-win in ’10 to a guy who accounted for five wins in 113 games for the Giants in ’12, which seems like a big jump, but OK. Two years ago, his batting average on balls in play was .288 (.233 from right side) and this year it was .379 (.410 from the right side), but OK. People improve. Players in their primes improve.
More details to follow.
The Jays’ infield problems may be solved. According to mlbtraderumors.com the Blue Jays have signed Maicer Izturis, formerly of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Montreal Expos,
to a three-year, $10MM contract according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The deal includes a club option for a fourth year.
Keep watching for more Jays news as the GM Meetings in Indian Wells, CA, continue.
From MLB Trade Rumours:
The Blue Jays have signed Jack Cust to a minor league deal, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). The slugger will report to the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.
Cust, 33, was cut loose by the Yankees on Wednesday after signing a minor league deal with the club back in March. The designated hitter/corner outfielder posted a .249/.400/.475 slash line with 20 homers, 81 walks, and 339 at-bats for Scranton Wilkes-Barre this year.
Quick Take: With the MLB team calling up most of the Triple-A roster recently due to injury troubles this appears to be a depth move to re-stock the minor league squad. Though Cust has posted strong minor league numbers this season and has had MLB success in the past.
The Blue Jays also placed RP Andrew Carpenter on waivers.
The Blue Jays have signed Venezuelan shortstop/centerfielder Franklin Barreto, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. The 5’9″, 175-pound prospect is Baseball America’s top-ranked international prospect in the July 2nd class. Terms of the deal are not yet known but Barreto had been expected to sign with the Blue Jays for nearly $2MM.
Badler writes that few amateurs have ever matched the 16-year-old’s history of dominance representing Venezuela in international competitions. Several teams had Barreto as the No. 1 player on their board and some scouts project him as a future plus hitter. Most teams, however, don’t expect him to stick and shortstop and expect to see him wind up in centerfield.
The Blue Jays also signed Venezuelan shortstop Luis Castro, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. The 16-year-old right-handed hitter, ranked No. 9 by Baseball America, marks the second major signing by the Blue Jays this morning, who also inked Venezuelan prospect Franklin Barreto. Terms of the Castro deal are not yet known but it could not be for more than ~$900K if Barreto’s is worth roughly $2MM, as reported.
It is never a bad thing to wake up to the Blue Jays signing one of the top international options available to further deepen one of the top prospect systems in baseball.
As per MLB trade rumours the Blue Jays have signed Jamie Moyer to a minor league contract, reports Shannon Drayer of ESPN Radio Seattle (Twitter link). The 49-year-old starter will head to Triple-A Las Vegas this week.
Moyer is joining the ninth team of his 25-year career and his third in a month. Moyer began the season on a minor league pact with the Rockies and was released after posting a 5.70 ERA in 10 starts for the team. The southpaw then signed a minor league deal with the Orioles but asked to be released last weekend, as was his option after not being called up to the Major League roster. Moyer had a 1.69 ERA and 16 strikeouts with no walks in three starts (16 innings) for Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate.
Though the Jays have made Moyer “no promises” outside of a few Triple-A outings (according to Rogers Sportnet’s Shi Davidi), Moyer has a good chance at a callup simply due to the raft of injuries suffered by Toronto starters over the last two weeks. Brandon Morrow, Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek are all on the DL, and Henderson Alvarez left Monday’s start with soreness in his throwing elbow.
One of the all-time greats has signed a contract with the Toronto Blue Jays as Vladdy Guerrero agreed to a minor league contract with the team today.
As per the AP:
The deal was announced Thursday by the Blue Jays before a four-game series at Minnesota. General manager Alex Anthopoulos cautioned there’s no guarantee the 37-year-old will join the big league team. Toronto will send him to extended spring training in Dunedin, Fla., and assess his condition.
Guerrero hit .290 with 13 homers and 63 RBIs in 145 games as a designated hitter for Baltimore last season. During his 16-year major league career, Guerrero has a .318 batting average with 449 homers, tied for 35th.
Analysis: While he is a big name Guerrero is also on his last legs hence the minor league contract only. The Jays will give him a look in extended spring to see if he can bring anything to the major league squad as an occasional designated hitter.
The team announced the deal, which will pay McGowan $1.5MM per season in 2013 and 2014 and includes a $4MM club option for 2015 (with a $500K buyout).
Dustin McGowan, who arrived at Spring Training without a guaranteed spot in the Blue Jays’ rotation, now has job security for at least two years. The oft-injured right-hander has agreed to terms with the Blue Jays on a two-year contract extension with an option.
McGowan is currently dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
“I went out, and in that second inning, I couldn’t push off of it,” McGowan said. “It was almost like picking my foot up and throwing, and I thought, ‘All right — I might as well stop right here before I do something to my arm.’
“I’m smart enough to know it’s going to change if I can’t push off, [because] I’m going to have to change everything in my delivery.”
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the connective tissue that begins at the heel of the foot and extends toward the sole. It can be very painful and sometimes becomes a nagging problem that is difficult to treat.
Analysis: The twitter verse blew up with varied opinions, some strongly opposed. My take is this is much ado about nothing at that minimal salary. Let’s see if McGowan can regain past form and give the Jays a steady backend rotation option for the next two seasons.
Pretty sure he can put up the 0.8 WAR needed over the life of this contract to make it worthwhile for the Jays.