Jays From the Couch brings you a collection of Toronto Blue Jays news, including Josh Donaldson, Darwin Barney & more!
The Toronto Blue Jays have made some moves this winter, but even when they do, they aren’t much louder than what has become the normal offseason volume. Indeed, this winter has been very quiet. And, as the days pass and we get closer and closer to Spring Training, you get the sense that there is bound to be at least one more move. There’s gotta be, right? RIGHT?!
Well, until such time as there is a move made, let’s take a look at what has been going on in Blue Jays Land. It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, but with the boys of summer shaking off winter and reporting for spring, now is as good a time as any to get back into it. So, let’s go!
* Former Blue Jays pitcher (we can say he played for them, right?) David Aardsma has been hired as coordinator of player development. Aardsma officially announced his retirement and his new job on his podcast, the Bullpen with DA. Keegan Matheson passed it on via Twitter this afternoon. Andrew Stoeten already explained just how insightful Aardsma is, so this could be a smart move on the part of the Blue Jays organization. Given that he only played in Buffalo, this doesn’t sound like one of those courtesy hirings you sometimes see in baseball. It will be interesting to see exactly what a coordinator of player development actually does, you know, if we ever actually get to see that.
* The Texas Rangers, freshly off of inking Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal struck again, but this time, they wrangled themselves a familiar face to Blue Jays fans. The Rangers have inked Darwin Barney to a minor league deal. Barney will likely serve as possible depth as the season wears on. He isn’t exactly coming off a spectacular season in Toronto. He put up -0.6 fWAR in 2017 in 129 games. That said, there is definitely utility in signing Barney as he brings solid enough defense. If the Rangers need to rely on him for more than a brief stint, they might be in trouble, as we all know. Oh, and…
I guess I'm going to play in Texas. I hope Jose and I can still be friends. pic.twitter.com/1OaVUZmqAh
— Jays From the Couch (@JaysFromCouch) February 5, 2018
* Baseball Prospectus released their version of the Top Prospects in Baseball and they gave Vladimir Guerrero Jr the somewhat surprising 4th spot. What is even stranger is that Shohei Ohtani wasn’t even on the list. Instead, apparently, Ronald Acuna (Atlanta), Victor Robles (Washington) and Gleyber Torres (NYY) all finished higher than Vlad Jr. Not to be outdone, though, Fangraphs put out their own list and Vlad Jr hit the third spot with Ohtani at the top. Torres can be found all the way down in 12th.
Whether you buy into one outlet, or another, this whole exercise makes for good conversation, but shouldn’t be taken as gospel since there is so much variation among the many lists. What Blue Jays fans should take away from this whole exercise is that the farm system is in rather good shape. With Vlad Jr, Bo Bichette, Anthony Alford, Nate Pearson and Danny Jansen all getting some love, the next few years in Toronto should be rather enjoyable.
* Speaking of the future, the Blue Jays have an idea about how much they would be willing to offer the perennial MVP candidate in extension talks. MLBTR passes on the gist of a John Lott piece which is found at The Athletic, which requires a subscription. GM, Ross Atkins is quoted as saying:
“We do have that number,” said Atkins during his presentation. “We have come up with a clear walkaway that we would be willing to commit to him to extend (the contract) for him to remain a Blue Jay probably for the rest of his career.”
Our Jeff Quattrociocchi has already explored the value that Donaldson would bring in an extension. The short version: a lot. In his post, Jeff concluded that a 5 year deal of $125M would not be a silly bet. Recently, there has been talk about spending big money on aging players and Donaldson would certainly qualify as one of those. IF Atkins truly means to keep him in Toronto for the rest of his career, a five year pact might be in order for Donaldson. At 32, this might be what Atkins has in mind.
There are those that have said that having Vlad Jr in the system might make Donaldson expendable. But, if you have the chance to keep the Bringer of Rain in town AND bring up Vlad Jr, you do that. If Vlad Jr lives up to the many kind words said about him, these two bats need to be together. The only drawback is that the club has the money owed to Troy Tulowitzki on the books for longer than they would like and they don’t want to pay the bulk of their payroll to one or two guys. So, while it would be nice to hear about an extension, don’t hold your breath for it.
* Lastly, Jays From the Couch is being told that minor league pitcher, Wil Browning is retiring:
SOURCE: #BlueJays minor league pitcher, Wil Browning has retired.
Pitched in AAA Buffalo last season. 4-3, 6.55 ERA, 57.2 IP in 39 games. 1.855 WHIP
Pitched 6 seasons in Blue Jays system
— Jays From the Couch (@JaysFromCouch) February 6, 2018
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