A recent rumor has the Toronto Blue Jays looking to sign a free agent starter and flip one of their current ones
If you’re like me, you’re caught somewhere between turkey coma and holiday celebration overload. One can hardly be expected to keep up with everything the Toronto Blue Jays are doing these days. Actually, it is an odd time of year where you can be distracted by family and friends and not really miss much. With that in mind, we wouldn’t blame you if you missed out on the following little gem.
Apparently, Jon Morosi took to the MLB Network to share what he’s been hearing while the rest of us eat and drink ourselves silly. We should also mention that one of our followers, Clint, was lucid enough to pass on the nugget. So, a hearty hat tip to him! Essentially, Morosi has added an interesting spin on the Blue Jays current offseason operations:
Morosi on MLB Network saying he's hearing the Jays may want to sign a FA starter and flip one of their starters, is their any FA starters?
— Clint (@_ClintB_) December 28, 2016
There are two parts to this, really. The first part has the club looking to add a free agent starter. Well, that in and of itself is a bit of a head scratcher. A quick look at MLBTR list of free agents provides precious few options. The likes of Tyson Ross, Doug Fister, Tim Lincecum, Mat Latos and Jason Hammel, among others. No one on this list will send shockwaves through the fan base. At this point in the offseason, choosing from a group of re-treads like this, after such a disappointing start to the offseason, is rather disheartening.
Of the choices here, Hammel might stand out as the better option. The 34 yr old is coming off a 15-10 season with the Cubs. He put up 1.5 WAR off a 3.83 ERA. Over the last 3 seasons, he totaled 5.6 Wins and 35 wins. Obviously, wins and losses are not the best measuring stick for pitchers. One thing that stands out is the 30 starts made, but 166.2 innings, for 5.5 innings per start. His K rate of 20.8% wouldn’t be so bad if he, maybe, offered a decent groundball rate. But, in 2016, he put up 41.2%. His fastball, slider, curveball, change combo is pretty standard, but only his slider presents real value. Essentially, at the top of this list sits Hammel and this is what he offers.
One supposes that if the Blue Jays are indeed looking to add a starter, they would be looking to bring in someone of enough value to fill a 5th starter role. Hammel very well could be that, or more. At this point, you’re not going to find a #1 starter anyway. And, this Blue Jays rotation got by just fine last season not having a true ace. So, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them take a chance on someone who might raise, or maintain the floor of talent.
The key part of all of this is what piece they would be looking to flip to another team for (one presumes) outfield help. Here at Jays From the Couch, our writers are torn on who that piece would be. Some of us think that Marcus Stroman might present some of the highest value the club has. We’d already heard that the Rockies had at least asked for the #StroShow in talks for Charlie Blackmon. At that time, we asked for your input in our poll and 39% said “Hell, no!” and just 13.58% said “Absolutely”. Likely, the idea of losing Stroman, and his years of control, is something too painful to entertain.
Perhaps, another option would be Francisco Liriano and his 2017 (about to hit free agency at the end of the season) salary. If you’re looking to add a 5th starter type, Liriano is the one to replace without noticing much of a difference, really. While he showed sings of brilliance, his inconsistency is frustrating. The value of a lefty starter might be something that can be packaged to bring in some talent. Maybe.
Maybe Marco Estrada has some value as well. But, let’s be honest, the Blue Jays rotation was the best in the AL last season. Any piece would certainly be one that presents value. But, that value is not something that fans would be so ready to part with. Giving up someone with years of control, like Stroman or Aaron Sanchez, would limit what the team looks like in the future. Pitching prospects like Sean Reid-Foley or Conner Greene are not ready to jump in to the rotation in the next couple of years. So, one has to think that shortchanging the future has to impact their thinking.
If any faith is being put into the idea floated by Morosi, it certainly leads you to think just how this would work. The decision to bring in pitching to offset the loss of pitching to make up for the loss of offense is not something that can be arrived at linearly. This rumor has so many different angles that we could speculate for quite a while. But, if there are teeth to it, the creativity required to pull this kind of deal is off is actually impressive.
Like every decision this offseason, the balance of short term and long term success is a difficult one. This decision would also present a variety of risks. One thing is for sure, it is the kind of rumor that certainly wakes you up out of your turkey coma.
*Featured Image Credit: Arturo Pardavila III UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.