JFtC Blue Jays Hot Stove

Blue Jays: An Imagined Atkins/Neander Conversation

With the rumours about the Rays being willing to listen on Blake Snell,  I thought it might be fun to imagine a Ross Atkins / Erik Neander conversation


Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase

 


 

 

 

The setting:  Erik Neander’s`office.  Erik (the Tampa Rays GM) is sitting at his desk.  The phone rings.

 

Ross Atkins:  Hey Erik.  It’s Ross.  How are you doing?

Erik Neander:  Hello Ross.  I am good, thanks.  What can I do for you (as if I couldn`t guess)?

Ross:  I wanted to touch base on Blake Snell.  Can we talk?

Erik:  Always willing to talk, Ross.  But we are in no hurry to move Blake.  So it would take an exceptional offer. Were you planning to make one?

Ross:  Could be.  I hear that you are looking for “catching, catching and catching”, so should we start there?  Sounds like you are interested in more than one catcher – am I right?

Erik:  For the right catchers, definitely.  Who did you have in mind?

Ross:  I am thinking that you are looking for a young, cheap, MLB-proven catcher with multiple years of team control.  How do you feel about Reese McGuire?  He had a scary-good 2019, with a .299/.346/.526 batting line and a +3 DRS in only 236 innings.  And he is not even arb eligible until 2023, and not a free agent until 2026.

Erik:   I agree that Reese has upside, Ross, but his 2020 scares me.  And that incident in Dunedin – right next door – would not endear him to the Rays fans.  And before you offer “Captain” Kirk, he is not yet MLB-proven in my mind.  If you are serious, we would have to start the conversation with Danny Jansen.

Ross:  Ouch!  That is a big ask, Erik.  But let’s keep talking.  Who would you see as the second catcher?  I would need to keep McGuire and Alejandro Kirk if I lose Danny – how do you feel about Riley Adams and Gabriel Moreno?

Erik:  I like Moreno’s upside.  He is likely not MLB-ready until 2022 at the earliest, but if I had Danny as my #1 I could sign a cheap veteran as his backup until Moreno is ready.  (speaking softly, as if to himself) Maybe re-sign Mike Zunino …

Ross:  So are we getting close?  I doubt another MLB team can offer you both a MLB-ready Gold Glove finalist like Jansen and an almost-top-100 like Moreno.

Erik:  Close, but not quite there.  What else are you offering?

Ross:  How do you feel about Kevin Kiermaier, and his remaining 2 years and $26-ish million?  Suppose we took him off your hands?  And gave you Randall Grichuk as a replacement?  Your team are expert at unlocking value, and Randall has shown flashes.  Remember his second half of 2018?  .280/.326/.569, with 14 homers?

Erik:  I like Grichuk, but you know we are cash strapped, Ross.  He has – what? – 3 years and $31 million left?  Way out of my budget.

Ross:  What if I paid half?

Erik:  Half of Grichuk’s salary?  So he would only cost us just over $5m a year?

Ross:  You got it.  Jansen, Moreno, Grichuk and $15m for Snell and Kiermaier.  And we could make the full $15m payable up-front, rather than over the remaining three years of Randall’s contract, if that would help you out.  I know 2020 was a particularly rough year.

Erik:  I’ll tell you this much, Ross.  You really have my attention.  Let me chew on it a bit and get back to you.

Ross:  Fair enough, Erik.  You let me know.  And by the way – do you remember which agent at CAA Sports represents J.T. Realmuto?  I may need to make a call.

 

 

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

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Jim Scott

A Jays fan since pre-Series, Jim’s biggest baseball regret is that he did not play hooky with his buddies on 7 Apr 77. But hearing “Fanfare For The Common Man” played from a rooftop on 24 Oct 92 helped him atone.