Bird Seed: Nolasco, Trade Market Taking Shape, Payroll, 5 Reasons to Sign Cano

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Bird Seed is your regular recap of recent baseball happenings, information, rumours, and how it all affects the Blue Jays.

The starting pitching market took a bit of a hit this past week, with right-hander Ricky Nolasco being scooped up by the Minnesota Twins. Nolasco, 31 in December, was signed to a four-year, $49 million deal with a vesting option for the 2018 season that comes with a $1 million buyout. Nolasco has been worth at least 2 fWAR for six consecutive seasons, not starting fewer than 26 games over that time. This consistency was likely a key factor in Minnesota’s decision to pursue him, but Nolasco might not be all that FIP makes him out to be, having only been worth 10.3 RA9-WAR in his career as opposed to 20.0 fWAR. For a full analysis on the Nolasco signing, check out Nikolai Ballevski’s portion of my post from earlier this week.

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As the trade market continues to take shape, the Blue Jays continue to be the subject of rumours. Shi Davidi opined on the trade value of Toronto’s relievers, suggesting that a deliberate approach to the trade market could optimize their value. Alex Anthopoulos shouldn’t hesitate to pounce if the right deal presents itself, however. The Detroit Tigers, known to be seeking relief help, are reportedly in hot pursuit of free agent reliever and beard extraordinaire Brian Wilson. This isn’t necessarily great news for the Blue Jays, as the Tigers could potentially have interest in the Toronto’s deep bullpen, with relievers Sergio Santos, Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar, and Brett Cecil likely desirable targets for a team with a thin pen. The two teams appear to match up well for a trade, but if the Tigers do sign Wilson (or another quality free agent reliever) their interest could wane.

The San Diego Padres are another potential trade partner, as Bill Center of U-T San Diego reports that the Padres will likely deal for a left-handed reliever or left-handed bat before the Winter Weetings conclude. Players such as Colby Rasmus, Adam Lind, and Brett Cecil could be of interest, and the two teams seem to match up well. The Friars have a surplus of starting pitching, a noted area of need for the Blue Jays. Center figures that the Padres could deal one of Burch Smith, Robbie Erlin and Eric Stults. Smith made his MLB debut last year, posting a 6.44 ERA and 4.09 xFIP over 36.1 IP. Erlin also made his debut this past season, faring better than Smith and posting a 4.12 ERA and 3.98 xFIP over 54.2 innings. Stults is currently the best of the three pitchers, however, coming off of a 3.93 ERA season in which he tossed a career-high 203.2 innings and topped all Padres pitchers with 2.6 fWAR.

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The Jeff Samardzija saga is ongoing. The Blue Jays have been heavily linked to the Shark over the course of the offseason, and the rumours appear to be gaining traction. Reports out of Chicago say that “it’s 99 percent that he gets moved.” The report goes on to state that the front-runners in a possible deal are the Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, and Orioles. The price is said to be extremely high, and one scout calls him “a No. 3 starter (in the AL).” Nik again has a very nice analysis in the previous Bird Seed.

  • As you’ve likely heard by now, Rogers has signed a 12 year, $5.2 billion TV and internet deal with the NHL. With Rogers also owning the Blue Jays, some have speculated that this will impact the Blue Jays’ payroll. Rogers Media head Keith Pelley shot the notion down, however, saying that the deal “does not affect Blue Jays payroll in any way whatsoever.
  • Baseball Hot Corner lists 5 reasons that the Blue Jays should go after star second baseman Robinson Cano. Personally, I think it’s a risky proposition, and considering Cano’s sky-high demands, most likely not a worthwhile one.

Have a link that you think should be in Bird Seed? Tweet me @JacobDanovitch and let me know.

Phil Hughes Signs With the Twins
Ricky Nolasco to Join the Twins

Author: Jacob Danovitch

Jacob has been following baseball since he fell in love with it going to a baseball game at the age of four. He's played baseball from the age of six and plays competitive basketball as well. He fell in love with the sabermetric side of baseball after arguing about Yunel Escobar with a friend and using advanced stats to prove his case. Jacob enjoys music and reading in his little free time as well. He is a fan of the Maple Leafs, Raptors and Bills.

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2 Comments

  1. I think the Jays match up better with the Padres by going after one of their catchers, not one of their starting pitchers. Hundley? Grandal?

    Austin Hedges is coming fast…

    Post a Reply
    • You’re right, if we have the assets, Grandal or Hedges should absolutely be looked at imo.

      Hundley isn’t very interesting to me, though. He’s not a great framer (at least by Matt Carruth’s statscorner report) and his offense isn’t very good at all (Steamer projects him for an 83 wRC+). There are probably comparable options in free agency like Navarro or Pierzynski.

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