1:03 PM Central

The first morning of the Winter Meetings brings with it a lot of in-settling, bearings-getting and lobby-wandering. You reacquaint yourself with a lot of faces that you generally see once or twice a year, there are a lot of waved hellos and a lot of “damnit, I know that guy” thoughts.

And there’s also a lot of “what are your guys doing?  What are you hearing?”

On my first few trips through the lobby here at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, I had a nice conversation with one of the members of the  Blue Jays’ travelling party, who opened by telling me they’d signed Albert Pujols to a five-year deal at $2 million per.  I’m pretty sure he was joking.

The biggest piece of information that I’ve been able to glean so far is that the field at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin has been completely redone.  There will be a brand-spanking new grass surface on which the Blue Jays will play this spring, and the D-Jays will follow in April.  Generally, a grass field is redone every eight years or so, but this is the first time Dunedin Stadium/Knology Park/the FAES has been redone since 1983.

As far as the baseballicness goes, there are more rumours that involve the Blue Jays, like potential interest in Braves’ second baseman Martin Prado and that great and completely B.S. rumour out of Cleveland that the Jays are the front-runners to land Prince Fielder.

I’ll say this – the only way the Jays get Fielder is if he can be convinced to sign a short-term deal at massive money (3 years, $80 million?) and then head back out on the free agent market one more time when he’s 30 to get another huge deal.  Given the fact that he can get twice the term, if not twice the cash, it’s not likely.  And don’t forget that the Blue Jays have made a serious move towards increasing the all-around athleticism of the team, which makes Fielder even less of a fit.

Evidently the Braves want a thumper to play left field, which would make some suggest that Travis Snider or Eric Thames could be a fit in a trade for Prado.  Thames I would do (and so would the Blue Jays), Snider not so much.  But if we’re talking about big-hitting outfielders in a trade with Atlanta, I’d love to see things expanded to the point where Jason Heyward can be moved into the conversation.  Evidently the Braves’ patience with him is wearing thin.

A couple of names floating out in the rumour mill that I find interesting are Ervin Santana of the Angels and Kansas City’s Greg Holland.

Santana is a more-than-solid starter who could fit in as a 2 or 3 (more a 3) and L.A. of A. is apparently looking to clear out his $11.2 million ticket.  That’s a guy in whom the Blue Jays should be interested, and they have the money.

They should also be interested in Holland, an undersized 26 year-old righty who had an incredible rookie season for the Royals in 2011, posting a 0.933 WHIP in 60 relief innings with over 11 K/9.  He held opponents to a .175/.246/.275 mark, split almost exactly evenly between lefties and righties.  With the Royals’ signing of Jonathan Broxton, Holland moves even farther down the depth chart in a bullpen that already includes Joakim Soria and Aaron Crow.  Can anyone say Blue Jays’ next closer?

Keep it here for updates throughout the course of the Winter Meetings!

Also keep an eye on my Twitter feed @wilnerness590.

Rational, reasonable comments are always welcome!


12 Responses to “A Word Before Lunch”
  1. 1.

    Interesting comments, Mike. I agree on all the guys you mentioned. Heyward would be a GREAT add. Wow, we can only hope.

    - Craig M
  2. 2.

    I think Prado would be a great fit. I know this will drive Wilner crazy but he’s a fantastic player in MLB 2K11 (easy, Wilner… be nice). Plus, he gets on base and hits for average, and can play 2B or LF. But he’s coming off a down year.

    As for the Prince rumours, I could see the Jays passing on him and landing Votto in a trade. Seems more Anthopolousy to surprise everyone and get the guy he really wants. I think we would all prefer Votto over Prince, given the circumstances. But I think it would probably take something like D’Arneaud, Hech and Drabek to land him. Then again, that makes make think that Prince would only cost dollars…

    MW: Prado would be a solid fit, but would give the Jays six right-handed hitters, and his strong OBPs have been driven by an unusually high BABIP during his big years. It’s all about what the Braves would need to have coming back.

    - Arm Chair GM
  3. 3.

    “don’t forget that the Blue Jays have made a serious move towards increasing the all-around athleticism of the team, which makes Fielder even less of a fit.”


    Mike W, master of wit.
    You may want to let the sportsnet people know that rumour is false, it’s all i heard this morning on the Fan.

    - mattyp
  4. 4.

    Aaron Crow is likely going to battle for a rotation spot in the spring. He’ll likely get it too.

    MW: He may indeed.

    - Jeff
  5. 5.

    Hi Mike,
    I am one of those who has bought into AA’s long-term goal of putting a contender on the field year after year. That said, I would hate to see AA depart from this and sell the farm just to be competitive next year, especially since it is harder to exploit the draft. Do you feel that AA will stick to his overall objective, or is there pressure for him to depart and take a more short-term view of things due to the extra wild card and Toronto media pressure to make a splash?

    MW: Anthopoulos doesn’t react to media or fan pressure at all.

    - Mike's Sense on AA
  6. 6.

    Two thoughts on this:

    1. Why would the Jays prefer to deal Thames over Snider? If they deal Thames, and Travis Snider ends up playing like Travis Snider, they don’t have any other options to take over in LF.

    2. You only peg Ervin Santana as #3 in the Jays starting rotation? Surely, you jest.

    MW: 1 – Snider is younger, is a much better defender and baserunner and has a higher ceiling. I know this is difficult for many Blue Jays fans to accept. 2 – I peg Santana as a #3 in a global sense, not a team-specific sense.

    - JaysFan
  7. 7.

    Why do you keep saying Prince Fielder isn’t athletic? He actually runs pretty well and he can also dunk a basketball, which is all the more impressive considering he’s under six feet tall. He’s as athletic if not more than Adam Lind, Lyle Overbay, Edwin Encarnacion and I haven’t heard management complaining about their athleticism. In fact, who would you consider an athletic first baseman in the league?

    MW: Prince Fielder’s body type doesn’t lend itself to aging well. To deny this is simply to be contrarian for its own sake.

    - Superflycool
  8. 8.

    Wilner whats with the Angry Bird logo at the top of your blog?

    MW: Someday it will change.

    - JD
  9. 9.

    I know Fielder is basically fat (to be blunt) but he has hardly missed any games in his career, so I think he should get some “athletic” credit for that. And he’s quite young.

    If the Jays would take him for 3/80, why not offer 6/120 like the Brewers apparently have and front load it so he makes 80 the first 3 years. Then in the final 3 years he only costs 3/40. If the Jays don’t want him past 3 years, don’t you think someone would give up ome good talent to grab him at 3 years for 40M?

    I think we have a great DH in platooning Lind and EE (great for the money and I think both will have solid years coming up). Putting Fielder at 1B (with Lind to back-up once in a while) would just be such an upgrade vs just Lind at 1B and EE at DH, every day, with utility guys for backup.

    - sons
  10. 10.


    Wouldn’t Travis Snider have more of a market value then Eric Thames? What about doing something along the lines of sending Lind + Snider for a #1 or #2 starter? it couldn’t hurt us to get another good starting pitcher and we have options in the outfield. What do you think?

    MW: There’s not a chance the Blue Jays can get a starter that good for that package. Well, not a reasonable chance, but Alex is a ninja, after all.

    - Jarrod Sidloski
  11. 11.

    MW: Prince Fielder’s body type doesn’t lend itself to aging well. To deny this is simply to be contrarian for its own sake.

    And how would his knees react to carrying all that weight on turf? Especially since he seems to put a lot of stress on them.
    You also didn’t mention that one of SB’s negotiating ploys is to stir up the rumor mill to bid his client’s price higher, and The Blue Jays have been victimized by this before (aka Rickey Henderson)

    - Anonymous
  12. 12.

    I think Fielder would be a great fit but i wouldnt give more than 6 years so fat chance he comes. what about putting a package together for a garza type or i heard the braves might want to give up jurgins?

    - A Wilson
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