By Dan Levine
Baseball’s winter meetings have kicked off in Texas, and that means plenty of rumours, speculation and chatter from all corners of the league. And yes, the Toronto Blue Jays are one of the teams creating buzz.
It’s all speculation at this point, that’s for sure. But even tight-lipped GM Alex Anthopoulos says the Jays are close to adding a piece (Bob Elliott, Sun):
“We’re about the five-yard line,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters.
“We’ve got some trades that are appealing. Both sides are very close, same with free agents. A lot of homework was done with our staff in Toronto. Say, for example, we’d like three players with one team, now we know only one is available.”
Sure, the Jays traded for Jeff Mathis this weekend, but it seems like AA is implying a more significant move than adding a career .194 hitter. On the other hand, recent reports have indicated that Toronto will pass on big free agents this winter… so really, we have no idea what’s to come.
In any case, let’s take a quick look at some of the more interesting Blue Jays-related rumours:
— The local media has largely picked up on a sketchy report that originated with CBSCleveland, stating that Prince Fielder has narrowed his choice down to three teams.. with Toronto in the lead. The slugger would obviously fit well next to Jose Bautista, but I’ll believe it when I see it. And I’m guessing I won’t. As Richard Griffin writes, it’s all part of the game – agent Scott Boras loves to talk up interest in his players, regardless of the truth. And really, think about the source of these Fielder rumours – a Cleveland beat writer, referencing no sources whatsoever… right. Jeff Blair also reports that AA won’t offer deals in the 10-year range that Fielder is looking for. It would still be a great signing if Anthopolous can pull it off, though.
— Speaking of rumours that won’t happen, Joe Strauss at stltoday.com writes that Toronto could be a player in the Albert Pujols sweepstakes. This one is pretty hard to fathom.
— In their quest for bullpen help, reports indicate the Jays could aim for Kansas City’s Greg Holland, who’s coming off a fantastic year for the Royals. Even if they don’t sign Holland, this could be the type of move that AA looks at, as opposed to targeting a brand name closer.
— Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi had this to say about AA’s plans for the Jays this winter:
With Mathis now in place as the winter meetings approach Monday, Anthopoulos and his team can zero in on acquiring the starting pitcher, closer, bullpen help and second baseman they still need.
“The Angels may be a team the Jays keep an eye on for their second base needs. They’ve been linked with interest in third baseman Aramis Ramirez, and should he sign in Anaheim infielders Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis may become available via trade.
Another team the Blue Jays might be watching is the Chicago White Sox, who are expected to be active and have a second baseman in Gordon Beckham that they have long admired.”
The rumours are all over the map here, and that’s what makes the offseason fun. In all likelihood, Anthopoulos ends up making a move that nobody saw coming. Still, what do you think the Jays should do this winter, and are you buying any of the big time free agent talk?