If you’re a Blue Jays fan (and the fact that you’re reading this blog suggests you are) you can be forgiven for living on a high so far this offseason. With Alex Anthopoulos leading the way, the Jays have been one of the busiest teams in baseball, remaking their roster and becoming, at least on paper, a contender.
But there are 29 other teams in the majors that are trying to win the World Series too, and many of them have been very active as well. So just in case you’ve spent the last several weeks lost in an AA-trade induced hangover, here is a look at some of the biggest trades and signings elsewhere in baseball, and what they mean to Toronto.
Atlanta signs B.J. Upton from Tampa Bay (5-years, $75-million)
2013 Impact to Jays: Beneficial. Though he might not have lived up to his true potential with the Rays, removing a guy with 30-30 potential from the top of Tampa’s lineup can only help Toronto’s chances in the AL East.
Beyond: Unknown. You never know what the Rays have up their sleeves. While there may not be a readily apparent heir for Upton, you can rest assured that there soon will be.
Pittsburgh signs Russell Martin from New York (2-years, $17-million)
2013 Impact to Jays: Beneficial. Martin wasn’t lights out but still hit 39 HR for the Yanks over the past two seasons, and his departure leaves NYY with Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart as their catchers. Ugh.
Beyond: Likely negative. You know that the Yankees won’t keep a weak spot open for long. Might we see a major push for a catcher in the years ahead?
Boston signs Shane Victorino from LA Dodgers (3-years, $39-million)
2013 Impact to Jays: Slightly Beneficial. Victorino is on the decline and having him start everyday might be a bonus for Toronto.
Beyond: Beneficial. Three years of potentiall declining numbers for almost $40-million? This might be even more beneficial if Victorino’s presence leads the Red Sox to trade the oft-injured (but vastly superior) Jacoby Ellsbury, as has been rumoured.
Boston signs Mike Napoli from Texas (3-years, $39-million)
2013 Impact to Jays: Slightly negative. His bat might play well in Fenway, giving the Red Sox some much needed pop.
Beyond: Neutral. Whatever pop he might add is largely diminished by the $40-million contract, a bit excessive seeing as how Napoli has had only one above-average season in his career. Boston may regret this one.
New York signs Kevin Youkilis from Chicago (1-year, $12-million)
2013 Impact to Jays: Mostly negative. An aging and declining veteran, he’ll likely do no worse than an aging and declining A-Rod would have, but might be inspired to stick it to his ex-team after they dumped him last year. Any bounceback season in the AL East is trouble for Toronto.
Beyond: Likely none.
Detroit signs Torii Hunter from LA Angels (2-years, $26-million)
2013 Impact to Jays: Positive. Detroit will likely enter 2013 as heavy AL Central favourites again, meaning they aren’t competing against the Jays for a Wild Card spot. However, Hunter’s ex-mates in Anaheim are, and despite his advanced age, this weakens the Angels.
Beyond: Likely negative. Only signed for two years, but if another Central team steps up, Detrot is a fierce Wild Card competitor.
LA Dodgers sign Zack Greinke from LA Angels (6-years, $147-million)
2013 Impact to Jays: Hugely positive. Texas and Anaheim pushed hard for the ace, but he is going just about as far away from the Jays as possible.
Beyond: Potentially negative. Though Greinke won’t be an issue, the fact that two big clubs, rich with cash, missed out on him means that both are now eager to spend on the next big free agent in 2014. Look out.
Washington signs Dan Haren from LA Angels (1-years, $13-million)
2013 Impact to Jays: Beneficial. 2012 might have been an off year, but Haren has been dependable over the years, and he takes his 8-3 liftetime record against the Jays to the NL where he won’t be a factor any longer.
Beyond: Neutral. Only a 1-year deal.
Arizona signs Brandon McCarthy from Oakland (2-years, $15.5-million)
2013 Impact to Jays: Beneficial. Solid starter provided veteran leadership for a young A’s staff. He’ll be missed in 2013, a good thing for the Jays.
Beyond: Neutral. Oakland has one of the best young staffs in the league, and McCarthy’s absence will likely be a non-issue in 2014 and beyond.
LA Angels sign Ryan Madson from Cincinnati (1-year, $6-million)
2013 Impact to Jays: Unknown. The Angels had a terrible time with their bullpen at the beginning of the season, but will a closer who missed all of 2012 be able to fix that? If so, the Angels could win more games. If not, they’ll be left scrambling again.
Beyond: Likely negative. If he succeeds, then the Angels have a closer, and have the inside track to re-sign him, bad news for the rest of the AL. If he fails, they start over.
Cincinnati gets Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald;
Cleveland gets Drew Stubbs, Trevor Bauer, Matt Albers, and Bryan Shaw;
Arizona gets Didi Gregorius, Lars Anderson, and Tony Sipp
2013 Impact to Jays: Likely positive. Drew Stubbs is a speedy player, but pales in comparison to Choo offensively (.610 OPS in ’12, compared to Choo’s .815). That’s a good tradeoff for the Jays. Cleveland improves its pitching staff, but will not likely be a Wild Card contender in 2013 so it doesn’t matter….yet.
Beyond: Negative. Choo was likely gone either after or during the 2013 season anyways. Trevor Bauer was ranked 9th on Baseball America’s top-100 prospects list for 2012, and is the 3rd overall pick from the 2011 draft. He has the potential to be an elite, top of the rotation arm for a young Indians team that only figures to get better in the next several seasons. With Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis, they could be contending as early as 2014 with Bauer.
Kansas City gets James Shields and Wade Davis;
Tampa Bay gets Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard
2013 Impact to Jays: Probably positive. Shields and Davis will probably be better and have more of an impact in 2013 than Myers and the other prospects the Rays received. Though Tampa has a deep rotation, losing the 200-plus quality innings that Shields provides has to make them a bit weaker. KC might think of themselves as Wild Card contenders now, but are realistically a year out still.
Beyond: Negative. Prospect lists can always be dubious, but there’s no doubt that it’s better to be on a top-100 list than not. Three of the players picked up by the Rays were on Baseball America’s top-100 list for 2012: Myers (28th), Odorizzi (68th), and Montgomery (23rd). Then Myers went out and won the Minor League Player of the Year award in 2012 and instantly became one of the (if not the) top prospects in the game. Tampa might feel a slight hit in 2013 but will likely reap the rewards of this trade for years and years to come.
Philadelphia gets Ben Revere; Minnesota gets Vance Worley and Trevor May
2013 Impact to Jays: None. Revere leaves the American League and Minnesota will be trying to avoid the AL Central basement.
Beyond: Somewhat negative. Vance Worley isn’t an ace by any means, but he pitched well in Philly the past two seasons, and is only 25 years old. His addition instantly improves the Twins rotation as they head back towards respectability.
Atlanta gets Jordan Walden; LA Angels get Tommy Hanson
2013 Impact to Jays: Slightly negative. Walden had a rough start to 2012 and eventually spent some time in the minors. Though he pitched well upon his return, Ryan Madson’s signing basically rendered him moot. Hanson has been trending the wrong way since his ’09 rookie year, but he represents an upgrade over the departed Ervin Santana.
Beyond: Probably negative. If Hanson regains his early career form, he will be a formidable addition to the Angels staff, which means the team will be tougher competition for the Jays in the future.
Philadelphia gets Michael Young; Texas gets Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla
2013 Impact to Jays: Negative. Ron Washington is loyal to a fault, and despite Young’s poor .682 OPS in 2012, he played 156 games for the Rangers. With Young now in Philly, he is guaranteed to be out of the Rangers lineup, opening up a spot for phenom Jurickson Profar and making the Rangers an even better team.
Beyond: Likely none. Young is only signed through 2013 so he likely wasn’t coming back to Texas after next year anyways. This just gives Profar a one year head start in his major league development.