The Jays in the market for a catcher, outfielder

Leave a comment

Yesterday wasn’t a holiday in Canada, and MLB.com’s Blue Jays guy Jordan Bastian used his working day to get some dish from Toronto.  Among the items he learned:

  • Catcher Rod Barajas is not likely coming back. The Jays won’t offer him a multi-year deal, and other teams may, so the team will go in another direction.  Add the Jays to the list of teams interested in Yorvit Torrealba. OK, that list is only two teams long right now, but two makes a list, right?

  • Slugging outfield prospect Travis Snider has no guaranteed job next spring. He was a little underwhelming in 276 plate appearances last season, but the dude is only 21 years old.  A team that looks to basically be tearing down and rebuilding probably shouldn’t be in the business of blocking young guys like Snider.

The upshot of these two items is that the Jays now will be looking for an outfielder and a catcher.  This is problematic, as they are already apparently preoccupied with signing another half dozen or so shortstops, and the winter is only so long.

Oh, and they may be preoccupied with other things too. Such as their parent corporation laying off nearly a thousand employees.  Blue Jays fever: Catch it!

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.