The Yankees may give Halladay a miss

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The New York Times’ Tyler Kepner thinks that the Yankees may pass up the chance to trade for Roy Halladay:

Don’t expect the Yankees to make their Halladay strategy public – why
not keep other teams guessing? – but the early prediction here is that
they will not get him. History is a guide, and though Joba Chamberlain
and Phil Hughes were not always consistent last season, they showed
progress toward becoming the aces the Yankees envision. And for a team
that wants to get younger, it would seem foolish to trade a future ace
and the few dynamic position players the Yankees have in their farm

I see where Kepner is coming from: given the way they passed on Johan Santana and waited for CC Sabathia to become a free agent as opposed to trading for him, it would appear that the Yankees are no longer in sign-everything-that-moves mode. They make considered judgments and all of that. In Kepner’s words, the Yankees are not desperate and won’t act is if they are.

But Halladay is a different beast than Sabathia and Santana, right? The Yankees passed on Santana for the simple reason that they knew Sabathia would come available the next year. At the same time, they were able to wait on Sabathia because they knew they were well-positioned to sign him when he hit the market.

Contrast that with the Halladay situation: there isn’t another arm like Halladay’s that will come available next season. Unlike Sabathia, Halladay and the Blue Jays are entertaining a window in which to sign an extension prior to any trade being completed.  Upshot: If they Yankees don’t act to get Halladay now, they will not get him.

I like the idea of giving Chamberlain and Hughes a chance, and Kepner mentions that the Yankees probably need to think about getting younger. But their youth cuts both ways: younger is better, but doesn’t it also make sense to try and squeeze a couple more championships out of the Jeter-Rodriguez-Posada-Teixeira-Sabathia core?  With Halladay in the fold, they’d be favorites for that for the next 4-5 years. With Chamberlain and Hughes, there are no guarantees.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.