Matthew Pouliot

J.P. Arencibia

The Blue Jays are making it an easy call to sell

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After holding a players only meeting earlier in the day, the Blue Jays were up on the Dodgers 8-3 after six innings Tuesday night, only to give up seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings to lose 10-9. It was their sixth straight defeat.

Even the All-Star setup crew is getting into the action now. Steve Delabar gave up four runs in Monday’s 14-5 loss, while Brett Cecil surrendered three runs in two-thirds of an inning tonight. Cecil’s ERA has jumped from 1.43 to 2.61 since July 7.

At 45-54, the Blue Jays aren’t only 14 1/2 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East, but they’re 11 games out of the second wild card. Even the fourth place Yankees have 7 1/2 games on them in the AL East.

So while the Blue Jays have been talked about as buyers — they were one of the teams reportedly in the hunt for Matt Garza — they’re really leaving GM Alex Anthopoulos and crew no choice but to sell.

Unfortunately, the pieces the Blue Jays would most want to move have little value at the moment:

  • Josh Johnson has lost his last four starts and has a 7.36 ERA over his last six starts.
  • Mark Buehrle’s heavily backloaded deal calls for him to make $37 million the next two years.
  • Melky Cabrera just returned from an injury and has a .679 OPS.
  • Emilio Bonifacio hasn’t contributed as a utilityman, hitting .211/.251/.307.

The Blue Jays can and should deal from the pen, perhaps starting with closer Casey Janssen. Janssen is under control for $4 million next year and there isn’t a contender around that couldn’t use a guy like him, either for the eighth or ninth. The Jays can also part with one of their four lefties, whether it’s Cecil, Juan Perez or Darren Oliver. Aaron Loup is the keeper of the bunch.

One player the Jays probably can’t afford to move — and this would have come as a surprise a few months ago — is center fielder Colby Rasmus. Supposed heir apparent Anthony Gose has been a disaster in Triple-A, hitting just .230/.316/.303 and getting thrown out on 12 of his 24 steal attempts. Rasmus, a free agent after the 2014 season, has been a very good regular in spite of his strikeout problems, batting .267/.333/.480.

I doubt the Jays will part with any of their stars. There’s still plenty of talent here to get right back into the race next year. But it’s time to turn the page on 2013 and hopefully collect a few prospects to replace the ones they used in their deals for Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey over the winter.

A reminder: Francisco Rodriguez is a worse human being than Ryan Braun

Francisco Rodriguez
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If you’re an Orioles fan, feel free to root for the laundry. But let’s not celebrate Francisco Rodriguez.

K-Rod was initially arrested in Aug. 2010 after beating up the father of his girlfriend, Daian Pena. Rodriguez assaulted Carlos Pena at Citi Field after a game, punching him in the face. The incident actually left Rodriguez with torn ligaments in his pitching hand, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. The Mets took the incident very seriously, suspending him for two days. Rodriguez later pleaded guilty to assault charges and was sentenced to undergo 52 weeks of anger management. He was also barred from contacting his now ex-girlfriend, and mother of his twins, for two years.

If that was the end of K-Rod’s story, it might be worth forgiving him. However, he was arrested again last September in Wisconsin after he allegedly beat up a new girlfriend (and, again, the mother of his child). Those charges had to be dropped, mostly because the girlfriend and their housekeeper, an eyewitness, both departed for Rodriguez’s native Venezuela before the trial was scheduled to begin and never returned.

According to the prosecutor in the original case, there were also earlier incidents involving Pena, including one that led to her hospitalization in Venezuela.

So, yeah, Rodriguez is a quality reliever and he should fit nicely into a setup role in the Baltimore pen. The Orioles are a better team with him. As a person, though, he’s more worthy of scorn than any steroids user.

Report: Alex Rodriguez not interested in deal with MLB

Alex Rodriguez
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USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale hears that Alex Rodriguez intends to go down swinging.

Two people close to A-Rod told Nightengale that Rodriguez has no intention of negotiating a Biogenesis-related settlement with MLB and that he plans to appeal any suspension handed down.

Rodriguez’s penalty is expected to be more severe than the 65-game ban handed down to Ryan Braun on Monday. A person with knowledge of the investigation told Nightengale that the league is prepared to suspend A-Rod for at least 100 games. An appeal would make it unlikely that he serves any portion of a suspension this year.

Nightengale’s report comes less than a day after ESPNNewYork’s Wallace Matthews said Rodriguez was trying to cut a deal with the league.

Rodriguez, currently on the DL following hip surgery and now also rehabbing a strained quad, was the top billed of the players originally found to be clients of the now defunct Biogenesis clinic. That came four years after he originally admitted to using steroids in 2001-03 while playing for the Rangers. He’s still owed about $100 million through 2017 under the terms of his deal with the Yankees.

According to Nightengale, MLB is also investigating whether Rodriguez attempted to destroy Biogenesis materials that would have linked him to the clinic. The New York Daily News reported earlier this month that a former Biogenesis employee, Porter Fischer, tried to sell documents to Rodriguez for $1 million, but was turned down by the player and his representatives.