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Mark DeRosa claimed on waivers: How it impacts the Blue Jays

Mark DeRosa

Blue Jays fans woke up this morning to reports that they would rather not have heard: Mark DeRosa has been claimed on waivers.  In a season of disappointment, the 38-year old has been one of the more popular players on the roster, as well as providing invaluable leadership.

The news was first broken by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.  The Jays have until the end of today to either work out a trade, let DeRosa go on a straight waiver claim or pull back and keep him.

At this stage, the team which has claimed DeRosa is unknown.  The Braves, who the infielder started his professional career with, and the Tigers, are among the teams speculated to be interested.

There is no denying that DeRosa, who won a World Series ring in 2010 with the Giants, would provide quality depth for a contending team.  The impending free agent is owed around $230,000 for the remainder of this season, with a team option of $750,000 in 2014.

It will be interesting to see how valuable Alex Anthopoulos deems the 16-year veteran to be, although updated reports indicate the Jays will not move DeRosa.  However, despite the reality that numerous players are claimed during August, concerns about the future of the fan-favourite will likely remain, until official confirmation is received.

Photo credit: www.zimbio.com

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Blue Jays trade deadline rumors: Twins looking to swap Justin Morneau for Josh Johnson

justin morneau

With the clock ticking towards 4pm ET today, trade speculation around the Majors is heating up.  With just a few hours remaining, teams are frantically looking for ways to improve themselves, before the expiry of the non-waiver trade deadline.

However, it’s not just the contenders that are looking to make moves.  According to reports coming out of Minnesota, the Twins could be interested in trading Justin Morneau for Jays pitcher Josh Johnson.

There’s no denying such a move could provide a shot in the arm for the remainder of the season, especially with both teams out of contention.  Johnson was born in Minnesota, while Morneau is a native of British Columbia.

On a more practical level, the Twins are desperate for pitching help and the Jays could well listen, purely based on Johnson’s performances this season. The pitcher has been a major disappointment in Toronto, recording a 1-7 record in 14 starts, with an ERA of 6.08.

Money would not be an issue either.  Johnson is making $13.75 million this season, while Morneau is earning $14 million.

Realistically speaking, the trade seems unlikely, with Morneau playing first base or DH, positions currently filled by Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind.  Also, Alex Anthopoulos has said he would prefer not to bring in players who will become free agents at the end of the season.

Anthopoulos is still hopeful Johnson can return to the form that earned him two All-Star selections, especially with John Gibbons confirming he has been dealing with a left knee injury all season.  All indications point towards the Jays making a qualifying offer to the former Miami Marlin and bringing him back next season.

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Blue Jays trade deadline rumors: What will happen to Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle?

Mark Buehrle

With the MLB non-waiver trade deadline coming tomorrow, last night’s 9-4 loss in Oakland only further solidifies what was already evident: The Blue Jays are in the market as sellers.

The question is, who is Alex Anthopoulos looking to move?  Two names that have been frequently mentioned are Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, but how realistic is this?

Starting with Johnson, there appears to be little to no chance of anyone being willing to take him on.  You could even go as far as to suggest, at this point, the former Miami Marlin will be fortunate to receive a qualifying offer from the Jays.

Whatever value Johnson may have had earlier in the season, has been eradicated in his recent outings.  Overall, the 29-year old is 1-7 in 14 starts this year, with an ERA of 6.08.

The pitcher’s situation has not been helped by unsubstantiated rumors that he is carrying an injury, which is affecting his performances.  Either way, don’t expect Johnson to go anywhere at the trade deadline.

Turning to Buehrle, he appears to have more value if the Jays wish to move him.  Despite being 34, he still offers an instant solution for any contenders looking for an experienced pitcher, who can eat up innings.

The main issue that may put any potential suitors off of trading for the former White Sox pitcher, is his contract.  With 2 years and $37 million owing to him, the risk may be considered too expensive.

Overall, whether it is by design or not, Anthopoulos will likely do little, if anything, before the trade deadline expires tomorrow.  The question is, does he believes in the core of this team moving forward, especially if they hope to contend during the next two seasons?

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Blue Jays among front-runners for Matt Garza

Matt Garza

With the MLB trade deadline fast approaching (July 31), contending teams are using the All-Star break to finalise moves to help make that final push during the last two months of the regular season.

Given their current placing, fans may be somewhat surprised to hear the Blue Jays still believe they have a chance to make the postseason.  As if to prove this point, they are currently pursuing Cubs pitcher, Matt Garza.

This is not the first time the Blue Jays have shown an interest, having inquired about the 29-year old last season.  The chances of acquiring Garza on this occasion have been increased by the Cubs reportedly informing the pitcher he will likely be traded, after contract extension talks fell apart.

Along with the Rangers, the Blue Jays are considered the front runners for the services of the former first round draft pick.  However, other teams, including AL East rivals the Orioles and Red Sox, are also in contention.

With an ERA of 1.24 over his last six starts, Garza would likely help a Jays starting rotation, which has been beset by injuries and inconsistencies all year.  Having previously been named MVP of the ALCS in 2008 and with a no-hitter on his resume, Garza has the ability to help turn the Jays season around.

While certain critics believe the Jays should be sellers, this makes sense as a potential short-term solution, with Garza in the final year of his contract.  If he comes to Toronto and does not live up to expectations, there is no long-term commitment to worry about.

However, if the former Minnesota Twin proves to be a success, Alex Anthopoulos can look to negotiate a new deal.  Expect the situation to become clearer in the next few days, with the Cubs eager to make a trade before Garza’s next start.

Photo credit: @RCardenas3

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Blue Jays considering trading Josh Johnson

Josh Johnson

The MLB trade deadline may still be several weeks away (July 31), but teams are already positioning themselves in anticipation of what moves they will make.  The Blue Jays are no different.

Just two weeks ago, it looked like they were going to have to consider being sellers.  Despite the recent 11-game winning streak, this may still be the case, albeit not to the same extent, now the Jays are back in contention.

Along these lines, Alex Anthopoulos has reportedly been recently contemplating trading starting pitcher Josh Johnson, who is in the final season of a four-year $39 million contract.  The realisation has always been there that such a move might be necessary, especially if Johnson was not prepared to negotiate a new contract.

However, this appeared to be less of an issue after Johnson’s indifferent start to the season, which included a disastrous outing against Detroit, when he gave up 6 runs in just 1.1 innings.  Matters deteriorated for the former Florida Marlin, when he was placed on the disabled list due to inflammation in a right triceps muscle.

While Johnson’s fortunes have improved since coming off the DL, with an ERA of 2.84 in his last four starts, Anthopoulos is still considering unloading him.  The pitcher is expected to receive a lot of attention, putting the Jays GM in a strong position for any potential deal.

With just over a month left till the non-waiver trade deadline, the Blue Jays are in no hurry to make a move at this time.  Expect them to wait to see how the team performs over the next few weeks, before making a final decision on Johnson.

Photo credit: @luthy27

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R.A. Dickey joins the Blue Jays: The Man behind the beard

R.A. Dickey traded to blue jays

Thanks for nothing R.A. Dickey.  That’s right, my (entirely imaginary) friendship with the 2012 Cy Young winner isn’t off to a very good start.

As you know, Blue Toro likes to look at the more light-hearted side of the Toronto sports scene, including poking a bit of fun at the teams and players.  So when I got the inevitable call from my boss to come up with an article on the newest Blue Jay, I started digging.

And digging…………..aaaaaand digging.  Nothing!  It turns out Robert Allen Dickey is an inspiration and all-around top guy, an underdog who everyone wants to root for.

After initially being drafted in the first round by the Texas Rangers in 1996, Dickey had limited success.  It was only around 2005 that he worked out his unusual forkball pitch was actually a hard knuckleball.

Eventually, after joining the Mets in 2010, Dickey finally perfected his knuckleball pitch (which he calls “the thing”) and he started to enjoy regular success as a starting pitcher in the majors.

Unfortunately making any jokes about his age is off limits, because I’m also 38.  And I’m pretty sure I haven’t got a Cy Young winning campaign just around the corner.  Besides, with the knuckleball being his main weapon, Dickey likely has several productive years left in him.

Indeed, with success coming fairly late in his career, Dickey has his feet firmly planted on the ground.  He’s happily* married with two four children, so I can’t even expect to see him roaming around the bars of Toronto, looking for some young lady to use his knuckleball on.

If you do see the former New York Met out on the town, he’s more likely to be found in a coffee shop reading a book.  He’s an avid reader who said he would have become an English professor if he hadn’t played baseball.  Translation: He’s unlikely to come out with any idiotic comments on Twitter that we can use against him.

He’s also a born-again Christian.  However, not in the “I’ve been a bad person who got into loads of trouble and needs to turn my life around” type of way.  It is more likely connected to his admitting in his autobiography that he was sexually abused as a youngster and then later dealing with suicidal thoughts.

These struggles and his battle to become a successful pitcher is a powerful motivation for people, showing that it is possible to overcome whatever problems you have and lead a fulfilling life.

Dickey even risked his 2012 salary ($4.25 million) to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and help raise awareness of human trafficking in India.  Surprise, surprise, Mr. Perfect managed to reach the summit and raise over $100,000.

And so, with all these accomplishments, I have to give a tip of the hat to Robert Allen Dickey.  (Even his initials aren’t hiding some dodgy first name!  For the love of……..)

Overall, the best thing I can say about Dickey is that thankfully there aren’t more professional athletes like him, otherwise I’d have nothing to write about.

* I have since discovered that Dickey did actually cheat on his wife once.  However, after everything the guy’s been through, I’m not going to hold it against him.


Blue Toro mailbag (part two): Are the Blue Jays giving up too much for R.A. Dickey?

R.A. Dickey New York Mets

Click here for part one

Q. If and when the trade goes through, are the Blue Jays giving up too much for R.A. Dickey?

Mark – Oakville

A. There is absolutely no way of knowing at this point.  It depends if R.A. Dickey (let’s hope he works out better than previous pitchers the Jays have signed, who insist on using initials instead of their first names) replicates last year’s CY Young winning form for another two or three years.

If he does and the Jays return to the playoffs (at the very least) I’d say it was worth it.  If not, then it depends on how the careers of prospects Travis D’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard’s pan out.

Of course, if the latter does happen, you can guarantee certain factions of the Toronto sports media will put their ‘captain hindsight’ hats on and say: “I told you it wouldn’t work!”  But the thing is, nobody can tell at this stage.  Not you, not me, not the media.  This is a deal that may take several years before we know the full ramifications of it.

To be honest, at this stage I’m more bothered about how so many details have been revealed during a process that seems to be dragging out in a similar fashion to the NHL lockout.  Literally every step of the negotiation has come out with everyone in the media trying to get one up on each other.

(I had to laugh when reading an update that said ‘Report: Blue Jays acquire Dickey’.  And yet, when clicking on the link, it actually said a deal was ‘in place’ to acquire Dickey, pending his agreeing to an extension with the Blue Jays.  I look forward to the update that tells us Dickey has a pen in his hand and he’s reading through his contract. ‘Report: Dickey is poised to sign for the Blue Jays!’)

By comparison, we were all stunned by the blockbuster trade involving the Marlins.  Nobody saw it coming.  Remember Alex Anthopoulos said if there were any trade rumours involving the Jays, they were unlikely to be true?  He likes to do his deals under a cloak of secrecy.  But not this time.

So how did this happen?  The answer will likely annoy you as much as it did me.  The deal is being discussed with the Mets, whose general manager is Sandy Alderson.  Call it a coincidence if you want, but it just so happens Alderson’s ‘special’ assistant is a certain J. P. Ricciardi.

Yes, the same egotistical Ricciardi who loves the spotlight.  The same Ricciardi who once lied to the entire Blue Jays fanbase about the severity of B.J. Ryan’s elbow injury and then justified it by saying: “They’re not lies if we know the truth.”*

The same Ricciardi who questioned Adam Dunn’s passion for baseball (in a public forum on the Fan590 of course) and then claimed he apologised when Dunn contacted him, something Dunn denies.  The same Ricciardi who.…….well….…..you get the idea.

Expect normal service to be resumed for Anthopoulos and the Jays when they make their next deal.  Unless it’s with the Mets again.

* That quote is pretty much on a par with George Costanza saying, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

If you have any questions for the Blue Toro mailbag, please email them to us at: paul.taylor@bluetoro.ca


Blue Jays complete blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins

jose reyes miami

Wow!  I don’t know about you, but I’m still having a tough time getting my head around the fact that the Blue Jays just completed one of the biggest trades in baseball history with the Miami Marlins.

Of course, when the teams get around to holding their press conference, both franchises will claim they are happy with the trade and got exactly what they wanted.  This always makes me laugh, because for you to get any player, it often means the other team doesn’t want him anymore.

Take Jose Reyes for example.  On the surface, this is great for the Jays organisation, getting one of the top shortstops in the game.  However, if he’s so good, why were the Marlins willing to let him go?  Let me present exhibit A:

GIF: Jose Reyes gets pwned by the sun #Mets #Marlins on Twitpic

Now I wouldn’t mind, but this happened against Reyes former team, the Mets.  Wouldn’t you think he’d be more focused to show them what they missed out on.  Oh, hold on……maybe he did.

Having said that, I’m going to attempt to be positive for once.  As my esteemed colleague Manny reported yesterday, the Marlins one remaining star player Giancarlo Stanton is less than impressed with the deal:

What impressed me most about this trade by Alex Anthopoulos is that the Jays were able to get rid of Yunel Escobar.  Don’t get me wrong, I will miss the guy in a bizarre kind of way.  He’s a hell of a talent, but he’s also a bit of a mentalist.

However, on the plus side for Escobar, he should now be able to wear whatever message he likes on his eye black.

yunel escobar toronto

After all, with the novelty of a new stadium now worn off, together with the Marlins reduced payroll, no one will be going to watch games in Miami, just like the good old days.


Huge positive trade for the Blue Jays

miami marlins players

Big news for Blue Jays fans today!  Toronto has acquired pitcher Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson as well as shortstop Jose Reyes from the Marlins in exchange for Yunel Escobar, Henderson Alvarez, Hechavarria and Nicolino.

The report comes from Ken Rosenthal, so you can guarantee this is true.  He also adds that more players could come in the trade.  This is the biggest deal for the Blue Jays since they acquired Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar.

Jose Bautista is obviously very happy to get some support offensively and also on the mound. Here is what he tweeted a couple of minutes ago:

@JoeyBats19: Its a good day to be a bluejay!

On the other side, Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins is not a happy man.

@Giancarlo818: Alright, I’m pissed off!!! Plain & Simple


Blue Toro MLB Insider Report: Toronto Blue Jays considering Justin Morneau

justin morneau minnesota

Okay, so if you could wish for anything right now, what would it be?  Oh…….win the lottery? Try again. One night of passion with your secretary? Get a divorce?!?! No!

Maybe I should have clarified that this was a sports-related question. I was referring to any signing the Blue Jays could make before the end of today’s non-waiver trade deadline. What, you want another quality starting pitcher?! For the love of…….

Right, this is getting us nowhere so I’ll just get straight to the point: If you could add a four-time All-Star, who is also a former AL MVP and a Canadian to boot, would you go for it?  Damn right you would!

According to Blue Toro’s MLB insider, the team is “seriously interested” in the Minnesota Twins Justin Morneau.  This move would represent an upgrade at the first base position, allowing Edwin Encarnacion to move back to DH full-time and concentrate on his hitting, where he currently leads the Jays in home-runs and RBIs’.

(In terms of depth, it would also be a good move with Morneau, Encarnacion and Adam Lind all capable of playing both first base and DH.)

I’m trying my best not to get too excited about this and in that respect there is a couple of sobering thoughts.  First, Morneau is owed around $14 million for next year and even if the Rogers ownership are prepared to cover that cost, the Twins are apparently looking for starting pitching in return.  Last time I checked, the Blue Jays weren’t exactly loaded with quality bodies in this area.

Whatever transpires between now and the close of the trade deadline at 4:00pm Eastern Time, our insider has given assurances that he will keep us updated on any developments regarding Morneau. (If only because he’s feeling guilty after going to bed early last night and completely missing the scoop on the Travis Snider and Eric Thames trades.)

Photo credit: Nick Nelson – Twins Daily