Gibbons has the floor at winter meetings

by on December 11, 2013

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* John Gibbons has his turn for the manager’s annual state-of-the-union address. ….

 

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By Bob Elliott

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. –After what happened a year ago–that 12-player blockbuster which helped them head south in the standings–would the Blue Jays ever talk trade with the Miami Marlins again?
Apparently so, as the Jays have asked the Marlins about the availability of Logan Morrison. 
Toronto is one of six teams to inquire about the Marlins the first baseman, who hit .242 with six homers, 36 RBIs and a .709 OPS this season. Morrison, 26, started 78 games at first and is eligible for salary arbitration next year.
The Jays mentioned DH/first baseman Adam Lind as part of trade talks. The Marlins said Lind was not a good fit for them, no matter the package.
The Tampa Bay Rays are also in need of a first baseman since James Loney is looking for a three-year, $27 million US deal.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking for a help as well, since free-agent Justin Morneau headed to the Colorado Rockies. Lind earns $7 million next season, which is too rich for the Pirates blood, although Pittsburgh may have an excess in starting pitching.
And the Seattle Mariners may need a DH if either Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales don’t return.
A number of teams have inquired about Lind but he won’t be moved him unless the Jays know they can replace his bat.
Manager John Gibbons said whether Lind platoons depends if a left-handed hitter is added.
Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Monday he did not expect to trade for a starting pitcher during the winter meetings and a free-agent was signed it would not happen until January (translation: After it is decided if Masahiro Tanaka’s contract will be posted and the cost).
Gibbons had his briefing session with reporters as the other 29 managers do during the Winter Meetings and addressed a number of subjects:
 IMPROVING THE STARTING PITCHING  “Alex is working at it, the problem is everybody and their brother is looking for starting pitching and everybody knows that. There are limitations to what you can do.”
THE ROTATION  “Drew Hutchinson is back, Kyle Drabek is coming back, so those guys are healthy. Whether they’re ready to start the big-league season, who knows? Ideally they’d start triple-A, but health is not an issue right now.
Brandon Morrow is another big question mark. He’s pitching in Arizona and throwing simulated games and feels good. That’s a guy that we’ve got to have.”
R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle pitched over 200 innings last year and Todd Redmond is a possibility to throw to Dioneer Navarro (53 starts) and either Josh Thole (34) or Erik Kratz (54).
JOSE BAUTISTA’S STATUS?  “Some teams have asked about him. He’s a big part of our team sitting in the centre of our lineup and still one of the best in baseball. You can understand why teams ask about him. He’s still here right now.”
ON MOISES SIERRA  Could he serve as a right-handed DH and how has he done at first base in winter ball?
“He could get some at-bats there. Sierra hasn’t been one of those guys that’s necessarily dominated lefties his whole career. I have a hard time seeing him there to be honest, if you want to know the truth– maybe in that blowout.”
ANTHONY GOSE IN LEFT?  “If Melky Cabrera‘s fine, Melky will be in left.”
AN UPGRADE ON DEFENCE?  “We’ve got to play better defence or forget it. You’ve got to defend. We were bad early and that affected us in a big way. Coming out of the gate, we’ve got to play better. In September we were much improved and a big part of that was Ryan Goins.”
HOW WILL 2ND SHAKE OUT?  “We like what Goins did in September, he gave us a shot in the arm. He handled the ball well enough to be the top dog going in there.”
WILL KAWASAKI BE BACK?  “They talked to him. There is a chance. He wants to play at home and make some good money in Japan. That’s up in the air.”

Bob Elliott
Bob Elliott is the founder of the Canadian Baseball Network. He is also a baseball columnist for the Toronto Sun, Sun Media and a frequent guest on The FAN-590. He was born in Kingston, Ont. If you want to know anything and everything to do with the Major Leagues, Minor Leagues or amateur baseball in Canada - Bob is the man to talk to.

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