* Has GM Alex Anthopoulos made CF Colby Rasmus available as the Blue Jays try to make a move on the trade front? .... Sign up for CBN Newsletter
By Bob Elliott
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Colby Rasmus is on the market and has been offered to two teams by the Blue Jays for starting pitching.
And in the other news:
The Blue Jays are one year into a five-year window after making deals a year ago with the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets to acquire the likes of R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas and the dearly departed (to other teams).
Somehow, we remember from last December general manager Alex Anthopoulos saying the trades gave the Jays a chance to win the next three years.
“I said three-to-five years,” said Anthopoulos during his daily briefing.
How many players are signed for five years?
“We have Reyes for five,” said Anthopoulos. “We thought that by that time some of our young prospects should get to the majors.”
The new news about this new, five-year window came when Anthopoulos was asked since the 2014 season is of more importance compared to last year or any other year, why he would not trade prospects for immediate help?
“It depends, I don’t look at it that way, if that was the case we would trade everybody (prospects),” Anthopoulos told reporters. “You have to balance the short terms vs. the long term.”
No matter the length – or width– of the Jays’ window, Anthopoulous’s Jays had best not win 74 games again next season.
Or else the short term will be shorter than short.
Manager John Gibbons hinted at the importance of 2014 on Monday when he said “we have to get off to a good start.”
The way we remember the window to win?
Cranking up the Google to the euphoria of a year ago, some stories say three, a few say 3-to-5, which now either means two years or 2-to-4.
With one year done, whether the GM said three years or five, can be thrown out the window.
The Jays HAVE to contend next season.
And their only changes to date are behind the plate – adding Dioner Navarro and Erik Kratz – plus feel-good story Roy Halladay, who in retirement wants to work for the Jays, as well as coach his boys. Halladay could become part of Paul Beeston’s posse with Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar, Cito Gaston, Fred McGriff and Paul Quantrill.
“We have a chance to be more productive on the trade front (than free agency), we can add a starter, say, for a starter, a reliever and a prospect,” said Anthopoulos, “but we wouldn’t do a deal if we had to give up two of our starters.”
The Jays are playing with a 55-yard field (or 50 if it’s the NFL) in that they won’t go longer than a five-year contract on free agents, thereby eliminating their chances for big-name free agents demanding eight-and 10-year deals.
“We’ll offer more money with a larger average annual salary but we won’t go over five years,” said Anthopoulos. “We think five is long enough. A representative for a free agent came to us proposing a five-year deal. He signed elsewhere for a longer term.”
Anthopoulos pointed out how the Los Angeles Dodgers offered Rafael Furcal a three-year deal averaging $11 million which he took rather a five-year deal averaging $9 million from the Chicago Cubs.
And how Shane Victorino turned down a four-year salary averaging $11 million to sign a three-year with the Boston Red Sox for a package of $13 million per year.
“Some guys will sign a short deal to get back into the market place ... as long as it’s not their last contract,” said Anthopoulos. “On a short deal they can come out and perform and re-enter. Cliff Lee took less to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies (the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers made larger offers).
“Who figured Carlos Beltran would sign a three-year deal at age 36 or Tim Hudson would do a two-year deal at 39.”
The Jays did Vernon Wells and Alex Rios extensions for seven years. Neither worked out. Much like the Yankees swearing off 10-year deals (see Robinson Cano going to the land of happiness and the Seattle Mariners) after seeing Alex Rodriguez’s failing numbers.
The Jays are finding out as they search for young starters under control that teams don’t want to part with such young talent.
Even when Rasmus is dangled to other teams.
Day by day the trade window closes ... much like the window to win, however long it is.
A year ago, the Yanks scrimping and saving. The Boston Red Sox were short on talent.
That’s not the case now.