The other Toronto rumour is that the Jays will hold on to Vernon Wells and Alex Rios and may unload Hiske and Miguel Batista to the White Sox for Joe Crede and Carlos Lee?!? This came from a Jays "insider" this morning on the radio. There has to be more to it but that is the rumour.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ ... s/Baseball
This is a subscription and you may not get it so here is the whole article:
Jays will try to mend gaping hole in offence
Ricciardi unlikely to trade Wells or Rios and wants two bats to replace Delgado
By JEFF BLAIR
Saturday, December 11, 2004 - Page S1
E-mail this Article
Print this Article
Follow This Topic
Have the news stories that matter most sent to your inbox daily.
Follow the news…
National Basketball Association
The NHL Lockout
Create your own alert
ANAHEIM, CALIF. -- The crying and the spinning are done, and now the Toronto Blue Jays must deal with the most important aspect of Carlos Delgado's departure: replacing his offence.
Even with Delgado, the Blue Jays finished third last in the American League in batting average (.260) and on-base percentage (.328) and tied with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for the third fewest home runs (145.) Bringing free agent Corey Koskie in, getting a full year from Frank Catalanotto and hoping that Russ Adams gives them an upgrade at shortstop alone doesn't make them a better offensive team.
"We've said we'd like to add two bats," general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "You aren't going to replace Carlos's 35 or 40 homers and 100 RBIs with one guy. We need two, then maybe chip away elsewhere."
No wonder Ricciardi spent part of yesterday's first day of the winter meetings dismissing suggestions he would consider trading Vernon Wells or Alexis Rios. Ricciardi was also scheduled to meet late last night with Pat Rooney, Koskie's agent, and he and his lieutenants are closely monitoring the activities of the Chicago White Sox, with an eye toward acquiring left fielder and designated hitter Carlos Lee, who also played first base.
The White Sox's general manager, Kenny Williams, needs to regain some of the sports pages from the Chicago Cubs, and Lee or first baseman Paul Konerko could be dealt as he attempts to clear the decks for a significant free-agent acquisition to remake a team that has already lost free agent Magglio Ordonez.
Lee, a 28-year-old right-handed hitter, batted .305, with 31 homers and 99 runs batted in, and had an on-base percentage of .366. He interests the Blue Jays, even though he will make $8-million next season (as will Konerko, who has his own supporters in the Blue Jays' front office) and even though adding him and Koskie means the Blue Jays would move either Eric Hinske or Miguel Batista, or both, perhaps throwing a prospect such as Gabe Gross in as a sweetener.
Hinske will get a raise to $3-million next season, while Batista will earn $4.75-million.
Reports that Ricciardi approached the Washington Nationals about a trade that would send Rios to the National League club for Nick Johnson are wrong. Officials with both clubs say it was the Nationals who approached the Blue Jays and that Ricciardi was properly dismissive, since Johnson will be a free agent in two years (the Blue Jays have Rios for five more years) and is too often hurt.
Rios is on an intensive weightlifting program this off-season to see whether he can improve his power numbers. "But he's weightlifting naturally," Ricciardi quipped, referring to baseball's current obsession with steroids.
Wells was the subject of some interest on the part of the Anaheim Angels until yesterday's signing of Steve Finley.
"I would have to be bowled over to even think of trading Vernon or Rios," Ricciardi said. "Know what? It ain't going to happen. We already have enough offence we need to replace." Wells will make $2.9-million in 2005 in the third year of a five-year deal, making him hugely cost-effective for a team with a $53-million payroll.
While Ricciardi described some of the free-agent contracts signed in the past two days as "eye-opening," he said it probably won't have an impact on the players the Blue Jays are pursuing.
Koskie and pitcher Matt Clement remain the Blue Jays' free-agent focus. The Cleveland Indians, considered to be the front-runner for Clement's services, believe the right-hander is now out of their price range because of the bloated contracts offered to other pitchers. But Ricciardi said last night that he thought the Blue Jays were "still in the picture."
Designated hitter candidates such as Tony Clark and possibly even former Blue Jay John Olerud are in the background. "Not plan A," as Ricciardi described them.
The team is interested in bringing back former closer Billy Koch in a setup role -- "we've always like the arm," Ricciardi said.
Ricciardi confirmed that the Blue Jays are considering making a formal offer to left-handed reliever Steve Kline, a key member of the St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen, who was not offered arbitration by the club. Kline, a former member of the Montreal Expos, whose wife is from Montreal, was left off the Cardinals' World Series roster. A durable pitcher who had a 1.79 earned-run average last season, Kline made $1.7-million and will likely expect in the neighbourhood of $2.5-million.
He underwent surgery last month to repair a torn tendon in his left index finger.