Ideal or not, the Toronto Blue Jays have found their solution at backstop in Dioner Navarro, which means GM Alex Anthopoulos can now put his full attention towards finding an arm or two to fill out the starting rotation. And if Oakland Athletics beat writer Susan Sussler is right, the exec is leaving very little to the imagination as to exactly who it is that he wants:
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) December 3, 2013
So much for the whole “ninja” narrative, right?
That the team has been linked to Brett Anderson is neither a surprise nor groundbreaking news, as Toronto has been interested in the lefty for what seems like a couple of seasons now. Now that the team’s plans to re-tool its starting rotation have started to emerge with the Jeff Samardzija rumors, however, it’s likely that things are going to get taken up a notch or two in the coming days.
After all, Billy Beane and co. have been busy this week, making a flurry of trades within the last couple of days to acquire Jim Johnson, Craig Centry and Luke Gregerson. It looks like the A’s might be on a mission to get all of their offseason dealings done ahead of the Winter Meetings, and if so, it definitely wouldn’t be unexpected to see the Anderson market heat up quickly.
And make no mistake about it: despite being very injury-prone in his young career to date, there will be a fair number of teams who will also be in the mix with the Bluebirds for his services.
For now, you can count the Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers and the Minnesota Twins as the known interested parties, with the Twins being a particularly motivated team as they’re perhaps one move away from completing a remarkable rotation rebuild that could include a trio of Anderson, Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes (3.88 road ERA in 2013, 6.32 in Yankee Stadium).
So, what does that mean for the Blue Jays? How much of a chance do they have of landing him?
Well, jokes about him fitting in on the DL aside, Anderson would give the team a young arm at 25 with demonstrated ace upside. While the upside game isn’t necessarily what the team needs in a year where they need to compete, the fact that health appears to be the only roadblock to success here makes him a slightly different case.
The fact is that there aren’t too many arms with Anderson’s ability out there that can be had with two remaining years of team control at $8 million in 2014, and I mean, guys have to stop getting hurt in Toronto eventually, right?
On the other hand, while they’re reportedly high on him, it’s also the case that they don’t necessarily want to get into a bidding war either. Not that the Twins are likely to give up one of their uber-prospects (Bryon Buxton and Miguel Sano) to acquire him, but if it gets to that territory, the Toronto would be wise not to be risking both top prospects Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez to get a deal done.
Also going against the Blue Jays’ chances here is that the A’s are rumored to be looking for a catcher and middle infielder, and neither are areas that Toronto has much to offer from.
With both Oakland and Toronto set up to enter “all-in” mode, can they really come to an agreement on a deal for Anderson that would help both teams compete in that regard? The Blue Jays have outfield and bullpen depth that could perhaps be of immediate help, but with their latest moves, they’re not really any of the A’s concerns.
I guess the short of it is that while the team might be interested, getting a deal done might not be so easy … however infatuated the Blue Jays may be in the southpaw.