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Blue Jays remain interested in free agent starters Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana

Jan 29, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT

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Ken Rosenthal shares the buzz at FOXSports.com:

The Toronto Blue Jays, in need of another starting pitcher, might finally be preparing to pounce.

The Jays have yet to make an offer to a free-agent starter, according to major league sources. But they have done extensive background work on right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, digging into his medical records, and also remain interested in righty Ervin Santana and other free agents, sources said.

Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett are also thought to be under consideration in Toronto’s front office. Those two veterans did not receive qualifying offers from their former teams and are not tied to draft pick compensation, but, as Rosenthal notes, the Jays have protected picks at Nos. 9 and 11 and the draft slot they’d lose by signing a pitcher like Jimenez or Santana is No. 49.

Santana, 31, posted a 3.24 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 32 starts last year for the Royals, fanning 161 batters in 211 innings. Jimenez, 29, had a 3.30 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 194 strikeouts in 182 2/3 frames for Cleveland.

The Jays’ locked-in starters for 2014 are R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow and J.A. Happ.

  1. slaugin - Jan 29, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    My money is on Burnett

  2. proudlycanadian - Jan 29, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    The Jays have 3 solid pitching prospects who are almost MLB ready. Hutchinson and Drabek re now healthy following Tommy John surgery in 2012. They have no desire to or need to, sign any of those free agents to a contract longer than 3 years. AA has stated that he could have signed a free agent more than a month ago, if he had been willing to pay the offered price. Obviously, the offering prices have come down as pitchers and catchers report very soon. Burnett does make the most sense, if he is willing to sign for 1 year.

    • Reflex - Jan 29, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      So they have Hutchinson. Drabek will never produce for the Jays, and is likely to be injured again soon due to his throwing motion.

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 29, 2014 at 8:31 PM

        If I recall, this is Drabek’s second TJ surgery. You might be correct about that throwing motion. Its destroying his arm.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 29, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      Drabek the 26 year old bust is a pitching prospect? LOL Hey anyway here is the latest on your farm system that you are moaning about, it was ranked 24th genius. Enjoy the whole article while you are at it and when you are done you gotta ask yourself a question. What are the bluejays doing with all these high picks they get year after year? They have only sucked for the past 20+ years

      http://www.bluebirdbanter.com/2014/1/29/5355378/the-blue-jays-arent-getting-enough-from-their-young-players

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:07 PM

        I think we can discount anything this fool has to say. He’s the genius with the “contract the bottom teams” idea from the State of Baseball post.

      • happytwinsfan - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:24 PM

        i only decided to check this thread because i figured you might be here. in another thread i suggested, not seriously, that you were a jilted blue jay fan living in canada. you responded that you were red white and blue and added something about canada having harbored draft evaders. dude, are you a vietnam vet or is someone you love a vietnam vet? if so i can’t agree with you but i can understand. i was around then too.

      • Old Gator - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:21 PM

        He’s got this phony fantasy about coming from a long line of American patriots. It’s just his way of saying that his imbecility is a result of inbreeding.

      • tuberippin - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:02 AM

        The irony of a self-proclaimed Yankees fan talking about how bad other teams’ farm systems are…Drabek and Hutchison are Toronto’s versions of Banuelos and Dellin Betances.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 30, 2014 at 6:51 AM

        For some reason, when I picture Unclean Harold LOL’ing it ends with a rasping cough and some choking.

        Gary Sanchez has had the helium slowly leak out of his prospect balloon, and now he’s in the 80’s of everyone’s top 100. And he’s the only one in the top 100 wearing pinstripes. Yep, Cashman’s going to leave them with a terrible farm system and no starting players under the age of 35. Oh yeah, and that 4th place geriatric mess of a roster will cost more than $200 million. Good luck to the next GM.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        ah but what you so called experts are forgetting is the Yankees are not drafting high year after year after year like the bluejays are. Why? because we are either in the postseason (look at their run over the last 17 years) or signing free agents which means they lose draft picks. The jays on the other hand don’t sign anyone (last year was a FLUKE) and suck every year (nothing happening since 1993) and they have the 24th best farm system. That is called bad drafting!! Now I don’t always comment on this board but when I do, read closely my friends!

      • abaird2012 - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:15 AM

        Amentia!

      • cur1968 - Jan 31, 2014 at 1:44 AM

        Christ. You still doing this? Stupid old poo flinger.

  3. weaselpuppy - Jan 29, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    They have four #4 starters. Might wanna upgrade instead of rely on a couple guys that were swing starter caliber guys before they were hurt….

    • tuberippin - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:00 AM

      As though the free-agent options available are any better. We’ve seen how Burnett has done in the AL East. Ervin Santana struggles with home runs. Ubaldo has never put together a full season of excellence, only two halves that were several years apart.

      S##t, at least RA Dickey won a Cy Young award.

      Jays set themselves back a couple years with their trades last off-season. I don’t know that even bringing in both Ervin and Ubaldo would solidfy that rotation in a manner sufficient to get them to the playoffs.

  4. themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 29, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Burnett, Jimenez, and Santana had ERA+ of 107, 114 and 127. Advantage Santana, since he was well above average even with park effects accounted for. By SO/9innigs, it is Burnett & Jiminez leading the way with 9.8, then Santana with 6.9.

    If you could mash these three guys together you’d have one hell of a pitcher. Since you can’t the smart money takes either Jiminez or Santana. Probably Jiminez since he misses more bats and Santana’s excellent ERA+ is clearly due to fielding more than Jiminez’s. Given the Blue Jays defensive woes, I imagine they are ranking this with Jiminez as the #1 choice, then Santana, then Burnett.

  5. paperlions - Jan 29, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    A team that thinks they want to compete should not have Morrow or Happ as a full-time starter…they aren’t even solid #5 starters. Yeah, they may choose not to add any starter depth, but that would essentially be punting on 2014….Sanchez is not close to ready to contribute this year, Stroman could contribute at some point, Drabek is a complete unknown, but pitched a whopping total of 44 innings last year…his health is obviously a major issue….Hutchison is similarly a guy that can’t be counted on for a ton of innings after throwing less than 50 last year. They simply don’t have the talent to account for 1000 IP by starters this year….if they don’t sign someone, they may as well look toward 2015.

    • tuberippin - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:57 AM

      Morrow is a quality starter….you just need to have a backup lined up because he is constantly injuring himself. He had an awful 2013, but 2012 was a great year for him, so those two balance out.

      • Reflex - Jan 30, 2014 at 5:43 PM

        Morrow is not a quality starter. At all. He had one anomalous season that was beset by injury. Every other season he has been significantly below average. An average starting major leaguer has a 2.0 WAR. Morrow has averaged 1.4WAR since becoming a Blue Jay, and 2012 was the only season where he was above average.

        Every start Morrow gets he is taking the team deeper in the hole. He should not be a starter. He did not have the makeup for it as a Mariner. They got rid of him and the Blue Jays were delusional enough to think they had a diamond in the rough. They do not. He has yet to produce aside from one fluky half season. Ubaldo has a better and more consistent track record than Morrow.

      • tuberippin - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:16 PM

        He’s changed his pitching approach three times in three years. One time it worked great before he got hurt, the other two times it fared terribly before he got hurt.

        Last year he was horrible (73 ERA+). The year before that, he was outstanding (143 ERA+). The two years prior to that he was below-average (93 and 90 ERA+). His primary issue always has been and remains to be his inability to control the gopher ball. If he can figure out how to rein that in (and granted it’s not easy being in the AL East and he’s shown no ability to adjust that issue as of yet) he’d be a damn fine pitcher.

        He’s a better pitcher than JA Happ, and he’s a better pitcher than a lot of pitchers who just received a ton of money on the free agent market. Ricky Nolasco, for example. He’s also a better option than anything the Blue Jays have in-house and unless they decide to splurge and potentially set themselves further back over the next few years by bringing in another homer- or consistency-prone pitcher like Ervin Santana, he’s going to be in that rotation.

        Who is going to be better in Morrow’s 4th starter spot? Not JA Happ. Not Kyle Drabek. Not Drew Hutchinson. Stroman was awful last year in his cup of coffee in the majors and is more than likely not ready to be in the rotation yet. I don’t think Aaron Sanchez is either. Noah Syndergaard’s out in Florida now. Ricky Romero is definitely not an option.

        If Morrow flunks 2014 (and that seems to be your bet), I’ll concede that he’s not what he’s been trying to become. But I’ll give him one more season to try; not like it’s going to hurt the Blue Jays’ playoff chances much more anyway.

  6. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 29, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    Yea the jays will sign these guys on the 14th of never, lets stop with these articles I mean the jays haven’t spent a dime this off season

    • Old Gator - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      Nine cents is more than you seem to have spent on your education, illiterate buffoon that you are.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:17 AM

        hey did I ever tell you I love you old gator? I do I do

  7. nbjays - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    Wow, it too until 8 posts in for dirtyharry1971 to start spewing his hate-filled vitriol on everything Blue Jay related (and many things not). Must be medication day. Harry, with your asinine post earlier about “fixing” baseball by dropping teams, you have shown yourself to be an even bigger ass than I gave you credit for. Now I know why you do nothing but spew hate… it’s the only thing you have a shred of real knowledge about.

    Manytools, what “defensive woes” were those, other than JPA, who is now gone?

    Two thirds of the outfield (Rasmus and Bautista) are plus defenders and Melky spent last season either on the DL or trying to play with a tumor on his spine. Lawrie is a potential GG at third, Reyes is slowing with age and injury but is still miles above someone like Jeter, Ryan Goins showed late last year that he can play 2nd with the best of them and the platoon of Lind and Edwin at 1st isn’t all that bad.

    • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:26 PM

      nbj: they are in the bottom 5 for errors committed at 111. That is not all on their now departed catcher. However, I’m glad I looked at errors committed. It points out something that seriously bolsters Jimenez’s case as the #1 choice. He was throwing for Cleveland. A team that was a bottom 10 error committer. Santana was heaving balls for KC. They were pretty good with the 11th ranked team at fewest errors. Ergo, Santana did what he did with some slick fielding behind him. Jiminez had to SO guys and induce weak contact to to be good. And he did.

      So, the steps to helping this club
      1) add a guy who can miss bats (pending)
      2)get a catcher who commits fewer errors and hits more than his weight (done => Navarro),
      3) teach your knuckleball catchers to field knuckleballs (done=> by getting them more practice with Tomo Ohka)

      Those 3 things are going to cut down on runs allowed, something they were horrible at last season. I can not emphasize enough how well that team hits. They are going to be even better with Bautista being one more season removed from wrist surgery. The time is now to capitalize on what they have. To do that they really need to deal with issue #1.

      • nbjays - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:43 PM

        Hopefully Dickey is better (albeit a year older) with his back problems behind him (pun intended). I am looking forward to a full year of Joey Bats being healthy, along with (hopefully) Jose Reyes, Brett Lawrie and Melky Cabrera. Add in E5 and Colby and offense is the least of the Jays’ worries. I’d love to see them grab a good top of the rotation pitcher, though.

      • themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:57 PM

        Agreed. Total dark horse team if they can prevent runs at least at league average. Remember their 11 game win streak? That was on pitching. A staggering 1.80 ERA. For that span, they kept runner off the bases. If for the season they can keep their team ERA under 4 then that might mean enough wins to lift them close to contention due to pitching. With even better hitting, and a resurgent Bautista will mean just that, they contend.

      • Old Gator - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:27 PM

        Dickey and JJ both sabotaged their own seasons last year by insisting on pitching when they weren’t physically up to it, even when the results showed that they weren’t doing themselves or the team any good. I appreciate that Dickey felt pressured to justify his contract but when the returns are so awful, it’s time to stop with the Biggeth Dicketh routine and go get healed. NBJ, I hope you’re right that the orfseason was enough this time.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:19 AM

      sometimes the truth hurts nbjays, and all I posted was the truth. Now you keep making up reasons why you think the jays have a good roster but at the end of the day we both know that isn’t even remotely true but good luck with that cause your gonna need it when this season is over

  8. josemartez - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    Slightly off topic, but where’d the logo included with this story come from? It’s like a re-hashed version of their current re-hashed version.

    • nbjays - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      I did some checking on that and it looks like Drew somehow found an unofficial “improved” version that came about because some graphic designed was bitching about the new logo and wanted to make it “better”. Link here:

      http://www.blogto.com/sports_play/2011/11/is_this_an_even_better_toronto_blue_jays_logo/

      It’s sort of a hybrid between the original blunt-beaked, round-eyed logo and the new – as of November 2011 – sharp-beaked, squinty-eyed one. Personally I prefer the official new one, the bird looks more “lean and mean”.

      Good pick up, Jose, I never even noticed it wasn’t the official logo.

      • nbjays - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:58 AM

        That’s graphic DESIGNER, not designed.

        EDIT FUNCTION!!

      • josemartez - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:11 AM

        This “improved” version isn’t great in my opinion; looks like it belongs in a daycare or a children’s book. I wasn’t a fan of their new duds when they came out, but they’ve grown on me since. Thanks for the link to the article.

  9. paperlions - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    To put it another way:

    The Blue Jays 2 most reliable starting options are 39 and 35.

    The next guy has thrown over 150 innings once in his career.

    The #4 guy is a 31 yr old with a career 4.25 ERA.

    Then there is a guy with 2 TJ surgeries under his belt at age 26.

    Then another guy coming off of TJ surgery.

    Then an excellent prospect that hasn’t pitched above AA.

    Then an excellent prospect with major command/control issues that has never pitched above A+.

    How in the world does anyone look at that list of options and think, yeah, we got 1000+ innings of starting pitching in there, especially in the hitters paradise of our home park.

    • dirtyharry1971 - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:39 AM

      well said well put, maybe now pc and nbjays will take off the rose colored glasses and wake up to reality but I won’t hold my breath for that

    • dylanthom2013 - Jan 30, 2014 at 6:19 PM

      Anthopoulos wanted to make a splash last offseason to show people he wasn’t in over his head as a rookie GM. His insecurity has led to the franchise being set back. How can you throw that much young talent into deals for old declining (Dickey, Buehrle) and/or injury-prone (Reyes) vets? That Syndergaard-and-D’Arnaud-for-38-year-old-Dickey trade might end up as bad as the Shields-for-Will Myers one.

      • dylanthom2013 - Jan 30, 2014 at 6:20 PM

        Granted Dickey was coming off a Cy Young, but come on, he was 38 and moving from the NL to the AL. You really expected him to continue pitching like an ace given those facts?

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