2016 Canadian draft list
Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
SAN DIEGO _ No closers available you say?
How good would Kansas City Royals Greg Holland look in a Blue Jays uniform.
Holland is available at a high cost and the Jays are pursuing the closer.
This season Holland was 1-3 with a 1.44 ERA for the American League champion Royals, converting 46 of 48 (96%) save opportunities in 65 games. The right-hander walked 20 and struck out 90 in 62 1/3 innings holding opposing hitters to a .170 batting average for the season year in a row.
Last year he earned $4.675 million US and is eligible for salary arbitration.
“He’s available but they’re asking for a lot in return,” said someone familiar with the trade talks.
The Royals don’t have to move Holland but they have Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera back from last season’s successful run into the post season and Luke Hochevar, who missed this year due to injury, has signed a two-year $10 million deal.
Kansas City is looking for pitching in return after James Shields hit the open market.
The Jays do not have interest in Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, who is on the market.
“The question is do we look for multiple mid-level guys or try to get one guy in a trade,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos told writers.
The GM did say that he could see a scenario where if Daniel Norris outpitches Sanchez in the spring, Norris could make the rotation with Sanchez moving to the bullpen.
Asked about lefty Brett Cecil being used as the closer, Anthopoulos said he’d likely prefer for the Jays to have their left-handers to use earlier in the game.
Let’s fall in love: Anthopoulos said that the Jays have made one free-agent offer (Russell Martin).
“I know we’ve been linked to a lot of players, I’ve read how we love this player, love that player,” said Anthopoulos. “I love my wife. I love my kids.”
Hall of Famer on deck?Jim Kaat was a near miss three years ago.
Gil Hodges led all former players when the Hall of Famers had the vote but failed to give anyone the necessary 75% of the vote.
Kaat feel two votes short of the required 12 from a 16 man panel in 2011 and Hodges was short of the required 75%.
Both received a second chance Sunday as the 16-man Hall of Fame’s Golden Era (1947-1972) committee met in seclusion on Saturday. The Hall will make known Monday if anyone has received the needed 12 votes for induction in July.
The 10-person ballot for consideration by this year’s committee consists of former players Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant, Maury Wills, Kaat, Hodges and former Cincinnati Reds general manager Bob Howsam,
Combined the players won three MVP awards averaging more than six all-star game selections and seven World Series titles. Howsam put together the St. Louis Cardinals teams of the 1960s and the Big Red Machine of the 1970s.
Former Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo won election in 2011.
The 16-person Golden Era committee — reconstituted each time it meets — consists of Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins of Chatham, Ont., former Jays GM Pat Gillick, now Philadelphia Phillies president, Jim Bunning, Rod Carew, Al Kaline, Joe Morgan, Ozzie Smith and Don Sutton.
Baseball executives Jim Frey, David Glass, Roland Hemond and Bob Watson along with veteran media members Steve Hirdt (New York), Dick Kaegel (Kansas City), Phil Pepe (New York) and Tracy Ringolsby (Denver) make up the rest of the committee.
Kaat pitched 25 seasons in the majors, winning 283 games, 16 Gold Glove awards and helped the Cardinals win the 1982 World Series. He had three 20-win seasons (1966, 1974-75) and twice logged more than 300 innings pitched (1966, 1975), his career total of innings pitched (4,530 1/3) ranks 25th all-time and his wins are 31st.
An eight-time all-star, who hit 370 homers in 18 seasons, Hodges fell one vote short in 1993.
The players with their highest ranking while on the Baseball Writers of America Association ballot: Hodges (63.4%), Oliva (47.3%), Wills (40.6%). Tiant (30.9%), Kaat (29.6), Boyer (25.5%), Minoso (21.1%), Allen (18.9%) and Pierce (1.9%).
Lobbying: A winter meetings without a lobby is like a ball diamond without a home plate.
Agents hold court in the lobby at winter meetings, scouts drop hints about what team their team met with 12 floors up in the suite and there are enough rumors/trade talk to put one in every room.
Yet, that was the case the last time the winter meetings were held in San Diego in 1985. There was a lobby but it was overflowing when a third person arrived to check in at the same time.
The action — what little of it there was — was by one of the many Town and County pools in the Mission Valley district: like Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Harrelson wearing three different kinds of cowboy boots in one day (blue ostrich was our fave), talk (real or by some prankster) that the reason Baltimore Orioles kept Earl Weaver at home was because they didn’t want him to teeter into one of the pools.
And oh yes, the Blue Jays came home with the same roster they arrived with.
No one knew it at the time but none of the 62 free agents were shown little interest and zero were signed.
It was the Year 1 of three years of management colluding against the Players Association.
Management was found guilty.