Rumors flying around about Jays
Toronto linked to couple of deals that may go nowhere
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For not planning to do much at these Winter Meetings, the Blue Jays sure are finding their way into plenty of trade rumors. As of Tuesday night, Toronto was reportedly involved in talks about potential swaps with as many as four teams.
The most prominent rumor circling the wide halls inside the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center regarding the Jays dealt with a possible trade with the Giants. Toronto has shown interest in Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, though one source indicated that San Francisco is reluctant to deal either young pitcher.
Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said that he had some minor discussions with the San Francisco brass, but nothing that has the clubs near any sort of deal. Ricciardi added that the extent of Toronto's inquiry was exaggerated -- probably in light of the fact that the Jays have been so quiet lately.
"To be honest with you, I think there's not a lot going on," Ricciardi said. "So that's probably taken on a life of its own. We have talked to the Giants, but nothing to the point where some of the names that have been mentioned [in the media] have been mentioned [in the discussions].
"I think you always want to make a deal. It's like going to the prom and not dancing. You want to do something when you get here, but we want to be realistic, too. We don't want to trade just to make a trade."
One name that has been brought up is Jays right fielder Alex Rios, who would serve as a strong trading chip -- in a deal with the Giants or any other team, for that matter. While that's true, Toronto has expressed an interest in signing the emerging star to a multiyear extension this offseason, making it highly unlikely that he'd be dealt.
That hasn't stopped teams from asking about Rios' availability.
"We always do [hear his name brought up]," said Ricciardi, when asked if other clubs were inquiring about Rios. "He's a young player who's a good player, so it's not unusual that we get a lot of calls on Alex."
The Jays could possibly offer outfielder Adam Lind, and the Giants have also expressed some interest in Toronto third baseman Troy Glaus, who is coming back from a left foot injury. Neither option appears to be enough to convince Giants general manager Brian Sabean to pull the trigger on a deal.
Sabean said on Monday that he's "getting close" to declaring both Cain and Lincecum off the market, but he acknowledged that one club made an interesting proposal. That mystery club could be the Blue Jays, though both Ricciardi and Sabean steered away from details pertaining to the talks.
"I don't see traction right now with either one of those names," Sabean said on Monday. "We haven't been blown away yet."
On Tuesday, Sabean discussed the proposal that he's been approached about, but he wouldn't specify whether or not Toronto was the club involved.
"It's just one of the things we haven't shut off yet," Sabean said. "There are some things we've shut off and some things that are still alive."
Rios was also linked to a trade rumor involving the Indians, who reportedly floated an offer that would send left-hander Cliff Lee and outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to Toronto. Ricciardi said there was absolutely no validity to that report.
"I don't know where that came from," Ricciardi said. "We've never had a talk with Cleveland about Rios at all."
The Jays aren't shopping Rios, but that didn't stop Ricciardi from laying out a contingency plan for the outfield should the right fielder be moved. If Rios was traded, Lind would likely start in left field, with Matt Stairs and Reed Johnson splitting time in right.
Ricciardi said that the Jays had been asked about Lind's availability at least three times since arriving in Nashville and on two separate occasions since the season ended. The Jays have also had "a couple hits" on right-hander Josh Towers, who is reportedly on San Diego's radar.
Another rumor has linked Toronto to the trade talks with Baltimore that involve left-hander Erik Bedard -- a native of Navan, Ontario. The Orioles are actively listening to offers for Bedard, but Baltimore would likely require more in return than Toronto would be willing to give up.
In reality, while Ricciardi understands how trading for a star Canadian could benefit the Jays, the club probably won't be involved in any blockbuster deals. Things can change, but Ricciardi said only minor discussions are currently in the works for Toronto, which had a few meetings scheduled for Tuesday night.
"I don't really see anything happening," Ricciardi said. "We've got a lot of little things going. This day gets filled up with so many little things -- little deals here. We're trying to sign a couple different guys on the free-agent market who could help us in supporting roles."
The Jays reportedly met with the representative for free-agent catcher Paul Lo Duca on Tuesday, but Toronto's interest is limited. The Jays are hesistant about signing a catcher to a multiyear contract, especially with catching prospects Robinzon Diaz and Curtis Thigpen rising fast in the system.
One player that the Jays missed out on signing was veteran reliever Troy Percival, who inked a two-year deal with the Rays on Friday. Ricciardi said Toronto don't have plans to pursue other relief options on the trade market, but that the Jays will try to use Thursday's Rule 5 Draft to add some bullpen depth.
Ricciardi liked the idea of adding Percival to the 'pen, because it could've help make up for the loss of Casey Janssen, who might be moving from a relief role to the rotation. Pursuing Percival had nothing to do with the pending return of closer B.J. Ryan, who is coming back from a serious left elbow injury.
"Something we'd like to do is get Janssen in the rotation," Ricciardi said. "As we go forward, we see him more as a starter. He's done such a good job in the 'pen, you hate to take him out of there, but long range, he's probably better suited to be a starter.
"[Going after Percival] had nothing to do with B.J. It's just that our ultimate goal is to eventually get Janssen in the rotation."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com reporter Chris Haft contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.