Daily Duce: The pitching market is shrinking, the Luke Maile era ends, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo signs in Tampa Bay, and more!


Now that both Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg have signed their contracts, the off-season has started to chug along quickly. The Blue Jays, of course, responded to the New York Yankees signing Cole to the biggest free-agent pitcher deal in baseball history by adding Tanner Roark, but that hopefully won’t be all we see from the front office this winter.

Rick Porcello was one of the depth arms we had heard that the Blue Jays were interested in, for whatever reason, but he ended up signing a one-year deal with the Mets. The Red Sox replaced Porcello’s spot in the rotation by adding Martin Perez on a one-year deal, the Mets added another one-year flyer by signing Michael Wacha, Kevin Gausman ended up in San Fransisco, and Brett Anderson seems to be Chase Anderson’s replacement in Milwaukee (They don’t even need to print new jerseys!) Another name the Jays had been linked to was Josh Lindblom, but he ended up inking a two-year deal with the Brewers worth $9,125,000.

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The biggest name to sign in the last few days was Madison Bumgarner, who left San Fransisco, where he became a legend, to fade into irrelevance in Arizona with his horses. It’s actually a really nice piece of work for Arizona. They’re paying Bumgarner $17,500,000 annually, which is about half of what they had been paying Zack Greinke. The Diamondbacks, of course, dealt Grenkie away to Houston for a wealth of prospects at the trade deadline, so they basically cut the cost of their ace in half and stacked their farm system in the process. That’s some tidy business!

I don’t think anybody figured that Bumgarner would wind up in Toronto, so none of that matters all too much. The even more interesting move from the past few days was this cheap-ass-Cleveland bullshit that I had hoped the Jays would be in on.

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Despite winning 93 games last season, Cleveland simply can’t be bothered to pay the money required to field a good team, so they’re starting to tear things down. They sent Corey Kluber, who had a down season last year, to Texas in exchange for fourth outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. and a reliever prospect with a big arm. Kluber is owed $17,500,000 next year and he has a club option the year after that. He’s 33 years old and might not rebound, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was really, really good, so why not take the gamble?

I mean, given the fact all Texas had to give up was a fourth outfielder (Derek Fisher?) and a reliever prospect (Jackson McClelland…?), this gamble basically comes down to just spending the cash to see if it works out. I had hoped that Mark Shapiro and Co. would be in on Kluber given the fact he’s one of their guys from Cleveland, but it didn’t happen.

The big name left out there for the Blue Jays is Hyun-Jin Ryu. Dallas Keuchel is the other big name still on the market, but I haven’t heard Toronto mentioned as a team pursuing him. Apparently, the Dodgers haven’t made Ryu a serious offer yet, which bodes well for the Blue Jays. We know the Twins have also been in on him and there’s speculation that the Angels, who missed out on both Cole and Strasburg, would be interested as well. None of this is really new information.

That brings us to the Tampa Bay Rays swooping in and signing another name the Jays had been associated with this winter. Fuck, this is getting exhausting. The Jays have been linked with fucking everyone this winter. But when it came to Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, it seemed to be more than just Ross Atkins kicking tires for the sake of optics and being aggressive. There was apparently legitimate mutual interest and a positional fit that made sense.

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But, instead, Tsutsugo has signed in Tampa Bay for the very reasonable price of $12 million (they also have to pay $2.4 million to his club in Japan). He’s also an extremely Tampa Bay Rays player, in that he plays multiple positions while also absolutely mashing the ball. It seems the Rays’ entire roster is guys who can smack 30 homers and put up an .800 OPS.

Luke Maile has apparently inked a deal with the Pirates, as Ben Cherington begins his pursuit of making them the PITTSBURGH BLUE JAYS!!!1 Maile had been among the Blue Jays who got non-tendered earlier in the off-season to make room for prospects ahead of the Rule 5 draft. I had figured there was a chance he might return on a minor-league deal, but good for him for getting a guaranteed majors deal in Pittsburgh.

Lukey Barrels, we’ll never forget those few weeks in 2018 where you hit everything.