DALLAS-The Blue Jays by midnight Wednesday had apparently found their second baseman...err, left fielder. There is a club option and whatever it turns out to be, in any case it will cost them around $7.5 million should they go to arbitration, for just one year of Kelly Johnson. More important is the loss of two draft choices in June because Johnson didn't go somewhere else. But Johnson was the least of baseball's Wednesday moves for the Jays. Just after 1 a.m., we're not sure what time it is in Japan, righthanded starter Yu Darvish was posted by his team the Nippon-Ham Fighters. That is big news because this guy is a legitimate mid-to-high rotation starter in 2012. He does not need seasoning.
On Wednesday, Jays' GM Alex Anthopoulos claimed he may have overreacted the day before by giving the perception the Jays were committed to going on the cheap. If the team is going to prove that is not the case, they must sincerely go all in on Darvish with a competitive posting fee and if they get outbid so be it. Being competitive on Darvish is the key to them winning over their fan base, or at least convincing a loyal but skeptical Blue Jays Nation that the organization is intent on winning. However if someone outbids them, which is possible, they at least need to come clean and declare what their sealed envelope bid was in dollar value. But given their secretive history they won't which is a mistake.
The process involves sending a sealed bid to the Nippon-Ham Fighters within four days, including Thursday. Then there will be one winning bid from among the 30 major-league teams. That team will have 30 days to reach a contract agreement with the Fighters or else the player returns to play in Japan. The team at that point gets their posting fee back, which in this case will be around $50 million. There is a "good faith" clause with regard to making an offer to the player, but how do you prove it?
*Huston Street was traded to the Padres from the Rockies for a player to be named later and cash. Street's contract is $8 million which allowed the Rockies flexibility.
*The Jays are said to be in on Mets' lefthander Jonathan Niese. But included in the trade discussions are the Red Sox and the Rockies.
*Lefthander Mark Buehrle, who had been on the Jays' radar, signed a four-year, $58 million deal with the Marlins signalling their withdrawal from Albert Pujols.
Albert Pujols has come down to the Angels or the Marlins. Both bids are said to be over $200 million for 10 years. A Dan Lozano decision will be made after the meetings are over.
Uber-agent Scott Boras cruised the Anatole lobby early in the evening and laid out his Prince Fielder strategy. His 40-minute schpiel was amusing and informative, but later in the night after Boras allowed Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez to accept arbitration from the Brewers to merely be the setup man, the Brewers were eliminated from Prince because of money tied up.
The A's are dangling lefthander Gio Gonzalez in trade. Unfortunately they are expecting a Dan Haren type haul in return, but Gonzales is not Haren. The Rangers, Diamondbacks, Tigers and Reds are all involved in the discussion.
*SS Jimmy Rollins is expected to re-sign with the Phillies. LHP Eric Bedard has agreed to terms with the Pirates. The biggest North American free agent now is C.J. Wilson, of interest to the Marlins, Angels and Rangers.