Bastian quotes JP:
Ricciardi said he has ownership's approval . . . for adding Furcal, who is reportedly seeking a four-year contract. Toronto would need to free up some payroll in order to sign the shortstop, though Ricciardi was told this week that he can sign Furcal first, if the opportunity arises.
"That was probably more of a change during the week," Ricciardi said. "Probably more so that in order to do what we want to do, we have to get the player. There's only a certain time period that you have to deal with the player. So we'll see."
"I think we're in there [on Furcal]," Ricciardi said. "But we've been through free agency before. You never know until you get the player. Right now, we'll just keep going like we're in there."So, ostensibly, the Jays are in on Furcal and can sign him without first moving payroll. If they succeed, then they would presumably do the math and see how much they had to shed in order to come in under payroll - we as fans can only guess at this because we don't know from official sources what the payroll target is, only that it's low enough that Furcal doesn't fit under it.
If you assumed $85, and assumed Furcal would make $10 million in 2009, then there's $6-7 million minimum that would need to be cleared. As I've noted before, you can save a couple of million by moving Tallet and Frasor, but it seems that you are looking at Overbay or Ryan going if the Jays sign furcal. And JP's protestations aside, Ryan is the guy most expendable.
Other points of interest in the piece -
* JP states flatly that doc will not be traded in any sort of rebuilding effort, and goes on to say that he will talk to ownership and to halladay in spring training regarding the future and the potential for an extension. If Doc were as pessimistic as manyy fans seem to be, he'd say "get me out of here" but thankfully, there's no indication he is so misguided.
*JP expects there to be some lingering unsigned pitching help in late January which can be had for a lesser investment. Magic 8 ball says "signs point to yes" on that one. Jon Lieber, Orlando Hernandez, Bart Colon, and Freddy Garcia are among the names I wouldn't be surprised to see still unemployed a month from now.
*There's no news on Michael Barrett but last reports had the Jays fairly confident they could sign him. It's a good signing. If Barrett finds the form he had a couple of years ago he could take the starting job and perhaps make it less necessary to rusy Arencibia, and if he flops we lose nothing significant (except Thigpen's one big shot).
*Jays lost a couple of guys who will never make the majors in the Rule 5, and drafted a couple of guys who'll never make the majors. Nothing to see here except for the totally obsessive (like folks who write blogs for instance).
Meanwhile, I'm trying to decide if it's worth 17 draft places to me to see AJ break down in NY and give Hank Stienbrenner an anyerism or not. The Tao notes quite correctly that Yankees spending sprees do not always end well - for the Yankees.