LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Right-hander Thad Weber is headed to the Korean Baseball League after it was announced that his rights have been sold to the NC Dinos.
The move was previously announced by the club but didn't become official until Wednesday night. The timing is crucial as it opens up a spot on Toronto's 40-man roster prior to Thursday morning's Rule 5 Draft.
Weber made a brief appearance in the big leagues during the 2013 season, but spent the vast majority of the year at Triple-A Buffalo. He wasn't going to make next year's club and likely would have been lost in the near future on waivers.
"It was one of those things where there was a scenario that he was going to come off the 40-man roster and if he did, we felt there was a good chance he was going to get claimed," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said.
"If you think he's going to come off the roster, and ultimately get claimed, and he has an opportunity to go help his career and family, it makes sense for both sides to do it. I don't know that, right now, we'd have a rotation spot for him so he was probably going to have to be in the bullpen as a long man."
This should hardly come as a surprise, but Anthopoulos explained that the Blue Jays would never sell the rights of a player to an international team without prior consent. The process usually starts with the foreign team expressing some interest and then the club would reach out to the player to see if that feeling is mutual.
Weber didn't have much of a future in Toronto, but there was obvious interest elsewhere following a year in which the 29-year-old posted an impressive 2.61 ERA in 18 games for Triple-A Buffalo.
"We'll be approached by the club, if we're open minded to exploring it, we'll contact the player and say, 'Look, we've been approached, do you have interest in going?'" Anthopoulos said of the process.
"If they say no, it ends there. If they say, 'Yeah, I'd be interested in going for the right price and the right salary,' we start negotiating a price to sell the player and then the agent negotiates a contract. Sometimes a player says he has no interest and it won't go anywhere from there."
Anthopoulos not shopping Rasmus at Winter Meetings
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- General manager Alex Anthopoulos moved swiftly to dismiss any notion that the Blue Jays are actively shopping center fielder Colby Rasmus on Day 3 of the annual Winter Meetings.
A report in the Toronto Sun indicated late Tuesday night that Rasmus had been offered to two teams in exchange for starting pitching. Anthopoulos rarely discusses rumors through the media, and to a certain extent he remained evasive during an afternoon scrum with reporters, but he dropped plenty of hints that got his point across.
Anthopoulos didn't come out and specifically mention Rasmus, but spoke in general terms when asked a direct question about the rumors surrounding his center fielder's availability.
"I would say, just to kind of bury some of those [reports], with all of our players we'll be open minded if people want to approach us, but as we sit here today, I feel pretty confident that most, if not all, of our position player core will be here to start the year," Anthopoulos said. "Maybe that kind of shuts down whatever rumors are out there."
The point Anthopoulos tried to make was that Rasmus hadn't been offered to another team. That doesn't mean it won't happen at some point in the future, but that should hardly come as a surprise considering there isn't a single player on the Toronto roster that can be considered untouchable.
Anthopoulos has a price for everyone, it's just that the asking price for some is an awful lot higher than others. The only way the Blue Jays could realistically part ways with Rasmus is if a legitimate frontline starter became available. The way things stand right now, that would seem extremely unlikely considering the 27-year-old is just one year away from a potentially massive payday through free agency.
Toronto conceivably could part ways with Rasmus considering rookie Anthony Gose is waiting in the wings, but that downgrade would have to be offset by a big upgrade elsewhere. For the most part, it sounds like Anthopoulos is fielding a lot of inquiries on those players instead of actually being the aggressive one through trade talks.
"We've been asked about probably everybody on the 25-man roster in some form," said Anthopoulos, who was reiterating his comments from a day before. "For us to move an everyday position player and feel like we get better, that's hard to do. Would we rule it out? No. But I just think it's so unlikely and we're not close to doing anything.
"I think a lot of what has happened, we've had teams come to us. One thing that we have on this team is power and there's not a lot of power out there on the market, or the free agent prices don't work for some of the clubs. We've been approached by clubs asking for some of our position players that have power, but we haven't lined up on anything. But we've been open minded."
Blue Jays may be active in Rule 5 Draft
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Blue Jays typically decline to make a selection during the Rule 5 Draft, but that stance could be about to change.
Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos admitted his club was interested in making a move during the Major League portion of the Draft, which will take place Thursday morning.
The Blue Jays need to open up a spot on the 40-man roster before it happens, but that should be a mere formality with word that right-hander Thad Weber is on the verge of being sold to a team in South Korea.
"We may select someone, we may make a trade regarding the Rule 5," Anthopoulos said. "We're trying to do something small with the Rule 5."
A team that selects a player in the Rule 5 Draft pays $50,000 to the organization from which he was selected. The receiving team must then keep the player on the Major League 25-man roster for the entirety of the next season, and the selected player must remain active -- not on the disabled list -- for a minimum of 90 days.
If the player does not remain on the Major League roster, he is offered back to the team from which he was selected for $25,000. If his original team declines, the receiving team may waive the player.
Toronto hasn't been very active in recent years during the Rule 5, but it once played a major role in how the organization was constructed. Kelly Gruber, George Bell and Willie Upshaw were all Rule 5 picks of former GM Pat Gillick, while more recently the likes of Josh Hamilton, Joakim Soria and Johan Santana switched organizations.
Toronto has the ninth pick in the Rule 5. Anthopoulos said he doesn't anticipate losing anyone from his organization during the Draft, but admitted he has been wrong about that before.
The Blue Jays officially announced the hiring of Tim Leiper as the club's new first-base coach Wednesday afternoon. Leiper takes over for the retired Dwayne Murphy and receives a promotion after spending the past year as a special assistant to player development. The news first broke on Tuesday afternoon, but wasn't publicly confirmed by the club until the following day.
"At the end of the day, [manager John Gibbons] makes the final call on these," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "If there's someone I feel strongly about, we'll talk, but it's his staff. Tim came to the organization last year, has done almost everything in the game, high-energy coach, connects with players very well.
"He's also familiar with our staff and we feel like he's going to be a great fit for us. He has experience as a manager, as a coach, he has done everything in the game. We think he's an up-and-coming coach and we feel like he has a chance to have a long career."