Jays meet with Pavano's agent
Right-hander made just 26 starts in four years with Yankees
LAS VEGAS -- In their quest to add depth to a depleted starting rotation, the Blue Jays will consider some reclamation projects this winter. Case in point, Toronto met with the agent for free agent Carl Pavano on Monday at the Winter Meetings.
Tom O'Connell, Pavano's representative, said he has a list of roughly 10 teams that he intends to sit down with this week at the Bellagio. The Blue Jays are one of the clubs that has expressed some interest in Pavano, who just completed the fourth year of his disappointing $39.95 million contract with the Yankees.
"It was a great meeting," said O'Connell, referring to his discussion with the Jays. "I think they have significant interest in Carl, so we'll see how it all plays out. We're still at the stage where I want to meet with all the teams that have interest. We don't want to leave any stone unturned in this process."
Given Toronto's financial situation, Pavano appeals to the Jays. Toronto doesn't have an excess of money to spend this offseason and is willing to consider a low-risk, high-reward possibility like Pavano.
"We have to be open-minded," said Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who is also looking for pitching help via the trade route. "Obviously, we have interest -- we met with him. It's all going to depend on what his expectations are."
Pavano, 32, endured a variety of frequent injuries throughout his time in New York, finishing 9-8 with a 5.00 ERA in 26 starts during his stint with the Yankees. That included a comeback from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery on his right arm late this past season. In 2008, Pavano went 4-2 with a 5.77 ERA in seven outings.
The Yankees held a $13 million option on Pavano for 2009 that was declined, instead paying him a $1.95 million buyout. Toronto is still trying to re-sign free agent A.J. Burnett, but Pavano could provide an inexpensive backup plan. One selling point is Pavano's ties to Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, who worked with the pitcher in Montreal in 2000-01 and with Florida from '02-03.
If Burnett signs with another club -- an increasingly likely scenario -- Toronto's projected rotation would include ace Roy Halladay, followed by Jesse Litsch, David Purcey, possibly Casey Janssen and a fifth starter from a handful of candidates. Dustin McGowan (right shoulder) is out until May and Shaun Marcum (right elbow) is sidelined until 2010.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.