Sports Blue Jays prioritize bolstering rotation heading into GM Meetings
Blue Jays acquire starter Chase Anderson from Brewers
The Toronto Blue Jays began remaking their rotation Monday by acquiring starter Chase Anderson from the Milwaukee Brewers for double-A first baseman Chad Spanberger, according to two industry sources. The post CHL Notebook: Sting turning ship around as offence comes alive appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.Anderson, 31, pitched to a 4.21 ERA and 4.83 FIP over 139 innings for the wild-card club and is slated to earn $8.5 million on a club option with another option worth $9.5 million with a $500,000 buyout for 2021.
TORONTO – There are two primary themes emerging for the Toronto Blue Jays in these early days of the off-season that bear close watching in the days and weeks ahead.
First, they’re looking at this week’s acquisition of righty Chase Anderson from the Milwaukee Brewers as a floor for the starting rotation, rather than a ceiling, an injection of stable innings providing a base while more impactful arms – at least one and up to three – are pursued.
Second, anything GM Ross Atkins and company have planned on the position player side is tied, to a degree, to what they do on the pitching end of things, and to how much more runway they want to provide to the players they already have in-house.
Report: Blue Jays could be open to trading Gurriel
The Toronto Blue Jays could be open to moving Lourdes Gurriel Jr. this winter, according to Scott Mitchell of TSN. The team doesn't seem to be actively shopping its outfielder, but Mitchell adds the Blue Jays would be especially willing to part with Gurriel if a deal brings back the right starting rotation piece. The 26-year-old is coming off a breakout campaign. Converting to the outfield during his second season in the majors after previously playing second base and shortstop, Gurriel authored a .277/.327/.541 slash line with 20 homers and six stolen bases over 84 games.
For example, if they traded someone like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for a starting pitcher, they’d then need to suddenly jump into the free-agent market for another outfielder. Their catchers have also been drawing interest from other clubs. On the flip side, if they do their pitching work in free agency, then any bat signed takes away reps from a group of players that includes Teoscar Hernandez, Derek Fisher and Rowdy Tellez.
Do they actually want to do that? Are they ready to move on from them, or do they merit a little more run before that call is made?
As such, everything the Blue Jays do from here on out is somewhat interconnected, and it will be intriguing to see how they advance things during the General Managers Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., next week. According to one agent representing an offensive player, their priority right now is clearly on bolstering the rotation, which is understandable.
If rival clubs move slowly, Blue Jays can gain edge by being proactive
While another sleepy off-season might be ahead, the Blue Jays appear to be one of “those four, five organizations who are coming out of hibernation.” The post MLB Awards: Yelich vies to defend MVP, Bregman caps off historic season appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.General managers will talk a good game – not only with the public, but also behind the scenes in their meetings with agents. ‘We really like your player. Maybe there’s a fit here. We’ll definitely keep in touch.
To that end, while the Blue Jays don’t feel the roster is at a point where they should be aiming at the likes of Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg just yet, they do seem willing to drive the market on certain arms, already engaging some in preliminary talks.
That’s much different from the sit-back-and-wait-for-opportunities approach they’ve used the past couple of winters, and if it leads to real action rather than idle talk, represents the potential for a significant step forward.
"The new inefficiency is actually spending," quipped another agent.
In an ideal world, the Blue Jays are adding a couple of starters from the middle and or upper tiers of the free agent market – think guys subject to qualifying offer compensation like Zack Wheeler and Jake Odorizzi along with Dallas Keuchel, Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda, Wade Miley (whom they’ve pursued in the past), Tanner Roark, Jordan Lyles, Alex Wood, Julio Teheran and Rick Porcello – and perhaps bringing back Matt Shoemaker, too.
Interest in Cherington adds wrinkle to Blue Jays’ off-season planning
Ben Cherington, the former GM of the Boston Red Sox who’s now a key part of the Toronto Blue Jays’ decision making team, is a candidate for the vacant Pittsburgh Pirates GM job. In fact, some outside executives see him as the leading candidate to succeed Neal Huntington in Pittsburgh. The post Andrew Raycroft on Leafs cutting bait on Michael Hutchinson, being a backup appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.In subtle ways, the Pirates’ search has already impacted the Toronto Blue Jays. Depending on how it ends, those repercussions could be felt more intensely within the coming weeks.
The trade market offers a secondary path forward, and in both cases the Blue Jays appear intent on moving past the bounce-back, value-reclamation types they locked in on the previous two winters.
That they’re not ruling out Wheeler and Odorizzi – whom manager Charlie Montoyo knows from the Tampa Bay Rays – is interesting, as surrendering draft pick compensation had been a non-starter for them in years past.
Should the Blue Jays sign a qualified free agent, they would lose their second-highest selection in the upcoming draft as well as $500,000 from their international bonus pool. On the draft end, that means forfeiting a pick in the mid-40s overall along with the roughly $1.6 million in bonus pool room (based on 2019 slots) that comes with it – a steep but not prohibitive cost.
Either way, the Blue Jays have the spending power this winter to add multiple players who can make an impact.
A home run off-season for the Blue Jays would include two starters that would make Shoemaker a three, Anderson a four, with one of incumbents Ryan Borucki and Trent Thornton competing for five.
Anticipating which free agent starters are likely Blue Jays targets
As the GM Meetings begin in Arizona, it’s time for the Toronto Blue Jays to narrow their sights further on who they can sign to fill a starting pitcher void. The post MLB Awards: Does Canada’s Mike Soroka have what it takes for ROY? appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.With that in mind, the real intrigue revolves around who the Blue Jays target. The last five weeks have given the front office plenty of time to rank the 2019-20 free agent class. But assessing their skill is just part of the challenge.
In that scenario, young arms like Nate Pearson, T.J. Zeuch, Anthony Kay, Jacob Waguespack, Thomas Pannone, Sean Reid-Foley, Patrick Murphy, Hector Perez and Yennsy Diaz are all pushing upwards from triple-A Buffalo and double-A New Hampshire, offering the type of near-term depth so lacking in recent years.
Should Pearson, as expected, and others force their way upward, the Blue Jays would then have surplus to trade ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, replenishing assets for the farm system.
Given how poor their pitching was in 2019 – remember how they sifted through 39 pitchers, including position players Luke Maile and Richard Urena, last summer? – such a scenario would present a massive leap forward.
Top that off with a couple of position players to bolster the kids, and the Blue Jays suddenly become a pretty interesting club.
Interesting enough to contend? Probably not, but enough to make a .500 season seem attainable, with bolder strikes that propel them into legit contention coming ahead of 2021.
Again, talking is easy. Doing is hard. Just like the grind of 162 games often lays the best-laid plans to waste, the winter’s churn does the same to the most carefully crafted spending scenarios.
But indications, at least to this point, are that the Blue Jays are trying in a way they haven’t the past few winters. That’s a start.
Blue Jays could potentially target Japanese hitters Tsutsugo, Akiyama .
Moments after the first media availability of the 2019 GM Meetings officially began, Ross Atkins found himself fielding questions not about Zack Wheeler or Jake Odorizzi, but Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Shogo Akiyama. , two Japanese players now on the radar of MLB teams. The post Islanders’ 12-3-1 record is no mirage appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.The questions revolved not around Zack Wheeler and Jake Odorizzi, but Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Shogo Akiyama, two Japanese players now on the radar of MLB teams. Are the Blue Jays interested? Yes, Atkins told a gathering of Japanese media Tuesday afternoon.
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