Jays From the Couch brings you the latest news and links about the Toronto Blue Jays. This edition: the club has list of needs and wants.
Well, the season has been over for a while. That sucks. But, the good news is that the chatter around the Toronto Blue Jays has not slowed down at all. Here’s a collection for you:
*At Sportsnet, Shi Davidi brings as a look at how the Toronto Blue Jays look heading into the period where they’ll have to make some big decisions. Before he gets into the nitty gritty of it all, he grins us some solid quotes from a disappointed squad. While they’re proud of being one of the final four teams, they definitely feel the sting of not advancing.
The guy that stands out is Brett Cecil. You have to feel for the guy. For 7 years, he grinded out season after season of disappointing baseball. And, now that his team is on the cusp, he very well could be departing. He says: “There were times when getting to the post-season seemed impossible, there were times when it seemed so close you could taste it and we just didn’t get there. I’ve been here through the worst of times and the best of times and if I leave, I’m happy to be leaving on top. But I’d love the chance to get back here, make the ground with all these guys and do it all over again and get to where we want to be.”
Cecil will be among those the club has to make a decision on. He certainly won’t be getting a qualifying offer, so it will be straight to free agency, unless the club can get a deal done with him. Otherwise, the Blue Jays bullpen will featured Roberto Osuna and Joe Biagini as the only bright spots. The work to put together a competitive ‘pen could be quite challenging for this club.
*Let’s get some uncomfortable discussion out of the way, shall we? Jon Morosi was on the Dean Blundell show recently and he offered up some of his thoughts on what the Blue Jays are going to do over the winter. The biggest nugget of the appearance is that he says the Blue Jays do not want Jose Bautista back next year. If they make him a qualifying offer, they’ll hope he rejects it so they can grab that draft pick. The crux of Morosi’s argument is that the Blue Jays want to get younger and add lefty hitting, of which Bautista is neither. It makes sense, but to just say they don’t want him back is silly. Maybe he rejects the offer, maybe he doesn’t. Maybe they end up signing him for a fraction of what he originally wanted. But, do we really think that (all things being equal) they wouldn’t want him hitting for them?
Another gem from Morosi is that Kevin Pillar might on the trade block. Well, that kind of stuff is easy to say at this time of year. Heck, every single member of the organization might be on the block. The team will explore any ideas. But, that doesn’t mean that we should start saying goodbye to Superman.
And, of course, Morosi also throws out the name that will be forever strewn about around these parts- Joey Votto. He says that Canadian is a real possibility for the Blue Jays. As much as hearing this makes you groan since it is nothing more than a pipe-dream at this point, it will certainly continue to be a thing this winter as the team certainly could use Votto due to the reasons they could pass on Bautista.
*Greg Ross of CBC brings a much more happy tidbit. It appears that Jason Grilli would like to finish his career with the Blue Jays. Growing up a fan of the ’92/’93 teams, Grilli longs for the opportunity to ‘put another banner up next to those’ of the glory years. That sure sounds nice, doesn’t it? Whether that dream becomes a reality rests on the club’s decision to pick up his $3M option for the 2017 season. If they don’t, they could walk away and give him the $250k buyout. In all honesty, it doesn’t make much sense for the club to let him go. They are faced with a bullpen that needed upgrades when he was pitching for them. Without him (and possibly Cecil), the need becomes that much more dire. The decision will depend on whether the Blue Jays feel they can get better value for less than $3M. That would be tough.
*The bullpen isn’t the only area of need for this club. The lineup needs some help. The calamity that comes with the reliance on the big fly was never more apparent than in the ALCS. When they hit bombs, they win. Ask Texas. When they don’t, they don’t. Ask Cleveland. They will need to figure out a way to address this issue. And, Mike Johnston of Sportsnet highlights just that. In fact, as Johnston passes on, manager, John Gibbons, articulated this very need. Gibby is looking for a lefty bat to add balance to the lineup. That would certainly be nice. But, maybe a different approach from the righties could also help. As well, some speed would be nice to have. Gibbons acknowledges this as well. Which makes the decision to not let Dalton Pompey run for Dioner Navarro that much more odd.
Around the League
*Our friends at Pirates Breakdown offer up a look at the field for the 2016 AL Cy Young award. Blue Jays fans will note that Sean Riley includes Toronto starters J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez in the field, but they drop off rather quickly as the exercise gets deeper into the numbers. In the end, Riley ends up giving the award to Justin Verlander.
*Over at Dutch Baseball Hangout, we read an interesting piece on the Dodgers and what they will do about Kenley Jansen. He is about to hit free agency and get PAID. But, the interesting part of the piece is that the Dodgers may actually prefer to go after Aroldis Chapman, who they’ve been interested in before. For fans of the Blue Jays, this might perk your ears a bit that a rather effective reliever is available, but his inevitable price tag would likely put Toronto out of the running before the running even starts. For the record, that applies to Chapman also.
*At Plate Coverage, Jeremy Lehrman offers up an interesting question: Would Baseball Hall of Fame Voters Consider Voting in Bud Selig and Keep Mark McGwire Out? It is such a good question. McGwire has long been among the poster boys for the ‘steroid era’ in baseball and remains questionable for entry into the HoF. But, McGwire (and several others) wouldn’t have been able to do what he (they) did without Selig. He was in charge of the league. Isn’t he just as at fault? Now, Selig deserves to be honored for turning the game of baseball into the money making machine it is. So too is McGwire, whether we like it or not. If Selig goes in, it might make the road for Big Mac a little less bumpy.
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