Toronto Blue Jays GM Sheds Light on MLB Winter Meetings

With Monday in the books at the MLB Winter Meetings, Toronto Blue Jays GM, Ross Atkins offered comments on his club’s strategy

 

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The Toronto Blue Jays enter the 2017 Winter Meetings with pretty much the same goals they had when the season ended. Not much has happened to accomplish those goals, outside of adding Aledmys Diaz via a trade with the Cardinals. But, the Winter Meetings is when things should start to pick up. That is not to say that something will happen in the next day or two, but with every front office setting up shop in one place, it is a good time to move toward deals.

 

For Ross Atkins, that means moving toward their stated goal of adding middle infield depth, pitching and possibly complimenting the outfield. He indicated as much:

 

There are multiple ways for Toronto to improve their 2018 squad. And, you can bet that Atkins won’t eliminate any. So, it comes as no surprise to hear him talking to “multiple” players. In fact, it would be shocking if he weren’t. But, what is a tad surprising is the amount of confidence he has in landing a middle infielder. After Diaz, the Blue Jays are still technically down an infield option with both Ryan Goins and Barney departing. Maybe Josh Harrison is that middle infielder he’s talking about. It would make sense.

 

Regarding Donaldson

 

Obviously, negotiating in the media is not something that makes a whole lot of sense, here. I mean, sure in the context of the Shohei Ohtani bonanza, it made sense to try and get comments in there. But, in this situation, it helps no one to openly admit at what stage of negotiations the club sits. It is bad business. Any little comment, this way, or that would have a ripple effect in other negotiations, whether it is a possible Donaldson trade, or other deals. The comments about Donaldson being the best player in the game and it being hard to win without him could be lip service, if you choose. But, it could also be genuine, which is a good sign for fans of the Bringer of Rain.

 

Blue Jays Have Assets

 

If trades are the name of the game, which seems to be the impression from the early reports from GMs across baseball, the Blue Jays just might be in good shape. If you recall last year, Atkins and Mark Shapiro openly admitted that the farm system wasn’t at the level they would like, mostly because other teams didn’t value it. Well, this winter appears to be different. Does that mean that they will look to capitalize on good years from Vlad JR or Bo Bichette? Probably not. But, a good valuation of the farm is what you want to hear at the time when you need it to appear valuable.

 

According to Atkins, you don’t have to look too far to find depth from which you can trade:

 

Upper levels have outfield surplus?! That might not be as jarring as you think. Consider just how many outfielder played at least an inning for the big league club last year. Starting from the top, there’s Kevin Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera, Steve Pearce, Teoscar Hernandez, Anthony Alford, Dalton Pompey, Dwight Smith, Jr., and Roemon Fields, Harold Ramirez, Ian Parmley. How much of that is considered valuable and how much is considered trade value remains to be seen, but the one thing that stands out that this list isn’t exactly flush with eye popping talent, which means that it will take multiple pieces to swing a deal. And that’s not to mention how big a hole it would leave on the big league roster.

 

Atkins also added that there exist other pieces that could spend some time in the outfield, which stretches their depth.

 

Not that this is a good idea, but if anything, it shows their comfort level with their outfield situation. Whether that is put on or exaggerated, it certainly isn’t something most Blue Jays fans would readily agree with.

 

The argument for relievers makes a bit more sense considering the number of young arms that took the mound in Toronto last season. Umpteen relievers were used, including guys like Tim Mayza. Perhaps, some of those younger bullpen arms are enough to tip the scales in a trade. Or, less likely, they’re enough to make the Blue Jays comfortable enough to trade away someone like Danny Barnes or Ryan Tepera.

 

The Search for Pitching

In what is most likely an effort to not appear desperate, Atkins said that his club does not need to add a starter:

 

No, it is probably not a worst case scenario for Joe Biagini to be the 5th starter. Remember what a 5th starter is expected to contribute. But, if this team is looking to really compete next season, perhaps adding a starter that moves one of J.A. Happ or Marco Estrada down into the 5th spot is a much better investment. That would allow for Biagini to resume his bullpen role, which was a much more successful venture for him.

 

This and That

If you’re wondering if Atkins feels any pressure to make an impact move this week, your answer is pretty clear. After the Yankees stole Giancarlo Stanton, everyone and their dog (including my son) think New York will run away with things. That would mean that the Blue Jays would have to counter in order to keep up. Well, Atkins cares not for this line of thinking:

 

The Blue Jays are looking to add infield pieces, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve moved on from Devon Travis. Apparently, he is making great progress and looks to be good to go. Or, at least he will be.

 

As part of their middle infield search, apparently the Blue Jays haven’t ruled out Ryan Goins returning. For those fans who were heart broken when the club decided not to tender Goins a contract, this might be music to your ears:

 

I would like to know what “some level of guarantee” means. Does that mean a big league job? One would think not. Does that mean some form of minor league deal with an opt out? Who knows. But, if competing in 2018 is the goal, Goins can’t be the infielder they plan on leaving with.

 

 

 


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*Featured Image Credit: Arturo Pardavila III UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

 


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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.

Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.