After completing two trades for infield help, the Toronto Blue Jays have addressed their main area of need and are primed to do more!
The Toronto Blue Jays have completed their second trade of the offseason and it addresses their infield concerns, which was the primary objective heading into this winter. The missed games from Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis have been talked about ad nauseum. The time they missed was filled in by Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney, who combined for less than ideal hitting. It is easy to see why an upgrade was in order. The 2017 situation led to trading for Aledmys Diaz previously and Yangervis Solarte yesterday.
This raises the floor of the entire infield. With a healthy Tulo and Travis, the infield looks quite deep. If they are injured, the depth looks even better. These two trades are a rather shrewd bit of business for a front office that has been slammed for not doing much. But, these deals look even better in the context of the team as a whole. See, to raise the floor of this infield and provide depth, Ross Atkins gave up J.B. Woodman, a minor league outfielder, outfielder Edward Olivares and Jared Carkuff. If you had started the offseason knowing that these three would be the cost of upgrading over Goins and Barney, you would have jumped at the chance. Or, at least you should have.
What is even better is that the cost of upgrading has left the Blue Jays in a position that they can still address other areas of need. If this team does have approximately $25M to work with this winter, it hasn’t tapped into that much. According to Spotrac, Diaz will earn roughly $2M in 2018 and Solarte will see $4.125M. This provides enough flexibility for Toronto to still pursue upgrades in the outfield and/ or the rotation.
Let’s say, oh, I don’t know…Lorenzo Cain were a target, and his price has come down thanks to a lengthened, cold offseason, which is entirely possible, the Blue Jays could see fit to add him to their outfield. And, let’s be honest, the outfield needs some additions. Atkins will tell you that he feels comfortable with what he has now. And, why not? If agents can use the Blue Jays to leverage better deals, the Blue Jays can use the media to lower prices.
Atkins on Blue Jays outfield: “We feel like we could start the season with the outfielders that we have. But we’ll definitely look to see if there’s a way to upgrade or complement in our outfield.”
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) January 6, 2018
Starting the season with an outfield of Kevin Pillar, likely Ezequiel Carrera, Steve Pearce and probably Teoscar Hernandez may make the GM comfortable enough to make this claim, but the reality is that if competing out of the gate is the goal, they latter part of his statement holds more truth than the first part. Maybe shorter term options like Carlos Gonzalez or Carlos Gomez can be paid for in free agency. Heck, I should probably throw in the name Jay Bruce just to appease a certain segment.
If the Blue Jays wanted to look into some free agent pitching, there is money for a Lance Lynn, a Jeremy Hellickson, a Chris Tillman. likely, Toronto will avoid the top names in this crop of free agent pitchers. But, again, their starting rotation situation allows them the opportunity to do that. They don’t need to land a Yu Darvish. As well, the bullpen situation being what it is allows this club to avoid pulling a Colorado Rockies and spending all the money on all the relievers.
And, this says nothing of the prospect capital that Toronto has managed to maintain. The club has managed to make improvements without tapping into any of their top prospects. Of course, most people only cared about keeping Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr, but some of the trades that we have been clamouring for likely would have cost at least one of them, not to mention some of the other talent like Ryan Borucki, Anthony Alford, Nate Pearson, or any one of the other exciting baby Jays. Granted, it costs talent to land talent in trades. And, Olivares was no slouch.
But, that is the point. There is still plenty of talent available should Toronto look to pull off a trade to improve their outfield, their rotation or even their backup catching situation. There is also money still available.
Fans can (and have) expressed their frustration at the seemingly limited action from the Toronto Blue Jays’ front office. But, what you can’t lament is the quality of the moves they have made. It takes a lot of work and thought to pull off deals that improve your team without costing a lot. This front office has avoided the easy, splashy, sexy deals and opted for smarter ones. And, in the process, they’ve managed to set themselves up for even more.
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