The Toronto Blue Jays are looking to improve this offseason and they will need to rely on Scott Peters’ work behind the scenes
If the Toronto Blue Jays really have intentions of taking a step forward this offseason, they’re going to need to use all of the resources available to them, which includes human. The management team under Mark Shapiro has spent a great deal of time and effort bulking up their behind the scenes crew and, this offseason, Scott Peters could play a vital role.
Shapiro has focused on bringing in analytics people in an effort to work smarter. He’s also headed a massive reconstruction of the way the Toronto Blue Jays think about and act on physical training, health management, etc. Recently, the club lost (it’s a big loss) their head trainer, Nikki Huffman, which caused some shuffling of responsibilities. One such change sees Scott Peters go from assistant physical therapist to medical research coordinator which, according to Shi Davidi, means that his responsibilities will now “include helping with risk assessments in player acquisitions and the draft.”
Considering where the Blue Jays are right now, this could be a major role for Peters and one that could impact the club’s fortunes. We know that the team is looking to take a
leap step forward and add to their emerging core. They’re not ready to compete just yet, but they are looking to set themselves up for that in the next couple of years. That means that they need to be very careful about their offseason moves.
New additions to the roster will not just be band aids, but pieces that will be important to trying to win, which means we can likely expect 3 to 4 years (an estimate, of course) of commitment from the front office. With that in mind, they’ll definitely need to rely on some solid risk assessment.
For example, if they want to go shopping on the open market, arguably the most risky approach to adding to their roster, they’ll need heavy evaluations. Looking at the current list of free agents, we see a variety of guys who are at an age where you need to do your homework. Let’s say they want to find a center fielder, which they absolutely should, the list features names all over the age of 30. Sure, Billy Hamilton is 29 and offers some speed, but his stolen bases are declining and he’s coming off a season that saw him injure his knee and his thumb.
This risk assessment is even more important if the club wants to look at “flyers” like Peter Bourjos, Cameron Maybin or Austin Jackson (who didn’t even play in 2019). Leonys Martin would be another name that would really put Peters to the test. After moving around for a few seasons, he found himself in Cleveland where they discovered a life threatening bacterial infection in 2018. In June of 2019, they released him and he went to Japan. None of this is to say that any of the above are, or should be, actual targets of Toronto’s front office, but they highlight the kind of work that Peters has in front of him.
The Blue Jays had better be looking to add free agent starting pitching since their rotation is one massive question mark. The list of those available features so much need for risk assessment. The combination of age and health issues makes a mountain of work for anyone looking to decide on taking a chance with this crop.
We know that Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins are loathe to spend on the open market since you always end up paying more than you should, which is even more true for the team trying to convince people to come to play in Toronto, Canada. For this reason, the front office will likely scour other teams’ rosters for additional pieces. This approach means even more work for Peters.
29 other teams have a handful of players that could be available in a trade. Each player comes with his own unique element of risk. The Blue Jays will likely want years of control, which means that age is likely not a factor, but how many young and talented players could be available for what the Blue Jays have to offer AND show a history of being healthy. That number is minuscule. You can bet that there are no sure bets, with no element of risk, dropping into Atkins’ lap.
Instead, the Toronto Blue Jays will need to rely on some heavy research and educated guesses to fill their roster this offseason. As much as fans will direct all of their focus on Atkins and Shapiro, there will be several more people involved in the process of making a decision this winter. Scott Peters is one of them. His new role will ask him to join in the ‘crystal-balling’ that is required to build a winning team. Given the desire among fans to get back into the postseason, the pressure is on.
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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.