Connect with us

Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays in no hurry to bolster big-league roster, Stroman and Sanchez draw trade interest

LAS VEGAS — As if it wasn’t already painfully obvious (and just plain painful), Blue Jays fans best be hunkering down for some serious short-term suffering in the seasons ahead.

The team’s general manager Ross Atkins acknowledged as much on Monday after a day of kicking tires and listening to half-hearted offers at baseball’s annual winter meetings at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Just two seasons removed from a playoff berth and now in full, bloodied rebuild mode, Atkins suggested that any immediate moves to improve the current 25-man roster will be done with caution and likely a minimum of financial outlay.

Instead, the priority for a team with a combined record of 149-175 over the past two seasons is to fill holes with temporary additions while waiting for the much-hyped prospect pool to develop into major-league players.

“That’s not how we are looking to make the organization better,” Atkins said when asked about significant additions for the big-league roster in 2019. “There are so many different ways to make the organization better.

“What needs to happen is we need to continue building on our depth overall in any possible way. And that’s not just from our 25-man roster, subtracting or adding. That’s through minor-league free agency, the Rule 5 (draft) opportunities and any potential trades that could occur. We will constantly work to make the organization more complete.”

If that makes the short-term product as unsightly as it was at times over the past two campaigns, so be it because Atkins and his boss, team president Mark Shapiro, seem determined to stick to the blueprint that is firmly in place.

Atkins is well aware of how such talk sounds to a coast-to-coast fan base that has become accustomed to at least being competitive. But he promised that ultimately the current plan is for the greater good.

“As we have said over and over how exciting (the future) feels. I know it can feel not quite as exciting in an off-season for a fan that we’re not acquiring free agents as frequently as we have the last few years,” Atkins said. “We’re not as aggressive on the trade front potentially as some fans would like us to be, but we’re also in a unique opportunity to make sure that we create the best possible environment and opportunity for our young players that will be transitioning (to the big team).

“We could not be more excited about building around that. We want to make sure we are not overly aggressive and thinking through what that looks like two and three years (down the road.)”

Even more damning for the product the team will send out at the Rogers Communications Cashbox (once known as the SkyDome) this summer is that it could get worse before it gets better.

Atkins acknowledged on Monday that there is “significant interest” in starting pitchers Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, the two young, controllable pitchers who have battled injury troubles over the past two seasons.

“A lot of teams for a long time have talked about both of those individuals,” Atkins said in a meeting with the Toronto media from the team’s war room suite 60 floors above the Vegas strip. “When we write out our rotation it has them in it, but we know who is interested and now it’s just determining how interested.”

The Jays aren’t going to give either player away, especially with the dire need to fill out something resembling a starting five. But Atkins said opposing teams are not trying to low ball his team with offers because of the off seasons both Stroman and Sanchez had in 2018.

“There’s an objective equation to that talent return and how it lines up with your needs,” Atkins said. “The short answer is it would need to be a fair deal. It would mean we are getting talent in return that we feel is fair for the talent that is leaving. But that would be the case for any player.

“We wouldn’t be having discussions if (teams were trying to low ball.) The only discussions we are having are if there is potential for a fair return.”

While no deal of any type is imminent, Atkins described the first full day of the winter meetings as productive, relaying that there were talks with multiple teams and multiple firms representing free agents.

The GM emphasized that the priority remains acquiring starting pitching, though the most likely scenario would see that coming via free agency.

“We’ve had ample discussions with multiple teams,” Atkins said. “We have a lot of players that teams would like to have.”

And more and more it seems, not interest in making a splash with a high-end acquisition coming Toronto’s way.

Source Link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Toronto Blue Jays