On Tuesday I asked how many players the Blue Jays need to add to have a competitive team in the upcoming season. Today the focus is more on what the first priority of the team's front office should be in the coming weeks. The possible options for Alex Anthopoulos to improve this team are drying up pretty rapidly, even more so with rumours that Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will not be posted this offseason. The choices for what the Blue Jays should focus on first in December and January seem to be: find a new front of the rotation starter, acquire depth at the middle of the rotation, find a better second baseman than what the team currently has, find Adam Lind a platoon partner, and lastly to add one more bench option. Over at the Toronto Star, Brendan Kennedy also provided a quick overview of what moves he thinks the Blue Jays could make.
With Tanaka seeming to no longer be an option, acquiring a front of the rotation starter is looking to be pretty unlikely as the pickings are slim in free agency. Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana are the 'sexy' names still remaining and the Blue Jays protected picks in the first round would make it easier to stomach the signing, but it still seems like a long shot at this point. There's always the possibility of trading for an ace, but after last year's deal for R.A. Dickey, Alex Anthopoulos might be a little cautious about going down that road again.
Adding more depth and middle of the rotation starters seems more realistic than finding a new ace. Toronto has an Olympic-sized pool of back-end starters so not making any moves on the depth front wouldn't cause too much panic among Blue Jays fans, but there's a definite need for one more solid mid-level stater. A player like Tommy Hanson may get a look from the Blue Jays if they begin to get even more desperate, but there's always an endless amount of options for the type of pitcher that the team needs.
I actually had a dream last night that the Blue Jays traded for a second baseman, which isn't relevant for anything other than showing how little of a life I have. Alex Anthopoulos has said he is fine with having Ryan Goins and Maicer Izturis split time at the '4' spot, so this move doesn't seem to be a big priority for him. The market for second basemen isn't overflowing, so it's tough to predict where the replacement would even come from at this point. It would likely have to come from a trade that involved more than just two players.
The last two options I listed can pretty much be combined into one, as it will likely end up being a bench player who mashes lefties that platoons with Adam Lind. Alex Anthopoulos could always decide that Moises Sierra can be that partner and won't acquire any more bench players.
Personally I think the team needs another starter first and foremost, although it probably won't be an ace. A reliable mid-level starter who has a healthy past will be targeted by Anthopoulos to shore up a pretty questionable rotation at this point. If we know anything about the Jays' General Manager, it's that he will be working the phones throughout the rest of this offseason trying to improve all facets of this team and we won't hear about 99% of the deals he's working on. What are your thoughts?