We haven’t done one of these in a long time, and we are around the mid-point of the off-season. The Blue Jays play their first game of 2017 in 84 days. They played their last game 80 days ago.
I know there is a lot of time, and things can change quickly, but the idea of these polls is to take a snap shot of where we are at the moment.
Like last winter, the Jays didn’t re-sign their biggest free agent (last year Price, this year Encarnacion). Like last year, my Twitter feed has been full of ‘no way we can win without him’.
Last year, they signed two players (J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada) for roughly the same per year money that Price got (though Price signed for 7 years). This year they signed two players (Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce) for roughly (slightly less) than Edwin will be getting per year.
Last year the off-season was pretty quiet. This year the off-season has been in a coma.
The Encarnacion thing played out strangely. The Jays made a 4-year, $80 million offer (reportedly). Seemed like fair money, but Edwin wanted to see what he could get on the free market. Both Edwin and the Jays felt he would get a better offer.
Running with the feeling Edwin would get a better offer, the Jays quickly turned to plan B, Kendrys Morales (for some of us it seemed more like Plan 9 from Outer Space). Morales appeared to fill the DH role. Soon after they signed Steve Pearce, who appeared to fill the first base job (perhaps in a platoon with Justin Smoak).
It looked like there wasn’t a spot for Edwin.
Then, surprise, the market for Edwin disappeared. Edwin would have been thrilled to sign the original offer from the Jays, but the Jays were in a different place, and didn't feel he had the same value to them as when they made the offer.
There has been a lot of finger pointing. Edwin’s agent screwed up. Mark and Ross screwed up. Personally, I think they both believed there would be a better offer out there. I know I did.
Beyond that, the front office has a lot of work still to do:
- We need a good left-hander in the bullpen. I’ll admit, I was surprised by the contract Brett Cecil received from the Cardinals. I would have loved if we kept Cecil, but, I’m his biggest fan, and I wouldn’t have given him that contract. Free agent sluggers haven’t been getting the offers I expected, relievers have been getting much better contracts than I expected. But, even if everyone is paying too much, we need a LH reliever.
- We really need another outfielder. I’d like someone that either could leadoff or could fit in the middle of the order. Or we could sign a first baseman, and Pearce could play outfield. Or would could get someone that could play either first or the outfield and give us a bit more flexibility.
- We could us a backup catcher. If A.J. Jimenez hadn’t missed so much time with injuries, I might be ok with the idea of going into the season with him in the job, but I can’t imagine that is the plan.
Beyond that, I’d like them to either sign Jose Bautista or be clear that they aren’t going to sign him. I guess that’s not likely to happen, but I’m getting tired of the whole thing. I’d love to have Jose back on a one-year contract or one plus an option year. I’d like him playing first base, but he could also play some outfield.
I’d also like to never hear Jay Bruce’s name mentioned in connection with the Jays ever again.