The first full day of winter meetings has come and gone very quietly, and without any moves from the Blue Jays. That leaves a vacuum, which nature abhors, so Jon Heyman delivered this last night:
Mets, rockies, jays and mariners are among teams eying jay bruce at present.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 12, 2017
At this point, I cannot help but think of Mark Shapiro (and/or Ross Atkins) as Captain Ahab and Jay Bruce as their elusive white whale whom they chase obsessively. The Mets apparently have interest on a three year deal, but Bruce is still sticking to a five year demand. If that's the case, and what it takes, hopefully they move on to other pursuits, lest their pursuit end as in Moby Dick.
Meanwhile, Ross Atkins addressed
his Rogers Media colleagues the gathered media throng. Normally, I don't pay much attention to these as it's usually little more than banalities, but Mike Wilner went through the trouble of providing a blow-by-blow. It's not usually my thing, but there's nothing much else to discuss and the ennui of this offseason has left me restless, let's go through what Atkins had to say, with some annotations. I forewarn that restlessness tends to draw out my caustic and ornery side (moreso than usual).
In (mostly) chronological order:
Atkins: Can’t get into whether or not we’re actually negotiating an extension with Donaldson. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
Ooh, state secrets! Okay, Fair enough.
Atkins: Really hard to imagine making this organization better without Josh. He’s one of the best players in the game. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
Well, you'd probably want to be negotiating an extension then, right? Somehow I doubt Ross would be much of a poker player.
Atkins: Things are expedited when everyone’s under one roof. We’re in a good position to make our organization better and we feel we’re in a better position than most to do that. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
I would say this is probably true. They're in better position than most to make their organization better, if only because several organizations have already made themselves significantly better.
Atkins: Other teams are valuing players in our system in a similar way that we value them. That’s encouraging. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
I guess? Some more context here would help.
Atkins: Young starting pitching is really hard to find. Durability is a secret weapon. If you can identify pitchers who can haul 200 innings year-in year-out, that’s an advantage. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
Some real penetrating insight here. Going to skip the next couple because they're really boring.
Atkins: We will most likely add an infielder. It’s not necessary, but adding to our depth and versatility there is attractive and makes sense. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
Something of a tautology here. If it's not necessary, then it's only attractive and makes sense if there's a surplus on the market driving prices down. Which is not really my read of the market.
Atkins: Some of the infield depth - Diaz, Ngoepe, Gurriel, Urena - could wind up in the outfield at some point. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
Acquire an infield to move infielders to the outfield? Though most of those guys have to show they can hit enough to stay on the infield before that's even a possibility.
Atkins: At the upper levels, relief pitching and outfield are places where we have surplus we can use to get other things. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
They have a surplus of outfielders so infielders might end up in the outfield?
Atkins: Currently talking to multiple starting pitchers, multiple relief pitchers. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
If relief pitching as a surplus area from which to deal, I'm not quite sure why they'd be looking to use scarce and precious budget room there. Maybe a lefty, I guess.
Atkins: We have interest in Ryan Goins returning with some level of guarantee. He’ll figure out what his alternatives are. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
As long as said guarantee isn't more than an invite to Spring Training and opt-out, cool.
Atkins: "There’s nothing I care less about" than people now saying that #Yankees are a lock to win the World Series. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
Atkins: AL East is the greatest place to be. Energy and competitive spirit around those divisional games is incredible. I would never trade that. You always want to compete against the best. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
I dunno, I'd have gladly traded the "energy and competitive spirit" for a few division titles the Jays could surely have won in the Central from 1998 to 2014. For my money, the playoffs are the greatest place to be. But to each his own I guess.
Atkins: Signing Marco Estrada allows us to be more measured as far as going after starting pitching. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
Re-signing Estrada simply means not starting in a bigger hole relative to last year. I don't think 2017 was anyone's idea of acceptable, especially on the depth side.
Atkins: I’m a huge fan of Joe Biagini’s. The things he’s done since he got here have been so impressive. If we have to start the season with him as our 5th starter, that’s not the worst-case scenario. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
I suppose this is true. The worst case scenario would be if Joe Biagini ends up the 3rd or 4th starter because of others missing time. Speaking of which:
Aaron Sanchez is in Dunedin and is expected to start playing catch tomorrow, according to Ross Atkins. He stressed recently they won't know exactly how blister will respond until he gets into game action next spring. #BlueJays— Scott Mitchell (@ScottyMitchTSN) December 11, 2017
It is simply delusional if you want to contend in 2018 not to add another good starting pitcher. We just saw what happens when you're five deep without viable options behind.
Atkins mentioned Borucki, Pannone, Guerreri, McGuire, Rowley, Santos as potential starters for #Bisons next season. #Bluejays #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) December 11, 2017
Buffalo sure, but at best any of those would be question marks in Toronto, especially in the first half of the season. Borucki, Pannone and Guerrieri have the strongest eventual major league potential there, but have a combined 15.1 innings above AA.
Anyway, that was about it from our faithful GM. Let's see what Day 2 brings.