The hot stove has returned - and so, apparently, has the intrigue of the offseason. Here’s the latest:
Brett Lawrie is drawing interest from the Blue Jays, among other clubs, per Jim Bowden of ESPN. The former Blue Jay, who spent parts of four seasons in Toronto, was recently released by the Chicago White Sox. In 2016, he had a .310 on-base percentage but poor 3.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 12 home runs in 94 games is certainly a cause for hope, as his numbers would rise with more playing time and a smaller ballpark, but his health is the main cause for concern, as it was during his time with the Blue Jays.
Where he would fit in with the Blue Jays is unclear. At this point, he would likely become the utility infielder, should he make the major league roster, but even that is not. It’s difficult seeing Lawrie replace either Ryan Goins or Darwin Barney on the bench, although his comparatively strong bat could gift him major league time.
The Blue Jays are also considering making a move on Angel Pagan, one of the few remaining free agent left fielders on the market, as first reported by Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. Despite the apparent fit and likely low cost of acquisition, it’s unlikely that Pagan ends up in Toronto, Chisholm notes, as the Blue Jays front office seems hesitant to add another player into the already crowded mix of fourth outfielder options.
Those options, including Steve Pearce, Melvin Upton Jr., Ezequiel Carrera and Dalton Pompey, would be bolstered by the 35-year-old Pagan. The 11 year veteran had a .331 on-base percentage in his 129 games this passing season, which would be an improvement over Carrera’s .323 OBP in 110 games with the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays continued to struggle in spring training yesterday, falling 5-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays. Troy Tulowitzki made his spring debut batting third, with Jose Bautista moved to fourth in the lineup. Marcus Stroman, in his 2.2 innings of work, allowed one run but was generally strong. Marco Estrada also made his spring debut and pitched two near-perfect innings (one hit, no walks).
Offensively, Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista stayed hot. Both players collected two hits, and Bautista came around to score in the second inning. You can read a full review of the game here.
Today, for the first time this year, is an off day. Tomorrow, the Blue Jays will send J.A. Happ to the mound against Jr. Team Canada, a game that will be available on Sportsnet and on radio through MLB.com.