The Blue Jays are nearly done making additions for the spring. Only some minor tinkering remains
After a slow and somewhat curious beginning to this offseason, recent Blue Jays’ moves have clarified the club’s overall plan. In The Birdfeed’s last post, we talked about how the strategy the team employed was probably the wisest.
No more major league signings are expected. Toronto’s biggest holes have been plugged and most of their (expected) payroll has been eaten up. However, expect the team to throw a few more spring invites into the mix. There are quite a few unsigned players out there, some of them quite solid, so it’s a team friendly market at this point.
Toronto still needs some more starting pitching depth. They enjoyed some remarkable good luck with starter health last season. Don’t expect that to continue. They need some solid 6,7,8,9,10 options stashed away (remember 2012?).
Here’s some of the plausible fits:
- Henderson Alvarez: a familiar environment could be just what the former Blue Jay needs to come back from an injury-filled 2016 and get his career back on track. In his last healthy season, he was nearly Cy Young worthy with a 2.65 ERA. He should be open to a minor league deal.
- Mat Latos. With some opt outs, Latos could be had on a spring invite. He’s floated around between 5 teams over the past two seasons but is perfectly capable of serving as a 5th starter.
- Edwin Jackson. He had some success as a reliever in 2015. He returned to more of a starting role in 2016 without much luck. He could serve as an experienced depth swingman. He should be willing on a spring deal with some opt out dates to free him up if the Jays don’t require his services.
- Lower tier options if the above are taken: Tim Lincecum, Alfredo Simon.
- Unlikely to be available on spring invite deals but still possible: Jon Niese, Doug Fister, Jered Weaver, Jake Peavy, Jorge de la Rosa. These five should be able to find small major league deals but if still available, they could represent a nice mini-coup on a spring invite.
- Matt Harrison, Jarrod Parker, C.J Wilson, Nathan Eovaldi are all technically available but all are either not playing in 2017 or there are serious doubts about their readiness
Toronto is counting on its rotation to be a strength again this season. A spring injury to a starter could throw a fairly large wrench into the Jays’ plans. Some spring deals are essential as insurance policies against such an eventuality.