Offseason In Review: Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are next in our Offseason In Review series.

Major League Signings

International Signings

  • Jairo Labour, Francisco Tejada
  • 

Notable Minor League Signings

Extensions

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Summary

The 2010-11 offseason was another active one for Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, filled with low-risk free agent signings, intriguing deals, a major extension and the hiring of manager John Farrell.  Pull up a chair.

A couple of last winter's signings, John Buck and Kevin Gregg, improved their stock playing for the 2010 Blue Jays, each contributing a supplemental draft pick to the club as a parting gift.  The four veteran relievers acquired this winter, all in the $3-4MM salary range, must be viewed with Anthopoulos' draft pick obsession in mind.  The Blue Jays also bolstered the trade value of Dotel, Rauch, and Frasor by getting reasonable club options for 2012.  On the surface the four relievers will replace Downs and Gregg, but the bigger picture seems to be about future value in terms of draft picks or trades.  The signings are also forward-facing moves in that the Jays' young starters might be their greatest asset, and they'll be aided by a reliable bullpen.

For further proof of Anthopoulos' draft pick hoarding, consider the Olivo maneuvers.  The Jays essentially bought the #53 overall draft pick for $500K plus whatever amount was sent to the Rockies, the first time I've seen that strategy employed.  Given the free agent contracts they eventually signed, it seems that Gregg and Olivo might have had trade value had the Blue Jays exercised their options, but the team either didn't forecast that or just preferred the picks.

Anthopoulos made more traditional trades as well.  The Wells deal was a masterstroke, as the Toronto GM moved his predecessor's unmovable contract, clearing significant payroll space and even netting a useful player down the line in Francisco.  Anthopoulos cashed in on Marcum's fine 2010, netting a top 50 prospect in Lawrie.  He did take on risk in that deal, dealing one of baseball's precious commodities (multiple years of a top starting pitcher) while pinning the success of the trade on one prospect.  The Blue Jays dealt their ace for the second consecutive offseason, a trend that is probably finished.

I liked the Davis pickup, given the scarcity of center fielders.  And while the Villanueva trade is not complete, it doesn't seem that the Jays gave up much for a guy who had an 11.4 K/9 last year.  I'm not sure why the Brewers found Villanueva expendable.   

I'm a fan of the Bautista extension as well.  There's risk in any long-term deal, but if Bautista is now a consistent 30 home run bat, $14MM per free agent year is a fair price.

The Blue Jays will likely become progressively more aggressive about competing in the AL East, starting with the 2012 season.  A playoff berth could be added by MLB, and Toronto's goal is to begin an extended period of contention.  They've got a respectable 2011 club, but this coming offseason could be Anthopoulos' biggest push yet toward winning now. 

Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.


26 Responses to Offseason In Review: Toronto Blue Jays Leave a Reply

  1. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    Its very sweet of you to have put Tallet and Accardo under notable losses :)

  2. threeeds 4 years ago

    I find it funny that Napoli is in the notable losses. Did he even make it to Toronto before they flipped him for Francisco?

  3. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    “It doesn’t seem that the Jays gave up much for a guy who had an 11.4 K/9 last year. I’m not sure why the Brewers found Villanueva expendable. ”

    I find that extremely odd as well. Watching Villanueva pitch, the guy has some filthy stuff and an amazing change up. Not sure why the brew crew would give him up for nothing only to acquire Sergio Mitre for a decent utility player.

    • BenchedMark 4 years ago

      ditto. I wonder if the trade could be linked to the Marcum / Lawrie deal.

    • daveineg 4 years ago

      As a Brewer fan, I completely agree. He is prone to some bad stretches now and then that inflated his ERA the last couple years, but when he’s right, he’s tough, he competes, and he has one of the best changeups in the game. Some of us think the Brewers gave up on him as a starter far too quickly too.

      It was too early to give up on him. By the way in the 08 playoffs, he retired 11 of 11.

  4. BenchedMark 4 years ago

    What a nice change it is to have complete faith in your GM and see a clear direction for the organization. Not that JPR didn’t try, and he was a very good college tallent evaluator, but the wild free agent signings, lack of structure in the organizaton and the attitude he had turned off almost all Blue Jay fans.

  5. I think most fans would evaluate the off-season as a success, maybe even a smashing success.

  6. I had almost forgot about the Olivo move…that was awesome.

  7. marley4041 4 years ago

    John Farrel should be listed as an awesome addition, and right move leaving Cito off the notable losses list.

  8. Guest 649 4 years ago

    What do you think, big move for a 1B/DH this off season? Pujols or Feilder? I think they might try if they are available in the free agent pool. Pujols would fix a lot of problems in Toronto… Dream or perhaps reality? :)

    • PJaysW 4 years ago

      I can’t imagine how exciting it would be to have Pujols and Jose Bautista hitting 3-4.

      Never. Going. To. Happen.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      I thnk Lind is an impact first baseman, obviously no where in Pujols class but the 300 million could be better spent in other areas.

      Also, I think the likelyhood of Pujols actually considering coming here is .01%

      • BenchedMark 4 years ago

        The question then becomes, do you pay $150m or whatever it’ll take for Feilder, or are you happy with Lind for several toonies less?

        • I would like Fielder except that he is a left handed bat. That would leave us with Lind Fielder and Snider all as left handed power bats. It certainly could be worse but I would rather sign a righty so you could run a l/r/l/r lineup with Bautista, Lind, Snider and another righty. I would certainly take fielder though if he wanted to play in Toronto

          • The only downside with that is that the lineup is already so unbalanced towards the right side.

          • bluejaysstatsgeek 4 years ago

            I’m not interested in Fielder. He will not age well, and there’s no way I’d give him more than a 3-year contract, but he’s likely to demand a minimum of 5 years. Fielder money and Pujols money are better spent within the organization. Both players will sign for more than they are worth.

    • Certainly the Jays will check in on Pujols. It is probably a pipe dream, but if it came true, damn. Imagine how full the skydome would be if the Jays fielded a winning team with Pujols hitting in the heart of the lineup.

      I would be really surprised to see them go after Fielder. My bet is that Fielder ends up in Baltimore.

  9. mozelpuffski 4 years ago

    i am a vernon advocator through and through. however, that being said, i am ecstatic to have davis out there now. albeit rajai does take some shall we say unique routes to the ball, his blazing speed more then makes up for that. last night was perfect example of the benefit of speed!

    lawrie looks sic, farrell seems to be on point, gose has shown some amazing potential, our roatation (if performs to abilities) will be one of the stronger ones in MLB – i say top 5 maybe? some big if’s – but it is more then possible. cecil romero morrow are all 15-20 game potential winners – drabek if continues as he did this past saturday joins that list – litsch if can regain his pre-injury form is as well a 15 game winner.

    One person i think that needs to be on the list is Wakamatsu – he is going to do wonders with our young catchers (3 top 10 mlb catching prospects in our organization) NICE!!!!

    A great time to be a Jays fan!!!

    • mkl_nyn 4 years ago

      Rajai intentionally made the route to that catch more difficult than it had to be to show off his wheels 😉 Now if only hed learn not to get picked off every time on base (twice made nice recoveries though) or hack at the first 2 pitches of every at bat as the lead off guy, we’re lookin at a keeper.

  10. Matty 4 years ago

    The 150mm to 300mm it would take to get Fielder or Pujols is better spent on trying to find and develope the next Pujols or Fielder. Having an elite player during his pre arb years is the key. Signing an elite player during his FA/full priced years that is more than likely in decline, is better left for the Yankees to do.

  11. Heliosphan 4 years ago

    I like the Jays this year. Lots of effective arms for the bullpen, and a power hitting lineup.

  12. RedSoxDynasty 4 years ago

    Last place!

    • vilifyingforce 4 years ago

      Wow, even in the basement you guys are a proud bunch eh?

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      you come here weeks after the post so no one challenges your intellect.. nice move

      you’re like the ‘tough guy’ who gets in the last kick when the guy is already on the ground.

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