The Blue Jays are expected to pick up the team’s $3MM option over righty Jason Grilli, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca notes in his breakdown of the team’s upcoming offseason plans. That’s hardly a surprise now, though it probably is one if you backtrack all the way to May 31, when he came to Toronto via trade. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams explained at the time, it was possible to see the potential for a rebound from the veteran, with the Jays only accepting a minimal amount of salary obligations. The 39-year-old ultimately delivered just what Toronto hoped for, contributing 42 innings of 3.64 ERA pitching with 12.4 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9. He’ll enter the 2017 as a key set-up option for the Jays, with his affordable option locking up one bullpen spot at a reasonable price.
Here’s more from the AL East:
- Several notable Blue Jays players may well end up heading to other organizations, of course. As Davidi writes, it appears rather likely that veteran knuckler R.A. Dickey will be among them. Dickey did not commit to continuing his playing career, but says he’ll listen to any opportunities as they arise this winter after taking some time away from the game. He spoke fondly of his four seasons in Toronto, over which he turned in 824 1/3 solid innings but was never quite as dominant as hoped when the club parted with significant talent (including then-prospect Noah Syndergaard) to acquire him after three outstanding years with the Mets.
- David Ortiz’s unbelievable final season with the Red Sox may have been more remarkable than most of us truly realized as it unfolded. As WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes, the aging slugger was fighting through lower-leg and foot issues that were far more serious than was known publicly. Widespread problems meant that Ortiz “was essentially playing on stumps,” in the words of coordinator of sports medicine services Dan Dyrek — the man who helped him hang on as long as he did. Boston fans, in particular, will want to read the entirety of this piece, in which Dyrek breaks down the immense challenges faced by Ortiz and the team’s medical staff dating back for several seasons.
- Orioles outfielder Joey Rickard never returned to action after tearing a thumb ligament on July 20, but the hope is he won’t need surgery to address the issue, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. More importantly, highly paid slugger Chris Davis is set for doctors to check out his hand after dealing with discomfort throughout the year. Though Davis battled through the injury all year, he didn’t quite perform as hoped, and the team wants to double check that some kind of offseason procedure isn’t necessary.