The Blue Jays have been knocked out of the playoffs, but the club’s window for contention remains open, writes Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. The entire starting lineup is under contract for 2016. Toronto scored 891 runs on the season – an astounding 127 runs better than the second-best Yankees. The offense even improved as the year went on with the acquisitions of Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Revere. The breakouts of Ryan Goins and Chris Colabello could also add up to more runs over a full season as could healthy years from Devon Travis and Michael Saunders. Alas, the front office will have it’s work cut out with the pitching staff. David Price, Marco Estrada, and Mark Buehrle will be free agents and GM Alex Anthopoulos has a soon-to-expire contract too. The bullpen is strikingly thin as well. Perhaps they’ll be forced to trade from the strong lineup.
Here’s more Jays news:
- We should soon learn more about the plans of new Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. With Anthopoulos’ contract set to expire on October 30, the club will need to quickly decide if they will offer an extension. It remains unclear how Shapiro plans to share decision making authority with his GM, and it’s possible the two have different philosophies. However, after such a successful campaign, it would be surprising to see Toronto allow Anthopoulos to leave.
- The Blue Jays refused to sign pitchers for over five-years under former CEO Paul Beeston, per Davidi. Again, it’s uncertain if Shapiro will bend those old rules to re-sign David Price or ink another top pitcher. The largest contract ever handed out by a Shapiro-led regime was the four-year, $57MM deal to Travis Hafner in 2007. Of course, Cleveland may possess additional salary constraints above and beyond those of Toronto. Personally, I would expect the Jays to acquire multiple mid-tier arms and rely upon the offense. A couple top relievers could be hugely helpful, and all could be had for a fraction of Price’s future contract.
- Price would welcome an extension with the Blue Jays, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca. His teammates have also expressed a desired to see him return. As previously noted, the Jays leadership would have to seriously change their past habits. For example, Anthopoulos has yet to pay for than $5MM for a free agent pitcher.
- Knuckle ball specialist R.A. Dickey figures to be an important piece of the 2016 rotation, writes Griffin. The soon-to-be 41-year-old has thrown over 200 innings in each of the last five seasons and may be asked to anchor a rotation of young pitchers. His style of absorbing innings while keeping his team in the game is a great fit for the Toronto offense. Personally, his role reminds me of fellow knuckleballer Tim Wakefield with the Red Sox and fellow slowballer Jamie Moyer with the Phillies.
- Tulowitzki never settled in with his new team, reports John Lott of the National Post. “It’s tough for me now to trust anybody in this game after what happened,” said Tulowitzki referring to the business side of the game. He had expected to remain with the Rockies after signing a 10-year extension in 2011. Tulowitzki doesn’t hold the trade against the Rockies or Blue Jays and looks forward to spending a full season with his new club.