Several executives appeared on MLB Network Radio with Jim Bowden today including Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins and Rays president of baseball operation Matt Silverman. Atkins spoke on a number of subjects (tweets 1, 2, 3, 4) including the roles of prospects Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna. Both have succeeded in the bullpen, and the Jays “want to stay flexible. We don’t want to paint ourselves into a corner, just increase depth.” It’s been speculated that one or both pitchers could be converted back to the rotation – possibly in the minors.
Here’s more from the radio show and around the division:
- Atkins has met with Edwin Encarnacion and plans to meet with Jose Bautista next week to discuss contract extensions. No offers have been made. Both sluggers are in the final year of their respective contracts. Encarnacion, 33, will earn $10MM in 2016 while Bautista, 35, will take home $14MM. Despite being on the wrong side of 30, they are in line for large raises.
- Atkins also addressed rumors regarding R.A. Dickey. We’re “not actively shopping him,” per Atkins. As is the policy with most players, the club will listen to offers. Given that the rotation isn’t exactly a strong suit for the Blue Jays, I figure the club would have to be on the verge of signing a free agent like Wei-Yin Chen or Yovani Gallardo if they’re seriously considering a Dickey swap.
- Moving onto the Rays, the club is hopeful a vote next week could free them up to look at stadium sites in Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg (tweet). Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times has more specific details of the proposal if you’re interested. Relocation negotiations with St. Petersburg have long clouded the Rays economic future.
- Silverman confirmed that the Rays have talked frequently with the Cubs (tweet). “We know we line up really well with them given our depth and strengths.” Earlier this winter, we heard rumors of Chicago interest in starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi. The Rays were said to be interested in infielder Javier Baez.
- While Tampa Bay will entertain offers for their relievers, “they are a big part of our club.” Last season, the Rays maximized the performances of pitchers like Erasmo Ramirez and Nate Karns by turning to the bullpen early in their starts. The club could look to leverage their relievers in a similar way this season. As such, Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger may stay put.
- The health of Orioles prospect Dylan Bundy will be one of the top stories in their upcoming minicamp, writes Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. Bundy has spent most of the last three seasons on the disabled list after making two relief appearances in 2012. As such, he’s out of options but hasn’t had an opportunity to develop over the last three campaigns. In many ways, he resembles a Rule 5 pick.
- Should the Orioles consider forfeiting their 14th overall pick to sign Justin Upton or Gallardo, wonders Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports. He takes a look at 14th picks back through 1990. The finding: there are some big hits and misses (this is true of all picks in the middle of the first round). In the case of signing Upton, it’s a lot easier to justify discarding a long term draft asset. Kubatko would want Gallardo to ink a three-year deal in order to part with the pick.
- The Yankees have two spots left on the 40-man roster and a couple ways to fill them, writes Ryan Hatch of NJ.com. As he notes, a splashy trade is possible. However, I agree that it’s more likely the club targets another backup infielder to provide depth up the middle or a pitcher to compete for a middle relief role.