Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins spoke Saturday on how division-rival Boston’s recent acquisition of left-hander Drew Pomeranz could affect the trade deadline, telling Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, “I’m not so sure it’s going to increase the market drastically. There’s just more buyers than there are sellers at that position. The market was already set very high based on the alternatives.” Atkins added that, given the lack of sellers, it was no surprise the Red Sox had to surrender top-flight prospect Anderson Espinoza to make a deal happen. As for his own team’s plans as the Aug. 1 deadline nears, the Blue Jays aren’t focusing solely on acquiring rentals or controllable players, Atkins stated. “Typically you pay for control, so that would mean probably giving up more prospect-level. Everything’s a balance.”
More from Toronto and one of its AL East rivals:
- The Rays don’t seem interested in trading third baseman Evan Longoria this year, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. However, Longoria will get 10-and-5 rights in April 2018, relays Topkin, and will then have the opportunity to veto any trade. That could be a date to watch, then, should the Rays eventually have a change of heart on Longoria. The 30-year-old, who’s amid yet another terrific season, is controllable through 2023.
- The two-year extension the Blue Jays awarded first baseman Justin Smoak on Saturday is a safe play for the club, opines Davidi. If Edwin Encarnacion leaves in free agency, the Jays at least have an in-house fallback option. On the other hand, Davidi argues that the $4.125MM that Smoak will make in 2017 is $4.125MM less for the team to give Encarnacion, Jose Bautista or Michael Saunders. Extension discussions between Smoak and the team moved quickly, according to Davidi, with the two sides beginning negotiations Monday and taking less than a week to reach an agreement. “We love Toronto, me and my family, we wanted to stay here for as long as we can, and I’m just happy to get something done,” Smoak said.
- The Blue Jays aren’t sure how they’ll handle first baseman/outfielder Chris Colabello’s forthcoming return from the 80-game suspension he received in April for performance-enhancing drugs. “It’s complicated by what the alternatives will be, how he is performing, the fact that he had so much down time, then, secondarily, what that means going forward for someone who is not going to be a part of our playoff roster,” Atkins commented. Colabello – who’s on a rehab assignment at Class-A Dunedin – is on track to join Triple-A Buffalo on Monday, reports Davidi. The 32-year-old is eligible to return July 23, though he does have minor league options remaining and, as Atkins mentioned, won’t be eligible to participate in the postseason if the Jays make it.