The Blue Jays are planning to contend in 2018, though with the team facing a tough road back to the postseason, Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at the broader question faced by the Jays and other clubs about deciding when a rebuild is necessary. Reaching the playoffs even once is a worthy goal, though mortgaging the future to do so won’t lead to a sustainable contender, which is what teams like the Cubs and Astros appear to be after writing off several seasons to totally remake their franchises. An even greater challenge is trying to rebuild while remaining competitive, which is what the Blue Jays seem to be trying. “I personally don’t feel that you should ever be in a rebuild mode, especially in this market and in this environment,” Jays GM Ross Atkins said. “There might be soft resets based on circumstance….But personally, I don’t buy into the strategy that we’re not going to be a good team for five and six years.”
Here’s more from around the AL East…
- Evan Longoria tells Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that the Rays have yet to speak to their longtime third baseman about their offseason plans. The Rays will certainly be moving some expensive veterans this winter, and if they shift into full-on rebuild mode, that could very well include a trade of Longoria, their highest-paid player and franchise cornerstone. “I think they have made it pretty clear that they want to cut salary, so I guess that leaves me somewhere in limbo,” Longoria said. “I think I’ve been pretty up front about wanting to be in Tampa (Bay) for my whole career, but I realize that my window is getting smaller to win a championship. If they decide to rebuild completely and give everyone up, then I suppose my family and I will adjust.”
- In another piece from Topkin, he ranks the Rays players most likely to be traded this offseason, perhaps as soon as this week’s Winter Meetings. Closer Alex Colome sits atop the list, followed by Jake Odorizzi and Longoria. Chris Archer is a “2A” candidate after Odorizzi, as Archer would be Tampa’s most valuable trade chip if the club did embark on a rebuild. Topkin writes that the Rays would demand “twice the return of Odorizzi” for Archer, and even more than the five-prospect package the team received from the Cubs in the 2011 Matt Garza trade.
- The Yankees will hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported (Twitter link). The New York Post’s Ken Davidoff reported earlier today that Bard stood “a good chance of” being hired after an interview for the position last week. A former ten-year big league veteran, Bard’s post-playing career includes jobs as a scout and special assistant in the Dodgers organization and, for the last two seasons, the team’s bullpen coach. Bard and new Yankees manager Aaron Boone were briefly teammates with the 2005 Indians.
- Now that Giancarlo Stanton is a Yankee, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald proposes a bold counter-move for the Red Sox — sign both J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer in free agency. This would come at a big financial cost for the Sox, of course, though Silverman argues that since the team will likely be over the luxury tax threshold anyway, the Red Sox will face a slightly lesser financial penalty now than they would in exceeding it next offseason with another year of overages on its record. Silverman believes Boston should strike now rather than hope for landing one of next winter’s big free agents, plus Martinez and Hosmer would help replace the clubhouse leadership gap left by the retired David Ortiz.