While the Blue Jays weren’t known to be in pursuit of either Madison Bumgarner or Corey Kluber, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet explores how Bumgarner’s deal with Arizona and Kluber’s trade to Texas nevertheless impact Toronto’s search for rotation help. The Dodgers and Angels missed out on both pitchers, leaving both Southern California clubs with an even shorter supply of potential upgrades to ponder. Given the Jays’ interest in Hyun-Jin Ryu, that’s not great news, as both L.A. clubs could now look more aggressively at Ryu. (The same could also be true of the Twins, who also pursued Bumgarner to no avail.) The Blue Jays entered the winter determined to improve their rotation, and while the additions of Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson undeniably help, options that align with GM Ross Atkins’ stated desire for “significant” upgrades are beginning to dwindle.
More from the division…
- Orioles skipper Brandon Hyde tells Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com that catcher Pedro Severino is going to “get a lot of innings behind home plate and get a lot of at-bats next year.” Hyde stopped short of firmly declaring Severino the starter over former top prospect Chance Sisco and defensive-minded Austin Wynns, but the 26-year-old Severino was clearly Baltimore’s best option in 2019, when he slashed .249/.321/.420 in 341 plate appearances. Unlike Sisco and Wynns, he’s also out of minor league options, which should afford him a lengthier leash in the event of some early struggles. Kubatko notes that the O’s are still in the market for some catching depth, although one would imagine that with three backstops already on the 40-man roster, that could simply be a minor league pact for a veteran receiver.
- After adding Yoshitomo Tsutsugo on a two-year deal, the Rays are still considering countryman Shogo Akiyama as a potential addition, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Akiyama would add another center field option to the fold and likely bring some on-base skills to the table, although he’s also a left-handed hitter and Topkin spends some time focusing on the Rays’ desire to add a right-handed bat to the roster as well. Specifically, the Rays hope to add a right-handed hitter with some defensive versatility — hence the earlier interest in Howie Kendrick — but such options are rather rare in this winter’s free-agent market. Of course, plenty of options could manifest on the trade market; speculatively speaking, the Rays seem like a fine fit for switch-hitting Tigers super utilityman Niko Goodrum.