The latest on Toronto…
- The Blue Jays could consider trading outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., “especially if it brings the right rotation arm back,” Scott Mitchell of TSN tweets. The 26-year-old Gurriel just put up an impressive season at the plate, having batted .277/.327/.541 with 20 home runs in 343 attempts. The former middle infielder also fared decently in his debut as a major league outfielder, as Gurriel logged minus-2 Defensive Runs Saved with a plus-0.2 Ultimate Zone Rating across 532 innings in left. Between the promising production Gurriel registered in 2019 and his team-friendly contract (he’s owed just $15.9MM through 2023), it seems likely he’d draw plenty of interest if Toronto were to market him.
- The Blue Jays already swung a trade for a starter earlier this month, acquiring right-hander Chase Anderson from the Brewers. While the Jays could continue to explore that route for much-needed rotation help, it also wouldn’t be a surprise to see the club pick up help via free agency. President of baseball operations Mark Shapiro has indicated the Jays have interest in the best starter available, Gerrit Cole, but a match there doesn’t look realistic. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet runs down some more likely possibilities, naming an array of starters whom Toronto could pursue. Zack Wheeler and Jake Odorizzi are a couple on the higher end of the spectrum, though signing either qualifying offer recipient would be expensive from a draft standpoint for the Jays. As Nicholson-Smith notes, adding one of the two could cost the Jays a top 50 pick in 2020.
- As for how the Blue Jays could attract free agents, general manager Ross Atkins contends (via Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi): “The agility of our roster, the depth of our system, the financial flexibility that we have, the leadership of (manager) Charlie Montoyo and the environment of our clubhouse are all very attractive.” Gregor Chisholm of the Toronto Star argues now is the time for Atkins and the Jays to use their financial flexibility to court Cole or Stephen Strasburg, but he admits ownership – Rogers Communications – would likely stand in the way.
- Reliever Ryan Tepera elected free agency last week after Toronto designated him for assignment, though his Jays tenure might not be done. On the possibility of re-signing Tepera, Atkins said (via Nicholson-Smith): “We maintain interest in him. If there’s a way for him to pitch for the Blue Jays again, we’ll absolutely make that happen.” The 32-year-old Tepera was an important part of the team’sbullpen from 2015-18, but elbow problems hampered him during a 21 2/3-inning 2019 in which he pitched to a 4.98 ERA.