The latest on the Blue Jays, all of which comes courtesy of Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet:
- The Blue Jays “checked in” on prominent Scott Boras clients Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel and Marwin Gonzalez in free agency, but talks didn’t get serious in any of the three cases, Nicholson-Smith reports. Regarding Harper, there were “not a lot of conversations” on the Jays’ side, a source told Nicholson-Smith. “Some, but not a lot.” Toronto was never strongly connected to Harper during his drawn-out trip to free agency, which finally ended this week when he accepted the Phillies’ 13-year, $330MM offer. The 31-year-old Keuchel’s still available, meanwhile, though it doesn’t seem the Jays – who aren’t expected to contend in 2019 – are in position to sign a 30-something pitcher to a lucrative contract.
- While right-hander Marcus Stroman has frequented trade rumors in recent months, Nicholson-Smith suggests nobody has approached Toronto’s asking price yet. For now, “trade talks are relatively quiet,” Nicholson-Smith writes, though he notes that could change if a starter-needy team loses out on Keuchel and pivots to Stroman as a Plan B. Stroman, who’s in his second-last year of team control, made headlines last month when he expressed frustration toward the Blue Jays for neither extending his contract nor being more active in free agency (they’ve since agreed to deals with fellow righties Clay Buchholz and Bud Norris, which could assuage Stroman to some degree). Whether he opens 2019 with Toronto or another club, Stroman will attempt to bounce back from an uncharacteristically poor 2018 season, during which he notched a 5.54 ERA with 6.77 K/9 and 3.17 BB/9 over 102 1/3 innings.
- Oft-injured second baseman Devon Travis will sit out at least the next few days because of left knee inflammation, Nicholson-Smith relays. Manager Charlie Montoyo isn’t exactly pushing the panic button over the issue, but it nonetheless continues a discouraging run of lower-body issues in recent years for Travis, who’s coming off a disastrous campaign in which he slashed .232/.275/.381 and recorded minus-0.5 fWAR in 378 plate appearances. Should Travis begin 2019 on the injured list, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. would likely assume the reins at second, leaving a utility infield spot for Eric Sogard or Richard Urena, per Nicholson-Smith.