According to a new post from baseball insider Peter Gammons, the Toronto Blue Jays are still in play to find pitching help, but they have conceded that their best chances of improving their rotation is through signing either Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez.
This time around, they admit that the only way they’re going into the pitching free agent market is if Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez fall down to them, in which case both might go back from whence they came.
That would seem to indicate that both pitchers may opt to try to work out a deal with their former teams in the neighborhood of the $14.1 million qualifying offer both rejected earlier this winter. You’ll also notice that Gammons’ “official” doesn’t make any mention of Toronto in regards to the bidding for Masahiro Tanaka. The same could be said for Matt Garza, who could be a lower-priced alternative to either Jimenez or Santana.
Admittedly, it is a short blurb from Gammons, but it is strikingly similar to the other information we’re hearing (or not hearing) out of Toronto. The high demands of both pitchers, rumored to be north of $80 million, coupled with the uncertainty of Tanaka has slowed their respective signings. Both pitchers are seen as the best available on the market, but both also come with significant question marks as to performance over the course of a long-term deal. Both pitchers have been inconsistent over the courses of their careers, but both are taking advantage of solid 2013 seasons and a weak pitching market to maximize their take-home.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are giving serious looks to their recovering pitchers Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison, while also trying to figure out if Marcus Stroman is ready to make the leap to the Major Leagues or start the year at Triple-A Buffalo. Sean Nolin, Todd Redmond, and countless others are also in the mix. That may not ease the fan base much, but it seems to be the direction the team is looking in heading into the 2014 season.
Feasibly, the Blue Jays could look to stand pat this winter and hope for the best, then be poised to strike when David Price, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Hisashi Iwakuma, Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, Max Scherzer, and James Shields all currently set to hit the open market. A decidedly better market to say the least, making it more difficult for the team to make a move for the sake of making a move.