When the 2013-2014 offseason started, the Toronto Blue Jays made it known that their priority was to add starting pitching depth and hopefully improve the team’s 25th-ranked rotation in the process. With an enviable position in terms of protected draft picks, it was almost a given that Toronto would make a move.
Well, so much for that pipe dream.
According to Jayson Stark at ESPN, sources are saying that the Toronto Blue Jays are unlikely to sign free agent starter Ervin Santana, who went 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA and a 3.16 K/BB ratio last season for the Royals, or any of the remaining free agents on the market. Instead, as Stark takes it from comments from Alex Anthopoulos earlier today, the team seems content to test its mettle with the internal options that include Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek, Todd Redmond, J.A. Happ, Esmil Rogers, and rookie Marcus Stroman.
“We’d love to add a starter to maintain that depth,” Anthopoulos said. “But we’re comfortable with what we have. If the right guy were to come along at the right price, we’re definitely open-minded to the idea of adding one more starting pitcher. But again, we’re comfortable with our internal options.” – (h/t Jayson Stark, ESPN)
That news will come as a stark disappointment to fans that have waited anxiously for the team to make a move to better the ball club. While the entire division has made a move to improve their respective clubs, up to and including the Orioles signing of Ubaldo Jimenez earlier this week, the Blue Jays lone significant move was the signing of catcher Dioner Navarro.
With two protected first round picks, Toronto was seen as a favorite to land one or two of the available starters this winter. However, their unwillingness to spend beyond a certain point prevented them exploiting that position, and the team instead chose to watch Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, and likely Santana sign elsewhere. Even fallbacks like Scott Feldman, Bronson Arroyo, et al received nary a head turn from the Blue Jays brass, seemingly indicating that the team’s motives all along were to either make a free agent cave to their chosen price point, or to simply hope that they can execute their 3-year plan with the players they have in camp.
So while Stark makes a note that the Blue Jays haven’t closed the door completely, the contract given to Jimenez and the Orioles willingness to surrender the number 17 pick in the draft for him, Santana’s likelihood of falling into Toronto’s lap is minimal at best.
In other words folks, as has been the case all winter, there is nothing to see here, and it is time for us to move on.