Apr 7, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Brett Anderson (49) pitches during the sixth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Blue Jays scratched off their need at catcher with Monday’s signing of Dioner Navarro to a two-year, $8 million deal. Now, with one major need behind them, the Blue Jays look to move on to other pressing needs; pitching and second base.
That said, the temperature has been turned up on the Hot Stove and viable pieces are flying out the door ahead on next week’s Winter Meetings. If Toronto is serious about making moves to improve their starting rotation and possibly at second base, then they need to put some plans into motion.
The starting pitching market has begun to simmer a bit, with the likes of Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, and Scott Kazmir inking big-money, multi-year deals with the Twins and Athletics respectively, and Monday’s big trade of Detroit’s Doug Fister to Washington. According to Mike Wilner, the Blue Jays were in on the Fister bidding, and rightfully so, but apparently didn’t present a package the likes of the one they received from the Nationals.
That’s not to say there aren’t other options still available. Susan Slusser at SF Gate is reporting that the Blue Jays are still enamored with the Athletics in regards to Brett Anderson, and Ken Rosenthal is indicating that the A’s are looking to make one more move. Of course, a trade for Anderson would carry with it a ton of questions for the injury-plagued Blue Jays, as he’s not the picture of health himself (54 appearances last four year combined).
There is also still, reportedly, David Price available, although the Blue Jays aren’t likely to pay that price and the Rays are equally unlikely to ship him off within the division. Another possible trade target, Rick Porcello, is now likely off the market with the Tigers trading Fister on Monday.
That leaves the free agent market. While the Kazmir’s, Hughes’, and Nolasco’s are cashing in on big deals, the bigger guns have been holding back, waiting for their markets to take shape. Those names include Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, and Ervin Santana, but there are also some intriguing middle-ground guys left in Bronson Arroyo, Bartolo Colon, and Scott Feldman. As long as the Blue Jays don’t come home with Bruce Chen and try to pass him off as a viable option in Toronto, I think the team can find a serviceable starter or two in those remaining on the market.
Second base seems to be less of an issue, although there is a growing contingent that believes Alex Anthopoulos is only paying lip service to the idea of going into 2014 with the tandem of Maicer Izturis and Ryan Goins at the keystone. Robinson Cano is still the cream of the free agent crop, but that isn’t happening in our lifetime, so we’ll move on to the runners up. Mark Ellis and Omar Infante would both represent solid upgrades over last years’ group, but there isn’t much available after that. There is the trade market still, with Brandon Phillips as an expensive alternative, but that would also seem like a long-shot.
Outside of the obvious needs, there is the chance that Anthopoulos gets creative with a move, swinging a shocking trade, but with the team’s current finances tied up and the starting rotation in need, the thought of trading for a Matt Kemp type player seems unlikely as well.
At the end of the day, the Blue Jays have options and the market seems to be moving along much more swiftly now. There is room to get something done and the market seems to be setting itself. The Blue Jays just need to weigh the cost of contention and decide if they are willing to pay it.
So Blue Jays fans, what is A.A.’s next move?