Blue Jays Morning Brew: Winter Meetings, Starting Pitching, Top Prospects


June 9, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Drew Hutchison pitches in the second inning of the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Blue Jays News and Rumours

The 2013 MLB Winter Meetings begin today and Gregor Chisholm at confirms that the Blue Jays “top goal continues to be finding a way to upgrade the starting rotation” and that they need to add at least one (or possibly two) starting pitchers. He mentions the Jeff Samardzija rumours and says more names are likely to leak out before the week is over.

Bob Elliott at the Toronto Sun gives us his Winter Meetings primer and identifies David Price, Samardzija and Brett Anderson as three starters that may be generating interest on the trading block. He also drops a gem about the impact Drew Hutchison could make in the Blue Jays rotation next year.

"“I’d put Drew Hutchison in the rotation, behind R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle,” said one veteran evaluator who saw Hutchison pitch recently in the Arizona Fall League. “I saw him make two starts before he hurt his elbow (on June 3, 2012, allowing one run in seven innings to beat the Boston Red Sox). He was as good in Arizona as he was that night.”"

The same evaluator said that he “liked” Aaron Sanchez but to him Marcus Stroman was “so-so” and saw him as a reliever.

Richard Griffin at the Toronto Star also has a Winter Meetings preview but expands to include not only the Blue Jays but the rest of the American League as well.

Ben Nicholson-Smith at Sportsnet gave us an excellent post on Friday afternoon and says “the starting pitching market hasn’t caught up to the rest of the league just yet”, which is possibly due to the uncertainty surrounding Masahiro Tanaka.

Breaking away from the hot stove for a moment, Jay Blue released his Blue Jays 2014 Top 15 Prospects list last week at Grading on the Curve in a can’t miss piece that I should have linked to far earlier than now.

Sticking with prospects, Jason Parks at Baseball Prospectus released his Blue Jays Top 10 on Friday and had plenty of great things to say about the Jays’ system. The big surprise was that he ranked Marcus Stroman ahead of Aaron Sanchez as the Blue Jays top prospect. We could debate his decision for days but it’s hard not to love the bold move. Both could end up being something special.

Getting back to the big league club, Chris Toman at GAMEREAX searches for a lefty-mashing platoon partner for Adam Lind. I’m actually a pretty big fan of his top choice, 32-year-old Jeff Baker who has a career .375 wOBA and 128 wRC+ in 827 plate vs. LHP. However I also hope the Blue Jays already have an answer in the system in Moises Sierra who could evolve into a super-utility player if he’s able to pick up first base and his unproven bat holds up.

And to close things out, Ian Hunter at the Blue Jays Hunter reminds us that Alex Anthopoulos has never signed a free agent starting pitcher and the last starter to sign with the Blue Jays via free agency was Tomo Ohka way back in 2007.