Are Blue Jays in or out on David Robertston, top relievers?


When glancing over the Toronto Blue Jays depth chart, and specifically the bullpen, you see names like Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, Marco Estrada, Chad Jenkins, Todd Redmond, and Ryan Tepera. That group could also contain top prospect Aaron Sanchez if there is no spot available for him in the team’s starting rotation.

Needless to say, there is still work to be done here.

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Perhaps that is why there are conflicting reports as to Toronto’s involvement with the upper tier of available free agent relievers. The team has already splurged this winter in signing Russell Martin to a 5-year, $82 million deal, and with holes to fill at second base, left field, and multiple arms in the bullpen, it is easy to understand why the team would want to spread around its last remaining dollars.

To that end, Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos has been quick to dispel Toronto’s role in the relief market, downplaying some of the rumors that have tied the Jays to high profile arms.

"“I don’t know that you’re going to see us involved in some of the large, big dollar deals that are out there for relievers.” – Alex Anthopoulos (h/t Ben Nicholson-Smith, Sportsnet)"

That would seemingly take the Blue Jays out of contention for arms that include Andrew Miller, David Robertson, and perhaps to a lesser extent Rafael Soriano and perhaps Francisco Rodriguez. However, as I noted above, there are contradicting reports out there, thanks to Mr. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Of course, there was a lot of speculation as to how much money the Blue Jays still have to commit this season, especially after it was revealed how back-loaded Martin’s deal was with the team. Additionally, the Blue Jays can continue to free up payroll by trading extra parts in Dioner Navarro and J.A. Happ. Whether that plays up to enough money to offer David Robertson, as Heyman speculates, is another story.

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According to reports out of New York, Robertson is looking to get a contract in the range of 4-years, $50 million, which is on par with the deal that Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Philadelphia Phillies prior to the 2012 season. That’s $12.5 million a season for a guy that pitches 50-60 times a season for three outs a night. Not exactly the most frugal of decisions to make, especially with three arms needed in the pen, an outfielder, and a second baseman.

Instead, the Blue Jays may be wiser to pursue a second-tier option for closer, someone along the lines of Sergio Romo, Jason Grilli, or even a reclamation project in the role like Jason Motte, Chris Perez, or Burke Badenhop. That would give the team room to add multiple late-inning options and also address other needs.