Rumors: Blue Jays, Padres, and Hanshin Tigers are finalists for Takashi Toritani
It appears as though Scott Boras wasn’t simply pumping smoke toward the Toronto Blue Jays fan base when he mentioned at the Winter Meetings last week that Toronto had interest in Japanese shortstop Takashi Toritani. According to new reports out of Japan, the Blue Jays are one of three teams that are seen as finalists for Toritani.
Yahoo News Japan (h/t to Andrew Stoeten, who in turn h/t’s JasonTBJ for the find) is indicating that the Blue Jays are joined in their pursuit of Toritani by the San Diego Padres (who are trying to give their money to everyone this winter), and the Hanshin Tigers of the Japan Central League. Toritani has spent the last 11 seasons with Hanshin and is presumed to be weighing whether to return to Japan or to take his game to Major League Baseball.
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At 33-years-old, Takashi Toritani is no longer young in the tooth, but he’s aged well and has been extremely durable, owning a Japanese record 1,444 consecutive games played. Over 6531 plate appearances with Hanshin, Toritani owns a career batting line of .285/.372/.412 with 120 home runs and 677 RBI. However, those numbers are even more impressive after the shortstop turned 30-years-old.
According to the report, which once translated becomes really interesting to read, a decision may be forthcoming. Toritani is said to be looking for a 3-year deal that would be worth roughly $10 million. By Major League standards, that sounds like a minimal risk to take. The Blue Jays would looke at Toritani as a possible low-cost upgrade at second base, if his skills at the plate were to translate to the Major Leagues. The Padres meanwhile could give him the shot to stick at shortstop, where the team recently inked Clint Barmes.
Currently, the Blue Jays are looking at a mix of Ryan Goins, Maicer Izturis, and Steve Tolleson at second base. However, with the way the last two seasons have worked out with constantly moving and under-performing pieces manning the keystone, Toronto may see it best to try to do something to fill the black hole.
What do you think? Is it a risk worth taking or should the Toronto Blue Jays look for another option that is more of a sure thing?