Blue Jays Rumors: Takashi Toritani returning to Hanshin Tigers


After what seems like a long, arduous courtship by the Toronto Blue Jays, it does not appear that Japanese shortstop Takashi Toritani will be taking his game to Major League Baseball. According to Japanese newspaper Nikkan Sports (h/t Andrew Stoeten and JanBlurr for the translation via Twitter), Toritani has informed the Hanshin Tigers that he will return to them next season.

Mandatory Credit: Nikkan Sports (H/T Andrew Stoeten)

While earlier reports seemed to indicate that the Blue Jays had made an offer to Toritani, something in the 1-year range, Fox Sports reporter Jon Morosi tweeted earlier this week that the Blue Jays had not made a formal offer for his services.

That seems to be consistent with recent reports of the Blue Jays lack of financial flexibility at this stage in the winter, a topic we broached on Thursday. With the Blue Jays still needing to resolve bullpen issues with limited finances to do so, the likelihood remains that Toritani simply became a casualty of limited means.

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A career .283/.372/.412 hitter in Japan, there is no doubt that Takashi Toritani would have represented a possible upgrade at second base for the Blue Jays if his skills translated well to Major League Baseball from Japan. It appears that the Blue Jays weren’t necessarily convinced that he could make a seamless jump and provide a solid return on investment.

The lack of offer to Toritani could also mean that the Blue Jays are more comfortable with the thought of prospect Devon Travis playing a significant role for Toronto at some point this season. Acquired from the Detroit Tigers for Anthony Gose earlier this winter, Travis has a solid reputation as a hitter in the minor leagues (career .323/.388/.487), but has not yet played above Double-A and the Blue Jays would prefer to give him some time at Triple-A Buffalo to start the season.

That means the second base situation will featured a familiar duo, with the pair of Maicer Izturis and Ryan Goins manning the keystone unless a cheaper upgrade is found. However, with the bullpen unresolved and the asking price of Toritani (rumored to be in the $3 million AAV range) deemed too high, the likelihood of that happening is slim.