Rumors: Blue Jays not in on bullpen arms


For a team that identified its bullpen as one of its biggest needs this winter, the Toronto Blue Jays have remained quiet on improving that front. Now with the pickings slim on the free agent market and the cost in trade for controllable relief arms, the Blue Jays appear to be standing pat with the collection of relievers they currently have at their disposal.

According to Jim Bowden of ESPN (Insider Access needed), the Blue Jays are no longer involved with the best available relievers Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, or Joba Chamberlain.

The cost of the relief market and the available budget for the Blue Jays has been seemingly prohibitive for Toronto, preventing them from making the moves they wanted to make earlier this winter. With David Robertson, Pat Neshek, Luke Gregerson, and others getting contracts that were seemingly high for relief arm, the Blue Jays tried to prioritize finding a trade to their liking. However to date, the Blue Jays have only made minor deals for Marco Estrada from the Brewers and Jayson Aquino from the Rockies. Of that pair, only Estrada is likely guaranteed a role with the club, but whether that is in the bullpen or the rotation remains to be seen.

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Throughout the winter, the Blue Jays have been connected with the markets for Francisco Rodriguez and were said to kick the tires on Rafael Soriano at one point or another. Additionally, the team has lost out on what would seem like no-brainer deals for Burke Badenhop and even had a minor league contract with Ronald Belisario fall through. There’s also been some conversation about Toronto discussing trade scenarios for closer Jonathan Papelbon with the Philadelphia Phillies, but nothing has materialized on that front and it would seem to be far-fetched if it did.

That leaves the Blue Jays bullpen with the guarantee of Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, Chad Jenkins, and Todd Redmond. Steve Delabar, if he’s identified the source of his 2014 struggles, could be a welcome addition. Additionally, the team could use rookie Aaron Sanchez in a relief role again in 2015, but he’s currently viewed as also having a shot at cracking the rotation.

That leaves a collection of Kyle Drabek, Estrada (depending on the shake-out with Sanchez), Rob Rasmussen, Bo Schultz, Ryan Tepera, Colt Hynes, and Cory Burns currently on the 40-man roster and looking to compete for a spot. The team has also issued minor league deals to a plethora of arms that could look to jump into the fold.

Next: A look at the Blue Jays draft slotting for 2015