Does it feel very quiet for anyone else in Blue Jays Land? Would it hurt to have some good old fashioned rumors? At this point, even the fluffiest of rumors would be nice.
Don’t forget that we’ll keep you up to date on the entire offseason with our Blue Jays Offseason Tracker!
Blue Jays Shining in Arizona– Writing for Sportsnet.ca, Jeff Moore catches us up with how some notable Blue Jays prospects are performing in the Arizona Fall League. The name on everybody’s mind these days seems to be Rowdy Tellez. Fans will be happy to know that he has continued his development by using the entire field to drive the ball. Moore notes that this (along with some physical conditioning) have turned Tellez into more than just a pull happy power hitter.
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Emilio Guerrero is showing glimpses of excitement combined with a less than ideal approach at the plate. Another guy who many are watching is Roemon Fields. And, with seemingly very little speed in the organization, it’s easy to see why. Moore also discusses Jeremy Gabryszwski and his stuff that does not match his big league frame. One guy that might be of interest in LHP, Chad Girodo. I like his curveball on lefties as described by Moore. It’ll be interesting to see if he develops into a solid bullpen arm down the road.
Missing the Hoff? Over at Mile High Maniac, Matthew Schoettler dreams on what Jeff Hoffman could be for the Colorado Rockies. You’ll recall, he was the once “untouchable” prospect the Blue Jays traded as part of the Troy Tulowitzki deal. If you’ve lost track of Hoffman, Schoettler wraps up the second half of his first season in pro ball nicely.
The Rockies inserted Hoffman into their AA rotation and he ended the year with a 20.3% strike out rate, but had issues with his command with a 7.7% BB rate. What may be exciting for fans of the Rockies and Hoffman is his low HR rate that never climbed above 0.75 HR/9. That will be a huge factor in his future playing in Coors Field.
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Are There Untouchables? For the past while, we’ve heard that the Blue Jays would not operate with the mindset of having “untouchable” players. We certainly saw proof of that this past summer when Hoffman, Daniel Norris and others were jettisoned in favor of a playoff run. Ben Nicholson-Smith tells us that the same philosophy will be continued by the interim GM, Tony LaCava.
While the club is not looking to deal from its roster, they are open to listening on anyone, including their minor league system. Obviously, it is good PR to say you’re willing to listen on anyone. It is also good PR to say that your minor league system is “underrated”, like LaCava does. He’s not going to come out and echo what some fans (and possibly the new president, Mark Shapiro) fear; that the Blue Jays’ farm system is lacking in the top tier talent required to pull off an impact deal. As Nocholson-Smith notes, though the Blue Jays certainly do not have to part with any of their minor league talent. Hello, free agency!
Bullpen Quality vs Quantity? In sticking with Ben and Sportsnet, there was an interesting conversation around how the Blue Jays could build their bullpen. With Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins leaving and Roberto Osuna and Aaron Sanchez possibly being considered for starting roles, the bullpen looks awfully thin for the Blue Jays. So, how can they address it?
Well, they could follow the example of Jerry Dipoto, now the GM of the Mariners. He likes to have about a dozen options for the ‘pen, clearly preferring quantity. Whereas Neil Huntington of the Pirates prefers to look at the quality of the arms through analytics and scouting. They also do this thing where they build a player’s trust before askign him to do certain things to adjust. Odd.
Regardless what the Blue Jays do, they will have lots of options to choose from. As Nicholson-Smith tells us there are likely to be “a pool of close to 600 minor league free agents plus a nearly inexhaustible supply of trade candidates”