Latest Toronto Blue Jays news and notes as free agency and the MLB offseason inch closer
Bautista’s expected news
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that Blue Jays right-fielder Jose Bautista is expected to reject his $17.2 million qualifying offer. This is the furthest thing from surprising as the 36-year-old looks to maximize his value on a multi-year deal, but it does bring to light an important part of Toronto’s free agent equation.
Allowing Bautista to walk and sign elsewhere under a declined qualifying offer nets the Blue Jays a valuable draft pick. With the new regime under Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro working to rebuild Toronto’s quietly-improving farm system, this is an important facet to consider.
“Boston could be a preferred destination,” Cafardo adds in his article, “with Bautista having played for John Farrell and Brian Butterfield in Toronto. Bautista also loves Fenway Park.” Let the silly season begin, indeed…
DeMarlo Hale a managerial candidate
In the same piece, Cafardo notes that Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale could be considered as a managerial candidate in Arizona. He and new D-Backs general manager Mike Hazen have a history together in the Red Sox organization, but Cafardo adds that Torey Lovullo remains the favourite.
Other Blue Jays personnel news
From earlier in the week, Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported that the Blue Jays and scout Ed Lynch have parted ways. Lynch is a former Chicago Cubs GM that was a key piece of the Blue Jays front office. For example, when Toronto was monitoring Ervin Santana ahead of the most recent trade deadline, it was Lynch who was dispatched.
Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi has confirmed that Kevin Pillar underwent thumb surgery recently — something that became evident after Pillar posted a photo of himself on his Instagram page saying that his first day of recovery was “in the books”.
Pillar did need a brief stint on the disabled list as he dealt with his thumb injury this season, and while it surely made for some unnatural moments, the injury did not appear to drastically alter his plate performance.
Whole lotta glove
Sportsnet’s Nick Ashbourne makes a convincing case here for the Blue Jays to continue focusing on defence in their busy offseason. Toronto is already a top-shelf defensive team, but with Jose Bautista, Michael Saunders, Edwin Encarnacion and others potentially departing through free agency, room for improvement remains.
The term “specialist” is more closely associated with left-on-left relievers or sluggers that mash from one side of a platoon, but as Kevin Pillar has shown, a player can produce very high value leaning on their glove alone.
Jays Nest Podcast, Episode 96
The Jays Nest Podcast is back with another weekly episode from Shaun Doyle and myself, which you can listen to here on Jays From the Couch.
This week, we prep for the long offseason ahead by breaking down the Blue Jays positions of need and where we think the club should go from a “big picture” standpoint. We also enjoy another round of Fill in the Blank! Subscribe here for iOS / iTunes -or- Subscribe here for Android