Toronto Blue Jays news and notes for the weekend of January 7th
All remains quiet in the land of the Toronto Blue Jays, save for the Gavin Floyd signing and chatter surrounding Jose Bautista.
In Seattle, a pair of moves were executed on Friday that could have a minor impact on the Blue Jays. The Mariners first acquired pitcher Yovani Gallardo and cash from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Seth Smith, who represented a lower-cost option ($7 million) for teams seeking help in the corner outfield.
For a quick minute, it looked as though this removed the Orioles from being interested in the likes of Jose Bautista, Michael Saunders, or Brandon Moss but added Seattle to the mix. Shortly after, however, the Mariners swung a second deal with the Kansas City Royals to add the speedy Jarrod Dyson in exchange for pitcher Nathan Karns.
Neither the Mariners or Orioles are necessarily “done” addressing their outfields, but Thursday did nothing to widen the base of potential suitors for a group of free agent hitters that continues to collect dust. Depending on asking prices, names like Jay Bruce could continue to appeal more to teams than the open market.
Over at ESPN, David Schoenfield asks the difficult question that is getting more difficult to avoid: What if nobody wants Jose Bautista?
Schoenfield parallels this to the bizarre free agency of Barry Bonds following the 2007 season where not a single team bit on the slugger despite his OPS of 1.045 the season prior. Bonds came with significant PED baggage that Bautista does not have, of course, but Schoenfield links the two based on their abrasive personalities. While Bautista is beloved in the city of Toronto, and rightfully so, he’s viewed much differently in other markets.
That, along with the draft pick attached to Bautista’s name, could be enough to make this saga stretch well into February and even beyond.
Trying times for fans
Tao of Stieb looks at the uncomfortable off-season in this fair and balanced piece for Sportsnet. Even in a busy winter that sees the Blue Jays land star players, there will be grumblings from the fan base, but the past two months have been particularly wearing. Three months remain, but in a “what have you done for me today?” world, patience is wearing thin.
Zeroing in on Travis
At Jays From the Couch, Shaun Doyle examines why second-baseman Devon Travis is the key to the 2017 season. With the lost production of Encarnacion and potentially Bautista, Travis represents one of the few Blue Jays who could conceivably advance his power numbers. Unless Toronto adds a pure leadoff hitter, he’s also in line for that important role ahead of Jose Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, and Kendrys Morales.