Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro joined Jeff Blair on Sportsnet 590 the Fan on Friday, and provided plenty of perspective on the offseason for listeners
The off-season hasn’t gone exactly as planned, and Mark Shapiro was even willing to admit that it’s played out in an unusual fashion. Shapiro gave Sportsnet 590 listeners some perspective on a variety of topics including the bullpen situation, Jose Bautista & Edwin Encarnacion, John Gibbons, and much more.
As has been well-documented, the Blue Jays off-season hasn’t played out in the way that many fans hoped it would. The low point thus far has been the departure of Encarnacion to Cleveland, but there have been others as well. Mostly, it’s been a lack of movement on the big league roster that has been a source of frustration on social media, at least recently.
Shapiro addressed many of these issues head on and gave us several sound bites to chew on before spring training opens next month. As for the idle roster, “It’s unusual for an off-season to take this long to play out, but I would encourage you to not conclude the body of work as done”. He also stated, “there’s going to be a lot that is going to be done with the Toronto Blue Jays before we’re a finished team”, which should be music to the ears of many fans.
As difficult as that may be to hear, Shapiro is correct in his statements. The off-season hasn’t just played out slowly for the Blue Jays, it’s been awfully slow for the free agent market as well, just ask Bautista and his fellow available sluggers.
In perhaps the most crucial area, Shapiro talked about the relief pitching market and offered some perspective on what we could see in the coming weeks.
“It’s the most unpredictable year to year, erratic from a planning perspective,” Shapiro said. Every year there are guys that people count on to be contributors out of the bullpen who do not, and there are guys who impact in a major way, such as Biagini who nobody has even heard of or expects. I look at bullpen construction as something that is fluid.”
Break that down however you would like, but it appears that Shapiro is not a fan of spending in the relief market, at least not in this one. There is plenty of reason to agree with him based on recent examples such as Biagini, but for a team with some money to spend and a restless fan base, it may not have been the most popular statement, especially in an offseason that saw a record contract for a reliever.
Shapiro also addressed Encarnacion, and admitted that things didn’t play out the way he, nor anyone else thought they would, which is hard to argue with.
And finally, regarding Bautista:
So what did we learn on Friday, exactly? Perhaps more than anything else, we were reminded that there is still significant time left before opening day.
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