Blue Jays: Summing up the offseason, so far

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Yangervis Solarte
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Yangervis Solarte /

With pitchers and catchers reporting on Wednesday, how should we be viewing the work of Ross Atkins and the Blue Jays’ front office?

It feels like a long time since we’ve been able to watch the Blue Jays, and the wait is just about over. On Wednesday the Blue Jays’ pitchers and catchers will officially report for spring training and kick off the 2018 season.

Normally by long before this time, the roster additions have been made and the team is generally taking shape. There are always a few spring battles, but for the most part things are generally pretty set in stone. For the Blue Jays and the rest of baseball, there’s still time for things to change pretty significantly before Opening Day, especially with as much talent as there is remaining on the open market.

For now, let’s assume that the Blue Jays are completely done bringing in new faces, and will build their 25 man roster out of who they’ve got signed at the moment. In an offseason that started out with many needs, what kind of job has the front office done in addressing them?

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Depending on who you asked when things began this offseason, the Blue Jays had five or more significant needs for the roster. Goal number one was to build up the middle infield depth, and they did that, but there were also needs in the outfield, in the bullpen, the starting rotation, and at back-up catcher.

Bringing in Aledmys Diaz and Yangervis Solarte is a pretty significant boost to the keystone positions, and both Randal Grichuk and Curtis Granderson have been added to a crowded outfield picture. Those two boxes should get a check mark, even if you’re not 100% wild about the players. At the very least, the front office added to those areas, and it should be turn out to be a plus for the roster in one way or another.

On the other hand, the rotation, bullpen, and back-up catcher positions haven’t been addressed in the same way. They added a few pieces to the bullpen on Monday, signing Craig Breslow and Matt Tracy to minor league deals with an invite to spring training, but many Blue Jays fans are wondering if that’ll be it on the pitching front, especially in the rotation. They do have a talented group lead by Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, and Aaron Sanchez, but there are obviously still worries about the latter’s ability to stay off the DL, and also about whether Joe Biagini or whomever else wins the 5th starter’s job, can handle the gig.

There was also a lot of discussion about the Blue Jays’ need for a strong back-up catcher, especially as Russell Martin enters his age 35 season (his birthday is on Thursday). That hasn’t happened yet either, and as things stand the Jays will roll with someone like Luke Maile, or perhaps give a shot to one of the catchers in their minor league system.

Next: Blue Jays sign Matt Tracy to a MiLB contract

So how did they do in addressing their offseason checklist? Well, there is still work to be done if they want to take care of all of their “needs”, and oddly enough there is still time and opportunity to make those additions, even on the eve of spring training getting underway. And as much as I like the additions of guys like Solarte, Grichuk and more, the work shouldn’t be done just yet.