Blue Jays: Offseason in review
The Toronto Blue Jays did not cast their net in the direction of any big free agent fish this offseason but they did make some under the radar moves that could pay dividends sooner than later.
Although 2019 in all likelihood will be remembered for the official anointing of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The slugger is poised to make his long-awaited MLB debut shortly after the new campaign commences. The Jays brain trust made calculated risks this past offseason as they attempted to lay the foundation for the future.
October 25th, 2018- The Toronto Blue Jays officially welcome new skipper Charlie Montoyo into the fold as the replacement to John Gibbons. Montoyo was the bench coach in Tampa Bay and brings a wealth of minor league managing experience.
November 17th, 2018- The Blue Jays shipped shortstop Aledmys Diaz to the Houston Astros for pitcher Trent Thornton. General Manager Ross Atkins dealt from a position of strength in order to obtain a young controllable arm in exchange for Diaz.
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December 11th, 2018- The Jays cut bait with Troy Tulowitzki releasing the injury-prone shortstop. Tulo would latch on the with New York Yankees although the Jays are on the hook for the majority of his contract.
December 13th, 2018- The Blue Jays went off the board and selected 19-year old pitcher Elvis Luciano from the Kansas City Royals in the Rule 5 draft. If the Jays can stash Luciano on the 25-man roster for the entire season, they will obtain his minor league rights and have the option to demote him back to the minors in 2020. This was a shrewd low-risk endeavour that saw the Blue Jays exploit a loophole to acquire young controllable talent. Luciano is ranked as the Blue Jays 28th prospect.
December 28th, 2018- The Blue Jays inked free agent hurler Matt Shoemaker to a one year/ $3.5 million dollar contract. The former Angels pitcher is arbitration eligible for 2020 and could provide some stability in the rotation if he can find a way to remain healthy.
December 30th, 2018- The Jays acquired veteran pitcher Clayton Richard from the San Diego Padres for Canadian minor leaguer Connor Panas. Richard isn’t flashy but will eat up some valuable innings at the back of the rotation.
January 11th, 2019- Russell Martin was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers for prospects Ronny Brito and Andrew Sopko. The deal opens the door for rookie backstop Danny Jansen to take sole responsibility of the catching duties in 2019. Brito is a legit talent and was ranked as the Blue Jays 26th best prospect by MLB.com.
January 12th, 2019- The Blue Jays signed free-agent reliever David Phelps to a $2.5 million dollar pact with a team option for 2020. Phelps missed all of the 2018 campaign but is expected to be healthy for the start of the season and boasts an impressive MLB track record.
January 29th, 2019- Just when it appeared the shortstop reigns were officially turned over to Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the Blue Jays signed free agent Freddy Galvis. The newly signed shortstop is a defensive upgrade over Gurriel and could see the lions share of work at shortstop in 2019.
Ross Atkins and company did not have a flashy offseason but they definitely laid the groundwork with acquisitions that definitely boast some upside. The Jays are also rumoured to be sniffing around Sergio Romo and could conceivably still land a couple of free agents before the start of spring training.