Toronto Blue Jays: Priority must turn to starting pitching

The Toronto Blue Jays made a huge splash in the baseball universe within the last 24 hours. Last night, the team signed former World Series MVP, George Springer to a 6 year, $150 million contract. Springer is only 30-years-old and is coming off a spectacular postseason run with the Houston Astros.

This is a massive move for a Toronto front office that claimed to be “aggressive” all off-season with nothing to show for. It has finally paid off as the Blue Jays will now have a juggernaut on offence.

However, the Blue Jays biggest need heading into the off-season was their starting pitching. With many pitchers available in free agency and via trade, the Blue Jays can continue to build something special.

Here are two realistic pitchers that the Jays can target in free agency or a trade:

  1. Luis Castillo (via trade) 

This one makes a lot of sense for the Blue Jays. Luis Castillo‘s current contract ends in three years. The Blue Jays obviously have the rights to George Springer for the next three years (and more), and now they have the rights of Michael Brantley for the next three years. On top of the new additions being under team control for three years, the club also has control over outfielders Hernandez, Grichuk, and Gurriel Jr. for the next three years.

This Blue Jays window to win appears to be the next 3-4 years. If the team can swing a deal for the 26-year-old righty, they can improve their biggest need and have control over the young stud in what is looking like a solid window to win a championship.

2. Jake Odorizzi (free agent) or James Paxton (free agent)

The reason why I put these two together is that they are both in similar situations and I couldn’t decide who I would prefer to have. First, they are both similar in age. Jake Odorizzi is 30-years old, while James Paxton is 31. and they have both had solid careers thus far. They are also similar in the fact that they are both coming off injury-riddled seasons.

That is not good, however, rather than them looking for a long-term deal, these players could be willing to take a shorter-term deal to prove themselves once again. Not to mention, Paxton is a Canadian native, who could possibly take a hometown discount to play up north.

My honorable mention would be the top free agent on the market, Trevor Bauer. However, I did not include him as a realistic option because I do not envision the Jays awarding another massive contract. The Blue Jays have made some big moves thus far, but none have filled their biggest need in starting pitching.

If the Jays are able to acquire an impactful starting pitcher this off-season, it would be this team in an incredible position to contend next season.