You have found the Blue Jays choose your own adventure series, option 1.2. If you’re here and you don’t know what’s going on, starting here will help.
If you’re you’ve chosen option 1.2, well you’re the type of Blue Jays fan that wants to see Robbie Ray stick around, but also is interested in the trade market.
As you already know, Ray has eaten up 25.5 million per season of the roughly 52 million you’re working with this winter, and while it would be fun to keep searching the free agent market, there is a lot of value to be had through looking at a trade instead. The good news if you have the pieces to make something big happen, even after that big trade you made to acquire Jose Berrios in July. That one really made you look good too after he signed his recent extension. Nice work.
It turns out that you still know which cards to play as well, because those long rumoured trade talks with Cleveland finally came to fruition. Yes, I’m giving you the good news that Jose Ramirez is now a Blue Jay. It turned out to be a very sizeable trade package that had to go the other way, but that’s the price of doing big business. Off to Cleveland are Alejandro Kirk, Jordan Groshans, Cavan Biggio, and it sounds like they’re all going to be part of rebuilding plans in Cleveland. It was surprising you didn’t have to give up a pitcher in the deal, but it sounds like Cleveland has more than one trade on the table at the moment.
With Ramirez making just 12 million in 2022 (what a deal!), you still have around 15 million to play with to shore up the bullpen. That turns out to be a good thing, because with Robbie Ray and Jose Ramirez in the fold, you decide you’re in good enough shape to hand the fifth starter’s job to Nate Pearson. Unfortunately the golden right arm of Pearson’s just can’t find it’s way at the big league level, and Ross Stripling will have to cover for “Big Nate” as he spends the bulk of another season on the Injured List. Chances are you’ll likely need some sort of upgrade this summer, so saving some money is a good thing here.
You sniffed around the trade market as much as you could, and while you found some cheaper solutions on smaller deals, you ended up having to turn back to the free agent market to help the bullpen. That’s okay though, because you made a new agreement with an old friend and brought Ryan Tepera back to Toronto on a two-year, 12.5 million dollar contract to help in the late innings. It wasn’t the sexy move like it would have been to sign Raisel Igleslias or Kenley Jansen, but what else do you want, you got J-Ram!
Overall I think you have to be happy with the way your offseason turned out. You were able to retain Robbie Ray, replaced the departed Marcus Semien with Jose Ramirez and moved Santiago Espinal to second base, and brought in Tepera to shore up the bullpen. Overall, I’d say that’s a tidy bit of a business you’ve just pulled off.