The Offseason To Build Around The Core
In a recent piece by beat birdman Shi Davidi, he examines the significant challenge ahead for the Blue Jays FO as Atkins and company prepare their club’s plan to fix the Bird mobile and modify the roster for 2018.
And in this great article Atkins says that the team has, “a significant challenge ahead of us to ensure we put a contending team on the field next year.” And I couldn’t agree more with the GM, and I am thrilled to know that efforts are going to be made to improve the lackluster 2017 season of broken bones and dreams.
Atkins also says, “We have very large lists (of targeted players) that include arms and position players at every single position.” And, of course, they do – this should come as no surprise, but how cool would it be to actually see that list, am I right? Because to be honest, I am getting a little tired of hearing about nonsensical ideas from some Blue Jays bloggers out there who think the team should go after Reyes, or fleece the Padres, or better yet - trade for Giancarlo Stanton.
And, oh-stare-down-the-pipe-dream to Palookaville if you will, but, seriously – get real. It makes absolutely zero sense for the team to go for the Marlins star player of awesome, unless the Miami FO were willing to absorb some of that awful contract, which I’m guessing they wouldn’t – no thanks, I’ll pass.
And I think that ShapIro and Atkins are also probably thinking the same thing too. The tale end of that contract is so dirty expensive, it just seems like a backwards move. So for all the Stanton dreamers out there, I say take a breath, collect your thoughts, and really think about it for a second. And, believe me, I get the whole imagine him in the lineup thing, it would be great, but Stanton alone doesn’t make a World Series team, and acquiring him will hurt the future.
If there is one thing that we should have all learnt from the Houston Astros this year, it is that drafting, developing, and making the right moves (Verlander) at the right time, and a little bit of luck - should take a team to the land of the Golden Flags. And the good news for Blue Jays fans is that the Birds will never be a punching bag in the AL East like the Astros were in the West during their bottom out days of 50-some-odd win seasons - so there’s that too.
So where will the Toronto FO go from here? Your guess is as good as mine, but we all know that there are significant holes in the lineup that need to be addressed this winter, don’t we? And the truth is, health will be the most important factor for the 2018 club, as we all suffered through the hurtful woes of 2017.
So I think that the most important thing for the Toronto FO to do this offseason is to sign one more legitimate MLB arm to the rotation, prepare for the absolute worst, and make sure that they have proper pitching depth in Buffalo. Yes, very exciting stuff – I know. Oh yeah, and let's not forget a left-handed specialist in the pen too since I'm on the pitching topic right now.
So going into last year, we all knew that the Birds didn’t have a real 6th man in the rotation and we all had our fingers crossed that the big 5 would stay healthy, didn’t we? But that didn’t happen and the lack of pitching depth in the organization was exposed, right? Remember Mat Latos? Casey Lawrence? Let’s not have that happen again, am I right?
Now, a healthy Sanchez is a very important factor for 2018 because the young man’s stuff is electric and the team needs him to take the ball every fifth day. A rotation with Stroman/Sanchez/Happ/Estrada is very good, but the team needs to get some kind of ‘impact’ arm in that mix. Now, I’m not sure what Atkins meant when he said that the team is looking to add an ‘impact’ arm, but it definitely needs an MLB proven hurler to join this rotation.
I also think that Brett Anderson, who is a free agent now, wouldn’t be such a bad depth signing if it doesn’t cost the team too much. If Biagini and Anderson were in Buffalo as your 6th and 7th arms (with the hopeful emergence of Ryan Borucki in that mix too) the team would have better options if someone in the rotation suffers an injury. That being said, I have no idea who the FO has ‘targeted’ to bring in, but a starting pitcher seems like a need to me.
The outfield could sure use some fixing up too, so I’m sure that there are a couple players on the Atkins and company ‘list’ that could help Kevin Pillar cover the turf.
And you can all roll your eyes if you will, but don’t be surprised if Jay Bruce is on their list. It will be really interesting to see what they do to address the outfield issues. At this point the Blue Jays have a center fielder, and that’s about it – because I’d like to think that there is a better option than the Zeke/Pearce combo pack and I also don’t think that one good Teoscar Hernandez September makes him the everyday right fielder, does it? So who knows how the FO will repair this issue, but something needs to be done here.
And the final hole in the ol’ Bird mobile is the infield, and the FO are going to have to find that infield utility ‘Dee Gordon’ type of guy to address this need. And, again, who knows who they have targeted - or who they should go after. Ideally, we would all love Tulo and Travis to play 150 plus games, but, again - the FO has to prepare for the matter of grave concern. I would like to think that there is a better option than Dee Gordon, but I’m not quite sure who, nor am I going to fill the page with bullshit about who I think it should be, so who knows?
Here’s the thing, the FO have taken the Birds into the shop to get fixed and it will be really interesting to see who they sign and possibly trade for. 'Tis the season to speculate and dream, but don’t set yourself up for disappointment. You have to trust that the Toronto FO are going to make the proper moves to field an improved club in 2018. Will it be a significant challenge? Absolutely. Will fans question some of their moves? Most likely. Do I already miss the baseball season? Yup, I sure do.
One thing is for sure, I'd love to know who they have on their list.