The annual MLB Winter Meetings are set to take place this week, December 9-12, in Orlando, Florida. The Toronto Blue Jays have been relatively quiet this offseason in terms of making additions to their roster, however this might be poised to change over the course of the next few days. Here is a breakdown of some of the ways the Jays will look to improve over the next few days.
The free agent pitching market might not develop as much at the Winter Meetings as in years past. There appears to be relative consensus that the top pitcher available is Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka. Until he is posted by his Japanese team and signed by an MLB team, the market for starting pitching will likely continue to slow to a crawl. Players like Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Ervin Santana will be happy to wait out the losers of the Tanaka sweepstakes and try to cash in.
The Jays may turn their focus to second base where free agent Omar Infante is available. There are also utility men Jamey Carroll and Michael Young who might be enticing as supporting players for the Jays.
Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos is known to favour the trading route when it comes to the development of his big league roster and there are no shortage of names that appear to be available.
The well publicized names include David Price, Jeff Samardzija, and Brett Anderson. Anthoupolos has stated however there are names that have not been highly publicized that may also available so we could see some surprise pitchers traded this week.
Rule Five Draft:
This could be an area of particular interest for Blue Jays fans. The Jays have had some great success in this draft (George Bell) as well as more marginal success (DeWayne Wise).
Any player selected in this draft must be kept on the team’s 25 man roster for the entire season. If the team fails to keep the player in the big leagues they must return that player to their former team. Also, to select a player there must be a current available spot on the 40 man roster. The Jays currently have 39 players on their roster so they will have the option to select a player if they so choose.
There are some interesting players available this year – mostly relievers. These players include: Tommy Kahnle, (Yankees) Danny Burawa (Yankees), and Marcus Hatley (Cubs). Selecting one of these relievers may intrigue the Jays as it would allow them to bolster their bullpen and use one of their current bullpen pitchers in a trade. Anthopoulos believes that relief pitchers will have a strong value in the trade market this offseason – bolstering the bullpen with a “free player” would allow the Jays greater flexibility to use their bullpen depth to upgrade in other areas of need.
Enjoy the hot stove this week – it promises to be a very interesting few days.