The Toronto Blue Jays have been searching for ways to improve their bullpen throughout this offseason and are now reportedly exploring a trade with the Chicago White Sox.
Improving the bullpen was one of the Toronto Blue Jays‘ top priorities this offseason, but the team has taken a slow approach to addressing this need. Perhaps the expensive relief market, which has seen relief pitchers cash-in large this winter, is the reason the Jays have taken their time. Either way, it sounds like Toronto is ready to address their bullpen.
According to Nick Carfado of the Boston Globe, the Blue Jays have had trade discussions with the Chicago White Sox about closer David Robertson. It’s not known how active these talks are, or if they’re ongoing, so it’s tough to say how much we should read into this rumour. Here’s what Carfado had to say in full:
"Robertson is more than available, but the White Sox want a good haul for him. At worst, the White Sox believe Robertson will have a lot of value at the trade deadline, or if a team’s closer goes down. The White Sox and Blue Jays have had discussions this offseason, and the Yankees have at least thought about it, but New York is unwilling to give up the quality prospects the White Sox want. At some point, Robertson will be in greater demand.– Nick Carfado, the Boston Globe"
Couple takeaways here:
- the White Sox clearly want to get rid of Robertson’s contract, which has two years and $25 million left on it. That would likely mean the Blue Jays are willing to take on a decent portion of Robertson’s salary, which would mean the organization is open to bumping their payroll to somewhere in the $170 million range once their offseason spending is done. Whether ownership would actually do this is debatable, but I highly doubt Chicago is willing to eat the majority of Robertson’s deal.
- Carfado says the White Sox are looking for a good haul. Based on how Chicago has operated this offseason, I’d guess that means a high-end prospect. Of course, Robertson won’t fetch a massive return like Chris Sale and Adam Eaton did, but he’ll certainly command a decent prospect or two.
- Carfado also said the White Sox believe Robertson could have a lot of value at the trade deadline, which, to me, sounds like they want to deal, but are in no hurry to do so. In other words, they’re willing to wait until they get the offer they want.
By the sounds of it, Robertson’s availability is no secret, but it’s also no secret that multiple teams are interested in the 31-year-old right-hander, which means the Jays are unlikely to acquire Robertson on the cheap.
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Also, this might sound like a ridiculous theory since Mark Shapiro is very familiar with the White Sox front office, but, I don’t think White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has forgotten how Jays’ ownership treated his good pal Paul Beeston when they tried to pry vice president Ken Williams out of Chicago to replace Beeston. We know how the story went after that, but, as petty as it sounds, I doubt Reinsdorf has forgotten that incident.
It’s a crazy outside-the-box theory, especially since it’s unknown how involved Reinsdorf is in day-to-day operations, but it’s something worth mentioning. From a roster construction standpoint, the Blue Jays’ bullpen is in dire need of a left-handed option to replace the departed Brett Cecil.
A few names have been linked to Toronto, including Craig Breslow, but it’s tough to say who the Jays will sign to address that need. Breslow makes sense given his connection to Shapiro, Ross Atkins and Ben Cherington, but let’s say the team decides to pony up the dough and sign a lefty like Boone Logan or Jerry Blevins. That would essentially rule out any Robertson trade, unless ownership agrees to substantially up payroll.
I hate to keep reiterating the payroll, but any trade involving Robertson will likely have a large impact on the Blue Jays’ ledger. While Robertson would be a nice fit in Toronto, I doubt the team would be willing to meet the White Sox asking price.
What do you think of the Toronto Blue Jays reported interest in David Robertson? Do you think ownership would be willing to pay the asking price for him? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.