Blue Jays Morning Brew: MLB off-season rumours and Jays notes

Toronto Blue Jays off-season news and notes for Wednesday, November 16th

The MLB off-season is still waiting for the first serious run on free agent contracts. It’s very early in the process, of course, but with the parameters of the incoming CBA still not clear, some bigger names may last longer than usual on the market.

Jays Journal will continue to be your home for all Blue Jays news and reports this off-season. Here are the latest things worth knowing:

Exploring the outfield options

Jonah Keri suggested Josh Reddick as a potential fit for the Blue Jays as a platoon partner with Melvin Upton Jr. when speaking with Jeff Blair on The Fan 590 yesterday.

Reddick is certainly stronger against right-handed pitching, and if Upton were to maintain his play against lefties from 2016, the Jays could really be on to something with the duo. Reddick’s limitation against left-handed pitching is worrying however, as he’s hit just .218 with a .640 OPS over his career. In 2016, he was nearly non-existent versus lefties (.366 OPS).

Jays Nest Podcast, Episode 98

The podcast returns after a brief hiatus and we’re ready to hit the ground running this off-season. Shaun Doyle of Jays from the Couch and I break down the Blue Jays’ moves so far this season, especially how Kendrys Morales impacts the rest of the roster.

We also look forward to the coming weeks of free agency, break down the Brett Cecil and Jay Bruce rumours, and take some of your listener questions. Subscribe using the links below to get this participation-award-winning show delivered straight to your device each week.

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Tomorrow, tomorrow…

Toronto announced their 2017 spring training schedule on Tuesday, giving Blue Jays fans a circle to date on next year’s calendar. Here are some important dates:

February 14:  Pitchers and catchers report
February 18:  First full squad workout
February 25:  First spring game — in Orlando vs. ATL
May 7:  Exhibition vs. Canada (World Baseball Classic tune-up)
March 25:  Exhibition vs. Canadian Junior National team (split squad)
March 31/April 1:  Exhibition games in Montreal vs. PIT

Detroit open for business?

The Detroit Tigers seem intent on shedding salary if the right deal comes along, and one target that could interest the Blue Jays is right-fielder J.D. Martinez. Jon Morosi reported yesterday that the Giants and Tigers had held discussions regarding the 29-year-old, but they had not advanced far.

Martinez has his flaws defensively, but offers his potential suitors a strong bat that broke out with 38 home runs in 2015 and produced a .908 OPS this past season. He’s due to hit free agency after the 2017 season, and if qualifying offers still exist under the new CBA, could net his team (Detroit or otherwise) draft pick compensation 12 months from now.

A.L. East rumblings

The Boston Red Sox have some advanced interest in free agent reliever Greg Holland, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI. Holland is one of the most appealing names on the bullpen market, but also one of the riskiest.

Coming off a Tommy John surgery that cost him all of 2015, Holland is still working to regain his velocity and the full effectiveness of his great slider. The right-hander was was one the most dominant pitchers on the planet in 2013 and 2014, and has the potential to fill a back-end bullpen role for the Red Sox with the departures of Koji Uehara and Brad Ziegler.

The voice of the Blue Jays

Blue Jays radio announcer Jerry Howarth is being treated for prostate cancer, and he spoke with Pauline Chan of CTV about his early diagnosis.

Jerry is one of the industry’s kindest figures and a cornerstone of Toronto baseball. We’re sending him our best and eagerly awaiting his first home run call of 2017.

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