Toronto Blue Jays Aren’t Sitting Around Either
The Hot Stove league is off and running and the Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams not sitting idly by waiting for the dust to settle. They’re making moves and they’re far from done as they compose a team that is ready to complete the unfinished business of 2016.
In effect, this move probably signals the end of Edwin Encarnacion in a Blue Jays uniform. Reportedly, National League teams looking for a first baseman have made contact regarding his availability, although he was used primarily as a DH in Toronto. At the very least, the acquisition of Morales opens the door for them to talk to other teams.
Blue Jays Snare Cuban Prospect
Other reports indicated the Blue Jays signed top 23-year-old Cuban infield prospect Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to a seven-year, $22 million deal. Gurriel, a recent defector from Cuba, has played all infield positions.
The addition will not have an immediate effect on the Blue Jays lineup as Gurriel will need some seasoning in the minors and could even begin at Class A, possibly sending him to Florida where the presence of a large Hispanic population will facilitate his introduction to the United States. But again, it’s an indication that the Blue Jays are in the game and already running at full throttle.
The Jose Bautista Dilemma
The situation with Jose Bautista is a bit more complicated. The Blue Jays extended him a qualifying offer that is worth $17.2 million.
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The Sporting News is reporting that “Bautista is expected to reject the Jays’ qualifying offers and is reportedly seeking $100 million contracts this winter. Encarnacion has received an offer from the Jays, ‘but it’s not where the camp wanted it to be,’ while Bautista is interested in signing with Red Sox, according to the Boston Globe.”
Bautista just turned 36 and primarily has been used as a outfielder. His age would make him a liability in the National League, while in the American League the demand for designated hitters at the moment is limited. But with the Red Sox having lost their DH, the chances of him signing go up.
Blue Jays in Flight
The Blue Jays will also be looking to replace R.A. Dickey, who defected to the Atlanta Braves. While Dickey’s 10-15 record last year was not impressive, the Blue Jays will need to fill the innings he provided. For Dickey, he gets a chance to throw his knuckler in the hot and humid climate of Atlanta where he could have a rebound season.
The Blue Jays have a ways to go before they can honestly say their team is ready for prime time. But they’re out there scratching and clawing. And we’re still not even into the month of December when the wheeling and dealing usually begins.