Gauging the place the Blue Jays plan to dine in a ‘carnivore’s market’

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LAS VEGAS – Scott Boras is many issues – energy agent extraordinaire, grasp provocateur, cringy comic – however by all of his bluster, showmanship and grandstanding his reads on what’s occurring across the recreation are typically bang on.

Notable, then, is that primarily based on what he’s seen and heard after two days of the GM Conferences, he believes that “the free-agent market could be very a lot a carnivore’s market.”

The metaphor didn’t cease there, in fact, with Boras drawing guffaws from the massive throng of media surrounding him when he added that “there are lots of, many grades obtainable for house owners’ menus. These are extra leaning to the filet mignon and the Wagyu than they’re to the hamburger and vegan. Completely different than what we usually see.”

“Our recreation could be very wholesome,” he added, in a extra severe flip. “We will positively see from the early conferences right here at the moment that that there’s an aggressive design by a variety of groups with the advance of the brand new playoff positioning, the place they really feel that after they’re in, they’ve a chance to attain their objectives of championship play.”

One common supervisor echoed these sentiments later, saying that this low season it appears like “nobody is stepping again and everyone seems to be attempting to get higher.” Consequently, there could very effectively be fiercer competitors for expertise, as groups which have largely sat out current winters, just like the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs, re-enter the fray.

All of which makes the Toronto Blue Jays unsure carnivores on Boras’s inventive diner scale. Having picked off the filet mignon and Wagyu menus the previous two off-seasons, they appear to be financially extra locked into the hamburger and vegan choices proper now.

Their priorities are in including a starter and a back-end reliever and to assist body who they’re , starters Kodai Senga and Drew Smyly and relievers like Taylor Rogers, and as colleague Ben Nicholson-Smith talked about, Robert Suarez are among the many gamers they’ve no less than checked in on.

The Blue Jays will do the identical on almost everybody, and the way they do there’ll go a great distance in deciding their 2023 destiny. But a few of their extra attention-grabbing alternatives could very effectively find yourself coming through commerce and whereas GM Ross Atkins mentioned Wednesday “there are groups which are extraordinarily fascinated with all three” of his big-league catchers, there are some within the business who really feel it’s even likelier that they commerce an outfielder.

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Each Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., are eligible without spending a dime company subsequent fall, which might go away the Blue Jays with two substantial holes to fill. Addressing that now’s one strategy to each alleviate the pressures on what has the potential to be a really vital low season subsequent yr and create some change inside the present group for 2023.

Notable is that in his season autopsy dialogue with media, Atkins mentioned “there’s something to having related sorts of hitters and game-planning for them that we have to dig deeper into and the way we will account for that and offset that,” a seeming admission that the lineup wasn’t numerous sufficient.

Requested Wednesday what they’d concluded, Atkins mentioned, “we really really feel actually good in regards to the steadiness of our lineup because it pertains to several types of hitters, some extra contact-oriented, some extra disciplined, some extra aggressive. Enthusiastic about simply bettering that steadiness most likely factors the finger somewhat bit in the direction of the handedness. Our higher hitters are right-handed. I like Cavan Biggio. He’s had some actually sturdy performances for us and can proceed to. We’re in a state of affairs the place it’s onerous to make our staff higher, we’re very lucky to be in that state of affairs. However serious about handedness is one thing we’ve spent a while on.”

Free brokers Michael Brantley and Joc Pederson have each been Blue Jays targets prior to now and are the kind of left-handed hitters they’ve missed the previous couple of years. Whereas spending on pitching is the precedence, between their outfielders and catchers, the Blue Jays might additionally leverage some big-league surplus to each fill wants and reallocate the cash to pay for it.

Being even handed in that regard issues as a result of subsequent yr the Blue Jays may have an opportunity to get again on Boras’ most interesting cuts of beef.

Between Hernandez, Gurriel, Hyun Jin Ryu, Matt Chapman and Anthony Bass, the Blue Jays might have $55.5 million coming off the books, which provides all of them sorts of alternative to be inventive. They’ll want to exchange the expertise if the gamers depart and Chapman stands out as essentially the most vital potential subtraction there, and given the bundle of defence, high-on-base and big-power offence and management he brings, attempting to increase him early is sensible.

Then once more, he’s a Boras shopper and Boras tends to induce his gamers to place themselves on the low season menu. Chapman is slated to earn $12.5 million subsequent yr as a part of the $25 million extension he signed final spring and barring a shock ought to command a major increase.

“Now we have one other season there with Matt and he’s actually having fun with being on a aggressive staff, loves town,” mentioned Boras. “He’s simply actually wanting ahead to most likely feeling as if he can play at the next degree even than what he did final yr. … He’s a unprecedented expertise that actually added lots to the Blue Jays and put collectively, for the staff, a extremely good season. However I feel that they’ll get extra out of the gamers they’ve for certain.”

The final bit could have been a reference to Yusei Kikuchi, one other Boras shopper who could or will not be a part of the Blue Jays rotation subsequent season and is among the causes the staff is in dire want of a starter proper now. His efficiency is a reminder that regardless of which a part of the menu groups order from, there’s no assure on what they’re going to get.

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