The low season to-do checklist for Blue Jays normal supervisor Ross Atkins has a few evident wants on the prime as he prepares to go out to Las Vegas for subsequent week’s baseball winter conferences.
Pitching and defence are two areas that Atkins wish to shore up as he plans for a 2019 common season that would see plenty of younger gamers get a possibility.
The group is well-stocked within the minor leagues however it’s unclear when that depth will bear fruit on the big-league degree. A surplus of center infielders all through the crew’s system might give Atkins some commerce bait, or he might go the free-agent route to offer his beginning rotation a wanted enhance.
“What we’re making an attempt to not do is put any agency timelines on something,” Atkins mentioned Wednesday. “Attempt to fine-tune the depth that we’ve got. We really feel so strongly concerning the place participant group and wanting to enrich that with pitching is a precedence.”
‘Younger controllable pitching may be very troublesome to amass’
For the time being, new skipper Charlie Montoyo has Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman as the important thing cogs in a rotation that would see Ryan Borucki slotted in on the No. three spot.
“Younger controllable pitching may be very troublesome to amass,” Atkins mentioned at a luncheon with members of the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Affiliation of America. “So we’re not going to simply and readily purchase extra Borucki or Sean Reid-Foley varieties.
“I feel including on the free-agent degree is extra sensible and one thing that we’ll be trying to do.”
The Blue Jays are coming off one other down 12 months within the American League East. Toronto settled for a fourth-place end within the division with a 73-89 document.
Extra ache is anticipated for at the least a 12 months or two. The excellent news for Blue Jays followers is that the group’s prime prospects might quickly be prepared for big-league motion, with third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., on the prime of the checklist.
Guerrero is anticipated to begin the 12 months with triple-A Buffalo earlier than getting a callup a couple of weeks later, which might give the Blue Jays yet one more 12 months of contract management. Atkins was requested Wednesday who he anticipated his beginning third baseman to be on opening day.
‘We now have plenty of low season left’
“I feel the more than likely state of affairs can be [Brandon] Drury at present however we’ll see,” he mentioned. “We now have plenty of low season left.”
One other huge query mark is at shortstop. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Richard Urena are within the combine and Troy Tulowitzki seems near a return after heel surgical procedure worn out his season.
Atkins mentioned Tulowitzki, who has been understanding with faculty gamers, is recovering nicely however it’s too early to say when he’ll be prepared for big-league play.
“All of our stories are very constructive,” he mentioned. “So it is actually only a matter of getting him within the spring coaching surroundings.”
The winter conferences are set for Dec. 10-13 on the Mandalay Bay Resort and On line casino Resort.
The BBWAA chapter additionally introduced its annual award winners Wednesday. First baseman Justin Smoak was a unanimous decide as participant of the 12 months and left-hander J.A. Happ was named pitcher of the 12 months.
Catcher Luke Maile took essentially the most improved participant nod and Borucki was named rookie of the 12 months. Former supervisor John Gibbons was the winner of the John Cerutti Award for goodwill, co-operation and character.