Monday, October 29, 2012

Toronto Blue Jays Off-Season Outlook

Today marks the first day of the baseball off-season as the Giants swept the Tigers out of the World Series to bring San Fran their 2nd championship in 3 years. So, as we all start our baseball withdrawal, here's a look at the important off-season dates, and what AA needs to do for them.

Will Darren Oliver ever
 throw another pitch?
3 Days after World Series(October 31st): Options must be picked up or declined. The Jays have club options on 2 players;Darren Oliver and Rajai Davis. I expect both Davis' and Oliver's options to be picked up, although Oliver might retire, so we won't find out what his plans are for 2013 until he makes an official announcement. Both of these options could be decided today,so check your twitter as often as possible!

Six days after World Series(November 3rd): Until this date, GM's can talk to agents about their interest in their clients, but not until Saturday, can a player actually sign with a team other than their 2012 club. The Blue Jays free agents are Jason Frasor, Kelly Johnson, Brandon Lyon, and Carlos Villanueva. I'm not sure I'd bet on any of those 4 guys being back here. Kelly Johnson is all but gone, Carlos Villanueva hates AA after his comments in September, Jason Frasor has become redundant in the Blue Jays bullpen, and Brandon Lyon is going to cost more than $6 Million a year. Will AA spend that amount of money on a reliever? I'd love to see Lyon back as his 2nd half was unbelievable(10.1 K/9 in 25 IP), but if Rogers is going to be cheap again, I rather see that $6 million spent on a starter.

Now, for outside free agents. The Jays need 2 starting pitchers, a left fielder, and a second baseman. A DH would be nice as well, but isn't at all necessary after Adam Lind's good 2nd half. I see the left fielder coming via trade(see my article to be posted later this week), and the 2nd baseman might still be Mike Aviles or Adeiny Hechavarria, so a free agent might not be needed to fill that position. David Ortiz would make the perfect DH for us,but it seems like he will be going back to Boston for another 2 years. There are a ton of free agent pitchers to choose from in the market, but the demand is high as always, so AA will have to spend if he wants to contend. Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum are the two pitchers that I believe could come here, and actually have a chance to.

12 days after World Series(November 9th): Free Agents must accept arbitration by this date. I don't think this will apply to any of the Jays free agents in the next few weeks. If Frasor is offered, he might accept it, but I highly doubt he will be offered. As for the others, I doubt any of them are offered arbitration.

November 7th-9th: GM Meetings in Palm Springs, California. Nothing really big will happen during these meetings.

November 30th: All contracts must be tendered by this date. All of the Blue Jays will have their contracts tendered.

December 3rd-6th: Winter Meetings in Nashville. If AA is going to make a big trade, the foundation will likely be laid during these meetings.

December 6th 2012: Rule 5 Draft. With Omar Vizquel's impending retirement, the Jays now need a utility infielder(depending on how Mike Aviles is used). I could see AA plucking somebody from the Rule 5 to be his utility man.

That's it. After that, the arbitration hearings are in February, and then Spring Training starts in March 2013.

Hope this sorted things out for you guys. Leave your comments below.

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