Two days after calling out Toronto Blue Jays ownership, agent Scott Boras eased up his criticism, arguing that Rogers Communications has a ‘rare opportunity’ to improve the team’s roster without surrendering first round draft choices.
Shortstop Stephen Drew and first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales — both clients of the Boras Corporation — are the types of players who would upgrade the Blue Jays in the short and long term, Boras told Jeff Blair on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Tuesday.
“Those players are available to this franchise,” Boras told Blair.
While the Blue Jays continue to express confidence in second baseman Ryan Goins, Boras counters that they ‘have no second base prospect in their system’ who projects as an impact big league player. Drew would represent a potential upgrade for the Blue Jays, and he’s open to moving to the right side of the infield.
“He would play second base if the club came and made the position a long-term one for him,” Boras said.
GM Alex Anthopoulos has acknowledged interest in trading for a long-term fit at second base, but it would be a surprise if the Blue Jays signed Drew as a free agent.
There’s no clear fit for Morales on a Blue Jays roster that includes Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind, but Boras cited Lind’s struggles against left-handed pitching and hinted that Toronto could trade the 30-year-old to make room for the switch-hitting Morales.
"They need a right-handed bat particularly in their DH area to answer a deficiency they have with Lind where he hits right-handed pitching well, but not left-handed pitching," Boras said. "There are teams looking for a player like Lind who has contract control and is someone who would probably bring back a good pitcher."
After a bounce-back year from Lind, the Blue Jays exercised his 2014 option. Though the Blue Jays did entertain trade scenarios involving Lind over the winter, he now seems secure in Toronto.
With the right moves, the agent can see the Blue Jays improving considerably on last year's 74-88 record. Boras says Morales and Drew could be part of a successful Blue Jays team.
“Being a switch-hitter where you hit .280 from both sides of the plate, that player is of great value to a team that has a hole and has a need for a right-handed bat and also would gain a left-handed bat as well," Boras said. "An organization that does not have a premium second baseman in it can go out and fill a hole without giving up number one draft picks.”
Boras repeated that the Blue Jays have 'flexibility in the long term' that could allow them to backload deals. Signing Drew or Morales would require the forfeiture of a draft pick, but Boras says the Blue Jays would recoup the compensatory pick in future off-seasons when their contracts expire. “You’re gaining a first round pick on the way out,” he said.
Boras criticized Blue Jays ownership Sunday, but he explained to Blair that he views Toronto as a great city with the ownership and fans to rank among the game’s top ten franchises.
“It’s not a suggestion that the Rogers ownership is doing anything but challenging to try to win,” he said.
The agent suggested over the weekend that Rogers Communications was limiting the Blue Jays’ baseball operations department.
“They’re a car with a huge engine that is impeded by a big corporate stop sign … a successful and committed ownership that needs to give their baseball people financial flexibility,” Boras told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Anthopoulos responded to the criticism by saying he has received continued support from ownership. Team president Paul Beeston has repeated that ownership has provided support every time he has asked to spend more.