Anthopoulos downplays interest in top relievers

Andrew Miller (Nick Wass/AP)

The Toronto Blue Jays must bolster their bullpen this off-season, but GM Alex Anthopoulos downplayed his interest in signing pricey free agent relievers Sunday.

“I don’t know that you’re going to see us involved in some of the large, big dollar deals that are out there for relievers,” Anthopoulos said on MLB Network Radio. “I wouldn’t necessarily completely rule it out. At some point it makes sense.”

Blue Jays relievers ranked 25th in baseball with a 4.09 ERA in 2014, and they’ve since traded Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin while losing Casey Janssen, Dustin McGowan, Brandon Morrow and Sergio Santos to free agency. Anthopoulos said he hopes to add multiple relievers this off-season, and doing so might require spreading the club’s resources around.

After all, the bullpen is just one of many needs for Toronto. Anthopoulos said the Blue Jays continue pursuing Melky Cabrera while also considering upgrades at second base and designated hitter. As a result, the Blue Jays could sidestep a relief market featuring the likes of Andrew Miller and David Robertson.

“We have to be really careful if we’re going to do a big money expenditure on a reliever,” Anthopoulos said.

The Blue Jays' projected bullpen includes left-handers Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup plus right-handers Todd Redmond and Marco Estrada. Aaron Sanchez impressed out of the bullpen in 2014 and could join the 2015 bullpen, but the Blue Jays are expected to stretch him out as a starter in spring training.

Beyond Miller and Robertson, the free agent relief market includes many with closing experience, including Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, Jason Grilli and Sergio Romo. Setup relievers such as Luke Gregerson and Luke Hochevar are also free agents.