OAKLAND, Calif. – Rather than raising the bar, Toronto Blue Jays general Ross Atkins feels the steep price paid by the Boston Red Sox for Drew Pomeranz is simply reflective of the current trade market rate for starting pitching.
The Red Sox acquired the all-star left-hander from the San Diego Padres on Thursday for right-hander Anderson Espinoza, an 18-year-old Baseball America ranked as the No. 15 prospect in baseball. While Pomeranz is in the midst of a breakout season and is under club control for two more years after this one, he doesn’t have the track record more typical of players that fetch a premium prospect in trade.
“It’s really more indicative of the alternatives, or lack thereof,” Atkins said on a conference call Saturday. “There just aren’t a lot of them. I’m not so sure it’s going to increase the market drastically. There’s just more buyers than there are sellers at that position. The market was already set very high based on the alternatives. It wasn’t surprising to see that’s what it took to get some deals going.”
The Blue Jays, of course, are on the lookout for some pitching help but are not expected to pay the going rate, especially after last summer’s buildup. Given that they have eight pending free agents even after extending Justin Smoak, they could get more of their off-season work done ahead of the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline by targeting controllable players.
Atkins, however, says the Blue Jays aren’t ruling out rentals, either.
“We’re considering and talking to teams on both of those fronts,” he said. “There’s an acquisition cost that will be factored in. Typically you pay for control, so that would mean probably giving up more prospect-level. Everything’s a balance. We’re not focused on one versus the other. We’re focused on winning this year and obviously every team would say that. You just don’t want to compromise your future in how hard you try to do that. We’ll keep those things at the forefront, but we’ll 100-per-cent recognize the opportunity that we have in front of us, with a very good team. We’ve been playing very well and hopefully and seemingly peaking at a very good time. We’re going to look to complement the team every day that we wake up.”
COLABELLO’S STATUS: Chris Colabello, currently on rehab at single-A Dunedin, is slated to join triple-A Buffalo on Monday but there are no firm plans for him beyond that as the end of his suspension nears.
“It’s complicated by what the alternatives will be, how he is performing, the fact that he had so much down time, then, secondarily, what that means going forward for someone who is not going to be a part of our playoff roster,” said Ross Atkins. “What I can tell you is that we are very glad that he is coming back into the fold, as an option, but there is nothing concrete.”
Colabello is eligible to return July 23 and has options remaining.
SHORT HOPS: The Blue Jays will need to make a call on left-hander Franklin Morales next week as Wednesday will be the 30th day of his rehab assignment, the maximum allowed for pitchers. He’s made two appearances for Dunedin and seven more for Buffalo so far, allowing one run on a homer over 9.2 innings of work. … Infielder Ryan Goins went 0-for-4 in his second rehab game with Buffalo on Saturday, while playing seven innings at first base.