With 11 days remaining before the July 31 trade deadline, the Toronto Blue Jays are nearing one of the busiest times of year for a front office. GM Ross Atkins told Sportsnet’s Starting Lineup that the Blue Jays are working to improve the club for 2018 and beyond without subtracting too much from their current team—a challenge that means exploring many possibilities at once.
“You can’t think about three or four potential moves, you have to think about 50 moves,” Atkins told Elliott Price and Greg Brady on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. “We have to think about every possible scenario and every possible way to make this team better.”
While players like Roberto Osuna and Marcus Stroman would no doubt appeal to other teams because of their talent level and remaining years of control, the Blue Jays have made it clear that they don’t plan to part with core pieces. As such, they haven’t been getting lots of unexpected calls from other clubs.
“Executives respect where you are and what your strategy is if you clearly articulate it,” Atkins said.
Eventually the Blue Jays will have to determine whether they’re going to extend Josh Donaldson before the 2018-19 off-season, when he’s eligible for free agency. That may be an off-season conversation, though. For now, Atkins declined to discuss a possible extension in detail.
“We want to do anything and everything we can to make our team better, and we hope that Josh Donaldson is a part of that,” Atkins said.
Here’s more of what Atkins had to say:
Aaron Sanchez’s latest blister issue
“It has been frustrating. The most frustrating for Aaron Sanchez. He has worked extremely hard to come back from this. It’s been several setbacks now and they’ve been different, each one of them … I can’t say enough about his toughness, about his perseverance, about how really mentally strong he’s been throughout it.
“We need to discuss it with Aaron, we need to sit down with the group and come up with what’s next. We haven’t currently decided that … I wish I had a very simple, clear answer for you to say this is exactly what we’re going to do. But it’s a delicate balance we need to work through. And Aaron will be in the driver’s seat here, because it’s ultimately coming off his fingertip.”
Interest from other teams as trade deadline nears
“We may get occasional phone calls. We have one of the better performing pitchers in baseball right now, Marcus Stroman. Those rumours happen every year when you have one of the better performing players in baseball. We have an incredible closer in Roberto Osuna. Those rumours happen every year because teams would love to add pieces like that. We have one of the better players in baseball in Josh Donaldson. So, rumours come up, but executives respect where you are, what your strategy is if you clearly articulate it. Then they don’t spend a lot of time on kicking your tires. It does happen where they’ll say ‘Is this something we should spend time on?’ and we’ll say ‘No.’ Those calls actually haven’t happened.”