The Toronto Blue Jays have stayed in contact with free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo throughout the offseason, including conversations this week, an industry source told Sportsnet.
That said, the Blue Jays have cast a wide net for pitching all winter, and significant questions would have to be answered for Gallardo to become a realistic option in Toronto.
General manager Ross Atkins said Saturday that the Blue Jays have had “hundreds” of conversations about potential moves, an indication that the team’s decision makers remain open-minded about possible additions. Gallardo may be one such possibility, but he has drawn interest from numerous teams beyond the Blue Jays, a club he dominated in 2015.
Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro said on Prime Time Sports Wednesday that the Blue Jays continue seeking rotation depth. Gallardo, a 29-year-old with two 200-inning seasons in the big leagues, could theoretically address that need.
“He’s the kind of guy that would make us better. He’s the kind of guy you’d like to have,” Shapiro told Bob McCown and Arash Madani. “Whether or not, from a resource perspective, we still have enough to make a move like that, I think that’s still a variable that exists. But we do have some flexibility still. Thinking about how we use those resources is still a question.”
There are hurdles to consider, though. The Blue Jays have already committed approximately $134 million to their 2016 payroll, so a major addition such as Gallardo may require ownership approval.
Plus, Gallardo is linked to draft pick compensation after declining the Texas Rangers’ qualifying offer. For a team looking to replenish its prospect capital, that’s a significant cost.
“It doesn’t matter enough to say you’re not going to make a decision, it just matters that you factor that in,” he said. “You look at that as not necessarily a cash value, but we can put a value on that pick and we’re an organization that at this point has to be — outside of the winning at this moment — our focus has to be an obsessive focus on infusing talent.”
“To me it’s just a premium. That’s a premium you’re paying on top of the salary giving up that draft pick.”
At the very least, it’s clear the Blue Jays continue exploring their options even after adding Drew Storen.