BOCA RATON, Fla. – During his tenure as Toronto Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopoulos often said the Blue Jays had no untouchables, just players who would be extremely tough to pry away. Interim GM Tony LaCava appears to be taking a similar approach.
“We have some really good players that we would not want to part with,” LaCava said when asked about untouchables.
At this stage most trade talks remain exploratory with more advanced discussions set to take place as the winter unfolds, but rival teams are well aware that the Blue Jays have ample offensive talent after leading baseball in runs scored.
“We get asked about quite a few of our players,” LaCava said. “It’s not a surprise. Especially from the offensive side, we’ve got a lot of guys who can really swing it and teams are aware of that and they do come calling for those guys.”
The Blue Jays don’t plan to trade from a strength only to create a weakness, so Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki aren’t expected to go anywhere. Still, they do have a potential surplus of left field options in Ben Revere, Michael Saunders and Dalton Pompey. It’s conceivable that they could move an outfielder to simultaneously address a need and create payroll flexibility.
The Blue Jays wouldn’t have to trade from MLB depth, either. Their farm system remains somewhat underrated in LaCava’s view, and some other teams have mentioned prospects in preliminary trade talks.
“We hear their names,” LaCava said. “People do like them and we understand why they like them.”
The likes of Rowdy Tellez, Anthony Alford, Conner Greene, Sean Reid-Foley and Jon Harris are among Toronto’s top prospects. The Blue Jays don’t have to part with any of them, but they provide LaCava with options as he ponders options on the trade market.
NOTES FROM THE GM MEETINGS
- The Blue Jays haven’t determined whether Roberto Osuna will start or pitch in relief, but LaCava says he believes the 20-year-old could succeed in either role. “I really do. That’s a special kid. He thrived in that closing role, but I’ve seen him as a starter and he gets after it as a starter as well.”
- Agent Casey Close says there’s lots of interest in Zack Greinke, as expected. He declined to comment specifically on whether the Blue Jays have touched base with the NL Cy Young candidate.
- One GM made the point that opening the season with mid-tier starters can work, even if it’s unpopular with some fans and media. There are always starters available in July for teams in need of a boost.
- Agent Scott Boras made the case that MLB should implement rules to prevent teams from tanking to ensure a high level of competition around the league. “While we want parity, certainly, we don’t want a system where it is functionally beneficial for franchises to lose continually for a long period of time,” Boras said.
- One executive of a newly successful team remarked that his job got harder this year since there are fewer black holes to fill. Surely the Blue Jays can relate, especially on offence.