BOCA RATON, Fla. – Things you hear hanging out in the lobby at the Boca Raton Resort and Club on Wednesday at baseball’s annual GM meetings:
• Super-agent Scott Boras held court and was entertaining as always, comparing building a championship club to baking a cake, with getting the icing just right on top being the trickiest part. The Blue Jays haven’t had one of his clients since Brad Wilkerson in 2008, although perhaps Mark Shapiro’s presence as president and CEO may change things. “Mark and I have worked together for a long time and he’s a very studied executive and we look forward to working with him,” said Boras. “With AA (Alex Anthopoulos) there we talked all the time, and often the types of clients I have are – for some reason I don’t understand – they don’t seem to budgetarily quite fit some teams sometimes. Other than that we’ve had a pretty good relationship with Toronto.” Interestingly, in previous years he’s urged Rogers Communications Inc., the team’s owners, to spend more money, but this time he didn’t mention them at all.
• If the Blue Jays bring back Marco Estrada, do they also need to bring back Dioner Navarro? Estrada posted a 4.11 ERA in 14 games with Russell Martin behind the plate, but a 2.63 ERA in 20 outings with Navarro, who is also a free agent. “I wouldn’t put too much into that,” says interim GM Tony LaCava. “I think Russ makes any and every pitcher better when he catches them. Certainly the results were really good when Navi caught Marco, but we would be comfortable with Martin catching him as well.” To be fair, Martin mostly caught Estrada early, when he was transitioning back to the rotation from the bullpen and before he added the cutter and fully refined his curveball.
• A name to keep an eye on for the Blue Jays: left-hander Chad Girodo, who’s allowed only one unearned run in eight innings over five appearances in the hitter-happy Arizona Fall League. A ninth-round pick out of Mississippi State in 2013, the 24-year-old went from single-A Dunedin to triple-A Buffalo this season, and may come quick in 2016. “He’s put himself on the radar screen and the guys that have seen him out there, they like what they see,” says LaCava. “Who knows? He’s definitely a guy we’re going to be looking at some point soon.”
• Michael Saunders, one of nine arbitration-eligible Blue Jays, is expected to undergo another routine MRI on his left knee in the next few weeks. “Everything seems to be progressing well,” says LaCava. “As far as I know, he’s supposed to be ready for spring training.”