Super-agent Scott Boras says Blue Jays prioritizing outfielders over pitchers

Super-agent Scott Boras sits down with Hazel Mae and Ben Nicholson-Smith for a quick chat about the Toronto Blue Jays at the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego.

SAN DIEGO – The agent for many of the top left-handed hitters available in free agency describes the Toronto Blue Jays as a motivated team in that market following the trade of Teoscar Hernandez.

In an interview with Sportsnet at the Winter Meetings Tuesday, Scott Boras characterized the Blue Jays as a team more involved on outfielders than pitchers at this time and said there are plans to continue those discussions with his agency later this week.

“I think their priority right now is to try to facilitate an advance on the offence,” Boras told Hazel Mae and me. “As to what they’re going to do on pitching, I think they want to achieve (offensive upgrades) first.”

On the pitching side, Boras represents Carlos Rodon, Taijuan Walker and Sean Manaea, among others. But he characterized the Blue Jays as more active in discussions about a group of left-handed hitting outfielders he represents: Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Joey Gallo and Masataka Yoshida, who was just posted by the Orix Buffaloes.

“The Blue Jays have raised interest in all of them,” Boras said. “They’re evaluating the market for fits so they’re definitely having discussions since the trade of Teoscar to try to improve their offence in a different way.”

Nimmo, the top outfielder available beyond Aaron Judge, is positioned to land a lucrative multi-year deal. Yoshida, who batted .336/.449/.559 with 21 home runs in Japan this past season, also seems poised for a long-term contract at age 29.

Meanwhile, Conforto, Bellinger and Gallo are all candidates to sign one-year deals that allow them to rebuild value ahead of the 2023-24 off-season. Conceptually, that’s a framework the Blue Jays are open to, having enjoyed mutually beneficial one-year deals with the likes of Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray.

Beyond the players Boras represents, the Blue Jays have been in touch with Michael Brantley, another left-handed hitter they’ve liked in the past. On paper, there are scenarios where Kevin Kiermaier could be a fit, too.

Despite Boras’ characterization of the Blue Jays, other agents and executives perceive the Blue Jays to be motivated in the pitching market. While Andrew Heaney is signing with the Texas Rangers, the Blue Jays are expressing some degree of interest in Ross Stripling, Jameson Taillon and Kodai Senga, among others.

One way or another, the Blue Jays have plenty of work to do before opening day with needs in the starting rotation and the outfield along with ample trade interest in their trio of young catchers.

“They’re in a great place,” Boras said, before making one of his trademark puns. “They’ve yet to reach their beak.”

“I’m going to use that one on Ross (Atkins),” he added with a laugh.

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