Your! Call: Will the Jays be active at the winter meetings?

Shane McNeil,
12/3/2012 8:44:36 PM
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Day One of Major League Baseball's winter meetings in Nashville is in the books.

A number of American League East clubs made news on the first day, including the Boston Red Sox signing free agent catcher Mike Napoli, the Tampa Bay Rays signing first baseman James Loney and the New York Yankees announcing that Alex Rodriguez will miss months recovering from hip surgery.

Relatively quiet on the first day, though, were the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Jays have swiped headlines more than any team in the majors this off-season, including a massive 12-player deal with the Miami Marlins, the signing of free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera and the re-hiring of John Gibbons to be the team's next manager.

So, the team could hardly be faulted for emerging from the first day of winter meetings with just the claiming of Yankees catcher Eli Whiteside to show for their efforts.

But do the Jays even need to make a splash at these meetings after such a productive November?

The team is left with a few areas of need, an abundance of particular assets and organizational depth and many of the league's top free agent names still available.

One of the key areas targeted for improvement by general manager Alex Anthopoulos heading into the off-season was starting pitching.

The Marlins deal did wonders to address that need with the additions of Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, but the team may still be in the market for depth in the rotation.

As it stands, J.A. Happ would likely begin the season as the team's fifth starter after being one of only two holdovers from last season's rotation to have posted a double-digit wins total.

The team could add a depth arm from the free agent market, though, and while a high-priced addition such as Zack Greinke or Ryan Dempster might be a long-shot (though not impossible) there remain other options on the market such as former Jays Carlos Villanueva and Shaun Marcum.

One area that has been bulked up since last summer is the bullpen.

The Jays have pursued young power arms since last July's trade deadline, bringing in the likes of Steve Delabar, Brad Lincoln and, more recently Esmil Rogers. The team can also look to less proven options like Aaron Loup and Jeremy Jeffress and is still awaiting a decision from Darren Oliver as to whether or not he plans to play in 2013.

The offence has also strengthened around the team's power core of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Marlins addition Jose Reyes brings a proven lead-off option while Cabrera should slot in for production and consistency in the number-two spot.

However, the team might look to add another threat in the five or six spot if Adam Lind can not provide consistent production.

The cost of any possible addition is what may determine how active the Jays are over the coming days.

The team does offer depth behind the plate with newly-acquired John Buck slotting in behind incumbent starter J.P. Arencibia. The addition of Whiteside and the expected development of top prospect Travis d'Arnaud puts the team in a position of strength in a coveted position, but which player ends up being the odd man out in the equation is anyone's guess.

The farm system is still loaded with quality prospects, despite the bounty the team offered the Marlins to complete its blockbuster.

The team still boasts some strong position players in the farm system such as Anthony Gose and 2012 first-rounder D.J. Davis as well as high-talent arms such as Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Sanchez and others. However, after casting off prospects like Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick and Adeiny Hechavarria to the Marlins, Anthopoulos may be loath to further deplete the system further.

The team may also be spent out after adding almost $200 million in salary between the Marlins deal, the Cabrera signing and the off-season signing of Maicer Izturis.

That said, few expected this kind of payroll commitment to be possible for the Jays, so all bets are likely off in terms of what the team can and can not afford.

So what's your expectation from the Jays this week?

Will the team grab even more headlines before the winter meetings are through?

As always, it's Your! Call.

Alex Anthopoulos (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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