Starting pitching is one of the areas where the Toronto Blue Jays need improvement and after rumours of the Jays' interest in Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija surfaced on Saturday, general manager Alex Anthopoulos joined MLB Network Radio to discuss his off-season progress.
"I won't comment on specific rumours, but I will say we're definitely exploring starters with teams," Anthopoulos told MLB Network Radio on Sunday. "We have not made an offer to anybody with respect to a starter. If there is something out there, that we have made an offer, that is not accurate. That doesn't mean we are not inquiring."
As far as direction goes, upgrading the rotation remains a priority for the Jays.
"We're going to earmark most of our money for starting pitching," said Anthopoulos.
When asked about interest in free agent pitchers Matt Garza and Bronson Arroyo, and catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski, Anthopoulos said the Jays have been checking out the market on many players.
"We've probably talked about all of those guys; definitely all of the starters. (We) definitely made calls on all of those guys trying to get a sense on what the price might be," said Anthopoulos. "Whether it's guys like Garza and so on, those guys are clear cut; they would be upgrades to any team. I think any team would have interest in guys like that."
Anthopoulos also stated that dealing either of their sluggers has not yet entered into the equation.
"We haven't entertained the idea of trading either Bautista or Encarnacion," said Anthopoulos.
Earlier this month, Howard Eskin of FOX Philadelphia and WIP Radio reported that the Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies were in serious talks on a deal that would see four-time All Star and two-time home run champion Jose Bautista return to the National League and the Phillies.