Blue Jays Offseason Update – January 27, 2013

It is bitterly cold in Southwestern Ontario but the thought of pitchers and catchers reporting in less than twenty days is certainly helping.  Sorry for the lack of activity lately but it’s been pretty slow in the world of the Blue Jays and baseball in general.  Getting ready for the season though and we will be back up to full strength and posting frequently again! 

Be on the lookout for the 2013 Top 15 Blue Jays prospect piece!!

Here are some updates:

-The Blue Jays avoided arbitration with center fielder Colby Rasmus, agreeing to a one-year, $4.675MM deal, MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports (on Twitter). 

QUICK TAKE: This is probably the last stand for Rasmus as a Blue Jay.  I am not overly optimistic that he will ever reach the lofty predictions of success when he first entered the league but he comes at a reasonable price.  If he slips or struggles the team has youngster Anthony Gose waiting in the wings.

-The Blue Jays announced that they signed infielder Mark DeRosa to a one-year, $750K contract for 2013. The deal with the CSE client includes a $750K club option for 2014.

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has said he’d like to add a versatile right-handed hitting player to round out the club’s active roster. DeRosa, who turns 38 next month, bats from the right side and has experience at a variety of positions.

QUICK TAKE: I like this signing.  Our bench was almost useless last season and we wasted hundreds of ABs on less than stellar options.  This low cost move made sense.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports examined the six worst teams in the American League in 2012 and looked at what steps they’ve taken to improve in the New Year.  The Blue Jays have obviously done a great deal to reverse their fortunes, but Morosi does have some concern about how the stars will mesh with one another.

QUICK TAKE: Again, it’s a long offseason and I guess this is something to write about.  I think the whole ‘chemistry’ thing in baseball is extremely overrated.  The Blue Jays aren’t guaranteed success because that is the nature of baseball but it won’t be due to chemistry, it will have to do with performance or bad luck statistically.

-The Blue Jays announced that they avoided arbitration with Emilio Bonifacio by agreeing to a one-year, $2.6MM deal. The Blue Jays also announced that they avoided arbitration with J.A. Happ, agreeing to a one-year, $3.7MM deal for 2013.

-Anthopoulos hopes the rotation provides enough innings that the team doesn’t need to seriously consider an eight-man bullpen. The Blue Jays have a pretty full bullpen, so it doesn’t appear as though free agent right-hander Brandon Lyon will return. “I don’t want to ever close the door on him, since he did a great job for us,” Anthopoulos said.

The GM stressed the importance of starting pitching depth and explained that players such as Justin Germano, Brad Lincoln and J.A. Happ provide the club with options.

-Good news on the bullpen front as Darren Oliver is returning for the upcoming season.  The left handed specialist had a superb season and adds further depth to what is shaping up to be a stellar bullpen.  Oliver posted a 2.06 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 56 2/3 innings this past season.  Despite his advanced age, Oliver has made more than 60 relief appearances in each of the past four seasons.

-The Blue Jays signed 18-year-old right-hander Denis Villatoro to a five-year contract, Saúl Carranza of the Honduran newspaper Diez reported over the weekend (translation via MLBTR’s Nick Collias). It’s a five-year deal, according to La Tribuna. Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun notes that it’s worth $20K (Twitter link). Villatoro, who worked out for the Blue Jays before signing, said he’s “very happy” to have agreed to terms with Toronto, Carranza reports. His fastball reaches 93 mph, and he also drew interest from the Orioles, Yankees, Mets, Astros, Giants and Pirates.

 

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