The Toronto Blue Jays returned to the playoffs in 2022 but were quickly brushed aside by the Seattle Mariners in two games in the American League Wild Card Series.
There were several positives to take from the season but the campaign was ultimately a disappointment given the expectations heaped upon the club in spring training.
Toronto's roster already features plenty of talent but the team still has some work to do to become a legitimate World Series contender. It will be up to general manager Ross Atkins and the rest of the Blue Jays front office to make that happen by complementing the current core with the right pieces this winter.
We'll keep you up to speed with all the latest news, rumours and analysis as the offseason unfolds.
Blue Jays in the mix for a former MVP?
According to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, Toronto has expressed interest in Cody Bellinger after the 2019 National League MVP was non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers last week. It's unclear whether the Blue Jays are simply doing due diligence on the new free agent, or if there's serious interest there.
Bellinger's agent, Scott Boras, claims his client has already been offered multi-year contracts but would prefer to sign a one-year deal to rebuild his value before cashing in next winter.
Source: #BlueJays reached out to Cody Bellinger's camp to express interest after he was non-tendered.
The Jays' interest was expected, based on their prior trade conversations with the #Dodgers. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 21, 2022
Bellinger's production has fallen off a cliff in recent years and he slashed .210/.265/.389 in 2022. He fills a need in the outfield and hits left-handed, but signing him would be a gamble for Toronto.
Teoscar Hernandez traded to Mariners
Toronto traded star outfielder Teoscar Hernandez to the Seattle Mariners for relief pitcher Erik Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko. Swanson owned a 3-2 record with a 1.68 ERA in 53.2 innings for Seattle in 2022, while Macko registered 38 strikeouts in High A.
Jays have their eye on Nimmo
The Jays are reportedly showing interest in free agent OF Brandon Nimmo, according to Morosi.
The #BlueJays are showing interest in free agent OF Brandon Nimmo, sources say; the trade of Teoscar Hernández has freed up a spot in the Toronto lineup to add the left-handed bat they’ve lacked. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 16, 2022
Nimmo, 29, hit 16 home runs and registered 64 RBIs, slashing .274/.367/.433 in 151 games with the New York Mets in 2022. Nimmo can fill in at center-field, allowing George Springer to move into the right-field spot vacated by Hernandez.
Jays tinker with 40-man roster
The Blue Jays added four prospects to their 40-man roster on Tuesday, electing to protect pitcher Yosver Zulueta and infielders Addison Barger, Spencer Horwitz and Orelvis Martinez from the Rule 5 draft. To make room on the roster, outfielders Raimel Tapia and Bradley Zimmer were designated for assignment, while pitcher Foster Griffin was released.
🔹 INFs Addison Barger, Spencer Horwitz, Orelvis Martinez and RHP Yosver Zulueta have been selected to the Major League roster
🔹 OFs Raimel Tapia and Bradley Zimmer have been designated for assignment
🔹 LHP Foster Griffin has been released pic.twitter.com/RzuMHZVlhf
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) November 16, 2022
Jays circling back on Heaney
The Blue Jays were interested in left-hander Andrew Heaney last offseason before he eventually landed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. According to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith, Toronto is one of his suitors again this year after he posted a 3.10 ERA over 14 starts in 2022. Heaney struck out better than 35 percent of the hitters he faced last season and would be a fit for the middle of the Blue Jays' rotation.
Suarez on Blue Jays' radar
One of the most intriguing names on the relief market is Robert Suarez, who opted out of his deal with the San Diego Padres. The hard-throwing right-hander is on Toronto's radar, per Nicholson-Smith, and it's easy to see the fit. The Blue Jays' bullpen lacked late-inning swing-and-miss relievers behind closer Jordan Romano in 2022, and Suarez posted a 31.9 percent strikeout rate with a 2.27 ERA.
As the #BlueJays seek relief, a name on their radar is Robert Suarez, who posted a 31.9% K rate (MLB avg: 22.1%) en route to a 2.27 ERA for SD in ‘22
Usual caveats apply: it’s early; Jays will check on many arms; Suarez will have many suitors. But a name to watch. Throws 98
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) November 9, 2022
Reunion with Stripling in the works?
Ross Stripling enjoyed a phenomenal 2022 campaign and was instrumental in keeping the Blue Jays' rotation afloat after Hyun Jin Ryu's season-ending injury. This is likely the 32-year-old's best chance to secure a longer-term contract, and it's unclear if it makes sense for the Blue Jays to make that type of commitment. The two sides have at least been in touch as they explore their options, according to Nicholson-Smith, so this is still a situation to keep a close eye on.
#BlueJays have been in touch with Ross Stripling & expressed interest in bringing him back
Jays have also had trade interest in their catchers and relievers per Ross Atkins. Possible Jays make a move, but they don’t plan to force anything
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) November 8, 2022
Blue Jays looking to trade a catcher?
It's no secret the Blue Jays have an embarrassment of riches behind the plate, with Alejandro Kirk, Danny Jansen and Gabriel Moreno all starting-calibre catchers at this point. Rival executives are expecting the Jays to use that depth to patch up other areas of the roster, according to Morosi.
The #BlueJays are expected to trade a catcher this offseason, according to multiple rival execs I’ve spoken with at the GM Meetings. The Jays have an abundance of talent at the position: Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk and Gabriel Moreno. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 8, 2022
Morosi also speculated that Toronto and the Detroit Tigers could line up as trade partners given the latter's interest in star free agent backstop Willson Contreras. If the Tigers strike out on that signing perhaps they turn their attention north of the border and send a reliever to the Blue Jays in return.
Blue Jays in on Senga?
Speaking at the GM meetings, Atkins said the Blue Jays have a "strong relationship" with Japanese pitching star Kodai Senga's agent. Atkins expects to be in touch with Senga's camp once free agency opens and the right-hander would make sense for Toronto on paper. Senga dominated Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball in 2022, recording a 1.94 ERA over 144 innings.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 8, 2022
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