The Toronto Blue Jays made their first major signing of the offseason this past week when they signed catcher Dioner Navarro to a two year, $8 million contract. The move essentially made last year’s catcher, J.P. Arencibia, expendable and they quickly allowed him to become a free agent.
After a 2013 season well below expectations, many expect general manager Alex Anthopoulos to shake up the team heading into the new season. Fans have already watched hitting coach Chad Mottola, first base coach Dwayne Murphy, starting pitcher Josh Johnson and now Arencibia leave the team; now they are waiting for the player upgrades that they expect.
It would appear that Anthopoulos is happy with his outfield. Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus and Anthony Gose will be the group that the Blue Jays trust heading into 2014. When Cabrera inevitably gets injured, Gose is a suitable replacement, while Kevin Pillar and Moises Sierra can be promoted at a moment's notice.
The left side of the infield is one of the best in baseball if both Brett Lawrie and Jose Reyes can stay healthy—something neither was able to do last season. First base and designated hitter will be a platoon of Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind, which was a combination that worked well for the Blue Jays last year. Without a setback from either player, those positions are taken care of.
With the catcher position recently solved, that leaves two holes in the Blue Jays lineup that they need to look into upgrading: second base and starting pitcher. Both of these positions will more than likely be filled before the season starts and there is no better place to get moving on a player acquisition than the MLB winter meetings.
Anthopoulos is no stranger to the winter meetings. It is where he traded Roy Halladay and where he pulled off last season’s blockbuster deal with the Miami Marlins that completely changed the nature of the franchise.