Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Scenario: Toronto Blue Jays sign a top free-agent right-handed pitcher.
Analysis: The Blue Jays haven't made any big splashes in free agency yet, but a recent report by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports portrays Toronto as a major player in the remaining market for starting pitching.
As it stands now, four of the marquee right-handed free agents are still available. Recently posted Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka is the leading candidate among the crop of starters, and he is currently making visits to clubs around the country with about two weeks left to make his decision.
From there, expect the market for Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana to shake out. Rosenthal pegs the Blue Jays as a "leading candidate" to sign either Jimenez or Santana, saying the team could sign one or two arms by the start of spring training.
The Blue Jays need some rotation help after a disappointing 2013 when high-priced veterans like Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson struggled while Brandon Morrow's season was cut short due to injury. While Morrow has recovered from his nerve injury, Johnson is gone, and the team could bolster its rotation.
As Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star noted, the club's first-round picks (No. 9 and No. 11) are protected this year, meaning the Blue Jays won't have to sacrifice a top selection to sign Santana or Jimenez, who were extended qualifying offers by their teams. According to Kennedy, general manager Alex Anthopoulos said it was "50-50" that the club inks a starting pitcher this winter, clearly meaning he has given heavy consideration to the idea.
Considering all of these factors, I think it makes sense that the Blue Jays sign either Santana or Jimenez in the upcoming weeks.