Five years ago, a Toronto Blue Jays general manager spent w-a-a-a-y too much time in the suite of the Miami Marlins during general managers meetings in Arizona. The result was a 10-player deal – announced five years to the date on Sunday – that made the Blue Jays Vegas favourites to win the World Series and, well, we all know how that worked out. That GM is Alex Anthopoulos who, as the New York Post’s Joel Sherman first reported, will be named GM of the Atlanta Braves this week. And when Major League general managers convene starting Monday in Orlando, Fla., the Blue Jays can once again be expected to beat a path to the Marlins’ door where nothing Derek Jeter has said or done suggests he and the rest of the Marlins ownership and brain trust won’t listen to offers for outfielders Marcell Ozuna or Christian Yelich in addition to Giancarlo Stanton. This used to be the time when teams laid the groundwork for next month’s winter meetings, but now the day often belongs to the aggressor. If the Jays can pull off a deal for a guy like Yelich I’d just shut down the rest of the off-season. Seriously, I’d sign off and tell my fans, “See you in Dunedin.” Here’s a five-point off-season plan for the Blue Jays: 1) Don’t turtle on Shohei Otani the way the Blue Jays did when Yu Darvish was posted. Since it’s only going to cost money and since, by several accounts, they’ve spent more time scouting Otani than most teams, the Blue Jays damned sure better be in on the two-way Japanese star. They’ll need to somehow add international signing bonus money to match what another aggressive team — the New York Yankees — already has to spend, and the last thing the Blue Jays can do is let Otani hold up their off-season planning. You can’t use a tradable commodity to increase the possibility of signing Otani as opposed to getting a tangible return in the form of a player. The Blue Jays almost need to do what they need to do regardless of Otani’s timetable. I’m skeptical they have a shot, but they should still give it a run.
Step 1 of Blue Jays’ off-season plan: Don’t turtle on Shohei Otani
Sportsnet | Nov 13