Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins just wrapped up his end-of-year conference. Atkins answered questions on a variety of topics, from pending free agents, to bullpen composition in 2017. Here are some of the highlights:
Bautista and Encarnacion
Atkins stated that the team will offer qualifying offers to both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. If either of the sluggers signs elsewhere – which is the most likely outcome – then the Blue Jays will be compensated with a first round draft pick. That said, Atkins did suggest that the Blue Jays will attempt to negotiate new contracts with the pair.
General Off-Season Plans
Atkins re-iterated the fact that the Jays want to get more balanced, with more platoon advantages. The team expects to do some heavy lifting in free agency, though the team does not have a defined payroll yet. It is also possible that they will explore alternatives through trades. That said, Atkins is not confident that they have sufficient prospect capital for big trades. As such, the team would trade big league pitching if the opportunity presented itself, though that is unlikely.
Atkins also discussed the state of the bullpen in 2017. First and foremost, he noted that the bullpen will need significant additions next season. It is possible that the Jays would explore more lucrative options with free agent relievers, as Atkins suggested that they might offer deals in excess of three years.
While the Jays need new bullpen help, Atkins also discussed some of the relievers who will be sticking around. He noted that the organization has no plans to stretch Roberto Osuna out as a starter next year. That said, it is possible that they will look at Joe Biagini as a starter. Finally, Atkins thinks it’s a “no-brainer” to pick up Jason Grilli‘s $3M option.
Atkins also briefly discussed the coaching staff. John Gibbons will be back next year. Management is exploring an extension with the skipper. While most of the coaching staff will return in 2017, assistant hitting coach Eric Owens will be let go.
So that’s that. Hopefully the next time we see Atkins at the podium, he will be announcing some new acquisitions to the roster. What do you hope he can get done over the next few months?