Sure, its been a boring and uneventful off-season so far when it comes to Blue Jays related news. Obviously its more fun when things are happening and trades are being made and free agents signed. The thing is, last off-season, the Blue Jays did rush things. They were one of the most proactive teams in the winter of 2016/2017, and look how things turned out.
Instead of waiting to see how the market would play out for Edwin Encarnacion, they put their best foot forward and offered him a deal worth $20 million more compared to what he received from any other ball club. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be more than happy having Encarnacion playing for the Blue Jays on that 4-year/$80 million deal. Where the Blue Jays screwed-up wasn’t so much that they came out and immediately offered Encarnacion such an offer. It had more to do with how quickly they went out and spent $45.5 million on Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce when they felt Encarnacion had taken too long to make a decision on whether or not to accept their offer.
There are a lot of people out there who seem to be a little frustrated by the inactivity of Toronto’s front office of late. To that I say, give it time, because if they do rush things, chances are they’ll just end up making poor decisions like they did last year at this time.
Based on what’s been happening so far in free agency this past month, it’s obvious teams are desperate for relievers and are willing to pay outrageous prices for them. Just look at some of these massive deals for relievers that were signed since the end of the season…Mike Minor 3 yrs/$28 million, Jake McGee 3 yrs/$27 million, Bryan Shaw 3 yrs/$27 million, Brandon Morrow 2 yrs/$21 million, Tommy Hunter 2 yrs/$18 million, Pat Neshek 2 yrs/$16 million, Joe Smith 2 yrs/$15 million, Anthony Swarzak 2 yrs/$14 million, and Luke Gregorson 2 yrs/$11 million. Nine of the ten biggest free agent contracts signed this off-season have been for relievers. It’s the new trend in what is a copycat league, where teams are trying to build the most dominant bullpen they can and totally overspending to do so.
If teams want to blow their wad on one or two relievers, they can have at it. Despite Toronto’s impatience last year when it came to signing Morales and Pearce, what they ended up doing right was how they went about beefing up their bullpen. When it came to signing a reliever, they waited until February, then scooped-up Joe Smith to a very team friendly 1-year/$3 million contract. When it comes to free agency this off-season, I’d rather the Blue Jays take the patient approach. Yeah it might be boring, and they might miss out on some decent players, but by biding their time, at least they won’t overpay anyone and end up having buyers remorse. Which by the way, is what most of these teams spending big money on relievers will be feeling nine months from now.