“I feel very confident that we won’t make any deals here.”
No, scratch that.
“If I had to bet right now, I’d feel really confident we aren’t going to do anything.”
That’s the official word from Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, who more or less put to rest some of the rumors that have surfaced over the Winter Meetings in Nashville thus far. So you know that whole R.A. Dickey/Jon Niese for J.P. Arencibia thing that caught fire over the last couple of days?
Nah, not happening.
Although Anthopoulos has a penchant for being crafty when it comes to this sort of stuff, there’s really no reason not to doubt him here – after all, it’s well-known that the GM doesn’t like to get into bidding wars for players and that the moves that he makes tend to be the under-the-radar variety.
There was even a running “if you’ve heard it, it’s not happening” joke about Blue Jays trade rumors. Fans nickname the guy “ninja” for a reason, you know?
Still, there’s an emphasis on “right now”, which suggests that what Anthopoulos calls the lack of “traction” isn’t from a lack of trying. With a projected starting five of Brandon Morrow, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Romero and J.A. Happ, the Blue Jays starters have the upside to be one of the best rotations in the league as is, but, as we all witnessed over the 2012 season, injuries can quickly sink the whole project.
Does the team need another ace? Probably not. An upgrade to Happ, on the other hand, sounds like something that would be nice to have. As it currently stands on the team depth chart, Chad Jenkins is the backup plan right now should any of the starting five go down. That’s not something that inspires a whole lot of confidence to begin with, but the black hole beyond Jenkins is even more terrifying: what if two pitchers went down?
Would we be looking at Brett Cecil in the rotation again? Esmil Rogers? Dustin McGowan can’t be counted on contributing at all next season either.
Any way you put it, the Blue Jays don’t have a whole lot of depth when it comes to starting pitching. So while the starting five the team has will do nicely as is, Anthopoulos will likely continue to look for some insurance policies.
It just might not come in the form of a significant acquisition like Dickey, that’s all – a long reliever will do just as nicely.