The Major League Baseball Winter Meetings kicked off over the weekend so now things are finally going to start moving. With two huge names in Manny Machado and Bryce Harper on the open market the dominos probably aren’t going to start falling until those two decide where they’re going to sign.
We know the Blue Jays aren’t going to be in the mix for either Machado or Harper, but they’re kicking tires on some starting pitching help, which is easily their biggest area of need this off-season. As of right now, we’re rolling into 2019 with a starting rotation of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Ryan Borucki, and two of Sean Reid-Foley, Trent Thornton, Jacob Waguespack, and Thomas Pannone. The Jays obviously need to add to that mix so that their prospects aren’t just thrown into the fire when they aren’t ready.
Two names who have popped up so far are Mike Fiers and Kendall Graveman.
Fiers had an excellent season in 2018. He inked a one-year show me deal with a rebuilding Detroit team and pitched well enough to get picked up by Oakland for their playoff run. He put up a 3.56 ERA for the season though his underlying metrics suggested he overachieved a little bit. Fiers makes a lot of sense in a similar role as he was in last year. Given his solid season he may command more than a one-year deal, but if the Jays could get him on a one-year deal, he would be a prime flip candidate come July and August.
Then there’s Kendall Graveman, a former Blue Jay who was involved in the Josh Donaldson heist. Graveman, who was once Oakland’s Opening Day starter, completely fell off a cliff in 2018 after a few solid seasons with the A’s. He’s likely to miss all of 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but like we saw with the Rays and Nathan Eovaldi, it’s worth a risk to rehab a player and hope they can bounce back down the road.
Patrick Corbin signed in Washington and Eovaldi stuck around in Boston, so now J.A. Happ is one of the key players left on the open market along with Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton. If the Yankees opt to sign one of Keuchel or Morton, the Jays could be in a good position to bring Happ back into the mix. That would obviously be ideal given the fact the organization knows Happ well and he’d be an excellent veteran leader to have around the younger pitchers as they work their way into the big leagues.