They were also able to do so without mortgaging the future.
Instead, sticking to the long-range plan, the Jays tinkered and bought at shallow depth, adding a pair of free agents soon to be in the bat-missing southpaw. Robbie Ray and versatile speedster Jonathan Villar in separate agreements, before designing a third deal at the end of the day to acquire a right-hander Ross Stripling of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“You have to discipline yourself,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said at the end of a busy Monday. “There are other things we could have done. I think he thinks he wants this opportunity to continue for us. It doesn’t mean just hanging on to leads, it means continuing to acquire and develop them. We are confident that in this offseason and hopefully the next round we will have a lot of access to continue to develop talent.
With rotation and “run prevention” the center of Atkins’ attention, Ray adds an intriguing arm to the high-hitting pitching stick, even though he struggled with the Diamondbacks in the pitcher. Arizona this season, hitting a horrific 7.84 Era in seven starts.
The 28-year-old southpaw’s overall work, however, is much more appealing.
In more than 800 career innings, Ray has signed a 4.25 wpm fine, racking up strikeouts with a career mark of 11.1 K / 9.
Unfortunately, he’s racked up the steps as well, handing out 31 free passes and throwing six wild fields in 31 innings this season.
He also granted nine home runs.
Add all that up and you’ll find plenty of reasons the Jays were able to add Ray for a pittance, sending 26-year-old left-handed reliever Travis Bergen to the D-Backs, while also earning money from Arizona to help. to compensate Ray’s remaining salary on the pro-rated $ 9.43 million agreement.
Ray has been a starter for 153 of his 156 Big League appearances, but he’s not sure he’s part of the Blue Jays’ rotation, although he should initially be deployed that way with Matt Shoemaker (lat) et Nate Pearson (elbow) on the injured list.
Stripling, who made 59 starts for the Dodgers in five seasons but also spent a lot of time pitching the reliever box, will also be in a mix that includes Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Taijuan Walker, Chase Anderson and Ray.
Atkins says the club are still working on the scripts.
“They’ve both been very effective in their careers,” Atkins said of Ray and Stripling, both of which could be a mechanical adjustment far from offering much more than currently expected. “With Robbie, the equipment is still electric and the equipment is there. It is very public that the action of the arms has changed. We think he’s working back towards his arm kick and arm action he had a year ago, but the stuff is electric and the strikeouts are there. We are optimistic that we can get it on the plate.
« Ross Stripling is a guy who has been reliable, great guns, amazing side options and he’s throwing harder this year. He struggled a bit against right handed shots so hopefully we can help him there, but adding two very reliable arms and one of them who could be a member of our organization for an extended period. .
Unlike Ray and Villar, who are both free agents at the end of the season, Stripling is not a hire.
The 30-year-old former fifth-round draft pick in the 2012 draft still has two years of team control and will not reach free agency until after his 32-year season in 2022.
It is impossible to think of Atkins’ work on timelines as anything but success.
Finding the right roles can take time, but there is now an abundance of veteran depth at hand as the Jays embark on a stretch run as the big favorites for the eighth and final playoff spot in the American League.
They’re by no means a playoff lock right now, but they’re a better team and a deeper roster today than they were yesterday.
All three players acquired on Monday – in addition to the starter Taijuan Walker last week – could play important supporting roles.
As for Villar, the now-ex-29-year-old Miami Marlin’s calling cards are speed and versatility, which will give manager Charlie Montoyo a few more options when he completes his roster.
Villar’s most natural stance is second base, but the batter also saw time at shortstop, third base and outfield, which could help mitigate the loss of Bo Bichette (knee) for a few more weeks, while giving Montoyo another third base option behind the difficulty Travis Shaw and Joe Panik.
“I feel like he has the ability to play very consistently from shortstop,” said Atkins. “I feel like he has the ability to play in the outfield, to play in the central field, to bounce back from all positions on the field. The versatility was very attractive, the ability to change strikes was attractive, the ability to steal a base is very attractive. It’s a very exciting piece to think about adding to the current band, and really exciting to think about how it complements. Bo Bichette when he is healthy too.
Based on his base run and 40 flights, Villar was worth 4.0 fWAR in 2019, but all it did was earn him a ticket out of Baltimore with his $ 8.2 million salary.
In order to add the trio of veterans, it’s unclear exactly what they gave up.
Bergen will head to the Diamondbacks, but the Jays had to drop a pair of players to be nominated later for Stripling and sent another to the Marlins in exchange for Villar.
According to Marlins reporter Craig Mish, it will be field prospect Griffin Conine who travels to Miami – where his father Jeff played for eight seasons – as PTBNL.
Conine, a 23-year-old second-round pick of 2018, possesses tremendous power, hitting 22 home runs in just 80 games at Low-A Lansing last year, but the southpaw also hit way too much, sporting a 35.9 par. one hundred K rate last season as an old prospect for his level.
At 18-15 of 33 games in that 60-game sprint, the players on the pitch did what they needed to do.
Now, without sacrificing much of the consequences of the next wave of leads, the front office has done what it can.
“We knew that if this team played at their capacity or even close to them, we would be in a good position to improve the major league group, to make this formation of 26-28, 30 and 40 players deeper and more efficient,” , Atkins said. “Obviously, if things had turned out differently on the win-lose record, maybe we wouldn’t have added as much. There might have been other opportunities, but we felt great coming into spring training, as you’ve seen from our off-season acquisitions. We wanted to be in that position.