The one thing Trumbo would bring to the table is power, and that's something the Blue Jays do need. Bautista, Encarnacion and Michael Saunders combined to hit 88 homers last year, and while some of that production has been replaced by Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce, this is not the type of lineup that is typically associated with Toronto. Even so, there has yet to be any indication the Blue Jays are seriously interested in Trumbo, and I highly doubt they make a big play here.
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I don't know what to make of this Encarnacion situation. There have been so many rumors and reports coming out after he signed with Cleveland. What I really want to know is: Who's to blame here?
-- Dylan S, Waterloo, Ontario
There's a certain level of damage control being done by both sides, and that should be expected. Encarnacion eventually signed for fewer years and less guaranteed money than Toronto's $80 million offer prior to the start of free agency. Encarnacion wanted to come back, the Blue Jays wanted to bring him back, and the fact that it didn't happen is a bad look for both parties.
Here's what we know. Toronto felt it maxed out on the $80 million offer. Encarnacion and his agent Paul Kinzer were given a few days to weigh the proposal, and when it wasn't accepted, Toronto informed them it would be speaking with other potential fits. At the time, Kinzer felt he could get a better offer, and he called the Blue Jays' bluff about moving on to other targets. Turns out, he was wrong about both.
The Blue Jays also believed Encarnacion might already have, or might be able to get, a better offer they could not compete with, so they went looking for plan B. The first step was reaching out to Morales, and when he expressed interest, the talks quickly intensified. After Morales signed, the Blue Jays felt they could no longer do the $80 million guaranteed, but the two sides remained in touch and discussed the parameters of a shorter-term deal. Those talks continued for several weeks, but the odds of Encarnacion's return never looked good. That would have changed if Encarnacion's market dropped even further, but in the end, he landed a strong deal with Cleveland.
Who else do you see the Blue Jays adding this offseason, and what do you think is their plan?
-- Ish, Toronto
Encarnacion's decision to sign with the Indians will be a bitter pill for a lot of fans to swallow -- and understandably so -- but at least it finally brings some closure to the situation. Encarnacion's return seemed unlikely in recent weeks, but Toronto still made sure it had enough payroll available in case he decided to return on a shorter-term deal. With the exception of talks with then-free-agent outfielder Dexter Fowler, the club has essentially been in a holding pattern.
That will change now that Encarnacion's situation is resolved. The Blue Jays will return their focus to upgrading the lineup, which needs at least one outfielder and a backup catcher plus some additional arms for the bullpen. The names won't be as flashy as Encarnacion, but there are some intriguing candidates to consider. Free agents Brandon Moss or Saunders are potential fits. Through trade, there are options such as Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Andrew McCutchen and Melky Cabrera.
Why don't the Blue Jays kick the tires on Charlie Blackmon more than they have? Also, would the second option be to just give the reins to Dalton Pompey?
-- Derrick M., Lindsay, Ontario
The Blackmon trade talks were short-lived and not likely to continue in the future. It's pretty simple -- Colorado wanted Marcus Stroman and the Blue Jays weren't prepared to deal him. Toronto would love to acquire Blackmon, but as things currently stand, it just doesn't seem possible.
To be frank, the Blue Jays don't have enough assets to get a deal like that done. There is a lack of elite prospects at the upper levels of their Minor League system, and even on the big league roster the players with affordable long-term control are the same pieces that Toronto needs to keep in place. Once Stroman was ruled off limits, the talks quickly died. Pompey might have a chance to compete for a job, but the priority seems to be adding someone else.
I read in one of your articles that Ryan Goins is out of options. What does this mean for his future with the Blue Jays? Will he made the team out of Spring Training?
-- Kelly H., Windsor, Ontario
Darwin Barney projects to the primary utility infielder, which means Goins can make the team if there's an injury or he is added to the roster as the final man on the bench.
Teams typically go with a seven-man bullpen, which would leave a four-man bench -- a backup catcher, a backup infielder, a backup outfielder and one other player. Toronto is expected to carry a platoon at first base, so that would seem to eliminate the possibility of Goins making the team if everybody is healthy.
Injuries during Spring Training could change that, though. It's also possible Goins remains with the ballclub even if he doesn't crack the big league roster. Goins must clear waivers before he can be sent to the Minors, but there's no guarantee he would be claimed, particularly late in camp when the wire is flush with players.