For the Blue Jays, Christmas appeared to come early after they acquired Russell Martin, a Canadian catcher who can frame pitches, throw out base runners, and hold his own at the plate, and the best third baseman in the game, Josh Donaldson. The problem is, that none of these knock off major points on their shopping list that consists of, a front of the line starter, a left fielder, at least two high quality backend relievers and a middle infielder.
On a positive note Michael Saunders does bring a lot of talent to the ball club. Although he is a slight offensive downgrade from Melky Cabrera’s .351 OBP and .458 SLG. compared to his .341 OBP and .450 SLG, he still hit well over league average; .314 OBP and .386 SLG. To make things even better, he is a top notch defender. Over the last three years, he’s posted a 109 wRC+, and last year he came in at 126. If he can stay healthy, than the Blue Jays have snagged themselves a heck of an outfielder.
Unfortunately, AA (Alex Anthopoulos) still has plenty of work to do. The Blue jays still at least two high quality backend relievers and it would be nice to land a front of line starter and a middle infielder. Although there is still plenty of time, there is no longer as much stock as before. Household named relievers such as, David Robertson and Andrew Miller have been signed and even less known yet effective relievers like Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson are also off the table. Luckily there are still some effective relievers still on the market. Francisco Rodríguez could fit in nicely as a closer although this is unlikely to happen due to the fact that he is a Scott Boras client. Other relievers such as Rafael Soriano, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke all have in the low-mid 3s and have plenty of experience.
As far as front of the line starters go however, the Bluejays missed the boat on Jon Lester, leaving Max Scherzer, and James Shields. John Heyman recently reported that although in the past the Bluejays had a rocky relationship with his agent, Scott Boras they are one of the 8 teams currently in on him. He would be a great fit in any starting rotation and adding 2013’s Cy young award winner well give a big boost to the Blue jays starting rotation.
Finally, the Blue jays did not win the negotiating rights on Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang, leaving Asdrubal Cabrera as the best remaining middle infield left on the free agent market. Signing him would be nice but it’s not more important than getting a couple of reliable relievers and a front of the line starter.