12/05/12 10:20 PM ET
With only minor moves left, Blue Jays exit Meetings
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
Toronto has flown under the radar this week at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. While other teams are frantically searching for upgrades -- either through trade or free agency -- the Blue Jays find themselves with a roster that is almost complete.
There are only a few items remaining on Anthopoulos' offseason wish list, and most of those will involve minor additions rather than adding another major piece. There still has been the occasional trade talk in the Music City, but nothing of note for a club on the rise.
"We've had talks here and there, but not anything significant," Anthopoulos said. "I don't see us doing anything while we're here. We might continue to have a little bit of dialogue, and I think if anything was to be done, it would be well after the Meetings. But we're really not getting anywhere on any fronts."
Anthopoulos has been able to take a patient approach because of his busy November. The club managed to fill two holes in the starting rotation with the recent 12-player deal with Miami, while further depth was created with the free-agent signings of Melky Cabrera and Maicer Izturis.
The Blue Jays did submit a couple of tentative offers -- described by Anthopoulos as "general concepts" -- they passed along to other teams, but not ones that have garnered much interest. Anthopoulos also added he hasn't been presented with anything enticing and he expects to stand pat for now.
That shouldn't come as a major surprise. These Meetings are often known for big moves rather than minor additions, and Toronto already took care of those transactions earlier in the offseason.
"I just don't see [anything happening]," Anthopoulos said. "We're not going to have anything resolved at all. Just more ideas, this player, that player -- it's more on the trade front than anything else. We've floated ideas; certainly teams can come back to us on them."
With nothing on the horizon, Anthopoulos opted to leave the Winter Meetings one day early. His final media availability was late Wednesday afternoon, and Anthopoulos also informed reporters that he will not be present for the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning because the club does not have an open spot on its 40-man roster and therefore cannot make a pick.
Toronto does have some shopping left to do, but most of that will be on a relatively small scale. The club is expected to make a run at a number of Minor League free agents, but that likely won't happen until January. For now, those type of players will search for guaranteed contracts, but when some are left out in the cold, Anthopoulos is expected to step in.
The only noticeable hole on the roster is the final spot on the bench. The Blue Jays are searching for a right-handed hitter that could potentially start some games over Adam Lind when there's a lefty on the mound.
But there's no rush to fill that spot. It's a situation that likely won't be resolved until Spring Training, where there's a possibility several players will compete for the role.
"There's value in keeping that spot open," Anthopoulos said. "You may, for whatever reason, carry one more guy in the bullpen. You may want to have someone that could be on option, that you've got the flexibility to have someone go up and down if there's a need there.
"We've picked up players each year at the end of Spring Training. Whether it was [Jayson] Nix or Fred Lewis. Guys become available at the end of Spring Training when they don't make clubs."
While the Blue Jays have remained quiet, the same can't be said for the rest of the American League East. Tampa Bay upgraded its shortstop position by acquiring former Blue Jay Yunel Escobar late Tuesday night, while Boston has reached agreements free agents Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli.
In many ways, other teams are playing catch up with the Blue Jays. For the first time in recent memory, there's a need for rival clubs to match Toronto's moves in order to maintain their standing.
Anthopoulos expected all of that and believes there will be plenty more action to come from the rest of the league. It just likely won't involve the Blue Jays.
"There are things that we looked at, spent a little time on, but then you realize they're just not a fit," Anthopoulos said. "You always examine everything, but there's nothing that was presented to us that we've spent days on, or we're working through.
"There was maybe one idea that someone floated that was interesting, that was fair value. We spent the night reviewing it, we just didn't feel like it was the right fit for our club."