The Blue Jays left the winter meetings in Nashville without making a big splash, but GM Alex Anthopoulos is probably not finished this offseason.
There are too many signs that he expects the Jays to compete this year. And with a history of making several trades branching from one big deal, Anthopoulos is probably going to find a way to strengthen the pitching depth this offseason.
The Blue Jays have sat back and watched pitching dominate the last few World Series. San Francisco hasn't won two in the last three with just one good pitcher. They have a rotation loaded with talent that is able to keep tough lineups off the board.
Anthopoulos knows that this is the model to follow.
He wants to add more depth to his rotation and bullpen. He must not only trust newly acquired Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, but surround them with pitchers that will do their job and earn them wins when the stars aren't on the mound.
The team isn't far off from where it needs to be, but there are still some holes that have potential to kill a team's record. Not having an established fifth starter can be the difference between five to 10 wins in a season; enough to make or break a playoff run. In addition, we're still waiting to see if Ricky Romero will bounce back from his awful season in 2012.
Anthopoulos probably won't repackage any of the big names from the blockbuster trade a few weeks ago. Considering the contract negotiations being made with Johnson, it is highly doubtful that he is going to be moved for an even bigger name. Buehrle, too, is almost definitely planted in Toronto.
There have been theories that Colby Rasmus will be moved, resulting in an outfield comprised of Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera and the up-and-coming Anthony Gose. Moving Rasmus to acquire more pitching makes sense, since Rasmus has value because of his youth (26), but has been mild a disappointment for the Jays. Considered a power hitter, he only hit 23 home runs last season, meeting his career high.
Anthopoulos could package him to add depth.
In 2014 or 2015, the Jays will have Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard, most likely, up in Toronto along with a healthy Drew Hutchison. If these pitchers are going to be as successful as projected, the team will be highly competitive considering their current roster.
In the meantime, however, Anthopoulos's actions in the last month seem aggressive enough to consider that there should be some more pitching depth coming into Toronto before the season begins (Though I don't think we should expect Felix Hernandez to walk into the locker room next).
Don't expect him to dump the pitching prospects. It will probably come from the position players like Rasmus.
With how far the Jays have gone this offseason, it seems unlikely that they will let J.A. Happ remain as the top candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation. They might as well deal and bring in some other options for Happ and other young pitchers to compete with.
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