San Diego Padres starting pitcher Clayton Richard pitches to San Francisco Giants’ Evan Longoria during the first inning of a baseball game in San Diego on July 31, 2018. In the wake of acquiring pitchers Clayton Richard and Matt Shoemaker, Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins says the team is still looking to make more moves.Atkins says the priority remains pitching depth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Kelvin Kuo

Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins says team is still looking to make roster moves

TORONTO — In the wake of acquiring pitchers Clayton Richard and Matt Shoemaker, Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins says he is still open to more moves.

The priority remains more pitching depth.

“It could be in the form of starting (pitching), it could be in the former of (a) reliever,” Atkins said in a media conference call Monday.

“And we’ll continue to consider any opportunities to move players potentially off of our roster,” he added. “It’s not something that we are proactively looking to do, but we do have a great number of players that other teams are interested in.

“I’ve said this before but it just keeps getting busier. I can’t imagine being any busier … We have had a great number of discussions about a number of our players.”

Most of the talk has been about players on shorter-team deals or those that Toronto has less control over their future, he said. Atkins seems willing to listen to all offers.

“We like the players that we have. But at the same time if there is an upgrade then those are sometimes decisions you have to make,” he said.

“There’s a lot of off-season left for us and a lot of opportunities that we’ll continue to flesh out,” he added.

Toronto got the left-handed Richard in a deal Sunday with San Diego after signing Shoemaker, a right-handed free agent, to a one-year deal worth US$3.5 million on Friday. The Jays sent outfielder Connor Panas to the Padres in exchange for Richard and cash considerations.

Richard and Shoemaker are both candidates to join a starting rotation that includes Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Ryan Borucki. Rookies Sean Reid-Foley, Thomas Pannone and Trent Thornton will also be looking to make their mark.

Both new pitchers are coming off injuries — forearm for Richard and knee for Shoemaker. But Atkins says the two will be ready for spring training.

“Both guys have the potential to start,” Atkins said. “We know both guys can get outs. So having them on as additions to the Blue Jays is something we’re excited about — to add that depth to the organization.”

The 35-year-old Richard went 7-11 with a 5.33 earned-run average in 27 starts for the Padres in 2018. His career record is 68-79 with a 4.46 ERA since making his debut in 2008.

The six-foot-five 240-pounder posted a National League-best 60.3 ground ball percentage over the last four seasons. He missed the end of last season due to knee surgery.

“Very very well respected. A very solid human being,” said Atkins.

Shoemaker went 2-2 with a 4.94 ERA across seven starts with the Los Angeles Angels during the 2018 season when he spent time on the disabled list with a right forearm strain.

The 32-year-old has a career record of 40-32 with a 3.93 ERA in six seasons with the Angels.

Jays pitchers and catchers are slated to have their first workout on Feb. 14 with the whole team at camp Feb. 18.

Many familiar names are missing thanks to a teardown that started last season.

Gone are the likes of Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, Roberto Osuna, Seunghwan Oh, Steve Pearce, John Axford, Aaron Loup and Aledmys Diaz.

Marco Estrada, Yangervis Solarte and Tyler Clippard left as free agents.

Charlie Montoya has taken over as manager, succeeding John Gibbons.

Atkins said he expects Montoya to help the team’s young infielders improve their defence, saying it’s an area where the club needs to get better.

“He has a track record of doing it, he’s passionate about it,” said the GM, who pointed to the middle infield as the most pressing area for defensive improvement.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

CALGARY — An inquiry into who is funding environmental opposition to the… Continue reading

Whatever snow may possibly fall in Red Deer on the weekend will melt when it hits the warm ground, says meteorologist Kyle Fougere with Environment and Climate Change Canada. (File photo by ADVOCATE staff)
Weather expected to get warmer next week in Red Deer

It’s going to be a cold weekend, according to Environment Canada. Saturday… Continue reading

Retired city manager Craig Curtis will argue for keeping the Molly Banister Drive right-of-way at Tuesday's public hearing. He warns of future gridlock if the extension is removed by city council. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Former Red Deer city manager warns killing the Molly Banister Drive extension is ‘a terrible mistake’

Craig Curtis will argue for keeping the road alignment at next week’s public hearing

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada's top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Canada’s top physician painted a bleak picture Saturday of the toll the… Continue reading

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is naming his shadow cabinet, including his predecessor Andrew Scheer as the party's infrastructure critic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were “late and confused” on COVID response

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says Alberta has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Indigenous fishermen carry lobster traps in Saulnierville, N.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Andrew Vaughan
Federal representative hopes to ease tensions in Nova Scotia lobster dispute

HALIFAX — The man tasked with lowering the temperature in a heated… Continue reading

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Most Read