Houston Astros George Springer reacts after scoring on a single by Jose Altuve against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning in Game 6 of a baseball American League Championship Series on October 16, 2020, in San Diego. A quick signing at the start of baseball's free agency period has been followed by a month-long period of relative inactivity for the Toronto Blue Jays. For now, big names like George Springer, DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Bauer and J.T. Realmuto are still available and the trade rumblings should soon find a higher gear. It appears to be a matter of when the first big domino will fall. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Gregory Bull

Things remain quiet on Blue Jays’ front but that could change at any time

Things remain quiet on Blue Jays’ front but that could change at any time

A quick signing at the start of baseball’s free-agency period has been followed by a month-long period of relative inactivity for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Baseball’s ongoing virtual winter meetings could change that as the quiet market could turn with one big signing or trade. The Blue Jays, who planned to be proactive this off-season, appear to be biding their time as they wait for the right opportunity.

“I think aggression is sort of in the eye of the beholder,” said Blue Jays assistant general manager Joe Sheehan. “Teams can think they’re being aggressive or teams can think they’re browsing and the agent or the other team might feel differently.

“I think some of that momentum is, in our heads at least, kind of developing but you never really know until something is there, (until) it’s done.”

Sheehan spoke in rather general terms during a half-hour video conference Tuesday, avoiding specifics on potential plans or progress.

The winter meetings are being held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled for a convention centre/hotel in Dallas, the remote interactions follow a similar model to last month’s GM meetings.

Both gatherings traditionally set the stage for free-agent signings and trade talks. This year, however, the hotel lobby buzz between agents, executives and media members has been replaced by Zoom chats and phone calls.

For now, big names like George Springer, DJ LeMahieu, Trevor Bauer and J.T. Realmuto are still available and the trade rumblings should soon find a higher gear. It appears to be a matter of when the first big domino will fall.

“The deals that we have seen haven’t been out of line with what we’ve seen the past few years,” Sheehan said. “I think there’s a good amount of competition in those (top) players and that segment of the market just because they’d make any team better.”

The Blue Jays have several areas where they’re looking to improve, including starting pitching, outfield depth and overall team defence.

“I think we’re really fortunate that our roster is flexible and that we can pursue good players in a lot of areas and then have the ability to take them on the roster after that,” Sheehan said.

General manager Ross Atkins has the prospect capital and appears to have the financial means to make some big moves. The big question remains whether the team makes a firm push to truly contend in 2021 or builds up more gradually after returning to the playoffs this year for the first time since 2016.

The Blue Jays were the first team to sign a free agent this fall when they inked left-hander Robbie Ray to a one-year deal a month ago. He became the first of 181 free agents to get a new contract.

Toronto made a couple minor moves this week by adding pitchers Anthony Castro and Walker Lockett from the waiver wire to create a full 40-man roster. Baseball’s Rule 5 Draft is set for Thursday.

It’s possible the Blue Jays will wait a few weeks or even into the New Year to address their needs. Toronto’s big free-agent signing last year — a US$80-million, four-year deal for ace Hyun-Jin Ryu — wasn’t completed until Dec. 27.

Training camp begins in just over two months and the pre-season opener is set for Feb. 27 against Philadelphia. The Blue Jays, who were 32-28 last season, will open the 2021 campaign on April 1 against the New York Yankees.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2020.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

Blue Jays

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

Just Posted

An ice sculpture of a bee with a timely message was created near the Ross Street Patio. It’s party of a Downtown Business Association initiative to draw more people downtown to support local businesses. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Ice sculptures created to draw more people to downtown Red Deer

Three sculptures can be seem at various venues

(Black Press file photo)
Police seeking suspects in Bowden armed robbery

Man was beaten and robbed of his wallet

Many students and staff at St. Joseph High School are in COVID-19 quarantine. (File photo by Advocate staff)
COVID cases: Red Deer school reverts back to at-home learning

Majority of students under COVID-19 quarantine

Red Deer RCMP say Alexander King was last seen about a month ago. (Contributed)
Red Deer teen reported missing

RCMP ask for public’s assistance

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Payette shouldn’t get same benefits as other ex-governors general: O’Toole

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says it’s not appropriate for former… Continue reading

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Red Fraggle, one of Jim Henson Company’s Fraggle Rock characers, is shown at Time To Play Holiday Show, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, in New York. The Jim Henson Company says production has officially started in Calgary on a reboot of the original 1980s children’s puppet series, which was filmed in Toronto.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mark Lennihan
‘Fraggle Rock’ children’s puppet series reboot starts production in Calgary

A spokesperson says the new series will stream on Apple TV plus

Too many new pet owners, not enough vets make getting animal care a problem

CALGARY — Dr. Liz Ruelle says it was a difficult decision to… Continue reading

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
RCMP officer in Alberta charged with off-duty sexual assault in Edmonton

EDMONTON — Alberta’s police watchdog says an RCMP officer has been charged… Continue reading

Canada’s 29th Governor General Julie Payette looks on alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Senate chamber during her installation ceremony, in Ottawa on Monday, October 2, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says GG vetting process needs improvement after Payette resigns

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s admission Friday that he might have… Continue reading

NDP member of Parliament Lindsay Mathyssen speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP warns of long delays in equal pay for women in federal pay equity rules

OTTAWA — The federal New Democrats say new rules to close a… Continue reading

President Joe Biden waves as he departs after attending Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington. Less than a week after the economic gut punch of cancelling Keystone XL, Canada is bracing for more bad news today from the White House. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Patrick Semansky
U.S. president to sign executive orders enacting stringent new Buy American regimen

WASHINGTON — Less than a week after the economic gut punch of… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate fatal pedestrian collision

A 37-year-old man from Maskwacis has died in hospital as a result of his injuries.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a personal support worker at the Ottawa Hospital Tuesday December 15, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canadian provinces push back vaccination plans as Pfizer deliveries grind to a halt

Some Canadian health-care workers are being told they’ll have to wait longer… Continue reading

Most Read