The Toronto Blue Jays have a busy winter ahead of them, with the possibility of a blockbuster deal involving a young slugger who could be a star in his own right.
Here are five reasons why.
The Jays want to add a young hitter to bolster their offense.
Jays manager John Gibbons was on a plane in Boston last week when the team had to decide between Jose Reyes, the 21-year-old outfielder they’ve selected second overall in the 2016 draft, and 25-year old infielder Ryan Goins, who they had been eyeing for several weeks.
Goins has been struggling with an Achilles injury and Gibbons believes he can help the team make up ground on the AL East.
But there is a possibility Goins could be the guy who makes it happen.
“We’re going to make a trade, but we’re not going to get him,” Gibbons said.
“You know, the guy is a great talent.
Goins is coming off a season in which he hit .287 with 17 homers, a .326 OBP and 38 doubles in a season that included a pair of All-Star Games. “
I would be shocked if he was the guy to get us a deal.”
Goins is coming off a season in which he hit .287 with 17 homers, a .326 OBP and 38 doubles in a season that included a pair of All-Star Games.
He has a .310 batting average with 23 homers and 38 RBIs in 69 games in 2017.
The question for the Blue Jays is if he can be a major contributor in 2018, when they hope to get a strong run of runs in their second half.
The team signed former first baseman Edwin Encarnacion to a two-year deal this winter, and they have also brought back Edwin Encarguilla, the former outfielder who had a career year in 2018.
But they also have high hopes for the former Blue Jay, who signed a four-year, $68 million contract in June.
Encarnacios is hitting .281 with 20 homers and 34 RBIs this season.
The Blue Jays have not been afraid to gamble on players with big bat potential, as they did with Mark Reynolds in the 2017 offseason.
Reynolds had a breakout year in his first season in the majors, hitting .305 with 34 homers and 62 RBIs for the Rays, who he split time with in the middle of a stacked lineup.
But he was traded to Toronto in July 2017 for outfielder Matt Boyd, and Boyd is hitting just .206 with nine homers and 15 RBIs over his last 10 games.
“It’s definitely a little bit different,” Gibbon said of having to wait for a big hitter to come in.
“But, I’m not going into it like it’s a secret.
It’s been a long, long, while that we haven’t gotten one.”
The front office is ready for a strong start to the season.
Gibbons and executive vice president Mark Shapiro are very well known for their willingness to work out trades, and this offseason they did just that when they dealt right-hander Francisco Liriano to the Rangers for outfielder Aaron Nola, outfielder Brandon Moss and pitcher Mark Buehrle.
But the Blue Jaws have also made some significant moves this offseason.
They signed shortstop Jose Reyes to a five-year contract worth $58 million, and traded outfielder Miguel Castro to the Marlins for outfielder Jose Fernandez.
Gibbyls is hoping to be even better in 2018 with another big addition to the outfield.
“With this team, we have to be more aggressive,” Gibbylas said.
They also have a new starting pitcher in Dan Straily.
The right-handed Straily has a 4.41 ERA in 36 starts, but Gibbylis believes he has enough juice left to help the Blue Jay bullpen come out strong in 2018 when it needs it most.
The young players are still waiting.
The Red Sox signed shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a three-year $70 million contract, but they are just waiting for him to become an impact player.
The 30-year in-demand slugger has yet to play in the big leagues since signing with the Sox out of the Dominican Republic in the winter of 2016.
Bogaers is batting .247 with 11 homers and 37 RBIs.
The Sox were also able to sign infielder Carlos Gonzalez to a $25 million contract after he hit just .238 in the minors this year.
The 33-year olds defense has been a major issue for the Sox.
They’ve allowed a .333 batting average in the first half and a .500 mark in the second.
The first baseman’s batting average was .333 in 2017 and has dipped to .241 in 2018 and .194 in 2019.
And, there is the issue of a knee injury that kept him out of action last year.
The bullpen is in desperate need of help.
Injuries have limited bullpen options and the Blue jays don’t have much in the way of pitching depth.
But with right-handers