After word broke Thursday night that the Blue Jays’ primary free agent target, outfielder Dexter Fowler, was signing in St. Louis, fans took to Twitter to vent their ongoing distrust of Rogers ownership and Shatkins (President Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins). Many are frustrated at how the Edwin Encarnacion negotiation has played out, and with the fact Steve Pearce was the only notable move the Jays made at the now-completed Winter Meetings.
All is not lost, however — at least not yet. All this means is the Blue Jays need to move on to their secondary plans to fill the holes in the outfield, at backup catcher and in the bullpen. There are many options, including resigning Jose Bautista. There are numerous trade targets that could be pursued — Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez just to name a few. Although, if the report that the Jays balked at trading Marcus Stroman for Blackmon straight up is true, it’s hard to see how the Jays get anything done in the trade market given how shallow their prospect pool is.
There is another option I think they need to consider, it would go like this: Re-sign Edwin, sign Ben Revere and platoon him with Pearce in left, and platoon Upton and Carrera in right. Trade Justin Smoak for whatever you can get – a backup catcher maybe. I believe this would make them better both offensively and defensively than last season. And they need a right-handed power bat like Edwin’s now that the Red Sox have traded for lefty ace Chris Sale. The fact of the matter is now, the road to winning the AL East goes through Boston and only Boston in 2017. They need to put a team on the field that can beat the Red Sox head-to-head.
The next couple of weeks will be critical to see if the Jays brass can keep this team competing at the top in 2017.