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Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher David Price grimaces during his Jays’ debut, a victory, against the Minnesota Twins in Toronto on Monday. Those were the words uttered by Jose Bautista after the trade that brought superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto. The Blue Jays had been working with a number of teams on acquiring a starting pitcher—with Cleveland for Carlos Carrasco and with the San Diego Padres for Tyson Ross—and may again look into acquiring Ross this off-season—but when the Tigers made Price available the Jays were quick to pounce. The cost for Price was high; Daniel Norris, the Jays number two pitching prospect, as well as two other top drawer minor league pitchers.
Of course members of the American media were quick to jump on the fact that the Jays had gone against form and acquired a rental. Having pitched in Toronto on a number of occasions Price is quite familiar with the city and its surroundings. Like the junkyard dog, Jerome Williams who jumped into a pick-up truck and drove to Toronto upon being traded to the Raptors, as soon as Price was able he jumped into his car and attempted the drive from Baltimore—where the Tigers were playing—to Toronto.
As long as the Blue Jays are competitive with their offer this off-season I am certain Price will sign for the long term. Considering that Price likes Toronto, likes pitching there and will be paid handsomely there is no reason for him to leave—especially if the Jays make a deep run in the playoffs. The Blue Jays received bad news on Tuesday when starting pitcher Marcus Stroman tore his ACL. Two pitchers who were expected to play a big role with the Blue Jays in 2015 - starter Marcus Stroman and reliever Brett Cecil - will have their roles diminished, to say the least.
But because of their payroll situation, Hamels' contract (guaranteed $96 million over the next four seasons) could prove too expensive for Toronto, which is why Papelbon could be a likelier option. The Jays were in talks with the Phillies about acquiring the veteran closer, but even his contract proved to be an issue for their payroll earlier in the offseason. Papelbon has been one of the most consistent closers in baseball over the years and would provide immediate relief for Toronto's bullpen.
Earlier in the offseason it was said the Blue Jays had between $5 million and $7 million left to spend, barring an approval by ownership to increase the payroll. Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera (53) celebrates scoring a run with third baseman Juan Francisco (47) during the ninth inning in a game against the the Los Angeles Angles at Rogers Centre on May 11. Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) celebrates scoring a run with catcher Dioner Navarro (30) during the first inning in a game against the Los Angeles Angels at Rogers Centre on May 10. Los Angeles Angels centre fielder Mike Trout (27) and starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs (45) celebrate the win in a game against the the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on May 10.


Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Joe Smith (38) and catcher Chris Iannetta (17) celebrate the win in a game against the the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on May 10. Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Chris Getz (39) gets out Los Angeles Angels third baseman John McDonald (8) and throws to first during the fourth inning in a game at Rogers Centre on May 10. Gibbons sent a media spokesperson to inform the assembled scribes of his no-show and supplied a terse comment on Angels starter Tyler Skaggs who completely handcuffed the Jays through the opening nine innings.
Happ has always been an afterthought in the Jays rotation since being acquired from the Houston Astros in August of 2012. The Jays have been quick to make changes this season and once Casey Janssen returns to the club as their closer, a move expected early next week, Stroman could find himself in the rotation and Happ back in the bullpen. If the Jays intend to stick around in the tightly bunched AL East they will need better than what Happ has delivered. Skaggs, meanwhile, two-hit the Jays over the opening eight and through one stretch retired 21 consecutive batters. The Jays had the tying run at the plate in the form of pinch-hitter Adam Lind but the game ended when he ground into a double play.
Marcus Stroman is listed at just 5-foot-9, but on the current Toronto Blue Jays roster he casts a big shadow. It is quite possible that in the near future the Jays will be lamenting Hoffman as another one that got away if Hoffman develops into the pitcher most project him to be. In all, including the deals for outfielder Ben Revere and reliever Mark Lowe, the Jays traded eleven pitching prospects and Jose Reyes. There was even mention of old American stand-bys—nobody wants to sign in Toronto because a) it’s a foreign country b) the issue with customs and c) the taxes.
In fact Price, while a member of the Rays, often commented on how much he liked pitching in Toronto. Add on to the fact that he is thrilled to not only be pitching for one of his favourite cities but that an entire country is on his side and it becomes clear that he is excited to be a Blue Jay.
The Blue Jays are now a very competitive team with a load of big boppers, all under contract into the future, and have an organization that treats its players well. Home plate umpire Jim Wolfe mistakenly took the game into his hands when he issued warnings to both teams after Royals starter Edinson Volquez hit Jays Josh Donaldson in the first inning. Papelbon will make $13 million in 2015 (as opposed to Hamels' $23.5 million) and he also has a $13 million vesting option for 2016 if he finishes 48 games this season, which is almost inevitable. Well it looks like it's time for those in control to deepen their pockets if they want to increase their chances of making the postseason, or else the Blue Jays will be relying on young and unproven arms in both the rotation and bullpen to get them wins and preserve leads.


It's one of the reasons Toronto opted to carry an eight-man bullpen after third baseman Brett Lawrie was placed on the 15-day disabled list in March. Cron (20) celebrate the win in a game against the the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on May 10.
Cron (20) celebrates a home run during the third inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on May 10. The tricky part of the deal was the inclusion of the Jays number one pitching prospect Jeff Hoffman.
And a staff ace is what the Blue Jays have been seeking for years—since Roy Halladay was traded to the Phillies (ironically then new GM Alex Anthopoulos’s first trade). And as good as Tulowitzki is, and will be in the forthcoming years, it is Price who is the coup de grace for Toronto.
He was given a standing ovation when he first walked into the Blue Jays dugout on Friday, was given another standing ovation when he came out for his pre-game drill on Monday and then was afforded numerous standing ovations throughout the game. The only reason Price would leave is if a team offers a contract for more years than the Jays are willing to offer, but with Paul Beeston and his archaic five-year contract limit walking out the door this year it is likely the Jays will do whatever is necessary to re-sign their new prize.
The loss of Stroman means Toronto will have some unproven arms (Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris) or fairly unreliable ones (Marco Estrada and Johan Santana) competing for a spot in the rotation.
Three years ago the Jays made a similar deal acquiring defending NL Cy Young Award winner RA Dickey; the cost was catcher Travis D’Arnaud and pitcher Noah Syndergaard. However, the Jays have their sights on an AL East title, and that might not be the way to address the issue. Reyes saw that, too, and kept right on running all the way home giving Toronto an insurance run in its 10-8 win.
This year with Scherzer having departed to Washington via free agency and Verlander suffering from an injury for most of the year Price was elevated into ace status, but the Tigers, with a bevy of roster concerns, decided to re-tool and made Price the main prize of this year’s trade deadline. It was only when the Jays Aaron Sanchez clipped Alcides Escobar in the shin did Wolfe react, throwing Sanchez out of the game. In effect the Royals hit two Blue Jay batters and threw twice at Donaldson’s head without any recrimination from Wolfe.



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Comments

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