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Blue Jays still have offseason needs to address

Toronto searching for outfield help, fifth starter and left-hander for 'pen
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- With the holiday break just days away, the Blue Jays still have a lot of last-minute shopping to do. However, a lot of the work seems likely to be pushed into the new year.

Toronto has yet to make a big splash this offseason, but the same can be said of most teams in the Major Leagues. It's possible that general manager Ross Atkins will still make a major transaction, but regardless of the size, some moves absolutely have to be made in the weeks ahead.

TORONTO -- With the holiday break just days away, the Blue Jays still have a lot of last-minute shopping to do. However, a lot of the work seems likely to be pushed into the new year.

Toronto has yet to make a big splash this offseason, but the same can be said of most teams in the Major Leagues. It's possible that general manager Ross Atkins will still make a major transaction, but regardless of the size, some moves absolutely have to be made in the weeks ahead.

Here's a brief rundown of the items still found on Toronto's shopping list:

Utility infielder
The Blue Jays already acquired a pair of middle infielders -- Aledmys Diaz and Gift Ngoepe -- but Atkins continues to insist he would like to add one more piece. Toronto clearly is concerned about the long-term health of Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis and there's even a scenario where Travis would be considered for left field. Philadelphia's Cesar Hernandez is a perfect fit, but so far the Blue Jays have yet to find common ground in their talks with the Phillies. Other options include San Diego's Yangervis Solarte and free agent Eduardo Nunez, but only if his price drops.

Video: What's left on Blue Jays' offseason wish list

Corner outfielder
Travis' possible inclusion into the outfield mix has cast some doubt on whether or not the Blue Jays will acquire another outfielder this winter. The club continues to have interest in Lorenzo Cain and to a much lesser extent Jay Bruce, but the Blue Jays seem content to let the market play out. If their asking price drops, then Toronto likely becomes interested in either Cain or Bruce, but not at the current rate.

Video: Cain's blend of speed, defense up for purchase as FA

One perfect fit appears to be veteran Carlos Gonzalez, who likely will be seeking a short-term deal to re-establish his value after a down year for the Rockies. Milwaukee IF/OF Jonathan Villar is another name to watch in trade talks and while Miami's Christian Yelich might be the dream acquisition, the prospect capital it would take to acquire him likely makes that prohibitive.

Fifth starter
Outside of meeting with CC Sabathia, there have been very few rumors connecting Toronto to any of the available starting pitchers. Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish are not realistic options. Alex Cobb might be, but he'll likely receive a more competitive offer elsewhere so that probably rules him out too. That means the Blue Jays will be shopping in the secondary market, which includes Andrew Cashner, Jaime Garcia, Jason Vargas, Jeremy Hellickson, Anibal Sanchez and Clay Buchholz to name a few. The club is in a situation where it can either buy low on a starter and hope for upside or instead turn to internal option Joe Biagini for the final spot in the rotation.

Video: BAL@TOR: Biagini pitches a career-high eight innings

Lefty for the bullpen
The bullpen should be more of a backburner-type issue for the Blue Jays considering their needs elsewhere, but an upgrade or two could be used here as well. Toronto's most pressing need is a second lefty to pair with Aaron Loup. Tim Mayza and Matt Dermody are the in-house candidates, but if the Blue Jays can add another arm it should give them more than enough late-inning situational options, even for such an unpredictable aspect of the roster. Veteran Tony Watson makes a lot of sense, but there's not a lot depth out there right now, so this is one area the Blue Jays may decide to skip.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

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