Cy winner Bauer talking with Blue Jays

January 1st, 2021

TORONTO -- As the Blue Jays work to make a splash in an offseason that's finally beginning to shift into motion, count 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner among the many top-tier free agents they’re speaking with.

Bauer has used his social media channels to tease his free-agent options all winter, which continued with a video posted on Thursday afternoon.

“I’ve got a call with the Blue Jays at 6:00,” Bauer said in the video. “I’m going to talk to their pitching coach and their high performance [department] coach and all of them, see what they have to offer. So, that’s moving forward.”

Calls like this are a regular part of the larger effort that goes into signing top free agents. Money talks -- and money usually wins -- but position coaches, training staff and analytics staff members are brought in at all phases of the free-agent process, depending on the player and situation.

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo has been part of many of these calls with pitchers and position players, too, which have left him particularly excited for the year ahead despite the slow-moving offseason.

“I feel like when those calls are over, I’ve got to go run five miles, because I’m so excited about our team and the people that I work for,” Montoyo said in December.

You’re hearing about the continued talks between Bauer and the Blue Jays because Bauer has chosen to share the information, but these conversations are a constant for most clubs at this point in the offseason. The Blue Jays have laid the groundwork with conversations like these over the past two months, but like most other clubs not named the Padres, they’re waiting on that final burst of momentum to bring a deal together.

The urgency required for that final push may have to wait until something frees up at the top of the market, though. An elite position player remains the ideal splash for the Blue Jays, with outfielder and infielder topping the market. The Yankees loom on both fronts, though, and while free-agent catcher and Cleveland shortstop remain options, the dominos could fall quickly once they start.

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Bauer, on the other hand, represents the top of the pitching market. The Blue Jays nailed their marquee signing last offseason, landing on a four-year, $80 million deal, but there’s plenty of room for another No. 1 or No. 2 starter to go alongside Ryu and top prospect Nate Pearson.

The Blue Jays entered this offseason widely expected to be one of the most aggressive clubs in the Majors, and while that hasn’t started just yet, the resources are in place for the Blue Jays to be involved on multiple fronts. Capitalizing on the coming seasons will be critical, too, as their young core of , , , and Pearson is contributing in pre-arbitration and early arbitration seasons. The limited number of multiyear contracts on the books also allows for flexibility.