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Blue Jays practice patience at quiet Meetings

Club's bullpen depth could prove key in pursuit of other needs
MLB.com @gregorMLB

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Blue Jays have proceeded cautiously this offseason, but then again, so has almost every other team in the Major Leagues. Patience has been the name of the game so far, and the lack of movement meant Toronto used the Winter Meetings to set the groundwork for future moves instead of making official transactions.

The trade for Aledmys Diaz on Dec. 1 remains the Blue Jays' lone move of significance since the end of the regular season. There are several large holes that still need to be filled, and while Toronto thought it was getting closer to making a couple of moves, the club left the Meetings empty-handed for now.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Blue Jays have proceeded cautiously this offseason, but then again, so has almost every other team in the Major Leagues. Patience has been the name of the game so far, and the lack of movement meant Toronto used the Winter Meetings to set the groundwork for future moves instead of making official transactions.

The trade for Aledmys Diaz on Dec. 1 remains the Blue Jays' lone move of significance since the end of the regular season. There are several large holes that still need to be filled, and while Toronto thought it was getting closer to making a couple of moves, the club left the Meetings empty-handed for now.

"I feel there are things that became a little bit more concrete for us, and I would imagine that is the case across the industry," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said. "Whether or not people end up signing contracts and moving toward physicals, it feels like that's going to happen a little bit more this week and before we break for the holidays a little bit."

What's next
The Blue Jays are still looking for the same pieces they were at the start of the offseason. Toronto remains in the market for an outfielder, another utility infielder, a fifth starter and possibly some additional help for the bullpen. With somewhere in the range of $20 million to $25 million left to spend this offseason, there is some financial flexibility -- but it likely involves trades or the secondary free-agent market, instead of the top names available.

The Blue Jays' bullpen depth has been in high demand across the league. Names like Ryan Tepera and Dominic Leone are frequently brought up by other teams, and while Toronto would like to keep its relief corps intact, at some point the club might need to take advantage of the soaring cost for relievers by cashing in to fill another area of need.

The Blue Jays' bullpen includes Roberto Osuna, Tepera, Leone, Danny Barnes and Aaron Loup. Rookie Carlos Ramirez, right-hander Joe Biagini, and lefties Matt Dermody and Tim Mayza also are in the mix, which gives Toronto a lot of flexibility in potential negotiations if that's what it comes down to.

"That was definitely one of the highlights of last year," Atkins said of his bullpen. "We're really excited about Roberto Osuna, Ryan Tepera, Dominic Leone, Danny Barnes. I can't say enough about the work that our pro department, our player-development department, all the way back to our amateur acquisitions. That's a difference-making aspect of our year last year and continues to provide us depth. I also think in that market, there's some depth to it, so we can be opportunistic there later in the offseason."

Rule 5 Draft
The Blue Jays declined to make a pick in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, but more importantly, Toronto didn't lose anybody through the process. Jordan Romano (No. 20 on Toronto's Top 30 Prospects list), Max Pentecost and Andrew Case all snuck through and will remain with the organization. The Blue Jays did lose infielder Mitch Nay to the Reds in the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, and they picked right-hander Andrew Muren (Giants), catcher Alberto Mineo (Cubs) and shortstop Ivan Castillo (Indians).

GM's bottom line
"It's not the next seven to 10 days, it just feels like there's momentum. That might turn into two weeks or three weeks, but it just feels like there's momentum. And as things happen for other teams, more pressure hits the other 29 as one team moves. Slowly, alternatives and options are coming off the board, and that will continue to occur." -- Atkins

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

Toronto Blue Jays