Ross Atkins believes he has a clear vision of how to fortify the Blue Jays roster this offseason, and it starts with area of perceived strength already with the team.
Speaking at the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Atkins told reporters that his first priority is to add quality depth on the Jays infield. Considering that Justin Smoak resides at first base with his 38 home runs, Josh Donaldson and his 33 bombs man third base, and the middle infield is manned by Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop and Devon Travis at second base, there would seem on the surface to be little reason to spend significant resources on the infield.
However, what Atkins sees is that Tulowitzki played in only 66 games last year while Travis appeared in 50. Even Donaldson found himself limited to 113 games. Injuries took a major toll on Toronto’s solid infield corps, so Atkins has a plan moving forward.
“Our priority is complementing our infield with versatility, someone not that can just play when needed, but someone who could potentially get 600 plate appearances playing across our infield in some form or fashion,” stated Atkins. “That’s the type of value we are looking for. It might mean that player might have to play the outfield.”
It appears that Eduardo Nunez best fits that mold on the free agent market. The 30-year-old Nunez has experience playing second, short, third and the outfield over the course of his career with the Yankees, Twins, Giants and Red Sox. He is coming off a career-high .313 batting average and .801 OPS in 2017, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in Game One of the ALDS.
Neil Walker, another free agent who split last season between the Mets and Brewers, is capable of playing second base, third base and first base, and would add a left-handed hitting option to the lineup.
Whether Atkins fills this role on the roster by signing a free agent or via…