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Hot Stove: Blue Jays unlikely to pursue David Ortiz?

12.06.11 at 2:40 pm ET
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Aside from the Red Sox' expressed desire to keep him, the market for free-agent slugger David Ortiz remains unclear. (AP)

DALLAS — From the beginning, the market for the services of Red Sox DH David Ortiz has seemed somewhat limited. Despite his tremendous run as one of the most impactful hitters in the game over his nine years with the Red Sox, there are few teams in search of a DH, and there appears to be a general sense of industry-wide caution about signing a player in his mid-30s to a long-term deal, particularly if he cannot play a position.

One of the teams that had been viewed as a potential fit for the slugger was the Blue Jays. Yet while the possibility cannot be ruled out completely, it is becoming increasingly difficult to envision Toronto making the kind of offer to convince Ortiz not to re-up with the Red Sox (who offered him salary arbitration — something that, if accepted, would likely yield as a baseline a one-year deal for more than $13 million).

A few factors play into that. First, the Blue Jays are focused primarily on improving their pitching, even after acquiring their closer in right-hander Sergio Santos, someone whom the Jays envision as a potentially elite closer who is under team control for the next six years.

“We still have other areas [of need]: Our bullpen, I think we can use a starter or two. We ranked near the bottom of the American League in some of those areas, so I think we have a lot of room to get better,” said Anthopoulos. “We’re open-minded and looking at some things [with the lineup], but I’d say more the bullpen and the rotation are our priorities.”

Secondly, the Jays, according to an AL source, value roster flexibility to the point where it would give them some pause to sign a player who could only DH. The team could make a bit of a leap and regard Ortiz as someone capable of playing first base, but the slugger’s admissions of his lack of defensive prowess offer a fairly accurate indication of his abilities with the glove.

Moreover, Anthopoulos and the Jays have done everything in their power to aggregate draft picks. The idea of parting with a first-rounder in order to sign Ortiz might make the team even more reluctant to sign the DH.

Of course, those signals could merely be smoke screens, but with the midnight deadline on Wednesday night for Ortiz to make a decision on the Sox’ arbitration offer nearing, definitive, public interest in the slugger has yet to emerge from any team aside from the Red Sox.

Read More: David Ortiz, Hot Stove 2011, Toronto Blue Jays,
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