Blue Jays unlikely to add free-agent starter

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2014 at 4:38 pm •  Published: February 20, 2014

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said if Toronto adds another arm to their starting rotation before the regular season it probably won't come through free agency.

Anthopoulos said while the team isn't opposed to making a move, he is convinced it can compete with the current options.

"We'd like to do it, but we're not going to do it at all costs," Anthopoulos said Thursday. "I think it's unlikely at this point. We're getting so late into spring training, (it's) unlikely unless a trade emerges. But again, as the offseason has progressed, we've felt better about the internal options."

It's a little different from where the Blue Jays were one year ago.

Last winter, Toronto attempted to bolster its starting rotation for a potential playoff push by acquiring 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets, and Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from the Miami Marlins.

But after a series of injuries — including a season-ender to right-hander Brandon Morrow in May — and a surprisingly poor season from Johnson (2-8, 6.20 ERA), the rotation finished with a 4.81 ERA, second-worst in the majors to only the Minnesota Twins (5.26).

This spring, questions regarding pitching still remain.

Johnson bolted for the San Diego Padres on a one-year, $8 million deal, leaving a spot vacant in the rotation that manager John Gibbons says is not yet filled.

And, with the exception of signing 2008 All-Star catcher Dioner Navarro, Anthopoulos said the Blue Jays were not close to making deals with any other major free agents this offseason, despite rumored interest in righty Ervin Santana.

Still, Anthopoulos is more confident now than he was at the conclusion of last season and feels good moving forward with younger players like right-handers Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison and Kyle Drabek to help fill the void.