Blue Jays liked Price, but not ace's cost

Front office wants to add depth to already promising starting rotation

Blue Jays liked Price, but not ace's cost

TORONTO -- Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro admitted on Friday morning that his club was never a serious candidate to retain the services of No. 1 starter David Price.

Price officially left the organization earlier this week when he signed a seven-year deal with Boston worth $217 million. That was too expensive for Toronto, and because of the expected costs it doesn't appear that the two sides engaged in any kind of serious negotiations.

During a news conference on Friday morning to introduce Ross Atkins as the club's new general manager, Shapiro was asked how aggressively the Blue Jays pursued Price, and he was concise but forthcoming.

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"Not that aggressively," Shapiro said. "For me with David Price, it's never a question of, 'Do you want David Price?' That's silly. Of course, yes, we want David Price. But it's a question of, 'How do you build a championship team with the parameters that you're given?' It's as simple as that.

"We have all of the resources necessary to build a championship team, but they're not unlimited. It's a business like any other business. We had multiple holes to fill, and putting all of those resources into one player would have created a team that's not one complete whole. ... It really wasn't much of a choice."

Toronto has a projected rotation of Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada, R.A. Dickey and J.A. Happ, while Drew Hutchison and Jesse Chavez are expected to compete for the final spot. Beyond those seven, there isn't a lot of depth and the club will need to add at least a couple of more arms into the mix.

Toronto's Winter Meetings agenda

There had been a lot of speculation over the last several weeks about Toronto's interest in adding another high-caliber arm through free agency. There is a large number of pitchers available on the open market, including Yovani Gallardo, Scott Kazmir, Jeff Samardzija and Hisashi Iwakuma, but it does not appear to be something the Blue Jays will pursue.

Atkins was asked for his thoughts on the state of Toronto's pitching staff, and instead of talking about the need for another mid-rotation piece, he put an emphasis on acquiring depth to complement the pieces that are already in place.

"In terms of depth, we'll look for additional pieces beyond the Major League team and see how we can fortify the team that way," Atkins said. "To me, the rotation is enough to contend."

Does that mean the front office believes the rotation is fine as currently constructed, or does it need another boost?

"I'll say this, you will never hear me not answer that question the same way, which is the rotation always needs another boost," Shapiro said. "Pitching is a very fragile area of team construction, and depth is absolutely essential because you will encounter things that you don't expect in variation of performance or in health.

"You look at the pitching staff, if you're fortunate, you're going to have eight guys make starts for you during the season. Nobody has five guys make all the starts. So you start to think about how you plan your roster and think about who's at Triple-A for you. ... We have to really give some thought to how do we build depth, not just five starters we feel good about on Day 1."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.