Blue Jays keep focus on bullpen in Nashville

Toronto quiet on Day 1 of Winter Meetings

Blue Jays keep focus on bullpen in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Blue Jays need to add at least a couple of relievers this offseason, but to date they have come away empty-handed as a series of top free-agent pitchers signed deals elsewhere.

Ryan Madson (three years, $21 million with Oakland), Joakim Soria (three years, $25 million with Kansas City), Mark Lowe (two years, $13 million with Detroit) and Darren O'Day (four years, $31 million with Baltimore) have all come off the board in recent days.

The Blue Jays have yet to do anything with their bullpen with the exception of trading for right-hander Jesse Chavez, who will either start or become a long reliever. Toronto assistant general manager Tony LaCava admitted that he touched base with a lot of those players, but by the sounds of it the Blue Jays didn't come close.

Hot Stove Tracker: Free agents and trades

"Without being specific on anyone in particular, we did engage with pretty much everybody at one time or another," LaCava said. "I wouldn't say close, but we were engaged with some of the guys that signed."

With a lot of the top free agents off the board, Toronto will have to shift its attention to the second-tier group, which likely was the plan all along. Tony Sipp, Casey Janssen, Tommy Hunter and Joe Blanton are among those still available, while Neftali Feliz and Al Alburquerque were recently non-tendered by the Tigers.

Winter Meetings interview with John Gibbons

Worth mentioning

• Manager John Gibbons remained relatively vague when asked about his plans for first base next season. Chris Colabello is still under club control while Justin Smoak recently signed a one-year deal worth $3.9 million. The two are expected to form some sort of platoon next year, but Gibbons said Colabello will still get a lot of at-bats against righties.

"You look at Colabello, he turned it on at the end when everything was on the line, and it was fun to watch," Gibbons said. "He really had a tremendous year. Smoaky did too. It was nice to see him get rewarded with a nice contract. It's really a luxury, and we'll figure out how it works. I can't say that's what it's going to be for sure."

• Toronto has a lot of depth in the outfield, but it appears as though Ben Revere is the leading candidate to start in left and lead off. That likely means Michael Saunders will come off the bench, while prospect Dalton Pompey appears destined to start the year in Triple-A Buffalo.

"Going in, you've got to believe Revere is the guy," Gibbons said. "He's done that for us. He's healthy. We know that. And he's a spark plug for us. Hopefully, we can find plenty of time for Michael. He can help us."

• The Blue Jays' fan base isn't very happy about the lack of moves the club has made to date this offseason. Toronto re-signed Marco Estrada, signed lefty J.A. Happ and traded for Chavez, but there was an expectation for more. While Gibbons understands the frustration, he also thinks his club is in good shape.

"We've got a good ballclub, really just needs some minor tinkering here and there," Gibbons said. "I think everybody's hoping that [David] Price would come back. That didn't happen. So we've got to adjust, and we've still got to respond.

"The offseason's not over, and there's still some room to make some adjustments. As far as the fans' reaction, that's natural. Everybody probably reacted that way. Everybody wanted Price back. But it's still a business. Boston just blew him out of the water."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for 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.