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Mark Shapiro hints at next steps for Blue Jays on and off the field

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TORONTO – Some early hints at the Blue Jays’ off-season planning emerged Thursday and though priorities could clearly change with nearly one-third of the regular season remaining, it’s already apparent that the club will be targeting pitching.

More specifically, the Blue Jays expect to spend ‘the bulk’ of their resources on starting pitching this off-season, according to president and CEO Mark Shapiro. Some bullpen pieces will probably join the Blue Jays, too.

As a promising core of position players establishes itself in the majors, the Blue Jays feel ‘a sense of urgency to win,’ Shapiro said. In 2020, the club hopes that core progresses from competing to winning.

“We will certainly have to and will supplement that internal group of players, look to do it as soon as this off-season,” he said. “But it’s not a great off-season for free-agent talent.”

With all kinds of payroll flexibility available and a clear need for pitching, the Blue Jays will surely be active in free agency this winter. But Shapiro described the front office approach as ‘opportunistic,’ suggesting modest deals are more likely than a pursuit of, say, Gerrit Cole.

Entering Thursday’s series against the Yankees, the Blue Jays were on pace to lose 97 games. At this point, the front office might decide it’s still too early to spend at the top of the free agent market.

“All wins aren’t created equal, right?” Shapiro said. “So a player who’s a three-win player who takes you from 82 to 85 wins probably doesn’t move that needle. But if you’re at 87 wins and it takes you from 87 to 90, does that make sense? So it’s more like when we’re at that........

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