Blue Jays may have interest in Furcal
Club would need to clear payroll in order to sign shortstop
LAS VEGAS -- The Blue Jays could still be a player for free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, according to a report on Yahoo! Sports. Signing Furcal would require a subsequent move by Toronto in order to free up some payroll, given the club's current financial situation.
"Anybody we add, we're going to have to subtract," Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi told reporters on Monday at the Winter Meetings. "I don't think we're able to take on a lot of payroll. So if we want to do some things, we're going to have to eliminate some payroll."
Furcal recently turned down a four-year proposal from Oakland believed to be worth between $35-40 million. Citing an unspecified source, the online report claimed that Toronto believes it can use the money it planned to spend on free-agent starter A.J. Burnett to potentially land Furcal.
That goes against what Ricciardi said on Monday, though. Ricciardi indicated that, even if Burnett doesn't re-sign with the Blue Jays, the club would need to use trades to free up payroll in order to add another player.
"We're going to have to adjust our money," Ricciardi said.
The Jays were linked to Furcal earlier this offseason, but Ricciardi backed off recently, saying that Toronto was content with using Marco Scutaro as its regular shortstop. Furcal would provide the Jays with an upgrade at the position, considering he could also double as a leadoff man -- another troublesome spot for Toronto.
The Blue Jays, who have been affected by a weakened Canadian dollar and a decrease in team sponsorship, don't currently have the funds to top Oakland's offer. Toronto would need to get creative in order to reel in Furcal, who hit .357 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 36 games for the Dodgers last season.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.