Blue Jays must adapt in evolving off-season with LeMahieu off the board

TORONTO — For months, the MLB off-season amounted to an extended standoff. But now that we’re four weeks away from spring training, it’s finally moving along with some pace. And since each move brings with it wide-ranging consequences, things are starting to get interesting.

Since last week we’ve seen deals involving Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, Kyle Schwarber, Liam Hendriks, Pedro Baez and Archie Bradley. Now, DJ LeMahieu is on the brink of a new deal with the Yankees and Brad Hand’s market appears to be advancing, too.

As for the Toronto Blue Jays? Well, their roster hasn’t improved since last season ended. In fact, it’s objectively worse, as the club’s deal with Robbie Ray doesn’t offset the departures of Taijuan Walker, Matt Shoemaker and Anthony Bass.

So it certainly hasn’t been a successful off-season to this point — but there’s still a month left before spring training and 35 of MLB Trade Rumors’s top 50 free agents are available, including the top four. If this winter were a baseball game, the Blue Jays might be trailing by a run or two in the third inning. Yet with each move that occurs, the landscape around them shifts, cutting off some possibilities and making others more realistic.

In the case of LeMahieu, this was always the most likely outcome. By all accounts, he wanted to return to New York, and the Yankees wanted him. So even when Bo Bichette called the two-time…

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