Shapiro: Jays prioritizing roster improvement, not just re-signing FAs

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Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said Monday that the club would like to re-sign free agents Robbie Ray, Marcus Semien, and Steven Matz this winter but acknowledges those reunions aren't locks and may not even be necessary.

"I'm not a big believer you have to sign anyone back," Shapiro said, according to Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun. "I'm a believer that you have to get better."

Shapiro added he doesn't expect to be hamstrung by financial restraints when attempting to bolster the roster ahead of next season.

"There are multiple ways for that to happen and we'll have the resources to do it - both in young talent that we could trade and in payroll," he said.

George Springer, last winter's most high-profile acquisition, said in early October that he wants Toronto to re-sign Ray and Semien after they became "integral parts" of the team in 2021.

Ray, 30, had a career season and may be the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young award after going 13-7 with a 2.84 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, and 248 strikeouts in 193 1/3 innings.

Semien, 31, slotted in as the club's primary second baseman after mostly playing shortstop over his previous eight seasons split between the Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox. He proceeded to hit .265/.334/.538 with 45 home runs and 102 RBIs while playing in all 162 games.

Matz, 30, proved to be a reliable back-of-the-rotation arm as he went 14-7 with a 3.82 ERA in 29 starts.

Whether or not the Blue Jays bring any of them back to the fold, Shapiro suggests the club will remain active this winter. It's unclear if the front office would revisit a pursuit of Cleveland Indians infielder Jose Ramirez, who they reportedly targeted ahead of the July 30 trade deadline.

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Shapiro: Jays prioritizing roster improvement, not just re-signing FAs
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