The San Diego Padres and the Toronto Blue Jays have made headlines all off-season long. The Padres have made moves for Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton (so far). The Blue Jays early on, traded for third baseman Josh Donaldson and signed catcher Russell Martin. Now the teams are going head-to-head for infield help.
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According to Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, the two clubs are fighting to get Japanese infielder Takashi Toritani. The 33-year old infielder is an unrestricted free agent so there is no posting fee needed.
Playing for the Hanshin Tigers last year, Toritani hit .313/.406/.415 with eight homers and 73 RBI in 144 games. In fact, Toritani has played in over 140 games every year since 2005.
A wrinkle to the negotiation that could play in the Padres favor. The Padres want Toritani to play short. The Jays, with Jose Reyes already in the fold, want him to play second for them. Or Toritani could just stay in Japan.
According the report, Toritani won’t make a decision until next month. Since the Padres are going after Toritani so hard, it appears they don’t have much of an interest in guys like Stephen Drew and Asdrubal Cabrera or trying to explore the trade market.
The Padres have a lot of work to do still to become a playoff contender. Adding a shortstop like Toritani would help, but it’s just a piece to the puzzle.
Keep an eye on the Toritani situation next month.