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Report: Blue Jays aggressively beginning free-agency process

Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Toronto Blue Jays could be one of the busier teams in the free-agent market this winter.

A few agents noted the Blue Jays have begun the process aggressively, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.

Toronto has reportedly already reached out to marquee free agents to at least express interest.

Sherman notes the Blue Jays could be motivated to spend due to the likelihood of a 14-team postseason format next year and the fact that they're owned by a telecommunications company - Rogers - that has been relatively unaffected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

No specific players are mentioned in the report, but catcher J.T. Realmuto, outfielder George Springer, starter Trevor Bauer, and utility man DJ LeMahieu are considered to eventually form the upper tier of free agents. They're all expected to be tendered $18.9-million qualifying offers from their clubs prior to Sunday's deadline.

The Blue Jays finished third in the AL East and clinched the final wild-card spot after a 32-28 campaign. The Tampa Bay Rays swept them in two games en route to the AL pennant.

Teams could opt to be more frugal than usual this winter after gate revenues were nonexistent without fans in attendance this past season. Some ownership groups may have also sustained losses in other sectors and could choose not to invest in their baseball teams.

Evidence of teams looking to shed payroll is already mounting, with the Cleveland Indians declining the $10-million option on Brad Hand's contract.

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