Remaining Free Agent Staff Pick For the Blue Jays


Over the next while (aka. the doldrum days of the offseason), Jays Journal staff will be picking one of the remaining free agents that they want the Blue Jays to sign.

Scherzer or Shields. Obviously. But that would make for a pretty boring article wouldn’t it? They’re the Beatles of the remaining free agent class—the best by far and everyone knows it. Going for someone a little more off the radar is just more fun anyways. Speaking of off the radar, how about J.P Arencibia? Just joshing, put away your pitchforks. Although in terms of value, it’d be an interesting ‘lesser of two evils’ debate between him and Josh Thole (But in reality, of course, Arencibia’s narcissism and attitude tip the scales in Thole’s favour).

I digress. Aside from the obviously ‘yes’ guys and the obviously ‘no thanks’ types, there are a few interesting free agents left that are realistic and could contribute. I discussed the relievers of that ilk in this piece. I don’t want to rehash one of those options here. That really just leaves second basemen or center fielders taking into consideration the Jays’ most pressing question mark positions. Alright enough preamble. Drumroll please….

Chris Denorfia. Yup, definitely off the board but hear me out. 2014 didn’t go Denorfia’s way. He struggled to a -0.3 WAR but the year before, he was worth 4.4 WAR (2.3, 1.0 and 2.0 the years before that). In Denorfia, we’d have a large potential for positive regression and he’d come cheap due to his 2014. I wouldn’t surprised if he could reach 1.5-2 WAR next season—especially when you consider the Rogers Centre factor. Denorfia has played the majority of his career in very inhospitable offensive climes and split last year between the Padres and the Mariners.

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He gets on base as evidenced by his .331 career OBP. He has some base stealing ability. He’s saved 41 defensive runs in his career and has never posted negative numbers in a season. Some of Denorfia’s struggles in 2014 could be attributed to his .283 BABIP which was significantly lower than his career mark of .313. His power numbers also saw an uncharacteristic drop (.088 ISO in 2014 / .122 career).

Denorfia’s defence was solid in 2014 and career, he’s a plus defender at all three outfield positions. I, unlike many Jays’ fans, am not prepared to hand Dalton Pompey the CF job automatically next year (Steamer projects Dalton to accrue 0.3 WAR…). Denorfia would give Dalton more time to develop while solidifying our outfield defence. Denorfia’s not in the position to look for a raise or years in terms of contract. A one year deal at around 2m would suit both his needs and the Jays. Denorfia needs to reestablish his value and the Jays get a solid bounce-back veteran to stabilize the outfield while being a placeholder until our outfield prospects are truly ready. Denorfia doesn’t need to start either. For ~2m, his flexibility in role is appealing.

Next: 2015 Blue Jays: Team Over/Unders

An objection that could be raised would be that Denorfia is another righty. Sure, it would have been nice if he was a lefty (which is why I considered renegotiating with Andy Dirks for this piece) but when you look not just at the handedness of the guys in our lineup, but also at their actual splits, it shows that the Jays split pretty evenly overall. Pure handedness is not really an issue.

It should also be noted that the Jays were reported to have shown interest in Denorfia during his down 2014 year.

If the Jays go for this idea, that’d be three ex 2014 Mariners on the roster.

It’s not the sexiest option out there but I think it’s a sensible and realistic one. My heart wanted to write this about Munenori Kawasaki or John McDonald but I restrained myself. Even if you hate this idea, hopefully it was more interesting than a Scherzer pipe dream article.