Toronto Blue Jays Should Sign Chris Davis


There’s no doubt that we all enjoyed one of the – if not the – best offensive season the Toronto Blue Jays ever put together this season. With that in mind, it would be nice to be able to say “let’s leave it as is and try again next season”, but the reality is that with so many holes to fill in the rotation and in the pen, there’s a real need to trade one of our big bats in return for an arm or two.

The rotation, as projected for next season, only has two pitchers who are able to exceed big inning totals next season, R.A. Dickey and Drew Hutchison. Aside from those two, the Blue Jays have to restrict IP because of fears of injury if any of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, or Roberto Osuna are used as starters all season long. In Stroman’s case it’s a real dilemma because he’s supposed to be the ace of the staff at this point. When your ace is restricted in IP, it’s an uncomfortable feeling.

With the Blue Jays need for SP evident, the easiest bat to deal at this point seems to be Edwin Encarnacion. Why? Well, first, he’s the cheapest of the 3 big bats at $10,000,000. He’s also younger (32) than Jose Bautista (35) and can drive in a ton of runs for any team that makes the investment. That’s where the bulk of Encarnacion’s value lies, in his ability to drive in runs and be the anchor in the lineup.

The 10 worst teams in MLB when it comes to RBIs last season were the following, with possible pitching targets listed beside them:

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If we assume that those most desperate to improve their run production are the teams above, one could be the right trade partner for the Blue Jays to target if they do decide to deal

Edwin Encarnacion

. If that were to happen, we can exclude the following due to the incumbent 1B and lack of or filled DH position: Brewers (

Adam Lind

), Cardinals (

Matt Adams

), Reds (

Joey Votto

), White Sox (

Jose Abreu


Adam LaRoche

), and Braves (

Freddie Freeman


That leaves the Phillies, Marlins, Rays, Padres, and Mariners as the most likely trade partners using this methodology. We quickly eliminate the Phillies and Marlins because they simply don’t have the pitching quality required, and we eliminate the Rays because they’re a divisional rival and are doubtful to invest $10M in anyone this offseason.

The resulting assessment is that the two best trade partners are the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners. Here’s where both of these teams stand in terms or rotation, pen, and salaries.




  • Padres: 2015 $108m, which was $18m above their previous high of $90m. They currently have $78m allotted for 7 players, so that’s going to move up quite a bit considering they have 3 players in first year of arbitration, one in second year and three more in third year. If MLBTR’s arbitration predictions are correct, they have just over $33m coming in salaries, bringing their total to $111m before we consider the league minimum players. In short, San Diego could be looking to save themselves some money while also improving their offensive output.
  • Mariners: 2015 $123m, which was $6m above their previous high of $117m in 2008. Much of that (just under $50m), is dedicated to their two big signings in recent years – Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. They have fewer arbitration eligible players than the Padres and could be looking at approximately $13.8m in salaries if they go as MLBTR’s projections state. They did add reduce their costs by dealing Morrison, which also opened up a potential spot for EE.

With depth, salaries, and quality considered, I believe it’s fair to assess that the San Diego Padres may be the best trading partner as a fit for the Toronto Blue Jays. For argument’s sake, let’s assume that is the case. Now that the stage is set, let’s see what a trade may look like and how the entire team looks with players involved considered.



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On the Blue Jays front, the obvious reason is to acquire a closer, something that allows the Jays to return Roberto Osuna to the rotation or leave him in the setup role until Kimbrel’s contract expires (in 2018 if his option is picked up). Kimbrel is one of the league’s best closers, immediately improving the Jays pen. That, in turn, shortens the game for the Blue Jays pitchers, most of whom may only be going 6 or 7 innings on most nights. Ross would step in and immediately provide the Jays with a pitcher capable of becoming a #2 in their rotation in front of R.A. Dickey. He has swing-and-miss stuff, and replenishes 200 IP the Jays lost with David Price. The possible rotation at this point would be Marcus Stroman, Tyson Ross, R.A. Dickey, Drew Hutchison and possibly a returning Marco Estrada. With the possibility of adding Sanchez to the rotation mid-season if one of these arms falters, the Blue Jays would have a solid rotation that allows them to compete in 2016 and a much more settled and better pen.


They are unlikely to retain Justin Upton and they need to increase their power output and RBI production. Edwin would step in behind Matt Kemp and force pitchers to throw him more strikes. I’m not sure if the other player would be one of the Jays extra outfielders or possibly Ryan Goins, but there would have to be another piece that’s controllable for a few years at least in this deal to make sense on both sides. Either way, the Padres have a much more dangerous team offensively speaking, something they need to address if they’re going to compete in 2016.


It’s kind of odd, but in this case both teams would be saving money. For the Padres, it’s direct savings in that EE would cost them much less than Justin Upton, and also because dealing Kimbrel ($11.25m) and Ross ($10m) for the proposed players would save them $11.25m which they can re-allocate to another player or players. For the Jays, they replace David Price without the need to spend $31 million per season and without committing to an unrealistic 7-year deal. Ross becomes a FA in 2018, so the Jays would be getting 2 years of him trying to increase his stock enough to cash in for a huge pay increase.

Next: 5 RH relievers Toronto could target in free agency


If a deal was made between the Blue Jays and the Mariners instead of the Padres, the obvious target would be Taijuan Walker and one of Tom Wilhelmsen or Carson Smith. The value for the Jays would be similar, but it’s the uneven value for the Mariners that makes me question this version of a deal. Walker has 5 years of control left, so does Smith, and Wilhelmsen has 2 years of control left. It seems unlikely that a deal would get done unless the Jays sweeten the pot substantially. With James Jones and Boog Powell as their current best option in CF, there’s a chance that they would have interest in Dalton Pompey as well which would make a deal more likely.

BACK TO Chris Davis

Going full circle, acquiring Chris Davis and dealing Edwin Encarnacion, it alsmost makes too much sense for the Jays this offseason. He’s the most expendable of all Jays bats because they can acquire a 1B on the FA market and already have Chris Colabello and Justin Smoak ready to go at 1B if that doesn’t work out. It’s much easier to imagine Davis making the best of a free agent contract than David Price who is likely looking at 6 or 7 years, when he’d be 37 years old or so. Johan Santana, C.C. Sabathia, and Justin Verlander are just a few of the examples of pitchers that received big deals and have had a hard time fulfilling the second half of their deals.

If they do acquire Davis, however, I want to paint the picture of what the new death row would look like in Toronto. Just as Josh Donalson’s numbers were projected to get better in Toronto – and did they ever – so would those of Chris Davis. In Toronto over his career, Chris Davis has hit .329 / .429 / .699 with 14 doubles and 13 HR in 170 PA. Over a full season, those numbers would translate to 57 doubles and 51 HR.

  1. Ben Revere (27) LHB
  2. Josh Donaldson (29) RHB – 41 HR / 123 RBI
  3. Chris Davis (29) LHB – 47 HRs/ 117 RBI
  4. Jose Bautista (35) RHB – 40 HR / 114 RBI
  5. Troy Tulowitzki (31) RHB – 17 HR / 70 RBI
  6. Russell Martin (32) RHB – 23 HR / 77 RBI
  7. Chris Colabello (32) RHB – 15 HR / 54 RBI
  8. Kevin Pillar (26) RHB – 12 HR / 56 RBI
  9. Ryan Goins (or Devon Travis) (27) LHB – 5 HR / 45 RBI

Looking at the roster above you can see exactly why getting another LHB would be beneficial. As it stands right now, the Jays have only two and both are back-to-back in the lineup.

Oct 4, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) hits a two run home run during the eighth inning against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles won 9-4. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s also remember that having someone in-house ready to continue to mash once Jose Bautista leaves Toronto – either through retirement or as a free agent – is really important as well. It’s not as if the Jays have a masher coming up through the system yet. In fact, aside from Rowdy Tellez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr, no Jays prospect is close to being recognized as a potential masher.

As a bonus, signing Davis also means the Orioles lose their slugger to a division rival, something that would irritate them and ensure they have to replace yet another core player. After losing Nelson Cruz last offseason, they know exactly how hard that can be.

If the first part of this article wasn’t enough to make you understand why the Blue Jays need to sign Chris Davis, the last part should. For the Blue Jays to compete long-term they have to look past Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista and recognize that they need to maintain a strong core to their lineup. Davis would do this, can easily slot in as a DH if and when needed, and may even break some power records as a Toronto Blue Jay.

Bring Chris Davis to Toronto, Mark Shapiro. You’ll have two bringers of rain in house for years to come, and you’ll have the required ammunition to resolve some of your pitching holes.