The Toronto Blue Jays. two primary positional needs this offseason come in left and right field
After a relatively quiet 2015 offseason in terms of positional transactions, the Toronto Blue Jays could need to fill as many as three starting positions this winter.
Two of those are left and right field, and whether it comes through an internal filler or the open market, those spots need to be addressed.
Ahead, we’ll take a look at the “big” names that will earn the most chatter over the coming months, especially in the Toronto market. This doesn’t necessarily make these players the likeliest to sign — even with Toronto’s potential payroll flexibility — but it’s important to get familiar with the top end of the market before the rush begins.
(Important note: Several of the discussed players could come with a draft pick attached due to declined qualifying offers).
Internal Options: Melvin Upton Jr., Ezequiel Carrera, Dalton Pompey
Re-sign Options: Jose Bautista, Michael Saunders
Jon Jay – 31 years old
San Diego Padres (Formerly St. Louis Cardinals)
Jay represents more of a mid-level option for the Blue Jays, but we’re including him first because of all of the boxes he checks off for Toronto.
A left-handed bat, something the Blue Jays would like to add, Jay has played the majority of his career as a centre-fielder and would need to transition into a corner spot. Jay is not a base-stealing threat at this point in his career, but he does possess the athleticism to be an improvement from Saunders or Bautista in that area. His base running value has fluctuated through his career, but he did post an impressive 3.3 Base Running Runs Above Average in 2016 with the Padres despite stealing just two bases.
At the plate, Jay’s appeal is his on-base percentage. This tool doesn’t always come in expected ways, however, as Jay has walked 35 or more times just once. Regardless, he owns a career .352 OBP and has topped .370 twice in his career.
Injuries have been a worry with Jay the past two seasons, however, as he followed a limited 2015 (79 games) with a 90-game 2016. Jay broke his forearm in late June and missed over two months, only returning for the final 22 games of the season.
Jay is a player who, much like the familiar Ben Revere, relies on good fortune for his high level of balls in play and is unlikely to hit more than a handful of home runs. If the Blue Jays are after an affordable option that can reach base, however, Jay is on the list.
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